Before God and Kings, a Psalm of David
“I will praise you, Lord, with all my heart;
before the “gods” I will sing your praise.
I will bow down toward your holy temple
and will praise your name
for your unfailing love and your faithfulness,
for you have so exalted your solemn decree
that it surpasses your fame.
When I called, you answered me;
you greatly emboldened me.”
May all the kings of the earth praise you, Lord,
when they hear what you have decreed.
— Psalm 138:1-4 (NIV)
Whether distant from or near to the temple, the cry of King David’s heart was worship. His heart was filled with thanksgiving. His knees bowed down toward God’s holy temple. The moment he called out to God, God answered him. What David says in verse one struck me, “I will praise You before the gods.”
Gods, little “g,” are everywhere.
Even in David’s day there were gods being hocked in the city market place. The hocking still goes on today in the form of all that “Oscar” stands for — you know, the golden statue that all in Hollywood covet and all in America bow down to every year.
Anything lifted higher than God becomes an idol. We can idolize wealth, trucks, position, power, children, athletes, actors and the list goes on.
As with any god, the things we idolize are the very things we are subservient to. Without realizing it, we work for, strive for, give homage to and spend money on what we idolize.
Don’t get me wrong, children are a gift from God, nice trucks are fun to drive and play with, athletics can help form and shape our character, but when any of these steal our time and affection from the true God, then God becomes less and things become more.
As I read this Psalm, I got the sense that David lifted his hands in defiance of the would-be Oscars of his day and worshipped his God, the only true God.
It is as if David says to the gods of this world, “I will lift my hands so that you may know I don’t worship you, I worship my Creator and one true God.”
How is it that we show the gods of this world they don’t hold sway over our heart and mind?
Maybe, in the face of all that is popular and all that is trending, we lift our hands in defiance of the gildings in this world and, with voices raised in praise tell the world there is but one God we worship; there is but one God we serve.
Today, take note of the gods you see all around you, check your motivations, and as you do, direct your gaze and your worship heavenward.
Bow down to no other. Worship God alone and He will hear your prayers, heal your life and guide your steps and the world will respect and know who you serve.
The Rev. Tim Johnson is senior pastor of New Joy Foursquare Church, 3 S. Colville. Contact him at 509-525-0733. The church’s website is www.newjoychurch.org. Pastors in the U-B circulation area who want to write a column should contact Catherine Hicks at 509-526-8312, or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.