1                    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.

There are three approaches to this Psalm which I think would be useful.

The Hebrew poetry is seen in the balance (like a see-saw) of the parts of each verse, where the second half develops the idea of the first, which gives a further way of loking at this Psalm..

Verse 21 concludes the Psalm as it began, with praise to God for ever and ever. Verse 10 keeps this concept of praising and blessing the Lord going as the psalmist develops his theme from the “glorious honour of thy majesty” towards “Thou openest thine hand, and satisfiest the desire of every living thing.”

There is also a development in this theme of praising the Lord, from “I will bless …” to “all Thy works … “ and finally “let all flesh bless his holy name for ever and ever.” This is not going back, but going forwards from a general

The saints, that fear him, that love him, is an Old Testament way of refering to the Church which is the Bride of Christ (though the psalmist would not have thought of the saints in this way, but as God’s inheritance, Ex 34:9; Deut 9:26; Psa 2:8; 33:12; Isa 19:25; Eph 1:18). So we see the determination of the psalmist to take a lead in praising the Lord, his encouragement that others would join him in praise, and his desire that everybody would join in praise. For ever and ever, because of verse 13.

I think that the most useful thing we can look at is what this Psalm teaches us about the character of God himself. This is in the verses which start “The Lord is …” The key verses are 3, 8, 9, 14, 17, 18, and 20. These give us the following : –

What a wonderful list ! But note that it includes Righteous and Holy as well as gracious. It is a challenge for how we should live, as well as why we can praise the Lord, Where we fall short, we can know that the blood of Jesus Christ cleanses from all sin and makes us both righteous and holy.

So finally, because this is the character of our God, verses 15, 16 and 19 tell us of an appropriate response, that of faith that this God is one who can be trusted to provide for all our needs and for the needs of all.

R. J. Higginson 12 March 2003 ©