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Psalm 145 ~ A Hymn Of Praise Concerning The Kingdom Of God & God Its King

A Hymn Of Praise Concerning
 The Kingdom Of God 
& God Its King

a brief study of Psalm 145, adapted from PCC Prayer Meeting Exhortation on 20 April 2012


Psalm 145 is one of the most beautiful and famous psalms of David. Its title tells us that it is: “David’s Psalm of praise.” If Psalm 51 is the Psalm of penitence, Psalm 69 the Psalm of Imprecation, and Psalm 136 the Psalm of Thanksgiving, then Psalm 145 may well be known as the Psalm of Praise.

This is a psalm of highest praise. It is an acrostic psalm ordered according to the Hebrew alphabet. Every letter of the Hebrew alphabet except nun is represented. Bonar suggests that this letter is omitted so that “we might be kept from putting stress on the mere form of the composition.” Indeed! For the focus of this psalm is our Great God and King. As we sing it, our hearts should be filled with thoughts of God and nothing else. 

Now, this psalm appears to have been written by David after God had granted him all his requests, which he put up in the preceding psalms. When he wrote the previous psalm, David was not yet in full control of the Kingdom. But here, it appears that the enemies have been subdued. David was now enjoying the peace in Jerusalem that he craved for, and so he turned his prayers into praises.

Indeed, this psalm,—and for that matter, all the five psalms following,—is all of praise from the first verse to the last. There is not a single petition in them.

Whereas David’s prayer has ended, his praises continue to resound. And it continues to resound today in the churches of Christ, who is the son of David. This Psalm, as with all the other psalms, is not only a Psalm of David the lesser, but also of David the greater.

This Psalm is our Lord’s hymn of praise unto His Father or unto God Triune. When we address the Father, we always address God Triune, for the Father always represents the Godhead. God Triune is our King. He exercises His Kingship over us in Christ, but we must remember that Christ is King because God is King.

So we can sing about the kingship of Christ as in Psalm 45, but we can also sing in union with Christ about the kingship of God as in the present Psalm. We may entitle it: “A Hymn of Praise Concerning the Kingdom of the GOD and GOD its King.

We may divide it into three parts. First, from verses 1-7, we praise GOD for He is Great and Glorious. Secondly, from verses 8-16, we praise GOD for He is Gracious and Good. Thirdly, from verses 17-21, we praise GOD for He is Righteous and Near. 


1. GOD is Great & Glorious

1  I will extol thee, my God, O king; and I will bless thy name for ever and ever. 2 Every day will I bless thee; and I will praise thy name for ever and ever.

This is the word of Christ and all who are united to Christ. These are words He has given us to praise GOD our LORD, Jehovah.

How shall we praise him?

3 Great is the LORD [Jehovah], and greatly to be praised; and his greatness is unsearchable.

We cannot put it in more majestic language. God is great and glorious for He is God. He alone exists in and of himself. He alone is transcendent in holiness and glory. He alone is infinite, eternal and unchangeable in all His perfections.

And He has demonstrated His greatness and glory to puny man by His mighty work of Creation; and by His wondrous works of Providence and Redemption.

He made all things that exist in this universe. There is nothing in the entire universe which does not have its origin from God. And He is the Lord of history. Nothing that happens in the history of mankind, happened without His sovereign fore-ordination and powerful providence. In him, we live and move and have our being.

What should our response be as we contemplate on the greatness of our Great God and King, but to humble ourselves and worship Him.

  • Will we not extol his name? Will we not bless His name every day and forever (v. 1-2)?
  • Will we not teach our children and our children’s children to praise Him (v. 4)?
  • Will we not talk about His glorious honour and His wondrous works in our daily conversation (v. 5-6)?
  • Will we not rejoice in Him and joyfully sing about His glory as manifested not only in His power, but also in His goodness and righteousness (v. 7)?

Yes, the LORD is good. He is not just great and glorious, He is also gracious and good.


2. GOD is Gracious & Good

8 The LORD is gracious, and full of compassion; slow to anger, and of great mercy.

The LORD is gracious. He is gracious and compassionate towards His children. Though He is our Creator, and He is high and holy, He is compassionate and merciful towards His children and towards all who are humble and penitent.

Yes, we do not deserve the least of His benefits. Yes; we justly deserve His infinite wrath. We have rebelled against him. But He is gracious, full of compassion, slow to anger and of great mercy. His mercy or covenant-loving kindness toward us is so great that He sent His only begotten Son to take on human flesh and to die for us so that we may be reconciled to Him. All who come unto Him in Christ Jesus will find Him to be compassionate and merciful. He will not deal with us as our sin deserves.

But let none imagine that God is an unprincipled father who is ready to forgive without repentance, who would bestow grace upon the wicked while they remain in sin. No, no, His grace, mercy and compassion are reserved for His saints (v. 10) or those who love Him (v. 20).

Some say that verse 8 speaks about God’s universal love or of common grace, but the fact is this is really part of God’s self-disclosure when He descended upon Mount Sinai the second time to give him the Ten Commandments the second time. Turn to Exodus 34. It is not so easy to see in the English, but in Hebrew, verse 6 is almost word for word equivalent to verse 8 of our text:

6 And the LORD passed by before him, and proclaimed, The LORD, The LORD God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth, 7 Keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, and that will by no means clear the guilty; visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children, and upon the children’s children, unto the third and to the fourth generation” (Ex 34:6-7).

There you have it. God’s grace, compassion and mercy are for the penitent. Such as go to the Father humbly confessing sin and acknowledging guilt will find forgiveness in Him. But such as persist in guilt will know the wrath of the Father.

But let none charge God for dealing unfairly with the wicked, for He is good to all, verse 9—

The LORD is good to all: and his tender mercies are over all his works.

The LORD is good to all his creatures, rational and irrational. He is good to every living thing (v. 16). He is good to the cats and the birds and the fishes. He is good to all men—elect or reprobate, believers or unbelievers.

14 The LORD upholdeth all that fall, and raiseth up all those that be bowed down. 15 The eyes of all wait upon thee; and thou givest them their meat in due season.

He is benevolent towards all. He gives breath to all. He sends the rain and sunshine to all. He feeds all with necessary food. The Lord is good to all.

Though He is transcendently great and exalted, He humbles Himself not only to take care of his children but also to feed the poor sparrow and the lowly caterpillar. Indeed, He condescends even to sustain the life of the wicked and fools who deny Him and blaspheme His name.

Such is our God. He is full of grace and goodness. Grace towards his saints, goodness towards all his works.

What shall we do in response to such a great God?

10 All thy works shall praise thee, O LORD; and thy saints shall bless thee.

This verse, you must realise is chiastically related to verse 8 and 9. The first part is tied to verse 9, the second part is tied to verse 8.

All the works of God shall praise Him. They will magnify his greatness and glory. Even the reprobate will praise Him, however unwillingly. They will manifest His power and justice.

But the saints must bless Him! The word rendered ‘bless’ (Jr'B;) shares the same root as the word ‘kneel’. The saints must kneel in humble adoration and worship Him!

Oh what a great God we serve!

  • Shall we not “speak of the glory of [His] kingdom, and talk of [His] power” (Ps 145:11)?
  • Shall we not tell it to our children, and to all men (v. 12)?
  • Shall we not praise Him and gladly express our confidence that His kingdom will endure from generation to generation (v. 13)?
  • Shall we not bless Him for His greatness and glory? Shall we not bless Him for His goodness and grace?
  • And shall we not bless Him for He is righteous and nigh?


3. GOD is Righteous & Near

17 The LORD is righteous in all his ways, and holy in all his works. 

God is righteous and just. He is a holy God. He will not allow injustice to remain unresolved. He will never deal unfairly with anything or anyone. He will never punish such as do not deserve punishment. He will never chastise unnecessarily.

In all His works, in all His outworking of providence, His righteousness and holiness is not compromised. The world says: Nothing is fair in this life! We strongly disagree! Everything that happens in this universe is brought about by God’s power; and God is righteous and holy in all His ways.

Where does this fact leave us? If God is holy and just, then are we not doomed? Are we not doomed when we know that we are all wretched sinners?

Though we have received grace and have been justified in Christ, sin continues to dwell in us. We continue to sin against God so that even our most righteous deeds are filthy rags in his sight.

Woe is me! Shall I not expect severe chastisement from my Father?

Thank God that…

18 The LORD is nigh unto all them that call upon him, to all that call upon him in truth.

Thank God that He is not only holy and just, but He is nigh. He is near to all that call upon him sincerely.

The apostle John reminds us that we will all sin. But he assures us:

“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 Jn 1:9).

Such as confess their sins, such as fear Him and love Him and serve Him in sincerity, will know the Father’s love and blessing. Verse 19—

19 He will fulfil the desire of them that fear him: he also will hear their cry, and will save them. 20 The LORD preserveth all them that love him: but all the wicked will he destroy.

What a comforting assurance! God is not just utterly other. He is nigh. He is not just great and glorious, he good and gracious. He is not just good and gracious, he is just. But He is not only just, he is nigh. He is perfectly just. He will punish sinners. But He is nigh and He will hear my cry when I cry to Him.

  • Shall I not praise him (v. 21)?
  • Shall I not desire that all flesh bless his holy name?
  • Oh may the Lord make me not only an instrument of praise. May He make me an instrument to call others to praise Him too!


Conclusion

Dearly beloved, let us think of the things in this psalm often. And let us sing it heartily. Let us sing it often.

The Jewish rabbis used to say that if a man would repeat the psalm three times every day with his mouth and heart and tongue, then he may be sure of being a child of the world to come.

I am not sure about this claim, but one thing I know: this psalm lifts our hearts from worldliness and earthliness and sets us in heavenly places—that we may have a foretaste of the glory that shall come. Amen. W