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By: Larry Shaffer
This is Josh and Debs Walker. They do ministry on the streets of Houston. They are great in the Kingdom of God and two of my favorite people in the world.
This morning as I sat down to do my devotions in Psalms 34, I didn’t really feel like it. Amazing how our moods can swing without cause, so it seems. Yesterday morning my devotions were sweet and refreshing, yet this morning I sat down and felt nothing. Fortunately, the habit has been bolted and secured within my mind, so it’s not like I’m going to just watch a movie or something. I’m going to persevere, but it’s odd that none of the glow of yesterday remains. Yesterday was a normal day, a good day, but moods just vacillate sometimes. So, I said to myself, ‘you should write about it.’ So here we go.
First, I prayed and disciplined myself to write out my prayer further than I felt. That felt good. I wrote, “Give me a deeper devotion to You and a heart, soul, and mind to pray and seek you more.’ I trust God to answer. I have read Psalms 34 and a it has triggered a spark. Let’s see where this takes me.
I will bless the Lord at all times; His praise shall continually be in my mouth. My soul will make its boast in the Lord; the humble will hear and rejoice.
O magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt His name together. I sought the Lord, and He answered me, and deliver me from all my fears. They looked to Him and were radiant, and their faces will never be ashamed.
Let’s begin with the first verse. …bless the Lord at all times; His praise shall continually be in my mouth. Perhaps many of you were following my blog when we went through the book of Esther. It’s interesting that God is never mentioned in Esther. There is no mention of God or praying to God or any reference to God at all. But nevertheless, the hand of God upon the affairs of men and women is never so evident as in the book of Esther.
There are several reasons behind the author’s purpose in excluding God’s name, I believe. One is to reveal that the pagan characters of the story, King Ahasuerus and Haman, never acknowledge the existence of God and certainly don’t pray or consult God. They have no fear of God whatsoever. They feel that they are the masters of their destiny and in their own power they have the ability to control those around them. After all, one is the king of the largest empire in the world at the time and the other is second in command.
The story reveals that their power and control is an illusion. Instead, God is working out the events of their lives exactly as He wants, even though the earthly powers feel like they are sovereign. People who do not acknowledge God and do not seek Him in all decisions of life, are simply foolish and delusional. Let’s not be like them.
Instead, let’s follow the pattern set by another earthly king, David, and follow his example. I will bless the Lord at all times; His praise shall continually be in my mouth.
I must acknowledge that I am not always conscious of God throughout the day. I have this God-conscious adrenaline surge in the morning during my devotions. But as the day wears on, I am increasingly mindful of MY activities and focused on MY desired accomplishments. My activities and accomplishments are not anti-God (mostly) but I am not “mindful” or actively conscious of God most of the time as I wish I was.
To carry this theme further, this Psalmist conveys the sense of not just “thinking” about God always but “speaking” about God always. I will bless the Lord and His praise shall continually be in my MOUTH. Not only should I be aware of God and communicating with Him, I should be speaking of Him as well. WOW.
Lord, just like all spiritual growth, we begin not with guilt of our sin (because there is no condemnation for those of us in Christ Jesus), but with godly conviction. Part of our journey is to simply start where we are and commit to move little by little, by Your grace and the strength of Your Spirit, toward You. Toward You in greater and more continuous conscienceless of You throughout our days. Remind us to whisper our prayers of need, of praise, of help, of guidance toward You in increasing frequency throughout the day. May your name be always on my mind and may I speak of you often in all situations. Amen!