Our post today comes from the classic work by John Flavel, The Mystery of Providence. With the thought that we might have a better eye to our praise of our Redeemer, the following selection gives us five due considerations to keep in mind. And while here Rev. Flavel speaks primarily of God’s provisions for our living here on this earth, our praise to God ought even to be all the greater for all that Christ has accomplished in our redemption by His death and resurrection!
Rev. Flavel begins:
There are five things belonging to the praise of God, and all of them have relation to His providences exercised about us:
- A careful observation of the mercies we receive from Him (Isa. 41:17-20). This is fundamental to all praise. God cannot be glorified for the mercies we never noted.
- A faithful remembrance of the favours received (Ps. 103:2; 106:13). “Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits.” (Ps. 103:2). Hence the Lord brands the ingratitude of His people. “They soon forgot His works.” (Ps. 106:13).
- A due appreciation and valuation of every providence that does us good (1 Sam. 12:24). That providence that fed them in the wilderness with manna was a most remarkable providence to them; but since they did not value it at its worth, God had not that praise for it which He expected. (Num. 11:6).
- The stirring up of all the faculties and powers of the soul in the acknowledgment of these mercies to us. Thus David: “Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me bless His holy name.” (Ps. 103:1) Soul-praise is the very soul of praise; this is the very fat and marrow of that thank-offering.
- A suitable recompense for the mercies received (Ps. 116:1. And the Lord taxes good Hezekiah for the neglect of it (2 Chron 32:24-25). This consists in a full and hearty resignation of Him to all that we have received by providence from Him, and in our willingness actually to part with all for Him when He shall require it.
Thus you see how all the ingredients to praise have respect to providences. But more particularly I will show you that, as all the ingredients of praise have respect to providences, so all the motives and arguments obliging and engaging souls to praise are found therein also. To this end consider how the mercy and goodness of God is exhibited by Providence to excite our thankfulness.
The goodness and mercy of God to His people is seen in His providences concerning them; and this is the very root of praise. It is not so much the possession that Providence gives us of such or such comforts as the goodness and kindness of God in the dispensing of them that engages a gracious soul to praise. “Because Thy lovingkindness is better than life, my lips shall praise Thee.” (Ps. 63:3). To give, maintain and preserve our life are choice acts of Providence; but to do all this in a way of grace and lovingkindness, this is far better than the gifts themselves. Life is but the shadow of death without it. This is the mercy that crowns all other mercies (Ps. 103:4). It is this a sanctified soul desires [that] God would manifest in every providence concerning him. (Ps. 17:7), and what is our praising God but our showing forth that lovingkindness which he shows to us in His providences? (Ps. 92:1-2).
Blessed be the Lord our God and our Savior; to Him be all glory and praise.