The Will to Praise | Psalm 9:1–2
To the choirmaster: according to Muth-labben. A Psalm of David.
1 I will give thanks to the LORD with my whole heart;
I will recount all of your wonderful deeds.
2 I will be glad and exult in you;
I will sing praise to your name, O Most High.
Psalms fill our worship with joy, even amid heartache. Here, both Psalms 9 and 10 were possibly one psalm, as they are in the Septuagint translation. These psalms are a hymn of praise and a lament, respectively. Because of these distinctive moods, the psalms function well as two. Even so, the title of this psalm, “according to Muth-labben,” seems to be a popular tune known translated “the death of a son.”
As such, David clearly struggles in both psalms. Still, he praises God! In these first two verses, he gives four “I will” statements that serve as an excellent example to us. He gives His people the grace to make such bold proclamations when they have known suffering (1 Pt 5:8).
I will give thanks to the LORD with my whole heart. Thanksgiving must accompany prayer (Phil 4:6), but thanksgiving can be halfhearted. God’s people can go through the motions, praising with their lips while their hearts are far from Him (Mt 15:8). Directing thanks to God wholeheartedly is one way of keeping the great commandment (Dt 6:5).
I will recount all of your wonderful deeds. As the song says, count your blessings! The psalmist says that he’ll go around “proclaiming thanksgiving aloud, and telling all your wondrous deeds” (Ps 26:7). Remember, “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above” (Js 1:17).
I will be glad and exult in you. If we exult in something other than Christ, like getting out of our current predicament, we’ll never be glad or worship. Paul said in Philippians 4:11, “I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content.”
I will sing praise to your name, O Most High. Always have a song to the Lord on your lips and in your hearts (Eph 5:19). Specifically, make melody to Elyon (or El-Elyon, “God Most High”—a name first used to describe Melchizedek’s priestly role in Gn 14:18). He rules the nations, even affixing borders (Dt 32:8). He is the “Great King over all the earth” (Ps 47:2) and over our problems!