by Pastor Mark Hudson
We continue to read and reflect on the most read, the most studied, and the book that has engendered more books, more speeches, more articles, more schools than any book ever. People all over the world read this book over and over. Day after day. Year after year. And we get to read it in our own language on any device we have.
John Stott divides this Psalm very simply as follows:
145:1-7 Eternal Praise
145:8-13 Universal Praise
145:14-21 Rational Praise
Derek Kidner offers more divisions:
145:1-3 An opening doxology
145:4-7 A theme for all men
145:8-9 God, the compassionate
145:10-13a King forever
145:13b-20 God the Provider
145:21 A closing doxology
Leslie Allen in the Word commentary still sees a different perspective.
145:1-9 and then divided into quarters
145:10-21 and then divided into quarters as well.
You may have read the notes in your Bible that this is an acrostic poem so the first verse starts with the Hebrew equivalent of A, then b, etc. So, as you can observe by these authors that there is no consensus as far as where one section ends and another begins.
But what a wonderful Psalm of praise that we read. The author loves God and extols God. His praise does not end when his life ends but endures throughout eternity (v. 2). His praise focuses on the person of the Lord. God reigns as King (v. 1), who is, as the great Lord, worthy of great praise. In fact, His greatness is unsearchable. If you merely contemplated each phrase on vs. 1-3 you would be lost in wonder and question if you even know .00001% of this glorious Being. Isn’t this what the Psalmist says we should do in v. 5? The author says, “On the glorious splendor of Your majesty and on Your wondrous works, I will meditate.”
The author does not merely write that he will meditate on God but that he will meditate not on his majesty or his glorious majesty but the glorious splendor of His majesty. Think about that phrase and think slowly and meditate on “the glorious splendor of Your majesty.” If you are believer that slow meditation will usher in “evangelical humility,” a phrase Jonathan Edwards coined.
The praise is commended to the next generation which is why families teach their children, carry them to church before they can walk, pray for them, and commend (v. 4) God. Older people are not indifferent to the generations that are following them. Notice verse 7 as the author says that in praise we “pour forth the fame of your abundant goodness.” Someday, all those who have watched sports heroes, signer, actresses, etc. will see what eternal fame is. This fame is based on God’s inherent and abundant goodness. His fame is eternal and his fame is deserved. What joy awaits us in heaven.
In vs. 8, God is praised not for His power, wrath, or absolute rule but He is praised for His surprising response to mankind. He “is gracious and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love” For those who read the Bible this is shocking when we read of the repeated sin of God’s people.
I absolutely love v. 9. Just think how good God is to unbelievers. He gives them marriages, children, jobs, and unbelievers who hate God can still see beautiful mountains like the Alps, the Grand Canyon, waterfalls, and they experience countless blessings from God. “He is good to all.”
Consider how God “works shall give thanks to You.” Rain praises God. The orange leaves of sugar maple trees in the fall, frost, martens, moose, and mountain goats give thanks. But when saints praise God how pleased God is and how happy we are at the same time. The joy we have is joy in God and the joy God has is both in Himself and that we have discovered the source of life, joy, and peace.
But what about v. 13? There is no kingdom that lasts forever. No country, not leaders ever, no thing that “endures throughout all generations.” After more than 60 years of life on earth, I feel how fleeting life is. So what that I don’t have the newest camel or the best vineyard or should I say the newest car and the nicest home. Will that matter after one second (I know there is no time in heaven) in glory? Will I be wishing I had more money in heaven? No, we walk on gold in heaven like we walk on dirt and cement here. What is highly valued here is not worthy of value in heaven.
Why should we not be enamored with God’s glorious rule? I ask unbelievers, “What would attract me to your vision of reality? You have nothing compared to this glorious, gracious, loving, eternal, reigning King. What could you possibly offer that would make me turn away? More money? A better car? A bigger house? Those thing have never satisfied anyone’s soul. And all of our are eternal beings that yearn for something more lasting, more weighty, and more significant.”
Even if God afflicts His own, and He often does, God is near, He hears our cries and preserves all who love Him (vs. 18-20). So we fear Him and love Him. Or as Piper writes, The fear of the Lord is not the opposite of joy in the Lord; it is the depth and seriousness of it” (Providence).
As I have been reflecting on this Psalm, can a person be Christian who is not bursting with praise to God? Can I be a believer if I am not following vs. 1-2, “I will extol You . . . Every day I will bless You and praise Your name forever and ever?” Can someone not be overjoyed with Christ and go to heaven? I want to be full of the Spirit, loving, praising, thanking God and meditating on phrases I can barely even begin to understand. I want to be overwhelmed with God and drawn up into His presence every day of my life.
Dear heavenly and holy Father, I am so enamored with this sinful world that is raging against You. I still crave this world’s acceptance and long for the things of the passing age. Raise my sights to see through this blindness and let me be overcome and ravished by Your eternal kingdom, Your glorious splendor of Your majesty, Your greatness, Your abundant goodness, Your righteousness, Your grace, mercy and steadfast love, Your kindness, and Your providence. Raise my joy in You so high that I will not stoop down the belittling and fleeting pleasure of sin that promises joy but leaves misery. May I find my deepest satisfaction in the good news of Jesus Christ, the promised Messiah. Amen.