Psalm 9:1-2 (NLT)
I will praise you, Lord, with all my heart; I will tell of all the marvelous things you have done. I will be filled with joy because of you. I will sing praises to your name, O Most High.
David’s life was a series of major ups and downs. From the highest highs to the lowest lows…from time’s in control to times on the run…from opulent palaces to dingy caves and everything in between, but no matter what was going on, David always remembered to do one thing: He made the decision to praise the Lord. I wish I were that faithful.
Psalm 9, like David’s life, is all over the map…and it should be a pattern that most of us recognize. When things are good, we are shiny happy people with a smile on our faces and a pep in our step…but when things go south, so does our disposition and along with it, our attitude. God’s faithfulness in days gone by takes a back seat to worry, fear, and a sense that our lives are out of control. Sometimes the darkness is so grim that we don’t even bother to search for the light. Have you ever been there? David has, too. So, have I.
David’s opening in this Psalm is emphatic and we need to follow his example. I will…I will…I will…I will. David shows us four ways that we can and should worship God, especially in the midst of difficult days: Giving Thanks, Telling the Story, Basking in His Goodness, and Singing His Praises.
The Hebrew word David uses for praise in verse 1 better translates into “giving thanks,” and it is an exercise in remembering all that God has done for you. Del Tackett, the creator of The Truth Project, said that we tend to “forget what we should remember and remember what we should forget.” Looking back on what God has brought you through should give you confidence that He will continue to do so in the present and in the future.
Another effective form of worship, despite your circumstances, is to tell others what God has done in your life. When a friend of mine was dying of cancer at 39 years of age, God’s Spirit whispered to mine that “He is a good steward of his affliction” … and he was. This brother became a Town Crier for the goodness of God, and it was a gospel light that shined brightly despite the darkness of his sickness and early departure from this earth. In the midst of his pain he experienced joy unspeakable.
The last two – Basking in His Goodness and Singing His Praises – are based solely on God’s character…His goodness, mercy, kindness, long-suffering, and love. God’s goodness shows up in our joy, which is anchored in the gospel rather than our circumstances. His sacrifice in the face of our disinterest (Rom. 5:8) and the kindness He extended to us on the cross which led to our repentance (Rom. 2:4) are signs of His everlasting goodness and a reality that we need to rest in…and sing songs about.
Like David, we need to decide that “we will” praise the Lord in the midst of our battles and set-backs, as well as when times are easier and more comfortable. Settle it now: I will praise you, Lord! I will tell of you, Lord! I will bask in your goodness and sing of your love! I will…I will…I will…I will!