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Devotion for Oct. 3, 2009


Musician Israel Houghton has a passion for worship that is visible throughout his work as a church worship leader and Grammy Award-winning recording artist. He recently told an interviewer: "I believe I am existing in this generation to help the church worldwide see that we don't have to wall ourselves off and say, 'This is how we do it, so we're just going to do it like this.' Worship is not for us. It's not about, 'What can I get out of this moment?' It's about offering. It's about sacrifice." His recent album, The Power of One, clearly shows this vision, including the idea that worshiping God goes hand in hand with seeking justice and caring for people.

Giving glory to God is often accomplished in music. Psalms like Psalm 69 might start with questions, complaints, or cries for help, but they always end with praise, expressions of faith, and descriptions of God's greatness. Very often these are framed as praise for acts of God not yet done, but treated as if they were already accomplished. That's exactly the sort of thing going on in today's reading, providing the rich background for David's declaration: "I will praise God's name in song and glorify him with thanksgiving" (v. 30).

We see here at least four results from a God-glorifying attitude of faith and praise. First, God is pleased (v. 31). It might have been possible for the Israelites to offer insincere animal sacrifices, but insincere praise is a contradiction in terms. True praise comes from our hearts and gladdens the heart of God. Second, the poor are encouraged (v. 32). The word "poor" here means spiritually needy——and we are all spiritually needy! What makes us glad, or, what do we "see"? God's deliverance and people's praise. Third, prayers are answered (vv. 33, 35-36). God faithfully hears and responds to our petitions and intercessions. Fourth and finally, nature joins in with our praise (v. 34). The entire earth is waiting to be called to worship!

Apply the Word

What are your favorite hymns and songs of praise? Perhaps some were sung in your church last Sunday; perhaps some are playing on your CD player right now. No doubt the words of these songs, like David's, are filled with affirmations of our neediness and God's greatness. No doubt the music of these songs lifts up our hearts to our loving "Abba" and strengthens our faith. As your heart joins in with the spirit and truth of the words and music in these songs, God is pleased and glorified.

BY Brad Baurain

Dr. Brad Baurain has worked as a writer and editor for Today in the Word since 1993. Currently, he serves as associate professor and TESOL program head at Moody Bible Institute. Brad has the unique privilege of holding a degree from four different universities (including Moody). He has also taught in China, Vietnam, the United States, and Canada. Brad and his wife, Julia, have four children and reside in Munster, Indiana.

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