I find it very easy for my mind to slip through this Psalm without it stopping at any connecting points. As I skim down the passage my brain takes in the big concepts with almost too much ease. It is too simple to let the incredible statements pass me by, familiarity breading a sense of knowing it all and therefore not being surprised or encouraged or rebuked or more by what is going on in the Psalm. I think there is also another, deeper, reason for this Psalm skimming over the surface of my head. A darker reason lurks. I think it’s because this Psalm isn’t really about me.
I don’t know what you are like when someone else gets praised in your life. I imagine you are ok with that, that you think, ‘ah yes, that person was very deserving of praise, I’ll join in the thankful fest’, I imagine you are a better person than I. Just in case you are swimming along down here in the murk with me, I have a confession to make. I’m really not that cool with other people being praised most of the time. I want the glory, I want the limelight. I want to be noticed, I want to be adored. I want people to notice me. Not all the time, thankfully sometimes I have known the all too fleeting joy of celebrating in others success. But lets face it, on the everyday level I’m pretty much a glory hogger. If someone is going to praise someone I’d like it to be me. If someone starts a prayer saying thank you for…. I’d even like the end of that sentence to be me, I get a bit disappointed when the answer is someone else or something that God has done. Urgh. That’s how deep and icky my pride can get.
That’s why it’s hard to break the surface of this Psalm and get on the praise bandwagon. This Psalm is about God, the one whose works are great, who is described with big words like majestic and glorious, words that conjure up images of vast cathedrals, awesome natural sights, Grand Canyon upon Grand Canyon of wonder. This Psalm is firstly about the one who set this world going and who remains working in it today. It’s all about Him. The rather strange thing is that we are involved in this Psalm, this God isn’t an abstract wonder, His wonder has a focus. He’s a deeply personal God. He’s a God of compassion, a God of provision, a God of grace, a God who helps us remember who he is, a God who buys his people back from slavery, a God who doesn’t forget us and who wants to help us walk with him through this life.
I sometimes wonder if I shoot myself in the foot, if I’m so concerned about living for my glory that I forget to bask in the wonder of the One who is really glorious. If I miss the wonder of the One who knows that my best is found in Him because I want to claim I’ve made some of it happen. I’d love to be able to charm myself into the kingdom, be clever enough to earn such love and grace, be pretty enough to make someone fall in love with me. The truth is I can’t, and the brilliantly freeing thing is that I can’t. I am a recipient of mercy and grace, I can stand tall today and everyday because of that, because the One who has done great works knows about my pride, my desire to make everything about me and he gently comes and raises my head to see something so much bigger and better, I am caught up in His eternal purposes. I can know wisdom as I once more stand in awe of the King of kings, as I fear Him. I might not be able to claim any of the credit but I can take my place as the daughter of the King. It’s a bit like my Dad and his tunnel, a great work, a work that I can take no credit for, done by someone else, I have no part in it, and yet I do, because I am his daughter, I know the one responsible, and I am known by him. I can delight in others seeing what a great work has been done. I can be free from any worry over why I’m not being praised in the light of something so much better.
How do you react when others are praised?
What aspects of Gods character bowl you over in this Psalm?
How does it feel that you are a son/daughter of the King of kings and always have a place at his table?
END NOTE: As I was reading through this again I realised I love these kind of posts because there are 2 people working on them, I love that Jason’s drawings are awesome and give depth to the text and I love that when people comment about these Psalm posts in appreciation that it’s shared, it’s not an ego trip but a combined effort to bring to life the Psalms. I love it when people comment on how much they love his drawings and I can join in on that… Oh for more of that kind of appreciation of each others gifts and talents going on in our lives. As The Message puts Romans 12:
“So since we find ourselves fashioned into all these excellently formed and marvelously functioning parts in Christ’s body, let’s just go ahead and be what we were made to be, without enviously or pridefully comparing ourselves with each other, or trying to be something we aren’t.”