A saint is someone who paints with the brush of thanksgiving. All events, all thoughts, are colored by thanks.
Psalm 108 is classified as a lament, but it appears to me to be a hymn of praise. Much of the psalm praises God and reminds us of God’s promises. He paints a lament with the brush of thanksgiving.
The psalm is comprised of two parts which are found elsewhere in the Psalter. Verses 1-5, a hymn of praise, is found in Psalm 57:7-11. The second part, the lament, is found in Psalm 60:5-12. Whether the writer took them from these psalms in order to make a new psalm, or took them from common sources, doesn’t matter. We still have a beautiful piece of poetry, reminding us of the importance of praising God, even in times of distress.
In verse 1, the psalmist states, “My heart is ready, O God, my heart is ready! I will sing, I will sing praises! Awake my soul!” Other translations read, “My heart is steadfast” or confident. The writer is not wallowing in despair but is strong and steady. He is ready to take on another day, ready to praise God. He awakens the dawn with his music, rather than the morning hours waking him. “Awake, O harp and lyre! I will awake the dawn!” (2)
He sings of God’s glory and steadfast love, “For your steadfast love is great above the heavens, your faithfulness reaches to the clouds.” (4) Then he makes his request, but it doesn’t sound like the plea of someone in dire distress, rather someone who is confident that God will save him. “That your beloved may be delivered, give help by your right hand, and answer me!” (6)
He remembers God’s promises, how God will deliver the Hebrew nation from other nations and restore Judah to its rightful place, verses 7-9. Then he states his case, how God has abandoned their armies, and asks for help. “Have not you rejected us, O God? You do not go forth, O God, with our armies. O grant us help from the foe, for vain is the help of man!” (11-12)
The psalm ends with a statement of trust in God, not men. “With God we shall do valiantly; it is he who will tread down our foes.” (13)
This is a lament colored with thanksgiving and praise. The writer is confident that God will respond. He is ready for God’s saving action, not some time in the future, but today.
And I wonder, am I likewise ready for God to do something great? Do I greet each day with song and thanksgiving for the gift of life, or do I drag myself out of bed, longing for yet a few more minutes between the sheets?
I must confess, the latter is more often the case. I love my warm bed and rest and long to stay there. I have yet to learn how to color my life with thanksgiving.
If the psalmist, in the midst of losses from battles, can wake up each morning with praise on his lips, how much more so should I? Can I greet each day with expectation and wonder at what our God has done and will do?
I’m ready, what now? Surprise me, Lord!
What about you? Do you find it hard to greet each morning with a thankful heart?