"Let all those who seek You rejoice and be glad in You; Let such as love Your salvation say continually, 'The Lord be magnified!'" (Psalm 40:16).
That verse will get a preacher a lot of "a-mens" on Sunday morning. It's a feel-good truth with a positive, upbeat tone. But look closer. There's a word in there that gives me pause.
While we praise the overall truth of this verse and want to sway with the choir as we sing it, that one word creeps in to convict us once we've shucked our choir robes and put on our regular attire.
While you look for the word, let me tell you a story. Two grandparents were keeping their potty-training grandson and were pleased when the boy emerged from the bathroom shouting praises. The grandson smiled, threw his hands to the sky, and shouted, "Halledoyah!"
The grandparents celebrated with their grandson's apparent accomplishment. But the grandfather did not recall hearing the toilet flush. So he went to investigate.
The grandfather soon returned to his recliner with a furrowed brow. The grandmother asked, "Why the long face? Did he make a mess?"
"No," grumbled the grandfather. "It was all praise and no offering."
The sobering word of Psalm 40:16 is the word, "continually." It's one thing to "rejoice" and "be glad" and "love salvation" and shout praises when life is good, bills are paid, and everyone's health is in check.
But "continually" means we keep up the same "halledoyahs" when life gets hard, bills get too high, and our loved one is surrounded by a medical team.
Job did it. He lost everything. His children, his home, and his employees were all wiped out. The only thing left was his less-than-adoring wife.
Apparently, she never read The Five Love Languages, because she looked at Job with a rolling pin in her hand, curlers in her hair, and a snarl on her face, and said, "Why don't you just curse God and die already?" (Job 2:9).
Job's answer, under the circumstances, is incredible: "Shall we indeed accept good from God, and shall we not accept adversity" (v. 10).
Sure, Job grieved his losses and endured depression. But eleven chapters later, his faith still stood, "Though He slay me, yet will I trust Him" (13:15).
I have a long way to go. I have baggage and burdens that need to fit under the garage of my "halledoyahs." God needs to know that I will praise Him no matter what life brings. He deserves our praise no matter what our problems may be.
Closer to Continually,