Based on how the song starts, you’d probably never guess the situation. Getting up in the morning with the praise band cranked up, a song on your lips, and a melody permeating your soul is usually a pretty good indicator of how well things are going–not what you’d expect from someone taking it in the teeth. Giving thanks to the LORD, singing praises for all to hear, not something you immediately tie to circumstances which make you think the Lord’s rejected you. Exalting God when your enemies have the upper hand, not something that seems intuitive. Unless, it seems, it’s sourced in a steadfast heart.
I will sing and make melody with all my being! Awake, O harp and lyre! I will awake the dawn! I will give thanks to You, O LORD, among the peoples; I will sing praises to You among the nations. For Your steadfast love is great above the heavens; Your faithfulness reaches to the clouds. Be exalted, O God, above the heavens! Let Your glory be over all the earth!
(Psalm 108:1b-5 ESV)
Stop! Rewind. Go back and read those opening lyrics of David’s song again. Slowly.
Don’t those verses sound more like a victory song than a valley song? More like music from a mountain top than a chorus from the cave? Does to me.
You wouldn’t guess from those verses that what follows is a plea for deliverance (v.6). That David’s looking for some divine help from some pretty determined enemies (v.12). That, though he has the promises of God (v.7-9), he’s wanting some indicator of His presence, as well (v.10-11). For most of us, such praise in the midst of such problems isn’t the usual cause and effect we’d expect.
So what’s the secret sauce? How can such soaring songs be sung amidst such severe situations?
My heart is steadfast, O God! (Psalm 106:1a ESV)
David’s heart was steadfast. Confident (CSB). Fixed (KJV). It was established. It was directed aright.
Despite the lack of equilibrium caused by his current problems, he was rock solid on the Person, the Power, and the Promises of God. They would define the context of the circumstance–the situation wouldn’t suggest what should be considered true of God.
A steadfast heart is sure heart. Sure about God. Sure about His promises. And fully convinced that God is able to do what He has promised (Rom. 4:20-21). Fully convinced that what He has promised, God is willing to do. So fully convinced that it even wakes up in the morning praising God though it went to bed the night before wondering how to make it through another day.
Spurgeon calls this psalm “The Warrior’s Morning Song, with which he adores his God and strengthens his heart before entering upon the conflicts of the day.” So grounded in the truth of God’s word that he can’t help but trust in God’s way as he readies to do battle again with a hostile world. Ready to sing though in need of salvation. Ready to praise even amidst the pressure. Ready to exalt even when surrounded by the enemy. Ready to worship even when he can’t help but worry.
O for a steadfast heart. O for a song to sing despite the situation.
Because He is faithful, His promises sure, and His power is known through an empty tomb.
His grace is sufficient. His glory is to be declared.
On the mountain, in the valley.