Key Verse: “By terrible things in righteousness wilt thou answer us, O God of our salvation; who art the confidence of all the ends of the earth, and of them that are afar off upon the sea.”
AN IMPORTANT ASPECT of praise which we are to learn is that of thanksgiving and appreciation for the experiences which God provides us each day for our development. The King James translation of our Key Verse uses the phrase “terrible things,” as if God has prepared a painful path for us to follow. However, the meaning of the original Hebrew word has the thought of reverence, or to stand in awe. The New American Standard Bible translates the verse, “By awesome deeds You answer us in righteousness, O God of our salvation, You who are the trust of all the ends of the earth and of the farthest sea.”
The preceding verses of our lesson describe the psalmist’s audience in prophetic language as spiritual Zion—Christ and his bride, “the lamb’s wife.” (Rev. 21:9) Together, they will be set up with divine glory and power, when all the members of the “bride” class shall have made their calling and election sure by being faithful unto death. (Rev. 2:10) The Christ class will bring joy to the whole earth, and serve as God’s channel of blessing to all mankind. The Prophet Micah wrote, “The law shall go forth of Zion, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.” (Mic. 4:2) It will be the honor and privilege of this “Zion” class to be kings and priests in the long awaited earthly kingdom for which we all pray.—Rev. 20:6; Matt. 6:10
In verse 11 of our lesson, the psalmist praises God, saying, “Thou crownest the year with thy goodness.” It is fitting that the Lord’s people should keep an account of the mercies and blessings provided by God, lest we be overtaken in the cares of this life, or the earthly riches that might turn us from our spiritual growth as New Creatures. As we mature in Christ, we will perceive that these joys are of a holier and more lasting kind than we had ever known before. We will recognize them as having their source in the experiences provided by our Heavenly Father, which are always for our highest spiritual welfare.
We have other experiences that are not pleasant to the flesh, but we can joyfully accept these because they are developing in us a Christlike character. Of these experiences, the Apostle James writes, “My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.”—James 1:2-4
The Scriptures assure us that our trials will never be more than we can bear. Again, Paul says, “There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.” (I Cor. 10:13) These comforting words are in keeping with God’s promise—“I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.”—Heb. 13:5
Surely, we can praise God as the all-wise provider of our experiences. “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion … , who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God.”—II Cor. 1:3,4, New International Version