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     20 “There is no one like you, O LORD, and there is no God but you, as we have heard with our own ears. 21 And who is like your people Israel–the one nation on earth whose God went out to redeem a people for himself, and to make a name for yourself, and to perform great and awesome wonders by driving out nations from before your people, whom you redeemed from Egypt? 22  You made your people Israel your very own forever, and you, O LORD, have become their God. 1 Chronicles 17:20-22 (NIV)

After giving God all the honor and praise for taking him from a lowly shepherd to a king, and for the blessings God promised to his descendants in the years to come, David continues to exalt the name of God. He continues his discussion with God with his thoughts concerning the Israelite people. He acknowledges that it was God who redeemed them as his own people, and it was God’s mighty deeds that made them great. It was God who made them his people, and they made him their God.

Here in the United States we have a history that is closely tied in with God. The first successful settlement was by the Pilgrims who left their homes so they could worship God as they pleased. Other Europeans had tried to establish colonies and failed. Our Constitution and Bill of Rights include references to God. The Christian influence in the early development of our country was strong in many areas.

Today a new breed of historians is trying to erase all evidence of God and Christianity from our history books. We also get bombarded daily with biased news on television and in our newspapers and other media. Movies and TV sitcoms systematically make Christians out to be bumbling idiots. I tremble for the day when God may remove his hand of protection from our country. If we could only, like David, openly acknowledge the hand of God in making our nation great, we might find answers to the issues that are tearing away at the foundations of our nation today.

Father God, help us to continually acknowledge your hand at work in everything we do, and to openly give you the praise. We praise you for your hand in making our country great, and beg you to work in mighty ways to restore the honor and dignity to our government that once made it strong. Work in the hearts and minds of our citizens to recognize the candidates that are able to serve our country best because they look to you for guidance.

Copyright © 2008 by Janice Green

Scripture quoted by permission. Quotations designated (NIV) are from THE HOLY BIBLE: NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Publishing House. All rights reserved.

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1 Chronicles 16:7-36 (Click on this link to read the passage. It is too long for me to copy into this post without breaking the Copyright law that governs its use.)

This passage is a psalm of David’s even though it is not in the book of Psalms. It is a song of thanksgiving and praise to God for all he has done for his people. The cause of this celebration of praise was the restoration of the arc of the Covenant to Jerusalem.

In this psalm David is thanking God for all of the wonder acts he performed on behalf of the Israelites. He is calling for the Israelites to rejoice and to glory in the name of God. He calls on them to remember the wonders and miracles God has performed as well as his righteous judgments against those who rebelled against him.

David remembers God’s faithfulness to his covenant even when the people were not faithful. He remembers God’s faithfulness to give the Promised Land to his people as an inheritance.

David recalls how God protected the Israelite nation as they wondered in the desert with no place to call home – yet. He then calls on the Israelites to sing God’s praises and to declare his glory to all nations.

David declares God’s sovereignty over all other gods. He challenges the Israelites to give God the glory and honor he is due. He calls on the earth to tremble before the Almighty God.

My feeble re-telling of this great psalm leaves much to be desired. One needs to read this Psalm over and over. Try to imagine King David’s uncontainable excitement as he sings his heart out to the Israelites through these words.

As I have written these words today I have wondered how we could bring this psalm closer home. Those of us who live in the United States have a history that, at least at the beginning of our nation, had very close ties with God. His name is embedded in our national documents, and his people were at work making our nation great. It is grievous to see how far away from God we have moved in the past 100 years.

I would like to see this psalm re-written to fit our nation’s history and to challenge our own citizens to “Cry out, ‘Save us, O God our Savior; gather us and deliver us from the nations, that we may give thanks to your holy name, that we may glory in your praise.’ Praise be to the LORD, the God of Israel, from everlasting to everlasting.” (1 Chronicles 16:35-36 NIV) 

Copyright © 2008 by Janice Green

Scripture quoted by permission. Quotations designated (NIV) are from THE HOLY BIBLE: NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Publishing House. All rights reserved.

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1 Shout with joy to God, all the earth!
     
2 Sing the glory of his name;
     
make his praise glorious!
3 Say to God, “How awesome are your deeds!
     
So great is your power
     
that your enemies cringe before you.
4 All the earth bows down to you;
     
they sing praise to you,
     
they sing praise to your name.”
Selah
5 Come and see what God has done,
     
how awesome his works in man’s behalf!
6 He turned the sea into dry land,
     
they passed through the waters on foot–
     
come, let us rejoice in him.
7 He rules forever by his power,
     
his eyes watch the nations–
     
let not the rebellious rise up against him.
Selah Psalm 66:1-7 (NIV)

Have you ever felt so thrilled with what the Lord has done that you wanted to shout and sing? This scripture encourages you to do just that–wherever you are, let it be known what the Lord has done for you. Give him the praise by telling him how you feel; and give him the praise by sharing your joy with others.

The writer of this psalm is doing just that. He is rejoicing over the many ways God has blessed the Israelite nation, how their enemies had to bow down to God’s strength in defending the Israelites. He continues to elaborate the many ways God displayed his power on behalf of his children.

And God continues to do so today. When is the last time you whooped loudly because a crisis had suddenly ended when God intervened. Or perhaps it was something more subtle–God gave you something you had wished for but hadn’t even stopped to ask him. Sometimes it is these little blessings that warm my heart the most–to know he cares about the little things in my life, to know he knows my heart and wants to tell me he loves me.

Copyright © 2008 by Janice Green

Scripture quoted by permission. Quotations designated (NIV) are from THE HOLY BIBLE: NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Publishing House. All rights reserved.

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