The Congregational Prayer: Our Responsibility

StandardBearerFrom the September 15, 2014 issue of The Standard Bearer:

The congregation has great responsibility as well with regard to congregational prayer (After treating the duty of the pastor who leads the congregation in prayer. ~cjt). First of all, our responsibility is to pay attention and not let the mind wander in the prayer. Truly to be led in prayer is hard sometimes. The congregation is called to take the words that are being said and make them their own in the prayer – to enter into the prayer. The congregational prayer is not a time to sleep, or to daydream. It’s not break time where we check out. This service is meeting God face to face after all. Prayer must be offered from an attentive and pious heart as we make the prayer our own. Strange it must be to God that people are here to meet Him and then in prayer this one is thinking about football, and that one about what she has to get done tomorrow. It is a struggle, and all of us know is. It will help if we focus on what we are doing, communing with God Himself.

Besides this, the congregation must help the minister to know her struggles and difficulties and joys and praises. Especially the elders should speak to the minister of things he should pray for on behalf of the congregation. But there is a place, too, for the whole congregation to express needs and joys that the minister should bring before God in congregational prayer.

Rev.Cory Griess (Calvary PRC), “The People of God Humbled and Healed: The Element of Prayer (8b)” in the rubric “O Come Let Us Worship”

Parachurches and Podcast Pastors – September “Tabletalk”

Historical and Theological Foundations by Keith Mathison | Reformed Theology Articles at Ligonier.org.

TT - Sept2014As we noted here last week, the September issue of Tabletalk is devoted to the theme of “The Church and the Parachurch”, a significant subject, to be sure. Above I have linked you to the second main article on this theme, written by Dr.Keith Mathison, professor of systematic theology at Reformation Bible College in Sanford, FL.

You may not agree with Mathison’s historical and theological (Biblical) explanation for the rise of parachurch organizations, but it will make you think better about the relationship between the two and the purpose of them.

The article from which I wish to quote today, however, is John Piper’s, titled “The Podcast Pastor”. I will let you read his piece so that you may have an idea of what he refers to by this term, but pay attention to these words in defense of the traditional way to hear your pastor’s preaching – and appreciate him and the Word he brings each week!

Let me add two further considerations:

First, what we should desire from our pastor in his preaching is not mainly rhetorical or oratorical skill, but faithful explanation of God’s Word and application to our lives, especially the life we are living together right here in this church and city, making an impact on our specific community. So I say to every church member, value your pastor as the one who opens the Scriptures for you in your situation, in your community, in your web of relationships week in and week out. Support him in this.

Second, we need to acknowledge the huge importance of corporate worship, as a whole, in the life of a believer. Gathering with God’s people every week—gathering, not just putting on your headphones and listening to a worship song—to exalt Jesus together, and hear each other say great things about the One whom we love and cherish, is the way God means for us to thrive in relation to him. I have found this weekly rhythm of corporate communion with God essential to my faith over the last fifty years.

Preaching is essential to that corporate experience. Preaching is not after worship. It is worship. It is the pastor exulting over the truth of God’s Word. It is expository exultation. In other words, preaching is not an isolated moment of instruction, as if the service just switched from music to class. No, the service is worship from start to finish. We are going vertical from beginning to end, and we are connecting with God through prayers and communion and singing and giving and in the sermon. We are leaning on the pastor to draw us into his explanation and exultation over the Word of God as part of corporate worship. Podcasters cannot do this. If people only hear preaching outside the context of corporate worship, they are neglecting part of its life and its power.

J.Calvin on Psalm 148: “Nor are we to seek the cause… elsewhere than in the mere love of God.”

JCalvinPicAlso for our meditation on Psalm 148 today, we include these thoughts of John Calvin on the last verse, v.14. Here  he reflects on God’s particular blessing on His church in the midst of all His goodness on display in creation, a blessing that calls for our special praise. May his words also inspire us to bless the God Who has so richly blessed us by His grace in Christ Jesus.

14. And hath exalted the horn, etc. As we saw in the former Psalm, that the perfections of God are to be seen more conspicuously in the Church than in the constitution of the world at large, the Psalmist has added this sentence, as to the Church being protected by the divine hand, and armed with a power against all enemies which secures its safety in every danger.

By the horn, as is well known, is meant strength or dignity. Accordingly the Psalmist means that God’s blessing is apparent in his Church and among his chosen people, inasmuch as it only flourishes and is powerful through his strength. There is a tacit comparison implied between the Church of God and other hostile powers, for it needs divine guardianship as being exposed on all sides to attack. Hence the Psalmist infers that praise is to all the merciful ones of God, for they have ground given them in the singular goodness of his condescension both for self-congratulation and praise.

In calling the children of Israel a people near unto God, he reminds them of the gracious covenant which God made with Abraham. For how came the nearness, except in the way of God’s preferring an unknown despised stranger to all nations? Nor are we to seek the cause of the distinction elsewhere than in the mere love of God. Though all the world equally belongs to God, he graciously discovered himself to the children of Israel, and brought them near to him, strangers as they were from God, even as are the whole race of Adam.

Hence the words of Moses —

“When the Most High divided to the nations their inheritance, and distributed the peoples, he stretched forth his line to Jacob.” (Deuteronomy 32:8.)

He is to be considered, therefore, as pointing out the cause why God hath extended such signal blessings to a single people, and a people poor and despised — his adoption of them to himself.

Sunday Worship Preparation – Psalm 148

Psalm 148As we prepare to meet our covenant Father in His house of praise and prayer, we consider together Psalm 148, another of the “Hallelujah” Psalms beginning and ending with the call, “Praise ye the LORD.” Here is God’s Word in this part of the OT Psalter:

Psalm 148

Praise ye the Lord. Praise ye the Lord from the heavens: praise him in the heights.

Praise ye him, all his angels: praise ye him, all his hosts.

Praise ye him, sun and moon: praise him, all ye stars of light.

Praise him, ye heavens of heavens, and ye waters that be above the heavens.

Let them praise the name of the Lord: for he commanded, and they were created.

He hath also stablished them for ever and ever: he hath made a decree which shall not pass.

Praise the Lord from the earth, ye dragons, and all deeps:

Fire, and hail; snow, and vapours; stormy wind fulfilling his word:

Mountains, and all hills; fruitful trees, and all cedars:

10 Beasts, and all cattle; creeping things, and flying fowl:

11 Kings of the earth, and all people; princes, and all judges of the earth:

12 Both young men, and maidens; old men, and children:

13 Let them praise the name of the Lord: for his name alone is excellent; his glory is above the earth and heaven.

14 He also exalteth the horn of his people, the praise of all his saints;even of the children of Israel, a people near unto him. Praise ye the Lord.

Psalm 148 is a call for universal praise, as all of creation – from everything in the heavens (angels and sun, moon, and stars) to everything on earth (snow and wind, mountains and trees, beasts and birds, kings and children) – is summoned to praise God. Why? Because God alone is the Maker and Sustainer of all creatures (vss.5-6). And because His name alone is excellent and His glory above the earth and heavens (v.13).

And when you sat on your deck on a summer morning, listening to the birds sing and observing the flowers opening up their blossoms, or watched and heard an approaching thunderstorm with its lightning  and peals of thunder, you know these creatures were praising the Name of the Lord. Or when you sat on the pierhead and heard the pounding of the surf and felt the breeze off the lake, and caught in sight soaring gulls and fish jumping out of the lake, you know these creatures were giving glory to their Maker. The praise of our God is all around us, from the majestic mountains to the flat prairies, from the “dragons” of the deep to the tiny ants on their sandhills.

But who should praise God the best? His church, the “children of Israel, a people near unto him” (v.14). For God exalts “the horn of His people, the praise of all His saints.” Do we remember how we sinners, who once were far off from God, have been brought near by the blood of Christ (read Eph.2:11-22 again)? Do we recall today God’s mighty mercy to us and His tender pity on us (Read Psalm 103 again)? Do we bring to mind His amazing grace that saved wretches like me – and you (Read Romans 3 again)? Do we think about what Jesus did to bring us back to the God from Whom we departed and ran (read Hebrews 10 again)?

Then let us praise the Lord! The angels in heaven will. The sun, moon, and stars will. The mountains and hills will. The fish and birds will. The grass and flowers will. Let us who have been redeemed by the blood of the Lamb join them in a mighty chorus of praise to the Lord of creation and salvation.

And let us speak to one another with these words, “Hallelujah! Praise ye the Lord!” Today, as we assemble for public worship. Today, as we gather with family and loved ones. And, tomorrow, as we return to work. God is worthy of all our praise, all our days. “For His name alone is excellent.”

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Psalter1912If you desire to meditate on Psalm 148 through music, I encourage you to listen to a versification of this psalm at the PRC Psalter page. Here is one such versification, titled “Universal Adoration” to get you started (Visit the link to hear piano accompaniment and sing along.):

1. Praise ye, praise ye the Lord
In yonder heavenly height;
Ye angels, all His hosts,
In joyful praise unite;
On sun and moon, declare His might,
Show forth His praise, ye stars of night.

2. Praise Him, ye highest heavens,
Praise Him, ye clouds that roll,
Created by his power
And under His control,
Ye heavens that stand eternally,
Established by His firm decree.

3. Ye creatures in the sea
And creatures on the earth,
Your mighty Maker praise
And tell His matchless worth;
Praise Him, ye stormy winds that blow,
Ye fire and hail, ye rain and snow.

4. Ye hills and mountains, praise,
Each tree and beast and bird;
Ye kings and realms of earth,
Now let your praise be heard;
By high and low, by young and old,
Be all His praise and glory told.

5. By all let God be praised,
For He alone is great;
Above the earth and heaven
He reigns in glorious state;
Praise Him, ye saints, who know His grace
And ever dwell before His face.

J.Calvin on Psalm 147: “…God will not suffer his work to fail.”

calvin-preaching-genevaFor our spiritual profit as we meditate on Psalm 147 today, we may also find edification and encouragement from these thoughts of John Calvin on v.2. This is a lengthy quote, but worth keeping together, since the entire section is of great instruction and comfort to us as church in this 21st century.

May this Reformer’s comments also serve to lead us to praise our God for His work in and with His church throughout her history, including in our day. May we too remember that “God will not suffer his work to fail.”

2. Jehovah building up, etc.

He begins with the special mercy of God towards his Church and people, in choosing to adopt one nation out of all others, and selecting a fixed place where his name might be called upon. When he is here called the builder of Jerusalem, the allusion is not so much to the outward form and structure, as to the spiritual worship of God. It is a common figure in treating of the Church to speak of it as a building or temple.

The meaning is, that the Church was not of human erection, but formed by the supernatural power of God; for it was from no dignity of the place itself that Jerusalem became the only habitation of God in our world, nor did it come to this honor by counsel, industry, effort or power of man, but because God was pleased to consecrate it to himself. He employed the labor and instrumentality of men indeed in erecting his sanctuary there, but this ought never to take from his grace, which alone distinguished the holy city from all others.

In calling God the former and architect of the Church, his object is to make us aware that by his power it remains in a firm condition, or is restored when in ruins. Hence he infers that it is in his power and arbitrament to gather those who have been dispersed.

Here the Psalmist would comfort those miserable exiles who had been scattered in various quarters, with the hope of being recovered from their dispersion, as God had not adopted them without a definite purpose into one body. As he had ordered his temple and altar to be erected at Jerusalem, and had fixed his seat there, the Psalmist would encourage the Jews who were exiles from their native country, to entertain good hope of a return, intimating that it was no less properly God’s work to raise up his Church when ruined and fallen down, than to found it at first.

It was not, therefore, the Psalmist’s object directly to celebrate the free mercy of God in the first institution of the Church, but to argue from its original, that God would not suffer his Church altogether to fall, having once founded it with the design of preserving it for ever; for he forsakes not the work of his own hands.

This comfort ought to be improved by ourselves at the present period, when we see the Church on every side so miserably rent asunder, leading us to hope that all the elect who have been adjoined to Christ’s body, will be gathered unto the unity of the faith, although now scattered like members torn from one another, and that the mutilated body of the Church, which is daily distracted, will be restored to its entireness; for God will not suffer his work to fail.

Sunday Worship Preparation: Psalm 147

Psalm 147After a two week absence from our Sunday devotionals on the Psalms, let’s return this week to Psalm 147, another “Hallelujah” song of praise to the Lord (These last five psalms all begin and end with “Praise ye the LORD”, that is “Hallelujah”.). The human instrument who penned this psalm is not identified, but we know the divine author is the Holy Spirit – the Spirit of Jesus Christ, Who was in the prophets of the Old Testament (1 Peter 1:10-12).

Her is the inspired and infallible Word of Christ in this song:

Psalm 147

Praise ye the Lord: for it is good to sing praises unto our God; for it is pleasant; and praise is comely.

The Lord doth build up Jerusalem: he gathereth together the outcasts of Israel.

He healeth the broken in heart, and bindeth up their wounds.

He telleth the number of the stars; he calleth them all by their names.

Great is our Lord, and of great power: his understanding is infinite.

The Lord lifteth up the meek: he casteth the wicked down to the ground.

Sing unto the Lord with thanksgiving; sing praise upon the harp unto our God:

Who covereth the heaven with clouds, who prepareth rain for the earth, who maketh grass to grow upon the mountains.

He giveth to the beast his food, and to the young ravens which cry.

10 He delighteth not in the strength of the horse: he taketh not pleasure in the legs of a man.

11 The Lord taketh pleasure in them that fear him, in those that hope in his mercy.

12 Praise the Lord, O Jerusalem; praise thy God, O Zion.

13 For he hath strengthened the bars of thy gates; he hath blessed thy children within thee.

14 He maketh peace in thy borders, and filleth thee with the finest of the wheat.

15 He sendeth forth his commandment upon earth: his word runneth very swiftly.

16 He giveth snow like wool: he scattereth the hoar frost like ashes.

17 He casteth forth his ice like morsels: who can stand before his cold?

18 He sendeth out his word, and melteth them: he causeth his wind to blow, and the waters flow.

19 He sheweth his word unto Jacob, his statutes and his judgments unto Israel.

20 He hath not dealt so with any nation: and as for his judgments, they have not known them. Praise ye the Lord.

It should be evident how fitting this psalm is for our worship on this Lord’s Day. For it is clear from the outset that Psalm 147 truly is a psalm of praise to Jehovah, the omnipotent and faithful covenant God of creation and of the church. We are told in v.1 that it is good to sing praises to our God, because praise is pleasant and comely. In vss.7 and 12 we are specifically exhorted to sing unto the LORD with thanksgiving and to praise Him as the church. And still more, in v.11 we are reminded that God takes pleasure in those who fear Him.

And from the rest of the psalm we discover why we ought to praise our God. It is because, as v.5 states, our Lord is great and of great power, a God of infinite understanding (and wisdom). And that power and wisdom are displayed in all the works of God’s heart and hands, as those are plainly described in this psalm.

God’s works of creation and providence are beautifully described here. Read through the psalm carefully and mark the verses which set forth these wondrous works of God. And then list the things God daily does in the realm of creation – from counting the stars (v.4), to preparing rain for the earth (v.8), to giving snow like wool (v.16). And then pause to meditate on these works and praise God specifically for them. When was the last time we praised God for calling the stars by name and making the grass grow?

But more importantly, God’s works of saving grace and mighty mercy are laid out here for us, that we might praise Him. These works are put “front and center” for us. Look at vss.2-3, and see how God is the Builder and Gatherer of His church and the Healer of His people. Read v.6 and be reminded that He lifts up the meek, while casting the wicked down. Review v.13 and recall that He is the One Who saves us and our children because he is the Lord of the covenant. Consider the truth of v.19 again, that our God has blessed us with His Word and the revelation of Himself in the face of Jesus, so that we know Him and fellowship with Him – now and forever!

What a God! Of grace and mercy! To us! and our children and grandchildren! Yes, this is OUR God! So, “praise the LORD, O Jerusalem; praise thy God, O Zion!” Lift up your songs of thanks and praise to the Lord today in your public and private worship. For, yes, this is pleasing and beautiful to Him.

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PsalterAppIf you desire to meditate on Psalm 147 through music, I encourage you to listen to a versification of this psalm at the PRC Psalter page. Here is one such versification, titled “Thankful Commemoration” to get you started (Visit the link to hear piano accompaniment and sing along.):

1. Praise ye the Lord, for it is good
To sing unto our God;
‘Tis right and pleasant for His saints
To tell His praise abroad.
The Lord our God builds up His Church,
He seeks her wandering sons;
He binds their wounds and gently heals
The brokenhearted ones.

2. Our Lord is great, He calls by name
And counts the stars of night;
His wisdom is unsearchable,
And wondrous is His might.
The Lord upholds the poor and meek,
He brings the wicked low;
Sing praise to Him and give Him thanks
And all His goodness show.

3. No human might, no earthly pride,
Delights the Lord above;
In them that fear Him He delights,
In them that trust His love.
O Zion, praise the Lord thy God,
His wondrous love confess;
He is thy glory and thy strength,
He will thy children bless.

J.Calvin on Psalm 146: “…So many reasons why we should hope in him.”

JCalvinPic1For our further meditation on Psalm 146 today, we include this commentary of John Calvin on vss.7ff., where he remarks on the character and works of God that call us to hope in Him and to praise Him. May His words encourage us to see God for Who He is and to fall down before Him in perfect (complete) trust and adoration.

7. Rendering right, etc.

He instances other kinds both of the power and goodness of God, which are just so many reasons why we should hope in him. All of them bear upon the point, that the help of God will be ready and forthcoming to those who are in the lowest circumstances, that accordingly our miseries will be no barrier in the way of his helping us; nay, that such is his nature, that he is disposed to assist all in proportion to their necessity.

He says first, that God renders justice to the oppressed, to remind us that although in the judgment of sense God connives at the injuries done to us, he will not neglect the duty which properly belongs to him of forcing the wicked to give an account of their violence. As God, in short, would have the patience of his people tried, he here expressly calls upon the afflicted not to faint under their troubles, but composedly wait for deliverance from one who is slow in interposing, only that he may appear eventually as the righteous judge of the world.

It follows, that he gives bread to the hungry. We learn from this that he is not always so indulgent to his own as to load them with abundance, but occasionally withdraws his blessing, that he may succor them when reduced to hunger. Had the Psalmist said that God fed his people with abundance, and pampered them, would not any of those under want or in famine have immediately desponded? The goodness of God is therefore properly extended farther to the feeding of the hungry.

What is added is to the same purpose — that he looses them that are bound, and enlightens the blind. As it is the fate of his people to be straitened by anxiety, or pressed down by human tyranny, or reduced to extremity, in a manner equivalent to being shut up in the worst of dungeons, it was necessary to announce, by way of comfort, that God can easily find an outgate for us when brought into such straits.

To enlighten the blind is the same with giving light in the midst of darkness. When at any time we know not what to do — are in perplexity, and lie confounded and dismayed, as if the darkness of death had fallen upon us — let us learn to ascribe this title to God, that he may dissipate the gloom and open our eyes. So when he is said to raise up the bowed down, we are taught to take courage when weary and groaning under any burden.

Nor is it merely that God would here have his praises celebrated; he in a manner stretches out his hand to the blind, the captives, and the afflicted, that they may cast their grief’s and cares upon him. There is a reason for repeating the name Jehovah three times. In this way he stimulates and excites men to seek him who will often rather chafe and pine away in their miseries, than betake themselves to this sure asylum.

What is added in the close of the verse — that Jehovah loves the righteous, would seem to be a qualification of what was formerly said. There are evidently many who, though they are grievously afflicted, and groan with anxiety, and lie in darkness, experience no comfort from God; and this because in such circumstances they provoke God more by their contumacy, and by failing for the most part to seek his mercy, reap the just reward of their unthankfulness.

The Psalmist therefore very properly restricts what he had said in general terms of God’s helping the afflicted, to the righteous — that those who wish to experience his deliverance, may address themselves to him in the sincere exercise of godliness.

Sunday Worship Preparation – Psalm 146

Psalm 146For this new Sunday, as we awaken to new mercies and fresh revelations of God’s faithfulness (Lam. 3:22,23), we turn to the Word of God in Psalm 146.

As we continue to make our way through this OT Psalter, using it especially to prepare ourselves for the worship of the Lord in His house of prayer, we note that these last five psalms all begin and end on the note of “Praise ye the LORD” (or simply, “Hallelujah”). As such, these closing songs of the OT church’s songbook are most fitting for our worship – public and private – for the theme of our worship as well as of our daily walk must be the praise and adoration of our sovereign God and King.

And as we look at Psalm 146, we see that this is the psalmist’s resolve and testimony too. He will not praise the Lord occasionally or sporadically, but as long as he lives and as long as he has being (v.2). This is the way we must tell our own souls to praise God (v.1).

And the psalm writer also gives himself and us good reason to praise the Lord. The God of Jacob (which is another way to say that He is the God of the covenant and church) is the God of boundless power and saving help for His people. Read carefully the things he mentions here in describing the Lord and His power and works. And note too how broad and deep these works and ways of the Lord are, from creating the heaven and earth out of nothing to relieving the fatherless and widow. O, yes, this God reigns – forever! And He is “Thy God, O Zion, unto all generations” (v.10).

How foolish then to put our trust in anyone else but this sovereign Lord! The psalmist calls the people of God not to place their trust in princes or in the son of man (v.3). For obvious reasons (vss.3b,4). Rather he points us to the incredible happiness – and blessedness! – of having the one, true God for our help and hope (v.5). Is He such to us? Have we placed and do we place our trust in Him alone? Is He our only hope, in life and in death, in good times and in bad times, in prosperity and in adversity?

As we come into His presence today, may we find Him to be all that He is revealed to be here – the God of amazing creation, of faithful providence, and of gracious salvation. In Jesus Christ, the Son of Man Whom He made strong to save us and help us in all of life and in all of life’s circumstances. And finding Him so, may we place all our hope (trust) in Him alone. So that with solid hope in our souls, we may say with the psalmist, “Praise ye the LORD. Praise the LORD, O my soul.”

Psalm 146

146 Praise ye the Lord. Praise the Lord, O my soul.

While I live will I praise the Lord: I will sing praises unto my God while I have any being.

Put not your trust in princes, nor in the son of man, in whom there is no help.

His breath goeth forth, he returneth to his earth; in that very day his thoughts perish.

Happy is he that hath the God of Jacob for his help, whose hope is in the Lord his God:

Which made heaven, and earth, the sea, and all that therein is: which keepeth truth for ever:

Which executeth judgment for the oppressed: which giveth food to the hungry. TheLord looseth the prisoners:

The Lord openeth the eyes of the blind: the Lord raiseth them that are bowed down: the Lord loveth the righteous:

The Lord preserveth the strangers; he relieveth the fatherless and widow: but the way of the wicked he turneth upside down.

10 The Lord shall reign for ever, even thy God, O Zion, unto all generations. Praise ye the Lord.

If you desire to meditate on Psalm 146 through music, I encourage you to listen to a versification of this psalm at the PRC Psalter page. Here is one such versification, titled “Trust and Praise” to get you started (Visit the link to hear piano accompaniment and sing along.):

1. Hallelujah, praise Jehovah,
O my soul, Jehovah praise;
I will sing the glorious praises
Of my God through all my days.

2. Put no confidence in princes,
Nor for help on man depend;
He shall die, to dust returning,
And his purposes shall end.

3. Happy is the man that chooses
Israel’s God to be his aid;
He is blest whose hope of blessing
On the Lord his God is stayed.

4. Heaven and earth the Lord created,
Seas and all that they contain;
He delivers from oppression,
Righteousness He will maintain.

5. Food He daily gives the hungry,
Sets the mourning prisoner free,
Raises those bowed down with anguish,
Makes the sightless eyes to see.

6. Well Jehovah loves the righteous,
And the stranger He befriends,
Helps the fatherless and widow,
Judgment on the wicked sends.

7. Over all God reigns forever,
Through all ages He is King;
Unto Him, thy God, O Zion,
Joyful hallelujahs sing.

J.Calvin on Psalm 145: “…We only praise God aright when we are filled and overwhelmed with an ecstatic admiration of the immensity of his power.”

JCalvinPicAs we meditate on the glory of God revealed in Psalm 145 today, we may also benefit from these thoughts of the Reformer and Biblical scholar-servant, John Calvin. Here he reflects on the opening verse, showing us the main purpose of this portion of God’s Word, namely, that we be moved by gratitude to magnify our great and gracious God.

May his words also serve to stir us up to humble thanks and praise to our wondrous God, this day and all our days.

1. I will extol thee, my God and my king.

David does not so much tell what he would do himself, as stir up and urge all others to this religious service of offering to God the praises due to his name. The design with which he declares God to be beneficent to the children of men is, to induce them to cultivate a pious gratitude, he insists upon the necessity of persevering in the exercise; for since God is constant in extending mercies, it would be highly improper in us to faint in his praises. As he thus gives his people new ground for praising him, so he stimulates them to gratitude, and to exercise it throughout the whole course of their life.

In using the term daily, he denotes perseverance in the exercise. Afterwards he adds, that should he live through a succession of ages he would never cease to act in this manner. The repetitions used tend very considerably to give emphasis to his language. As it is probable that the Psalm was written at a time when the kingdom of David was in a flourishing condition, the circumstances deserves notice, that in calling God his king he gives both himself and other earthly princes their proper place, and does not allow any earthly distinctions to interfere with the glory due to God.

This is made still more manifest in the verse which follows, where, in speaking of the greatness of God as unmeasurable, he intimates that we only praise God aright when we are filled and overwhelmed with an ecstatic admiration of the immensity of his power. This admiration will form the fountain from which our just praises of him will proceed, according the measure of our capacity.

Sunday Worship Preparation – Psalm 145

Psalm 145On this Lord’s Day we are called once again to gather publicly in the name of Jesus Christ to worship our Triune God and Father. As we do so, in congregations large and small, we may gladly and profitably take Psalm 145 as our guide.

The heading to this psalm states that is it “David’s Psalm of praise”, and truly it is that, for God is praised in His glorious attributes and in His wondrous works from start to finish. Of special significance is the fact that David praises God especially as the sovereign King of all the universe, so that the outstanding attribute of God is His absolute sovereignty and with that the “glorious majesty of his kingdom” (vss.1, 3, 11-12).

And yet, as great and high and holy as this sovereign King is, notice too that this Jehovah God is the One Who upholds all that fall (v.14), opens His hand to provide for all (v.16), is near to all that call on Him (v.18), and preserves those who love Him (v.20). No wonder David’s heart and mouth bursts forth in praise to God: “I will extol thee, my God, O king!”

As you read through and meditate on this psalm carefully, take note of and perhaps even list the attributes of God that are mentioned by David. And then, pay attention to how God displays these virtues in His works, as the psalmist  describes them. And finally, ask yourself how God has revealed these same attributes through His works in your own life, and praise God for them.

Psalm 145

I will extol thee, my God, O king; and I will bless thy name for ever and ever.

2 Every day will I bless thee; and I will praise thy name for ever and ever.

3 Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised; and his greatness is unsearchable.

4 One generation shall praise thy works to another, and shall declare thy mighty acts.

5 I will speak of the glorious honour of thy majesty, and of thy wondrous works.

6 And men shall speak of the might of thy terrible acts: and I will declare thy greatness.

7 They shall abundantly utter the memory of thy great goodness, and shall sing of thy righteousness.

8 The Lord is gracious, and full of compassion; slow to anger, and of great mercy.

9 The Lord is good to all: and his tender mercies are over all his works.

10 All thy works shall praise thee, O Lord; and thy saints shall bless thee.

11 They shall speak of the glory of thy kingdom, and talk of thy power;

12 To make known to the sons of men his mighty acts, and the glorious majesty of his kingdom.

13 Thy kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and thy dominion endureth throughout all generations.

14 The Lord upholdeth all that fall, and raiseth up all those that be bowed down.

15 The eyes of all wait upon thee; and thou givest them their meat in due season.

16 Thou openest thine hand, and satisfiest the desire of every living thing.

17 The Lord is righteous in all his ways, and holy in all his works.

18 The Lord is nigh unto all them that call upon him, to all that call upon him in truth.

19 He will fulfil the desire of them that fear him: he also will hear their cry, and will save them.

20 The Lord preserveth all them that love him: but all the wicked will he destroy.

21 My mouth shall speak the praise of the Lord: and let all flesh bless his holy name for ever and ever.

If you desire to meditate on Psalm 145 through music, I encourage you to listen to a versification of this psalm at the PRC Psalter page. Here is one such versification, titled “The Greatness and Grace of God”, to get you started (Visit the link to hear piano accompaniment and sing along.):

1. O Lord, Thou art my God and King,
And I will ever bless Thy Name;
I will extol Thee every day,
And evermore Thy praise proclaim.

2. The Lord is greatly to be praised,
His greatness is beyond our thought;
From age to age the sons of men
Shall tell the wonders God has wrought.

3. Upon Thy glorious majesty
And wondrous works my mind shall dwell;
Thy deeds shall fill the world with awe,
And of Thy greatness I will tell.

4. Thy matchless goodness and Thy grace
Thy people shall commemorate,
And all Thy truth and righteousness
My joyful song shall celebrate.

5. The Lord our God is rich in grace,
Most tender and compassionate;
His anger is most slow to rise,
His lovingkindness is most great.

6. The Lord is good in all His ways,
His creatures know His constant care;
To all His works His love extends,
All men His tender mercies share.

7. Thy works shall give Thee thanks, O Lord,
Thy saints Thy mighty acts shall show,
Till o’er the earth the sons of men
Thy kingdom, power, and glory know.

8. Eternal is Thy kingdom, Lord,
Forever strong and ever sure;
While generations rise and die
Shall Thy dominion still endure.

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