I Will Extol You

Psalm 145

Jonathan Edwards, at ripe old age of 19, wrote out series of resolutions… 70 in all, and reminder to read them through at least once a week. First one reads like this:

Resolved, that I will do whatsoever I think to be most to God’s glory, and my own good, profit and pleasure, in the whole of my duration, without any consideration of the time, whether now, or never so many myriads of ages hence. Resolved to do whatever I think to be my duty, and most for the good and advantage of mankind in general. Resolved to do this, whatever difficulties I meet with, how many and how great soever.

Resolutions these days, especially New Year’s ones, pale in comparison for substance next to Edwards’s. Same is also true often of resolve to accompany resolutions – either lacking or nonexistent altogether. Equally disturbing: make resolution, hang in there for few days or weeks, dismiss it as not worth the trouble. Not the way of it for inspired poet – put far too much thought and effort into composition to try it for a while, then give up.

This piece of literature one of most technically involved pieces of poetry in psalter. Is an acrostic poem, each verse beginning with successive letters of Hebrew alphabet with only “nun” omitted. Poet used creative repetition to further structure his thoughts and expression, providing framework for our study. Rightly titled “A Song of Praise”, in its own right… and as introduction to remaining psalms. In the process, takes Paul’s exhortation and spreads it over entire timeline: “Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.” 1 Cor. 10:31 …forever and ever. Have unsurpassed example song of praise: how to praise properly, reasons we have for praise (greatness, goodness, glory, grace), encouragement that praise is contagious.

A. how to praise v.1-4

pick the right object

not 100% clear at outset, quickly obvious though who is being praised – the LORD, YHWH, the God who has a name

especially important reminder – in multi-cultural society where “God” means many things, make it clear who you are praising

1st commitment: I will extol – “elevate by praise; eulogize; praise; magnify” – iow, making God look good to others

plan as part of your day

praise something to be done continually throughout the course of each day forever – starts in this life and continues in next

to do that without “vain repetition” requires thought and awareness – paying attention to events and circumstances, actively looking for God’s fingerprints

pass the gift along

need to show the next generation: importance of praise, who deserves praise how / where to find opportunities/reason for praise

B. reasons for praise

1. your greatness v.3, 5-6

beyond comprehension (3)

God is great in his being and attributes: WSC 4 What is God? A. God is a Spirit, infinite, eternal, and unchangeable, in his being, wisdom, power, holiness, justice, goodness, and truth.

can/should recognize and praise his greatness even though are unable to fully wrap minds around it

on display (5)

God doesn’t keep his greatness hidden – works of creation and providence there for all to see and meditate on: live life with head up, brain and heart engaged so as to properly praise

in power (6)

if God is source and sustainer of all things, then… not hard to find examples of his power – in nature, in caring for his people, etc, etc, and on and on

not only power of sun, volcano… God is power behind; what about invisible God parting Red Sea, manna, water from rock

2. your goodness v.7-10

kind (7a)

Eph. 4:32 And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God in Christ forgave you.

even in discipline God is kind, not harsh – we tend to overdo…in both directions, indulgent or harsh; God defaults to kind

just (7b)

God always does what is right, as he sees it: from perspective of comprehensive knowledge and purpose; his goodness disallows injustice… in big picture

merciful (8a)

God not tolerant but he is patient – does not execute justice immediately; no one would survive that, instead is merciful to largest extent possible

loyal (8b)

“great in mercy” “great loyal love” (chêsêd) – nothing shakes God’s commitment to his covenant… even our breaking it (Hosea)

good (9a)

600+ words in thesaurus for good; here goes beyond scope of previous verse, extends from covenant people to all

“Kind; benevolent; humane; merciful; gracious; polite; propitious; friendly; well-disposed” – rain falls on just and unjust

compassionate (9b)

“There are several ideas attached to God’s deep, tender love: first, the unconditional election of God; next, his mercy and forgiveness toward his people in the face of deserved judgment; God’s continuing mercy and grace in preserving unrepentant people from judgment” TWOT

really only a summary of ways God demonstrates his goodness – not simply what God does, is an inherent part of who he is: God is love

3. your glory v.11-13

glorious kingdom (11a)

“Kingdoms of earth are glorious for riches, for extent of territory, for victories, for liberty, for commerce, and other matters; but in all true glories the kingdom of Jehovah excels them. …time, eternity, and all space are filled with the glories of God.” CHS

glorious power (11b)

consider just one example: power exercised every day to raise dead to life, particular kind of life: eternal! Eph. 1:19ff, adding living subjects to his glorious kingdom

glorioius majesty (12b)

hints at Jordan River, Mount of Transfiguration; more fully revealed: One in midst of lampstands, riding a white horse

glorious dominion (13)

dominion that knows no bounds whatever: time, space, size, diversity, quality; and… purpose of dominion is not only to display glory, but to bring glory to God

4. your grace v.14-20

holds up (14a)

weakness – meets at point of need, graciously picks up the fallen and continues to hold up; applies to various kinds of weakness: physical, emotional, moral

straightens up (14b)

weariness – lifts burdens that tax strength and endurance: overwhelmed, discouraged by circumstances or personal condition/need… 1 Pet. 5:7

provides (15)

no Deist perspective here – God intimately involved with his creation, providing for all his dependents “on a regular basis”

satisfies (16)

gives what we desire, not what we deserve, especially when we delight in him; note also – gives from open hand = abundantly

comforts (18)

“old” sense of word: God doesn’t leave us in world to fight through alone; graciously strengthens by his presence / providence

delivers (19)

nothing in us of our own doing or merit that warrants listening ear and response – is because He sits on a throne of grace

preserves (20)

don’t think it’s your genius that brings safely home to heaven – is God’s gracious preserving in spite of your genius

C. contagious praise v.1-2, 10, 21

I will (1-2, 21a)

personal commitment to ongoing attitude/life/expression of praise; if not at beginning, by end of psalm grasped idea that praise can/should be contagious… could have been purpose throughout

your works will (10a)

if people don’t praise, the stones will… Jesus (Luke 19:40); given full articulation by saints but all creation declares glory of God

your saints will (10b)

when you hear others praise, how do you respond? have a duty, praise by others encourages desire to add our own contribution

everyone will (21b)

“every knee will bow, every tongue will confess that Jesus is Lord”… and will continue through all eternity among God’s people


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