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Bless the Lord Forevermore

Categories: Devotional Thoughts

daily reading plan

April 23, 2020 by Steven Lulich

The dead do not praise the Lord,
Nor do any who go down into silence.
Nor do any who go down into silence.
But we will bless the Lord
From this time forth and forevermore.
Praise the Lord. Psalm 115:17-18

My wife’s Uncle Teddy passed away shortly after we were married. It was colon cancer. Death had not been a frequent visitor in my life, and in fact I think Uncle Teddy’s funeral may be the first one I ever attended. He had strong faith in Christ his Savior, and the testimonials from family, friends, and co-workers demonstrated how deep and far-reaching his influence and Christian witness were. His own testimony, even in death, to the faithfulness of God was striking and beautiful. I was particularly moved by the songs that he himself had selected, especially this one from the band Casting Crowns:

And I’m alive because I’m alive in You.
And it’s all because of Jesus I’m alive.
It’s all because of the blood of Jesus Christ,
That covers me and raised this dead man’s life.
It’s all because of Jesus I’m alive!

Imagine singing this song at the funeral of the man who chose this song to be sung at his funeral! This was Uncle Teddy’s statement from beyond the grave: I am alive!  He praised God in life, he praised God in death, and he continues to praise God in His presence. “We will bless the Lord from this time forth and forevermore.”

Who, then, are those “who go down into silence”, who “do not praise the Lord?” It is not merely the dead. Earlier in Psalm 115 the Psalmist had drawn a contrast between those who glorify God and those who don’t. “Their idols are silver and gold, the work of human hands. They have mouths, but do not speak … and they do not make a sound in their throat” (Psalm 115:4-7). These idols have mouths, eyes, ears, noses, hands, and feet – just like we do – and yet they cannot speak, see, hear, smell, feel, or move. They are no better off than dead bodies. “Those who make them become like them; so do all who trust in them” (Psalm 115:8). These are the ones “who go down into silence” and “do not praise the Lord” at the end of the Psalm. Having made and trusted in dead idols, they become like those idols – dead, speechless, silent as the grave.

Some 3,000 years later and 6,000 miles to the west, we don’t have a thriving idol-making industry, but the same contrast still exists between those who glorify God and those who don’t. Here and now, those who don’t glorify God instead place their trust in other things – money, popularity, power, personal piety, activism, science, family, love, and so on. Of course, these things are not bad in themselves, but like idols they become no better than dead bodies when they take the place of God in our lives.

Let us therefore examine ourselves to identify the things that we place our trust in, the things that we glorify. And let us – by the grace of God – reorient our lives around the steadfast love and faithfulness of God (Psalm 115:1), so that even in death we might still “bless the Lord from this time forth and forevermore. Praise the Lord!”