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.
(Psalm 9:1-2, NLT)
These weekly reflections are intended to be for a general audience, just like the Psalms themselves. The song book of the Psalms was written thousands of years ago, and has been sung by millions over the centuries. Remarkably, the stories they tell as still as relevant for all of us today as they were for all the Hebrew people in ancient times.
That said, there is no getting past the truth that the Psalms are also very specific. It’s like opening up someone’s personal journal and reading about all of her trials and triumphs, her struggles with faith and her conviction of the goodness and power of her God.
So as I sit in my little office today at 5475 Ravine Road in Kalamazoo, I’m taking it personally!
This Sunday, we have the much-anticipated Grand Opening for our new church plant in Kalamazoo, The Living Well. There are a hundred things for dozens of us to do in preparation for those services—finishing up big projects, cleaning up little messes, getting the band prepared to lead music, making sure everything…and everyone…is in the right place.
But in Psalm 9, David reminds us of the three things that are most important. In all of our excitement, all our busyness, or even in the face of desperate times, the Psalms call us to remember to look upward, outward and inward. His first gaze is upward, “I will praise you, Lord, with all my heart.” As you read through David’s journal, notice how he recognizes and praises God for WHO HE IS. His second move is outward, “I will tell of all the marvelous things you have done.” Like a holy show and tell, David wants to share the amazing news of God’s goodness with others. And then finally, “I will be filled with joy because of you.” David realizes God’s love and kindness isn’t just generally for everyone, but also specifically for him.
And maybe that is the most important thing for me, and for each of us to remember today. David begins his song with “I will…I will…I will…,” instead of “You should…you should…you should.” David takes it personally, and makes a personal commitment to worship, to witness, and to spiritual wellness. I will!
It’s tempting for any of us this week to think the world would be a much better place if other people would just get their act together! But the Psalms remind us that God wants our faith to be personal. “Those who know your name trust in you; for you, Lord, have never forsaken those who seek you.”
Don’t wait for the world to catch on that Jesus is the answer! Start living your own Spirit-filled life by lifting your praise upward, sharing that testimony outward, and asking God to fill your life inwardly–with all of the love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness and self-control He is longing to give you. God will take care of the rest of it…and He will surely take care of you. Stay thirsty for Him!
Philip Rose, Lead Pastor