Thanksgiving is the expression of the human heart in praise and prayer of the sacred memory of the gracious acts of God which benefit our lives every day. In Psalm 9, David manifests thanksgiving in praise and prayer. Praise and prayer are aspects of worship. Worship is devotion or homage paid to deity. David renders unto God what is rightly due His holy name.
Thanksgiving and Praise.
Praise is adoration of the name of God for His glory, holiness and majesty. God acts in creation and redemption to benefit all of mankind. David makes a holy resolution in response to all that God has done, “I will praise thee.” Consider some aspects of this praise:
1. It is personal. “I.” David engages his own heart, mind and will to glorify God. He has been touched by God’s mercies and graciousness. He renders the praise as thanksgiving.
2. It is reflective. David spends time thinking about God and what He has done. We must count our many blessings and name them one by one. We are ‘vessels of mercy’. Just as a ordinary vessel by its scent tells what liquid is in it, so should our lips smell of the fragrance of God’s mercy shed abroad in our hearts. Thanksgiving is reflective of God’s mercies and help.
3. It is purposed. ”I will.” It sometimes takes all of our determination to bless God in the midst of adversity. Job’s wife told him to curse God and die. Job said, “The Lord gave and the Lord hath taken away; blessed by the name of the Lord” (Job 1:21 and 2:9).
4. It is focused. “I will praise thee.” God is the ultimate source of every good and perfect gift (James 1:17). God is an inexhaustible fountain of blessings that enriches our lives. You cannot separate thanksgiving from God.
5. It is declared. “I will show forth.” The psalmist openly declares his praise for God’s goodness. He tells saint and sinner. His praise is a thankful telling forth of all God has done for him.
6. It is unfeigned. “With my whole heart.” There is no pretense. There is no lip service. His praise is whole-hearted and sincere. This distinguishes him from the hypocrites who pay lip service but their hearts are far from God (Matt. 15:8).
7. It is all-encompassing. “All thy marvelous works.” Can we truly comprehend all of the marvelous works of God? His preservation, forgiveness, conversion, deliverance, creation, provision, guidance, justification, sanctification, atonement, reconciliation, salvation, answered prayers and we shutter to leave something out. If we are willing to talk of His deeds, God has given us plenty to talk about!
Gladness and joy are the appropriate spirit in which to praise the goodness of God. Joy and thanksgiving go together. Can you be sad while counting up all the blessings God has bestowed upon you? Can you truly be thankful and not be joyful? We rejoice in the Lord.
Thanksgiving and Prayer.
In Psalm 9:13, David pleads, “Have mercy upon me, O LORD.” This breathes forth a humble spirit. It exudes a deep spiritual need. It indicates self-knowledge and self-awareness. It make appeal to the source which possesses the power of spiritual healing.
Thou liftest me up from the gates of death. Sickness, sin, despair, and temptation have worked to bring us low. When it seems helpless and hopeless, God delivers and saves. Underneath us are the everlasting arms of Almighty God.
The psalmist returns to praise.
This day of thanksgiving, let us use our lips to declare the true feelings of our hearts as we stand overwhelmed by God’s graciousness and lovingkindness.