Songs of Grateful Praise
Author of Grace, Giver of Peace, say a word and break through again into my life. I need You.
Consider: "The more we love God, the more we shall come to him with our praise and worship--and the less we shall reduce him to the level of an emergency backstop" (Richard Bewes).
As we read of David's struggles and victories, we glimpse a passionate and brave man who could praise the Lord in inspired and lyrical joy. Many--though not all--of the Psalms are credited to him. Perhaps he founded a school of poets and composers to encourage his people to express the full range of human emotion together before their God. When I became a Christian in my teens, I turned up at my local Episcopal church. We chanted the Psalms, and I grew to love the way the heights and depths of human emotion and experience were expressed in them.
Taken together, these two psalms begin with deeply personal recollections of distressing and life-threatening situations, woven together with joyful gratitude for the Lord's deliverance and goodness. That gratitude leads the singer to "the courts of the house of the Lord" (116:19) to praise his name in the presence of the people. Then in Psalm 117 his praise moves out to embrace the whole human race. We could read these psalms as a commentary on David's life, his battles and victories, his distress and sorrow. Today, when we praise the Lord in psalms, we know him as our Savior, born in David's town, of David's line, to whom the Lord God gave the throne of his father David, "and he will reign over Jacob's descendants for ever; his kingdom will never end" (Luke 1:32-33).
We can also read these two psalms as a reflection on our own lives: looking back on times when our feet stumbled and our eyes were full of tears, when we were unwary and brought low--and ending with the psalmist's question "What shall I return to the Lord for all his goodness to me?" (116:12).
What thank offerings could you give to God (17)?
Heavenly Father, I don't want to be like an ungrateful child, always taking things for granted and not with gratitude. Accept my grateful thanks for all Your blessings to me.