Dear Friends, there are actually two trains running through the station today. I hope you will take the time to read them both.
Give Credit Where Credit Is Due
Wednesday, June 03, 2015
Psalm 29:1-2 Ascribe to the LORD, O heavenly beings, ascribe to the LORD glory and strength. Ascribe to the LORD the glory due his name; worship the LORD in the splendor of holiness.
On September 29, 1994, the 88th episode of the NBC sitcom Seinfeld was aired. It was entitled The Big Salad. This was the plot.
At Elaine’s request, George purchases a “big salad” to go for her from Monk’s. When George asks Jerry, “What’s in the big salad?”, Jerry replies, “Big lettuce, big carrots, tomatoes like volleyballs.” But George’s girlfriend Julie appears to take credit for the purchase when she hands Elaine the salad in Jerry’s apartment. George is displeased that Elaine thanked Julie for buying the salad, and mentions to Elaine that he was responsible for the purchase. George’s revelation eventually leads to a rift between him and Julie when the truth comes out.
The truth, in George’s view, is not that Elaine thanked the wrong person, but that Julie accepted the thanks. As George loudly explains, “What I would like to know is, how does a person who has nothing to do with the Big Salad claim responsibility for that salad and accept the thank-you under false pretenses?” Julie understands perfectly well, and says, “George, all I did was hand someone a bag.” Semi-humiliated, George vows never to buy Elaine lunch again.
This comedic situation draws to attention several problems that exist in our relationships with other people.
- Sometimes we take credit for what we didn’t do.
- Sometimes we refuse to take credit (responsibility) for what we did.
- Sometimes we give credit to the wrong person.
- Sometimes we do not give credit when credit was due.
As I began my trip into the 29th Psalm this morning, I paused after the first word. I asked myself, What does ascribe mean? I discovered it means to give credit. So with that definition in mind, I read the rest of the Psalm.
Give credit to the LORD, O heavenly beings, Give credit to the LORD for his glory and strength. Give credit to the LORD for the glory due his name; worship the LORD in the splendor of holiness.
As I continued to read I was overwhelmed with the credit that is due His name.
- For His clear voice that can be heard above all the noise of life. The voice of the LORD is over the waters; the God of glory thunders, the LORD, over many waters. The voice of the LORD is powerful; the voice of the LORD is full of majesty.
- For His powerful voice that breaks the bondage of our sin. The voice of the LORD breaks the cedars; the LORD breaks the cedars of Lebanon.
- For His redeeming voice that restores joy in the midst of the wilderness experiences of life. He makes Lebanon to skip like a calf, and Sirion like a young wild ox. The voice of the LORD flashes forth flames of fire. The voice of the LORD shakes the wilderness; the LORD shakes the wilderness of Kadesh.
- For His life-giving voice. The voice of the LORD makes the deer give birth…
- For His sovereignty and glory. …and strips the forests bare, and in his temple all cry, “Glory!” The LORD sits enthroned over the flood; the LORD sits enthroned as king forever.
We may not take credit for any of these things.
We dare not give credit for any of these things to anyone else.
We must give credit for all of this and so much more to the One and Only for whom credit is due.
Give credit to the LORD!
Seriously – do it right now – Ascribe to the LORD the glory due His name!
For Further Reading (I wrote this about Psalm 29 on March 19, 2007)
There is a huge difference between praising God and ascribing glory to God. I have been guilty of saying the words of praise without truly ascribing to God the glory due His name.
To ascribe means to give credit and hold nothing back for self.
I have watched worshipers in church sing the words of songs meaninglessly with no real attachment to their heart. I have also done that. I have heard athletes begin their post-game interviews with statements of praise to God and then immediately draw all of the attention to their own accomplishments.
I believe we are guilty of learning the techniques of giving praise with our mouths without truly engaging our hearts in the humble act of worship by ascribing all of the glory to God. It is hypocritical to say with our mouths that God gets the credit for our accomplishments yet treasure in our hearts the praise that comes from people for what we have done.
In the very first line of this Psalm, God addresses the issue of our pride in our own abilities when He challenges the mighty ones to ascribe to Him all glory and strength. God recognizes the propensity in all of us towards self-sufficiency. It’s as if while we are saying to Him, “I couldn’t have done it without you,” we believe in our hearts that “He couldn’t have done it without me.”
Does the tool ever demand glory for the work that was done? Does the hammer require praise from the Carpenter? Do the scissors demand glory from the seamstress? Does the pen ask to be acknowledged for the writer’s work? We are nothing more than the instrument of God’s grace, and instruments draw no attention to themselves. No matter how rare and valuable the Stradivarius violin, its only true value is found in the music produced on it by the Master violinist who plays it.
If we truly understood the concept of ascribing, or giving praise and glory to God, then we would never draw attention to ourselves. If we truly reflected on the condition of our hearts during times of worship, we might discover that we are not really ascribing unto God the glory due His name. We are not naturally humble people who give someone else the full credit for what we have done. We tend to minimize the need for humility in worship. We would rather worship the Lord in the splendor of the worship band than in the splendor of His holiness.
Standing in the presence of His holiness requires humility and self-denial, so we would rather stand in the presence of our peers. We would rather compare our worship to our neighbor’s and believe that ours is better and more meaningful, thus ascribing glory to ourselves. It is hypocritical to worship the Lord in song while our hearts and minds are focused on our own lives and the people around us.
What would the worship in our church look like if every worshiper was totally fixed on the glory of God and the splendor of His holiness? How would our singing be different if we were not concerned with the style of music or the way it was being performed? How much more in touch with the Spirit of God would we be if we were not so concerned about the people around us? How would the musicians behave while they performed the music if they did it in a spirit of humility in the splendor of His holiness? How would our responses to God during worship be different? Would we spend more time on our knees than on our feet? Would we lift up holy hands to the Lord more often? Would we cry more frequently as we come face to face with the awesome grace of God?
Ascribe to the LORD, O mighty ones, ascribe to the LORD glory and strength. Ascribe to the LORD the glory due his name; worship the LORD in the splendor of his holiness.
Give all of the glory for your life to the only One who is worthy of praise – the Lord God Almighty. Hold nothing back for yourself. It is not God and you that accomplish anything – it is God alone. You are the tool – the instrument. God does all the work and plays all of the music.
Ascribe to the Lord, you who think you are mighty, all glory and strength.