Summary: In Psalm 9, David’s psalm of thanksgiving, the King reveals for us how to live a more thankful and appreciative life: by Witnessing, Worshipping, and Waiting.
by Scott R. Bayles, preacher
Church of Christ
Among the lessons Viktor Fankl learned in the Nazi death-camp, Auschwitz, was to take time to be thankful and to count your blessings. He wrote that prisoners in the camp dreamed at night about a certain set of things more than anything else: bread, cakes, and warm baths--the very things we take for granted every day.
Frankl said that the prisoners around him began to appreciate beauty as never before. In one especially poignant paragraph, he wrote:
"If someone had seen our faces on the journey from Auschwitz to a Bavarian camp as we beheld the mountains of Salzburg with their summits glowing in the sunset, through the little barred windows of our prison carriage, he would never have believed that those were the faces of men who had given up all hope of life and liberty. Despite that factor--or maybe because of it--we were carried away by nature’s beauty, which we had missed for so long." (Nelson 734)
How amazing it is to us that a people who experienced such pain and loss could be so thankful and appreciative of such small blessings. It’s even more amazing to me that we seem to exhibit a degree of thankfulness in life in reverse proportion to the amount of blessings we’ve received. Martian Luther wrote, "The greater God’s gifts and works, the less they are regarded."
A hungry man is more thankful for his small morsel than a rich man for his heavy-laden table. A lonely woman in a nursing home will appreciate a visit more than a popular woman with a party thrown in her honor. A Russian who finally gets his own copy of the Holy Scriptures after seventy-five years of state-imposed atheism is more thankful for his little Bible than we are for all the Christian books, magazines, and translations that overflow our shelves.
Ralph Waldo Emerson observed that if the constellations appeared only once in a thousand years, imagine what an exciting event it would be. But because they are there every night, we barely give them a look.
One of the evidences of the Holy Spirit’s work in our lives is a gradual reversal of that twisted pattern. God wants to make us people who exhibit a thankfulness in proper proportion to the gifts and blessings we’ve received. But thankfulness is more than just a sermon, a prayer, or even a feeling--it is a way of life! How do we live more thankful and appreciative lives? Psalm 9 is David’s psalm of thanksgiving. Let’s read the first few stanzas of this inspired prose together...
Psalm 9:1-10 (NASB-u)
I will give thanks to the Lord with all my heart; I will tell of all Your wonders.  I will be glad and exult in You; I will sing praise to Your name, O Most High.
 When my enemies turn back, They stumble and perish before You.  For You have maintained my just cause; You have sat on the throne judging righteously.  You have rebuked the nations, You have destroyed the wicked; You have blotted out their name forever and ever.  The enemy has come to an end in perpetual ruins, And You have uprooted the cities; The very memory of them has perished.
 But the Lord abides forever; He has established His throne for judgment,  And He will judge the world in righteousness; He will execute judgment for the peoples with equity.  The Lord also will be a stronghold for the oppressed, A stronghold in times of trouble;  And those who know Your name will put their trust in You, For You, O Lord, have not forsaken those who seek You.
An old Swedish hymn says:
Thanks to God for my Redeemer,
thanks for all thou dost provide!
Thanks for time now but a mem’ry,
thanks for Jesus by my side!
Thanks for pleasant, balmy springtime,
thanks for dark and dreary fall!
Thanks for tears by now forgotten,
thanks for peace within my soul!
In David’s psalm of thanksgiving, he not only says "I will give thanks," but he describes three ways in which we can live a life of thankfulness. How do live grateful and appreciative lives? First, we can live out our thankfulness by...
David said, "I will give thanks to the Lord with all my heart; I will tell of all Your wonders" (v. 1). Even in the face of the enemy’s threats, the psalmist thanks God for the deliverance He has given. David describes the victory in verses 3-6, verses that should be read in the past tense: "When my enemies turn back, They stumble and perish before You." Faith faces the future without fear because it has behind it a past that witnesses to the trustworthiness and power of the Lord!