A composition of portions from an exposition of Psalm 145.
The psalms provide us with an inspired model about how to reflect upon and respond to God, not only with our thoughts, but also significantly with our emotions. They teach us not only how to think rightly about God but also how to feel rightly towards God. For example, this particular psalm, Psalm 145, is a psalm of praise. You might say that the psalm’s structure even testifies to the praiseworthiness of God from “A” to “Z,” as each verse in this psalm begins with a subsequent letter from the Hebrew alphabet.
As we move through this Psalm section by section, we will identify and meditate on specific aspects of God that motivate us to worship Him.
…Because He is the God of Unsearchable Greatness (Ps 145:1-3)
The psalm begins with a prelude in vv.1-3 that introduces us to the underlining principle of this entire psalm: Praise is based on great thoughts of God; and great thoughts of God fuel the praise of God. As wages and salaries generally to correlate to job skill and job significance, so God is great; and therefore, He is worthy of praise. Since the greatness of God can’t be measured, we can’t put a time limit on God’s worship. The only praise that corresponds to God’s infinite glory is eternal praise. The worship due to Him is constant, never ending.
…Because He is the God of Great Redemptive Acts (Ps 145:4-7)
God’s “great redemptive acts” are those moments in history where God decisively delivers His people. For example, throughout the Old Testament, the Exodus serves as the primary example of God’s deliverance. It defines the identity of every Israelite. But more so, it becomes the paradigm for the anticipation of God’s future “exodus,” an ultimate deliverance so great that it eclipses the greatness of the original Exodus (Jer 23:7). –A deliverance ultimately realized in the person of Jesus Christ (Lk 9:30-31). God’s ultimate act of redemption is found in Christ.
And so, God’s redemptive acts are to consume the thoughts and speech of His people. Unlike cultural fads, the fame of God’s salvation is preserved generationally. And like an over-played song that gets stuck in one’s head, the thoughts and meditations of God’s people are to be constantly consumed with the salvation of God.
…Because He is the God of Covenant Compassion (Psalm 145:8-9)
In the Bible, one’s name often represents one’s essential nature and character. So when the Psalmist cites Exodus 34:6 in verse 8, we get a description of God from the very lips of God Himself. And He describes Himself in this way: gracious, merciful, slow to anger, and abounding in hesed–God’s absolutely unswerving loyalty, faithfulness, commitment, and loving-disposition toward His covenant people.
But now notice verse 9. Its placement after verse 8 is no accident. Right after God expresses His character as he relates to His special, covenant people–the nation of Israel in the Old Testament–verse 9 expands God’s compassion to all of His creation. Just as Jonah said to God when He had compassion on the Ninevites (gentiles outside of God’s covenant community), “I knew that you are a gracious God and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in hesed” …even toward gentiles. And this compassion of God beyond the community of Israel alludes to what becomes explicit in the NT—God actually includes Gentiles in His people, promises, and plan of salvation (Eph 2:12-13).
…Because He is the God Of Absolute Reign (Ps 145:10-13)
When we think of some of the most powerful and influential intuitions on this planet, we think of nations, e.g., they have incredible political sway, economic influence, military strength, wealth, control, etc. But even so, they are limited. They are limited in time; even the greatest empires like the Roman Empire have a beginning and an end. They are limited in scope; they very fact that there is more than one nation shows that their power is not absolute. And they are limited in influence, e.g., crime occurs among their citizens, they often fail to bring about the plans that they have, etc.
But God’s kingdom is not limited whatsoever. It’s not limited in time; it’s everlasting. It’s not limited in scope; it includes His special people as well as all creatures. And it’s not limited in influence; God is absolutely sovereign in all things. And these truths direct us to the ultimate administration of God’s kingdom in king Jesus Christ, whose kingdom is not limited in time (2 Sam 7:13; Lk 1:33), scope (Dan 7:14; Mt 28:18; Rev 5:9), or influence (Rev 11:15).
…Because He is the God of Benevolent Provision (Ps 145:13-20)
There is a clear alternation throughout this Psalm between themes of God’s power and His goodness. The implication of this structure is that God’s incredible power and greatness does not preclude His goodness and compassion. God is not like a corrupt tyrant. John Dalberg-Acton, British historian, once said, “Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.” But not so with God–although He is the God of great power and absolute sovereignty, He is also the God of absolute goodness. God is not like the God of the deist. Although God is supremely powerful, He is involved in our circumstances; He condescends to His creation and cares for us.
And this leads us to God’s ultimate act of condescension in Jesus Christ, who, although the very nature of God, forsook the privileges of His position to become like us in order to provide for our greatest needs (Phil 2:5-11). As God provided physical provision via manna in the wilderness, so Christ is our “bread of life” (Jn 6:35). And as Ps 145:20 speaks of the deliverance of God’s people from their enemies, so Christ in a saving paradox wasn’t delivered from His enemies so that we might be.
Conclusion (Ps 145:21)
And so the Psalmist ends this psalm just as he began it: with the resolve to praise God for His greatness. Because God is great, He is worthy of great praise—unceasing and involving all of His creatures. Praise is based on great thoughts of God; and great thoughts of God fuel the praise of God.
If you’d like to listen to the entirety of this lesson, originally taught at Lake Drive Baptist Church in Milwaukee, WI, click on this link below.