DAVAO

Tan: A Psalm of gratitude

“I will sing of the LORD’S unfailing love forever! Young and old will hear of Your faithfulness”

Psalm 89:1


MY EARLY memory of Psalm 89:1 is through a song. I have sung this psalm directly from the KJV “I will of the mercies of the LORD forever, with my mouth will I make known Thy faithfulness to all generations”, well the whole Psalm 89 is a song more than a sermon. Psalm 89:1 is an introduction and a summary at the same time. This means that if you want to appreciate the depth of this verse, you need to read the whole chapter. A prayerful reading of this Psalm will lead us to discover who God is and how good God is. It will redefine our response to a good God rather than to a God who is doing good things. It will unveil the redemptive meaning and application of God’s love and mercy.

Gratitude and the expression of being grateful is a mixture of many things in the heart of a person or a congregation. Psalm 89:1 is a song of gratitude not only of a person but of a nation who recognizes the overwhelming goodness of God! It is a mixture of painful experiences wherein God’s mercy has now become a platform for genuine praise. Gratitude is the outward expression of praise that reveals a spiritual work of God within the heart. Being grateful is not designed to be kept exclusively in the safe zones of the heart; it jumps out of that safe confinement bursting into something loud! Psalmist said, “I will sing!” make no mistake, though being grateful is an individual conviction and choice, it is not disconnected to the community of other grateful hearts. Why worship of God is glorifying to God? Because it exalts no "sole performer," it exalts only God, even in the most imperfect way expressed by the most imperfect individuals!

Psalm 89 is written by Ethan, the Ezrahite, probably written during the time of Babylonian captivity as we are now in the midst of this COVID CAPTIVITY. How remarkable that in the background of captivity, a song of gratitude was born. Yes, Psalm 89:1 starts with upbeat praise to God, but this does not mean that the writer is blind by the realities around him.

In fact, one of the sad realities articulated by Psalm 89 is the spiritual decay of the people who tasted the favors of God! The spiritual decline of Israel leaders and Israel as a nation might have led to the fearful possibility of the extinction of the next generation.

Authentic gratitude is not a result of sedating our senses from the ugly realities around us and pretending that it is not there, nor it is a song of glory on how God exempts us from the ugly things in life. Yes, to be spared is a good reason to be grateful, yet it is not really what gratitude is all about. Like any other virtues, to be grateful is deeper than just being thankful, it is not only “thanksgiving” and it is “thanks-living.” The Apostle Paul hit the most unacceptable practice of gratitude—being thankful in everything not only in every good thing!


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