Loving the Lord with All of Our Heart.

In most of Scripture, God speaks to mankind. The poetic books of the Old Testament are unique because in them, man speaks to God. Human authors used the poetic structures available to them in attempts to surpass the limits of human language and recreate their experience with God.

In Psalm 9, David expresses his personal relational theology: The God of Israel is the sovereign ruler of the whole earth, and He rules justly, fairly, and equitably. Sometimes this truth is hard to accept when we experience sin and evil. We identify with the psalms because they express that struggle. Pursuing answers to those questions glorifies God. We learn more about Him along the way, and in the end, we realize God is far too big for us to comprehend. The purpose of the process is worship.

In verse 1, David writes, "I will give thanks to the Lord with all my heart." This is the essence of what Jesus calls the greatest commandment in Matthew 22:36-38. Yet the meaning of the phrase "with all my heart" is easily lost to sentiment. We will study this psalm through the lens of what it means to be thankful with all of one's heart.

Heartfelt thanksgiving is authenticated by worshipful living.

A heart filled with wonder is genuinely thankful (Psalm 9:1-2).

The true worshiper lives in wonder that compels him or her to tell others about it. God, His character, and His works are marvelously extraordinary. Over time, we are in danger of losing our sense of wonder. But this can be avoided, because wonder is a result of what we meditate on.

David wonders at how the Most High dealt with His enemies (verses 3-6). He not only turned back their influence but did so embarrassingly, while taking care to uphold those in the right. God metes out exact justice.

In our context, we can meditate on how Jesus handled our enemies. He rendered the sin nature ineffective and gives us the ability to say "no" to it. He puts sin "in perpetual ruins." He can make those who have been marred by sin not only whole but productive. He has removed the shade of death (Isaiah 25:8, Psalm 23:4).

Thanksgiving is truly heartfelt when the worshiper's gladness and exultation is sourced in the Lord (Psalm 9:7-10).

The most important person in your life will be the one you know the most about. David proved that he knew a lot about Jehovah and he lived by that knowledge. His thoughts were framed in an eternal perspective. The Lord has power to rule and judge the whole earth righteously. No one else can help like God can in times of trouble. Knowing His name and character inspires trust.

Who we exalt in can either authenticate our claim to love God with all our heart or prove it to be shallow and empty.

A heart filled with praises to the Lord in song is genuinely thankful (Psalm 9:11-18).

The content of David's song is twofold. God's requirements in judgment are severe, but even in justice, God is merciful. He is magnanimous, personally interested in us while still being so great. He has taken care of the severe requirement in the sacrifice of Jesus Christ.

David also sings that God is gracious. His every action towards His people is gracious. Grace is the basis of all our interaction with God as His redeemed people.

When these things are true of you, you can genuinely claim to be thankful with all your heart.

Application Points

  • After being saved for decades, you may be at risk for losing your sense of wonder at God and His works. Do battle against that tendency. Meditate on how God has dealt with the enemy of your sin nature.
  • Who do you exalt and exult in? Who is most important in your life? The person who you love the most, you will make time for. God waits to meet with us every day. Do you keep Him waiting?
  • Encourage the person you are discipling in these simple things.
  • Seek out music that will help you serve God. Don't merely absorb what you like.

Tools for Further Study

A Hymn to Encourage: "Revive Us Again"

We praise Thee, O God,
For the Son of Thy love,
For our Savior who died and
Is now gone above.

Hallelujah! Thine the glory,
Hallelujah! Amen;
Hallelujah! Thine the glory,
Revive us again.

We praise Thee, O God,
For Thy Spirit of light,
Who has shown us our Savior,
And scattered our night.

All glory and praise
To the Lamb that was slain,
Who hath borne all our sins,
And hath cleansed every stain.

Revive us again;
Fill each heart with Thy love;
May each soul be rekindled
With fire from above.