Most nights I sit up in my bed with my Bible and prayer journal and read God’s Word aloud so that it washes over me and my husband. After a busy day, it is good to renew our minds before we fall asleep. The other night I came across something in scripture that was new to me and I’ve been chewing on it this week. Since I had my commentaries with me tonight, I decided to look it up and it is a goody!
If you have been following my blog lately, you may have seen my recent mini-series, “What Do You Think about the Christ?” My hope is that from my three examples, you will be encouraged to do a little soul searching for yourself and see how you identify with Christ from a personal perspective and use those discoveries as springboard into prayer by way of praise. Anytime that I am having trouble focusing on my prayer time, I just ask myself this question and not only does it bring a smile to my face, it ushers in a great time of personal praise and worship of Jesus.
Now for my new finding in scripture – Psalm 47:7 “For God is King over all the earth, sing praises with understanding”. Hmmm – with understanding – what does this mean??? I’ve been pondering it for days, until I finally broke down and researched some commentaries and here is the best one I’ve found. It comes from Barnes’ Notes on the Bible:
“Sing ye praises with understanding – Margin, Everyone “that hath understanding.” Neither the text here, however, nor the margin, expresses the true idea of the original. The Hebrew is, “Sing a Maschil” – משׂכיל maśkı̂yl; that is, Sing, or play, a didactic psalm or tune; that is, a song or ode adapted to convey valuable lessons of instruction. See the word explained in the notes at the title to Psalm 32:1-11. The idea is, that the occasion was one on which “such” a psalm or song would be especially appropriate; an occasion on which great lessons or truths had been taught by the dealings of God, which it became his people now to set forth in a becoming manner. Those lessons or truths pertained to the fact that God is the great King over all the earth, or that he is a sovereign among the nations: a truth of immense importance to mankind, and a truth which the occasion on which the psalm was composed was especially adapted to bring to view.”
In essence, when we give praise to God, it should be appropriate to describe, teach, and explain what God is doing. This is not a call to praise Him in a broad way, but a personal way based upon what He is doing in our life that could also instruct others. Similar to me sharing with you why Jesus is the Lover of my soul, the reason I appreciate Jesus standing on behalf of the Saints when we are under attack, and my longing to see Jesus face-to-face in eternity in my latest mini-series. It is so important that we understand why we praise Jesus and use it to even teach and minister to others.
So, in keeping with the spirit and intent of Psalm 47:7, I want to appropriately praise God today for:
- Giving me the physical strength to get some things done that I needed to do despite a bad cold. My daughter and her husband moved into a new home this weekend, so Mama had to help even though I soooo wanted to be lounging in my recliner under a blanket watching some college football. Did you know that many women today are paralyzed by their emotions, substance abuse, self-centeredness and/or downright laziness that they cannot even make themselves do the things they should (I am prone to the latter two from time to time unfortunately). But today I woke up early and felt uncommonly energetic for a Saturday morning, and equal to the task of helping my daughter move. “I can do all things through Christ Jesus who strengthens me.” (Phil 4:13 King James 2000 Bible)
- My family. After the move, I came home and cooked a big dinner complete with apple pie and vanilla ice cream. My four-year old grandson, Jackson, prayed over our meal, and started his prayer with, “Dear God, thank you for my family. I love you so much…” What’s better than that??? I praise God that in the midst of Satan’s attack on the family, that I am in a place where God reigns in the lives of my family from the oldest to the youngest; it has not always been that way. I praise God for what he is going to do for many of the loved ones around me who are suffering through family issues, strained relationships and the threat of divorce. “But from everlasting to everlasting the LORD’s love is with those who fear him, and his righteousness with their children’s children–with those who keep his covenant and remember to obey his precepts.” (Psalm 103:17, 18 NIV).
- Uncertainty. Something has come up in the past ten days that has yet to be resolved, and it could create a major change for me. If God allows it, it will require me to trust Him even more. I believe in the sovereignty of God. I believe that God is in control. I live a providential life. I don’t want to be the kind of Christian who only praises God during the good times, but also during the trials of life. As such, I give Him glory in this situation. “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33 NIV).
I pray that my praise of understanding has given you something of eternal value tonight. Please feel free to share your praises of understanding with me, so that I may continue to learn of God’s goodness and mercy from you. God bless and good night!
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Award-winning author Gina Duke is a wife, mom and the Director of Women’s Ministry at her local church. With a B.S. in Organizational Leadership, she is able to bring a clear word for authentic Christian living. Through her book, “Organizing Your Prayer Closet: A New and Life-Changing Way to Pray” (Abingdon Press), she imparts 1 Peter 4:7 with the gift of structured prayer journaling. If you would like to schedule Gina to speak on prayer or host a prayer journaling workshop, click here for more information. You may also follow her on Twitter and Instagram @TheGinaDuke.
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