The Discipline of Praise

"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


"I willn't!" Our second born defiantly declared one morning as I tried to get him dressed. This wasn't the first time he had asserted his will and I knew it wouldn't be the last. To say he is strongwilled would be an understatement! Our son has a stubborn streak a mile long. We used to say he could argue with a brick wall and win! I always thought he would make a great defense lawyer, a career path he considered briefly but his love of numbers won out and he became an accountant instead.


Having a strongwilled child is not easy. What works with a more compliant child does not work with a stubborn one. We quickly found out a spanking would never correct unacceptable behavior, nor would a "stern talking to". However, take away a toy (or as he got older a privilege) and we were in business! While raising him wasn't easy, I also saw how his strong will could be a good thing. I often told him if he didn't agree with something his friends were doing to assert his will and tell them he wasn't going to do whatever it was. My prayer for him has always been, "Lord, let him be stubborn for You and Your ways and not against them!"


Psalm 9 was written by David as a psalm of thanksgiving for God's vindication over his enemies. In verses 3-6 we see why David is praising God. God has caused his enemies to retreat, staggering away at God's appearing. He has judged in David's favor and with fairness. He has rebuked the nations who opposed Him, leaving them in endless ruins. God has fought for David and brought victory. He has done the same for us.


On the cross, Jesus fought for us. In the grave, Jesus fought for us. He fought and He overcame, all for us. We learn in Romans 8:


"Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death. For what the law was powerless to do because it was weakened by the flesh, God did by sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh to be a sin offering. And so He condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the flesh but according to the Spirit." Romans 8:1-4


We can be thankful we have victory over sin and death through the blood of Jesus Christ.


David continues his declaration of praise in verses 7-10 where he proclaims the eternal state of God's sovereignty and rule as Righteous Judge. He speaks of God as a refuge and stronghold in verse 9 and declares that those who know God can trust Him because He never forsakes those who seek Him.


The word used for refuge and stronghold in verse 9 is the same word: misgob. This word means security and protection found in a high place of retreat. God is described as a refuge and a stronghold many places in Scripture.


"The Lord is good, a refuge in times of trouble. He cares for those who trust in Him."

Nahum 1:7


"You have been like a refuge to the poor, a refuge for the needy in their distress, a shelter from the heat. For the breath of the ruthless is like the heat of a storm driving against a wall and like the heat of the desert." Isaiah 25:4


"The Lord will roar from Zion and thunder from Jerusalem; the earth and the heavens will tremble. But the Lord will be a refuge for His people, a stronghold for the people of Israel." Joel 3:16


We can be thankful we have refuge and shelter in Christ Jesus our Lord. We can be thankful He is our stronghold in times of trouble.


In the final verses of this Psalm, David prays for God to continue delivering him from his enemies and contrasts the fate of those who oppose God with those who trust in Him. He praises God for His faithfulness to those who call on His name and to punish those who do not. We can be thankful ours is a God of faithfulness.


Our focus verses communicate, not just the who of David's praise, but also the how. In the NLT we see the phrase "I will" used four times in these two verses. This led me to look up the definition of "will".


dictionary.com defines will as: the power of choosing one's own actions

purpose or determination, often hearty or stubborn determination, willfulness


Some synonyms for will are: personal choice, character, discipline, inclination, resolve, conviction, and decisiveness.


David is telling God it is his personal choice to praise Him with his whole heart. In Jeremiah 29 God tells us:


"You will seek Me and find Me when you seek Me with your whole heart." 29:13


And James implores us:


"Come close to God, and God will come close to you." James 4:8a


Like David, we can make the choice to praise God with our whole heart. When we choose to praise God no matter the circumstances we are facing, God will come near and help us endure. Paul tells us:


"Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus."

1 Thessalonians 5:18


This kind of praise takes discipline. We must not look at our situation and become discouraged, but look to our God and allow His joy to be our strength as we praise Him. We can be thankful God inhabits our praises.


David continues his choice to praise God by telling of His marvelous deeds. God has done so very much for each one of us. Even if we don't have a story of a miracle, we have a salvation story. Each journey to the Savior is unique and marvelous in its own right. We can be thankful for God's marvelous salvation in our lives! Like Simeon in the temple when he held Baby Jesus, we can proclaim with joyful praise:


"For my eyes have seen Your salvation, which You have prepared in the sight of all nations: a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and the glory of Your people Israel.: Luke 2:30-32


David's final resolve is to sing praise to God's name. By calling God, "Most High" David is recognizing His sovereignty. He has yielded to this sovereignty and because he knows God is a righteous judge, a refuge and stronghold, and a faithful God David has a stubborn determination to snig God's praise. Speaking of Christ's authority and God's sovereignty Paul said:


"Then, when all things are under His authority, the Son will place Himself under God's authority, so that God, who gave His Son authority over all things, will be utterly supreme over everything everywhere." 1 Corinthians 15:28


We can be thankful that our God is sovereign over all things.


Gathered Manna for Psalm 9:1-2 is:


Praise is a personal choice and discipline.


I want to be a person with a stubborn determination to praise God no matter what! Praying we all learn the discipline of praise.


Until next time keep gathering manna, growing deeper, and gaining intimacy!

God bless and keep you,


Jane

Like David, we can make the choice to praise God with our whole heart.

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