August 8 – Psalm 145


In Week 1 of our study we noted how the psalms slowly progress from more laments towards the beginning of the book to more praises towards the end. The last five psalms are successive peaks of worship, culminating in the emphatic last verse of the whole book, “Let everything that has breath praise the LORD! Praise the LORD!” We started our series with dancing, and now here we’ll end it with dancing.

Psalm 145 is the last psalm in the book written by David, and it carries his flourish. Here we see the unsearchable greatness of God (v.3), the universal power of God (v.15), the eternal kingdom of God (v.13), and David’s fervent commitment to praise God for all this and more (v.2). For his final contribution to the psalms, David drew inspiration from a monumental point in Israel’s history: verse 8 is almost a verbatim quote from Exodus 34, the moment when God revealed his glory to Moses. This was after Israel’s deliverance from Egypt, while they were camped at Mt. Sinai. This was the crucible of Israel’s identity as a people, when God bound himself to them in a covenant and then forgave their unfaithfulness when they chose to worship false gods instead (Exo.32). In Exodus 33, Moses requested to see this God who had promised himself to Israel, and God granted him the request. As God passed before Moses like a king making a procession, his regal title was pronounced, “The LORD, the LORD, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness.”(34:6)

David is pointedly reminding his people of God’s self-disclosure at Mt. Sinai. Ask to see the glory of God and he will show you his covenants—his faithfulness and steadfast love, particularly in light of our unfaithfulness, reveal just how singular and exalted he truly is. The word behind “faithful” in verse 13 and “kind” in verse 17 is the same Hebrew word, hasid. In the Bible it is almost always used to refer to godly people (ex. Psalm 4:3), as in those who are devoted to God. In fact, the only three occasions in the Bible where this word is used to refer to God are two here in Psalm 145 and once in Jeremiah 3:12. God is a devoted God, and his devotion is proved all the more when we consider that he sent his son to die for us “while we were yet sinners.”(Rom. 5:8)

In verses 4-7 David sings about an ideal pattern within God’s people where one generation proclaims all the goodness of God to the next. The word behind “pour forth” in verse 7 is a picture of a spring bubbling up—it could be translated, “gush.” Think about this: David wrote these words some 3000 years ago, and the reason you’re reading them right now is because what he prayed has come to pass. One generation has gushed about God’s goodness to the next generation, and the next, all the way down to you. This whole series we’ve been talking about worship in a much broader category than just singing or playing music. Worship includes the whole of your life; the way you do a job, the way you care for others, the way you speak and the way you stay silent—all of these and more can be acts of worship. This includes testimony, where we tell others about the wonder of God’s love in Jesus. Proclaiming God’s goodness to another person is just as much worship as proclaiming God’s goodness in song.

It’s fitting, then, for us to end our series in Psalm 145, where God’s steadfast love leads us to worship, and our praise of God naturally leads to sharing his goodness with others. In this progression we see the pattern of the church’s role in the world—God has loved us, so we testify to his love as we love others; God has forgiven us through Jesus, so we testify to his forgiveness as we forgive others; God has revealed his goodness to us in Jesus, so we testify to his goodness by revealing Jesus to others. With a watchful eye we can identify any number of ways in which our lives, given as living sacrifices (Rom. 12:1), can be a simultaneous act of worship and act of testimony.

“Let everything that has breath praise the LORD! Praise the LORD!”

Questions for Discussion

• Thinking back through our whole series in the psalms, what’s one thing from our study that you’re thankful for?

• Would someone read Psalm 145 for us?

• What stood out to you in this psalm?

• How does David speak of God here?

• How does this psalm describe salvation?

• What does this psalm stir up in you?

• Look at verses 4-7. How does our worship of God lead into telling others about him?

• When you think about telling others about God, does it put anyone specifically on your mind?