Wednesday, March 10

Praising God With Other Believers

"Come and hear, all you who fear God, and I will tell you what he has done for my soul." -Psalm 66:16 

This verse falls into the category of, "I know I've read this a thousand times, but . . ." I love God's Word for this if for no other reason! (There are numerous other reasons!!) But another hindrance to "seeing" this verse is that it sits near the well-known verse 18, "If I had cherished iniquity in my heart, the Lord would not have listened." OK, so what about verse 16?

Several features jump out in the psalmist's experience as revealed in these words: 

First--See that it is by INVITATION that David acquires an audience, "Come and hear." He is saying, "I have something to say, but I want you to hear it first-hand. It's good for us to take in what God has done for other believers, to hear it with our own ears. That affirms the truth being shared. How often in our growing up years did we validate another's comments to a skeptical third party by using the words, "But I was there; I heard it with my own ears!" But this goes even beyond that. We are to HEAR as well. It's one thing to be in ear-shot of a word from God, it's quite another to truly listen closely . . . to hear with interest, to hear with desire, to hear with the heart. "Come and hear." Do both. Show up, yes. But do more than that. LISTEN. Really listen.

Second, notice the QUALIFICATION he states in order to narrow down his listener base, viz., "all you who fear God." Other Scriptures give no such qualification; they aim to let the world in on God's marvelous deeds. "May God be gracious to us and bless us and make his face to shine upon us, that your way may be known on earth . . ." (Psalm 67:1-2a). But there are times when it is appropriate not to include the outside world, when only those with Holy Spirit unction have the heart to take in our testimonies of grace. "The humble will hear of it and be glad" (Psalm 34:2). "Those who fear you shall see me and rejoice" (Psalm 119:74). Our friends want to know the good God has done, and how we have reacted and grown through it. I have often told the church that I love to hear what God has done in the lives of his saints! And it doesn't have to be the stuff of which novels are made to qualify! Oh, no! God most certainly does marvelous things and often in small ways. I know he is great. But it's wonderful to hear God's people laud the Lord in word. Do you enjoy how God has blessed others? Does it excite your heart to experience the workings of grace accomplished in other people's lives?

Third, There is the SUBSTANCE of David's exultant heart, "what [God] has done for my soul." This goes beyond what we normally share with one another doesn't it? We often share health blessings-how the doctor has given us a "clean bill of health," or how the meds are working better, or how we were spared in an accident? And who doesn't want to join with a brother or sister who's recently found a good job, or paid off a pesky debt, or who's child was accepted into college? These and numerous other blessings are ours to have and to share, and that with gusto! Yes! But the Psalmist is here extending an invitation to get closer than that, namely, to hear what "God has done for my SOUL." How do we do this? The physical world is tangible. We see a newborn cooing, and can celebrate that. We are happy for those who got a newer car after the other one died! We see these things, things we can touch. But what of the soul? Anyone share these things with you lately? How the Word of God has come to life in their reading in wonderful ways? How God has been prompting them to prayer and they have been enjoying God's presence in that quiet place? How material possessions just don't seem to have the attraction to them that they used to? How they love being in Bible study, or worshiping in church, or coming and enjoying the family of God in church prayer meeting? Soul-sharing delights when the Spirit brings victory over besetting sins, and gives light where there had been a muddy sort of dullness. These I say are "soul" issues. Oh, those who fear God love to hear that others are finding Christ more delightful due to recent afflictions. This glorifies our Lord Jesus Christ. And this is the goal of the one sharing, not their own pride! They are humbled by God's gifts, and are anxious to share them with others!

When was the last time you did this? Could you be part of the inner group of friends drawn in to hear what God has done for someone else's soul? Be that person and while you're at it, from time to time be the one doing the inviting. Right?

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