Celebrate!

It is no wonder that I love you, O God.
You have granted me a security that I could never find among the things of this world.
You have erased from my life the fear of death.
What follows the grave is not my fearful concern.

The traumatic experiences of this life cannot destroy me.
You are never out of reach, but are ever aware of my problems and conflicts.
How great and all-powerful is my God!

This is the God who is concerned about me.
He reaches into my distraught life to heal my wounds.
He encompasses me with eternal love.
He abides with me even in the midst of conflict or calamity.
He shields me from the forces that are intent on my destruction.

It is thus that I celebrate God’s presence in my life and world.
God is not dead; He lives!
I rejoice in his concern and love for me.
I will sing and shout and dance in the joy of knowing that you are my God!

Psalm 18 (selected verses) Psalms/Now

In this Psalm, David is giving praise to God for all he has done for him, and for the very essence of who God is.

Why do you think it is important to tell God how much you love him? He knows your heart, right? Of course he does, but how would you feel if your spouse or parents or friends never told you “I love you,” and just assumed you knew they loved you.

God is your most important relationship. He may know the depths of your heart, but it is good to hear those words of love spoken out loud. If you’re not used to speaking to God in that way, give it a try. You’ll find it will change you just to say “I love you, Lord” every morning before you start your day.

God gave David a sense of security that he couldn’t find anywhere else. What makes you feel secure? Is it your bank account, your house and car, your health, your family? All those things could be lost in the blink of an eye, as we have seen in so many of the horrific tragedies in Syria and even in unexpected ways right here at home.

If everything you hold dear is lost, what do you have left? God is our only sure place of security, our greatest treasure, our only hope.

David claimed that God had erased the fear of death from his life. Is that true for you? Was David referring to his own death, or the death of someone he loves? Perhaps both. Notice that he did not say that God erased pain and suffering and grieving, but the fear of what lies beyond the grave.

David’s life was full of traumatic, painful experiences, but he believed he would not be destroyed by them because of God’s power in his life. In one of my most traumatic experiences, I told someone they could not destroy me. At the time I really believed it, but as the pain and suffering waged war with my body and spirit, it felt like I had been ripped apart piece by piece like a house in a tornado. I stayed buried in the rubble for a long time, grieving and depressed, but eventually I found that God was at work restoring all the broken pieces.

Why doesn’t someone have the power to destroy you? Not because you are such a strong person, but because you are his, and he has the final word in your life.

David lists some things about God that should encourage us through the good and bad times we face:

* He is never out of reach.
* He is always aware of my problems and conflicts.
* He is concerned about me.
* He reaches down into the rubble and heals my wounds.
* He surrounds me with love that will never quit.
* He is right there with me in conflict and calamity.
* He shields me from those who want to destroy me.

Lest you think these are just nice thoughts, but they don’t hold up in the trenches of real life, perhaps it will help to look at these things in light of eternity rather than in the physical realm. We simply should not demand for God to act in a certain way because we cannot always understand his plan. Instead we can be confident of his presence and love, bold in our request for help, and trusting that his plan for us is best.

David faced attempts on his life, betrayal by someone he loved, death of loved ones, and other tragedies. His confidence in God was not naive, but filled with child-like faith in God’s goodness and sovereignty.

He expressed his love for God with words, celebration, rejoicing, singing, shouting, and dancing. I like that! When was the last time you danced with joy because of what God has done for you?

Choose one of those ways of expression that is out of your comfort zone and try it for a week. God inhabits the praise of his people (Psalm 22:3), so whether you say or sing words of praise, shout or dance, God is right in the middle of your celebration.

“When Jesus was asked what the bottom line of life was all about, he said it was about being totally preoccupied, literally obsessed, with loving God, and loving others (spouses, children, neighbors, even enemies)–this is how we have our needs met, transcend our self-absorbed whining, and find salve for our self-inflicted wounds and even for those inflicted upon us by a world full of fellow sinners.

“It is in loving God and others that we are transformed and changed. It is in valuing God as most valuable, above all other competing goods and gods, that we are satisfied.” (Sam. R. Williams)

We were made to celebrate! “Shake your heart loose. Let your body lead the way.” (Jason Gray)

AS YOU PRAY:

* Say, “I love you Lord.”
* Thank God for one or two specific ways he has helped you.
* Ask God to fill your heart to overflowing with his joy.

 

Copyright (c) 2017 Brenda Branson