Read Psalm 138
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.
Scholars aren’t completely sure of the exact occasion that inspired David to write Psalm 138, but knowing the incredible goodness of the God we serve, maybe he didn’t need a momentous event to praise the Lord. David simply seizes the moment and shares his love and gratitude to God. He looks back on God’s past faithfulness (v. 2-3) and looks ahead in great hope that his peers will follow his lead in praising the name of the one true God (v. 4-5). Humbly, he asks God to continue to lavish his life with goodness (v. 6-8).
In a moment where he appears to be overwhelmed by gratitude to God, David interjects a prayer for his peers—fellow kings of the earth. His gratitude fuels his faith in God’s saving power for all people. His prayer for the salvation of others is also part praise. David rejoices in that no one is beyond the reach of God’s almighty hand.
What an example for us to follow!
David’s life had many ups and downs. It started in a field surrounded by sheep and in battles against lions and bears. It progressed to being chosen and anointed as king and eventually running for his life. Often he behaved in ways that honored the Lord, and at other times, he chose the path of sin. However, one constant of David’s life is his acknowledgment of the character and trustworthiness of the Lord. David continually refocuses and redirects his attention (and ours) to the One who is steadfast: the one true God.
Life will never run out of distractions. There is no shortage of ways for our hearts to stray. David’s life is a reminder to us that even the best of us miss the mark. He is also a great reminder to us of what it looks like to keep refocusing when we get distracted, to get up again when we fall, and to keep our eyes and hearts on Jesus. Like David, we can continue to point the people around us to God, too.
God is faithful and good, so may we never waiver in offering thankfulness and worship to Him. Jesus is the author and perfecter of our faith (Hebrews 12:2), the fullness of our joy (John 15:11), our great hope for the future, and the steadfast anchor for our souls (Hebrews 6:19).
- Get into the same posture of praise as David embodies in this psalm. What are you thankful to God for today?
- Does your heart often drift towards gratitude or entitlement? Why do you think that is?
- Where in your life have you seen the faithfulness of God on display?
Did You Know?
Psalm 138 begins the last set of psalms written by David. David wrote nearly half of the 150 psalms in total.
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