Earlier in this study I wrote that the psalm is somewhat messianic due to the way it mentions the kings of the earth worshiping God in some future day. That must be the coming day of messianic blessing when the promised king will have come to rule from his throne forever. This is what verses 4 and 5 are describing. I pointed out before that because David is himself a king he is concerned for kings and looks forward to a day when all the rulers of the earth will bow before him who is King of kings and Lord of lords.

In yesterday's study we looked at the meaning of the puzzling phrase “before the gods.” In today's study we look at the meaning of the NIV's words “for you have exalted above all things your name and your word” (v. 2). That is only an interpretation because the verse actually reads, “you have exalted your word above your name.”

Since this is a worship psalm and its dominant note is thanksgiving we are reminded at the start that worship involves thanksgiving. Up to now in our study of these last psalms we have stressed that worship is acknowledging God as the great God he truly is and praising him for it. In other words, worship has to do with confessing God's attributes. But we are reminded here that it also has to do with thanking God for being who he is and for doing what he has actually done. How could it be otherwise if, as is the case, the only way we know what God is like is through his actions? 

There is a contrast between Psalm 137 and Psalm 138 to which we come now. In Psalm 137 the captive Israelites were unable to sing praise to God in the presence of their heathen captors. But in Psalm 138 a time has come not only when such praises are sung but also when the writer anticipates the praises of God being sung by the heathen themselves, even by their kings (vv. 4, 5).

Christians may have problems with the vindictiveness and violence of this passage of Psalm 137, but it is important to notice other points as well. In yesterday's study, for instance, we noted that the words are an appeal to God for justice. Today we look at two other things evident in these verses.