What made David’s heart sing for joy?
More than anything, God did. The Lord had rescued him many, many times over. David had repeatedly experienced the kinds of victories that only God can grant (think about Goliath, for one).
David was intentional about his worshipful attitude. It would have been easy to dwell on the constant attacks, the enemies, the people who lied about him and backstabbed him. But David focused the spotlight of his attention on the blessings instead.
This is truly the way to live. There will always be “negatives” to think about. We are sinful. And we live in a sinful, fallen world.
So when events, circumstances and people aren’t conspiring to bring us down, our own sinful flesh is all too willing to cooperate with the devil. The end result is our own pride, greed, selfishness, anger, lust, or depression bring us down (David knew all about that, too).
The way to avoid this fall — this failure of faith, peace and joy — is the worshipful life. The worshipful life comes from acknowledging our sin transparently, being transparent about our anger and worry over the attacks of others, but doing this without constantly dwelling there. The worshipful life is sustained when we, like David, turn our focus spotlight back to the goodness of God, and the blessings he has showered on us.
Take a moment and read Psalm 144. You’ll see that David does just this. First, he acknowledges how undeserving he is, and how frightening the attacks are. Then he launches into a soliloquy about God’s grace to him. God’s deliverance from attack, his care for David’s sons and daughters, his filling of David’s barns, his increasing of David’s flocks, his protection of David’s city — these were all in the spotlight of David’s focus.
Worship, gratitude and joy were the inevitable result of that focus.
Do not try this on your own. You need Jesus’ forgiveness. And you need Jesus’ help. But with that help, accessed in his gospel promises to you, and with the Holy Spirit’s boost, you can control your “spotlight of focus.”And it’s one of the most powerful spiritual strengths you will ever develop!
Because our focus produces our thoughts. And our thoughts will control the attitude of our heart.
I will sing a new song to you, my God;
on the ten-stringed lyre I will make music to you,
to the One who gives victory to kings,
who delivers his servant David…
Blessed is the people of whom this is true;
blessed is the people whose God is the Lord (Psalm 144:9-10, 15, NIV).
Lord, my mind and heart are prone to focus themselves on the negatives: my sin, my guilt, my shame, my anger, my hurt, my depression. Help me to cling to your gracious promises of love and redemption through Christ, and to turn — in your Spirit’s strength — my spotlight of focus to your goodness, grace, help and protection. Help me to remember that I dwell among the blessed people.
Our Bible reading for Thursday, December 17, is Ezra 1:1 – 2:67, Revelation 8:1 – 9:12 and Psalm 144:9-15.