Read: Psalm 108:1; Psalm 57:7; 1 Peter 1:13; Luke 10:27; Luke 10:40 – 42
Matthew Henry wrote of this psalm, “We may here learn how to praise God from the example of one who was master of the art.” If we know nothing else about David from the Psalms, it is that he knew how to praise God. Psalm 108:1 – 5 provides us with a systematic teaching on praise that is acceptable to God. The first aspect of acceptable praise involves focus. David wrote, “My heart is fixed.” The Hebrew word for “fixed” means “firm, stable, established.” We must prepare ourselves for praise, focusing our thoughts, turning from distractions – and only then “sing and give praise.” We should engage in praise with our heart, which in Hebrew thought is the center of our conscious thought.
Think About It: The many demands upon our time make multi-tasking – e.g., texting while driving – seem like a necessity to many. Can praise be “multi-tasked”? Do I give God my undivided attention at any point during my day? How could I better do this?
Prayer: That I might give God my undivided attention.
Read: Psalm 108:1; 2 Samuel 23:1; Romans 12:6 – 8
The Hebrew for “praise” in v. 1 is zamar, to sing praise, to sing forth. The Hebrew for “glory” – kabod– means also honor, abundance, riches. We know what that meant for David, as he wrote in v. 2, “Awake, psaltery and harp.” He was the “sweet psalmist of Israel” (2 Samuel 23:1), as famous for his skill as a musician as for his ferocity as a warrior. We are not all psalmists, any more than we are all warriors; but we all have something that is our “glory,” and it is with this glory, this honor, this abundance, that we are to praise God. Praise requires from us the best of our very best. “Whatever gift we excel in we must praise God with” – Matthew Henry.
Think About It: In what gift or gifts do I excel? How could I better use my gifts to praise God?
Prayer: That I might glorify God by offering him the best of my best.
Read: Psalm 108:2; Psalm 5:3; Mark 1:35
Psalm 108:2 (“I will awake psaltery and harp”) indicates praise should be alert and lively,
offered with fervency and real affection. “I myself will awake.” We must be alert and lively in order to praise effectively. Praise to God is not fitting when offered listlessly. “I myself will awake early.” Praise was the first thing on David’s agenda. Praise must be a priority for us.
Think About It: Do I offer praise to God with fervent enthusiasm? Judging by the time that I give to it, is praise a priority in my life? How could I make it more of a priority?
Prayer: For the grace to make enthusiastic praise a priority in my life.
Read: Psalm 108:3; Psalm 22:25; Psalm 35:18; Psalm 107:32
The Hebrew word for “praise” in Psalm 108:3 is yadah, which comes from a root word meaning “to shoot” (as in shooting an arrow). Just as shooting an arrow involves aiming, it is a good practice for the praise of thanksgiving to have a specific subject. David offered his praise “among the people.” The Hebrew word for people could be translated, “the folks,” that is, the people of God.
Think About It: What are some specific things for which I can praise God? What are some specific ways I can offer Him praise in the congregation of God’s people?
Prayer: Praise God for ___________________(my specific “target” of praise).
Read: Psalm 108:3; Malachi 1:11; Psalm 18:49; Romans 15:9
“I will sing praises to Thee among the nations.” The nations, in contrast to “the folks,” refers to the unbelieving Gentiles. Praise to God provides a testimony to all the nations, including unbelievers. “Whatever company we are in we must take all occasions to speak well of God” – Matthew Henry.
Think About It: What are some ways I can praise God in the presence of unbelievers? Do I take all occasions to speak well of God?
Prayer: That I might have the courage of my convictions and remember always to speak well of God.
Read: Psalm 108:4; Psalm 25:10; Psalm 100:5; Proverbs 3:3
Appropriate praise magnifies the mercy and the truth of God. Truth without mercy is harsh; mercy without truth is inconsistent with God’s holiness.
Think About It: The greatness of God’s mercy means that extends even to me; the vastness of His truth means there will always be more for me to understand.
Prayer: Praise God for the vastness of His mercy and truth.
Read: Psalm 108:5; John 12:28; John 13:31 – 32
In light of the vastness of God’s glory we find ourselves inadequate to praise Him sufficiently. Therefore the final aspect of David’s lesson on praise was to ask God to glorify Himself – above the heavens and over all the earth.
Think About It: How has God already glorified Himself? How is He going to glorify Himself yet again?
Prayer: For God to glorify Himself again.