A lot can be said about what praise is – what does it mean in our context of following God, to praise Him? One definition that makes a lot of sense to me is “to tell of all the wonderful things God has done”, to testify. So praising God has an aspect of reminding the next generation of how great, powerful and faithful God is, and so encourage and strengthen their faith.
We learn more about the person of God each time we experience His living involvement in our lives – we get to know Him uniquely as Saviour, Provider, Friend, Father, Counsellor… Some of those moments or glimpses of His care and love may fade or even go unnoticed, but nothing sticks in the mind like a miracle!
Psalm 66:5 – 7 is a song of praise – it says: “Look what God has done!” So I had a look at the two parallel miracles that verse 6 speaks about:
“He turned the sea into dry land; they passed through the river on foot.”
Exodus 14 tells the story of how God did the amazing miracle of parting the Red sea so that the Israelites could escape the pursuing Egyptian army, trekking through the sea on dry land.
“Israel saw the great power that the Lord used against the Egyptians, so the people feared the Lord, and they believed in the Lord and his servant Moses” (v 30-31).
Exodus 15 records a song of praise by Moses and a praise dance and song by his sister Miriam. These songs probably became part of the cultural heritage of the Jews, so that the generation who experienced the wonder, could inform and encourage their children.
Unfortunately this generation was destroyed during their 40 year wandering in the wilderness, and when the next generation is standing at the threshold of their inheritance – the promised land, God renews their faith by doing the miracle that probably immediately brought back their parents’ testimony – He dried up a path for them to cross the Jordan river!
At the Red sea God protected and saved them from the pursuing enemy. At the Jordan river God promises to “without fail drive out from before you the (enemy)…” (Jos 3:10). He affirms His protective involvement with His people.
These two miracles gave the nation of Israel an amazing testimony. But God’s work is never one-dimensional and for both Moses and Joshua these miracles were God’s confirmation to them and to the nation that God elected them to lead His people.
Let us hold on to the miracles God performs in our lives. They may be little things that happen in answer to heartfelt prayer, they may be breathtaking and make us want to run out and tell everybody. I make a point of sharing my big and small testimonies with my children, but I’m challenged to also record what God does in my own and my family’s lives, to be able to carry the testimony to the next generation. Each testimony strengthens our faith in the living God we serve!
by Lise Oosthuizen