Poem: The Choice
July 6, 2023
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July 7, 2023

Put praise FIRST

By Natalie Jacob

In 2022, I found the discipline and perseverance to follow ‘The Bible in a Year’ podcast with Fr Mike Schmitz and indeed, it was a most edifying year. It was my first time reading the Bible cover to cover, from Genesis to Revelation.

I heard biblical stories that were new to me and gained new insights and understanding from the sharing and explanations of Fr Mike. While I do not claim to remember everything that I encountered on the podcast during that year, there is one teaching that really stood out for me, and that I constantly return to in my reflections.

Among the twelve tribes of Israel, the tribe of Judah was always at the forefront. God instructed Israel that in marching out or going into a battle, Judah must go up first.

Now, Judah means ‘God is to be praised’; so, what God was saying to the Israelites was, let your praise to God go up first and your victory is already determined. I believe He is saying the same thing to us today.

Scripture abounds with references to praise God. Verse 3 of Psalm 22 tells us that God dwells in the praises of His people. When we offer up praise, God makes His home with us.

Isn’t it right then that we should offer up praise in every circumstance? So much easier said than done when sometimes it feels like our world is falling apart and we’re at the very end of our short ropes.

Yet the Word of God says if we want Him to draw near, we must offer up praise. So, what if we started now? Today?

When you are facing exam results with your anxious children, Praise!

When a financial burden seems too much to bear, Praise!

When your employment or unemployment is stressing you out, Praise!

When you are sick and tired of being sick and tired, Praise!

When Church and church people are not all we would like them to be, Praise!

When you don’t know what else to do, Praise!

I’m trying to take God at His Word. Let us make an effort to go against our natural inclination to worry and learn to give Him praise in every situation. Maybe, we will be pleasantly surprised by how things turn out. Bless the Lord!