Ironically, as we’ve studied how to praise God in the desert this week, a hurricane is barreling it’s way toward the Florida coast and then it will dance its way up to North Carolina. We are unsure if the storm will take a turn before it hits us, but one thing is sure: we will get a lot of rain.
But deserts can take residence in our hearts even when we live in areas where water is abundant. It’s kind of like how you can be surrounded by a lot of people and feel all alone. Terrain and circumstances aren’t always the culprits for the deserts that form in our spirits.
You know, those dry and lonely seasons.
When David wrote Psalm 63, he was running from King Saul. I have a feeling that his surroundings resembled how he felt. Sometimes our desert places are caused by being misunderstood, threatened, or rejected. But David did not let the desert around him or inside him turn him against God. Rather than questioning God, as we often do when we’re going through bad times, David praised Him.
Digging under our translations to the Hebrew reveals three things to do to not only survive in the desert, but to thrive there.
(We’ve been talking about these actions on my Daily Broadcasts which you can replay on periscope.tv/wordsbyandylee.com. We’ve found more than three things, but this is a great start. So for those of you who are my Periscope peeps, this is a review. Now it’s written down!)
But I digress.
The very first verse of Psalm 63 gives us our first action:
“O God, you are my God, earnestly I seek you . . . “
Okay. For all of you who are not morning people, I’m sorry, but the word earnestly is translated from Shachar which means early- dawn. So . . . the first thing we can do to survive and thrive in the desert is to
1. Get up early in the morning to spend time with the Lord. Go see the sunrise.
David continues to write and gives us the second step.
I will praise you as long as I live, and in your name, I will lift up my hands.” (v. 4)
The word “praise” was translated from Barak. This word means to “bless” and it comes from a root word that has to do with the knee. So, it suggests kneeling. The Jews have practiced “blessing” the Lord for thousands of year by blessing him throughout their day with prayers of thankfulness. They begin these blessings the moment they awake. Mine sound like this:
“Lord, thank you for my cat who wakes me up in the morning. Thank you for the sleep through the night and the air in my lungs . . . etc . . . ”
“Thank you for my coffee!” (Can I get an AMEN!?)
So . . . our second thing to do to survive and thrive in the desert is to
2. “Bless” God with thankfulness throughout the day.
I hate to skip any of these verses. So, please read Psalm 63 in its entirety. For time’s sake, I’m going on to the third thing we can do in the desert. David writes:
My soul will be satisfied as with the riches of foods; with singing lips my mouth will praise you.” (v. 5).
The Hebrew word we’ve translated for “praise” in this verse is not the same as the one above. This Hebrew word is Halal. This is an awesome word. It does mean to praise, but not just any old praise. The meanings of this word are:
“To be clamorously foolish; to rave, rage, renowned, shine.”
Can you picture this kind of praise? It’s loud and obnoxious, and crazy. The person who praises the Halal kind of praise shines. I want to shine. So the third step to thriving in those hot, lonely, dry places is to:
3. Give God foolish, crazy praise.
What does that look like to you? I think I do it best in my kitchen or in our church during praise and worship standing in the back corner with my eyes shut, arms lifted high, and feet stomping. We worship with the lights down in my church which helps me let loose my halal praise.
That’s it my friends. Three steps to take to survive and thrive in those desert places of your life. He is our strength. We pray for his presence to fall on us. We pray with our hands lifted and bless him with our hands lifted in prayer.
I believe, if he’s led us to the desert, it’s only because he has bigger things ahead for us. David would become king. Jesus would begin his ministry and become our Messiah forever.
[bctt tweet=”Don’t despise the desert–the hard places. Dig deep in that dusty place to live fully.” username=”wordsbyandylee”]
Leave a comment: Which one of these steps will be hardest for you?
Only by Grace,
Winners of the Giveaway! While My Child is Away, by Edie Melson
Linda Snook and Valerie Foster!!!!!