Celebrating and Commending the King
For many of us, the fall signals a new and busy season of ministry. This is often an exciting time, but if we’re not careful, we will be so busy that we will forget what is most important. We will be tempted, after experiencing God’s greatness, goodness, and grace, to not stop and celebrate it in the midst of our day. Likewise, due to time constraints, it will be easy to miss the opportunity to commend God’s greatness, goodness, and grace to the next generation. This is where Psalm 145 can help us. Using every letter of the Hebrew alphabet (except one), David’s comprehensive praise provides a pattern we can follow.
The king of Israel recognizes the ultimate King, proclaiming his greatness and goodness, “I will extol you, my God and King…his greatness is unsearchable” (Ps. 145:1, 3). David’s commitment to the covenant King is not only one of praise, “every day I will bless you” (v. 2), but also of proclamation, “one generation shall commend your works to another” (v. 4), testifying to God’s “mighty acts,” “glorious splendor,” “wondrous works,” and “righteousness” (vv. 4-7).
Psalm 145 has been sung through the ages to extol the God and King of all the earth. His kingship has been most fully displayed through the person and work of Jesus Christ. Through His life, death, resurrection and exaltation, God’s goodness and greatness have been displayed. As we wait for Christ’s return we must commend His works to the next generation, declaring His words and works, so that they will be able to proclaim His excellencies to the generations after them.
It would be good for us to remember often that within one generation of Joshua dying there arose another generation that did not know the Lord (Judg. 2:6-15). Such ignorance did not end well, “In those days there was no king in Israel. Everyone did what was right in his own eyes” (Judg. 21:25). Such sobering days in the life of Israel should motivate us to take the time to tell our children and grandchildren about the words and works of the Lord.
David grounds his song of praise in God’s covenantal love, “The LORD is gracious and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love. The LORD is good to all, and his mercy is over all that he has made” (Ps. 145:8-9; see also Ex. 34:6). The person that has been transformed by the grace and mercy of the Lord will “give thanks” and “bless” the Lord, as they “speak of the glory” of God’s “everlasting kingdom” (vv. 10-13).
Jesus is the “son of man” whose kingdom has already been inaugurated and will one day be consummated (Dan. 7:13-14). We have already “come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God” (Heb. 12:22), yet we also joyfully anticipate Christ’s return when we “will see his face” and “reign forever” with Him in the new heaven and new earth (Rev. 21:4-5). In the meantime, we are to go about our days “proclaiming the kingdom of God and teaching about the Lord Jesus Christ” (Acts 28:31).
David praises God for His compassion, as He “raises up all who are bowed down” and opens His hand to “satisfy the desire of every living thing” (Ps. 145:14, 16). He also praises Him for His protection, as He “hears” the cry of His people and “saves them” (v. 19). Finally, David praises God for His preservation, “The LORD preserves all those who love him” (v. 20).
In the midst of David’s praise there is a warning, “all the wicked he will destroy” (Ps. 145:20). The judgment of the wicked is just as guaranteed as the preservation of God’s people. David doesn’t leave us guessing as to whose side he’s on, “My mouth will speak the praise of the LORD” (v. 21). Neither does he leave us guessing as to what his hope is for the generations to come, “and let all flesh bless his holy name forever and ever” (v. 21).
Jesus came to uphold those who were bowed down (Luke 4:18-19). He taught us that the Father gives His children food in due season and satisfies the desires of our hearts (Matt. 6:25-34). He displayed God’s righteousness and kindness as he cleansed the leper (Matt. 8:1-4). He was near to the woman at the well as He taught her about true worshipers calling on Him in truth (John 4:22-26). He proclaimed God’s salvation alongside His judgment (Luke 11:29-32). And He tells of God’s name to His brothers while singing praises to Him (Heb. 2:10-13).
As you embark upon a busy season, take time to celebrate the Lord and commend His words and works to the next generation. Use Psalm 145 to strengthen your soul. Stop and extol your God and King. Tell the next generation about what the Lord is doing in your life. Humbly ponder and then proclaim that He “is gracious and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love. The LORD is good to all, and his mercy is over all that he has made” (Ps. 145:8-9).
Sarah Ivill (ThM, Dallas Theological Seminary) is a Reformed author, wife, homeschooling mom, Bible study teacher, and conference speaker who lives in Matthews, North Carolina, and is a member of Christ Covenant Church (PCA). To learn more, please visit www.sarahivill.com.