Worship in the face of other gods
Psa. 138:1 I give you thanks, O LORD, with my whole heart;
before the gods I sing your praise;
Psa. 138:2 I bow down toward your holy temple
and give thanks to your name for your steadfast love and your faithfulness;
for you have exalted your name and your word
Psa. 138:3 On the day I called, you answered me,
you increased my strength of soul.
There is something bold about this proclamation. The Psalmist is speaking of worshiping the LORD right in front of other gods. There is a boldness in his statements -- and you sense an overwhelming desire to worship the LORD in spite of the fact that other gods are present. Ongoing praise and worship of the LORD in the way prescribed by God will be the theme of the day, and God responds to the faithfulness, providing strength to persevere.
There are other idols or gods surrounding us every single day of our lives and they are screaming at us -- and demanding our attention. Some of them look pretty good. They include the gods of work and play, family and relationships. They surround us daily and want to draw us away from the things of our LORD. They are all good, great and wonderful but when they take first place in our lives they become a distraction to the true worship of God.
True worship of God means that God remains in first place in our lives. There will be no other gods before God! "Hear oh Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one." This is the instruction for the people of God and we are called to be faithful to the Lord our God even in the face of other gods who are demanding our attention.
Just like the Psalmist -- we must stand up in boldness and sing praises to the LORD. He must be the priority of our lives and the rest of the gods must recognize that the LORD is one! In this Psalm we also find a dedication to temple worship in the face of other gods. Could it be that we could also learn from this the importance of regular worship -- regular attendance at the house of God? The other gods are encroaching on our time in regular church attendance these days and we are making many excuses. If we are to be faithful to the LORD -- then we must also engage in our regular worship of him. If not, then the little gods are winning the day and ultimately we are the ones who will lose out.
In times of distress -- we wonder about God's presence. Where is he? Why doesn't he answer? But for the one who continues to worship the LORD in the face of many gods, we can join with the Psalmist and declare, "On the day I called, you answered me, you increased the strength of my soul."
What will we do in light of all the other gods clamoring for our attention today?
Lord, please help me to praise and worship you with all my being. Amen.