Psalm 26:7--That I may publish with the voice of thanksgiving, and tell of all thy wondrous works.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Praise Personified

Psalm 96:11-13--Let the heavens rejoice, and let the earth be glad; let the sea roar, and the fulness thereof. Let the field by joyful, and all that is therein: then shall all the trees of the wood rejoice Before the Lord: for he cometh, for he cometh to judge the earth: he shall judge the world with righteousness, and the people with his truth.

Psalm 98:7-9--Let the sea roar, and the fulness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein. Let the floods clap their hands: let the hills be joyful together Before the Lord; for he cometh to judge the earth: with righteousness shall he judge the world, and the people with equity.

I chose two passages of Scripture for this week's post because they have very similar elements and represent the same ideas. Plus, I liked both of them and couldn't really decide which one to use over the other. The literary device that stuck out to me in these passages was personification, which is giving human qualities to something that is not human. Personification is an interesting device, and I think it relays some great truths in these Psalms.

Firstly, it reveals that God made all things for Himself. The stars, the rocks, the trees, the wind--all were made to glorify and praise God. That is the purpose for creation. Colossians 1:16 says, "For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him". Humans are part of God's creation, and as such, we were created to praise and glorify our Creator! We especially should praise God since we are the pinnacle of His creation, gifted with the intelligence and ability to purposefully craft and voice our praise. The saying of the twenty-four elders in Revelation 4:11 rings true: "Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created."

Secondly, it shows that God will be praised, even if we don't do it. When Jesus entered Jerusalem on the back of a donkey, the multitudes of the disciples shouted and praised Him with all their might. Then some of the Pharisees told Jesus to make them stop, to which He replied, "I tell you that, if these should hold their peace, the stones would immediately cry out" (Luke 19:40). This was the first passage that came to mind when I read the Psalms above, and it is amazingly true. Even if humans ceased praising God, He would still be glorified. Creation praises Him just by its existence (Ps. 19:1-2; 97:6; Rom. 1:20). However, even if you choose not to praise God on earth, you will eventually have to worship Him, for "at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father" (Phil. 2:10-11).

Thirdly are some reasons to praise God. There are infinite reasons, but a few specific ones are addressed in these Psalms. We should praise God for His righteousness and judgment because in these He is glorified. Because of God's righteousness, He hates sin and must punish it; but even when He is pouring out His wrath upon sin, it glorifies Him because it magnifies His power and holiness. We deserve His wrath anyway. God is perfectly just in His judgment, for, as David said in Psalm 51:4, "Against thee, thee only, have I sinned, and done this evil in thy sight: that thou mightest be justified when thou speakest, and be clear when thou judgest." Judgment isn't always God's wrath against us, though; it includes blessings as well. If God judges something worthy of receiving blessing or honor, He will give it. As Paul told the church of Corinth in 1 Corinthians 3:13-15, "Every man's work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man's work of what sort it is. If any man's work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. If any man's work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire." God's judgment goes both ways. We should praise Him because He is an eternally righteous God Who always judges perfectly.

Lastly is a reason to rejoice, and it's probably the best one I know of: God is coming! We know that soon Jesus shall return to take His saints home for eternity. It won't be long until "the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord" (1 Thess. 4:16-17). Forevermore we will be in the presence of the Lord God Almighty, the Creator of everything, our strong Redeemer, the Lover of our souls from before the foundation of the world, He Who died to take away our sins. Words truly cannot begin to describe the joy and glory we shall share! So I will leave you with Paul's admonition: "Wherefore comfort one another with these words" (1 Thess. 4:18).

However, there is a grave aspect to all of this if you do not personally know Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. Firstly, you were created to praise God; but if you don't have Jesus, you can't bear fruit pleasing to God, such as praise (John 15:4-5). Secondly, you will one day be forced to acknowledge Jesus as Lord, as mentioned above (also see Rom. 14:11). If you wait until then, you will bow before Him, but you will also be cast into Hell afterward. Thirdly, God's judgment will not be favorable for you. One day you will stand before God and be judged (Rom. 14:12; Heb. 9:27). If you are not forgiven of your sins by the blood of Jesus, if you have not accepted His righteousness, then God will only see your sin; and as the righteous and holy God He is, He cannot let you into Heaven. Lastly, you have no reason to rejoice at Christ's return. You will be left on earth to be deceived by the Antichrist, suffer God's wrath in the Great Tribulation, and ultimately be cast into Hell (2 Thess. 2:11-12). Won't you accept the sacrifice Jesus made for your sins? Come to Him today and be freed from death for all eternity. Click the Salvation tab above for more information.

Thank you for reading, and may God bless you as you seek to grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!

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