The Delights of an Awakened Heart
You can tell when a man knows God! While in the midst of his trouble, having called on the Lord for His mercies, while he still awaits the actual deliverance from his pursuers, David could sing a song of praise to the Most High. He did not wait for the new day to dawn before he began to exult in God. This psalm shows him bringing in the day, as though he awakens it, with his praise. That is confidence. That is faith, because before there is an awakened dawn, there is an awakened heart, which is seen in two senses. First the Hebrew word here has the idea of ‘the opening of the eyes.’1Thus, with David –
a) The 'EYES' of his heart had been opened.
He saw God in a light others did not see, especially King Saul whose murderous intent revealed a deficiency of true faith; a man in dire need of a spiritual awakening. But DAVID knew God, and the Psalm glows with such a revelation of God's glory, and his own secured destiny. That is why he could affirm, “My heart is FIXED.” It is 'set fast'! There was a steadfastness, a resoluteness, about his faith. HE KNEW GOD! His 'eyes' had been opened. Listen to him:
…the commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes - Psalm 19:8.
Here David revels in what is true and trustworthy, so that he could honour and glorify his God, as he ought to.
Open my eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of your law. I am a stranger in the earth: do not hide your commandments from me - Psalm 119:18-19.
The deeper things of God drew this pilgrim; he craved that inner illumination and comprehension of God – counsels to guide, promises to comfort, the knowledge of God to inspire, and truth to preserve and sanctify him.Is this my heart today? And isn't this an increasingly needed blessing—an enlightenment by God of Himself, a perception of such Divine truth? Especially in a day of increasing and alarming gullibility! Isn't this effectively what Paul prayed for?
Ephesians 1:15-23When the heart adheres to God in the glory of such revelation, it is firm, unmoved!
b) The 'EMOTIONS' of his heart had been stirred.
You can’t experience such enlightenment without it deeply affecting your emotions. And David responded in this manner – he stirred himself up in a holy response to God's unfailing goodness, mercy, and truth, TO PROCLAIM HIS PRAISE.
Note that, dear friends, everything must return to GOD in the form of hallowed considered holy praise. David expressed it both in the middle of this psalm, and also at the end, (verses 5,11) –
Be exalted, O God, above the heavens; let Your glory be above all the earth.
How often we used to sing that wonderful Gospel song:
My heart is stirred,
whene'er I think of JESUS;
That blessed Name,
that sets the captive free.
The only Name by which
I find salvation:
No other Name has meant
so much to me.
Let me come more specifically to this particular section of the Psalm, mindful that in verse 1 we have David's awaited consolation, a man whose trust is in a Covenant-keeping God. In the confidence that he possessed he believed for God's mercies in turbulent times being beset by many calamities. So, in verses 2-3 we have David's assured supplication, for while he knew the enemy's threat was to “swallow him up,” he also knew his cry to the Most High God would result in his salvation and complete vindication. In verses 4-6 we have David's anticipated salvation, where he describes for us the character of the enemy, who like “a lion” burned with fury and evil intent, and who with “teeth as spears and arrows” was set on devouring him. But David's view of God make all the difference; this is what made him, seeing One who is “enthroned above the heavens, whose glory is above all the earth.” This kept him in such peace as nothing else could, and strengthened his resolve to ensure that God was honoured and praised. Coming to verse 7 we have David's affirmed intention:
My heart is fixed, O God, my heart is fixed; I will sing and give praise...Yes, fixed—in hope, in purpose, in adoration, and in tranquil rest. This is the delight of an awakened heart. Let's briefly comment upon it:
1. The Statement of David's Intent
My heart is FIXED ... I will sing and give praise - Verse 7.
Thus for David, whatever the situation might be and however distressful, his mind was settled in its principles. He would abide by all that is righteous. Let there be deceitful schemes on the part of his adversaries, he would not resort to such low, evil tactics in retaliation. He would trust God and exult in His greatness. He would muse upon God's glorious attributes, His providences, His trustworthiness, AND SING! “…and give praise.”
Something similar is expressed in Psalm 7:1, 2, 8, 11, 17 and in 9:9-11. When the heart is in union with God it is kept “fixed” and is firmly set on praising Him, even in the midst of trouble. Hear David again on this theme of the 'song of praise.' – Psalm 40:3. 42:8. 119:54.
It is clear that the singing of spiritual songs does something for the spirit in its delightful occupation of worshipping God, and we rightly deem this to be an important part of our corporate fellowship. It seems we are always ready to break forth into songs of adoring praise. Our worship-life wouldn't be complete without those inspired songs filled with praise to our God. Of course, let us guard against the mere love of singing, and the exercise of it AS AN END IN ITSELF, the mere “self-pleasure” gained through singing.
Music and singing are most enjoyable, but will only be spiritually meaningful and profitable in the Church, and find favour with the One Whom we are ever to honour with our worship, when it is 'in spirit and in truth,' the melodious expression of overflowing hearts that are “lost in wonder, love, and praise.”
I need to say something further here. Let us be very careful NOT to aggrandize musical talent above its place in accompanying the articulated praises of God's people. It is WORDS that make music meaningful in all expressions of worship, else it may be but a pleasantry TO THE SOUL, and NOT a delightful expression of the spirit TO GOD. I am challenged and provoked by the writing of Harold Horton. He says, writing on The Naked Splendour of the Cross:
When I was at Luton some poor fellow came to me and said, 'Why don't you have some lectures from the classics? They would introduce a new kind of people into the services.' Exactly. Plato, Socrates, Aristotle – sinners all. No thank you! We have found our Classic! We are charmed with His unaided presence and message ... There must be no additions of any sort to aid the work of the Cross. The best of the world added to the cross of Christ fouls it ... The best of earth is no degree of heaven; it cannot lift us one inch above the earth ... Choirs and orchestras, services of song, oratorios, are pleasant groves veiling the naked glory of Christ. Have your solos and duets, if you wish, as a part of the worship in your services … but do not advertise musical events to entice into the meetings … Insult to Heaven! Shameful defeatism! How to make the Cross interesting – Blood – Fire – Power – the Upper Room – the Holy Spirit – INTERESTING! The Cross is dangerous; it will acquit, or sentence you ... Making meetings interesting is touching the Ark! No groves! No entertainments, musical events, stunts, novelties. Blood and fire only on the altar! Besides, there is nobody in Pentecost clever enough to make meetings interesting. Christ is!
Weighty words! I fear we have departed far from the New Testament character of worship and substituted much of the human for the Divine, worldly talent for heavenly enduement, soulish performances for supernatural manifestations. O yes, there IS a place for music and song but it must always be contained within the guiding limitations of biblical precept and precedent. O to worship “in the beauty of holiness,” bringing our songs of praise to a God who is worthy of our best. “My heart is fixed!”
2. The Supremacy of David's Intent
Awake up, my glory; awake, psaltery and harp: I myself will awake early - Verse 8.
We have no problem identifying “psaltery and harp,” those stringed instruments plucked with the fingers to accompany an elated heart in praiseful worship. BUT “awake up, MY GLORY”?
What can this mean? In verse 5 it's “YOUR glory,” that comprehends the whole revealed perfections of His eternal and exalted Being. So, “MY glory” must have reference to all the powers of my inward being, my soul. David rouses himself in respect of every faculty of his God- touched and God-illumined being to be in the employ of worship. THIS is his delight. He stirs himself up so that all the powers of his soul, and every talent he was endowed with, were used to set forth God's praises cf. Psalm 103:1 & 111:1.
Ah, here's the awakened heart excited to action. His soul cannot be dormant, inactive, and silent. As in all true spiritual awakenings, it is not possible to feel God at work in your own heart and see Him at work in the Church, without it radically affecting your entire devotional life and your spiritual worship. Thank God many of us know something of that moral excitement, an inward stirring, being captivated, charmed, entranced with a God WHO IS, and “struck with astonished wonder at His inconceivable elevation and magnitude and splendour.
IT'S TIME TO AWAKE, my friends. To be stirred, ROUSED! That is what this word means. If we are to see “great and mighty things” of God among us, then all sloth must cease and indifference end. We must take hold of ourselves, and do a bit of 'rousing,' saying like David: “Awake up, my glory ... I myself will awake early.” Indeed, that is what the preaching of the Word should be all about – though some do not want to be stirred! Listen to Isaiah's confession and lament –
You meet him who joyfully works righteousness, those who remember you in your ways. Behold, you were angry, and we sinned; in our sins we have been a long time, and shall we be saved? We have all become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous deeds are like a polluted garment. We all fade like a leaf, and our iniquities, like the wind, take us away. There is no one who calls upon your name, who rouses himself to take hold of you; for you have hidden your face from us, and have made us melt in the hand of our iniquities - Isaiah 64:5-7, ESV.
That is the same word in our Psalm. It's good when, like David, we rouse ourselves to “whole-heartedness” in all we do before Him in worship and for Him in work, as with the prophet Haggai —Then Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, and Joshua the son of Jehozadak, the high priest, with all the remnant of the people, obeyed the voice of the LORD their God, and the words of Haggai the prophet, as the LORD their God had sent him. And the people feared the LORD. Then Haggai, the messenger of the LORD, spoke to the people with the LORD's message, "I am with you, declares the LORD." And the LORD stirred up the spirit of Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, and the spirit of Joshua the son of Jehozadak, the high priest, and the spirit of all the remnant of the people. And they came and worked on the house of the LORD of hosts, their God - Haggai 1:12-14, ESV.In Psalm 57:7 we note the third 'awake': “I myself will awake early...” Lit. “I will awake the dawn”.
David brings in the day with his praise, as though he awakens it. It implies these were his first thoughts. He is NOT wondering but worshipping; NOT taken up with self but with GOD. “I will awake early to praise God ... I will devote the first moments, the early morning, to His worship.” This is what he must have intended to be his general habit, for it transforms the day from what might be foreboding and irksome and full of anxiety, into a day of joyful hope, of renewed strength, and of calm repose even though its events might not always be pleasant. Time spent with God in adoring worship at the beginning of a day shapes the life in its attitudes and actions.
David sets a good pattern with this priority. It says of JESUS also –And in the morning, rising up a great while before day, he went out, and departed into a solitary place, and there He prayed - Mark 1:35.How hallowed the early hour of communion with the Father, and how necessary such times are to triumphant living and effectual service. Is it a priority with us? Or do we need to bestir ourselves again?
3. The Sphere of David's Intent
I will praise You, O Lord, among the peoples; I will sing to You among the nations - Verse 9.
David was not one thing in private and another in public – he would praise God in the cave and celebrate Him amongst the nations, and thus make known His goodness to all. Paul applies these words to the Kingdom of Christ in its relation to the Gentile world:…that the Gentiles might glorify God for his mercy; as it is written, For this cause I will confess to you among the Gentiles, and sing to your name - Romans 15:9.
David was of the mind to widely proclaim God's glory, so that others would know of his FAITH in God, his REVERENCE for God, and his INDEBTEDNESS to God. By this life of public praise of the Most High he fastened his colours to the mast in the midst of iniquity and idolatry. Here is the greatest rebuke of all idolatries: exalting the glories of the one true and living God among all ungodly people about him. It's one thing to sing our praise in the sanctuary, but it's another thing to unashamedly make Him known to thosewithout Christ... aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in this world - Ephesians 2:12.
Let this be our goal, TO KNOW HIM, AND TO MAKE HIM KNOWN! Now, finally—
4. The Spring of Davids' Intent
For Your mercy reaches unto the heavens, and Your truth unto the clouds - Verse 10.“FOR...” David has made reference to these particular moral attributes of God in verse 3. There he believes for God's mercy and truth – MERCY to cover and support and save him; TRUTH to prevail and vindicate him. BUT NOW he appears to be living in the conscious splendour and expression of that 'mercy and truth'. He sees how unlimited, how infinitely high they are, towering to the very heavens – yet how near and available to those who trust in God. David is saying, in effect:
- THISis why my heart is fixed, steadfast in its faith in Him;
- THIS is why I am resolved to stir myself to sing His praises;
- THIS is why I cannot refrain to let the nations know of Him –
HIS MERCY AND TRUTH ARE EXCEEDINGLY GREAT!
The sheer delights of an awakened heart!
What does God mean to you today? Not what He was to you when you got saved, and in your earlier walk with Him! Are your eyes being opened day by day to behold His glory? Have you come to trust Him whose mercy and loving kindness is available to YOU whatever your need may be? Turn to Him afresh; seek His face; wait on Him to see His glory.
And could I inquire of you – what are those burdens, troubles, fears, or “calamities” that weigh you down? Thank God, like DAVID you can rise up with renewed strength and hope, and see God faithfully vindicate you. HE NEVER FAILS.And you will find your chief delight in worshipping and honouring Him.
Author Aaron Morgan