“The Lord is gracious”
David’s [Psalm] of praise.
Psalm 145: This psalm is known for several distinguishing marks: it is the last acrostic psalm, the last Davidic psalm, the only psalm to be called a praise psalm in the superscription, and the first of the six great praise psalms that conclude the collection. While there is no logical flow of argument running from one psalm to another throughout the Psalter, all are agreed that Psalm 1 forms a fitting introduction and that these last six psalms constitute the most appropriate conclusion to the Psalter. After the characteristic call to praise (verses 1-2), David offers four key reasons to praise the Lord in the section called the cause for praise (verses 3-20). The Lord is great (verse 3), He is gracious and merciful (verses 8-9), He sustains all who fall (verse 14), and He is righteous in His ways and kind in His deeds (verse 17). The conclusion is a renewal of the call to praise (verse 21).
Verses 1-21: David penned this most exquisite conclusion to his 75 psalms in the Psalter. Here, the king of Israel extols and celebrates the King of Eternity for who He is, what He has done, and what He has promised. Not only rich in content, this psalm also duplicates a majestic acrostic design using the 22 letters of the Hebrew Alphabet. Psalm 145 begins the great crescendo of praise that completes the psalter and might be called “The Final Hallel” (Psalms 145-150).
- Commitment to Praise (145:1-2);
- God’s Awesome Greatness (145:3-7);
III. God’s Great Grace (145:8-13);
- God’s Unfailing Faithfulness (145:14-16);
- God’s Unblemished Righteousness (145:17-20);
- Recommitment/Exhortation to Praise (145:21).
Psalm 145:1 “I will extol thee, my God, O king; and I will bless thy name for ever and ever.”
“My God, O king”: David, king of Israel, recognized God as his sovereign (compare Psalm 5:2; 84:3).
This is not just a casual statement here, but is a statement of determination on the part of David. We see a new name added to the ones that David has been speaking of God in the last few chapters. Now David is calling Him King. The praising of the Lord sometimes just does not seem to be enough. David is determining in his heart to not only praise the Lord, but bless Him as well. In naming Him King, David has recognized His power and authority.
Psalm 145:2 “Every day will I bless thee; and I will praise thy name for ever and ever.”
For new mercies had every morning; for fresh supplies of grace every day. Which all come from the fullness of Christ, to whom all grace is given, and from whence it is received. And in whom all spiritual blessings are, and by whom they are bestowed.
“And I will praise thy name for ever and ever”: As long as he lived in this world, and to all eternity in the world to come. David understood the doctrine of the saints’ perseverance, and knew he should not be an apostate and blasphemer of the name of Christ, but to praise Him as long as he had a being. And that his principal service, and that of all the saints in the other world, will be praise; not praying, nor preaching, nor hearing the word. And attendance on other ordinances, which will be no more, but adoring and magnifying the riches of divine grace (Psalm 104:34).
This lets us know that it is very important to commune with the Lord every day. Notice here, that David does not put any conditions on his praying. He does not say, if things are going good. He is saying, regardless of the circumstances I find myself in, I will praise and bless thy name. The smoke from the lamp rose to heaven at least two times a day. This smoke symbolized the prayers of the saints. To me this said that we should commune in prayer with God at least twice a day.
Psalm 145:3 “Great [is] the LORD, and greatly to be praised; and his greatness [is] unsearchable.”
Christ is the great God as well as our Savior. Great in all the perfections of his nature, of great wisdom, power, faithfulness, holiness, grace, and goodness. Great in his person as God-man, God manifest in the flesh. Great in all his offices and relations he bears and stands in to his people. And great in all his works of creation, providence, and redemption, in which he is concerned. And upon all which accounts he is to be praised, and greatly to be praised, by his people. Even to the utmost of their capacities, here and hereafter (see Psalm 48:1).
“And his greatness is unsearchable”: The greatness of his nature, and the perfections of it, these are past finding out. And so are his ways and works, and the riches of his grace (John 11:7). The Targum is, “and of his greatness there is no end.” So the Septuagint, Vulgate Latin, Syriac, and Arabic versions.
When we think of how great God is who created the earth and everything in it, and the heavens and all the galaxies, it is almost beyond our comprehension. A new telescope in Hawaii has snapped a picture of a galaxy 65,000,000 light years from the earth. Light travels at 186,284 miles per second. I will let you multiply this one out. God who can make all of this surely deserves our worship and praise. This galaxy is probably not even all of this. How unsearchable can you get? Even greater than all of this creation, is in the face of this, He cared enough to save our souls.
Psalm 145:4 “One generation shall praise thy works to another, and shall declare thy mighty acts.”
Shall praise thee on account of thy works or thy doings. That is, thy praise shall be always kept up on the earth (see the notes at Isa. 38:19; Psalm 19:2). One generation shall transmit the knowledge of thy works to another by praise”: By hymns and psalms recording and celebrating thy praise. Successive generations of people shall take up the language of praise, and it shall thus be transmitted to the end of time.
“And shall declare thy mighty acts”: Thy works of strength or power. God’s greatness, his infinity, is in itself a just ground of praise. For we should rejoice that there is One Infinite Eternal Being. And as all that greatness is employed in the cause of truth, of law, of good order, of justice, of kindness, and of mercy, it should call forth continued praise in all parts of his dominions.
In the very beginning, this was the only way they had of passing the glorious information on from generation to generation. Now we are known as the age of facts. I would rather be known as a person of faith. The scientist can figure all they want to; they will never figure out God. You must accept God on simple faith. I can relate to my children and grandchildren, and perhaps, my great grandchildren the wonderful things I know to be true about God. He has done great things in my life, and I will praise Him for it as long as I have breath in my body. I read of the mighty acts that Jesus did on this earth, and I am overwhelmed with praise for Him. The Bible is full of this.
Psalm 145:5 “I will speak of the glorious honor of thy majesty, and of thy wondrous works.”
Of the majesty of the divine Person of Christ. Of the honor due unto him; of the glory of him as of the only begotten of the Father. As he is the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person. Of his glory as Mediator, and the honor that belongs to him as such. With which he is now crowned at the right hand of the Majesty on high, angels, authorities, and powers, being subject unto him as the Lord and King of glory.
“And of thy wondrous works”: In becoming incarnate and in dying for the sins of his people. In rising from the dead the third day and in ascending to heaven and receiving gifts for men. In pouring down the spirit on them, in governing his church throughout all ages of the world, and judging the world at last.
Have you ever looked at a beautiful sunset and thought what a wonderful painter the Lord is? Even though it is to be for a fleeting second in time, it is so much more beautiful than any seasoned painter on earth could do. God’s majesty is all around us. His beautiful mountains from his creation, and no two are alike. This little king David knows there is a King of all the universe, who will outshine all the earthly kings of all time. Not only in God’s creation do we see His majesty, His majesty is seen best by us in the perfectness of His Word. It spans all of time and never is out dated. His perfect plan for the redemption of mankind shows His majesty. His 6 days of work in creation, just boggles my mind. The beautiful 6 hours of work that Jesus did for all of us on the cross, somehow beautifully completes the salvation plan. I cannot go on. Just think on these things and see the majesty for yourself.
Psalm 145:6 “And [men] shall speak of the might of thy terrible acts: and I will declare thy greatness.”
The force, the power of those things done by thee which are suited to inspire fear or reverence. The great power displayed in those acts shall be a ground or reason for celebrating thy praise. The manifestations of that power will so deeply impress the minds of people, that they will be led to speak of them.
“And I will declare thy greatness”: Hebrew, “And thy greatness, I will declare it.” In respect to that, I will recount it, or I will make it known to others.
The Pharaoh of Egypt would have spoken of the terrible act of might that was shown against Egypt. On the other hand, the Israelites who were redeemed, would speak of those same acts as the greatness of God. Men in the verse above, is speaking of earthly people. This is the same thing seen from two different aspects.
Psalm 145:7 “They shall abundantly utter the memory of thy great goodness, and shall sing of thy righteousness.”
Hebrew: The memory of the greatness of thy goodness they will pour forth. The word rendered “abundantly utter” means to bud forth, to gush out, to flow, as a fountain (Prov. 18:4; 1:23; 15:2; 15:28). It is applied to words as poured forth in praise. The meaning is, that the heart is full, as a fountain is full of water, and that it naturally overflows, or seeks to discharge itself. The thought of the goodness of God fills the heart, and makes it overflow with gratitude.
“And shall sing of thy righteousness”: They shall shout for joy at the displays of thy justice. At the manifestations of thy righteous character.
Singing broke out on the other side of the Red Sea, when the Israelites had successfully crossed, and their enemies had been drowned. When just mere words are not enough, then the abundant heart must sing. It even excites me to read about such things.
Psalm 145:8 “The LORD [is] gracious, and full of compassion; slow to anger, and of great mercy.”
These are the epithets of our Lord Jesus Christ, and may be truly and with great propriety said of him. He is “gracious”, kind, and good, in the instances before mentioned. He is full of grace, and readily distributes it. His words are words of grace; his Gospel, and the doctrines of it, are doctrines of grace. His works are works of grace, all flowing from his wondrous grace and mercy.
“And full of compassion”: Or “merciful”, in the most tender manner. Hence he came into the world to save sinners, and in his pity redeemed them. And when on earth showed his compassion both to the bodies and souls of men, by healing the one and instructing the other. And particularly had compassion on the ignorant, and them that were out of the way. Pitying those that were as sheep without a shepherd, as the blind Jews under their blind guides were. And is very compassionate to his people under all their temptations, afflictions, trials, and exercises (see Heb. 2:17).
“Slow to anger”: To the wicked Jews, though often provoked by their calumnies and reproaches, and by their ill behavior to him in various instances. Yet we never read but once of his being angry (without cause such as with the moneychangers in the temple), and that was through grief at the hardness of their hearts (Mark 3:5). And likewise to his own disciples, who were often froward and perverse, and of bad spirits. Very troublesome and afflictive to him, yet he patiently bore with them.
“And of great mercy”: A merciful High-Priest, typified by the mercy seat, where we may find grace and mercy at all times. Through whom God is merciful to sinners, and to whose mercy we are to look for eternal life.
The following Scripture shows better than anything I might say, just how patient, and kind, and merciful this great God that we serve is. He does not want even one person to be lost.
2 Peter 3:9 “The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.”
Psalm 145:9 “The LORD [is] good to all: and his tender mercies [are] over all his works.”
To all his creatures. That is, he is kind and compassionate toward them. He is disposed and ready to do them good. There is not one of them whom he is not ready and willing to bless. Not one whose happiness would not be agreeable to him, or whose welfare he is not ready to promote (compare Psalm 100:5).
“And his tender mercies are over all his works”: In all that he has made there is evidence that he is a kind and benevolent God. He has a heart to love, and to bless what he has made. Everywhere arrangements are made for happiness. He is not disposed to cast off the feeble, the erring, and the suffering. He is willing to receive back again those who have wandered from him, to pardon the offending, to wipe away the tears of the sorrowful.
God provided salvation for everyone through the precious shed blood of the Lamb (Jesus Christ). Not all accept it, but it is for all.
1 Timothy 4:10 “For therefore we both labor and suffer reproach, because we trust in the living God, who is the Savior of all men, specially of those that believe.”
Psalm 145:10 “All thy works shall praise thee, O LORD; and thy saints shall bless thee.”
Or, do praise thee. That is, all thy works show what thou art, and combine in setting forth thy perfections (see the notes at Psalm 19:1).
“And thy saints shall bless thee”: Or, do bless thee. All those who are holy in heaven and on earth. The angels around thy throne, and thy people below, all combine to proclaim thy praise.
Even a tree in the forest shows the great works of the Lord. Their uplifted limbs are as if they have raised their hands in praise to God. The reason to praise God is in all of nature. If I were a scientist, all of these unexplainable discoveries would make me fall on my knees before the supreme intelligence of the universe. These discoveries should make them realize the frailty of man compared to the Mighty God. The saints (believers in Christ), do not understand all of this. They just accept God through simple faith. They praise Him continually, because they realize to do anything else would be folly.
Verses 11-13: “Kingdom”: David refers here to the broadest use of kingdom in Scripture – i.e., God the eternal king ruling over all from before creation and eternally thereafter (compare Psalm 10:16; Dan. 4:3; 7:27).
Psalm 145:11 “They shall speak of the glory of thy kingdom, and talk of thy power;”
Of thy reign; of the great principles of thy government and laws. They see in that reign evidence that thou art worthy of universal praise. Seeing this, it becomes to them a subject on which they talk or converse (compare Mal. 3:16). A subject of interest to their hearts, and “out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.” People talk about that which interests them. Those things in which they have pleasure. Those which they desire to understand. Those in which they see difficulties that they would wish to have solved. It is one of the characteristics of the “saints”, of the people of God, that they do talk about God and his kingdom. That the subject is to them a pleasant theme of meditation and conversation. That they have the kind of pleasure in talking about God which other people have in conversing about their farms or their merchandise, their children and friends, the news of the day, politics, literature, or science.
“And talk of thy power”: As put forth in the works of creation. As manifested in the dispensations of thy providence. As evidenced in the conversion of sinners as displayed in carrying thy truth around the world. As exhibited in sustaining fine sufferer, and in giving peace and support to the dying.
The “they” here, is speaking of the saints. We say it in the prayer Jesus taught the disciples. Thy kingdom come. This Mighty God will set up His kingdom on this earth, and also in the believers as well. In a mystical way, the believers are His kingdom. This kingdom is both spiritual and physical. The physical kingdom would be of no earthly use to us, unless we had experienced His Kingdom in our innermost being.
Psalm 145:12 “To make known to the sons of men his mighty acts, and the glorious majesty of his kingdom.”
As in (Psalm 145:4). The acts of his power in providence and grace; in the salvation of his people, and the destruction of their enemies. Which, with others, are made known in the ministry of the word, to those who were strangers to them. To those without the church, who wait at Wisdom’s gates, and at the posts of her door. Aben Ezra interprets it of little ones, or children that knew them not, whose parents would make them known to them. Rather it designs the common people, instructed by the word and the ministers of it.
“And the glorious majesty of his kingdom”: And the glory of the majesty of his reign. They wish to communicate the knowledge of this to those ignorant of it. They themselves see this to be glorious, and they wish that all others may see it also.
The majesty of His kingdom is that this is a kingdom of the purest love known to man. Greater love hath no man, than He lay down His life for His friends. The glorious gospel message should be taught in all the world for a witness, and this kingdom would become a reality.
Mark 16:15 “And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.”
By the foolishness of preaching, those who believe are saved.
Psalm 145:13 “Thy kingdom [is] an everlasting kingdom, and thy dominion [endureth] throughout all generations.”
See notes on (Psalm 10:16; Dan. 4:34). The meaning is, that the reign of God will continue forever and ever. It will never pass away as other dominions do. It will not change as dynasties do among people. It will not be overthrown as they are. Its great principles will stand firm forever and ever (compare notes at Psalm 72:17).
The throne of God is from everlasting to everlasting. God was God of Adam and He is still God of us today. He will always be God. His throne is the same. It is for all generations past and all generations to come. He was God, He is God, and He will be God.
Verses 14-16: The emphasis is on God’s common grace to all of humanity (compare Matt. 5:45; Luke 6:35; Acts. 14:17; 17:25).
Psalm 145:14 “The LORD upholdeth all that fall, and raiseth up all [those that be] bowed down.”
“The LORD upholdeth” is not only His name but His nature. He supports the godly who fall on life’s path. He also “raiseth up” those who are “bowed down”. The image is of a reed wilted under the heat of the sun or bent by the blasts of the wind.
Those that be bowed down are the humble. This great God who reigns forever is so concerned about each of us, that He reaches down and saves us one at a time. The only ones He will save are those who know they need a Savior.
Psalm 145:15 “The eyes of all wait upon thee; and thou givest them their meat in due season.”
Margin, Look unto thee. All creatures, on the land, in the air and in the waters. All in heaven and all throughout the universe. That is, it is as if all directed their eyes to thee imploringly for the supply of their needs. To no one else can they look for those things which are needful for them. A universe thus looks every day, every hour, every moment, to its God! How sublime the scene!
“And thou givest them their meat in due season” (see notes at Psalm 104:27), where the same words occur.
To look to the world or its people, is a very bad thing to do. They will let you down. The place to look for all things, is to the Lord. Look upward to the Lord of all the universe for all the answers and the blessings of life.
Psalm 145:16 “Thou openest thine hand, and satisfiest the desire of every living thing.”
Not of providence, but of grace, in which all things are, and from where they come. And which the Lord opens liberally and bountifully, and gives out all things richly to enjoy. All things pertaining to life and godliness. Grace here, with all the supplies of it, and glory hereafter.
“And satisfiest the desire of every living thing”: Not of every savage creature; every lion, bear, wolf, etc., for then there would be no living in some parts of the world. Nor of every carnal, lustful, worldly, and covetous man; who never say they have enough, or are ever satisfied. But of everyone that is made spiritually alive, quickened by the Spirit and grace of God. These desire spiritual things, spiritual food, more grace and more communion with God, and conformity to Christ. And these desires are before the Lord; and sooner or later they are satisfied, they have what they desire. Especially this will be their case, when they awake in the divine likeness. The words may be rendered, “and satisfies every living one with that which is acceptable with favor”. With good will and with lovingkindness which is better than life. So Naphtali is said to be “satisfied with favor” (Deut. 33:23); as all living saints are or will be.
Remember I said when you are lifting your hands up to God, hold your palm upward with an open hand. To receive from God the desires of our heart, we must receive them. We cannot earn them; we must receive them. God will give you the desires of your heart. You must be ready to receive them.
Psalm 145:17 “The LORD [is] righteous in all his ways, and holy in all his works.”
In his own character; in his laws; in his providential dealings and in his arrangements for the redemption and salvation of man. In his own character, he is what it is desirable that a God should be. In all his laws, he ordains that only which it is desirable should be enacted. In all his dealings with people he does that which it is desirable should be done. He violates no right; he wrongs no one; he demands of no one a service which would be unjust. He makes no arrangements for pardon and salvation which it is not best that should be made. It is much for a man to be able to say in all that occurs to him under the divine administration, “It is right.” It is much for a man to have such confidence in God as to be able to feel that all he does in respect to nations is the best thing that could be done (compare notes on Psalms 89:14; 97:2).
And holy in all his works”: Margin, merciful, or bountiful. The Hebrew word is merciful. The idea seems to be that righteousness and mercy are equally consulted in his arrangements. That they meet together, and act harmoniously in the divine plans (compare notes at Psalm 85:10).
Righteousness and holiness are two things that most people do not want to talk about. If we are to be like our Savior, then these must be characteristic of us as well. We do not have any righteousness of our own, but we have taken on the robe of righteousness washed in His blood, if we are true Christians. The righteousness and holiness that we have are given to us by the Lord. He is Righteousness. He is Holiness. He said, “Be ye holy for I am holy”.
Psalm 145:18 “The LORD [is] nigh unto all them that call upon him, to all that call upon him in truth.”
There is a sense in which he is “nigh” to all, for he is everywhere present. But there is a special sense in which he seems to be near to us. In which he manifests himself to us. In which he gives us evidence of his presence. It is in prayer, in praise, in his ordinances, and in his gracious interpositions in our behalf. In the peace and joy which we have in communion with him (compare the notes at Psalm 34:18) “The Lord is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart.”
“To all that call upon him in truth”: In sincerity; not hypocritically. Worshipping him as the true God, and with a sincere desire to obtain his favor (compare notes at John 4:24). We can have no hope that God will hear us unless we are sincere in our worship. He sees the heart, and he will act toward us as we are, and not as we profess to be.
Notice the addition in the last part of the verse, of “call upon Him in truth”. He will not be fooled by a mouth worship. We must worship Him in our heart. We call in truth, when our mouth speaks the words that are in our heart.
Verses 19-20: “Fear” and “love” are the inseparable elements of true religion. Fear preserves love from degenerating into presumptuous familiarity; love prevents fear from becoming a servile dread.
Psalm 145:19 “He will fulfil the desire of them that fear him: he also will hear their cry, and will save them.”
Of those who worship him with reverence, those who are his true friends (see notes at Matt. 7:7-8; John 14:13; 1 John 5:14; Psalm 34:15).
“He also will hear their cry, and will save them”: He will regard their expressed desire, their earnest prayer.
This fear is like what a son has for a father. This type of fear would cause you to want to do His will. Salvation is available to all. We must repent and cry out to God for salvation, and then He will hear our cry and save us.
Psalm 145:20 “The LORD preserveth all them that love him: but all the wicked will he destroy.”
“The wicked … destroy”: The wicked await an eternity of living forever, away from the presence of God in the lake of fire (compare 2 Thess. 1:9; Rev. 20:11-15).
Preserveth means continues to preserve. We have spoken of the great love of God for all of mankind. When we reach out in love to Him, He accepts us and keeps us in that perfect love. The destruction of the wicked speaks of those who have totally refused His love.
Psalm 145:21 “My mouth shall speak the praise of the LORD: and let all flesh bless his holy name for ever and ever.”
Always, at all times, as long as he lived. And particularly when all the Lord’s people shall be brought safe to glory, and the wicked destroyed. When, as Kimchi observes, he should live again with the dead that shall be raised.
“And let all flesh bless his holy name for ever and ever”: Not every animal, or irrational creature; not carnal men, but spiritual men. Such as are praying ones, that come to a God hearing prayer: these should be praising ones. Such who have hearts of flesh given them, and are sensible of divine favors, as well as of their sinfulness and unworthiness. Jews and Gentiles, all sorts of men called by grace, all flesh on whom the Spirit of God is poured. These are all excited to praise and bless the holy name of the Redeemer, with the words and by the example of the psalmist. And thus the psalm ends as it begun, with praise and blessing.
We said it before, salvation was provided for all flesh. How could we do anything short of praise Him? Let everything that hath breath, praise the Lord. David has determined that as long as there is breath in his body, he will praise the Lord. He also makes one last plea for all others to bless His holy name as well.
Psalm 145 Questions
- How long does David promise to praise the name of the Lord in verse 1?
- What name did David call the Lord in verse 1?
- In this new name, what has David recognized Him as?
- What condition did David put on praising God every day?
- How often did the smoke of the lamp rise from the temple?
- What did this smoke symbolize?
- What unusual thing, in recent weeks, has happened that shows us even more clearly how unsearchable the Lord is?
- How fast does light travel?
- What is even greater than all of this?
- In the very beginning, how was the goodness and greatness of God related from generation to generation?
- You cannot figure out God. Salvation is accepting by simple ________.
- Verse 5 says, he will speak of what?
- What is the greatest majesty we see of God?
- Speak of two of the works of God that are almost impossible to comprehend?
- What does verse 6 show us about happenings?
- When did the Israelites break out in spontaneous singing?
- How do trees praise God?
- What should the scientist realize, when they see all these new discoveries?
- In a mystical way, the believers are His ____________.
- What is the majesty of His kingdom?
- He was ______, He is ______, and He will be ______.
- Who are those that be bowed down?
- Where is the place to look for all things?
- How should you lift your hands to God?
- He said, “Be ye _______ for I am _______.”
- The Lord is nigh unto them who call upon Him in _______.
- What will the Lord do to the wicked?
- Who did David tell to bless His holy name in verse 21?