June 15, 2011 Devotion Sharing

Submitted by Lem Maghamil, Gracepoint San Diego

Psalm 8:1-2

How is God’s majesty and glory displayed in all the earth? God’s majesty is displayed in all the earth through the beauty of nature and the ordering of the universe.  When we see the milky way on a clear night or take hikes through the majestic sites in Yosemite we are in awe.  We appreciate the beauty and variety of nature and we consider who created it all.  In the hustle and bustle of our man made lives through offices, public transportation and traffic we don’t pause to think about God’s amazing creation.  Being in God’s nature we are humbled.  When we are dwarfed by El Capitan or staring into the night sky with stars scattered like jewels we remember that we are small small creatures in a vast universe.  In San Diego, Daniel, gave a talk on evidence for God in the universe.  He went through the argument of fine tuning and how the constants of the universe are held in razor sharp balance with an infinitely small margin for error.  The galaxies at a macro level and atoms at a micro level are held in perfect balance so that we may enjoy life.  In that context we see how incredible it is that God who created the vast universe would care for each of us so personally.  The Psalmist says in v.4, “what is man that you are mindful of him, the son of man that you care for him?”  This is the exact sentiment I felt when I first experienced God’s glory in nature.  Growing up, my parents would do their best to take us on day trips to visit places in the Bay Area but I never went camping until I came to our church.  I remember my first trip to Yosemite with our Davis church and simply feeling amazed at the beauty of the park.  Standing at the top of Vernal falls I experienced the Psalmist’s sentiments.  When I considered the work of God’s fingers and the heavens he set in place I was humbled and I wanted to know this God.  That is why I love taking students to places like Yosemite and other national parks.  For many of our students this is the first time they have hiked, camped and fellowshipped around a campfire.  I love seeing the look in their eyes as they experience the beauty and majesty of God’ glory and it take their breath away.  I know things are happening inside that are reshaping their understanding of God’s universe and their place in it.  Though I prided myself in being a tough guy when I first came to our church as I considered God’s creation my heart was bubbling with words of praise that I tried to suppress but spewed out of me.  I can see it happening in the students I am with as I hear them say “Wow” and “So Cool!”  I smile because I know from the lips of infants and children God has ordained praise. It’s the only proper response when faced with God’s glory and majesty in nature.  Their hearts are being rewired to give proper praise to God which is a foreshadowing of the day they will see God face to face.

How does praising God “silence the foe and the avenger?” Praising God silences the foe and the avenger because when we praise God we are shifting our focus unto God where it belongs. When I think of the foe and the avenger, I think about the greatest enemy we have and that is Satan.  Satan’s tactic is to misalign our priorities and get us to praise ourselves and the things of this world rather than God.  He is a brilliant enemy because Satan doesn’t need to pull God out of the picture of our lives to destroy us.  He simply needs to bring down our prioritization of God a few notches and then we will experience the natural decay of our spiritual lives.  Praising God reverses that process of decay.  As we praise God we are affirming that He is the creator God, a loving God, the merciful one, our savior and lord, etc.  Praising God pulls the mist away from our lives and we are able to see our humble and broken state before a Holy God.  We recognize again that God is trustworthy to forgive us of our sins if we turn to Him (1 John 1:9).  Our intensity and commitment in praise defeats Satan’s schemes and silences the lies he uses to deceive us.

This section of verse makes greater sense in the context of ordained praise from the lips of children and infants that we read in the earlier part of v.2.  Various commentators note that the imagery of lip from infants praising God is meant to dramatically contrast the imagined strength of the foe and the avenger.  The lips of infants are used to take in nourishment and this is a picture of dependence on God.  The lips of infants praising God is one of children babbling or cooing.  It is another picture of vulnerability and weakness and yet God receives that as praise.  There is a direct contrast here between the weak that are dependent on God and praise Him versus the enemies of God who rebel in their own pride and strength.  Gerald H. Wilson’s, The NIV Application Commentary Psalms Vol. 1 states, “The recognition of one’s own weakness is the starting point for recognizing dependence on the strength of God.”  So the praise of God from even the weakest and most vulnerable of us silences our great enemy, Satan, because he knows we are depending on and drawing upon God’s infinite strength.  I have personally experienced this in my life.  In the desert experiences of my spiritual journey when Satan barrages me with lies and accusations I have turned to God in praise.  I thank God for my salvation and recommit to serving Him with greater commitment and fervor.  I praise Him for never giving up on me and shaping me into a man of faith.  I thank him for taking a purposeless sinner like me and giving me good work of eternal impact.  In those moments of praise the voice of Satan weakens and then is silenced.  In my weakness and vulnerability I praise God and draw upon His infinite power and majesty to silence the foe and the avenger.

 

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