By Joy Haney
“I will bless the LORD at all times; his praise shall continually be in my mouth.” Psalm 34:1
This Scripture came to me afresh on February 28, 2009. It was burned into my heart like a flaming torch all over again. As I studied it, it was apparent that it was divided into parts. The first part was the “I will.” David chose to bless the Lord. It was a choice. To bless the Lord is always a choice that a person makes. David continued with his proclamation. He vowed, “I will bless the Lord at all times.” (Emphasis mine.)
The difficult part is to bless the Lord at all times. Ecclesiastes 3:19 says, “To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven: a time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted; a time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; a time to weep , and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing; a time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away; a time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak; a time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.” These are the times; the good times and the bad times, the abundant times and the lean times, the answered-prayer times and the unanswered-prayer times. The choice is to bless the Lord at all times.
Psalm 100:4 teaches us how to approach God: “Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise; be thankful unto him, and bless his name.” So at all times the first step is to enter into His presence with blessing and thanksgiving for all the wonderful things He provides for us. Even in times of waiting for answers, there are many reasons to bless His name, such as life itself. The very breath we breathe is a gift from God. The sun we take for granted each day is a gift from God. The water we drink and would die without is a gift from God. The sleep we sleep each night is God’s gift. The list is endless of His great blessings.
The second part of Psalm 34:1 is: “his praise shall continually be in my mouth.” His praise is all about Him. The Bible is full of instruction to praise the Lord! This is how to enter into His courts with praise. The courts are where His throne is and where He dwells, so as we enter into His dwelling place, the proper way to approach Him is through praise.
One of my favorite praise chapters in the Bible is Psalm 150: “Praise ye the Lord. Praise God in his sanctuary; praise him in the firmament of his power. Praise him for his mighty acts: praise him according to his excellent greatness. … Let everything that hath breath praise the Lord. Praise ye the Lord” (Psalm 150:1-2, 6).
Praise God for His mighty acts! Think about the millions of people crossing the Red Sea on dry ground, being chased by the enemy, and then the rolled-back sea waters being released upon the enemy where everyone of them die; this was a mighty act of God! Think about the great flood that destroyed the earth because of the wickedness of the people, and how God instructed Noah to build an ark down to the tiniest detail so he and his family could be saved; this was a mind-boggling act of God! Think about the creation of the earth and how God spoke it into existence. This is why the psalmist said, “Praise ye the Lord. Praise ye the Lord from the heavens, praise him in the heights. Praise ye him, all his angels: praise ye him, all his hosts. Praise ye him, sun and moon: praise him, all ye stars of light. Praise him, ye heavens of heavens, and ye waters that are above the heavens. Let them praise the name of the Lord: for he commanded, and they were created” (Psalm 148:1-5). God commanded and they were created! Praise the Lord for His mighty acts! They are too numerable to enumerate here.
So the first part of Psalm 34:1 is a choice to bless the Lord. The second part is to bless the Lord at all times. The third part is to choose to let His praise be in our mouth and the fourth part is to let His praise be in our mouth continually. This is the tricky part because it is no problem to praise the Lord when all is well, prayers are being answered, money is in the pocket, kids are doing well, and a feeling of well-being permeates the air. The difficult part is to praise the Lord continually even when all is not well.
This is exemplified in the story of Paul and Silas who were in the will of God when they were going through a painful and difficult experience. People sometimes erroneously think that if they are in the will of God bad things will not happen to them. That is not true! Paul and Silas had just had a revival meeting in Philippi. While they were praying by the river on the Sabbath, a woman from Thyatira, a seller of purple who worshiped God, heard their prayers. She was intrigued by what she heard. Paul and Silas witnessed to her of Jesus and she and her household were baptized that same day.
Another day in that city, as Paul and Silas were going to prayer, a demon-possessed woman followed them and mocked them. Finally, after many days of this, Paul, being grieved, turned and said to the spirit, “I command thee in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her. And he came out the same hour” (Acts 16:18). This did not set well with her masters because she brought them gain, so they took Paul and Silas to the magistrates and accused them of teaching customs that were not lawful. The magistrates tore the clothes off Paul and Silas and commanded them to be beaten and cast into prison.
A peek into the prison by the magistrates would have brought astonishment to their faces: ‘and at midnight Paul and Silas prayed, and sang praises unto God: and the prisoners heard them. And suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken: and immediately all the doors were opened, and every one’s bands were loosed” (Acts 16:25-26). This incident brought another revival. The jailor and his household believed on the Lord Jesus Christ and were baptized that night as a result of this great supernatural miracle that happened in the prison.
When we choose to bless the Lord at all times and let His praise be in our mouth continually, God takes notice and opens doors that are seemingly impossible to open. He shakes things up so we are released from strongholds and constricting bands. The key is to choose to bless the Lord in the good times as well as the bad (and sometimes horrible) times, and to let His praise continually be in our mouth.
If you will this day say, “God is with me! He is my refuge and my fortress, my God; in Him will I trust! He is great and greatly to be praised! I praise Him for His might acts and His excellent greatness.” If you consistently keep His praise on your lips and in your heart, you will sense a change in the atmosphere. God inhabits the praises of His people.
Each of us makes a choice each day about what we will do in every situation. When Job lost everything, he “fell down upon the ground, and worshipped. And said, Naked came I out of my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return thither: the Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord” (Job 1:2021). It was his wife who tempted him to curse God and die, which in some people’s minds would have been the normal thing to do, but Job chose God’s way and answered, “Thou speakest as one of the foolish women speaketh. What? Shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil? In all this did not Job sin with his lips” (Job 2:10). Notice, it would have been a sin to curse God!
So let us each choose today to join with David and Job and bless the Lord no matter what happens and thus keep our integrity with God. Job’s wife asked Job, “Dost thou still retain thine integrity? curse God and die” (Job 2:9). It is a matter of integrity “a matter of choice” to do what is right and to do the thing that pleases God.
May this Scripture be on your lips and in your heart as you get up in the morning, as you walk through your day and as you prepare for bed at night: “I will bless the Lord at all times: his praise shall continually be in my mouth” (Psalm 34:1)
From, “Pentecostal Herald”/June 2009/Page 55-56, by Joy Haney