Psalm 138: I will praise thee with my whole heart: before the gods will I sing praise unto thee. 2 I will worship toward thy holy temple, and praise thy name for thy lovingkindness and for thy truth: for thou hast magnified thy word above all thy name. 3 In the day when I cried thou answeredst me, and strengthenedst me with strength in my soul.
7 Though I walk in the midst of trouble, thou wilt revive me: thou shalt stretch forth thine hand against the wrath of mine enemies, and thy right hand shall save me. 8 The Lord will perfect that which concerneth me: thy mercy, O Lord, endureth for ever: forsake not the works of thine own hands.
David, the great songwriter, knew he wasn’t perfect. He needed spiritual strength (v. 3). He walked in trouble (v. 7), and God was still working on him (v. 8). I can identify.
Though separated by over 3000 years, the essence of my life struggle does not differ greatly from David’s. I need spiritual strength to stand against the enemy’s daily bombardment of lies. I live and walk in a troubled time where the confusion of right and wrong is the norm, and God certainly isn’t finished with me yet. He continues to sand off the rough places and sculpt out the excesses to carve me into His likeness. In this process, comfort is not the norm, and I do not always praise Him for His work.
David, however, made a choice. Regardless of what was happening inside and out, he committed to praise God. He determined to worship. The evidence of this decision flows through the Psalms calling my own heart to the throne of God.
People tend to disparage a thankful heart and spirit as ‘Pollyannish’ after the overly optimistic character in the 1913 novel by Eleanor Porter, seeing the person as naive; but praise is not naive nor mindless. Rather it lifts our perspective from the immediate to the eternal, from the limited resources of our souls to the exceedingly abundant substance of Jehovah God, and opens our hearts to His healing, His love, and His strength. Praise surpasses our limitations and aligns our hearts with God.
David’s troubles, his sins, and his groanings explicitly permeate the Psalms, providing the backdrop to his declaration in verses one and two. He would not pine; He would praise. He would not wallow; He would worship.
Daily victory lies in following his example.