Remembering the character of God and the wonderful things he has done moves us to praise and thank our great God for who he is and what he has done. This series of devotions have been written by Sarah Condie to encourage you to ponder the loving deeds of the Lord, so that songs of joy and thankfulness bubble forth from within you. Some devotions will focus on small but significant habits, while others will focus on the character of God.
At the end of each devotion and prayer, Sarah has provided a link to a song. Everyone’s taste in music is unique, so please, if you don’t like her choices, choose songs that you love.
For the director of music. To the tune of “The Death of the Son.” A psalm of David.
1 I will give thanks to you, Lord, with all my heart;
I will tell of all your wonderful deeds.
2 I will be glad and rejoice in you;
I will sing the praises of your name, O Most High.
King David’s life was filled with much suffering and persecution. He didn’t live the ‘enchanted life’ of fairy tales with the ‘happily ever after’ vibe. David spent many days in the valley of darkness. He knew about affliction, oppression and evil.
This Psalm speaks into the context of strife and chaos. David’s world was not that different to the world we face today. Each day, there seems to be a new trouble spot or disaster happening somewhere in our world causing more havoc and adding to the numbers of the afflicted, dispossessed and vulnerable. And then there are the troubles closer to home — to our family, our friends, our church family.
Often, we think that our experience of life is dependent upon our circumstances: when things go well, we feel good; when life is difficult, not so much. But the truth is that we can find our hearts and minds lifted to God in thanks and praise even in the midst of challenging life circumstances. This is because the way we experience events is very much shaped by our mindset. ‘Mindset’ means the way we view things, the way we interpret and make sense of the circumstances that come our way.
David begins this Psalm with the words ‘I will…’ He repeats those words four times. He will give thanks. He will be glad and rejoice. He will sing. He will tell the world about the wonderful deeds of his God. Our God — the ruler and judge of the world. David’s mindset frames how he makes sense of what he is facing and how he responds.
One of the key factors that influences our mindset is what we pay attention to. You may be familiar with the concept of neuroplasticity — that our brains can change and reorganise, especially in response to repeated experiences and learning. Neural pathways are formed and strengthened by what captures our attention.
King David shaped his neural pathways in a particular manner. He could say, ‘I will…’ because he filled his mind with rich truths about the character of God. David knew that his Lord is a refuge for the oppressed and a stronghold in troubled times (v 9). He knew that he never forsakes those who trust in him and seek to follow Him (v 10). The Lord upholds justice and mercy and is far more powerful and mighty than those perpetrating the evil in David’s world (v 12). More than this, he knew that his God, our God, hears the cries of the afflicted, even when they are tiny silent groans. And he cares for the vulnerable, the weak, and those whose lives have been shattered and broken.
‘But God will never forget the needy.
The hope of the afflicted will never perish.’ (Psalm 9:18)
As he promised, God has not forsaken or abandoned us. He sent his Son, Jesus, into the world to deal with our mess and the mess of the world. And as we turn our attention to the wonderful deeds that God has done, we too will find reasons to praise and rejoice.
I will give thanks to you, Lord, with all my heart,
I will tell of all your wonderful deeds.
I will be glad and rejoice in you.
I will sing the praises of your name, O Most High
Song: Living Hope Bethel Music
This series of devotions was written for and first published by The Bible Society Australia.