LEARNING, THEN PRAISING
I will praise you with an upright heart, when I learn your righteous rules. Psalm 119:7
Children who master a new skill are constantly saying, “Mommy, Daddy, look at me!” As a grownup, I can still be childish and crave attention when I’ve learned something new.
Even when I learn a spiritual skill, I am still tempted. Pastors can think, “I held everyone spellbound during my sermon.” Seminary students can boast to each other, “I finally get the concept of predestination. I wrote a five page paper on it and got an A.” Any child of God seeking to be more disciplined can boast at the end of the year, “Yup, I read through the entire bible this year!” Each announcement can easily lack praise for the One who really deserves it. I can steal God’s glory and that should not to be taken lightly.
David knew that God was His instructor. He said so. “Lord, You have made me wiser than all my instructors because You have been my teacher.” He is resolved to remember who the credit belongs to ~ every time he is able to understand a new kingdom principle. When enlightenment comes about God’s instructions, he instantly turns around to praise God for being gracious to enlighten him.
Does this seem like nit-picking? I guess it might at first glance. But for any of us who spend our life voraciously exploring the scriptures, for any of us who spend considerable time reading Christian classics, there can be a kind of pride that develops. It’s easy to forget who it is that opened our eyes to truth so we could see, who took the veil off of our souls so there could be understanding. If we see God’s glory and believe, it is because God enabled it. We are blind, poor sheep without a touch of God’s grace.
Some of God’s children are wise, just rich in heavenly concepts. Perhaps you know one or two. We can look up to them and praise their godliness. Yet, that would be a mistake in and of itself. The one who made them wise was a sovereign God who orchestrated their lives with enough heartache so that they would seek Him. The pain of their lives facilitated brokenness, and in their brokenness, God became the center of their attention. He touched their eyes and made them see, touched their ears so they could hear His voice, and touched their hearts so they could perceive spiritual realities. Without His touch, everything would seem like pure foolishness. If their faith is stellar, it is because they sought God and He was faithful.
If I know anything, I praise You. If my gifts are kingdom worthy, I praise You for making them so. For whatever I have yet to learn, I come to You and cry out for Your grace. Let me see You. Be my teacher. I will praise You all the days of my life. Amen