Stability through Thanksgiving.

David's life was highly dramatic, but he didn't get caught up in it. What gave him balance, stability, and reference for his direction? Psalm 138 shows us 3 components to the "gyroscope" of David's life.

Skill (Psalm 138:1-3)

Giving thanks is more specific than praising. David specifies that he does this with his "whole heart." He was growing in the skill of giving thanks to the King of kings through a variety of circumstances. Progressive sanctification sees difficulty as faithful friends rather than antagonistic struggles.

This thanks must be resolute, the result of a determined will. David commanded his heart in the end instead of listening to it.

David's thanks was gritty, given in the face of other gods. When lesser things master our identity and throw us off balance, we must live in our identity as children of the King.

David's thanks was humble as he bowed down before the Lord. The picture is reminiscent of Daniel who later worshipped the Lord in sight of his enemies (Daniel 6:10).

Skilled thanksgiving will be sophisticated, not trite. It displays a deeper understanding of why we are thankful as we grow in the Lord. David thanks God for His everlasting love, truth, and reliable Word.

David's thanks is also bold. God's truth has given him strength in his soul.

Defense (Psalm 138:4-6)

Thanksgiving is a critical skill because the future is the Lord. Geopolitical culture will be oriented around saying and singing thanks to Jesus. He is the future. All kings, people, and civilization will have the purpose of glorifying Him (Revelation 21:24).

Rule (Psalm 138:7-8)

David recognized that trouble and exploitation are not the final state. Revival and justice come only from the Lord alone. In the meantime, we live not with closure, but promise that there will be justice (2 Peter 2:1).

Accomplishment is a heavy weight. David leaves that up to God. Similarly, we know that God is shaping us to be more like His Son, Jesus (Philippians 1:6).

Dramatic realities give us the opportunity to sharpen our skill in giving thanks with all our heart. They teach us that the only way to survive today is to keep in mind Christ's future reign. They give an opportunity to become more like Christ. We must pray confessing God's thoughts. We can master this life with an eternal perspective that does not see it as final but as preparation for the future.

Application Points

  • Do you have the ambition of giving thanks to the King of kings? How can you grow in this skill?
  • Do you humbly embrace truth, even when it corrects you?
  • What little things can master you in the stresses of life? These are the "lesser gods" in our lives. When these things threaten your stability, rehearse your identity in Christ as a child of the King and give thanks!
  • Have you experienced trouble or exploitation? Rejoice with David that these are not your final state. God promises to work justice, and it will only come from Him.
  • Copy David's method in prayer. Confess the reality of this life in the light of theological truth that gives you the perspective of eternity.

Tools for Further Study

A Hymn to Encourage: "All I Have Is Christ"

I once was lost in darkest night
Yet thought I knew the way
The sin that promised joy and life
Had led me to the grave
I had no hope that You would own
A rebel to Your will
And if You had not loved me first
I would refuse You still

But as I ran my hell-bound race
Indifferent to the cost
You looked upon my helpless state
And led me to the cross
And I beheld God’s love displayed
You suffered in my place
You bore the wrath reserved for me
Now all I know is grace

Hallelujah! All I have is Christ
Hallelujah! Jesus is my life

Now, Lord, I would be Yours alone
And live so all might see
The strength to follow Your commands
Could never come from me
O Father, use my ransomed life
In any way You choose
And let my song forever be
My only boast is You

Music and words by Jordan Kauflin
© 2008 Sovereign Grace Praise (BMI)