Bible Reading: Psalm 146 - 147

“His delight is not in the strength of the horse, nor his pleasure in the legs of a man, but the LORD takes pleasure in those who fear him, in those who hope in his steadfast love.” (Psalm 147:10-11)

When reading the Psalms chronologically, we can see reflections of the highs and lows of our faith. In Psalm 143, we heard of David’s lament and plea for mercy. Yet from Psalm 145 onwards, we hear exuberant praises proclaiming joy and genuine rejoicing in the Lord.

Often, when we read a lament followed by a hymn of praise, we feel disconnected between the two opposites. How are you meant to switch your affections so abruptly? 

In hard and challenging times, it is easy to relate to David’s laments. But, it is tough to side with the proclamations of praise. The Psalms paint an image of grand celebrations — significant faith victories with trumpet fanfares and royal banners. In these big moments, we should praise the Lord, and in these moments, such Psalms of praise are appropriate. 

However, digging further into these Psalms, there is a deeper and more profound reason we should praise God. This is not based on big kairos moments or miracles, or other extraordinary phenomena. Praise should be fundamentally based on God’s promises and His character. Such is a strong foundation upon which we can praise God at any time, anywhere. Such is the basis of the singing Christian heart, which overflows with abundant joy and praise despite hardship and difficulties. 

We can and should praise God even in difficult times because God is pleased with those who trust in Him. If in our difficulty, God brings us to put our full reliance on Himself, rejoice and praise God because God is actively working out His will in our lives. 

God’s will is not always to fix up our hard situation. He may or He may not. Yet, again and again, these Psalms repeat, “blessed is he whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in the LORD his God” (Psalm 146:5), “but the LORD takes pleasure in those who fear him” (Psalm 147:20), “the LORD takes pleasure in his people; he adorns the humble with salvation” (Psalm 149:4). 

God’s will for us is always that our hearts may continue to be shaped. He works through all things to wean us from our selfish desires and sinful past. He works to create in us a new heart, one that wholly trusts Him and submits to His kingship. This is for our good because God knows the best thing we can ever have is a relationship with Himself. We were created for such a purpose. 

God, in His love, wants to turn us back from our sins and restore to us the eternal joy and satisfaction of being with Him. In hardship, for His children, God is always working to this end goal. 

As we wait and see God’s unfathomable work in our lives, trust in Him and praise Him because He is working. He is for the humble and those who trust in Him. He casts down the wicked and arrogant; He cares for those who love Him. 

Have we surrendered our circumstance to full trust in the LORD? If nothing can separate us from the love of God in Christ (Romans 8:39), are our hearts constantly flowing with reverence and praise to the almighty God? 

See how the psalmist repeatedly proclaims, “praise the LORD!”. With passion and a sincere heart, he continually flows with praise to God. Are we able to praise Him in both good and bad times?

Lord, thank You that You are always faithful to Your children. Thank You that even in hard times, You are working to make me trust in You more. You do that for my good - that I do not trust in myself and live in my old sinful ways but be renewed to live in Your ways. Your ways are good, LORD. You created me to glorify You and enjoy You. Help me to live that out. Praise be to Your Name. Teach me to praise You because of Your sure promises for me continually. In Jesus’ name, amen.