Praising God Forever
(H) A psalm of praise. Of David. (1) I will extol you, my God and King, and bless your name forever and ever. (2) Every day I will bless you and praise your name forever and ever. (3) Great (is) Yahweh and most worthy of praise, and his greatness is unsearchable. (4) One generation shall praise your works to another and shall declare your mighty acts. (5) On the glorious splendor of your majesty and on your wondrous works I will meditate. (6) They shall speak of the power of your awesome deeds, and I will proclaim your greatness. (7) They shall pour forth tributes to your abundant goodness and shout joyfully of your righteousness.
This is an acrostic psalm in which each verse begins with a successive letter of the Hebrew alphabet. It overflows with wonderful expressions of praise to Yahweh. The repetitions suggest that it may have been used at great occasions of worship in the temple with the leader and congregation responding to each other antiphonally.
In the first two verses repeated words include “bless” and the phrase “forever and ever” (vss. 1 & 2). Next, we find both “great” and “greatness” used to describe Yahweh (vs. 3). In the rest of the segment, synonyms and parallelisms are employed to convey Yahweh’s attributes, his greatness, his majesty, his abundant goodness, and his righteousness. Note the emphasis on the exploits of our great God: “works and mighty acts” (vs. 4), “wondrous works” (vs. 5), and awesome deeds” (vs. 6).
I. A personal commitment to give God unending praise (1 & 2)
II. Yahweh’s greatness deserving the praise of all generations (3 & 4)
III. Yahweh universally praised for his person and works (5-7)
Yahweh’s majestic greatness and the power of his awesome deeds make him worthy of our unceasing praise.
Consider the opening lines of a much quoted verse written to her lover by Elizabeth Barrett Browning: “How do I love thee? Let me count the ways. / I love thee to the depth and breadth and height / My soul can reach...” Now consider these same words with one alteration, substituting the word “praise” for the two occurrences of “love” as we direct our thoughts to Yahweh. “How do I praise thee? Let me count the ways. / I praise thee to the depth and breadth and height / My soul can reach...” What a lovely way to capture the thrust of the opening seven verses of Psalm 145!
Recently a Christian brother recommended the use of a song during the worship service of our international church in Italy written by Steven Curtis Chapman. Listen to Our Hearts soon became one of our congregation’s favorite songs. Here is the first verse and chorus for your meditation: “How do you explain? How do you describe / a love that goes from east to west and runs as deep as it is wide? / You know all our hopes, Lord, you know all our fears, / and words cannot express the love we feel, but we long for you to hear. / So listen to our hearts. Hear our spirits sing / a song of praise that flows from those you have redeemed. / We will use the words we know to tell you what an awesome God you are, / but words are not enough to tell you of our love, so listen to our hearts.”