When you get to the 145th Psalm, you enter the Beulah Land of the Psalms. Henceforth, the time of the singing of birds is come; and you go from one Hallelujah to another. In the Hebrew, this is one of the alphabetical Psalms, but one letter (nun) is omitted, perhaps, as Dr. Bonar suggests, that “we must be kept from putting stress on the mere form of the composition.” Those ancient singers sang their way through the alphabet from A to Z, and it is well for us also to begin to praise the Lord while we are yet children, and to keep on praising him till we get to the “Z” in the very hour of death, gasping his praises till we get into eternity.
“My God, I’ll praise thee while I live,
And praise thee when I die,
And praise thee when I rise again,
And to eternity.”
Psalms 145:1-3. I will extol thee, my God, O king, and I will bless thy name for ever and ever. Every day will I bless thee, and I will praise thy name for ever and ever. Great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised; and his greatness is unsearchable.
Such as the Lord is, such should his worship be. If he were a little God, he would deserve little praise; but the great God is “greatly to be praised.” There is no fear of going to any excess in our praises; we must never laud him too highly, however lofty our expressions may be. “Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised; and his greatness is unsearchable.” David knew what it was to be himself searched by God and he prayed, “Search me, O God;” but he could not search the greatness of his God. There, he was utterly lost, the utmost range of his faculties could not compass the greatness of Jehovah: “his greatness is unsearchable.”
Psalms 145:4. One generation shall praise thy works to another, and shall declare thy mighty acts.
There is a hallowed tradition of praise; each generation should hand out the praise of God as a precious legacy to the next one. Train up your sons and daughters to praise your God, so that, when your voice is silent in death, another voice, like your own, may continue the strain.
Psalms 145:5. I will speak of the glorious honour of thy majesty, and of thy wondrous works.
“I will speak.” What a powerful speaker David was! Note how he piles up his golden words. He is not content merely to talk of God’s majesty, but he speaks of its “glorious honour.” When he talked of God’s works, he calls them “wondrous works.”
Psalms 145:6. And men shall speak of the might of thy terrible acts:
If they will not speak of anything else, they shall be obliged to speak with awe when the terrors of the Lord are abroad in the earth. If they were as dumb as fishes before, they shall begin to say to one another, with bated breath, when earthquakes, and famines, and war, and pestilence are rife, “What a terrible God he is!”
Psalms 145:6. And I will declare thy greatness.
While other men were talking, David did not say, “Now I can be quiet.” When they did not speak, he did, and when they began to speak, he still added his quota of praise to Jehovah.
Psalms 145:7. They shall abundantly utter the memory of thy great goodness, and shall sing of thy righteousness.
What a beautiful expression! “They shall abundantly utter.” The original has in it the idea of bubbling up, boiling over, bursting out like a fountain; men’s hearts shall get to be so full of gratitude to God that they shall overflow with the memory of his great goodness. Then they shall sing. Singing is the language of jubilant nature: “The mountains and the hills shall break forth before you into singing.” Singing is the language of men when they wish to express their highest joys. The saints sing the high praises of their God. Singing is the language of the holy angels; did they not, when they came to Bethlehem, sing concerning the newborn King? Singing is the language of heaven, and most marvellous of all, singing is the highest language that ever God uses: “He will rejoice over thee with joy; he will rest in his love, he will joy over thee with singing.” Oh, for more holy singing!
Psalms 145:8. The LORD is gracious, —
That alone is enough to make us sinners sing, for we need grace, and “the Lord is gracious,” —
Psalms 145:8. And full of compassion; —
There is no “passion” in him, but there is “compassion” in him; what a mercy that is for us! He is full of compassion;” —
Psalms 145:8. Slow to anger, and of great mercy.
Hear that, ye great sinners, and ye saints who need great forbearance.
Psalms 145:9. The Lord is good to all:
Even to his enemies. Does not the dewdrop hang upon the thistle as well as upon the rose?
Psalms 145:9. And his tender mercies are over all his works.
He cares for the worm in the sod and for the fish in the sea as well as for men upon the face of the earth.
Psalms 145:10. All thy works shall praise thee, O Lord; and thy saint shall bless thee.
Their voices can reach a higher note and a loftier strain than God’s works can ever reach: “thy saints shall bless thee.”
Psalms 145:11. They shall speak of the glory of thy kingdom,
For the saints love God as their King, and they rejoice to remember what the King’s Son said to his disciples, “Fear not, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom;” so well may they sing of it.
Psalms 145:11-13. And talk of thy power; to make known to the sons of men his mighty acts, and the glorious majesty of his kingdom. Thy kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and thy dominion endureth throughout all generations.
What is the use of preaching if it does not glorify God? What is the use of a tongue that does not speak or sing of the glory of God’s kingdom? But let one of God’s bards have this as the theme of his song, and he feels like a hind let loose, rejoicing in glorious liberty.
Psalms 145:14. The Lord upholdeth all that fall, and raiseth up all those that be bowed down.
Does not this seem to be a singular change in the strain? The Lord is a King, and his kingdom is an everlasting kingdom; yet what is he doing? Why, he is upholding, propping up those that are ready to fall, and lifting up those that are crushed and oppressed. Earthly kings often glory in the terror of their power, and the splendour of their majesty. What a condescending God is ours, whose glory is a moral glory, and whose chief delight consists in blessing the poor and needy! Let us bless his name for this. Are any of you ready to fall? Then praise him for this glorious truth, “The Lord upholdeth all that fall.” Are any of you bowed down? Daughter of Abraham, have you been bowed down these many years? Oh, that you might be made straight this very hour! And you may be, for God can lift you up, for he “raiseth up all those that be bowed down.”
Psalms 145:15-16. The eyes of all wait upon thee; and thou givest them their meat in due season. Thou openest thine hand, and satisfied the desire of every living thing.
What a glorious God we have! How easily can he supply the needs of his people! He has but to open his hand, and it is done! We need not be afraid to come to him, as though our needs would be too great for him to supply. The commissariat of the universe is superintended by this truly Universal Provider, who hath but to open his hand to satisfy “the desire of every living thing.”
Psalms 145:17. The LORD is righteous in all his ways, and holy in all his works.
This is a thing for which many modern divines do not praise God. The attribute of righteousness in the character of God is expelled from a good deal of modern theology. But he, who loves God aright, loves the righteousness of God. I would not care to have even salvation if it were unrighteous salvation. The righteousness of God gleams like a sharp two-edged sword, and it is terrible to those who are at enmity against him; but the true children of the Most High delight to see this sword of state carried in the front of the great King of kings. The seraphim cried, one to another, “Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord of hosts.” The redeemed in glory sing, “Just and true are thy ways, thou King of saints; but the captious critics of the present day care nothing for these attributes of Jehovah.
Psalms 145:18. The LORD is nigh unto all them that call upon him, to all that call upon him in truth.
If you read this Psalm through carefully, you will notice the great number of “alls” with which the latter part of the Psalm is studded; and this is appropriate, for God is All-in-all, he is the One, the All, so let him have all praise from all.
Psalms 145:19. He will fulfil the desire of them that fear him: he also will hear their cry, and will save them.
When you have respect to God’s will, God will have respect to your will. When you fear him, you will have no one else to fear, and when you make his service your delight, he will make your wants his care.
Psalms 145:20. The LORD preserveth all them that love him: but all the wicked will he destroy.
As in a state of sanitary perfection, everything that breeds miasma and disease is banished, so must it be in God’s great universe, when he has completed his works “all the wicked will he destroy.”
Psalms 145:21. My mouth shall speak the praise of the LORD: and let all flesh bless his holy name for ever and ever.