This morning I read Psalm 138. It’s an appropriate Psalm for Veterans Day, November 11, as we stop to remember and thank God for protecting us through the work of men and women who are devoted to our freedom and faithfully serve us in the military. The opening lines read,
I will give You thanks with all my heart;
I will sing praises to You before the gods.
I will bow down toward Your holy temple
And give thanks to Your name for Your lovingkindness and Your truth...
Though I walk in the midst of trouble, You will revive me; You will stretch forth Your hand against the wrath of my enemies, And Your right hand will save me.
This Psalm is also a good one for the workplace. Every Monday morning, when innumerable counterfeit gods—greed, fear, envy, pride, deceit and the like—beg for our allegiance, we have a choice. We can succumb to their demand for our devotion or we can sing praise to the only true God who is devoted to us and even desires to serve us. Our ability to praise God instead of capitulating to counterfeit gods is directly related to our thankfulness quotient—because we praise what we are truly thankful for. The key to a thankful heart, I believe, is in verse 6. It is the “lowly” who regard God and are regarded by God.
For though the LORD is exalted,
Yet He regards the lowly,
But the haughty He knows from afar.
Pride distances us from God and insures we will worship the counterfeit gods close at hand. Prideful people believe they deserve things like respect, clout, prosperity, uninterrupted smooth sailing and freedom without sacrifice. On the other hand, humble people recognize that everything they have is a gift: the gift of freedom paid for by the sacrifices of others: the gift of a job created by someone’s risk to start a business; the gift a business dependent on resources, knowledge and human potential that comes only from God; the gift of life itself.
If God seems far away, spend some time considering all the undeserved gifts He has given us, and return thanks to our faithful Creator. But most importantly, consider the indescribable gift of His Son who entered history as lowly human child and gave up his exalted position in the ultimate fight for our freedom.