“While I live will I praise the Lord. I will sing praises unto my God while I have any being.”

Psalm 146:2

Just as we can’t live without oxygen, so do our souls yearn for His Presence.

“This is the air I breathe, This is the air I breathe, Your Holy Presence living in me. This is my daily bread, This is my daily bread, Your very Word spoken to me. And I, I’m desperate for You. And I, I’m lost without You.”

When Michael W. Smith penned those words and set them to music, he was embodying today’s Manna in a beautiful way. Although we know not who wrote this psalm, it’s clear he knew the importance of God’s Presence and our praise. And, even though he knew nothing about the ins-and-outs of oxygen, circulation and respiration, he knew that praise is just as vital to our spiritual well-being as breathing is to our physical survival.

Unless we’re trained in medicine and educated in the God-designed, wonderful workings of the respiratory and circulatory systems, we also can’t explain how this works. We know air enters the body through the lungs, but few of us understand how it oxygenates the blood, is carried throughout the body and then carries away the impurities, carbon dioxide, etc.

No wonder David said, “I will praise you—for I am fearfully and wonderfully made” (Ps. 139:14a). Glory!

Yet, dear Pilgrim, all of these mysterious in-workings of the body are for naught if we fail to live in right relationship with the One Who created us. Like one who is oxygen-depleted, our souls are “God-deprived,” leaving us weak and lifeless. That’s why it’s important for us to be born again. . .which is the “quickening” of our spirits through new life in Christ. . .and then daily rejuvenated by His indwelling Spirit as we read His Word, pray, share His Love with others, sing praises to His Name, etc.

Our anonymous psalmist knew the futility of “putting our trust in princes or the son of man, in whom there is no help” (v.3). Why is that? Because “his breath goes forth, he returns to the earth; in that very day his thoughts perish” (v.4).

Simply put, we all die.

Like the world’s “mammon,” which always succumbs to “rust, rot and robbers” (Mt. 6:19-21, 24), so is the “arm of flesh” (II Chron. 32:8). Everything—except the Lord God—will ultimately cease to exist and be no more. That’s why it’s important for us to “have the God of Jacob for our Help and have our Hope in Him” (v.5).

That’s also why it’s important for us to praise the Lord Jesus for His Presence in our lives. Praise (Heb. “halal”—“to be clear of sound, to shine, make a show, boast, rave about, celebrate, etc.”) is “comely (Heb. ‘na ‘evh’—‘suitable, beautiful, lovely, satisfying, etc.’) for the upright” (Ps. 33:1), for it glorifies the One by Whose Name we are called.

Even though our bodies may begin to fail us and we may grow short-of-breath, let us never be short-of-praise. May we, like the psalmist say “While I live, I will praise the Lord. I will sing praises unto my God while I have any being.” Amen and amen. Hallelujah!!

July 2, 2011