This is part of a syndicated series for Lent 2019 with Harvard’s Christian Journal Ichthus. Visit Ichthus at http://www.harvardichthus.org
By Sam Oh ’20. Sam is a senior in Quincy studying Philosophy and Computer Science.
“How precious is your steadfast love, O God!” – Psalm 36:5-11
Some of the most joyous moments in my life are the moments when two of my close friends finally meet each other in person. By the time the two meet, they usually already have a good sense of who the other person is based on weeks and weeks of hearing my praise of the other. I can’t help but tell the one about the kindness and humility of the other, or the compassion and steadfastness of the first. I know each of these friends well, and find that I appreciate their character and nature even more when I am verbally sharing their praises with others. Through these spoken praises, both sides build up anticipation to finally meet the other. And, by the time they finally meet, both have a sense of the important characteristics of the other, having heard the earlier praises.
Psalm 36 is primarily a descriptive psalm of praise. The author is singing the praises of His God, declaring the praiseworthy characteristics of the God He worships. From these verses we learn of His steadfast love, His faithfulness, his righteousness and justice, his role as a provider, as a fountain of life, and as a protector. The author of this Psalm not only knew these characteristics of God in his mind, but he had also experienced it in his life and known these truths in his heart such that he was compelled to sing God’s praises.
One of the most important endeavors in our spiritual journey is to pursue an understanding of a God too holy for our full understanding. To constantly learn more and more about the character and nature of our God, and to experience the truth of who He is. As Tozer simply puts it, “What comes into our minds when we think about God is the most important thing about us.” All of our identity and worth comes from our idea of who God is and what kind of God He is. It is ever more important in this day and age full of distractions and sensory overload for each of us to focus our minds on who He is. From there, the praise will overflow.
In this season of Lent, let us remember to declare the greatness of God. In the good times, let us not forget His promises and His character. In the difficult times, let us rely on those unchanging truths. Let us challenge ourselves to speak these truths out regularly, not keeping them stored up in our minds. The tongue has the power to build up or destroy, so let us use this power to speak these truths over our lives.