I will praise the name of God with a song; I will magnify him with thanksgiving. This will please the LORD more than an ox or a bull with horns and hoofs. When the humble see it they will be glad; you who seek God, let your hearts revive. (Psalm 69:30-32 ESV)
Psalm 69 is reflecting a spiritually sensitive person’s response to the opposition that is faced when one zealously seeks to please God. The Psalmist tells us that the spiritual oppression has even affected him physically. Nevertheless the end of verse 29 remains optimistic. The realization of God’s salvation results in a determination to offer genuine heartfelt praise and thanks giving.
I learned quickly as a new believer that my faith did not take away challenges form my life. I also learned that taking a biblical stand can strain relationships and sometimes even lead to rejection even from those whom you thought were close friends. Although we may not be feeling the same degree of persecution that the Psalmist was facing, we are often faced with situations that lead to the same sense of hurt and grief the Psalmist faced. How does God want us to respond when we experience these circumstances?
Keeping our focus on God is very important when facing opposition. David says that he will praise the name of God with a song. Notice the connection between praise and thanksgiving in verse 30. Hebrew poetry communicates by developing ideas through repetition, contrast, or development. Here we see that the action David is referring to as praise is to magnify. In other words, David wants to exalt God by testifying of how great he is. How does David testify of God’s greatness? How is praise for God expressed by the Psalmist? He sings songs that demonstrate his gratitude for God. He sings songs of thanksgiving.
Let us remember how big and powerful God is as we prepare to give thanks this year. Let us not forget how good he has been to us. It is easy to focus on the hardships and struggles. Doing so robs us of understanding the greatness of God’s love. Losing that understanding tends to make us bitter and arrogant. But if we humble ourselves, we will see God’s powerful and loving work in our lives. The result is that we are refreshed even when faced with adversity. More importantly, we know that we please God when we praise him from a heart filled with gratitude. No ritual in the world can ever compare to a heartfelt expression of gratitude in recognition of God’s involvement in our lives.
All glory be to our magnificent God!
With brotherly affection,