“Tell among the people his deeds” Psalm 9:11b (ESV).
I am all about living in the joy that Jesus brings to life on this earth. However, I also have to be transparent about the fact that it is not easy and it is definitely not just playing mind games. I believe this was the reality the Psalmist and his fellow songwriters had to balance as well. They were writing in a time when there were real dangers of losing not only their nation, but also their heritage. The people who read and sang those songs of worship had a rich history, with a distinct belief system, and they were one big close-knit family, even if they were unraveled in a few places. The last half of Psalm 9 returns to the guiding themes in David’s heart. They guide me to keep the balance between joys and laments as well.
Sing praises to the LORD, who sits enthroned in Zion! Tell among the peoples his deeds! Psalm 9: 11a-12 (ESV).
It is next to impossible to find anything good when evil raises its ugly head, when illness plagues, when relationships fall apart and especially when death takes away someone who is the light in our lives. Nevertheless, when we are told to rejoice at all times, I do not believe we have to rejoice because of the bad things that have happened. David says to sing praises to the Lord, who is still enthroned, AND to share the Lord’s good deeds. In tough times, we celebrate what we know to be true, even in the moment of trial: our Lord allows bad things to happen,but he has done good things, and he deserves publicity about those good things. Not only does he deserve it, he expects us to think more and to to talk more about his grace and mercy than we do about our aches and pains, about our fears or about the evil that frustrates us in this life.
Our Lord sees how men and nations are falling into the Satan’s trap as well as we can. He is watching, as he has watched before, and he is working as he has worked before, to catch them in their own foul net. He also expects us to watch and wait in anticipation of the perfect resolution he has to the problem.
How do we watch and wait? With holy joy: “a holy joy well pleasing to God, is that the heart and mouth are full of thankfulness and the praise of God.—God fights for His children, and he who fights against them fights against God Himself” writes J.P Lange and others in A Commentary on the Holy Scriptures: Psalms (p. 96).
We could never find an end to the wonderful works of God. Even in our own short lives, our mouths should be full of singing his praises, our hearts should be full of joyful truth, and our minds can rest in his eternal comfort. If you are struggling to find rest in the dark of night, open up your own inner songbook, start with the first great thing you know about your Savior and keep counting. Forget counting sheep; bless the lamb who was slain.