Monday, June 21, 2010

With All My Heart - Psalm 138 (part 1)

"I will give Thee thanks with all my heart;
I will sing praises to The before the gods.
I will bow down toward Thy holy temple,
and give thanks to Thy name
for Thy lovingkindness and Thy truth.
For Thou hast magnified Thy word
according to all Thy name.
On the day I called Thou didst answer me;
Thou didst make me bold with strength in my soul.
(Psalm 138:1-3)

David is determined.

He's determined to give thanks.
He's determined to sing praise.
He's determined to worship.
AND, he's determined to do it with all of his heart!

David WILL give thanks to his God and he will do it with all that is within him. Half-hearted part praise just won't cut it. It is the great God whom we worship and He is worthy of our everything! He is worthy of our ALL!

David "would praise God with sincerity and zeal, with that which is within and with ALL that is within. He would praise God with inward impressions agreeing with outward expressions." (Matthew Henry)
I can't speak for you, but that little word "all" gives me cause to pause.
How often is my thanksgiving only partial?
How often do I merely go through the motions?
How often do I just do my duty and say "thanks God" while never truly being engaged in heart and mind and soul?
How often do my "outward expressions" not line up with my "inward impressions"?
Sadly, not often enough.

Oh, Lord - stir my heart to sincere service! Make me to give thanks with ALL my heart.

Our God deserves our all. Honestly, He deserves that and then some! How I pray that the God of great grace would grant to me a grateful heart - a grateful heart that would give its "all" back to Him.

David is determined to give earnest and honest thanks. David is also determined to sing praises to His God - the living God - right slap dab in the midst of all of the false gods. "I will sing praises to Thee before the gods."

Am I so determined?
Am I willing to speak of my God, to extol His wonders and mercies, to offer a sacrifice of praise even when all around me might despise Him - and therefore despise me?
When all around me mock Him - and therefore might mock me?

The timing of the writing of this particular blog entry is actually rather funny. As I type this morning, I am sitting in a hotel lobby near the Atlanta International Airport. We are on a church business trip with our denomination talking about missions in North America. My family is still asleep up in our room and the only place I could find this morning to read and pray was down here - slap dab in the middle of the watching world. I looked all around this hotel trying to find a private place - there was none. So here I am - in the lobby before the "gods" of metro Atlanta with my Bible in hand. The location wasn't my perfect preference for morning praise - not by a long shot - but it was my only option. By grace, I was determined to praise my God as this day began and by providence here I am.

Now, suffice it to say that at 5:15 AM there aren't a ton of folks floating around, but there are some. There is the front desk man (he looks sleepy), the cleaning crew (they look grumpy), some gentlemen heading to work out (they look consumed), a businessman here and there heading out to conquer the world (they look busy), etc. I've gotten a few glances and I've even had a few conversations as I sat here reading and praying. One in particular went:

"Is that a Bible?"

"Yes, sir it is."

"Hmm. Interesting!"

I suppose it sort of struck me as funny to be meditating on "praising God before the gods" as I sit here right in the heart of Atlanta doing that very thing! David was determined - and this day I suppose I should be thankful that God has made me determined as well.

David was determined to be wholeheartedly thankful, to praise his God wherever he was, and to worship Him as He was directed to - "bowing down toward Thy holy temple." Worship was very regulated in Old Testament times. It still is today- it is just directed a little differently.

We are a temple - the temple of the Holy Spirit. And this temple has a high priest- His name is Christ. It is to Him, through Him, toward Him, and all about Him that we are to worship. He is the Mediator between God and man.

Are we worshipping through Him?
Are our lives bowed down before Him?
No one comes to the Father but by Christ - are we coming to the Holy of holies through the great temple sacrifice of the Lord Jesus Christ?

O, let us give thanks with all of our hearts, singing praises to our God who is the God of all gods. Let us bow down in worshipful submission to His Lordship and let us stand in grateful awe of His "loving-kindness and truth."

David is determined to do these things and he was determined with good reason. He knew of God's loving-kindness and of His truth. He had seen these things "magnified" in his life and in the world around him. He had seen God prove faithful to His covenant. He had seen answer after answer after answer to prayer. He writes:

"On the day I called Thou didst answer me;
Thou didst make me bold with strength in my soul."

Henry's thoughts on this were wonderful:

"If God give us strength in our souls to bear the burdens, resist the temptations, and do the duties of an afflicted state, if He strengthens us to keep hold of Himself by faith, to maintain the peace of our own minds and to wait with patience for the issue, we must own that He has answered us and we are bound to be thankful."
Christian, look back. Call to mind the ever ebbing Ebenezers of our great God. We have called. He has answered. He has ordained all of our days and all of our ways in perfect faithfulness. He has given us strength when we were weak and boldness when we were meek.

Remember. Remember and revere. Remember and give thanks with a whole heart.
So much more lies ahead in Psalm 138. But this morning as I sit here watching the world wake up, watching the masses of men pursuing the gods of this world, I for one am thankful for the God who made this world and am thankful for a hotel lobby where I can sing His praise and bown my heart before Him.

In His glorious grace,

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