June 30 2023
Today, Friday June 30
Count Your Many Blessings
“For You are my hope, O Lord GOD; You are my trust from my youth. By You I have been upheld from birth; You are He who took me out of my mother's womb. My praise shall be continually of You. I have become as a wonder to many, But You are my strong refuge. Let my mouth be filled with Your praise And with Your glory all the day.
Do not cast me off in the time of old age; Do not forsake me when my strength fails. For my enemies speak against me; And those who lie in wait for my life take counsel together, Saying, "God has forsaken him; Pursue and take him, for there is none to deliver him."
O God, do not be far from me; O my God, make haste to help me! Let them be confounded and consumed Who are adversaries of my life; Let them be covered with reproach and dishonor Who seek my hurt.”
We are not sure who wrote this Psalm, but whoever he was, we can assume from what he wrote, that he was facing old age, he had gone through hard times, he had a pretty difficult life, he had enemies who wanted him to die, and he did not want to be put to shame. He also expressed a great faith in the righteousness of God and was determined to trust him. He was a musician who could both sing and play instruments and used them to praise and glorify the LORD (v. 22).
In the first four verses the psalmist declared that the LORD was presently helping him. He knew he could trust the LORD because the “LORD had given the commandment to save him...” (v. 3). In other words, he believed that God had made a promise in His Word to take care of him and that he could trust God to keep His promises! We can also be assured that “God is our refuge and strength, A very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, Even though the earth be removed, And though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea…” (Psalm 46:1-2).
The psalmist also was encouraged in the midst of his old age and troubles by looking back and remembering God’s faithfulness in the past (vv. 5-13). When I was a boy growing up in our “old fashion churches”, that my dad pastored or that we attended, I remember singing an old hymn many many times in our services called: “Count Your Many Blessings”.
When upon life's billows you are tempest tossed,
When you are discouraged, thinking all is lost,
Count your many blessings, name them one by one,
And it will surprise you what the Lord hath done.
Count your blessings, name them one by one;
Count your blessings, see what God hath done;
Count your blessings, name them one by one;
Count your many blessings, see what God hath done.
Yes, my friend when you are discouraged and worried, look back and count your blessings. Remind yourself of the faithfulness of the Lord. Like Samuel of old, erect your own "Ebenezer" and say, "Thus far the Lord has helped us" (1 Samuel 7:12). From conception to birth, and from birth to young manhood, the Lord had been with the psalmist, and He was not about to abandon him now or in his old age (Psalm 22:9-10; 37:25; 92:14; 139:13-16). Hope doesn't end with retirement! (vv. 5, 15). (See 1 Tim. 1:1; Col. 1:27; Heb. 6:18-19; 1 Peter 1:3.)
“I have become as a wonder to many, But You are my strong refuge” (v. 7). The word wonder in the OKJ is translated “portent”, which means it is a special display of God's power, such as the plagues of Egypt. Sometimes the Lord selected special people to be signs to the nation (Isa. 8:18; Zech. 3:8), and sometimes those portents were messengers of warning (Deut. 28:45-48). Paul saw himself and the other apostles as "portents", “a spectacle” to honor the Lord and shame the worldly believers (1 Cor. 4:8-13).
The writer of this psalm must have been a high-profile person because people knew him well and saw the things that happened to him. Apparently, he had endured many troubles during his life but didn't falter or deny the Lord. His entire life was a wonder, a testimony to others of the goodness and faithfulness of the Lord (vv. 20-21). His enemies were sure the Lord would forsake him, but he was sure the Lord would never forsake him (Heb. 13:5). His enemies tried to bring reproach on him, but he trusted the Lord to uphold him and to turn their reproach back upon them.
Today, take time to count your past and present blessings, and let the world know what the Lord has done for you!