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“Every Day I Will Praise You!”

Psalm 145
Bob DeGray
June 28, 2009

Key Sentence

A life of praise focuses the heart’s affection and the mind’s attention on God.


I. Every day, for ever and ever (Psalm 145:1-3)
II. For His works (Psalm 145:4-7)
III. For His compassion (Psalm 145:8-10)
IV. For the glory of His kingdom (Psalm 145:11-13a)
V. For His faithfulness (Psalm 145:13b-16)
VI. For His righteousness (Psalm 145:17-21)


One of the formative moments of my life was rather odd. It came in high school, when I was involved in youth leadership at my church. One day we met to plan and pray in the church’s conference room, which had a large, wooden conference table. I put my head down on my arms while praying and there before my eyes was the beautiful polished wood grain of the table.

It struck me how awesome the structure of the grain was, and God’s creation of it. And since it was an open prayer time, I just prayed about that, praising God for what I had seen and thought about. I can’t remember if somebody said something to me or not, but I have been convinced ever since that if we look for God in the little and the mundane of life, as well as in the big and the awesome, we will find him everywhere worthy of praise.

This summer we’re doing a series on the expectations of the Christians life, and we’ve covered things like the relationship between faith and good works, the transformation that comes as we put off the old self and put on the new, the fruit that comes as the Holy Spirit flows through us. But this week we’re focusing on something you may not have thought of as an expectation of the Christian life: praise, or more broadly, worship. Yet, both by command and by example Scripture teaches us that we must be people of praise.

This morning we’re going to focus on an example from the Psalms, the great worship book of God’s people. Psalm 145 not only exhorts us to praise and worship, but shows us how a life of praise focuses the heart’s affection and the mind’s attention on God. There is a synergism that goes on between what we think about God and what we feel toward God, and both of them are needed if we are to praise.

I. Every day, for ever and ever (Psalm 145:1-3)

Let’s look, for example, at the first three verses: I will exalt you, my God the King; I will bless your name for ever and ever. 2Every day I will bless you and praise your name for ever and ever. 3Great is the Lord and most worthy of praise; his greatness no one can fathom.

The heart work here takes place mostly in the verbs – a vocabulary of praise designed to reflect the affection of the heart. The Psalmist says: I exalt you, I bless your name, I bless you, I praise your name. To exalt - to lift up - to magnify This is our heart’s response to the greatness of God, feeling that he is far above all created things, and wanting to recognize that in him.

To bless is to convey honor. This word carries with it the idea of kneeling down, of adoring on bended knee. This is the picture of the wise men, kneeling before the new born king, and giving him gifts. They came to honor him, as we do.

To praise. This is the root of our word ‘hallelujah’. It’s also the Hebrew name of the book of Psalms. The Psalms are ‘the praises’, and this Psalm, according to the heading, is ‘a Palm of praise’ of David. They actually translated it twice: it’s really just ‘the Psalm’ or ‘the Praise.’ This is the only Psalm in the whole book that is called “Psalm.” So this is the praise, the worship, a model of what it means for our hearts to praise God.

So the verbs engage our hearts - to praise, to exalt, to bless. But the nouns are important too - who do we praise, who do we exalt, who do we bless? David says: I exalt you, My God, the King. My God - not some impersonal force ordering the universe, not some mystic inner deification of myself, but my God - the God whom I know and who knows me.

When we say “My God’ it’s not the same thing as saying my car, my house, my computer, my dog. It’s not even the same thing as saying my wife or my husband. It is more like saying “my king” or “my ruler” but we don’t do that a lot in our culture. When I say ‘My God’ I am not saying that I possess God, but that God possesses me. As a master possesses a slave or a king is sovereign over a subject so God possesses me.

So do you see what we’re trying to do here? We’re studying the Psalm, examining it with our minds. And when we begin to understand with our heads what these words mean, then our hearts can take hold of them, and turn them into worship of God: I will praise you My God. We’re not going to focus this closely on the whole Psalm, but whether we look at one word or a whole section, the truths of Scripture provide fuel for praise from our hearts.

Verse 3 is a different kind of sentence, where we praise by focusing on what God is like: “Great is the Lord and most worthy of praise, His greatness no one can fathom.” Again, let’s focus on a word: God is great. The dictionary uses words like extremely large; extensive in time or distance; outstanding in magnitude, degree or extent; significant; important; meaningful; superior in quality or character; noble; excellent; powerful; influential, distinguished; eminent. And almost all these ideas are in the Hebrew word as well.

God is great. The dictionary amplifies the meaning of this or any characteristic of God: then our hearts take up these amplified meanings and attribute them to God: You are outstanding; you are of surpassing importance, superior in character; you are noble, excellent, powerful - you are great, O God.

But, his greatness no one can fathom. I will never with my mind fully grasp the depths of God’s greatness. It’s beyond me. I engage my brain, but I don’t expect my brain to teach me all about God. It is up to my heart to grab hold of whatever I have, great knowledge or little, and give that to God as praise.

II. For His works (Psalm 145:4-7)

One of the things he has given us to help us in that praise is the concrete reality of his good works. Verses 4 to 7: One generation will commend your works to another; they will tell of your mighty acts. 5They will speak of the glorious splendor of your majesty, and I will meditate on your wonderful works. 6They will tell of the power of your awesome works, and I will proclaim your great deeds. 7They will celebrate your abundant goodness and joyfully sing of your righteousness.

Here a key use of the mind leads to a joyful exercise of the heart: we remember God’s good works. And what a wide field of God’s great deeds we can contemplate. We can meditate on His work in the creation of all that is seen and unseen, everything around us formed by the hand of God; on His work in calling Israel and redeeming the nation from Egypt; on His work in creating David’s kingdom and preserving the Jews through war and exile.

We can meditate especially on His work in sending his Son to fulfill the prophecies and die for the sins of his people; His work in calling us out of darkness and into the light of his Son’s love; His work in ordering our lives so that we grow and serve his kingdom.

We’ve been keenly aware in these last two weeks that not everything God brings into our lives is a cause of celebration. But whether we are in a time of joy or of sorrow, God is still a reason to celebrate. As we look at even difficult circumstances, there are still things God is doing that cause us to celebrate.

This is what the Psalm encourages: “they will celebrate your abundant goodness and sing joyfully of your righteousness.” Notice the plurals: Praise and worship isn’t just an individual activity of your heart and your mind, but of the hearts and minds of the whole group. And God delights in the celebration of the people. That’s why we’re having an evening of prayer and praise tonight: because this is a reasonable and joyful expectation of the Christian life. If God has been working through your prayers this month – and He has, even in the hard parts – then come and give him praise tonight.

III. For His compassion (Psalm 145:8-10)

We praise Him especially for his compassion and grace. Verses 8-10: The Lord is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and rich in love. 9The Lord is good to all; he has compassion on all he has made. 10All you have made will praise you, O LORD; your saints will extol you.

You see, worship is not limited to those things which are concerned with God’s greatness, his loftiness, his holiness. We also worship from the heart for his love and compassion, his graciousness and longsuffering.

Notice that David has been having his quiet time in Exodus: he engages his brain in the Word to fuel the praise of his heart. Exodus 34:6 “As he passed in front of Moses, he proclaimed: The Lord, the Lord, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness.”

David bases his meditations on what God has already said, and that’s a very practical example for us. We can also base our worship, and even base our lives on the words which God has spoken in his Word. We can “pray Scripture back to God.” Oliver Heywood, a Puritan, put it this way: “God loves to be spoken to in his own language.” David knew this. David bases his prayer of worship on the Word of God.

So God has declared himself to be gracious and compassionate: feeling for us when we hurt, and extending his hand of help to us. Slow to express his anger toward us, despite our sins. And rich in love, in loving-kindness or chesed, that great Hebrew word for his faithful covenant love. Through what Jesus has done God is rich in love to forgive us and rescue us from our sins.

David says “the Lord is good to all, He has compassion on all he has made.” Jesus says the Father sends rain on the just and the unjust. God is longsuffering, and does not judge immediately those who rebel. Rather he gives them the abundant goodness of the earth and seas, the abundant beauty of this world, , the creative use of their minds. Truly the Lord is good to all, and has compassion on all he has made. He is patient, desiring all people to come to repentance and faith in his Son Jesus, his death for sin and his resurrection.

So David says: all you have made will praise you, and your saints, your holy ones, will bless you. You can almost see David handing his heart these wonderful truths about God, and then expecting his heart to respond in worship.

IV. For the glory of His kingdom (Psalm 145:11-13a)

God’s kingdom reign is to be praised. Verses 11-13: They will tell of the glory of your kingdom and speak of your might 12so that all men may know of your mighty acts and the glorious splendor of your kingdom. 13Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom; your dominion endures through all generations.

You see, worship is not only in my heart and mind, It’s not even only together with God’s people, but it is also before the whole world as a witness to God. This God whom we serve is worthy of our praise and our worship, and we want all men to see that: we want all men to see the greatness of his kingdom.

The sovereignty of God, as pictured by his kingdom is a glorious theme, close to the heart of Jesus himself. Over and over he said “The kingdom of God is at hand.” If you want a theme to engage your mind and fuel your worship, do a study of the Kingdom of God in the Gospels. Jesus himself would be perfectly comfortable David’s words: “Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and your dominion endures through all generations.”

Even David who was a King saw that God’s Kingdom was greater. God’s people have always had a sense that there is a greater kingdom, a greater king. I remember when I became a believer, it was at the time that the Watergate scandal was taking place; the whole country seemed to be corrupt and falling apart. Our youth pastor used to get down about it; then he’d wave his Bible and say “Richard Nixon does not have the final word”. When our minds accept God as our sovereign, our hearts can acclaim that truth..

Everything we learn about God gives the mind fuel which the heart can fire into worship. We need to be wood gatherers - engaging our brains to isolate and make specific those truths about God and his goodness which we then throw on the fire of our hearts to flame up into praise. Most praise dies because we don’t give it enough fuel.

V. For His faithfulness (Psalm 145:13b-16)

David sees the goodness and faithfulness of God. Verses 13-16:. The Lord is faithful to all his promises and loving toward all he has made. 14The Lord upholds all those who fall and lifts up all who are bowed down. 15The eyes of all look to you, and you give them their food at the proper time. 16You open your hand and satisfy the desires of every living thing.

Most versions, apart from the New International and the English Standard Version, don’t have the second half of verse 13. There wasn’t good evidence for it until it was found in the Dead Sea Scrolls. But it makes sense for it to be there, because this is one of those Psalms where the first word of every verse starts with the next letter of the Hebrew alphabet. And until this verse was found in those ancient manuscripts, this Psalm was missing the letter N, Hebrew nun. Now many scholars think it was there from the beginning.

In any event, David now turns to another aspect of the Lord’s character, and that is his faithfulness, especially to those who are hurting. The Lord loves to help those who have fallen. He cares for the broken, the broken hearted. In these two weeks God has been faithful to those mourning the loss of David Rask. For many the Scriptures have been a huge source of comfort. For others those words still feel like silence from God.

Yet God is at work at a deep level, beneath the surface of suffering, working to bind up the broken hearted. And if you are among them, I strongly recommend that you discipline yourself to the idea we’ve been studying, that if you put this truth about God into your head, it will be available to your heart as the basis for comfort and consolation and even praise down the road. The Lord lifts up all those who are bowed down.

Ruth Tucker tells the story of Geraldine Guiness, an early missionary with China Inland Mission. She worked with a missionary couple, and rejoiced with them when the wife gave birth to a son. A few months later the little baby developed dysentery. Geraldine, preparing his medication, accidently gave him the wrong serum. Within hours the baby lost consciousness and died.

Geraldine Guiness was broken hearted, weighed down with an unimaginable load of guilt and despair. She wrote to Hudson Taylor, then in England, and Taylor asked his son, Howard Taylor, to write to her, and help her in her despair. And the Lord used those letters to build a relationship between them, which resulted in their marriage a few years later. Geraldine Taylor wrote in the margin of her Bible, He lifts up those who are bowed down.

VI. For His righteousness (Psalm 145:17-21)

David rejoices at the love and care God bestows: The Psalms are almost a record of David’s heart response to the care that God had shown, by grace, throughout his life. Verses 17 to 21: 17The Lord is righteous in all his ways and loving toward all he has made. 18The Lord is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth. 19He fulfills the desires of those who fear him; he hears their cry and saves them, 20The Lord watches over all who love him, but all the wicked he will destroy. 21My mouth will speak in praise of the Lord. Let every creature praise his holy name for ever and ever.

David now chooses to focus his mind, and energize the affections of his heart, by thinking of the Lord’s righteousness. Yes, the Lord gives good things to all: he is loving toward all he has made, But the Lord is also righteous: he is just. The Lord draws near to those who call on him in truth - not to all men. The Lord fulfills the desires of those who fear him.

David says he hears their cry and saves them. Focus on that word for a second: He hears their cry and yeshua’s them: You remember when the angel spoke to Joseph, he said “You will call the baby Yeshua - Jesus - for he will save the people from their sins.” Same word: the saving character of God is seen in the very name of Jesus. Not that David was thinking of Jesus here - but David knew God to be a God who saves - and thus is worthy of praise.

Our hearts are lifted up when we recount to ourselves the salvation of our God. He has saved us from destruction. The Psalm says he’ll destroy the wicked, but for us, who trust in Jesus, he saves, he gives righteousness, He calls us his people. We are not lost to that destruction, but loved with everlasting love.

That’s why the hymnist writes: “I love to tell the story of unseen things above, of Jesus and his glory, of Jesus and his love.” The story of Jesus lifts our hearts in worship, because it is the amazing truth of a king who loved us so much that he died in our place, took the wrath we deserved, paid the price for our sins we had committed. He calls us to turn from ourselves and be made new by faith in Him. It’s only because of Jesus we can become people of praise, and it’s Jesus who deserves our praise. He hears our cry and saves us.

As we finish, I want you to notice two words in the last few verses of this Psalm which take us back to our central thought. Verse 18: The Lord is near to those who call on him, to those who call on him in truth. And verse 19: The Lord fulfills the desires of those who fear him. Fear and truth: do those things characterize your life? Do those things characterize your praise? More specifically, does the truth of Scripture teach your heart to fear.

We’ve been saying that worship is with heart and mind. These verses remind us that God desires the worship of hearts that fear him, and of minds that are truthfully open to him. To fear him means that our hearts see him as God Almighty: we stand before him only by his grace, we don’t deserve the favor of this infinite God, we can only receive his love with awe. There’s no pride in a heart that fears God, but a humble realization of God’s graciousness.

If you’re here today and you’ve faked worship while your mind was miles away pre-occupied with self-centeredness and self-fulfillment nursing bitterness, or trying to deceive yourself that you could worship despite unrepented and unchanged sin in your life, you are not here in godly fear, and your mind has not taken hold of the truth. Our hearts rejoice, our hearts worship, when we are not double-minded toward God, but single minded and reverent hearted.

When Jesus encountered the woman at the well in John 4, he emphasized this: a time is coming and has now come when true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in spirit and in truth.

Worshipping God in truth is worshipping from a pure mind, that takes hold of the truths of who he is. Worshipping God in spirit is worshiping from a pure heart that expresses its affection to him. A life of praise focuses the mind’s attention on God, through his word, and fuel the heart’s affection.