BUV Reorientation Devotion
Part 3: The Greatness of God
by Rev Dr Bill Brown
What things do you find yourself doing on repeat in your life? What phrases frequently come from your mouth? If people were invited to identify your most frequently used expressions, what would they say?
What comes out of the mouths of children has been more often caught than taught. Recently, while driving with our 4-year-old grandson, Teddy, out of the blue he said, ‘Hey grandpa, ‘What the dickens!’’. I responded with, ‘What did you say?’. He repeated it. Then he mentioned that that’s what his dad says sometimes. When we got home, I mentioned it to his dad. He said that he learned it from me. Then I remembered that I learned it from my dad. ‘What the dickens!’ is an exclamation sometimes expressing astonishment at something awesome, sometimes frustration, or sometimes a prompt to reorient something.
In Psalm 145, King David provides us with an acrostic poem or song, each verse starting with a successive letter of the Hebrew alphabet and every verse a sentence of praise of God. The Psalm celebrates the kingly, grace filled rule of God, over people and over creation. Imagine an Israelite child or young person growing up and learning this Psalm, and all it reveals, as they listen to their parents and grandparents singing it.
In the first verse of Psalm 145 David, arguably the world’s greatest king at that time, addresses God as ‘my God the King’. In verse 3 he continues with ‘Great is the Lord and most worthy of praise; his greatness no-one can fathom.’
Let me encourage you to read the Psalm slowly and expressively a couple of times. Soak in it and let it soak into you. Linger with each verse. See if your heart overflows with something like ‘How great Thou art!’
In verses 1-7 David declares two important commitments that are vital to the orientation of David’s life … and that of the next generation:
1. To praise God every day for ever and ever both as part of worship but also as part of conversation. No day must pass, whether busy or restful, happy or sad, positive or not so, without praising God who is great beyond anyone’s comprehension and anyone’s mess. The wonderful works listed are God acting to save, rescue, restore, set things right, and work in any and every situation to bring good out of it, to teach us something new, to infuse hope or chart the future. Focussing on the attributes and works of God better positions us to respond appropriately to whatever life dishes up to us. The bigger our picture of God the more manageable the challenges and greater the resources to embrace the opportunities of life.
2. To tell succeeding generations the stories of God at work. Meditating on and speaking wisely and appropriately about God’s wonderful works builds faith and prompts further praise.
When we meditate on, speak out or sing out the truth about our Great God, there is …
- a person engaged or re-engaged. Not only do we honour God, but we also engage with the Creator, the God who sent Jesus to live, love, teach, heal, die, and rise from the dead. Jesus is the one who invites us to walk with him through each day,
- a perspective that is recalibrated. We see things from a different vantage point. What seems insurmountable becomes doable, what causes anxiety is counterbalanced with God’s peace guarding our hearts and minds, deep sadness can welcome the comfort and companionship of the one who walks with us through even the darkest valley.
- a power that is released. Declaring who God is and what God has done puts a person’s faith on repeat. Doing this every day helps us live well, navigate challenges with bucket loads of wisdom and embrace opportunities with a wealth of resources.
- a pattern or template is provided and passed on to succeeding generations. Are you modelling what you want caught? Would your kids, grandkids, work colleagues, sporting mates or those you hang out with identify your conversation being full of thanks or moaning? Is there appreciation for God’s provision and willingness to act for people in need or more about what’s wrong in the world? Do they hear your expressions of trusting God to bring good out of challenges or hear you griping about what has happened?
Will you make a commitment to put praise of our Great God on repeat every day from now into eternity?
Like David, take every letter of the alphabet of your first language and write a word or a sentence about who Great God is, why God is great, why God is deserving of praise, or to declare what God has done. Then share it with someone. Not only is this a great personal exercise but also, as you share it with another, an encouraging, faith building exercise.
BUV Pastoral Coach
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