PSALM 119:164 – Seven times a day I praise you for your righteous rules.”
THEME OF THE DAY: THE POWER OF PRAISE. First, we need to dismiss two things about today’s scripture. The Psalmist is not assigning a “quota” on his praise. It isn’t rigid formality that is saying, “Okay, Lord, I am going to praise You seven times today.” I know that sounds a little strange, but be careful here. How often is our praise mere form lacking life and spontaneity? Probably more than we want to admit. A second thing to dismiss is the thought that praise is only about what God does for us in our lives. The Psalmist praises God for His Word. Again, we need to be careful. How easy is it to praise the Lord when He answers prayer the way we want, delivers us from a tough circumstance, or simply showers us with temporal blessings? Very easy, but now comes the question – “Do we praise Him equally when He doesn’t answer prayer as we desire, leaves us in a tough circumstance to teach us something, or we find life very challenging when it comes to temporal blessings? The Psalmist states his praise is directed for what never changes – God’s righteous Word. So, with those two things out of the way, let’s look at the consistency of the Psalmist’s praise and make two applications of the power of praise in our lives.
First, the consistency of praise in our daily walks with the Lord is to be a major part of our praying. If prayer is just lifting up our petitions to God, then He is basically a “heavenly vending machine” we just put our request in the slot, push the button and wait for the answer. That isn’t prayer. Prayer is the language of love, of adoration, of relationship, and Psalm 119 is both the greatest hymnal and prayer book ever penned. The Psalmist is praying and not asking for anything. He is praising God for His Word. How about us? Are our prayer lives bathed in praise? And not just for God giving us temporal things, but primarily for Himself and His Word. The 19th century scholar/pastor Charles Bridges, commenting on Psalm 119 and particularly this verse, wrote, “Indeed it is the mixture of praise with prayer, that makes this Psalm so complete an exhibition of Christian experience.”
There is a second application of praise in the Christian life and this deals with power; the power to live the Christian life defeating sin on a regular basis. Does that seem odd to you – praise as a powerful weapon for conducting successful spiritual warfare? Well it is, and here is why.
Who is our greatest spiritual foe? Ourselves. What does this foe seek to do? Get us focused on ourselves, not Christ. And if self can do this, we will live in the bondage of our own wills and desires. But if we stop, even throughout each day, even seven times a day, and praise the Lord, watch how self and selfishness are defeated. Praise has the power to do this for it takes ourselves off of self and draws us to “behold the glory of the Lord” and in that beholding is transformation (2 Corinthians 3:18).
So, the next time we think of the armor of God, add praise to its components. It is powerful and will serve us well in defeating the spiritual enemy of self.
PRAYER: “Father, when difficult circumstances come upon me, help me to turn them from temptations to complain to times of praise.”
QUOTE: “Praise is so powerful because it takes us away from thinking all about us to thinking all about the Lord Jesus.”
Because of Him,