Psalm 34:1

verse 1: I will bless the LORD at all times; His praise shall continually be in my mouth. 

First off, what did David mean when he said he would bless the Lord?  The word here for bless is “barak” in the Hebrew, and appears 331 times in the Old Testament; it translates both as “to bless” and “to kneel.”  The majority of the times it appears in context of the Lord blessing man, He correlates it with sending children to a family (see the blessings God spoke over Adam and Eve, Noah, and Abraham).  God defined blessing in these contexts with increase and multiplication.  In the same way, when we bless the Lord, He becomes greater in our lives.  We begin to focus on Him rather than our circumstances.  We see Him as greater than the trials immediately in front of us.

Is it possible to focus all of our energy to always magnify God in our lives?  The phrase “at all times” here means “experience” or “time of an event.”  In other words, David is saying here that when an experience/event arises that may seem to be detrimental, his choice will always be to magnify God over the situation.

“His praise” more closely means “songs of praise.”  God dwells in the praises of His people.  When we praise in all situations, at all times, in all circumstances, we continually make a place for His Spirit to rest and to settle on us.  And ultimately, this is the goal of our lives; we are to “waste” our lives on creating a habitation–a “garden enclosed,” if you will–for the Lord to dwell.  The end-point of all of time is on the final pages of Revelation, when God the Father moves His entire throne room to live on the earth with us.  Do we truly understand the honor He’s giving to us?  The God who transcends time, who lives beyond all galaxies holding the span of heaven in the cup of His hand, is actively preparing to live here on our tiny planet–why?  Because of love. 

When we begin to get a glimpse of the love that has laid down all for us, it is impossible not to praise Him at all times.  What terror can circumstances hold for us when compared to a God who knows how many hairs are on our heads?  That’s more intimate than the most intimate earthly relationship could ever aspire to be.

Of the thousands of words that come out of our mouths, how many can we say come out as thanksgiving and praise?  Do we seek to thank God for all things, on all occasions, in all circumstances?  Or do we waste our words and our time complaining, worrying, and doubting His desire to fellowship with us and work all things for our good?

I’m not a “name-it-and-claim-it” believer.  I don’t ascribe to the prosperity message that is so prevelant in much of mainstream ministry today.  Hard times have come and will continue to come.  It will continue to “rain on the just and the unjust.”  God will continue to test our faith with trials-by-fire.  We don’t bless Him conditionally, based on His provision for us.  We bless despite our pain–we bless through our pain, because circumstances work in us an eternal weight of glory, and we will be revealed as children of the Most High.

verse 2–>

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