There’s a story about a woman who had a bumper sticker on the back of her car that said “HONK IF YOU LOVE JESUS”, so the guy behind her did. Much to his surprise his “honk for Jesus” was returned with an obscene gesture (which I’ve heard some teasingly refer to as the “Hawaiian Good Luck Sign”). Poor lady, maybe someone was borrowing her car that day? We laugh because we know many of us have been there ourselves. Just be glad it wasn’t the Pastor behind you. Whoops!
I was reading chapter 19 in the book of Luke not long ago and one verse stood out:
“As soon as He was approaching, near the descent of the Mount of Olives, the whole crowd of the disciples began to praise God joyfully with a loud voice for all the miracles which they had seen” (Luke 19:37, emphasis mine).
Since the sentence didn’t end with the words “praise God joyfully” but chose to go on, my first thought was to wonder if all the miracles they had seen was the only reason they were giving praise? Then I turned the biblical “mirror” towards myself and asked “what causes me to give praise”? Is it only when God performs on my behalf, and hence the popular quote “God is good” comes out whenever we get the specific answer to prayer we hoped for? What if we did not get that answer, would we still praise Him? Perhaps that is why “God is good” is so often accompanied by “all the time”, because we want to remind ourselves that He is good regardless of the circumstance.
That He is good regardless is important to remember, too, because Matthew 24:24 tells us that “false Christs and false prophets will arise and show great signs and wonders, so as to mislead, if possible, even the very elect”. If we only give praise to Him for the miraculous, we as Christians are in danger of giving praise to a false Christ or prophet for the same reason! We could get so caught up in the moment that we allow the signs and wonders to deceive us into thinking the false Christ or prophet is THE CHRIST. Don’t be deceived!
“I will bless the Lord at all times; His praise shall continually be in my mouth!” Psalms 34:1
I like this scripture because later in that same chapter the Psalmist tells us “The Lord is near to the brokenhearted And saves those who are crushed in spirit.” (Psalms 34:18-19). I think it is important to note that the Psalmist emphasizes giving praise at all times, even in times when we are broken.
Miraculous signs and wonders may be one reason we praise Him, but it should not be the only reason or the only time that we do. If so, we have reduced our God to a Fairy-tale King that is only “good” when He performs according to our desires, and that is just not the case. We praise God for who He is, not for what He does. He is the Great I AM, and fully deserving of our love and our praise regardless of our circumstances or for what He does on our behalf. Remember, we are created in His image, not the other way around.