A Mouth Filled with Praise

A Mouth Filled with Praise

There is a place for tears, dust, and ashes. But we should remember that even in those times God’s design is that we rely not on ourselves but on Him who raises the dead (2 Cor. 1:9). Even then His purpose is to break us out of our self-preoccupation and stewing and cast our wandering devotion back upon Himself.

You who have made me see many troubles and calamities will revive me again; from the depths of the earth you will bring me up again. You will increase my greatness and comfort me again. (Psalm 71:20–21)

Few things have the potential to cloud the heart more than troubles and calamities. When disaster strikes, when hopes are deferred, when pain continues unabated, or distress weighs upon the soul, it’s easy to become blind to the rest of the world. Duties toward God and neighbour can quickly be consumed by the pressures of the moment. In the furnace of affliction, our whole world, if we’re not careful, can become reduced to our own private interior pain. In such times, we need the glorious light of Scripture to illumine our darkness.

The psalmist here is no stranger to suffering. As he says openly in verse 20, the Lord has caused him to see “many troubles and calamities” throughout the course of his life. Earlier he spoke of enemies that were presently harassing him from every side, cruel and unjust men who “seek my hurt” (v. 13).

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