Spotlight 17/2017: How to walk and talk with God
Our series on the 2017 theme, “Glory be to God, our Father”, is about to end. However, praising and thanking God will continue until a specific date. An appeal by District Apostle Michael Deppner of the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
When David transported the ark of the Lord to Jerusalem with the people of God, they ran into a problem. The oxen that pulled the cart with the ark on it stumbled and made it lean. Uzzah tried to straighten it and touched it and was struck dead. David hesitated to go ahead and wondered, “How can the ark of the Lord come to me?” Then those bearing the ark of the Lord were given the following instructions: when they had gone six paces, they were to stop and make a sacrifice and worship God. In this way, they arrived in Jerusalem constantly praising God (2 Samuel 6: 1–16).
Like David with the ark, we do not want to take too many steps without stopping to worship and praise our heavenly Father: to praise His fatherly hand and to thank Him for His help. This will allow us to reach our eternal home.
What should come out of our mouth? As guardians of the words that we speak, we have learned from youth on to measure what we say. Three simple questions could be asked to check if what we say is worthwhile:
Is it good (nice)? Certainly, we could criticise, complain, and murmur over our lot in life: our worries, concerns, sicknesses, and failures. These are daily realities. We do not want to downplay suffering. However, when we praise our heavenly Father and make a joyful noise we focus on another reality, on a foundation that is eternal and not earthly: His presence, comfort, and guidance. “It is good to sing praises to our God” (Psalm 147: 1).
Is it the truth? Our hymns of praise, our glorifying of our heavenly Father are not insincere or vain repetitions. They stem out of a realisation that His greatness, His power, and His wisdom are ever present and a truth that endures to all generations (Psalms 100: 5)
Is it useful? Of course, praising our heavenly Father is useful! In Isaiah we read that it was for this reason that we were created: “This people I have formed for Myself; they shall declare My praise” (Isaiah 43: 21). Praising Him puts everything into perspective, because in the process we remind ourselves that all comes from Him and all is for Him.
There is a difference between thanks and praise. In thanking Him we recognise what He does. In praising Him we recognise what He is. We seek to know God, our heavenly Father, better. To know His characteristics helps us to better strive to be more like Him.
Each year we receive a theme from our Chief Apostle, which we ponder over and live by throughout the year in our families and our faith. Typically, we try to integrate this message into our way of walking and talking, and use it to organise various activities throughout the year.
At the beginning of next year, we will receive a new theme, which will guide us in 2018. However, we cannot afford to forget or stop praising our heavenly Father until His Son comes to take us home for all eternity. “Therefore by Him let us continually offer the sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to His name“ (Hebrews 13: 15).