Theme: A Wonderful Universality
In this week’s lessons, from this last psalm of David we see that we are given a guide for how to praise God.
Scripture: Psalm 145:1-21
There is a wonderful universality in these last verses, through verse 20. It is seen in the word “all” which is repeated eleven times: “all his promises,” “all he has made,” “all those who fall,” “all who are bowed down,” “all look to you,” “all his ways,” “all he has made,” “all who call on him” (twice), “all who love him” and “all the wicked.” This means that because God is good to all, all ought to praise him. It is the note on which Psalm 145 and even the entire Psalter ends. This psalm says, “Let every creature praise his holy name for ever and ever.” The Psalter ends, “Let everything that hath breath praise the LORD. Praise the LORD” (Ps. 150:6).
The last of these four praise stanzas refers to God being righteous: “The LORD is righteous in all his ways and loving toward all he has made” (v. 17). “Righteous” here does not mean morally upright, though God is that. He is the only true source of morality. It means rather that God is “upright” or “just” in responding to those who have needs and call upon him, those who are in peril and seek salvation. When verse 18 says that God is “near to all who call on him,” it means that he answers their prayers. Verse 19 says that he also “fulfills [their] desires … and saves them.” Verse 20 adds, “The LORD watches over” them. In other words, throughout our entire lives God shows himself to be a good, caring, saving and persevering God.
In verse 20, for the first time in this psalm, the wicked come into the picture. This verse says, much like Psalm 1:6, “The LORD watches over all who love him but all the wicked he will destroy” (v. 20). Up to this point the psalm has been one unending chorus of praise, but this verse reminds us that our praise must still be offered in a sinful world. We are not in heaven yet, though we will be.
Franz Delitzsch makes an interesting observation on the reference to those who “fear” God in verse 19 and those who “love” him in verse 20. “Fear and love of God belong inseparably together. For fear without love is an unfree, servile disposition, and love without fear, bold-faced familiarity; the one dishonors the all-gracious One, and the other the all-exalted One.”1
The last verse of Psalm 145 is the last word we have from David in the Bible. It is his last will and testament. If he had said nothing else in his long life, these words would be a fine legacy for future generations. He does two things: he praises God, and he invites others to praise God also. “My mouth will speak in praise of the LORD. Let every creature praise his holy name for ever and ever.”
What will your legacy be? It will never be better than David’s. But don’t wait until you die. Praise God now! And get others to praise God with you.
1Franz Delitzsch, Biblical Commentary on the Psalms, trans. Francis Bolton (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, n.d.), vol. 3, p. 392.
What does the last stanza of this psalm discuss?
Discuss the concept of righteousness and praise God for it.
How are fear and love linked?
What does David leave us in the last verse?
Reflection: How can you get others to praise God with you?