The lyric is, “With my whole heart I will praise Him . . .”
Yeah. Psalms. Even people who rarely read the Bible could probably pick out where that came from. The song’s based on Psalm 117, which is a short little thing that basically says, “Praise the Lord.”
Okay. How many Psalms are there? Ten points if you can get it without peeking.
All RIGHT! Bag of those curled-up little pretzels to the guy in the back who never even looked up from whomever he’s still texting. Spot on, your dudeness. There’s 150 Psalms recorded in the Bible.
Tell me again why it’s necessary to have a short one that’s so–what? Regular? Normal? Redundant? Reredundant?
I don’t know the composer/arranger of the particular piece of choral music we were singing so I wouldn’t hazard a guess there. But a few things do bubble to the top of this morning’s Think Section.
How often have I mouthed The Lord’s Prayer, quoted John 3:16 or recited (Say it with me) The 23rd Psalm while mentally running through a checklist of stuff that needs doing this week? Were some nosey busybody to ask, “Did you mean what you just said?”, I’d be incensed. My equally automatic answer would be, “Of COURSE I meant it. Why wouldn’t I mean it? Doesn’t everybody mean it?” And all during that denial I’d be hustling to remember what, exactly, I’d just said. Preoccupation. Smartphone induced and perpetuated. We all suffer from it.
David wrote most of the Psalms. Brilliant tactician, warrior king, accomplished musician and a stirring writer, David was. So for him to repeat something so often, there had to be a reason.
There was. There is.
Ever been present in a time of worship and left while still pondering the same preoccupations with which you were wrestling when you walked in and sat down? We’ve all done it, felt embarrassed about it, and declared it would never happen again. Several times.
I get disgusted trying to converse with someone always waving at someone else and whose eyes are everywhere else except meeting mine. Being taciturn in nature (read, “self-conscious with a topping of poor self-esteem”), there was a time when I’d patiently wait until the listener sort of gravitated back to “Okay, talking with you will do until someone interesting comes along.” No longer. Now I have as much patience with obdurate, self-important types who see no value in listening to others as I do with that all-time fav person, the guy or gal in the left lane whistling past all those big orange LEFT LANE CLOSED signs expecting everyone to let them in.
We all know how that turns out, right? Amazing. Everyone in the right lane develops chronic deafness and tunnel vision, and because they can’t see well, get right up on the bumper of the one in front of them, who . . . Yeah.
So David writes it often: Praise the Lord! He did it mainly to remind himself and anyone else reading: we don’t like halfhearted. Why offer it to God?
So, back to the lyric: With my whole heart I will praise Him. It’s all-inclusive, bringing all of me to the table. It involves my whole heart, mind and spirit. And you know what I’ve found?
When I engage God with all of my attention, I always walk away from that experience with something new and fresh. It’s never a question of God being unwilling to offer it. It’s always a matter of my willingness to have all of me present to receive it.
© D. Dean Boone, May 2016