Chip Stapleton Highland Presbyterian Church April 29th, 2020 Hunkered Down Devotions
Psalm 9:1-2 (VOICE) 1 All my heart will give thanks to You, Eternal One. I will tell others about Your amazing works. 2 I will be glad and celebrate You! I will praise You, O Most High!
There is, in one way of thinking, nothing special or remarkable about these first few verses of the ninth Psalm. What I mean by that is that these verses aren’t very unique. Words like these, with similar or even the exact same sentiments are found all throughout not just the Psalms (but especially the Psalms), but all through scripture.
Usually, we might want to highlight the unique element of a passage or the distinct aspects of a verse of scripture, but today the common nature of these verses is what I want to draw our attention to. I want us to think for a moment about why these words and the sentiment they contain are so common and so often repeated. First, let’s be clear about just what these verses are saying, which is pretty straightforward. These two verses contain two main themes: first – praise and thanks to God; second – a promise to share with others what God has done for us. Second, let’s think about why these words and instructions are so frequently repeated throughout our scriptures. As I considered that question this morning, it struck me that there really only two plausible answers.
The first possible answer is that our God somehow needs our constant attention and praise. While we are called to praise God, it isn’t because he is somehow dependent on our praise. Which brings us to the second, and I believe accurate reason why we are so often called to praise God: because it’s good for us.
Much like prayer – which, properly understood isn’t so much about changing God’s will or mind, but about bending our hearts, will, and mind to match God’s – the praise we offer God is important because of what it does for us.
When we spent time – in prayer, devotion, study – regularly taking stock of what God has done for us and giving thanks for it, our perspective about ourselves, our world, and even God are changed. When we make a habit of praising God, which begins with recognizing God’s presence and providence in our lives, it cultivates gratitude in us.
This change of perspective and increase in gratitude helps us to live our lives in a way that point others to God, something we are to do with our lives and our words. But it also allows us to live into the full and fulfilled lives that God has created us for here and now.
We will never experience life as God has intended it for us if we are focused on what we don’t have or our problems, but if we habitually turn to God in praise, recognizing all of his gifts for us and care of us, we begin to live into God’s kingdom here and now. Sharing God’s Love, Chip
Prayer: Lord, help us to make a habit of recognizing your gifts and care for us and to turn our hearts, minds, lives, and mouths to you in praise. Guide us to share your grace and love by living the full and fulfilled lives you have intended for us. Amen.