The first words off the page grabbed me, so after I finished reading the Psalm, I returned to verse 1. I will praise you, LORD, with all my heart; before the “gods” I will sing your praise.
I find myself convicted by this Psalmists’ praise.
What first popped into my mind were times that I didn’t stand and praise God in the presence of other ‘gods’. And this was not as if Baal or some other false religious god was being lifted higher than the Lord. No, what came to mind were times when cultural ‘gods’ were being extoled and I didn’t speak of the Lord and the counter-truths He decrees.
After the guilt subsided, and frankly some of it was false guilt because I had confessed these moments of weakness, I found my spirit soaring as this verse called me to higher places. I found myself saying, ‘Yes, I can be like the Psalmist. I can stand for the Lord before gods of this world.
My culture says personhood doesn’t begin until the moment of physical birth, so a person can legally get an abortion up to the moment before birth. UUUggghhh. I am not a ‘stand outside abortion providers and shout ugly epithets at people’ kind of person. But the next time abortion comes up in a conversation I can clearly articulate my position and stand on the side of life. That also means caring for women who find themselves in the vulnerable position of pregnancy without support and caring for women and children in difficult situations after the child is born.
My culture is also torn by race and ethnicity issues. Will I stand with the Lord and on behalf of care and dignity for all people no matter the race or nationality? I can.
I am reminded of two faith heroes, William Wilberforce and Mother Teresa. Both of these people stood with the Lord against gods of their day. Wilberforce stood and labored against the slave trade and Mother Teresa stood with the dying and discarded of Calcutta.
Sometimes praising the Lord in the face of other gods means standing against (Wilberforce) and sometimes it means standing with (Mother Teresa)…
Oh, Lord, I pray for strength to praise you in the face of false gods and that I know when praising You calls me to stand against and when it calls me to stand with.
Teach me Your ways, Oh Lord, my God. In the name of the one Lord of earth and sky, Jesus. Amen.