‘I will give thanks to the Lord with my whole heart; I will recount all of your wonderful deeds. I will be glad and exult in you; I will sing praise to your name, O Most High.’ (v1-2)
As we continue our journey through the early chapters of the Book of Psalms, I want us to pause for a moment and consider the opening two verses of Psalm 9. Here we encounter a remarkable outburst of praise from a heart that has grasped hold of God whilst still in a desolate season of life.
‘I will give thanks to the Lord’ (v1a)
Like a seasoned gardener who pushes hard against an old and rickety gate to get into her priced and perfumed rose garden, here the psalmist is stirring himself to shove against the gate of self-will to enter the garden of God’s delight (Psalm 37:4). Giving thanks is not something that comes naturally to most of us. In fact, I believe giving thanks is often spiritual warfare; it is a deliberate decision to take our eyes off our circumstances and worries and search out the wonderful everyday acts of God in our lives. This is fighting for Christ to be the centre of your attention.
‘… with my whole heart’ (v1)
Not just paying lip service; not just going through the motions; no, the psalmist is willing praise to arise from the very core of his being.
As I read these verses I’m led to ask a simple question: how do I keep myself in that place? How do I live like the psalmist, as a thankful and thanks-giving person? The answer, I believe, is back in that rose garden. Talk to any rose enthusiast and you’ll discover (how can I put this politely?) they’re often obsessed with their roses! They live, breathe and even dream about roses. They’ve been captured by an all-encompassing passion and there really isn’t much time for anything else!
Today, why don’t you open the gate of self-will and enter the rose garden of God’s delight? Enter by willing yourself into that place of praise, lifting your eyes off of your circumstances and focusing on who Jesus is — and I mean really focusing. Allow your heart to be overwhelmed by the pungency of his presence!