Often, when tough times come, much like we are experiencing as a culture and as the church today, God seems distant. We pray, and receive no answer. We worship, only to feel alone. And when we attend church, well, it sometimes seems like something we do out of duty and not out of passion or love. Have you ever felt this way when surrounded by the uncertainties of life? And if so, have you ever wondered why and what you can do about it?
David did. And so have millions of believers down through the ages.
In David’s last Psalm, he reveals so much of what we need to embrace today. He tells us how to worship the Lord in dark times and when life couldn’t get any better. And he uses a powerful word that has fallen out of vogue today— extol. Look at how David begins this Psalm.
I will extol You, my God, O King; and I will bless Your name forever and ever. Every day I will bless You, and I will praise Your name forever and ever – Psalm 145:1-2.
In just these two sentences, David claims he will do four things because of his love for the Lord and because of God’s unsearchable greatness (Psalm 145:3). He will,
• Extol You…
• Bless Your name…
• Bless You…
• Praise Your name…
But what do these words mean? And what can we learn about our Lord through these actions of David?
• extol (rûm) means “to raise, to lift up, to be exalted”
• bless (bāraḵ) means “to kneel, to bend one’s knee in honor, submission, and blessing, to speak words of excellence about”
• praise (hālal) means “to commend, boast, shout out affirmations of greatness, to worship, to exclaim Hallelujah”
And as you can see, these words mean more than simply, “Have a blessed day.” They convey the idea of submission to a power greater than we are, to kneel before our mighty King. Which is exactly what David calls God when he says, “My God, O King.”
But there is so much more. It seems God always anticipates our questions in advance and gives us the answer when we simply keep reading. And this is never more true than it is in this Psalm.
• What is it about God and His Kingdom that elicits such praise? Keep reading verse 3.
• What are we to do with the greatness of God? How are we to respond? Do we proclaim it from the rooftops? Or keep it hidden under a basket on a table? Keep reading verses 4 to 6.
• But what does it look like when the church praises God for His greatness? How is that to be done? See verse 7.
• And what specifically about God’s goodness are we to be remembering and sharing? Again, keep reading the next few verses.
Get the point? Read it for yourself and see if every question and fear you have about praising the Lord with a full and sincere heart is not answered in this Psalm by simply reading more. It is like we are having a conversation with the Lord Himself and He is telling us what we need to know.
One final thought.
The most powerful truth in this Psalm is found in verse 18. Here we see God’s promise to be near all (key word) who call upon Him. And that all includes you and me and people we like and people we don’t. God promises to be near to all who call upon Him in truth (Psalm 145:18).
The LORD is near to all (kōl – each, every, everything, the whole, entire, in totality and without exception) who call upon Him, to all (kōl – each, every, everything, the whole, entire, in totality and without exception) who call upon Him in truth.
Know the Lord is near, whatever your circumstances. And He is near no matter what happens in the future. So what are we to fear? Nothing. Why? Because nothing, good or bad, can “separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:39).
Rest in that today.