Tuesday, March 15, 2005

How to Increase Your Greatness

You shall increase my greatness,
And comfort me on every side.
(Psalm 71:21)
Here is a man (probably David) who trusts completely in God. “In You, O LORD, I put my trust” (v. 1). Behind the name LORD (all caps) is the Hebrew name Yahweh, the personal name of God, the name by which He revealed Himself in covenant with His people. The writer of this psalm is leaning hard into the covenant God has made with him. His expectation has been set by the promises of God’s protection and provision, and so he is full of confidence in the LORD.

The actions and impulses of his life, his motions and emotions, are consistently focused on Yahweh. “Be my strong refuge, to which I may resort continually” (v. 3). “My praise shall be continually of You” (v. 6). “But I will hope continually, and will praise You yet more and more” (v. 14).

This is a man who has walked with the LORD for years, faithfully declaring His works (v. 17), and now, even in his old age, his desire is to proclaim the LORD to the next generation. “Now also when I am old and grayheaded, O God, do not forsake me, until I declare Your strength to this generation, Your power to everyone who is to come” (v. 18).

He is not settling back to reminisce about the “good old days,” he is pressing forward to prophesy the future to all who will embrace the strength and power of Yahweh. He has become a father to generations. The essence of fatherhood is inheritance, and inheritance is the secret of greatness.

He has a divine perspective on his life; he takes the long view. Though he has known great and severe troubles, troubles which are not yet past, he trusts God to restore him in a powerful way (v. 20). Then, in verse 21, he declares, “You shall increase my greatness, and comfort me on every side.” There is a greatness to his life, a majesty of mighty deeds. As he continues steadfastly to declare the righteousness and strength of God to the generations, he sees only increase in greatness. God has him surrounded with comfort on all sides. This echoes an earlier prayer of David, “For You, O LORD, will bless the righteous; with favor You will surround him as with a shield” (Psalm 5:11).

Yahweh, our covenant God, is a God of abundance. That abundance is released toward those who are abundant toward Him.

God is willing. Are you? Lay hold of the increase of greatness by the consistency of a life that implicitly trusts, thankfully acknowledges, and faithfully declares the goodness and power of God.