I will exalt you, my God the King;
I will praise your name for ever and ever.
Every day I will praise you
and extol your name for ever and ever.
Great is the LORD and most worthy of praise;
his greatness no one can fathom.
One generation commends your works to another;
they tell of your mighty acts.
They speak of the glorious splendor of your majesty—
and I will meditate on your wonderful works.
They tell of the power of your awesome works—
and I will proclaim your great deeds.
They celebrate your abundant goodness
and joyfully sing of your righteousness.
Psalm 145 was a popular song in Jewish worship, and would have been recited regularly in their synagogue meetings. It’s not surprising that this is a Psalm they would have committed to memory, and would recite in their communal gatherings. There is a richness in its praise of God, and the various descriptions of personal worship, which were spoken in a communal setting, invite us to think of all that God has done for us, and his mighty works. The Psalm praises God for both who he is – his being, and what he’s done – his doing.
In the first verse, the Psalmist invokes God’s name, saying,
“I will exalt you, my God the King;
I will praise your name for ever and ever.”
At the mention of God’s name, the worshipper is reminded of all the things that God has done, all his great and wondrous works. Right back from the time of Moses and the burning bush until now. But even a brief reflection of God’s mighty acts is awe-inspiring. How many wonderful things has God done for us? And so the Psalmist writes, “his greatness no one can fathom.”
Into the New Testament, Jesus’ name is the name which is lifted high above all other names. It is lifted high even as Jesus was lifted high upon the cross where he died. Paul talks about this in Philippians 2:8-11,
“And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death— even death on a cross! Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”
As we begin to think and meditate upon God’s mighty acts, we cannot skim over God’s greatest act to save us – when he come to earth as a man, and died upon the cross to save us. When Jesus was lifted high, and the higher still when he rose from the dead and ascended to heaven. This is God’s wondrous saving work for us. As worshippers of God, let us praise and exalt and meditate on what God has done to save us.
Read Psalm 145
Psalm 145-150 are a unit of Psalms that are meant to be read together. Notice that Psalm 145 ends with the resolution that, “My mouth will speak in praise of the LORD. Let every creature praise his holy name for ever and ever.”
Following this, the next five Psalms all begin with the exclamation, “Praise the LORD!”, and function as a fulfilment to the final resolve in Psalm 145. Psalm 150, the last Psalm in this section and the final Psalm in the Book, ends with this final declaration, “Let everything that has breath praise the LORD.
Praise the LORD.”
This final word in the Book is an invitation for all of us to join in worship and praise of our LORD, for all that he has done for us.
What might it look like for you to praise the Lord – to speak boldly about what God has done? How can you be an encouragement to other brothers and sisters, so that together we can sing praise to the Lord?
I praise you that you are our God who works in powerful and mighty ways, that your works are great and deeds are good. The riches of your goodness towards us are unfathomable – you are our great God. May I ever praise your name, and seek to bring honour and glory to your holy and precious name. Thank you that you sent Jesus to die for me, and that you nailed my sins to that cross where Jesus died. Thank you that he rose again in victory, and that at the name of Jesus we all shall bow and confess that he is Lord. Thank you that Jesus is my Lord. By your Spirit, help me to praise your name and live for you each day. And help me to encourage others to do this too, and do this together.
In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.