Psalm 43:5

Verse of the Week – Psalm 43:5

“Why are you in despair, my soul? And why are you restless within me? Wait for God, for I will again praise Him For the help of His presence, my God.” – Psalm 43:5

First, let us look at the first four verses spoken by David directly to God. Starting in verse one we read, “Vindicate me, God, and plead my case against an ungodly nation; Save me from the deceitful and unjust person!” Psalm 43:1. David cites the hesed in verse one of the Lord, as the rationale for claiming a right to God’s judgment. The word hesed occurs around 245 times in the Hebrew Bible, and 127 times in the Psalms. One Jewish scholar defines hesed as “a free-flowing love that knows no bounds.”

Many biblical words such as mercy, compassion, love, grace, and faithfulness relate to the Hebrew word hesed (חֶסֶד), but none of these completely summarize the concept. Hesed is not merely an emotion or feeling but also action on behalf of someone who is in need. Hesed describes a sense of love and loyalty that brings mercy and compassion toward another person to help them through their trials. Hesed is most closely connected in the Hebrew Bible with the covenant relationship between God and the children of Israel. In Genesis 15, God covenants with Abram, saying: “On that day the LORD made a covenant with Abram, saying, To your descendants I have given this land, From the river of Egypt as far as the great river, the river Euphrates:” Genesis 15:18. Then following in chapter 17 we read, “I will establish My covenant between Me and you and your descendants after you throughout their generations as an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and to your descendants after you. And I will give to you and to your descendants after you the land where you live as a stranger, all the land of Canaan, as an everlasting possession; and I will be their God. God said further to Abraham, “Now as for you, you shall keep My covenant, you and your descendants after you throughout their generations.” Genesis 17:7-9.” Then in Exodus 19, God speaks to the children of Israel regarding their responsibility. “Now then, if you will indeed obey My voice and keep My covenant, then you shall be My own possession among all the peoples, for all the earth is Mine; and you shall be to Me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.’ These are the words that you shall speak to the sons of Israel.” Exodus 19:5-6. In each instance, God calls the Israelites into a unique and special relationship centered around a covenant.

Hesed is often used in parallel with the Hebrew word ʾemeṯ, which is translated as faithfulness. In Psalm 43:1 for example, David declares that the people have no hesed, meaning either the Philistines, among whom he was near to; or his own nation when they joined his son Absalom in rebellion against him: some understand it of the great numbers that were with Saul, when he was persecuted by him. No matter which, they were a people who hated David, his followers, and the God he served. And thus, they had no hesed. Then in Exodus, God declares the following, “Then the LORD passed by in front of him and proclaimed, The LORD, the LORD God, compassionate and merciful, slow to anger, and abounding in faithfulness and truth; who keeps faithfulness for thousands, who forgives wrongdoing, violation of His Law, and sin; yet He will by no means leave the guilty unpunished, inflicting the punishment of fathers on the children and on the grandchildren to the third and fourth generations. Exodus 34:6–7.

 In the next verse, we see David confronted by a people who have no knowledge of hesed, this special relationship between God and His people. He asks questions of God that parallel the questions in Psalm 42. “For You are the God of my strength; why have You rejected me? Why do I go about mourning because of the oppression of the enemy?” Psalm 43:2. Notice the similarity in chapter 43. “For You are the God of my strength; why have You rejected me? Why do I go about mourning because of the oppression of the enemy?” Psalm 42:9.

Next, we read David’s request from God because of what he was experiencing.  “Send out Your light and Your truth, they shall lead me; They shall bring me to Your holy hill And to Your dwelling places. Then I will go to the altar of God, To God my exceeding joy; And I will praise You on the lyre, God, my God.” Psalm 43:3-4. David quickly moves to petition God and anticipating His results of granting that petition. He requests that God send His light (‘Ohr’) and faithfulness (ʾemeṯ) because they will bring him to the mountain and will come to the altar and praise Him. The Hebrew word ‘Ohr’ has the idea of ‘light’, which in today’s definition means illumination or an agent that makes something visible. But, in Hebrew, light or ohr means something more.  Ohr also has the idea of “giving order to something chaotic.” And the Hebrew word ‘emet’ has the idea of truth, right, and faithful. Light and faithfulness are not commonly paired in the poetic structure of the Hebrew Psalms. Perhaps David asks for light so that the path to the mountain of God’s holiness and the sanctuary will be clear and for faithfulness such that he is not distracted from following the path. Only then will David be able to come to the altar, encounter God with gladness, with rejoicing, and praise. And to make this thought clear, it is not an earthly holy hill or alter, but one in the heavenly presence of God.

Then in our focus verse David changes from speaking to God to speaking to his inner self. “Why are you in despair, my soul? And why are you restless within me? Wait for God, for I will again praise Him For the help of His presence, my God. Psalm 43:5. He calls his inmost being to wait for God. But, in keeping with the contrast already drawn above, David’s words seem not so much to draw the inmost being back from the brink of despair but to gently remind himself to wait and be confident in God. He will wait on God to send His light and faithfulness, and  they will guide him to the altar of God so he can give Him much praise and worship.

In our struggles with those who do not honor the hesed of God, Psalm 43 offers us words with which to request light and faithfulness from God. It gives us words of assurance that no matter our situation, we may always come to the altar and praise the God who delivers us, for He never forgets us and always loves us. This is a statement, poetically phrased as a question whose answer should be obvious. It’s natural to be tempted towards despair and discouragement. Despite our feelings, we know God is faithful and that He will ultimately vindicate His people. For that reason, we should be encouraged to put all our trust in the Lord.

William Funkhouser MDiv, ThD, Founder and President of True Devotion Ministries.

Psalm 39:10

Verse of the Week – Psalm 39:10

“Remove Your plague from me; Because of the opposition of your hand, I am perishing.” – Psalm 39:10.

David starts out with what appears to be a paradoxical statement in his prayer to God in the first verse. “I will keep watch over my ways so that I do not sin with my tongue; I will keep watch over my mouth as with a muzzle while the wicked are in my presence.” This can be paraphrased, “I said, ‘I will keep silent.’” This seems inconsistent, until we look deeper into the idea of David declaring his intention to keep silent. The Hebrew word for ‘said’ is, אָמַר, pronounced  amar, a verb meaning ‘speaking’, but it also refers to one’s internal thoughts; technically speaking to oneself in your mind. And this is important because David is in a difficult situation. Theologian Adam Clarke puts it this way, speaking for David. “I must be cautious because of my enemies; I must be patient because of my afflictions; I must be watchful over my tongue, lest I offend my God, or give my adversaries any cause to speak evil of me.

He continues in his prayer. “I was mute and silent, I refused to say even something good, and my pain was stirred up. My heart was hot within me, while I was musing the fire burned; Then I spoke with my tongue:” Psalm 39:2-3. He would not say anything to his enemies that would anger them. His mind became more and more excited, his feelings more and more intense. And even though he attempts to suppress his emotions, they are only more and more enkindled. We see then in verse four he calls out to God.

After this, David prays to God, speaking wisdom from his heart. “LORD, let me know my end, And what is the extent of my days; Let me know how transient I am. Behold, you have made my days like hand widths, And my lifetime as nothing in Your sight; Certainly, all mankind standing is a mere breath. Selah Certainly every person walks around as a fleeting shadow; They certainly make an uproar for nothing; He amasses riches and does not know who will gather them. And now, Lord, for what do I wait? My hope is in You.” Psalm 39:4-7. David’s broke his silence in the best way possible, by his humble prayer to God. He would not speak of his fears and doubts before his enemies, but he would pour them out before His God. Here David asked God for wisdom, specifically, the wisdom to know the shortness and the frailty of his life, that he may know how frail he actually was. He understands since life is so short, the only real meaning of a man or woman’s existence must be in his relationship to God.

Next in the next verse he continues. “Save me from all my wrongdoings; Do not make me an object of reproach for the foolish. “He accepts the fact that his sins are the reason for his troubles and sorrows. If his transgressions were forgiven, he felt assured that his trouble would be removed. His first petition, therefore, was that his sins would be forgiven, believing that it would be consistent and proper for God to remove his troubles and deliver him from the evils he was going through. He recognized his sins were the source of all his troubles. If his transgressions were forgiven, he felt assured that his suffering would end.

Then we come to our -Verse of the Week. “Remove Your plague from me; because of the opposition of your hand, I am perishing.” Psalm 39:10. There is one word in this verse that will help see what David is saying to God, and that word is ‘plague’. This word is not referring to a disease, but an act of discipline, strokes as in a spanking. In the Hebrew language, this seems to be a figure taken from combating gladiators. One is wounded so that he cannot continue fighting. David is unable to maintain the fight, so he gives in and prays for God to spare his life. I am conquered; I can hold the contest no longer. In the next verse, David says, “With rebukes You punish a person for wrongdoing; You consume like a moth what is precious to him; Certainly, all mankind is mere breath! Selah” Psalm 39:11. Because of his sin David was punished.

David has now come to understand the nature of man and his own powerlessness too well not to know that he is incapable of achieving that goal without God’s help. Thus, he prays that God may relieve him from the force of his hand which punished him and presses heavily upon him. We read from chapter 90 the following. “For we have been consumed by Your anger, And we have been terrified by Your wrath.” Psalm 90:7. It is only when the knowledge of the transient nature of man is considered under the aspect of God’s punishment of human guilt that it leads to the realization of that contrast between God and man which imparts to the fact of death the character of an inescapable fate, of God’s judgment on sin.

William Funkhouser MDiv, ThD, Founder and President of True Devotion Ministries.

Psalm 113:2-3

Verse of the Day: Psalm 113:2-3

“Blessed be the name of the LORD From this time forth and forever. From the rising of the sun to its setting.  The name of the LORD is to be praised.” – Psalm 113:2-3 

I absolutely love these verses.  They cover times and places regarding the praises of God.  We are to praise Him without ceasing.  Verse two says we are to praise God starting now and continue forever.  Note the wording ‘from this time forth and forever.’  We are always to praise God.   We can praise Him with our voice, we can praise Him by our deeds. We can praise Him in our sharing of Him to the lost, we can praise Him in our encouraging of the brethren.  We praise Him when we trust in Him completely.  Living our lives in complete and total submission to God is an act of praise and worship.

Verse three addresses where we are to praise Him.  In the Hebrew, the intent of the phrase ‘from the rising of the sun’ denotes anything to the east of our position, for the sun rises in the east.  In the same way, the intent of the phrase ‘to its setting’ denotes anything to the west of our position, for the sun sets in the west.  And because the earth is round and if you continue to travel to the east, you will arrive at the same place from the west, and vice-versa, it covers our current position as well.

The main idea of these two verses is clear.  God is to be praised always and in all places.  The apostle Paul said it as clearly as it can be.  “Whether then, you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.” 1 Corinthians 10:31.  By giving God the glory, we are giving Him our praise as well.

William Funkhouser MDiv, ThD, Founder and President of True Devotion Ministries, Inc.

Psalm 34:18

Verse of the Day: Psalm 34:18

“The LORD is near to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” – 34:18

This is an encouraging verse.  The Lord will always be by our side when we are heartbroken.  We all experience these times.  And they are difficult times.

The idea of broken hearted is pressed and weighed down with afflictions, by intense sorrow.  So, during these times, we can trust that we are never alone.  The language is figurative.  As an omnipresent being, God is always equally near to all persons.  In fact, He is everywhere at the same time.  So, the idea is He is always with us.  Jeremiah put it like this, “Am I a God who is near,” declares the LORD, “And not a God far off?  Can a man hide himself in hiding places, so I do not see him?” declares the LORD. “Do I not fill the heavens and the earth?” declares the LORD.” Jeremiah 23:23-24.

We serve a God who is always near and attentive to us.  He knows everything we do, think, and what we are going through.  And He loves us with a love that is so great it is incomprehensible.  Take comfort in this, for we can always cry out to Him and He is there to comfort us and help us through.  And trust Him that he is faithful to us.

Two more verses that is a comfort to me.  “God is our refuge and strength, A very present help in trouble.” Psalm 46:1 and “The LORD of hosts is with us; The God of Jacob is our stronghold. Selah.” Psalm 46:11

William Funkhouser MDiv, ThD, Founder and President of True Devotion Ministries, Inc.

Psalm 103:11

Verse of the Day: Psalm 103:11

“For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is His lovingkindness toward those who fear Him.” – Psalm 103:11 

This, to me, is a beautiful passage.

If we think about it, the height of the heavens is so great we cannot even begin to imagine it.  There are no boundaries.  It goes beyond stars, galaxies, and all things within this universe.  If we were to set out to go to the end of everything, we would never reach it.  First, we would get to the end of the universe God created and we reside in, however, after that is the realm of eternity where God resides.

What the psalmist is basically saying is that God’s lovingkindness is infinite.  There is no end to the love God has for us who fear him.  We can never conceive of anything greater than His love.  Isaiah uses the same picture describing God’s ways.  “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways And My thoughts than your thoughts.” Isaiah 55:9.

Finally, Jesus stated it best when He said, “Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends.”  John 15:13 And who are His friends?  “You are My friends if you do what I command you.”  John 15:14

We who are totally devoted to Him and do what He commands us, His love for us is beyond measure.  It is so great, He Himself died for us, one who never had to die, but He took on the form of man so that He could pay for our sins by His death.  I reiterate, what a beautiful passage this is.

William Funkhouser MDiv, ThD, Founder and President of True Devotion Ministries, Inc.

Psalm 8:4-5

Verse of the Day Devotion: Psalm 8:4-5

“What is man that You take thought of him, And the son of man that You care for him?  Yet You have made him a little lower than God, and You crown him with glory and majesty!” – Psalm 8:4-5

I am sure that most Christians have heard this verse at least once.  This is believed by most scholars to have been written by King David.  He is kneeling in humility before God and asking the questions in this verse.

First, let us look at what caused him to pray this prayer.  “When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers, the moon and the stars, which You have ordained;” Psalm 8:3.  David has looked up into the heavens, sees the moon and the uncountable multitude of stars, and He attributes them to God.  He does not see this as a universe that either, naturally came out of nothing, or as an infinite universe that has no beginning.  (If you would like information regarding the universe coming into existence without God, do not hesitate to email me at [email protected].)

Because of David’s awe of God’s amazing creation, he asked the question of why we are so important to God that He cares for us.  For you made Him a little lower than God.  The Hebrew for God here is “Elohim”, which is the plural for El, which is God and refers to a triune being, not many gods.  I see this as us being created in His image.  For God said, “Then God said, Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the cattle and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” Genesis 1:26 We rule down here over all living things and have authority over them.  Compare with verse 6, “You make him to rule over the works of Your hands; You have put all things under his feet,” Psalm 8:6.  Therefore, we were made in His image and given authority.

Do we look up into the heavens and gaze in awe of God and His creation?  Do we come before Him in humility knowing how much lower we are, especially because of our rebellion?  Are we humbled by the fact that God sent His very Son who “…humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross” for our sake?  Philippians 2:8b I sometimes look at myself and wonder why He cares about me.  Then I remember His love and grace.  And that says everything.

William Funkhouser MDiv, ThD, Founder and President of True Devotion Ministries, Inc.

Psalm 106:1

Verse of the Day Devotion: Psalm 106:1

“Praise the LORD! Oh give thanks to the LORD, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever!” – Psalm 106:1

This is a very powerful verse.  In fact, this same wording is found in several other places.  For instance, let’s look at the next chapter in Psalms.  “Oh, give thanks to the LORD, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever!”  Psalm 107:1. Now, compare this with a verse in 1 Chronicles.  “Oh, give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; for his steadfast love endures forever!”  1 Chronicles 16:34. In comparing Psalm 107:1 and 1 Chronicles 16:34, they are word for word the same.  Then when you look at our focus verse, the wording is also identical after the first three words, ‘Praise the Lord’’.  You will also find the same wording in 2 Chronicles 20:21, Psalm 118:1, Psalm 118:29 and, Psalm 136:1.  There are many other verses that are very close, with slight word changes.  However, the meaning is clear.

These words are found in enough places in the scriptures that I would venture to say this was a phrase well known to the Israelites.  And they must become very familiar to us as well.  Our God is great, greater than anyone or anything.  For without Him, nothing else would exist.  He is all powerful, there is nothing that can stop Him or His will from being accomplished.  He is all knowing, knowing every minutia of everything and everybody in every moment of time.  And He is everywhere all the time, “Can a man hide himself in hiding places, so I do not see him?  declares the LORD. Do I not fill the heavens and the earth? declares the LORD.” Jeremiah 23:24. He is an incredible God we serve.  And He loves us beyond our comprehension. God spoke these words to Jeremiah, but they are applicable to us today. “The LORD appeared to him from afar, saying, “I have loved you with an everlasting love; Therefore, I have drawn you with lovingkindness.”  Jeremiah 31:3. There will never be a need He will not meet.  “And my God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:19. And most important of all, He died that we might live.  “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”  Romans 5:8. “Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends.”  John 15:13.

How can we not praise Him with our whole being?  How can we not worship Him from the very depth of our heart?  How can we not thank Him for His goodness He has poured out on us?  And how can we not love Him with everything we are, for our God’s love, from Him who does not change, is an everlasting love, from eternity to eternity.

“Praise the LORD! Oh, give thanks to the LORD, for He is good; For His lovingkindness is everlasting.”

William Funkhouser MDiv, ThD, Founder and President of True Devotion Ministries, Inc.

Psalm 46:10

Verse of the Day Devotion: Psalm 46:10

“Be still and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations; I will be exalted in the earth!” – Psalm 46:10

The idea in the first part, where it says ‘Be Still’ is to Cease Striving.  In the beginning of this chapter, we see the following, “God is our refuge and strength, A very present help in trouble.  Therefore, we will not fear, though the earth should change and though the mountains slip into the heart of the sea;” Psalm 46:1-2.  The author of this Psalm starts off by declaring that God is our refuge.  He is where we can flee when we find ourselves in trouble.  He goes on to say that we shall not fear, no matter what happens.  Though there be catastrophic world calamities or major army attacks, we can trust God.  And why?  “The LORD of hosts is with us; The God of Jacob is our stronghold. Selah.”  Psalm 46:7.

We need to think this way.  We need to remember that the Lord of Hosts is with us.  “Make sure that your character is free from the love of money, being content with what you have; for He Himself has said, “I will never desert you, nor will I ever forsake you,” Hebrews 13:5.  God’s promise is that no matter what happens, we will be OK.  For He will be with us.  However, in looking at Paul and the disciples, He may take us home, but we will be OK.

When we get into any type of trouble, no matter how extreme, we must cease our striving against it, do what we can but remember that God is always with us.  Our God is almighty, all knowing, and fills our universe, both known and unknown.  He can deliver us from any trial, tribulation or persecution we may run into. It may be taking the situation away or bringing us safely through by giving us the strength to endure.   I have read many stories of Christians who were persecuted beyond belief.  People like Richard and Sabina Wurmbrand who suffered greatly at the hand of Russian controlled Romania, and eventually founded Voice of the Martyrs.  Or Aida Mikhailovna Skripnikova who was sentenced to three years in a Soviet prison camp because she witnessed to the Russians, but also because she told the Judge in her trial the following, “The Christian can’t be anything but confrontational.  Once you know the truth, this means following it, and if necessary, suffering for it.”  Or He may deliver us by taking us home, like Stephen in Acts 6-7, where Luke writes, But being full of the Holy Spirit, he (Stephen) gazed intently into heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God; and he said, “Behold, I see the heavens opened up and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God.” Acts 7:55-56.  And after this, they stoned him to death.

We have no idea how God will bring us through our trials.  However, what we do know is that He will.  So, as God spoke to the writer of Psalm 46:10, He also speaks to us, as our focus verse says.  “Be still and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations; I will be exalted in the earth!”

William Funkhouser MDiv, ThD, Founder and President of True Devotion Ministries, Inc.

Psalm 37:31

Verse of the Day Devotion: Psalm 37:31

“The law of his God is in his heart; His steps do not slip.” – Psalm 37:31  

Before we go into our focus verse, let’s determine who ‘His’ is.  If we go a few verses back, we read the following, “The righteous will inherit the land and dwell in it forever.  The mouth of the righteous utters wisdom, and his tongue speaks justice. “Psalm 37:20-30 Our focus verse therefore is speaking of the righteous, those who follow after Him, following His ways, and who love Him above all things.  Jesus put it this way when asked what the greatest commandment is.  “And He said to him, ‘YOU SHALL LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART, AND WITH ALL YOUR SOUL, AND WITH ALL YOUR MIND.’  This is the great and foremost commandment.  The second is like it, ‘YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.’  On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets.” Matthew 22:37-40.  Adding on to this, Jesus also said, “If you love Me, you will keep My commandments.” John 14:15.

So, putting these verses together, we see that the righteous are those who love God with everything they have; that loves their fellow man as he loves himself.  And because of the love he has for God, obeys His commandments.

If we are righteous as defined above, then we shall not slip.  In other words, our course will be firm and steadfast.  Everything He has promised us will come to pass.  We will trust Him and because we are righteous, our desires will be good and fulfilled.  “Delight yourself in the LORD; And He will give you the desires of your heart.  Commit your way to the LORD, trust also in Him, and He will do it.”  Psalm 37:4-5.  We will be content in what we have, no matter how little it is.  For we are content with His provision here for He is with us.  “But godliness actually is a means of great gain when accompanied by contentment.  For we have brought nothing into the world, so we cannot take anything out of it either.  If we have food and covering, with these we shall be content.” 1 Timothy 6:6-8.

I want to encourage everyone to seek His righteousness.  May it be the greatest desire of our heart.  The righteous will be taken care of.  Every need will be met.  “Do not worry then, saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear for clothing?’  For the Gentiles eagerly seek all these things; for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things.  But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.  So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” Matthew 6:31-34.

God loves us with an everlasting love. and He shows it to us with everything He does.  He takes care of us, stays with us, protects us and fills us with His Spirit.  He gives us joy and peace, and our every need.  Let us show our love to Him, giving Him glory and honor and praise and thankfulness.  What an incredible relationship we have with our God.

William Funkhouser MDiv, ThD, Founder and President of True Devotion Ministries, Inc.

Psalm 95:6

Verse of the Day Devotion: Psalm 95:6

“Come, let us worship and bow down, let us kneel before the LORD our Maker.” – Psalm 95:6

This psalm was written by David as an invitation to praise and worship the Lord our God.  David is encouraging God’s people to come before the Lord and give Him what is due Him.

Praise and worship are not necessarily the same thing.  They are both focusing on God; who He is and what He has done.  However, praise is a joyful thankfulness of all God has done for us, where worship is an acknowledgement of who God is in relation to who we are.  Another way of expressing this is, “where praise is focused on thankfulness, worship is focused on surrender.” Chapter 95 of Psalms is a call to both; therefore, we shall examine both in the context of David’s call in this chapter.

First, we are called to sing for joy to the Lord.  “O come, let us sing for joy to the LORD, let us shout joyfully to the rock of our salvation. Let us come before His presence with thanksgiving, let us shout joyfully to Him with psalms.” Psalm 95:1-2.  This is a wonderful portrayal of praise.  Coming before Him, singing and shouting out our thankfulness to the one who provides everything.  We see this idea throughout the bible.  “Oh, give thanks to the LORD, for He is good, For His lovingkindness is everlasting.” Psalm 107:1. “Praise the LORD in song, for He has done excellent things; Let this be known throughout the earth. Cry aloud and shout for joy, O inhabitant of Zion, for great in your midst is the Holy One of Israel.” Isaiah 12:5-6.  “Now therefore, our God, we thank You, and praise Your glorious name.” 1 Chronicles 29:13. And finally, “Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you, with all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God.” Colossians 3:16. How can we not thank Him; how can we not shout out for joy for His many gifts and benefits; how can we not rejoice for all He has done for us, including the sacrifice of His Son on the cross?  Praise and thanksgiving should always be given to Him for all things.

Then we are called to worship Him.  We see this in our focus verse, “Come, let us worship and bow down, let us kneel before the LORD our Maker.”  Psalm 95:6. We are told to bow down to Him in humility, surrendering ourselves to Him in homage and reverence.  He created everything that is.  “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” Genesis 1:1 and “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being.” John 1:1-3.  He created everything that is, and that lives and moves upon the earth.  And He is infinitely greater and higher than we are.  “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways, declares the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways And My thoughts than your thoughts.” Isaiah 55:8-9.  There is no comparison because the distance between finite and infinite is insurmountable.

Because of the above, we are to humble ourselves before our God, Lord and Maker in worship.  We are to bow down before Him in surrender to Him, acknowledging our love, reverence and devotion to Him.  The idea of bowing down in this verse in the time of David was by prostrating before Him, meaning lying flat on the ground face down.  Whichever way we go before Him, be it lying face down on the ground, bowing or kneeling before Him, the idea is adoration, reverence and surrender.  Our mind should be focused entirely on Him, emptying our thoughts of everything but Him and our deep love and adoration for our glorious Lord and Savior.  We should forget about ourselves and our situations.  This should be a very intimate time with Him, where we can realign our priorities with His and spend time in not only speaking to and uplifting Him but hearing what He has to say and making a commitment to obeying and following His words.  It should be a time where we acknowledge and declare again that He is our Lord and no-one else, including ourselves.

Praise and worship come from our hearts, expressing our devotion to Him.  The outward motions are not what He is looking at, but the deep feelings in the innermost depths of our being.  God sees our hearts and recognizes our sincerity or our hypocrisy.  How do we develop a sincere relationship with God?  “Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded.” James 4:8. We must focus on drawing near to Him, cleansing our hearts and minds of those things that are not glorifying to Him and replacing them with those things that please and honor Him.  And when we do this, He will draw near to us and we can have a relationship that will go beyond anything we could ever imagine.

I encourage everyone here to spend concerted time praising and worshipping are great and loving God.  He is worthy of all we can give Him and more.  I believe if we can spend more quality time with Him, thanking and glorifying Him as he deserves, it will cause us to grow in our walk with Him and we will find ourselves more content in every part of our life.  That is my desire for sure.

William Funkhouser MDiv, ThD, Founder and President of True Devotion Ministries, Inc.