The Psalmist: “I will give thanks to the Lord with my whole heart; I will recount all your wonderful deeds…Sing praises to the Lord (who sits enthroned in Zion); Tell among the peoples his deeds…O you who lift me up from the gates of death, that I may recount all your praises…” excerpts from Ps 9: verses 1, 11, and 13b-14a.
Recounting deeds of God…this is a pretty consistent sub-theme in Psalms. When I praise God, I will bet it sounds most of the time like cheering at a sports event. On the subject of praise in Psalms it isn’t like that at all. It is more focused, mindful, engaged.
I saw a lot of things to journal about this morning in Psalm 9. But the plain took second place in jewel digging today. During all my reading through the Reading Plan, this thing about “remembering the deeds of the Lord”, recounting all his works”, etc. comes up steadily and consistently in the undercurrent of the Scriptures.
I wonder why?
Not “why is it in the undercurrent” but “why the stealth suggestion on recounting his deeds” (or the related “ways” and “works” of God).
When I was growing up in Christianity (the Jesus Movement of the “70’s), the practice of praise was consistently demonstrated. The basis of praise was “because He is, I praise Him.” That works and wouldn’t change that for a second and can’t argue with the premise.
But God, through the Scriptures, suggests a further development: “Why do I praise thee? Let me count (or recount/remember) the ways…”
I can really, really embrace this. Boy, I get it way down deep in my soul. But practicing it? There is where the rubber meets the road and I just slid into a ditch.
I know why I don’t do well in this: I am lazy. It is hard work to recount the deeds of the Lord. It certainly is hard work to sound like the Psalmist, all Christian sounding and accomplished. When I do try that “recounting” stuff it sounds so plastic and unreal—like I am on a stage or something—unless I am prepared.
My “preparing” isn’t like studying for a role in a play; my preparation is doing what I am writing about above in the dark, by myself, where only God can hear my voice. It is taking the time to write stuff down, organize it to remember, share with your spouse in your devotional time together. And it takes practice, practice, practice. It takes me asking the question to the “man in the mirror.” It takes a trusted companion to ask “tell me what God is doing in your life—specifically the ways and the works.” And it takes understanding failure will happen at the most embarrassing of times but keeping the objective clearly in front with a determination to pursue.
Oh, yeah: Recounting implies speaking. Remembering can imply thinking. I have to remember to be able to recount the ways and works of God to be able to tell it to the next generation. Mind melding the Gospel to others isn’t in the biblical bag of tricks.
Lord Jesus. Thank you for letting me dig myself into a hole of things to do. Every time I write there is one more thing to add. You are good to bring this to my attention. I know that you do this so that I could be conformed to your Image. I know that you are being my support in pursuing you. I know that salvation isn’t any of my doing or effort—I can rest in your arms. I also know that you point me up the mount of God and have me pursue you all my days. Please help me go consistently forward in you. AMEN