Father. As He hung on the cross, Jesus bound His thoughts
to the purpose of accomplishing the Father’s will. Christ fixed
His mind on His all-wise, all-loving Father in the midst of
His wilderness experience. Because of this, He said, “Father,
forgive them, for they do not know what they do” (Luke
23: 34). In His final moments of earthly life, Jesus said, “Father,
into Your hands I commit My spirit” (Luke 23: 46). As Christ
died the death reserved for the worst of criminals, His words
expressed the overflow of His heart: purposeful, truthful meditation on His Father’s character and works.
Your heart’s meditation
As with David, so with Christ, and so with you. Respond
with the same purposefulness of thought. Walk with Him
through the wilderness. What does the altar in your heart look
like? Is it broken down and in need of rebuilding? Do you
allow the lies of the world, the flesh, and the Devil to take over
the place of worship that should be set apart for God alone?
Tear down these powerful lies that call you to doubt God’s
holy, loving goodness. Meditate on the truth of God. Don’t
bow down to the thoughts and captivating pictures that lead
to fear, worry, and desperation. Rejoice that the Creator of the
universe is your Father and God.
As David observed the routine elements of the wilderness—
hot, dry, threatening, lonely—he transformed them into word
pictures that directed his attention to God. Take the routine
elements of the situation in which God has placed you and
interpret them through the lens of His Word. Let the word
pictures and captivating metaphors of Scripture remind you of
God’s work on your behalf. How can the furnishings of your
home and workplace remind you of God? How can the scenery
on the commute to work direct your heart to Him? How can
mundane things become glorious as you transform them into
reminders of God, building an altar to Him in your mind?
God gives you a wonderful opportunity in the wilderness—an opportunity to set your mind on learning more of
His character and works. When we meditate on God, our very
situation becomes a land filled with reminders of Him.
David’s praise in the wilderness
As we have walked through this psalm, have you noticed
how words of praise permeate the text? “My lips shall praise
You.” “I will bless You while I live; I will lift up my hands in
Your name.” “My mouth shall praise You with joyful lips.”
In a place where David’s sinful heart cried out for him to
submit to grumbling and complaining, David chose rather to
submit to abundant praise. Because he sought God earnestly,
reflected on Him continually, and praised Him submissively,
God used the wilderness to continue His work of transforma-
tion in David’s heart.
Christ’s praise at the Cross
Notice how our Lord Jesus Christ praised His Father in the
midst of the wilderness. As He left His last supper with His
disciples, He sang psalms of praise to His Father. As Christ
hung on the cross, suspended between Heaven and earth, He
sought after and fixed His mind on His Father. This resulted
in submissive praise to His Father: “For the joy that was set
before Him endured the cross” (Hebrews 12:2).
Christ remained faithful to the very end. Remember what
took place as He was dying an excruciating death? In the dark
depths of the wilderness, Christ responded with a wondrous
act of submissive praise to God. At a time when sinful man
would have been fully absorbed with his own pain and suffering, our suffering Savior brought praise to His Father. He
entered into an undeserving thief’s suffering, and redeemed
him moments before he faced the eternal torments of Hell.
Instead this repentant thief joined his suffering Savior in Paradise (Luke 23: 39–45).
Put your praise into action
1. List your blessings.
What can we do to praise God in the wilderness in specific
and concrete ways? Make a list of God’s blessings to you,
even as you face each day in the wilderness. Remember the
ordinary—shelter, food, breath, flowers, brothers and sisters in
Christ—as well as the extraordinary. Use the list to guide your
prayers of praise to God. Plan to share these blessings with
your family and brothers and sisters in Christ.
2. Carry out your responsibilities.
When I am in the wilderness, I tend to neglect some of my
responsibilities of submissive obedience to God. I suspect you
have a similar struggle. List those responsibilities that you
tend to neglect while in the wilderness—spending time in
the Word of God and prayer, ironing, returning phone calls,
writing that difficult memo, paying bills, tidying up, going out
of your way to take an interest in someone else. Make your list
personal and concrete. Begin today to fulfill those responsibilities as a sacrifice of submissive praise to your God.
3. Demonstrate your faith purposefully.
Take this a step further and list new proactive ways you can
demonstrate your faith in God and love for others. To whom
can you reach out with acts of love and kindness? Again, make
it concrete and personal. “I will call Mary and see how she is
doing today.” “I will call ahead and stop by Jerry’s office to pray
with him concerning his wayward son.” Keep going. Begin
doing these acts of faith and love as an expression of submissive praise to God in the wilderness.
Our Lord Jesus Christ praised His
Father in the midst of the wilderness.
As He left His last supper with His
disciples, He sang psalms of praise
to His Father.