Summer in the PsalmsJuly 5–July 9
I will give thanks to the Lord with my whole heart; I will recount all of your wonderful deeds. Psalm 9:1 (ESV)
When a Nation Forgets God: Give Thanks
A young lady once went to Will Rogers for counseling and said, “Mr. Rogers, what can I do about pride? Every time I look in the mirror, I think I’m beautiful.” Will Rogers replied, “Honey, that’s not pride, that’s a mistake!”
A nation makes a mistake when it thinks it has arrived apart from the grace of God. In Psalm 9:1, King David is reflecting on God’s grace toward the nation of Israel and he begins with giving thanks to God with his whole heart. The problem of forgetting God is a frequent theme in the Old Testament. Moses warned Israel (Dt. 6:12), after they got into the land, “then watch yourself, that you do not forget the Lord who brought you from the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery.”
As a nation we are celebrating our Independence. In what ways have we forgotten as a nation what has made us great? What have you seen recently when you’ve looked into the mirror spiritually? Have you forgotten or made it a priority to make adjustments?
Take some time to reflect on memories of God working in your life and in our nation. Praise Him for those memories.
I will give thanks to the Lord with my whole heart; I will recount all of your wonderful deeds.
Psalm 9:1 (ESV)
When a Nation Forgets God: Recount
It was 1912 and the mighty seemingly invincible Titanic was on her maiden voyage. The ship’s radio man received a message from another ship that there were icebergs in the area. Unfortunately, the radio operator placed the message under a weight next to his elbow and went on with his work. And thus the word of imminent danger never reached the captain, and this gross miscalculation led to the loss of 1500 lives when the Titanic struck an iceberg and suffered a mortal bowl.
In Psalm 9, King David is determined to “recount” all of God’s wonderful deeds. The word recount means to tell or share a story. The radio operator failed to “recount” or share the other ship’s message with the captain of the Titanic and the results were disastrous. When a nation fails to share the story of God’s faithfulness in the past, that nation is destined to forget God and leave God out of the picture.
Do you remember hearing how God helped establish our nation when you were growing up? Who has done the best job sharing with you God’s goodness in the past?
Thank God for the people in your life who have been faithful to share with you about Him. Praise God for His faithfulness to you and our nation.
I will be glad and exult in you; I will sing praise to your name, O Most High. Psalm 9:2 (ESV)
When a Nation Forgets God: Be Glad
“I would like to buy $3 worth of God, please, not enough to explode my soul or disturb my sleep, but just enough to equal a warm cup of milk, or a snooze in the sunshine. I don’t want enough of Him to make me love a black man or pick beets with a migrant. I want ecstasy, not transformation; I want the warmth of the womb, not a new birth. I want a pound of the Eternal in a paper sack. I would like to buy $3 worth of God, please.” (Swindoll, Improving Your Serve)
“Worship” comes from an old english word “worthship” which means to ascribe worth or value to someone or something. So, when we worship God, we are giving God back what He is worth. In Psalm 9, David is experiencing the joy of worshipping God. And Jesus taught God is worth our all. A life that pleases God is a life that loves and worships God. Jesus says we should love God with our heart, our soul, and our mind. Luke 10 adds “strength” to the list. Worship is essentially expressing your affection to God, focusing your attention on God, and using your abilities for God.
God wants us to center our lives around Him. If you had to take an inventory of your life, how much of your life is centered around Him? Is your family life, work life, social life and entertainment life centered around Him?
1 Corinthians 10:31 says, “So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do everything for the glory of God.” Worship God in the little things as well as the big things in your life today.
I will be glad and exult in you; I will sing praise to your name, O Most High.
Psalm 9:2 (ESV)
When a Nation Forgets God: Sing Praise
With a heavy schedule of appointments President Abraham Lincoln had an elderly woman with no official business in mind ask to see him, and he graciously consented. As she entered Lincoln’s office, he rose to greet her and asked how he might be of service. She replied that she had not come to ask a favor. She had heard that the President liked a certain kind of cookie, so she baked some for him and brought them to his office. With tears in his eyes, Lincoln responded, “You are the very first person who has ever come into my office asking not, expecting not, but rather bringing me a gift. I thank you from the bottom of my heart.
Praising God when times are good is not always an automatic response. Some of us take our happiness too lightly. We accept it as if it is our due or simply the product of our efforts. In happiness, it is easy to forget God. But a real appreciation of happy times will lead us to recognizing their source. If prayer is to be our constant communication with God, then happy times should naturally add rhythm and music to our expressions of thanks and praise to him.
Do you ever sing praises to God at other times than Sundays at church? If not, think of ways you can incorporate singing praises into the daily rhythm of life.Do you find that you pray more when you are happy and thankful or when you are in need? Why do you think that is? What are some different ways you can praise God this week in addition to prayer?
Spend a few moments singing a familiar hymn or chorus out loud to God. Or, just sing one of your own that reflects your heart toward the Lord.
For you have maintained my just cause; You have sat on the throne, giving righteous judgment. Psalm 9:4 (ESV)
When a Nation Forgets God: Justice
French writer Alexis de Tocqueville, who visited America in 1831, said, “I sought for the greatness of the United States in her commodious harbors, her ample rivers, her fertile fields, and boundless forests–and it was not there. I sought for it in her rich mines, her vast world commerce, her public school system, and in her institutions of higher learning–and it was not there. I looked for it in her democratic Congress and her matchless Constitution–and it was not there. Not until I went into the churches of America and heard her pulpits aflame with righteousness did I understand the secret of her genius and power. America is great because America is good, and if America ever ceases to be good, America will cease to be great!”
David celebrated God because God honored what was good and just. One of the characteristics of great nations is a sense of right and wrong and a commitment to justice. When a nation tries to leave God out of the picture they lose their sense of right and wrong and injustice is allowed to thrive.
In what ways do you think our nation has done a good job of promoting goodness? In what ways do you think our nation has forsaken righteousness? Now, ask those same questions about your own life.
Thank Jesus for fulfilling the righteous requirements of the law by dying on the cross for you. Ask God to restore the value of goodness and justice where our nation has taken it for granted.