Journal: A Psalm of Thanksgiving — Ps 138
I found Psalm 138 particularly appropriate since this week is Thanksgiving.
Give Thanks to the LORD
Psalm 138 OF DAVID.
1 I give you thanks, O LORD, with my whole heart;
before the gods I sing your praise;
2 I bow down toward your holy temple
and give thanks to your name for your steadfast love and your faithfulness,
for you have exalted above all things
your name and your word.
3 On the day I called, you answered me;
my strength of soul you increased.
4 All the kings of the earth shall give you thanks, O LORD,
for they have heard the words of your mouth,
5 and they shall sing of the ways of the LORD,
for great is the glory of the LORD.
6 For though the LORD is high, he regards the lowly,
but the haughty he knows from afar.
7 Though I walk in the midst of trouble,
you preserve my life;
you stretch out your hand against the wrath of my enemies,
and your right hand delivers me.
8 The LORD will fulfill his purpose for me;
your steadfast love, O LORD, endures forever.
Do not forsake the work of your hands.
The Holy Bible : English Standard Version. (Wheaton: Standard Bible Society, 2001), Ps 138:title–8.
David first describes the context and posture in which he gives thanks, “before the gods” and “I bow down”. There was a long time in my life, though I believed, I couldn’t bow my head in public because I did not want to be identified as a Christian (now I’m starting a blog–there must be a Holy Spirit). “[B]efore the gods”, I could not bow to the true God…it was personal…or so I would tell myself. David physically positions himself before the Lord so all could know whom he served.
David has a knack for speaking the heart of God–”the Lord will fulfill his purpose for me”. He often makes bold proclamations about the will of God toward him. This is, perhaps, milder than in other Psalms where he claims righteousness and cleanliness (Ps 18:20 & 24) or similar to when he makes other future statements about the Lord (Ps 40:11). This is God’s desire for us…to know Him and know His ways. We can claim righteousness (not our own–only that which is from the Lord through Jesus Christ), we can make bold statements about God’s mercy on us with words such as “always” or “never”. We can tell God what he will do for us, because we KNOW Him.
If we desire to pray the heart of God, to God, the Psalms are where we must start. These are the prayers of Jesus on the cross. He bowed himself to God, evils around him, claimed the Truth of who He is, then trusted in the future God had proclaimed for Him. This is why we praise and thank Him.