“…You have upheld my right…” Psalm 9:4 (NIV)
Horatio Bonar noticed that, “…as the Eighth (psalm) caught-up the last line of the seventh, this ninth psalm opens with an apparent reference to the eighth.” The last line of the eighth psalm reads: “…how majestic is Your name in all the earth!” Continuing in exalting the name above every name, God breathes this psalm to life in the heart and mind of the young warrior with a heart after God: “I will praise You, O Lord, with all my heart; I will tell of all Your wonders. I will be glad and rejoice in You; I will sing praise to Your name, O Most High.”
David’s praise is personal, poignant and passionate. His statement is a resolution of personal conviction: David committed to praising God with all his heart. This resolve affected his senses so powerfully that it would not do to remain silent about it. He would tell of God’s wondrous works, and the only way to tell others, once one has personally experienced God’s power, is to do so passionately – displaying confidence in one’s own experience.
The motivation behind David’s praise is found in today’s five understandable words. In them we discover God is The Upholder of rights founded on His righteous precepts. I shared forty of those precepts in my book, “Freedom’s Foundation” (©2015). True freedom protects the liberties of those living under its banner. Thus, one’s rights ensure the freedom to live out one’s purpose or cause in life, especially when expended on God’s Kingdom. David had been keenly aware of his life’s purpose from a young age when Samuel anointed him as Israel’s future king. (1 Sa. 16:1-13)
As king, David offered unfettered praise to His deliverer and shield. This song seems to overflow with thanksgiving and delight: “I will praise You, O Lord, with all my heart; I will tell of all Your wonders. I will be glad and rejoice in You. I will sing praise to Your name, O Most High.” It is obvious that David’s praise is for God, not the works. Oftentimes, God’s creation motivates man to worship the creation rather than the Creator. In the same way, one may often dwell on God’s wondrous accomplishments than upon Him.
David did recount his own historical record (2 Samuel 16-21) of God’s power to establish those He has chosen:
· “My enemies stumble and perish before You…” He may have been referring to his own son’s death. It was Absalom whose schemed to overthrow his own father and ended up paying for it with his life.
· “You have rebuked the nations and destroyed the wicked…” The tribes of Israel that had joined Absalom were rebuked and order was restored to all of Israel.
· “…You have blotted out their name for ever…” This could be a reference to the fact that Absalom had no children, no male heirs to carry on his name. This was seen as a judgment against him. He was buried in a tomb he had constructed for himself. It is located between The Garden of Gethsemane and Bethlehem. (2 Sa. 18:18)
· “Endless ruin has overtaken the enemy, You have uprooted their cities; even the memory of them has perished.” It is unclear if David is referring to the tribes overthrown to gain control of The Promised Land or of other tribes which were defeated in David’s reign. Either way, David is pointing to the hand of God as his Deliverer.
David is practicing one of the best ways to systematically offer praise to God: by counting one’s blessings! For David, it was through God’s hand of intervention offering physical protection and miraculous moments giving David an advantage or way escape from his enemies. For us today we are able to utilize this same approach of counting our blessings. It may be God has saved you from the threat of disease, or a car accident, or financial ruin, or any number of calamities known to man. As you reflect on God’s hand of provision, protection, and providential care, let praise well up from within you and offer God praise with ALL your heart. Half hearted praise ends up falling flat, never reaching the altar of sacrifice. Offer the sacrifice of praise with a whole heart, fully abandoned to exalting The One Who is worthy to be praised!