The premier psalmist David composed this song, whose first two verses explode in praise:
My heart is steadfast, O God!
I will sing and make melody with all my being!
Awake, O harp and lyre!
I will awake the dawn!
I feel a lot of affinity with David. He was a sinner, but he loved God and sought with all his heart to serve him. When he fell into deep sin, he was convicted of his sin by God’s word. His heart was humbled and he sincerely repented. But he still had to suffer the consequences of his horrendous sins.
We all sin. But if we genuinely repent and our hearts are broken, not merely in humiliation, but in true humility, we will submit our wayward spirits and willful pride to God’s will. We will humbly confess our sin and seek forgiveness from all those we have hurt. In humble submission to God’s Spirit, we will even be able to forgive those who have hurt us.
David was a poet and I often identify with his creative expressions. I think he also must have been an early riser. Perhaps like me, he felt closest to God in the quiet of the early morning, before the cares and concerns of the day pressed upon him. Perhaps those precious morning hours were his most productive times for writing, when he best reflected the creativity of the Trinity.
Because God had given David creative gifts, he felt compelled to use those gifts in public praise. He could have kept his songs to himself, but he desired to spread abroad the glory of God.
I will give thanks to you, O LORD, among the peoples;
I will sing praises to you among the nations.
For your steadfast love is great above the heavens;
your faithfulness reaches to the clouds (3-4, ESV).
David wanted God to receive the vast exaltation of which he alone is worthy. But he also longed for deliverance and salvation (5-6, ESV): Be exalted, O God, above the heavens!
Let your glory be over all the earth!
That your beloved ones may be delivered,
give salvation by your right hand and answer me! God’s steadfast love never fails. His faithful promises are sure. In the next section of this psalm, a divinely-inspired David proclaims God’s holy faithfulness and prophesies his victorious salvation (7-9, ESV):
God has promised in his holiness:
“With exultation I will divide up Shechem
and portion out the Valley of Succoth.
Gilead is mine; Manasseh is mine;
Ephraim is my helmet,
Judah my scepter.
Moab is my washbasin;
upon Edom I cast my shoe;
over Philistia I shout in triumph.”
God sets people and nations in their places. God claims his people as his own dear children and provides an inheritance for them. He triumphs over the wicked and he brings eternal victory through Christ, who would come from the royal tribe of Judah.
Unless we submit our wills completely to God’s, we cannot hope for victory. Like a rebellious Israel, we will wander without a leader and our battle efforts will be futile.
Who will bring me to the fortified city?
Who will lead me to Edom?
Have you not rejected us, O God?
You do not go out, O God, with our armies.
Oh grant us help against the foe,
for vain is the salvation of man!
With God we shall do valiantly;
it is he who will tread down our foes (10-13).
God alone brings valiant victory. When we pursue personal power, when we deceive with secret sins, when we long for vengeance, when we cling to pride and control, we cannot hope to conquer.
But when we seek God’s glory, when we genuinely repent and openly confess our sins, when we forgive others, and when we humble our hearts and spirits to God’s will, he will bring victory.
Then the darkness will fade as the Son’s light dawns!