Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth. Worship the Lord with gladness; come before him with joyful songs. (Psalm 100:1-2)
Throughout this week I’d like to return to our “Heart for God” series of articles and look closely at the life of David. You may recall my confession that, as a new Christian, I simply could not understand how God could call David “a man after my own heart” (Acts 13:22) after some of the dreadful sins David had committed as king of Israel. We saw that when God said David was a man after His own heart, He was not saying David’s heart beat perfectly for Him, because no human heart beats perfectly for God on this side of the grave. But David had given his heart to God, even though there were times when it still beat for the sinful self.
What are some of the characteristics of a heart for God? Last week we looked at David’s repentance and his reverence; today we will examine his heart of thanksgiving. We know that David wrote 75 of the 150 psalms, and many of those psalms are marked by praise and thanksgiving to God. David was a man like all men, walking through seasons of struggle and success. David knew what it was like to be in plenty and in want; yet through it all, David’s heart beat with thanksgiving for God.
The Bible does not identify the author of Psalm 100, but we can say beyond the shadow of any doubt that these words are the foundation upon which David built his life: “Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name” (Psalm 100:4).
Take just a cursory glance through Psalm 30, where David reflected on and celebrated God’s deliverance, and you will see his heart of praise and thanksgiving to God. And in Psalm 30:11-12, we find one of the most remarkable and memorable statements in all of Scripture. The first six words have been memorized by many:
You turned my wailing into dancing; you removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy, that my heart may sing to you and not be silent. O Lord my God, I will give you thanks forever. (Psalm 30:11-12).
David not only wrote about his heart of thanksgiving to God, he lived it out in the streets of Jerusalem. When the Ark was brought home after being held by the Philistines for seven months, “David, wearing a linen ephod, danced before the Lord with all his might, while he and the entire house of Israel brought up the ark of the Lord with shouts and the sound of trumpets” (2 Samuel 6:14-15). David was so caught up in his heartfelt thanksgiving to God that it mattered not that his first wife, Michal, the daughter of Saul, despised him for his wildly enthusiastic demonstration of thanksgiving to God. David’s heart beat to give glory to God, not to win the approval of people.
No matter what season David found himself in, his life was marked by expressions of thanksgiving. The question we must ask ourselves is this: Can the same thing be said about me?
“Give thanks in all circumstances,” Scripture commands us, “for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus” (1 Thessalonians 5:18). Even when things were darkest for David, which we read about in some of his psalms, his heart was nonetheless filled with thanksgiving for his God. This was one of the marks of David’s heart for God, and it is to be one of the marks of your life and mine as well.
This is the Gospel. This is grace for your race. NEVER FORGET THAT . . . AMEN!