Excellent or Praiseworthy is posted on Monday and Thursday nights.
Great is the LORD and most worthy of praise; his greatness no one can fathom. One generation will commend your works to another; they will tell of your mighty acts. — Psalm 145:3,4
It was a dark and stormy night—it really was. The phone rang late . . . not totally unexpected. One of our military couples, active duty and not co-located, was struggling big time. My husband and I had already been through marriage helps with them, but this night what I heard from her was outright fear and hopelessness—a spiritual attack. I grabbed my Bible and headed out the door to spend some time with this dear wife whose husband is stationed on the other side of the country.
So moments later, on our knees, we sought truth from God’s word. Specifically we turned to Psalm 145. Psalm 145 reflects David’s awe of God, and awe of God is central to our faith.
Psalm 145 is my favorite “Go-To” psalm when fighting spiritual warfare. Maybe you have a favorite, too. Through the years military wives and I have done battle against fear with these twenty-one verses from David.
I had her read out loud verses 1 through 7:
I will exalt you, my God the King;
I will praise your name for ever and ever.
Every day I will praise you and extol your name for ever and ever.
Great is the LORD and most worthy of praise;
His greatness no one can fathom.
One generation will commend your works to another;
They will tell of your mighty acts.
They will speak of the glorious splendor of your majesty,
And I will meditate on your wonderful works.
They will tell of the power of your awesome works,
And I will proclaim your great deeds.
They will celebrate your abundant goodness and joyfully sing of your righteousness.
I asked her, “What do those verses say to you?” She replied, “That God is in control. That He is in charge.” I asked her if she could tell me about how God had been faithful in her life in years past. She could, and she did.
Then I continued, reading verses 8-13:
The LORD is gracious and compassionate,
Slow to anger and rich in love.
The LORD is good to all;
He has compassion on all he has made.
All you have made will praise you, O LORD;
Your saints will extol you.
They will tell of the glory of your kingdom and speak of your might,
So that all men may know of your mighty acts and the glorious splendor of your kingdom.
Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom,
And your dominion endures through all generations.
The LORD is faithful to all his promises and loving toward all he has made.
Next I asked, “What does this mean to you?” “God loves me!” she spoke quietly, with tears.
I had her read verses 14-19:
The LORD upholds all those who fall and lifts up all who are bowed down.
The eyes of all look to you,
And you give them their food at the proper time.
You open your hand and satisfy the desires of every living thing.
The LORD is righteous in all his ways and loving toward all he has made.
The LORD is near to all who call on him,
To all who call on him in truth.
Once again, we paused and I asked, “What about these verses—what do they say to you?”
She whispered, “God is listening and He cares! If He can take care of the universe, He can take care of me. I have some hope.”
I finished reading Psalm 145 with verses 20 and 21:
The LORD watches over all who love him,
But all the wicked he will destroy.
My mouth will speak in praise of the LORD.
Let every creature praise his holy name for ever and ever.
Then I prayed. Moments later she prayed—from deep within her heart. I was impressed by her sincere love for the Lord.
We talked for a while, about “next steps” regarding her circumstances. We talked about how she knew God was going to guide her.
Then we read Psalm 145 again . . . sharing the verses again. This was important. Not only did I want her to be able to sleep before she went on duty in six hours, but I wanted her to have peace.
And before I left, we prayed again.
I checked on my friend the next day. She did sleep . . . and she was planning on calling her husband that night to talk over some of the things we had shared. God was giving her peace.
That is what happens when two Christians gather under the umbrella of God’s protection—and whose hearts are open to be in awe of Him.
Paul David Tripp calls Psalm 145 “one of the Bible’s awe passages”, and describes what awe of God functionally looks like in our Christian lives: “Awe of God should be the reason I do what I do with my thoughts. It should be the reason I desire what I desire. Awe of God should be the reason I treat my wife the way I do and parent my children in the manner I do. It should be the reason I function the way I do at my job or handle my finances the way I do. It should structure the way I think about physical possession and personal position and power. Awe of God should shape and motivate my relationship with my extended family and neighbors. Awe of God should give direction to the way I live as a citizen of the wider community. It should form the way that I think about myself and my expectations of others. Awe of God should lift me out of my darkest moments of discouragement and be the source of my most exuberant celebrations. Awe of God should make me more self-aware and more mournful of my sin while it makes me more patient with and tender toward the weakness of others. It should give me courage I would have no other way and wisdom to know when I am out of my league. Awe of God is meant to rule every domain of my existence.” from Dangerous Calling by Paul David Tripp, p. 117
Humbled by the glory of God, desperate for His grace, and confident in His sovereignty in her life, my friend rested after we worshiped that night. The circumstances of her life have not changed dramatically, but she knows she can go to Her Savior, Jesus Christ, in the stillness of any hour, and seek His comfort.
What an Awesome Lord we serve!
Tripp, Paul David, Dangerous Calling: Confronting the Unique Challenges of Pastoral Ministry (Wheaton: Crossway, 2012)
Questions to Share:
1. If you have ever been fearful in the dark of night by circumstances which seem to be out of control, how would the words of Psalm 145 calm your fears?
2. Pray for each other that you would turn to the Lord in times of discouragement.