As for me, I shall always have hope; I will praise you more and more. My mouth will tell of your righteous deeds, of your saving acts all day long – though I know not how to relate them all. Psalm 71:14-15
Psalm 71 is an individual lament, a cry to God for protection and deliverance from enemies. The psalmist has a sure and certain hope in God – He is the rock, the refuge and the one who saves. God’s righteousness and total faithfulness are the grounds for hope. The psalmist leaves to God the timing of the answers to his prayers for deliverance. He is already praising God in anticipation of this deliverance!
What and example to us! How easily we can be distracted and dismayed when things are hard and we feels surrounded or overwhelmed. At times like these we can lift our eyes to God and praise him more and more in the sure hope of his ever-present grace. How much more joyful and fruitful the times of hardship could be…
Lord, thank you that your grace is more than enough for my every need today – please lift up my head if I start to look down. Help me and sustain me today – I will praise you because I know you will deliver me.
“If this be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of your hand, O king. But if not, be it known to you, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up.” Daniel 3:17-18
Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego have refused to comply with king Nebuchadnezzar’s edict that all people should bow to worship his golden idol whenever the music plays. These three men demonstrate their faith in God’s omnipotence – his ability to deliver them from the seemingly impossible. And God can do this. But even more significantly, they demonstrate their understanding of God’s will. God can rescue them. But he might not, and in this case, he is still God and he is still good. Such is their confidence in God, they know that if he allows them to perish, this will simply be the method of their deliverance to be in God’s presence. The apostle Paul voiced this same freedom:
For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain. Phil 1:21
If we find ourselves only ever praying that God’s desires would line up with our own, then we are not really honouring him as God. What is your “But if not…” today?