Summary: Pentecost 18(C) - Believers want to praise God with their whole heart because our Lord God is faithful and our Lord God preserves us.
PRAISE GOD WITH OUR WHOLE HEART
October 8, 2006 - PENTECOST 18 - Psalm 138
Dearest Fellow-Redeemed and Blessed Saints in the Lord:
As we heard this Psalm this morning, we probably picked up already the overriding theme of praising, giving thanks and worshipping the Lord. This is the meaning of Psalm 138. As we read the Psalms, we find that theme going through many of them. You may remember that the Old Testament hymnal was made up of the Psalms. Very often the Psalms were just like our hymns of today. They are filled with thanksgiving and worship and praise. The point was not just for the people of God to be able to worship and give thanks and praise the Lord, but to also be reminded that the Lord their God is the Lord the only true God.
The worship, thanksgiving and praise that the Old Testament people offered and the New Testament people offered and you and I offer today, we are reminded of the praise that is due to the Lord our God. We hear time and again there is no god like him, and we see that in our lives. The Lord reflects this sentiment through the prophet Isaiah when he says: "I am the LORD; that is my name! I will not give my glory to another or my praise to idols" (Isaiah 42:8). So we have gathered together today, because we are not going to give the glory of the Lord to someone else. We are not going to give the praise of the Lord to idols, but to God who deserves it. With that in mind, we want to look at Psalm 138, considering that theme:
PRAISE THE LORD WITH OUR WHOLE HEART - Why??:
I. Our Lord is faithful and,
II. Our Lord preserves us
I. OUR LORD IS FAITHFUL
As the heading says, this is a Psalm of David. We want to remember David briefly. David was the youngest son of a family that was made up of a lot of sons. When the Lord wanted a new king to replace King Saul, David was the chosen one. But David was out in the fields as a shepherd because he was the youngest son. Still, God chose him; and he took him from the field and from being a shepherd over a flock of sheep to being a king over the sheep of Israel. So he went from the humility of being a shepherd to the glory, but really for him the humility, of being God’s chosen king over God’s people. We see that in that in the Psalms of David and we see that here. Even though David was king, and in the Old Testament times kings were looked upon as gods, David realized he wasn’t a god; but the Lord God was God.
In verse 1: "I will praise you, O LORD, with all my heart; before the ’gods’ I will sing your praise." He didn’t want the people to come and worship him. He didn’t want the people to come and sing praise to him; but instead he says, "I will sing your praise to you and before the ’gods.’ That could mean a number of things. Certainly, David as king and ruler would associate with other kings. He would stand as an example and worship his God before those kings and before their gods. He wouldn’t worship their god but God. We also are reminded that sometimes kings of other nations especially considered themselves god. Remember Pharaoh who was the god of Egypt, not just king and ruler. People worshiped him as a god. David says, "I, as king, who worships the true God am going to still praise God before the ’gods.’ Those ruling people thought they were also gods for their nations.
He tells us how he is going to do that: "I will bow down toward your holy temple and will praise your name for your love and your faithfulness, for you have exalted above all things your name and your word." David didn’t want people to come before his throne and bow down before him. He didn’t want people to come there and praise him for his love and faithfulness. Instead, David would go to the house of the Lord and bow down before the Lord God Almighty. Here the king, the leader, is going to lead by worshipping God with his whole heart. He is going to praise the name of the Lord because of his love and faithfulness. Time and again, David had experienced God’s love and faithfulness. The name of the Lord--the people of Israel understood it. Israel believed in the name of the Lord as the Savior and Redeemer. The very name of the Lord from time to time had great effect upon the nations surrounding the children of Israel. When the children of Israel wandered in the wilderness and when they defeated their enemies, people believed that Israel’s god was the true God. When they left Egypt, Pharaoh briefly admitted that Israel’s god was the true God. Pharaoh finally hardened his own heart. Still God exalted his own name above all other names. David knew this, and David came to worship and praise the Lord God, because the Lord God was faithful.