*This summer at Providence Church we are spending time in the psalms together. Each week during June and July we will be posting written responses by a member of our community from their time meditating on a particular psalm. Go here to read others in the series. This week’s reflection is from John Griffin:
Reflecting on Psalm 113 this week has emphatically reminded me that we have many reasons to praise the Lord our God! His name is to be praised, not only now, but forever more. From the time that the sun comes up in the morning until it sets—He is to be praised all the time. He is so far above all the nations; His Glory is even above the heavens. There is no one even close to our Lord!
Yet as great as He is, Psalm 113 says that He cares about the person so poor that they are in the ashes, and that He even cares for the barren woman. Who is like the Lord our God?
It took me awhile to see the connection that even though the Lord is greater than the heavens and the earth, He is not aloof. He looks down and cares individually for the poor person, the needy person, and the barren woman. And then even after I saw this, it was still hard for me to identify with the poor and the barren … until it hit me that I was the man who had been in the dust and ash heap.
As a young man, I had set myself up on a path of hard work, accomplishment, and success in the main worldly areas. I pulled up my bootstraps and set out with all the raw Texas determination I could muster. After several years of grueling yet calculated work, I hit a tipping point and things came together quickly. All my goals were either being accomplished or in the process of coming to fruition. But rather than rejoicing that I was accomplishing my vision for a successful life, I began to experience a severe letdown as I realized my life was a lie—it was not satisfying and without hope or purpose. Despair had gripped my heart as I realized that my self-centered life would lead to nothing but more hopelessness. Despite worldly success, I was spiritually bankrupt.
It was here that God met me and truly lifted the “needy from the ash heap”. He gave me purpose, abiding joy, passion for Christ, love for others, and a deep peace (even in the face of death). All of which I had never truly experienced until the Lord reached into my life. That was fifteen years ago.
Many things have changed for the better since then. So much so that it is unfortunately too common and easy for me to forget that I would still be the man on the ash heap … had it not been for the Lord who lifted (and is even now lifting) me up. He has allowed me to experience the blessings described in verse 8 and 9. Indeed, even though I was a single man less than nine years ago, I now have an incredible godly wife and four children who have been such a blessing as we raise them for the Lord.
God’s favor to me has been unbelievable. Yet, unfortunately, I continually forget that I would still be on the ash heap, but not for God. Forgive me Lord … thank you Lord … and awaken my soul to this important truth.
To truly praise the Lord, Psalm 113 calls us to reflect on how exalted the Lord is, and yet how He cares enough to raise us up. I pray that the Holy Spirit would speak mightily to you, like he has to me, through Psalm 113.