I was preparing dinner one night when Pandora played the song, Fill Me Up by Kim Walker-Smith and Jesus Culture. The first words sung were, “You provide the fire and I’ll provide the sacrifice.”
A few weeks ago in our Sunday school class, we talked about a believer’s praises. Ben Patterson states, “Gratitude and joy are organs of perception. We don’t see in order to give thanks and rejoice; we give thanks and rejoice in order to see.” Psalm 22:3 says that God is enthroned by the praises of His people. Psalm 149:6 states, “Let the high praises of God be in their mouth, and a two-edged sword in their hand.” Ephesians 5:18-20 exhorts us to “Give thanks always, for all things.”
It’s simple to thank the Lord when the wind and the waves are calm. Yet, when He allows storms to agitate our comfort, it becomes an act of the will to say, “Thank you.” What we have to know in the stillness and in the upheaval is that our God does not change. He is good. He is loving. He is kind. He is our Father and our Redeemer. He is our Refuge, our Comfort and our Healer. Sometimes He provides the fire, so that we will learn to provide the sacrifice-the sacrifice of praise. When we praise God, we are recognizing that He is All-Knowing, Ever-Present and His character unchanging. We are choosing to endorse, Romans 11:33-34 “Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and the knowledge of God! How unsearchable His judgments and untraceable His ways! For who has known the mind of the Lord? Or who has been His counselor?”
This summer I have shouldered brokenness alongside friends who have been desperate for the storm to relent. I have had others walk alongside me in my own struggles. The Lord continues to re-affirm the truths of His word. I may not understand His ways, but when I choose to praise Him, it puts Him on the throne of my circumstances. When I determine to praise Him, it becomes a weapon against plots of the enemy. When I praise Him, regardless of how I feel, I am not choosing hypocrisy, but obedience.
Scripture declares, we live in a broken world and by nature, we are all depraved. Jesus owes us nothing. He gave us life through His son, which none of us deserved. From the beginning, He gave us abundantly more than we knew to ask for and regardless of how we feel or what our circumstances scream, we must choose to praise. He is either God over all or God over none.
Lord Jesus, when you provide the fire, may we be faithful to provide the sacrifice.