The specific context of this psalm seems to be the sickness of an individual who was close to death, but pulls through and reflects on the experience. Whilst verse 5 above puts across the sentiment of the prayer it is verse 6 that makes a significant shift in thinking. “When I felt secure” is the actual pivotal point. Prior to this the psalmist praised God when all was going well and he felt on the mountain top. For me the psalm is influenced by wisdom literature as he comprehends that praise can also come in the valley. So for this suffering individual he could conclude, “to live is to praise God, and to praise God is to live”, and that was true whatever the situation.
It has been fascinating watching the Paralympics over the last week, as the athletes don’t major on their disability but focus on their potential. That has to be an example to us all. There is something of this sentiment and perspective in the Psalm. No matter how bad a situation may seem the believer knew that he could praise through difficulty because God’s love is still greater. He was given a God perspective on life.
Base image by Green Arc Creations Ltd. via Twelvebaskets