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Praise now or later
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"May all the kings of the earth praise you, O Lord, when they hear the words of your mouth. May they sing of the ways of the Lord, for the glory of the Lord is great." (Psalm 138:4-5, NIV).
Last week we looked at the first three verses of this psalm. We discovered then that the opening verse spoke of David's bold witness in the face of opposition. That even though kings of earth demanded that worship of Yahweh be silenced in the exaltation of their false gods.
Now, we see a stark contrast. Verse 1 refers to a state sponsored separation of church and state policy, but by verse 4 the very rulers who tried to silence the worship of the one true God are now joining in worship. What a turn around.
Often I hear fallen men brag that if there is a God, when they get to heaven or at least stand before him in judgment, they are going to tell him a thing or two. Such is the braggadocio of sinful men whose hearts are blinded by pride.
The New Testament equivalent of our text, I think, is found in Philippians 2:9-11: "Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father" (NIV).
Notice something in both of these passages. Those who once disparaged God now worship him. There is no sense of complaining; no sense of giving him a piece of our minds; no hint of telling him a thing or two. And notice if you will that it is every tongue everywhere that will confess that Jesus is Lord to the glory of God the Father. That I believe includes all the demons of hell and even the devil himself.
The point I am trying to make here is this: nowhere do we have a hint of anyone (even the eternally condemned) complaining that their sentence is not fair. Far from us trying to "set the record straight" or tell God "we didn't have enough evidence to decide for you," we are going to recognize our culpability and God's marvelous grace and even the most reluctant is going to praise God for his goodness, even in judgment.
The bottom line to all this is simple: either you can praise and honor him now by accepting God's gift of grace so that when you join in this ultimate worship experience you will be doing so from the choir of the redeemed, or you can persist in wanting things your own way and when you join this ultimate worship experience you will be doing so from the choir of the condemned. But make no mistake about it, one way or another your tongue is going to confess Jesus Christ is Lord. There is no getting around it.

Dr. John Pearrell is pastor of Gateway Community Church. Write him in care of the church at 11677 Brown Bridge Road Covington, GA 30016. Or e-mail him at For more information visit the Gateway Web site at