1 I will praise you, Lord, with all my heart;
before the “gods” I will sing your praise.
2 I will bow down toward your holy temple
and will praise your name
for your unfailing love and your faithfulness,
for you have so exalted your solemn decree
that it surpasses your fame.
3 When I called, you answered me;
you greatly emboldened me.
4 May all the kings of the earth praise you, Lord,
when they hear what you have decreed.
5 May they sing of the ways of the Lord,
for the glory of the Lord is great.
6 Though the Lord is exalted, he looks kindly on the lowly;
though lofty, he sees them from afar.
7 Though I walk in the midst of trouble,
you preserve my life.
You stretch out your hand against the anger of my foes;
with your right hand you save me.
8 The Lord will vindicate me;
your love, Lord, endures forever—
do not abandon the works of your hands.
(Psalm 138 NIV)
Psalm 138 is King David taking the time to contemplate God’s goodness in the past and trust in God’s sovereignty in the future.
David begins by choosing God over all the other idols (“gods”) that are known (v. 1). David makes this choice and gives thanks to God for God’s love and faithfulness (v. 2a). David takes the time to thank God that His Word is true, that God keeps His promises (v. 2b).
David remembers God’s protection and empowerment when he called out to the Lord for help (v. 3). Based on those memories of God’s hand in his life, David desires that all of his peers (other kings and rulers) will also learn about God’s Word and ways and find the same peace and joy that David has found in the Lord (vv. 4-5).
Although David praises God from his current position as king, he remembers that God also knows the obscure and unknown (likely from his days as a shepherd boy in the back country, tending sheep). God also knows the proud and sees them coming from a long distance (probably from his days serving his predecessor, King Saul) (v. 6).
Based on God’s goodness, provision, and protection in the past, David knows that he can trust the Lord in his present difficulties, even when his enemies are pursuing him (v. 7).
Looking to the future, David is confident that God will complete what He started in David’s life. David remembers that God created him for a purpose. God will not abandon him, either now or in eternity – God’s love and mercy endure forever (v. 8).
As we look at this psalm, how might we live this out in our lives and in our day?
- May we hit the “pause” button on our life, notice where we are, what’s going on in and around us at this time, in this moment.
- May we then pay attention to what we may have missed while we were caught up in the busyness and drama of life.
- May we then inquire about what’s going on:
- What am I thinking and believing about my situation right now?
- What am I thinking and believing about me right now?
- Are these beliefs and feelings about my situation and about myself really true?
- May we then choose to let go of any false beliefs and feelings that don’t line up with God’s Word and character. May we learn to lean on what God says about us and about our situation, seeing ourselves from God’s viewpoint and envisioning Him standing with us in our situation.
When we step into David’s practice of contemplation and apply it to our life as above, how does that change our perspective?
As you practice this new way of living, may you experience God’s grace and His smile upon you today.