So Many Reasons to Praise
Have you ever been in a conversation and found that your mind is racing with thoughts and responses to which your mouth or tongue cannot keep up? You are simultaneously processing two thoughts, and yet you can form only one of them into a word, a sound, and a tongue curving articulation. But, what if you had a second mouth?
In 1739, on the first anniversary of his conversion, Charles Wesley was considering the greatness of the God, the Redeemer who saved Him. In response, he wrote an 18 verse poem, which later was reduced into a familiar hymn, O for a Thousand Tongues to sing. And that title was inspired by a conversation that Welsey had with another Christian who said, “if I had a thousand tongues, I would praise Christ with them all.” Reading through some verses of this remarkable song of praise, provides numerous examples of what those tongues ought to say about the character of God and His actions in Christ:
O for a thousand tongues to sing
My great Redeemer’s praise,
The glories of my God and King,
The triumphs of His grace!
He speaks, and, listening to His voice,
New life the dead receive,
The mournful, broken hearts rejoice,
The humble poor believe.
The Confession of the Invisible
The redemption that this Jesus has provided is completely comprehensive. We may be quick to recognize certain failings or transgressions in our lives: impure or wrong things we committed intentionally or the good things we failed to do. But Jesus reminds us in Matthew 6, that God not only judges the externally murderous action, but the thoughts of hate toward another. God is mindful of our very thoughts, even though we many times are oblivious. The psalmist in Psalm 139 teaches us something important about our confessional prayer life: to ask God to reveal and forgive us of our unseen or unknown or even unintentional offensive thinking, that we may be reconciled fully to Him. The context of that psalm is a time when enemies pursue. When times are difficult in life. And our prayerful response should be diverse: a cry for help, yes. But also a plea for cleansing, if this trial we face is in any way divine discipline
Search me, O God, and know my heart!
Try me and know my thoughts!
And see if there be any grievous way in me,
and lead me in the way everlasting!
Said in another way, help me see Lord, if any of their accusations are true? And lead me not in their ways, nor mine, but yours. Seek the Lord in a confession of sin that asks Him to forgive those things you are not even aware.
The Singular Path to a Holy God
The confidence to seek this confession is based in a historical truth, a historical truth that illustrates a promise from God: He, and he alone will provide the payment for our sins. What can wash away my sins? What can make me whole again?
But before we can answer that question, let ask and answer another question: who does God accept?
But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, 5 even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), 6 and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, 7 so that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. – Ephesians 2
Before we accepted the gift of Christ, He descended, He died, He rose, He returned, accepted, and enthroned. And no one else can claim this.
What can wash away your sins?
Nothing but the blood of Jesus.
The Soft and Dependent Response of the Sanctified
As we consider the gifts of the gospel, we will conclude our singing worship with a rendition of Psalm 19, Let the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart, be pleasing to you.
Did you see what just happened?
The offensive unseen sin that we confessed, was paid for, and purified by God. Forgiving grace and now an expectation of transforming grace. And the heart of the writer and us as singers is soft toward God, dependent upon God. Let us come together, not only praising God, but asking Him to enable pleasing words, and thoughts, and even thoughts about Him be possible.