Psalm 9: count my blessings
Psalm 9 For the director of music. To the tune of "The Death of the Son." A psalm of David. (1) I will give thanks to you, LORD, with all my heart; I will tell of all your wonderful deeds. (2) I will be glad and rejoice in you; I will sing the praises of your name, O Most High. (3) My enemies turn back; they stumble and perish before you. (4) For you have upheld my right and my cause, sitting enthroned as the righteous judge. (5) You have rebuked the nations and destroyed the wicked; you have blotted out their name for ever and ever. (6) Endless ruin has overtaken my enemies, you have uprooted their cities; even the memory of them has perished. (7) The LORD reigns forever; he has established his throne for judgment. (8) He rules the world in righteousness and judges the peoples with equity. (9) The LORD is a refuge for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble. (10) Those who know your name trust in you, for you, LORD, have never forsaken those who seek you. (11) Sing the praises of the LORD, enthroned in Zion; proclaim among the nations what he has done. (12) For he who avenges blood remembers; he does not ignore the cries of the afflicted. (13) LORD, see how my enemies persecute me! Have mercy and lift me up from the gates of death, (14) that I may declare your praises in the gates of Daughter Zion, and there rejoice in your salvation. (15) The nations have fallen into the pit they have dug; their feet are caught in the net they have hidden. (16) The LORD is known by his acts of justice; the wicked are ensnared by the work of their hands. (17) The wicked go down to the realm of the dead, all the nations that forget God. (18) But God will never forget the needy; the hope of the afflicted will never perish. (19) Arise, LORD, do not let mortals triumph; let the nations be judged in your presence. (20) Strike them with terror, LORD; let the nations know they are only mortal.
So much in this world steals our attention and our time, forcing us to focus on things that brew worry and fear and bitterness. That is not what God wants for us. God is calling us to Him. To seek Him with all of our hearts, especially as the world around us yells and screams for our attention.
Focus on your Father in heaven who loves you and wants to give you His peace and His joy.
You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you. Isaiah 26:3 ESV
Some old Bibles like the Septuagint (the earliest Greek translation of the Old Testament, 3rd century BC) and the Vulgate (Latin Bible translation 4th century AD) put Psalms 9 and 10 as one long acrostic poem instead of two chapters.
Many believe the acrostic poem- each line begins with the subsequent letter in the Hebrew alphabet- made it easier for Hebrew kids to learn and memorize the song. Cute!
The NIV Bible titles Psalm 9, “to the tune of Death of a Son.” Other Bible translations use the Hebrew word Muth-labben. Bible scholars believe the title refers to a tune (Muth-labben), maybe an older song that many were already familiar with and aided in memorization. Possibly a catchy song about how their beloved king David slew “the son” (Goliath) when he was a young teen himself. No one knows with certainty.
I will give thanks to the LORD with my whole heart; I will recount all of your wonderful deeds. Psalm 9:1 ESV
We could stop right there. What a beautiful verse filled with heart felt praise. But how exactly does one give thanks with a whole heart? What does that mean?
David gives us an answer within the psalm: by remembering all that God has done.
When our kids are complaining about how a friend has a new phone, new clothes, or something else they wish for, what do we say?
Count your blessings.
My friends, are you feeling hopeless today? Fearful? Finding it hard to find peace in your heart? Are you struggling with letting go and letting God handle things?
Want to praise God but you just can’t find the words sometimes?
Count your blessings. Thank Him for the things He has done. Simple things. Big things. Great miraculous things, or even just for the new day. Thank God for the things He has done for you and throughout time.
Nothing reminds us of all that have to be thankful for better than counting our blessings. Even better? Speak them.
When we start to remember all that God has done and we speak these things to Him, a peace will come through our hearts. Why? Because remembering good things is a way to praise Him and thank Him. It sets our minds on God’s faithfulness.
The Hebrew word for “wonderful deeds” or “marvelous works” is the same word found here:
When our ancestors were in Egypt, they gave no thought to your miracles . . . Psalm 106:7 . . . and awesome deeds by the Red Sea Psalm 106:22
Now those things were some amazing miracles. But today is filled with the wonderful deeds of the Lord as well.
Today is as full of God to this man [David] as the sacred yesterdays of national history, and his deliverances as wonderful as those of old.Alexander Maclaren, English preacher, 1826-1910
Seriously, God’s marvelous deeds recorded in the Bible are huge and so amazing. He parted the Red Sea to save His children (Exodus 14), the sun stood still for Joshua (Joshua 10), the awesome resurrection of Jesus (Matthew 28), the feeding of the five thousand (which BTW would actually be closer to fifteen thousand with women and children; Mark 6), and don’t forget the creation of the universe (Genesis 1).
These are miraculous deeds, and when we stop to remember them, it is a reminder of God’s mighty strength and His plan throughout time.
But what about the marvelous deeds He has done for you?
Since my youth, God, you have taught me, and to this day I declare your marvelous deeds. Psalm 71:17 Open my eyes that I may see wondrous things out of your law. Psalm 119:18
How has God shown His love to you? How has God delivered you?
Let’s remember to count our blessings today. And, my friends, there are blessings to count. There are big blessings for sure, but don’t miss the small ones. The small blessings that happen every single day.
David goes on in this psalm and the next to list some of the ways God has been faithful to him. He was good at singing God’s praises. Who knows what was going on for David as he wrote this song. He was a king after all, and surely life was always busy and stressful. But this psalm reminded him, as it does us, to slow down and speak about God’s provision. About His love and His mercies, big and small.
Slow down and remember.
When the world is in upheaval around us, when fear threatens to suffocate us, when it is hard to take a step forward:
I will give thanks to you, LORD, with all my heart; I will tell of all your wonderful deeds. I will be glad and rejoice in you; I will sing the praises of your name, O Most High. Psalm 9:1-2
Father in heaven, sometimes we are afraid. Sometimes it is hard to remember to be thankful. We know you call us to put our trust in you, to give our burdens and worries to you, but that is hard to do sometimes. Sometimes it’s hard to just put one foot in front of the other. Help us not to live in fear. Help us to sing praises to you with all of our hearts. Help us to speak of your wonderful deeds throughout time and within our own lives. And let those be reminders of your great faithfulness and your great love. Help us to rest in your goodness. Please, Father, in Jesus’s name heal our land. But even now, keep our eyes on you. Amen.