I’m glad when The Bible gives me a listing of things that are good or acceptable or in some other way bless the heart of God. These verses are one such portion of scripture.
First, it is good to give thanks to the LORD. The verse does not specify what I should be thankful for and that is probably just as well. An exhaustive list of everything I have to thank God for would span as many pages as The Bible currently contains … possibly more. I can begin with thanking God for my life and the breath that fills my lungs and move forward from that. Why is it good to give thanks to God? Because being thankful is good for both of us. For God, it is a blessing when I thank Him, just as it is a blessing when others thank me. Being thanked let’s us know that what we’ve done is appreciated and noticed and that those who receive it are not taking it for granted. Being thankful is also good for me. A grateful heart is less prone to sins like coveting. If I am focused on all that God has done for me and given me, it is difficult to perceive a lack in that. Not impossible, but extremely difficult.
Second, to sing praises to [the] name, [of the] Most High. Thanking God is an act of me praising Him to Him. Praising Him in the context of this part of the verse is praising Him to others. Just as it is good to thank God, it is also good to tell others of His goodness and generous heart toward me. This adds another dimension to the blessings. I bless the heart of God by letting Him know that I have noticed His goodness toward me – as with being thankful. I also remind myself of His goodness toward me in praising Him, building my faith. But this action adds in reminding others of God’s goodness and it builds their faith. This action extends the blessing beyond God and myself to everyone who hears and understands God’s goodness.
Third, to declare [His] lovingkindness in the morning and [His] faithfulness by night. Jeremiah wrote that it is because of God’s mercies (lovingkindnesses) that we are not destroyed and that those mercies are new every morning (Lamentations 3:22-23). Every morning, God trots out a fresh set of mercies to cover the new day. Every night, I can reflect on God’s faithfulness to me; how He never left my side. Morning and evening; day and night I should be considering God’s mercies and His faithfulness and making them known.
How do I do all of this? Well, the psalmist assumes that music will be involved. Lutes and harps and lyres are all mentioned. And music is an excellent way to praise God and to reflect upon His mercy and faithfulness and to thank Him. But music is not required. I can thank God whenever I notice that He has done something for me. I can praise Him by speaking well of Him and what He has done when I talk with others. I can make known His mercies of the day to me when I sit and talk with friends and family at the end of the day. Music is excellent and God definitely loves to hear His children sing to Him and for Him and about Him, but I must be certain that I do not limit myself to that mode of praise and thanks.
One last note: This psalm was written to be sung on the Sabbath. This was intended to be sung when Israel was taking time off from their work to reflect on God and His goodness toward them; to be part of the idea of speaking God’s words to our children when we are at home and when we get up in the morning and go to bed at night (Deuteronomy 11:18-21).
Let me be thankful for all that God is and does. Let me praise Him to anyone who will listen – especially to my fellow believers, that we may swap stories of how great is our God. Let me make known His mercy in the morning and His faithfulness at night. His mercy is what makes relationship possible. His mercy is what dusts me off and sets me back on my feet when I fall. His mercy endures forever.