There are dangers incumbent to eating a good meal and being satisfied—growing fat and complacent. This is the danger in all our spiritual lives and especially we who do not have to look far for our "daily bread." When the expected arrives and we, like Israel, will look toward Canaan with real anticipation.
We will stand as though the great law-giver Moses were preparing me for this leg of the journey.
"When you have eaten and are satisfied, praise the LORD your God for the good … He has given you. Be careful that you do not forget the LORD your God. ..." (Deuteronomy 8:10-11).
His words echo a strange chorus. "Praise!" he says, "Do not forget the Lord." I speak of that time when the expected arrives but none of us can escape the need for praise. The writer of Hebrews admonishes us, "Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise—the fruit of lips that confess his name" (Hebrews 13:15).
Whatever our place in life we dare not forget to praise the Lord "otherwise, when [we have eaten] and are satisfied, when [have built] fine houses and settle[d] down [our] hearts will become proud and [we] will forget the Lord [our] God" (Deuteronomy 8:12, Deuteronomy 8:14).
The way Moses presents it there is a direct connection between praise and remembrance, a direct correlation between forgetting and a lack of praise. To praise the Lord is to remember Him and to remember His workings on our behalf. To fail to praise is to forget the Lord and to drift toward that dangerous place of pride.
When the expected arrives we dare not forget that it is He that "led us through the vast and dreadful desert, that thirsty and waterless land" (Deut. 8:15). It is He who "gave [us] manna to eat in the desert" (Deuteronomy 8:16). As Moses sees it, we praise the Lord—or we forget Him. It is a simple formula, praise the Lord "otherwise" we will forget Him and all that He has done for us.
Either we praise Him or we forget Him and somewhere in our hearts we "may say to [ourselves], ‘My power and the strength of my hands have produced this wealth for me'" (Deuteronomy 8:17). It is not so. What a deep lie from the pit it is to believe that our wit or charm is what it takes. Herein lies that delicate balance between God's sovereignty and human free will.
We do not simply sit and wait for love to find us.
We do not simply hope that we will get married.
We dare not be unprepared when love finds us.
But usually when we are not waiting we are rushing.
Usually when we pursue we pursue our own whims.
We must prepare but cannot earn love.
It is God who uses the energy within us and directs our steps so that we might find the one love our hearts desire. This is why we should accept neither formula nor method for finding a mate. Each person's story is as varied as the sand of the sea. Each example is really only applicable to that person in that situation. What must remain consistent is the raising of voices in praise to a God who works all things together for good. We dare not fail to praise—lest we forget.
Despite what we might think, we live in constant need of our daily bread. We live in constant need of the Lord's provision. We must try! We must rise up and make the effort to meet and know people and believe that the Lord just may work through that process. We must act righteously and respectfully toward one another while bringing our desires before the Lord. We act and seek the one we might love but cannot forget "it is He who gives [us] the ability to produce wealth," or in this case—He who fulfills our hearts desire (Deuteronomy 8:18).
It is a necessary reminder for me, now that the expected has arrived, but thank God I did not wait until now to begin praising Him. Thank God that, even in the desert, I knew thankfulness. It was the smile seen on my face there, though my relational well was dry. The smile was there because the longing did not, could not, poison the whole river—not while there was water coming from rocks.
Yes, my expected has arrived. She has a name and a face. She has a hand and I hold that hand in mine. She has a smile, and I cause that smile. But I have not forgotten the near past and the longing. I shall not forget lest I fail to appreciate and begin to grumble even with all that the Lord has given me. For my part I praise Him for His grace to me.
If you are still waiting, if you are still longing, DO NOT WAIT TO PRAISE HIM! If, even now, you refuse to praise Him you will forget Him. Praise Him "otherwise" you will forget Him! And then, what tragedy if the expected arrives and desires a man or woman of praise. How sad would it be for the expected to see you bitter, calloused, and ungrateful—sad indeed.
"What do you have that you did not receive? And if you did receive it, why do you boast as though you did not" (1 Corinthians 4:7)? Lift up your hand! Raise your voice for each and every one of your blessings and then—when the expected arrives—your voice will be tuned to praise and your heart will remember.
Today, wherever you are and whatever the state of your longing, PRAISE HIM!
"Let heaven and earth praise him, the seas and all that move in them" (Psalms 69:34).
"With my mouth I will greatly extol the LORD" (Psalms 109:30).
"Praise the name of the LORD; praise him, you servants of the LORD" (Psalms 135:1).
"How good it is to sing praises to our God, how pleasant and fitting to praise him" (Psalms 147:1)!
"Praise the LORD from the heavens, praise him in the heights above" (Psalms 148:1).
"Praise him, you highest heavens and you waters above the skies" (Psalms 148:4).
"Praise God in his sanctuary; praise him in his mighty heavens" (Psalms 150:1).
"Praise him for his acts of power; praise him for his surpassing greatness" (Psalms 150:2).
I am reminded that what He gives He gives for HIS glory. Lest I greedily consume this blessing, I praise Him for His gift. I am not deluded to think I have reached an end to the loneliness; rather, I have found someone to share the loneliness. The expected has arrived and, praise God, she is more than I expected.
Hudson Russell Davis was born on a small Island in the West Indies called Dominica, and this is only one reason he does not like cold weather and loves guava. He is a graduate of James Madison University with a B.A. in Graphic Design and earned a Masters in Theology from Dallas Theological Seminary. Currently he is a Ph.D. candidate at Saint Louis University studying historical theology. Hudson has worked as a graphic artist and worship leader but expresses himself through poetry, prose, photography, and music. His activities are just about anything outdoors, but tennis is his current passion.
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**This article first published on October 8, 2009.