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)
[The book of psalms is our songbook of life—in celebration or grief, in confidence or confusion, in joy or anger or despair. I invite you to read and reflect on these songs of life wherever YOU are this week. Read the psalm, read my reflection below, then consider posting and sharing your own observations at the bottom of the page. Today’s devotion is adapted from a post on October 4, 2018]
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 sung by millions over the centuries. Remarkably, the stories they tell as still as relevant for all of us today as they were for 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, his struggles with faith and his conviction of the goodness and power of his God.
So, as I sit in my little office today at 5475 Ravine Road in Kalamazoo, I am taking this personally!
Last Sunday, we celebrated the third “birthday” for our new church plant in Kalamazoo,The Living Well. Just like our very first service three years ago, there were a hundred things 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. Somehow, it all still takes time and effort—even after three years of practice!
All of those details might seem important to us, but in Psalm 9, David reminds us of the things that are most important. In all of our excitement, all our busyness, even in the face of desperate times or global pandemics, the Psalms call us to remember to look upward and outward before we look 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 show and tell, David wants to share 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 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 commitment to worship, to witness, and to spiritual wellness. I will!
It’s tempting for any of us this week to point fingers elsewhere—to think that 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 your faith outward, and asking God to fill your life inwardly. Take it personally…God will take care of the rest of it…and He will take care of you. Stay thirsty!