Turning Around The Birthday Blues

Vered Hillel Biblical Topics Leave a Comment

Cake on table pushed overThe other day I woke up feeling overwhelmed by the pain of hurtful and unjust situations and relationships for which I have asked for healing and restoration, but have not yet seen their fulfillment. The worst thing is that it was my birthday. I surely did not want this cloud of despair hanging over me on my birthday of all days!

After walking and praying, I sat down to read the Psalms of the day and was encouraged and challenged by what I read. I was struck by the first couple of verses in Psalm 9, “I will praise ADONAI with my whole heart. I will tell about all Your wonders. I will be glad and rejoice in You. I will sing praise to Your Name, Elyon!” (vv. 2-3). Notice that the psalmist says “I will”. To praise ADONAI is a choice.

If you read the entire psalm, you will see that life was not going well for the psalmist, yet he chose to praise Adonai, to tell of His wonders, to be glad and rejoice. The psalmist says he will praise God with his whole heart, which means that all of his mind and soul as centered in his heart are taking part in the act. He thankfully and intelligently confesses God and declares His wondrous acts, which exceed every human desire and understanding. His rejoicing, gladness and joy are grounded in ADONAI, and he sings to the Name of the Most High (Elyon). Notice that these are all actions, ones that require a choice to undertake. Though after years of walking with ADONAI and developing our relationship, that day I had taken my will back into my own hands by trying to solve and resolve the situations and to remain in despair, instead of choosing to praise and rejoice in ADONAI Elyon with my whole heart. I made the choice to praise and by doing so, I began to change.

But I was still trying to find the right thing to say that would solve or resolve the situation.

The next psalm in my reading, Psalm 39, expressed my situation and showed me the way forward.

“I will guard my ways, so I will not sin with my tongue. I will muzzle my mouth while the wicked are before me. So I became utterly speechless, kept silent even from good, but my anguish was stirred up  My heart was hot within me, while I was musing, the fire burned. Then I spoke with my tongue: “Let me know, ADONAI, my end and what the number of my days is. Let me know how short-lived I am.”

Not only was I reminded to choose to confess ADONAI in my praise, joy and adoration, but I was reminded who I am, and began to release the situations and let ADONAI deal with them. I was reminded to let Him be ADONAI, and to place into His hands, everything that was plaguing. My situations didn’t change, but my attitude and perspective changed.

God is not a respecter of persons, meaning that God does not show partiality. The challenge, correction and encouragement that He showed me on my birthday is the same for everyone. I encourage you to take the step to place things in your life into His hands, and make the choice to praise Him with your whole heart. It will make a difference in you.

About the Author
Vered Hillel

Vered Hillel

Vered Hillel is a professor of Second Temple Period Judaism and Early Christianity. She currently serves as the Provost of Messianic Jewish Theological Institute. Also, she has been recently ordained with the title of Rabbi by the Messianic Jewish Rabbinical Council. She teaches as adjunct faculty in various Bible Colleges and Universities. She helped found Israel College of the Bible, Netanya, Israel, where she also served as Associate Academic Dean and Instructor.

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