The metrical arrangement of the psalm is into three stanzas of seven verses each.
I will extol thee, my God, O King ; rather, O my God , the King ; i . e . the one and only King of heaven and earth. And I will bless thy Name forever and ever. An internal conviction of the writer's immortality is implied in these words.
Our response to God.
What feeling should the greatness and the goodness of God call forth from us, and how should we utter it? We will praise God in every way that is open to us.
I. CONTINUALLY . ( Psalms 145:2 .) "Every day" will we bless him: his praise shall be "continually" in our mouth ( Psalms 34:1 ). Not that a man is necessarily more devout because the Name of God is always on his lips, but that the spirit of thankfulness should be always in the heart, and should spontaneously and freely rise for utterance.
II. CONTINUOUSLY . ( Psalms 145:1 , Psalms 145:2 .) "Forever and ever." Through all the days and the years of life—and beyond. Many things eagerly undertaken will be allowed to drop out, but this, never. The tongue may well forget its office before it ceases to praise God. There is. no end to which language can be put which is worthy to be compared with that of rendering praise to the Giver of all good, the God of our salvation. We will bless God-
"While life and thought and being last,
Or immortality endures,"
III. HEARTILY . This may well be included in the "abundant" utterance of Psalms 145:7 . For thanksgiving is fundamentally lacking if it does not come from the heart as well as from the lips. Praise should be abundant even to overflow, because the cup of the heart is full of intense gratitude, of filial love and joy.
IV. INTELLIGENTLY . Those who only recognize the more superficial blessings may be content with thanking God for his "benefits," for his bestowments, for those things that gladden the heart and enrich the life; but they who look deeper and judge more wisely will "sing of his righteousness" as well as of his kindness ( Psalms 145:7 ; see also Psalms 101:1 ). For we have the deepest interest in God's righteousness, and should extol him for that quite as earnestly as we do for the multitude of his mercies.
V. INSTRUMENTALLY . ( Psalms 145:4 .) It should be our hope, our prayer, and our endeavor that our own praise of God be extended , through us, to our neighbors, and be carried down , through us, to our children and our children's children. It may depend on us, on our devotion and on the conduct of our lives, whether the praises of Christ shall be sung by lips that have so far been silent, by those who are now scarcely able to speak his Name, and by those who are still unborn. How much may a wise and earnest spirit do to enlarge and to perpetuate the praises of his Redeemer!
VI. INDIRECTLY . If all God's works praise him ( Psalms 145:10 ), even those which are unintelligent and insensible, surely we may say that the pure and beautiful lives of the good, the kind, the generous, are ever unconsciously, but most effectively, praising God.
The Te Deum of the Old Testament.
So this glorious psalm has been fitly named, and it is the germ of that great Christian hymn. "It is one, and the last, of the acrostic, or rather the alphabetic psalms, of which there are eight in all. Like four other of these, this bears the name of David, although some are of opinion that in this case the inscription is not to be trusted" (Perowne). One letter of the Hebrew alphabet—nun—is omitted; how this came to be, we cannot tell; the Septuagint, however, and other ancient versions (with one Hebrew manuscript) supply the omission thus: "The Lord is faithful in his words, and holy in all his works." The Jews were accustomed to say that "he who could pray this psalm from the heart three times daily, was preparing himself best for the praise of the world to come." It is the first and chief of the praise-psalms with which the whole Book of Psalms terminates. We have left the region of sighs and tears and piteous entreaties, and are, as one says, in the Beulah land, where the sun shineth night and day. How like it is to the life of many a child of God! There have been many long and weary years of vicissitudes and trials, and sorrows of all kinds, but at eventide there is light. As life went on it was a mingled strain that was heard, but now at its close it is all joy and peace. So is it in this Book of Psalms; so is it with many of God's beloved ones; so, when our eventide comes, may it be with us! And now let us notice—
I. THE VARIOUS ELEMENTS WHICH ENTER INTO THE HIGH PRAISE OF GOD which this psalm sets forth. Note:
1. Its different forms .
2. The object of all this high praise .
3. Fixed resolve . Four times in these two opening verses we have the words, "I will;" and so again (verses 5, 6). Praise, like faith, is very much a matter of the will. We are prone to make it dependent upon the emotions. If we feel happy, then we sing praise easily; but if we do not thus feel, then praise falters and dies. But let us remember that the dominant faculty in our nature is not feeling, but will. When God says, "My son, give me thine heart," he means not the feelings, but the will, and if that be ever on God's side, everything else will soon fall into its proper position. Let the will be right, the feelings will soon give way.
4. Its continuousness and permanence . " Every day will I," etc. Not only the bright days, but the dark ones. Praise, like prayer, must be a habit, a constant practice, or we shall fall out of both its use and blessing altogether. And this habit must be permanently maintained. "Forever and ever" (verses 1, 2). Here is the real test and trial of the religious life. Many are induced to begin, but, alas, how many show that they have no staying power! They get cold and indifferent, and after a while break away altogether. But the earnest, impassioned soul of the psalmist resolved that his praise of God should be every day, and forever and ever.
II. THE GROUNDS ON WHICH THIS PRAISE IS BASED . There are three divisions in this psalm, and each one tells of one special reason for this fervent praise of God.
1. In the first seven verses it is the greatness of the Lord . (Verse 3.) And when one thinks of the seemingly irresistible might of the manifold forces of evil, our hearts are apt to die down; but how greatly are they cheered and strengthened when we call to mind and do firmly believe in that greatness of God against which all these forces hurl themselves in vain!
2. Then next (in verses 7-16), the tender ' mercies of the Lord are celebrated . When the soul thinks of them, what can it do but perpetually praise and bless the Lord?
3. And last of all (from verse 17), the righteousness of the Lord is the theme of thanksgiving. Without this even his tender mercies would be shorn of well-nigh all their preciousness, it is because we have a righteous salvation that our heart is glad.
III. ITS EXCEEDING BLESSEDNESS .
1. Many forget this . They pray to God, but too often fail to praise him. We say our prayers more often than we sing our praises. But this is wrong.
2. God deserves and delights in our praise . Love ever loves the response of love; and in regard to God, such response takes the form of praise.
3. And it is powerful in its influence with others . If they see that our God is one who fills our heart with joy, will not they be led to desire and to seek him?
4. And for ourselves its effect is as blessed as it is powerful . It gives us confidence before God, joy in the heart, drives away fear, prepares us for heaven, cheers us in all the work of life and amid its darkest trials.—S.C.
God's greatness, goodness, and glory.
"Every one who repeats the Tehillah of David thrice a day, may be sure that he is a child of the world to come."
I. GOD 'S GREATNESS . ( Psalms 145:1-6 .)
1. Unsearchable . ( Psalms 145:3 .) No searching can reach its bottom ( Isaiah 40:28 ; Job 11:7 ).
2. It is , nevertheless , being continually revealed in history . ( Psalms 145:4 .) One generation declares it to another, through all the successive ages.
3. That which is so great and manifest cannot but be spoken of and honored . ( Psalms 145:5 , Psalms 145:6 .) The eternally great things of God, revealed to our consciousness, cannot be regarded in silence.
II. THE GOODNESS OR LOVE OF GOD . ( Psalms 145:7-10 .)
1. It is full of compassionate tenderness towards the needy and sinful . ( Psalms 145:8 .) "Wrath is only the background of his nature, which he reluctantly, and only after long waiting, lets loose against those who spurn his great mercy."
2. God ' s righteousness and love embrace all his creatures , whatever their character . ( Psalms 145:7 , Psalms 145:9 .) All must praise God; but the saints will bless God with their grateful love.
III. THE GLORY OF GOD 'S KINGDOM . ( Psalms 145:11-13 .)
1. It is a kingdom of power and majesty . God will at length accomplish all his will and all his purpose.
2. It ' s an everlasting universal kingdom . ( Psalms 145:13 .) All things in heaven and on earth, and throughout the whole universe, shall forever and ever reflect and accomplish the infinite plan and purpose of God.
IV. THE GLORY OF GOD 'S PROVIDENCE . ( Psalms 145:14-21 .)
1. He supports the weak and falling . ( Psalms 145:14 .)
2. He provides for the wants of all beings , great and small . ( Psalms 145:15 , Psalms 145:16 .)
3. He is righteous and holy in all his gifts . ( Psalms 145:17 .)
4. He is near to all who truly pray, and will accomplish their salvation . ( Psalms 145:18-20 .)—S.