Praising Him for our Enemies?
Verse 1 “They have greatly oppressed me from my youth,” let Israel say;
As we start a new song of ascent we take a bit of a turn in the topic of praise. While heading to worship we need to praise God for His deliverance from our enemies.
God’s chosen people had seen their share of enemies over the years. They had moved into the Promised Land but had not obeyed God in obliterating the people who were already there. The people of the land were not godly people. God knew that if His people didn’t obey Him by removing those who were already there, that His people would leave worshiping Him alone to worship the other peoples’ gods.
When a tribe obeyed, God came through and removed the enemy people. When they disobeyed, God allowed the other people to stay, sometimes even using them to challenge His people so that they would turn back to God. In the end the enemy would be dealt with but there were always other enemies that took their place.
This song of preparation is a reminder to the people of times when the enemy caused them problems and gave them opportunity to think about the various ways that God had delivered them or taught them through it. In remembering the ways God had rescued them, they would have seen the power He held and could praise Him for it. This would remind them of who He is, God of the universe.
The reminder of the lessons learned may not have been as pleasant to remember. There could be regret over the sins of their past. There could also be memories of loved ones that had died because of the sins of the people. Maybe men that died in battles that were lost due to not obeying God’s direction. Maybe there were thoughts of diseases suffered because of choices that had been made. And yet, through it all, there were reasons to praise Him for His bringing them through those times.
There may be songs that we sing in worship that bring up memories – good and bad – for us. In each case we should be able to do what the Israelites did and praise God for His working through the issue. We serve a mighty God!
Making It Personal
When is a time that you are reminded of that God showed up in a mighty way? How about a time where He disciplined you? What are you going to praise Him for today?
Making It Personal Kids
What is something that Jesus has done for you that amazed you? Has He ever had to show you where you are not obeying Him? What can you praise Him about today?
Father, thank You for the various ways You care for us. Thank You also for Your discipline. Help us to grow to be all that You want us to be. In Jesus’ name, amen.