“Ascribe strength to God; His excellence is over Israel, and His strength is in the clouds. O God, You are more awesome than Your holy places. The God of Israel is He who gives strength and power to His people. Blessed be God!” Psalm 68:34–35
Psalm sixty-eight celebrates God’s goodness and greatness as demonstrated by his mighty acts which he performed for the nation of Israel. Throughout the psalm David alternates between metaphorical references to various times in Israel’s history when God has intervened and strengthened Israel to throw off her enemies, or personally stepped in to defeat them himself, and generally praising God for his strength and righteousness.
What struck me as I was reading this psalm was that David was well aware of God’s history with Israel. David knew the stories of God’s mighty acts and loving kindnesses, and could name the places in which God’s acts of salvation had occurred. These wonders, performed by God, we’re the subject of David’s rejoicing and praise to God.
Many of the psalms contain references to God’s interventions on Israel’s behalf. David doesn’t limit his praises to God to the things he’s done recently or personally for him. God is just as worthy to be praised for the things he’s done in the past as he is the present.
But do we know what God has done for his people? Increasingly the world is becoming more and more ignorant of the things God’s done as recorded in scripture, and I find that even church members, especially the youth, are among these biblically uninformed.
God hasn’t stopped working for his people since the last book was written nearly two thousand years ago. He’s done great things for his people in the recent past but we’re equally ignorant of these providences notwithstanding the fact that they’re a part of our personal and corporate story.
Nearly every Sabbath I witness church members struggling to find even one thing for which they can praise God. Friends, learn your biblical and church history and you will find great and amazing things to praise God for. It doesn’t matter that it happened fifty, or one hundred, or one thousand or three thousands years ago. God’s works for mankind in this world are works for our salvation and he deserves to be praised for them today.
There’s no reason that we should have to sit silent with nothing to say. And even if we’re silent, allowing others more comfortable with public speaking to speak what’s on their hearts, our hearts should still be filled with God’s praises.
O God, too often our ignorance has kept us silent and you short changed in our worship. Open our eyes to what you’re doing for us today, remind us of what you’ve done for us in the past, and educate us about your history of working for your people. We need to be strengthened by our knowledge of all you do and you deserve praise for all you’ve done.