PSALM 145 TALK:   UNIVERSAL PRAISE FOR A UNIVERSAL GOD

PSALM 145 TALK:   UNIVERSAL PRAISE FOR A UNIVERSAL GOD

 (This is the eighth and final Psalm of a collection of eight Psalms attributed to King David in the fifth and final book of Psalms. This Psalm features the idea that the God of the bible is the one great universal God and is the creator of everything so he deserves universal praise. Also, this universal God is a God of love and justice and cares for those who turn to him in reverence and love but will destroy those who oppose him.)

(THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide”.

INTRODUCTION

I am not a universalist and Wikipedia defines Christian Universalism as,

“A doctrine stating that every human soul will ultimately be reconciled to God because of divine love and mercy”.

 However, if I believe the teaching of Psalm 145 I must believe in a God who is universal and who deserves and I believe receives universal praise. This Psalm ends with these words,

“My mouth will speak in praise of the Lord, let every creature praise his holy name for ever and ever”.

 The Psalm also has the word, “all” 12 times in it in 9 verses, 9, 10, 10, 12, 13, 14, 15, 17, 18 and 20 and it presents the God of the bible as the king of everything and everything is called “Your Kingdom” in verse 11 and 12 and “an everlasting kingdom” in verse 13.

The Christian faith is a universal faith as it is based on the Gospel of The Lord Jesus Christ he commanded his disciples in Mark 16: 15 to,

“Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation”.

 However, there are people who the universal God will reject if they continue to oppose and not believe the Gospel of Christ as John declares in John 3: 18,

“Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son”.

 Even David speaks of this in Psalm 145 verse 20b,

“But all the wicked he will destroy”

 For many years now I have had the privilege of joining with Christians from many different parts of the world and have been united in Christ and in the message of his Gospel. Through this unity in Christ I have joined with them in wonderful universal praise to the God of the bible.

 Psalm 145 then has this wonderful theme of “Universal Praise for a universal God” and it is the final Psalm the book of Psalm attributes to David but it is also the first of the final six Psalms of the book of Psalms that feature the concept of “Praising God”.

We have no idea when David wrote this Psalm but it certainly is a Psalm of David as it has his fingerprints all over it.

The Psalm is the last acrostic Psalm and there are six others and H.C. Leupold explains well what an acrostic Psalm is with these words,

“Each successive verse begins with a new letter of the Hebrew alphabet”.

 Although for some reason one letter of the Hebrew alphabet is missing and I could not find a convincing argument to why this is the case. However, I do believe this involved style of writing was used for the purpose of being an aid to memorisation as ancient people had no books to carry around and scripture had to be committed to memory.

David was a Jew but his God was very big and as someone once said to me, “If you want to have big faith then you must get a big view of God”. David’s God was not just the local God of Israel but as he said at the start of his Psalm he is,

“God the King”

 and his kingdom is as verse 13 says is,

“An everlasting kingdom, and your domain endures through all generations”

 All this reminds me of what we pray at the end of the Lord’s prayer:

“For thine is the kingdom, The power, and the glory, For ever and ever. Amen”.

So, in this Psalm talk I want to promote a big faith in God by presenting a big view of an amazing universal God of love and my headings for the breakdown of this Psalm reflect this:

  1. (1 – 7)  A CALL FOR PRAISE OF A UNIVERSAL GOD
  1. (1 – 2) I will praise God the king of everything
  2. (3 – 7 God’s greatness and worthiness praised and proclaimed

      2    (8 – 13a)  THE UNIVERSAL GOD OF LOVE

  1. (8 – 9) The God of universal love
  2. (10-13a) Universal praise of God the king of everything

      3   (13b- 20)  THE UNIVERSAL GOD WHO CARES FOR HIS UNIVERSE

  1. (13b -16) The universal God looks after all creatures
  2. (17 – 20) The universal God is faithful to those who love him

      4   (vs. 21)    A CALL FOR UNIVERSAL PRAISE

 With these headings in mind lets then look closely at this incredible last Psalm of David in the book of Psalms:

  1. (1 – 7)  A CALL FOR PRAISE OF A UNIVERSAL GOD
  1. (1 – 2) I will praise God the king of everything

The Psalm starts with an amazing call to praise and in two verses David uses three words to describe his longing to worship his God he calls king and those three words are:

“Exalt”, “Praise” and “Extol”

These two verses read’s this way,

“I will exalt you, my God the King; I will praise your name for ever and ever. Every day I will praise you and extol your name for ever and ever”.

Each of the three worship words mean much the same thing and David’s desire is to practice praise filled worship forever Albert Barnes describes this desire to praise this way,

“I will lift up thy name and praise, so that it may be heard afar. I will bless or praise thee. I will do it in all the future. I will do it in time; I will do it in eternity”.

 What is your picture of heaven?

Most of us as sinful fallen creatures still have a self- based view of heaven like an eternal relaxing holiday in paradise but the bible and particularly the book of Revelation has a very different view of heaven as a place yes of peace and wonder but a place filled with endless days of enormous unified praise as we see in a passage like Revelation 19: 1 – 8,

After this I heard what sounded like the roar of a great multitude in heaven shouting:“Hallelujah!Salvation and glory and power belong to our God,2 for true and just are his judgments.He has condemned the great prostitutewho corrupted the earth by her adulteries.He has avenged on her the blood of his servants.”

  And again they shouted:“Hallelujah!The smoke from her goes up for ever and ever.”The twenty-four elders and the four living creatures fell down and worshiped God, who was seated on the throne. And they cried:“Amen, Hallelujah!”

 Then a voice came from the throne, saying:“Praise our God, all you his servants,you who fear him,both great and small!”Then I heard what sounded like a great multitude, like the roar of rushing waters and like loud peals of thunder, shouting:“Hallelujah! For our Lord God Almighty reigns.Let us rejoice and be gladand give him glory!For the wedding of the Lamb has come,and his bride has made herself ready.Fine linen, bright and clean, was given her to wear.”(Fine linen stands for the righteous acts of God’s holy people.)

If you don’t like joining together with other believers in praise and worship in this life then you won’t be looking forward to heaven as heaven according to Revelation 19 is a place of multitudes of creatures great and small praising God forever.

Even in this life praise and thanks is the prime activity God wants us to be involved in according to 1 Thessalonians 5: 16 – 18,

“Rejoice always, 17 pray continually, 18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus”.

 Note Pauls words, “for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus” so praise and thanks should be at the heart of all we do in the Christian life.

Finally, David twice in these opening verses of Psalm 145 speaks of praising God’s name,

“I will praise your name forever and ever”and “I will praise you and extol your name forever and ever”

 So, what does it mean to praise God’s name?

God’s name in the bible is his very character and therefore involves all we know about him. In this Psalm David will declare much of God’s character or who God really is and in the opening verse he describes God as,

“The King”

David is a king but his kingship comes from God and is limited to a small part of the world called Israel but God is a far greater and worthy king than David as he is the king of everything. God therefore is a greater king of any king before or since David.

Earthly kings throughout history have seen themselves as so great and powerful that they have thought of themselves as divine and we have examples of this in the bible like King Nebuchadnezzar and in the times of the Roman Empire where kings of Rome known as Caesar’s like Augustus declared themselves as God and demanded their subjects fall down and worship them.

All these earthly kings had a time of powerful reign but all of them died and there so called divine power and might dyed with them.

Only the God of heaven and earth reigns supreme forever and his name or character alone deserves our praise and worship. As Paul declares in Roman 11: 36,

“For from him and through him and for him are all things.To him be the glory forever! Amen”.

We will learn more about God’s character in the rest of this Psalm that should encourage and inspire our eternal praise and gratitude.

 

        2. (3 – 7)   God’s greatness and worthiness praised and proclaimed

David continues to build up a great picture of the character of God and therefore his worthiness of praise in these next four verses, which I have broken down this way:

  1. God’s greatness no-one can fathom (vs. 3)
  2. The message of God’s greatness each generation declares (vs. 4)
  3. The message of God’s greatness each generation declares spelt out (5 – 7)

Let’s then have a closer look at these three aspects of God’s greatness each generation declares:

  1. God’s greatness no-on can fathom (vs. 3)

In verse 3 David speaks of the greatness and worthiness of God to be praised as unfathomable,

“Great is the Lord and most worthy of praise; his greatness no one can fathom”.

 David speaks of the greatness and unfathomable nature of the God of the bible this way in Psalm 40 verse 5,

“Many, Lord my God,are the wonders you have done, the things you planned for us.
None can compare with you;were I to speak and tell of your deeds, they would be too many to declare.”

 Paul in his doxology in Romans 11 which I previously quoted from with verse 36 says this in the verses leading up to that verse, verses 33 – 35,

Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom andknowledge of God! How unsearchable his judgments,and his paths beyond tracing out!34 “Who has known the mind of the Lord?Or who has been his counsellor?”35 “Who has ever given to God, that God should repay them?”

 I always try to keep in mind in my study on the Psalms that I can come to a reasonable understanding of them with careful and prayerful study of them but I can never believe I can totally plumb the depths of their teaching and this is why Christians can study the bible all their lives and still keep finding new understandings of what God is saying to us through it.

  1. The message of God’s greatness each generation declares (vs. 4)

David then raises a very important issue of how God wants each generation to pass on the great message of the great works and character of God, he writes this in verse 4,

“One generation commends your works to another; they tell of your mighty acts”.

 Some commentators believe David is referring to God’s command to believing parents in the book of Deuteronomy to teach their children the deeds and knowledge of God, like Deuteronomy 6: 1 – 3,

“These are the commands, decrees and laws the Lord your God directed me to teach you to observe in the land that you are crossing the Jordan to possess, so that you, your children and their children after them may fear the Lord your God as long as you live by keeping all his decrees and commands that I give you, and so that you may enjoy long life. Hear, Israel, and be careful to obey so that it may go well with you and that you may increase greatly in a land flowing with milk and honey, just as the Lord, the God of your ancestors, promised you”.

 Then in verses 20 – 25 of that same chapter we read,

In the future, when your son asks you, “What is the meaning of the stipulations, decrees and laws the Lord our God has commanded you?” 21 tell him: “We were slaves of Pharaoh in Egypt, but the Lord brought us out of Egypt with a mighty hand. 22 Before our eyes the Lord sent signs and wonders—great and terrible—on Egypt and Pharaoh and his whole household.23 But he brought us out from there to bring us in and give us the land he promised on oath to our ancestors. 24 The Lord commanded us to obey all these decrees and to fear the Lord our God, so that we might always prosper and be kept alive, as is the case today. 25 And if we are careful to obey all this law before the Lord our God, as he has commanded us, that will be our righteousness.”

 Paul speaks of this teaching or passing on the message of God to the next generation in his advice to Timothy when he first reminds Timothy of how he came to be a believer himself in 2 Timothy 1: 5,

“I am reminded of your sincere faith, which first lived in your grandmother Lois and in your mother Eunice and, I am persuaded, now lives in you also”.

 Then he commands Timothy to do the same sort of thing in his ministry for the Lord in 2 Timothy 2: 1 – 2,

“You then, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable people who will also be qualified to teach others.”

 I came to faith and my understanding of God’s word through the faithful ministries of many Christian believers of the previous generation to mine passing on the message of the Gospel to me and for many years I was involved in children and youth ministry passing the message of the Gospel on to my next generation and it encourages me greatly to see them doing the same today to their next generation.

Even today my work on the Psalms is published in an attempt to pass on to my current generation God given insights to his word and hopefully future generations as well.

  1. The message of God’s greatness each generation declares spelt out (5 – 7)

We have in these three verses some of those wonderful characteristics I spoke of earlier as some of the decrees or teaching each generation should and indeed must pass on. I read the other day of what the writer of the articles called the failure of the eighteenth century American generation of the great evangelical revival often called the 18thcentury awaking for not passing on effectively their great insights of God and his word to the next generation.

This article, I believe did pick up some aspects of what happened then but failed to acknowledge the great push and expansion of missionary work this revival did produce organisations like The Baptist Missionary Society in 1792 in America through men like William Carey and The Church Missionary Society in England around 1799.

However, each generation we have just seen must engage in preaching and teaching and disciplining new converts and Psalm 145 verses 5 – 7 in summary spells out the sorts of things that should be passed on through preaching, teaching and disciplining and I see six things hear in these verses:

  1. Speak of God’s splendour and majesty (vs. 5a)
  2. Meditate on God’s wonderful works (vs. 5b)
  3. Tell of God’s powerful and awesome works (vs. 6a)
  4. Proclaim God’s great deeds (vs. 6b)
  5. Celebrate God’s abundance goodness (7a)
  6. Joyfully sing of God’s righteousness (7b)

Let me comment briefly on each of these 6 things these verses tell us we should do for the next generation:

  1. Speak of God’s splendour and majesty (vs. 5a)

We read these words in verse 5a,

“They speak of the glorious splendour of your majesty”

 We see God’s splendour and majesty through God’s acts or deeds in creation and salvation. David referred to this often in his Psalms like God’s glory and splendour in his acts of creation in Psalm 19: 1,

“The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the works of his hands”

 or even better Psalm 8: 1,

“Lord, our Lord how majestic is your name in all the earth! You have set your glory in the heavens”.

 So far as God’s acts of Salvation showing his splendour and majesty we have the Sons of Korah speaking plainly of this in Psalm 45: 4 – 5,

“In your majesty ride forth victoriously:  in the cause of truth, humility and justice; let your right hand achieve awesome deeds.Let your sharp arrows pierce the hearts of the king’s

enemies; let the nations fall beneath your feet”.

 Then David speaks of how God gave him glory through his victories or salvation over his enemies which revealed his splendour and majesty in Psalm 21: 5,

“Through the victories you gave, his glory is great; you have bestowed on him splendour and majesty”.

 In the New Testament, the glory of God is seen in Christ, the word become flesh for our salvation John 1: 14,

“The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth”.

 And how the glory and majesty of God is seen through the death and resurrection of Christ enabling our salvation by grace alone which Paul speaks of so beautifully in Ephesians 1: 6 – 8,

“To the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace that he lavished on us. With all wisdom and understanding”.

 So, we should speak to our generation and the next of God’s acts of splendour and majesty in Christ.

  1. Meditate on God’s wonderful works (vs. 5b)

This followers on from speaking of God’s glorious splendour and majesty encouraging us to mediate on Gods wonderful acts,

“And I will meditate on your wonderful works”.

 Remember God’s works are seen in creation and salvation and we mediate or prayerfully think on them, seeking to inwardly digest the message of his creation and salvation through what we read of them in his revealed word we call the bible.

In Psalm 19 David speaks of God’s message of creation in verses 1 – 6 and then moves onto the message of what he calls the law of the Lord, another name for the word of God in verses 7 to 11,

“The law of the Lord is perfect, refreshing the soul.The statutes of the Lord are trustworthy, making wise the simple.The precepts of the Lord are right, giving joy to the heart.The commands of the Lord are radiant,giving light to the eyes.The fear of the Lord is pure, enduring forever.The decrees of the Lord are firm, and all of them are righteous.10 They are more precious than gold, than much pure gold;they are sweeter than honey, than honey from the honeycomb.11 By them your servant is warned; in keeping them there is great reward”.

Paul speaks of the role and place of the bible in the Christian life in 2 Timothy 3: 16 – 17,

“All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, 17 so that the servant of Godmay be thoroughly equipped for every good work”.

 So well speak and now mediate on God’s mighty works in creation and salvation while we are alive in this generation and we should seek to pass it on to the next as well.

  1. Tell of God’s powerful and awesome works (vs. 6a)

A similar expression of what we should pass on to the next generation appears in the start of verse 6,

“They tell of the power of your awesome works”.

 I have a detailed explanation of this biblical word “awesome” in my Psalm talk for Psalm 66 which features it. I speak there of how modern youth culture has devalued the meaning of the word, “awesome” and today it simply means something is good or exciting but awesome here in Psalm 145 and particularly Psalm 66 means that what God has done in the past to save us is unbelievably great and wonderful, unbelievably “AWESOME”.

The writer of Psalm 66 who could be David and certainly David hear in Psalm 145 probably has God’s great work of saving his people out of Egypt as his awesome works. Listen to what the writer of Psalm 66 says in verses 5 – 7,

“Come and see what God has done, his awesome deeds for mankind!He turned the sea into dry land, they passed through the waters on foot— come, let us rejoice in him.He rules forever by his power; his eyes watch the nations— let not the rebellious rise up against him”.

 This is an obvious reference to God’s acts of salvation in the Exodus when he dried up the waters of the sea for his people to safely cross and then closed those waters on the Egyptians destroying their enemies who because they opposed God and his people were God’s enemies under God’s judgment.

In the New Testament we have the awesome act of God in the sending of his Son to die on the cross for our sins making a way for us through the dark waters of death into the loving arms of God in heaven as we read in a passage like Hebrews 2: 9 – 11,

“But we do see Jesus, who was made lower than the angels for a little while, now crowned with glory and honour because he suffered death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone.

 10 In bringing many sons and daughters to glory, it was fitting that God, for whom and through whom everything exists, should make the pioneer of their salvation perfect through what he suffered. 11 Both the one who makes people holy and those who are made holy are of the same family. So, Jesus is not ashamed to call them brothers and sisters”.

 This is an “AWESOME” message we should be inspired to tell this generation and the next.

  1. Proclaim God’s great deeds (vs. 6b)

Verse 6 concludes with,

“And I will proclaim your great deeds”.

David was keen on proclaiming what he knew about God and what God had done for him and spoke about it often in his Psalms like Psalm 26: 6 – 7,

I wash my hands in innocence,and go about your altar, Lord,proclaiming aloud your praise

 and telling of all your wonderful deeds”

 Or Psalm 40: 9,

“I proclaim your saving acts in the great assembly;I do not seal my lips, Lord,as you know”.

 David uses another word for proclaim in his Psalms which is declare and his Psalm 96 verse 3 shows us that he not only spoke of proclaiming God’s deeds to Israel when they gathered to worship God but he also desired to proclaim or declare God’s deeds to the nations or the world as we see in Psalm 96: 3,

“Declare his glory among the nations, his marvellous deeds among all people’s”

 So, even David had a universal vision for the message of the one great saving God who is described this way in John 3: 16,

“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life”.

 And as I said in my introduction to this Psalm Jesus had a universal vision and command to proclaim his Gospel message to all of creation as we see in Mark 16: 15 to,

“Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation”.

 Preach is another word for proclaim or declare and every generation needs to hear the message of the Gospel to be saved.

  1. Celebrate God’s abundance goodness (7a)

Verse 7 speaks of another activity each generation should be involved in and that is celebrations. We read these words in verse 7a,

“They celebrate your abundant goodness”.

 The Jewish faith and tradition was full of celebrations most of which we as Christians do not practice as they relate to the Old Testament sacrificial system which has be superseded by the coming of Christ and the establishment of the New Covenant through his death on the cross and his rising from the dead on the third day after his death,

Jesus instituted a new way of remembering and celebrating his death and resurrection which is called by a variety of names like The Lord’s Supper or Communion but the New Testament shows particularly 1 Corinthians 10: 14 – 23 and 11: 17 – 34 that the church celebrated regularly together the coming of Christ and his death and resurrection with a form of Lord’s supper.

I had a lengthy discussion with a close relative recently about a church his son was attending that totally banned the celebration of Christmas. This turned out to be a much more complex question than I first thought but I agreed that the commercial and secular style of Christmas has big issues Christians should avoid.

However, I believe there is a Christian way to celebrate Christ coming to earth through his birth and Christmas provides us a great opportunity for Christians to proclaim why Jesus came and who he really is. My Church last Christmas held a wonderful outdoor carols service that many members of the public attended and the Gospel was proclaimed in a wonderful way at that event.

Easter celebrations is not so controversial among Christians except for the pagan and secular elements of Easter Eggs and Easter Bunnies but again Easter has both a Christian way of being celebrated and also provides Christians with the opportunity of proclaiming generation after generation why Christ came and what he has achieved for us through his death and resurrection.

  1. Joyfully sing of God’s righteousness (7b)

I spoke before of David’s great desire to proclaim or declare God’s wonderful deeds throughout the book of Psalms but he also longed to do this through song or music. We see this in the last part of verse 7 of this Psalm which says,

“And joyfully sing of your righteousness”.

 God’s righteousness is another great aspect or characteristic of the God of the bible and David spoke a lot about that as well like Psalm 36: 6,

“Your righteousness is like the highest mountains,your justice like the great deep. You, Lord, preserve both people and animals”.

 God is holy and totally true and reliable and out of his righteousness comes his love as in the New Testament Jesus had to give his life as a sacrifice for our sins to secure our righteousness before God as Spurgeon puts it,

“Jesus died as our substitute, righteousness requires and secures the salvation of all the redeemed”.

 David knew that he needed God’s forgiveness and trusted in the righteous loving God for it. David and many of the Psalm writers seek to proclaim both the righteousness of God and his salvation and love of God though song as we read of in Psalm 98: 1 – 3,

“Sing to the Lord a new song, for he has done marvellous things;his right hand and his holy arm have worked salvation for him.The Lord has made his salvation knownand revealed his righteousness to the nations.He has remembered his love and his faithfulness to Israel;
all the ends of the earth have seen, the salvation of our God”.

 Music has been and still is a powerful medium for proclaiming the message of the word of God and particularly the Gospel to our world and even Paul spoke of it twice in his letters in Ephesians 5: 19 – 21 and Colossians 3: 15 – 17.

I like the Colossians passage as here Paul speaks of communicating the message of Christ and using song or music as a way of doing this,

“Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. 16 Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts. 17 And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him”.

      2    (8 – 13a)  THE UNIVERSAL GOD OF LOVE

  1. (8 – 9) The God of universal love

We now come to the first of many verses that use the word “all’ and it starts with verse 9. The term “all” makes this Psalm clearly a universal message or a message for every man women and child on the face on the earth no matter what nation, tribe or tongue they come from.

David makes a dual statement about this universal God in verses 8 and 9 which states another characteristic of the God of the bible that is unique when compared to what other religions or faiths proclaim about God. That uniqueness is:

  1. Gracious and compassionate and rich in love (vs. 8)
  2. Good and compassionate (vs. 9)

Let’s then have a close look at each of these wonderful attributes of God that David speaks of in verses 8 and 9.

  1. Gracious and compassionate and rich in love (vs. 8)

This universal God of the bible has made himself known in a variety of ways over a long period of time and what David draws on or is at least thinking about in verses 8 and 9 is God’s amazing revelation of himself when he met with Moses on the top of Mount Sinai when he gave his people his covenant of love to Moses and his people Israel.

We read these words in Exodus 34: 6 – 7a,

“And he (God) passed in front of Moses, proclaiming, “The Lord, the Lord, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness, maintaining love to thousands, and forgiving wickedness, rebellion and sin”.

 With this in mind then David writes in verse 8,

“The Lord is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and rich in love”.

 All other religions apart from the Jewish / Christian faiths present a different picture of God as usually an avenging God of judgment. We have today extreme Muslim believers who act on God’s behalf showing no mercy and love as they literally slaughter non-Muslim believers and even Muslim believers who don’t agree with their views of God who they call Allah and his supposed holy book called the Koran.

Christians take the love and compassion of God to an even higher level as they believe in the Christian Gospel so wonderfully expressed in the words of the famous verse John 3: 16,

“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life”.

 This giving of God’s Son in death on the cross is the supreme act of gracious compassion and love and demonstrates that God is indeed slow to anger which is the complete opposite of the extreme Muslims who are quick to judge and in their God’s name inflict terrible judgment on non- believers who will not turn to their view of God and his unmerciful ways.

Paul makes it clear that even though the God of the bible will judge and even must judge sin he has provided a universal answer to our sin problem and the judgment it deserves and he loves us or shows mercy or grace to us not after we have cleaned ourselves up and become good people but as Paul says in Romans 5: 8,

 “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us”.

 Paul goes on to explain how Christ great act of love for us on the cross saves us from God’s judgment or wrath and gives us the gift of reconciliation or being made right with God, Romans 5: 9- 11,

“9 Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through him! 10 For if, while we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life! 11 Not only is this so, but we also boast in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation”.

 This great love of God should inspire us to give our lives in universal praise, a praise we can do with people from all over the globe as we are all one in Christ as Paul declares in Galatians 3: 28.

  1. Good and compassionate (vs. 9)

I believe with Exodus 34: 6 – 7b still in mind David makes a great universal statement of the love and goodness of the God of the bible with the first uses of the word or term, “all” in verse 9, he writes,

“The Lord is good to all, he has compassion on allhe has made”.

 Jesus states clearly the universal goodness of God on every man women and child in what he says in Matthew 5: 45,

“He (God) causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous”.

 This statement of Jesus comes in the middle of Jesus instructions on how we should treat those who oppose us and even persecute us, Matthew 5: 43 – 48,

“You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbourand hate your enemy.’ 44 But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. 46 If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? 47 And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? 48 Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect”.

 Luke records similar teaching of Jesus in Luke chapter 6 but adds one important point to why we should love our enemies in verse 36,

Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful”.

 So, we must always remember that God showed mercy to us in forgiving our sins on the cross of Christ and so we are not saved by our own good deeds but by the loving good deeds of God through Christ.

This means we rely on the great mercy and goodness of God and therefore we must show that same kind of mercy and love to others even to our enemies.

I mentioned before about how today many Christian believers are being ruthlessly persecuted by extreme Muslims and I have read of countless stories of Christians showing their unmerciful persecutors love even at the point of death and many on lookers have been so impressed by these acts of showing love to their persecutors that they have sought out Christians to know more about the God they believe in and in some cases, some of them have become followers of Christ themselves.

The church in China has been recently caught up in further attempts by the atheistic antigod government to destroy them only to find that instead of killing off people following Christ they have only caused more people to turn to Christ owing to the brave and loving reaction of believers to the harsh persecution they have suffered.

This great goodness and love or compassion of God should lead us to universal praise like Paul speaks of in Romans 8: 37 – 39,

“No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord”. 

           2  (10-13a)  Universal praise of God the king of everything

 This second section of Psalm 145 moves from the love and mercy of God to the great works or acts of God that his love and mercy makes possible and we have in verses 10 – 13 four further reasons for universal praise.

The four reasons for universal praise I see in these three and a half verses are:

  1. God’s works (vs. 10)
  2. God’s glory and might (vs. 11)
  3. God’s mighty acts (vs. 12)
  4. God’s everlasting kingdom (vs. 13b)

I will comment on each these four reasons for universal praise:

  1. God’s works (vs. 10)

In verse 10 we read,

“All your works praise you, Lord; your faithful people extol you”

 Note how this verse seems to suggest that God’s actual works themselves praise him which is beautifully expressed by David in Psalm 19: 1,

“The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the works of his hands”.

 David is saying creation itself praises God by just being there and being so amazingly beautiful. I can imagine David as a young shepherd out in the fields at night looking up at the stars filling the sky and being inspired to write and sing the words of Psalm 8: 1,

“Lord our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth! You have set your glory in the heavens”.

Some commentators say that Psalm 19: 1 is David looking into the daylight sky and praising God while Psalm 8: 1 is David looking into the night time sky and praising God.

However, the works of God are not just the day and night time skies but all of creation as Spurgeon speaks of in these words,

“The skill, kindness, and power manifested in the formation of each living thing is in itself to the praise of God, and when observed by an intelligent mind the Lord is honoured thereby”.

 However, God’s great works are not just what we see in creation but are especially seen in the works of God for his people as we read in the second half of verse 10,

“Your faithful people extol you”.

 The saving works of God in saving David is extolled or praised by David in Psalm 57: 3,

“He sends from heaven and saves me, rebuking those who hotly pursue me – God sends forth his love and his faithfulness”.

 God’s works for his faithful people in The New Testament is seen primarily in God sending from heaven his only son to die on the cross for our sins something we as his people or those who believe in him should always praise him for. Paul gives thanks for God’s acts of love and grace for him and the faithful followers of Christ in the Corinthian church at the start of his first letter to the Corinthians chapter 1 verses 4 and 5,

“I always thank my God for you because of his grace given you in Christ Jesus.For in him you have been enriched in every way—with all kinds of speech and with all knowledge”. 

  1. God’s glory and might (vs. 11)

The next reason for universal praise is the glory and might of God’s domain called here God’s kingdom,

“They tell of the glory of your Kingdom and speak of your might”.

 So, the objects of God’s creation called God’s ‘works” in the previous verse, verse 10 joined with God’s faithful people to praise him for his glory and might. This glory is the glory of God’s domain here called his kingdom and Spurgeon explains,

“Those who bless God from their hearts rejoice to see God enthroned, glorified, and magnified in power”.

 It is like the final words of the Lord’s prayer I quoted in my introduction that says,

“For thine is the kingdom, The power, and the glory, For ever and ever. Amen”.

If God is our God and he alone, we believe deserves our universal praise then we should be always ready to tell or speak of the glory of God and his kingdom.

As Jude so comprehensively speaks of in verses 24 – 25,

“To him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you before his glorious presence without fault and with great joy— 25 to the only God our Saviour be glory, majesty, power and authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all ages, now and forevermore! Amen”.

  1. God’s mighty acts (vs. 12)

The purpose of this universal praise is now spelt out in verse 12 that says,

“So that all people may know of your mighty acts and the glorious splendour of your kingdom”.

 The message of what God has done both in creation and salvation is both praised and now made known or as David said in verse 6 proclaimed to everyone in the universe. John 3: 16 says that God loves the world not just the Jews or any other one group of people.

Sadly, the way some Christians think and act God doesn’t love the world only a certain part of it or a certain race or tribe within it but as I alluded to earlier Paul says in Galatians 3: 28

“There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus”.

 The impact of this verse really hit me the first time I attended a large Christian convention which was at Katoomba 2 hors drive from Sydney. As I entered the large metal building conventions are held in there I saw a large sign that sits above the speaker’s dais there that reads, “All One in Christ”.

I was there with Christians and God seekers from all kinds of Christian denominations and places all over Australia and maybe from other countries as well but in Christ if we are in him we are all one.

We are also one in the knowledge of God’s mighty acts particularly in Christ and we are all one in the glory of God’s splendour of his universal kingdom. Certainly,

“Thine is the kingdom, The power, and the glory, For ever and ever. Amen”.

I have also attended since that first Christian convention in Katoomba a number of missionary focused conventions held by The Church Missionary society and it is the mighty acts of God particularly in Christ and the glory and splendour of his kingdom that has inspired me and others to take the message of his kingdom, the Gospel to the ends of the earth as Jesus commanded us to in Mark 16: 15 to,

“Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation”. 

  1. God’s everlasting kingdom (vs. 13b)

David closes with the fourth reason for universal praise which is the eternal nature of his kingdom which verse 13b calls and everlasting kingdom, David writes,

“Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and your domain endures through all generations”.

 So, God’s kingdom is not only universal in scope but eternal in time and Albert Barnes explains what this means with these words,

The meaning is, that the reign of God will continue forever and ever. It will never pass away as other dominions do; it will not change as dynasties do among people; it will not be overthrown as they are; its great principles will stand firm forever and ever”.

 Paul speaks of God as the King and of his glory, honour and everlastingness in this way in 1 Timothy 1: 17,

“Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honour and glory for ever and ever. Amen”.

 I spoke in my introduction of how we can have a big faith in God and I said to get this we must get a big view of God you cannot get any bigger view of God than God being the glorious King of a universal kingdom that will last forever.

      3   (13b- 20)  THE UNIVERSAL GOD WHO CARES FOR HIS UNIVERSE

  1. (13b -16) The universal God looks after all creatures

The third section gives even more reasons why we should offer the God the bible universal praise. The reasons for praise given in this section are of an earthlier practical nature and my breakdown for this third section is:

  1. God’s promises are trustworthy (vs. 13b)
  2. The Lord upholds the fallen (vs. 14)
  3. Those who look to God are given food (vs. 15)
  1. God satisfies the desires of every living thing (vs. 16)

Let’s then have a closer look at each of these four earthlier practical reasons for giving God universal praise:

  1. God’s promises are trustworthy (vs. 13b)

The bible is filled with the promises of God and one web page I looked at on the net said there are 5,467 promises in the bible so it is not surprising that the first earthlier and practical reason for giving God universal praise is his trustworthy promises as verse 13b says,

“The Lord is trustworthy in all he promises and faithful in all he does”.

 The MSG version translates this verse as,

“God always does what he says, and is gracious in everything he does”.

 I like the old him called “Standing on the Promises” by Allan Jackson which says,

Standing on the promises of Christ my King
Through eternal ages let his praises ring
Glory in the highest, I will shout and sing
Standing on the promises of God.

 Chorus:

 Standing, standing
Standing on the promises of God my Saviour
Standing, standing
I’m standing on the promises of God.

 Standing on the promises, I cannot fall
Listening every moment to the Spirit’s call
Resting in my Saviour as my all in all
Standing on the promises of God.

 Chorus:

 Standing, standing
Standing on the promises of Christ my Savior
Standing, standing
I’m standing on the promises of God.

 So, we can take God at his word and stand or trust in his promises knowing that he is a faithful God which means you can trust that he will keep his promises to us. Paul had confidence in the promises of God for he said this about them in 2 Corinthians 1: 20,

“For no matter how many promises God has made, they are “Yes” in Christ. And so through him the “Amen” is spoken by us to the glory of God”.

 Note how Paul saw Jesus Christ as the “Yes” of all God’s promises because he made the way back to God and through him we have access to God as the writer to the Hebrews puts it in Hebrews 4: 14 – 16,

“Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has ascended into heaven,Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. 15 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin. 16 Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need”.

 So, we can offer universal praise to God for his promises are many and trustworthy because he is a faithful God in all that he does.

  1. The Lord upholds the fallen (vs. 14)

The word about God’s promises being a reason for universal praise because God keeps them is followed by an actual promise that says,

“The Lord upholds all who fall and lifts up all who are bowed down”.

 All of God’s promises in the bible contain some kind of condition attached to them and this one is no different as God upholds the fallen but the fallen must bow down before him. Bowing down before the Lord is another way of saying looking to the Lord and trusting in him.

There are many promises of God that speak of God lifting up the lowly if they but look to him and I like this promise in the book of James when James says in James 4: 8 – 10,

“Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Grieve, mourn and wail. Change your laughter to mourning and your joy to gloom. 10 Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up”.

 Note how James alludes to a number of conditions of God keeping this promise.

James speaks of coming near to God, repenting of your sins which is pictured by washing your hands and purifying your hearts and finally changing your selfish sinful attitudes of seeking worldly pleasure represented by changing your laughter and joy to mourning and gloom.

Finally James says we must humble ourselves before the Lord which is like bowing down before the Lord in Psalm 145 verse 14.

2.   Those who look to God are given food (vs. 15)

Following the promise of the Lord lifting up those who have fallen who look to him or bow to him we have the very practical promise of God providing food of all who look to him, verse 15 says,

“The eyes of all look to you, and you give them their food at the proper time”.

 When you think about it wherever can any creature look for food than the great universal God who is the maker and provider for everyone.

Sadly many men and women today do not acknowledge the God of the universe and do not look to him and yet mostly they also receive the food they need to eat each day as I mentioned before Jesus said in Matthew 5: 45,

“He (God) causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous”.

 Because we live in a fallen sinful world sometimes God does stop or hinder the provision of food through drought or famine but this I believe is to send a practical message to our sinful rebellious world that they need God’s hand of loving provision for even their daily need of food.

God deserves universal praise then for his provision of food daily and this is why many Christians practice saying grace before a meal as a way of offering that kind of praise or thanks to God.

3.   God satisfies the desires of every living thing (vs. 16)

Verse 16 speaks of the natural order of all living creatures again making the scope of the message truly universal and so David writes,

“You open your hand and satisfy the desires of every living thing”.

 God has set up intricate environmental systems for all living creatures satisfying all they need to survive. David gives an illustration of this natural order in action in Psalm 104: verses 21 – 22,

“The lions roar for their prey and seek their food from God.22 The sun rises, and they steal away;they return and lie down in their dens”.

 However, we all know this natural order has been disrupted and its disruption is a result of the sin and rebellion of mankind. Mankind’s sinful actions has not only disrupted God’s natural order but in some cases, we have destroyed environmental ecologies and Paul speaks of this in Romans 8: 18 – 21,

For the creation waits in eager expectation for the children of God to be revealed. 20 For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope 21 thatthe creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the freedom and glory of the children of God”.

 God’s natural order has not gone away as it is still operating even though sinful human activity has damaged it. God brings about,

“Satisfying the desires of every living things”

 By his salvation action plan which Paul goes on to speak about in Romans 8: 22 – 25,

“We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. 23 Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the first fruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption to sonship, the redemption of our bodies. 24 For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what they already have? 25 But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently”.

 Paul spells out this hope or God’s rescue plan for us and our world in other places in his letter to the Romans and there is no better example of this than Romans 5: 1 – 5,

“Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And weboast in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but wealso glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.

 That is the hope we have and then Paul makes clear God’s action plan to save us in verses 6 – 8,

 You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly.Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us”.

 God’s universal action plan or salvation plan should or must be shared to the entire universe and will lead to universal praise.

  1. (17 – 20) The universal God is faithful to those who love him

 The practical side of the reasons for universal praise continues but in this section part of the third section of this Psalm the reasons for universal praise get far more personal or personally specific.

I have broken these practical more personal reasons for universal praise into the following 

  1. The Lord is righteous and faithful in all he does (vs. 17)
  2. The Lord is near to all who call upon him (vs. 18)
  3. The Lord fulfils the desires of those who fear him and call on him (vs. 19)
  4. The Lord watches over all who love him (vs. 20)

Let me now make a few comments about each of these four more practical and more personal reasons for universal praise.

  1. The Lord is righteous and faithful in all he does (vs. 17)

Allan Harman writes,

“In the manner in which God operates he always deals in accordance with the norms he has set”.

This is what verse 17 is saying,

“The Lord is righteous in all his ways and faithful in all he does”.

 The God of the bible is constantly pictured in that book as a righteous or Holy God but he is also pictured or proclaimed as a loving and faithful God. Psalm 116 verse 5 spells out the complete nature of God when it says,

“The Lord is gracious and righteous; our God is full of compassion”.

 The extreme Muslim engaged in supposed vengeance for a God of judgment has somehow got a lopsided view of God and lopsided views of God can lead to very wrong and dangerous actions by those who have them.

The universal God of the bible is righteous but he is also faithful and loving so much so that he was willing to send his only Son into the world to become sin for us even though he knew no sin so that we might have the righteousness of God as Paul states clearly in 1 Corinthians 5: 21,

“God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God”.

 This non – lopsided full and correct view of God leads to deeds of merciful love rather than deeds of bloody vengeance and of course inspires us to universal praise for a universal God.

           2.   The Lord is near to all who call upon him (vs. 18)

I said earlier that this third and final section of Psalm145 contains personal and more practical reasons for us to engage in universal praise for a universal God and verse 18 is a wonderful example of that for it says,

“The Lord is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth”.

 I have heard people say that they tried out prayer and it did not work for them and I think it did not work because it is not supposed to work in the sense that you ask God for something and he gives it to you.

No, prayer is not simply asking God for things but is more like a conversation with a good friend, sure in conversations with good friends we ask for things sometimes but real friendship is not based on how much we can get out of someone but how we can help each other and have deeper fellowship together.

Verse 18 does not say,

“The Lord gives you what you want when you call on him”

 It says,

“The Lord is near to all who call on him”

 In verse 17 we learnt that God is righteous, faithful and loving and we know he is the universal king who is great and powerful so if he is near to us we have a powerful friend who promises things like Paul speaks of in Romans 8: 28,

“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose”.

 The second half of the verse 18 is like the condition of the promise that the Lord is near to those who call on him for it says,

“To all who call on him in truth”.

 Another reason a person might say, I tried prayer and it did not work for me is because they did it in the wrong way. The second half of the verse says we must call on him in truth. Jesus makes it clear what that means in John 8: 31 – 32,

“To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. 32 Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”

 The teachings of Jesus are what the New Testament is all about for even the letters of Paul, John and Peter and other disciples of Christ are the teachings of Jesus explained so to hold to Jesus teaching is to trust and obey his word.

The words of King David in the Old Testament are the truth of God pointing us to the reality of Jesus. It’s been said that the Old Testament is understood by the New Testament but the New Testament is fleshed out and fully understood by the Old Testament.

So, universal praise is inspired by the presence of the King of the universe coming near to us as we call on him in and through the truth of his word.

3. The Lord fulfils the desires and answers the prays of those fear and call on him (vs. 19)

If we call on God in truth or according to his word which is the truth about God and God is near then David says in verse 19,

“He fulfils the desires of those who fear him; he hears their cry and saves them”.

 If we go to God only asking him for things we want like some kind of God like Santa Clause then our desires will be more than often sinful but if we go to God in faith trusting in him as the mighty universal God we now know through his word the bible then what we ask for is right and true.

This is what fearing God is really all about, it is acknowledging God as the great and powerful universal God who deserves our thanks and praise. If we really fear God or reverence him then our desires will be pure and true and of course according to this verse and many others God will fulfil them.

Listen to what David said about his God in Psalm 34: 8,

“Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in him”.

 Or what Jesus said in Matthew 7: 7,

“Ask and it will be given you, seek and you will find, knock and the door will be opened to you”.

 Paul speaks a lot about the value of real sincere God’s word focussed prayer in his many letters and says this in Philippians 4: 7 – 8,

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus”.

 In the second half of this verse David says,

“He (God) hears their cry and saves them”

 So, what David’s desire is for salvation probably in the sense of deliverance from his many enemies but in the New Testament Salvation is usually in the spiritual sense of being saved from our sins and if we call on the name of the Lord Jesus and believe in him our desire for salvation will be fulfilled by God according to verses like Romans 10: 13,

“For, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”

 This again should be grounds for universal praise for this faithful loving universal God.

4.   The Lord watches over all who love him (vs. 20)

This last practical and personal reason for universal praise has actually two distinct parts:

  1. The Lord watching over those who love him
  2. The Lord destroying the wicked

Let’s then have a look at these two parts and see how they both relate to a reason for universal praise.

  1. The Lord watching over those who love him

The first part continues the previous two points and actually sums them up. We have learnt so far from this third and final section that The Lord, the God of the bible is a righteous and faithful loving God who is near to those who call on him and who call on him in truth or through what he has revealed in his word. He therefore promises to fulfil their Godly desires particularly their deep and real desire for salvation from the consequences of their sins.

Now David sums all this up with the words,

“The Lord watches over all who love him”.

Jesus promises not only to watch over us or even be near to us but rather be with us as he says as part of the great commission to take the Gospel to the world in Matthew 28: 19 – 20,

Therefore, go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely, I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

 Our God is a universal God who deserves universal praise but he has given us a universal message that he wants us to take to the whole world and as we do this he is with us every step of the way and that includes going to be with him when our earthly path or road is complete as Jesus declares in John 14: 6,

“Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me”. 

  1. The Lord destroying the wicked

However, verse 20 has a second part which shows that even though the God of the Bible is a universal God and everyone should offer him universal praise for he has given us a universal message of salvation this does not mean everyone will be saved as verse 20b says,

“But all the wicked he will destroy”.

I said at the start that even though I believe in a universal God who deserves universal praise I am not a Universalist as they believe everyone will be saved but the bible does not teach that.

I like the explanation of this found in John chapter 3 starting with the famous verse about the universal God loving this world by sending his only son to everyone who believes in him and that faith in him saves us from perishing and gives us eternal life but listen to what John goes on to say in verses 17 – 18,

“For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. 18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son”.

 If we reject then the free and wonderful gift of God’s forgiveness we will then face the judgment of God and its consequences which is death or in Psalm 145 verse 20 terms, being destroyed by God.

How does this inspire universal praise?

To me it inspires universal praise because the sending of Jesus God’s only son to die on the cross for our sins marries perfectly together the idea of a Righteous, just God and a loving God as Jesus paid for our sins that must be paid for and he did this because he loves us and does not want us to face the judgment we deserve.

However, if we reject his offer of forgiveness we will be destroyed in the judgment along with all creatures spiritual and earthly who oppose the universal God who deserves universal praise.

      4   (vs. 21)    A CALL FOR UNIVERSAL PRAISE

 The climax of Psalm 145 is a clear call for universal praise for a universal God as it says,

“My mouth will speak in praise of the Lord, Let, every creature praise his holy name for every and ever”.

 David has stated over 14 reasons why the God of the bible deserves universal praise and they include:

  • He is God the king
  • He is great and worthy of praise
  • He is glorious and majestic
  • He performs great and wonderful works
  • He is abundantly good
  • He is compassionate and loving
  • His kingdom is great and glorious
  • He is trustworthy and faithful
  • He lifts up the lowly who look to him
  • He supplies every creature the food they need to eat
  • He is near to those who call on him
  • He fulfils the desires of those who fear him
  • He watches over all who love him
  • He will destroy all who oppose him

David then with all this in mind first of all personally declares he will use his mouth to praise this great universal God,

“My mouth will speak in praise of the Lord”.

 Then he calls on every creature in the universe to join him in universal praise for a universal God,

Let every creature praise his holy name for every and ever”.

 Paul predicts that a day is coming when universal praise will happen and that will be when The Lord Jesus Christ will return, he says this in Philippians 2: 9 – 11,

“Therefore, God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name,10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and

under the earth,11 and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father”.

 I close as usual with and original poem / song and a final word of prayer:

LET EVERY CREATURE SING AND PRAISE

(Based on Psalm 145)

Let every creature praise God’s holy name

And may my mouth speak and proclaim

That God is the King

For he made everything

So now praise and sing.

 

Let every creature praise God’s holy name

And may my mouth speak and proclaim

That great is the Lord

For generations, we have heard

Of God’s mighty deeds in his word.

 

Refrain 1.

Speak of God’s majesty and splendour

Mediate on his wonderful works

His power is awesome to see

I will celebrate what his done for me

For by his love he has surely set me free.

 

Let every creature praise God’s holy name

And may my mouth speak and proclaim

That God’s goodness will not be swayed

For he has compassion for all his made

And he longs for praise to be prayed.

 

Let every creature praise God’s holy name

And may my mouth speak and proclaim

That God’s Kingdom is a glorious thing

For God’s great deeds are every flowing

And God’s kingdom is now building.

 

Refrain 2.

The Lord is trustworthy in all his promises

He is faithful in all that he does.

God upholds all those who fall

And lifts up all who answer his call

So, look up and give God your all.

 

Let every creature praise God’s holy name

And may my mouth speak and proclaim

That the Lord is righteous in all his ways

And he’s near to us all our days

So, let every creature sing and praise

By: Jim Wenman

PRAYER:

 We praise you God of the universe for you deserve our thanks and praise for all you have done for us. We thank you for your creation so wonderfully made which speaks day after day of your majesty and power. We thank you for your salvation through the sending of your Son, Jesus Christ into this fallen world to rescue us from death and judgment through his death on the cross for our sins. Help us Lord to take your universal message of salvation to the whole world so that every man women and child can join every creature in praise and worship of the great universal God of love we know you are, in Jesus name we pray, Amen.

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PSALM 144 TALK:   BATTLE HYMN FOR TRUE BELIEVERS

PSALM 144 TALK:   BATTLE HYMN FOR TRUE BELIEVERS

(This is the seventh Psalm of a collection of eight Psalms attributed to King David in the fifth and final book of Psalms. This Psalm features the idea of God being our protector and deliverer in the many battles of this life for all true believer in the God of the bible).

(THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide”.

INTRODUCTION

One of my current ministries at my local church at this time is to help lead the singing during the church service I attend. The service I attend is a more traditional form of worship and we often sing manly older hymns mixed with some new ones and one day to my surprise the organist for the day chose the famous American civil war hymn, “Battle Hymn of the Republic”.

I knew this hymn but had never sung it in church before but I’m sure if I was an American Christian I would have sung this famous hymn many times in church in America. I enjoyed singing the hymn and so did most of the congregation that day and when I went home I looked up both the words and the story behind this famous American hymn.

The words of Battle Hymn of the Republic were written by a lady named Julie Ward Howe in 1861. Julie Ward Howe was an abolitionist who after visiting union or Northern troop camps in and around Washington DC wrote the words of this famous hymn to the tune of a song she heard many union soldiers singing called, “John Browns Body”.

John Browns body was a song about a famous radical abolitionist who attempted to start a slave rebellion in the south of America but failed and was later executed. Julie Ward Howe must have had the distinctive tune of the original song swimming around in her brain because she woke up in the middle of the night in her Washington Hotel room and wrote down very quickly her words to this hymn that read like this,

Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord;
He is trampling out the vintage where the grapes of wrath are stored;
He hath loosed the fateful lightning of His terrible swift sword;
His truth is marching on.

Glory! Glory! Hallelujah!
Glory! Glory! Hallelujah!
Glory! Glory! Hallelujah!
His truth is marching on.

I have seen Him in the watch-fires of a hundred circling camps;
They have builded Him an altar in the evening dews and damps;
I can read His righteous sentence by the dim and flaring lamps,
His day is marching on.

I have read His fiery gospel writ in rows of burnished steel!
“As ye deal with my condemners, so with you My grace shall deal!
Let the Hero, born of woman, crush the serpent with his heel, ”
Since God is marching on.

He has sounded forth the trumpet that shall never call retreat;
He is sifting out the hearts of men before His judgment seat;
Oh, be swift, my soul, to answer Him; be jubilant, my feet!
Our God is marching on.

In the beauty of the lilies Christ was born across the sea,
With a glory in His bosom that transfigures you and me;
As He died to make men holy, let us die to make men free!
While God is marching on.

The song like many parts of the bible use military imagery to speak of the great spiritual battle we are all caught up in which Paul makes plain with these words from Ephesians 6: 12,

For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms”.

 Wars and rumours of wars Jesus predicted would feature the last days of this world before he comes again to do away with sin, tribulation and the Devil and take all true believers to heaven as the first line of Julie Ward Howe hymn speaks of,

“Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord”

 It is said that these were the last public words spoken by the great American civil rights leader Martin Luther King as the next day after he spoke them he was assassinated.

Battle Hymn of the Republic is a rallying call for all true believers to fight on in the day to day battles with sin, the world and devil a fight not fought with guns and bombs but a spiritual war where we use the spiritual weapons Paul speaks of in the verses that follow Ephesians 6: 12.

God does not leave us alone in the battlefields of life but rather he is our protector and deliverer as Paul states clearly in Ephesians 6: 10 – 11,

 “Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armour of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes”.

Psalm 144 is David’s Battle Hymn for True Believers and seems to be very closely linked with an earlier Psalm, Psalm 18. Many of the images and even words and terms used in Psalm 144 are found throughout Psalm 18.

 I like Tremper Longman 111 explanation of the possible connections between these two wonderful Psalms,

“Psalm 18 thanks God for saving him, while Psalm 144 requests God to save him”.

 Maybe David wrote Psalm 144 first when he first became king of Israel and faced many external threats from Nations around him like the Philistines who had just soundly defeated the former king of Israel, King Saul.

Psalm 144 then was David praying for protection and deliverance from these fierce and powerful enemies and then when God answered David with many great remarkable victories over nations like the Philistines as recorded in 2 Samuel 8 he wrote Psalm 18.

Psalm 18 was modelled on Psalm 144 and is a much fuller praise of the protection and deliverance God gave David over his enemies.

Psalm 18 could well be David’s fulfilment of the promise he made in verses 9 and 10 of Psalm 144,

“I will sing a new song to you, my God; on the ten-stringed lyre I will make music to you,
10 to the One who gives victory to kings, who delivers his servant David”.

 Maybe the original collectors and editors of David’s Psalms of the first book of Psalm left out Psalm 144 because it was now superseded by Psalm 18 or they simply did not know of David’s first composition asking for God’s protection and deliverance from his many enemies. However, the later collectors and editors of book 5 somehow found David’s original Psalm 144 and decided to include it in this final collection of Psalms written by David.

So, in this Psalm talk I will use David’s war and battle images as metaphors for the war or battle we are involved in spiritually with the world, the flesh and the devil and also so the very real connection of David’s words of praise for God’s protection and deliverance in Psalm 18. Hopefully I will produce for you a true “Battle Hymn for all true Believers” and so with this in mind my headings for this Psalm are:

     1.  (1 – 8)   GOD MY PROTECTOR

  1. (1 – 4)God the protector of the unworthy
  2. (5 – 8)Powerful protector active in history

2     (9 – 11)   GOD MY DELIVERER

  1. (9 – 10) A new song of deliverance promised
  2. (vs.11)  A prayer for deliverance

     3.  (12 – 15) GOD MY PROVIDER

  1. (12 – 14) God’s blessings of his protection and deliverance
  2. (vs. 15) Blessings, protection, deliverance only for true believers

 Using these headings, let’s now have a closer look at this “Battle Hymn for true Believers”:

      1.   (1 – 8)   GOD MY PROTECTOR

             1.   (1 – 4)  God the protector of the unworthy

As I said in my introduction this Psalm contains a lot of images and even phrases used in Psalm 18 and also other Psalms of David and some bible scalars have criticised this Psalm as some later writers attempt to compose a Psalm of David piecing together bits and pieces of previous Psalms of David particularly Psalm 18.

I like the explanation and quote H.C. Leopold gives in his commentary on this issue,

In place of the idea that this Psalm is an inferior piece of patchwork it might be well to consider the possibility that Schmidt suggests that we have here, ‘an original work of art’”

The opening verse of this Psalm is a praise of God David made for how God is the source of his protection and even battle skills in the fierce battles he had already faced,

“Praise be to the Lord my Rock, who trains my hands for war, my fingers for battle”.

 David often called God his rock something that features in my Psalm talk on Psalm 28 which commences with the words,

“To you Lord I call; you are my Rock, do not turn a deaf ear to me”

 Then in Psalm 18, which we believe was written after God answered the battle prayer of this Psalm David writes in verse 46,

“The Lord lives! Praise be to my Rock! Exalted be God my Saviour”

 David wrote or prayed in Psalm 61 verse 2,

“From the ends of the earth I call to you, I call as my heart grows faint; lead me to the rock that is higher than I”.

 Over and over again throughout the life of David God protected him like a rock which he could hide behind and even when he was forced into physical battle God was a rock for him as he gave him the skill or ability to fight as he says in the second part of verse 1,

“Who trains my hands for war, my fingers for battle”.

 Sometimes I watch action movies that contain very sure and even conceited men who act like they are invincible, dogging bullets and winning physical battles against lots of enemies who attack them and I often think it would only take one slip or false move and a bullet would simply bring them down.

However, Hollywood would suggest that true heroes possess unbelievable luck to doge the may bullets that come at them. In reality, there is no such thing as luck or all powerful human beings who are invincible but rather there is only an all- powerful and all- knowing God in whose hands is our destiny as David makes clear by what he suggests in the second part of verse 1 of Psalm 144 and makes clear by what he says in Psalm 18: 35,

“You make your saving help my shield,and your right hand sustains me; your help has made me great”.

 This verse in Psalm 18 also reflects what David, I believe originally prayed for in Psalm 144 which I have proposed was David’s prayer for protection and deliverance soon after he became king of Israel.

This reflection of Psalm 18: 35 and verse 2 of that same Psalm is what David is speaking about in his Psalm 144 verse 2 version of these concepts,

He is my loving God and my fortress,my stronghold and my deliverer,my shield, in whom I take refuge, who subdues peoplesunder me”.

 The big additive in verse 2 of Psalm 144 is the wonderful concept of God’s love expressed in the opening words of verse 2,

“He is my loving God”

Which is an Old testament reference to the Covenant of Love David and other writers of the Psalms knew and often referred to. This covenant of love is expressed in Deuteronomy 7: 7 – 9,

“The Lord did not set his affection on you and choose you because you were more numerous than other peoples, for you were the fewest of all peoples. But it was because the Lord loved you and kept the oath he swore to your ancestors that he brought you out with a mighty hand and redeemed you from the land of slavery, from the power of Pharaoh king of Egypt. Know therefore that the Lord your God is God; he is the faithful God, keeping his covenant of love to a thousand generations of those who love him and keep his commandments”.

 David trusted completely in this God of covenant love and God protected him from his enemies on many occasions like a fortress, stronghold, shield and deliverer. This means that David did not believe he had some kind of right to the protection and deliverance of God but rather that God only gave it to him because he was a great God of love who is always faithful to his promises.

This aspect of God’s underserved love for us is made even clearer in the New Testament in so many places like what Paul says about our spiritual deliverance or salvation in Romans 8: 6 – 8,

“You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly.Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us”.

 God helped David not only by protecting him from his enemies but also God delivered him from many of them expressed so well in the words at the end of verse 2 that simply says,

“Who subdues peoples under me”.

 In the past, some Christians have gone to war literally with their enemies expecting a kind of Old Testament victory over them but they failed to realise that we are not fighting a physical war or battle but a spiritual one and our weapons of war in these battles are spiritual ones as Paul states clearly in 2 Corinthians 10: 3 – 5,

For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ”.

 Our battle hymn is that we are weak and defenceless against the mighty forces of evil but as Paul states clearly in Ephesians 6: 10 – 11, we are strong because we trust in a strong and loving God,

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armour of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes”.

This volubility and weakness to protect and defend ourselves is made even clearer by what David states in verses 3 and 4 of Psalm 144,

“Lord, what are human beings that you care for them,mere mortals that you think of them?
They are like a breath; their days are like a fleeting shadow”.

The question David proposes in verse 3 is very similar to the question he proposes in Psalm 8: 3 – 4,

“When I consider your heavens,the work of your fingers,the moon and the stars,which you have set in place,what is mankind that you are mindful of them,human beings that you care for them?”

 Albert Barnes makes it clear what David is saying in Psalm 144 verse 3 and Psalm 8 verse 4 with these words,

The idea is, it is amazing that a being so insignificant as man should be an object of interest to God, or that One so great should pay any attention to him and to his affairs”.

 This is then both a statement of the insignificance and weakness of mankind and the great love of God in that he not only is interested in us but as we shall see is willing to get involved in our world and with us in a most costly way to deliver or save us.

Our volubility in the battles of life against powerful spiritual forces is made even clearer again by David’s description of us in verse 4,

“They are like a breath; their days are like a fleeting shadow”.

 Allan Harman points out our volubility and its corresponding needs in these words,

“It means man’s existence is of such a fleeting nature, then how much does he need the Lord’s help”.

 David needed the Lord’s help and protection so much but as we have seen in the previous verses he acknowledged that God had given it to him in the following three ways, God was his,

  1. Rock – fortress or stronghold
  2. Fighting equipper
  3. Deliverer

 

We have the same promise of rock, equipper and deliverer or saviour in the words of that great doxology at the end of Jude – verses 24 – 25,

To him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you before his glorious presence without fault and with great joy— 25 to the only God our Saviour be glory, majesty, power and authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all ages, now and forevermore! Amen.

 So, our Battle Hymn for true believers clearly states that even though we are weak and spiritually powerless the Lord makes the difference in our lives by him making us strong against all the forces we are in battle with.

      2.   (5 – 8)   Powerful protector active in history

There are many people in the past and even today who say they believe in God or an active first force but he or that force is not still active in our world, rather he or the force set the world up like a clock that was started ticking and then left it ticking away and it takes it’s natural course according to the general laws of nature this so called absent God or force set down.

This belief in God is called Deism and it is believed this is the kind of God Albert Einstein believed in.

I believe verses 5 – 7 of this Psalm 144 put down the idea of God being absent from this world after he created it for David prays,

“Part your heavens, Lord, and come down;touch the mountains, so that they smoke.
Send forth lightning and scatter the enemy; shoot your arrows and rout them.Reach down your hand from on high;deliver me and rescue mefrom the mighty waters, from the hands of foreigners”.

 David is asking for God to personally intervene into his day and protect him from his powerful enemies. Which David later thanked God for in Psalm 18: 6 – 15.

How could David come to pray such a prayer as this?

The simple reason is that David was not a Deist but as I am and I believe all true believers are a theist who believes in the God of the bible. David knew from the bible and his own personal experience of this God that God does get involved in our world and always has.

What David is asking for sounds very much like what happened in the book of Exodus when his ancestors where at Mount Sinai as we read in Exodus 20: 18 – 19,

 “When the people saw the thunder and lightning and heard the trumpet and saw the mountain in smoke, they trembled with fear. They stayed at a distance 19 and said to Moses, “Speak to us yourself and we will listen. But do not have God speak to us or we will die.”

 I don’t think David literally wants God to do a Mt Sinai as I believe verses 5 and 6 are a poetic image of God reaching down in power and might to protect and deliver David from his enemies. He puts this intervention of God another way in a Psalm like Psalm 57: 3,

“He sends from heaven and saves me,rebuking those who hotly pursue me- God sends forth his love and his faithfulness”.

 I stated before that David believed in a God who actively intervenes in the lives of those who put their trust in him because of his faith in God’s word the bible and his own experience. He is speaking in Psalm 57 of his experience of God’s intervention in his life to save and protect him in Psalm 57 and later in that Psalm states it again this way in verse 10,

“For great is your love, reaching to the heavens;your faithfulness reaches to the skies”.

 The heading for Psalm 57 is that David wrote this Psalm or came to the idea of it from his experience of being trapped in a cave when on the run from King Saul who sought to kill him.

David actually survived twice from being trapped in a cave and both times sceptics could say that was not God who saved David but good luck but David did not believe in luck in the battles of his life, a battle he described as being rescued from mighty waters (vs. 7) another direct reference to Psalm 18 for in verses 16 and 17 we read,

“He reached down from on high and took hold of me;he drew me out of deep waters.

17 He rescued me from my powerful enemy, from my foes, who were too strong for me”.

 So, again what David asked God to do for him in this Psalm 144 he actually did for David, it seems because of what have just read in Psalm 18 verses 16 – 17.

We know the hot water or rather mighty waters was the attack of foreign enemies as we read at the end of verse 7,

“From the hands of foreigners”

Foreigners like the Philistines who God helped David totally defeat according to 2 Samuel 8:1. Other foreign nations are mentioned in 2 Samuel 8 like Moabites, the king of Zobah, Arammeans and many others. After these many victories, I believe David probably wrote Psalm 18 and in verse 3 of that Psalm David boldly says this,

“I called to the Lord, who is worthy of praise, and I have been saved from my enemies”.

 In a far greater way we have been saved by the God of the bible who wonderfully got involved in history when he,

“Reached down his hand from on high” (verse 7)

This is when God sent his Son into the world who took flesh to save us from our sins as John boldly declares in John 1: 14,

“The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth”.

 Or as John says in chapter 3 verse 16,

“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life”.

 I also believe in a God who intervenes into the lives of men even today as I have seen answers to my prayers that could be also explained away as good luck but over and over again I see them as God helping me in my daily life to protect and guide me in the many battles of life.

Lastly in this second part of the first section of this Psalm 144 David speaks of the nature of his enemies he needs God’s intervention to protect and save him from in these words,

“Whose mouth are full of lies, whose right hands are deceitful”.

 In our spiritual battles of life, we like David are up against the Devil who Jesus called both a liar and the father of lies, John 8: 44,

“You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies”.

 If David is speaking about foreign enemies he is possibly speaking of the often deceitful and false alliances and promises his enemies made but David knew their real intentions as he expressed in Psalm 2: 1 – 3,

“Why do the nations conspireand the peoples plot in vain?The kings of the earth rise up

and the rulers band together against the Lord and against his anointed, saying,“Let us break their chains and throw off their shackles.”

 Again, in the battles of life as in any conflict the wise course of action is know your enemy and also know your bible so as true believer’s our best preparation in the battles of life is know and put into practice the advice James states in James 4: 7 – 10,

“Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Grieve, mourn and wail. Change your laughter to mourning and your joy to gloom. 10 Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up”.

 In the life’s battles the hymn should sing is of the great God of heaven and earth who is willing to intervene into our daily lives for all true believers if they but call on him turning away from the devil and his lies and humbling ourselves before our loving saving God.

 2     (9 – 11)   GOD MY DELIVERER

  1. (9 – 10) A new song of deliverance promised

On four other occasions David uses this expression “a new song”, Psalm 33:3, 40: 3, 96: 1 and 98: 1 and we also find the same expression in Isaiah 42: 10.

Here in verse 9 of Psalm 144 David is promising to sing a new song to the Lord on a special instrument he played called, “ten string lyre”. It seems the normal instrument David played was a 5-string lyre but he also had a larger and fuller sounding 10 string lyre and Leopold suggests why David refers to his new song of praise being played on a ten- string lyre rather than 5 string lyre as,

“to allow for full toned music and thus suggest that an effort to match the greatness of the mercy received is going to be made”.

 What does David and Isaiah mean by the expression “sing a new song”?

I have had two attempts to explain this phrase before and will share with you now my two attempts to explain this phrase:

  1. Psalm 33: 3,

“For David writing new songs was not a strange experience as we have over 73 original works of David in the book of Psalms alone. But Leupold points out there is three possible interpretations of this concept of a new song: 

    1.   Singing the old hymn with deeper understanding

    2.   Fresh colour to and old hymn

    3.  The composition of a song entirely new”.

Whatever David is referring to in this verse his deliverance experience caused him to sing. Music has been described by many as “The expression of the emotions of the heart” and when we sing with meaning or from the heart we are expressing our true understanding of what God has done for us in delivering us from the power of sin and death.”.

 

  1. Psalm 98: 1,

 

To sing a new song to God does not necessarily mean that we are to compose new songs all the time and not sing old songs.

The Hebrew meaning for “New Song” is apparently, “made or become fresh.” This means that old songs we know and love can be “New Songs”, when we sing them from a fresh or renewed understanding of God and his word.

 I know sometimes I sing in church old songs and I fail to really connect in my heart to the wonderful truths of its words. However more than often I sing something in church or at a special Christian meeting that I have sang many times before but God’s spirit moves in my heart with a fresh appreciation of what it is saying to me about God and his word, then it is truly a “New Song”.

 If Psalm 144 is the request for God to deliver or save him from his many enemies and Psalm 18 is that request answered and praised then Psalm 18 could well be David’s new song he promises to compose here.

 As a singer, musician and even song writer myself I can identify with David and his obvious enthusiasm to use his music to praise and glorify God and I must stress as David did that he saw the main value of music as a vehicle to glorify God as he makes plain by what he goes on to say in verse 10,

“To the One who gives victory to kings, who delivers his servant David”.

 He promises to give credit to the one who credit is due namely his God who gives him victories in the battles of his life. Victories for David, verse 10 indicates are victories for his people as he is their king but note David does not want any glory for his unique privileged position as King as he then calls himself God’s servant.

Even the Lord Jesus spoke of himself as God’s servant who had a great mission to save us as we read in Mark 10: 45,

“For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

 Paul makes it clear we are to be like the Lord Jesus and serve one another, Galatians 5: 13.

“You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love”.

 Peter also makes a similar point in 1 Peter 4: 10,

“Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms”.

 So, David promises as God’s king and servant to sing a new song to the Lord, which could be an old song sung with new understanding and meaning once God has delivered him from his current battle with his enemies. We to should always be ready to praise our God for his deliverance or salvation through the Lord Jesus Christ in our daily battles of life as Paul encourages the Colossians to do in Colossians 3: 15 – 17,

“Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. 16 Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts. 17 And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him”.

       2    (vs.11) A prayer for deliverance

We come then to the end of verse 10 and verse 11 which is like a refrain as the words in verse 11 are almost identical to the words David used in verses 7 and 8. David writes in verse 10b and verse 11,

“From the deadly sword deliver me; rescue me from the hands of foreigners whose mouths are full of lies, whose right hands are deceitful”.

 David is obviously facing very difficult times at the hands of his enemies and again makes it clear to God in prayer the heavy burden he bares which is, I think, made even more clearer by David using these words as a kind of refrain or poetic summary of the main point of his Psalm.

In David’s time the principle weapon of destruction was the sword which he calls in the hands of his foreign enemies who are lying and deceitful a deadly sword.

Note again that David is not just saying he faces just physical force but he also faced verbal abuse as his enemies use their tongues and mouths to destroy him.

A missionary on home leave who serves with his wife and family in India spoke in our church today and referred to what he called “Hate crimes” by those who oppose Christians there at the moment. They falsely accuse Christians of all sorts of made up charges and have them thrown in jail awaiting a court appearance. He said usually after a couple of months in jail awaiting trial they are freed as the charges are dismissed by the courts as being false.

The devil has and will use lies and deceit to bring down and destroy true believers as a proven battle tactic but we must always find courage in the words of Paul in Romans 8: 37 – 39,

No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord”.

     3.   (12 – 15) GOD MY PROVIDER

            1.   (12 – 14) God’s blessings of his protection and deliverance

Some bible scalars argue that the final four verses did not belong to the original Psalm of David and because of the reference to breaching walls and captivity in verse 14 these verses were made up and added to this Psalm after the return from Babylonian captivity.

However, there is another logical conclusion to this problem and that is that David has moved by faith from his desperate need for protection and deliverance to what he sees as the possible outcomes he and his nation would have when they had victory over their enemies.

Victory over his enemies he argues will lead to God’s blessings of a strong and vital nation, prosperous and free of the possibility of being overrun by powerful and vicious Godless foreigners.

So, I believe David presents three main forms of national blessings if God protects and delivers his people from battle or war with his many enemies and these are presented in what I call Old Testament material benefits:

  1. A strong and vital future for the nation and its people (vs. 12)
  2. A materially prosperous nation (vs. 13)
  3. A sense of national security and peace (vs. 14)

Let’s then have a closer look at these three Old Testament style blessings God’s protection and deliverance will bring to David and his people:

  1. A strong and vital future for the nation and its people (vs. 12)

Each of the three forms of blessing are not only spoken of in Old Testament realities but are also presented in poetic imagery as well.

The first of these Old Testament blessings is what I have called a strong and vital future for the nation and its people and verse 12 reads this way,

“Then our sons in their youth will be like well- nurtured plants, and our daughters will be like pillars carved to adorn a palace”.

 I like Albert Barnes explanation of this verse when he writes,

“That our sons – not called forth to the hardships of the tent and the field, the perils and the exposures of war – may grow up under the culture of home, of the family, in quiet scenes, as plants carefully cultivated and flourishing”.

 This concept of the Children of Israel being blessed by God because of the protection and deliverance God would give his faithful true believers is stated in his covenant agreement with his people Israel as we see in Deuteronomy 28: 1 – 4,

“If you fully obey the Lord your God and carefully follow all his commands I give you today, the Lord your God will set you high above all the nations on earth. All these blessings will come on you and accompany you if you obey the Lord your God:3 You will be blessed in the city and blessed in the country 3 The fruit of your womb will be blessed, and the crops of your land and the young of your livestock—the calves of your herds and the lambs of your flocks”.

 The second half of verse 12 speaks of not only sons flourishing in a secure blessed nation delivered from the battles of war but the nation’s daughters as well,

“And our daughters will be like pillars carved to adorn a palace”.

 Apparently, many ancient Palaces and Temples featured statues of sleek and healthy young females on their walls and pillars. This image would be a vital and real one for the people of Old Testament times and again represents healthy vital young people who David believed would thrive once the threat and turmoil of foreign invasion had passed.

So, in Old Testament, Old Covenant sense the blessing of children living in a safe and prosperous land is what I believe David has in mind,

However, what does God promise us in the New Covenant as his blessings for being his faithful true believers?

Here are three important New Testament, New Covenant promises we have in Christ:

1.    Eternal Inheritance through Christ – Hebrews 9: 15,

For this reason, Christ is the mediator of a new covenant, that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance—now that he has died as a ransom to set them free from the sins committed under the first covenant”.

  1. Every Spiritual blessing in Christ – Ephesians 1: 3,

“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ”. 

  1. God’s blessing of the Holy Spirit – Romans 8: 26 – 27,

In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. 27 And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God.

 Finally, Paul declares in the next verse of Romans 8, verse 28 that he works everything for Good for those who are faithful true believers,

28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, whohave been called according to his purpose.

  1. A materially prosperous nation (vs. 13)

The next verse, verse 13 and the start of verse 14 along with other Old Testament verses like it have been miss – quoted by many Christians to imply that God promises all faithful true believers material blessing in this life as it says,

“Our barns will be filled with every kind of provision. Our sheep will increase by thousands by tens of thousands in our fields; our oxen will draw heavy loads”.

 This is a miss quote or wrong interpretation as this is again Old Testament, Old Covenant promises like the one before concerning prosperous families. I refer back to Deuteronomy 28: 1 – 4,

“If you fully obey the Lord your God and carefully follow all his commands I give you today, the Lord your God will set you high above all the nations on earth. All these blessings will come on you and accompany you if you obey the Lord your God:3 You will be blessed in the city and blessed in the country 3 The fruit of your womb will be blessed, and the crops of your land and the young of your livestock—the calves of your herds and the lambs of your flocks”.

As I said in connection with the last verse this promise of material blessing to God’s faithful people has been superseded by the greater and far more reaching promises of the New Covenant.

However, I am not advocating that God does not bless Christians with strong stable families and even material blessings. I have seen over all my years in the church how often the turning to Christ by a husband and wife leads to a far more stable, happy family and often brings material benefits but material benefits in this life is not a guarantee for those who turn to Christ as God is not concerned primarily for our earthly happiness but his concern is for our eternal holiness or sanctification which will lead to us glorifying his wonderful name as Paul make clear by Romans 5: 1 – 5,

“Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, wehave peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And weboast in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but wealso glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us”.

 We must realise we live in sinful fallen world, that even as Christians our bodies suffer the consequences of sin which is decay and death and on top of thiat we are caught up as God’s faithful true believers in a constant and great spiritual battle. Like David we should pray for protection and deliverance from all this but total victory in this great battle will not come unto The Lord Jesus Christ returns and all evil and those associated with it is done away with as predicted in passages like Revelation 20: 11 – 15.

Following this passage in Revelation we have the wonderful description of the New Heaven and the New Earth that results from the final judgment and its cleansing processes and in Revelation 21: 1 – 4 we read of the great hope all faithful true believers can look forward to,

“Then I saw “a new heaven and a new earth,” for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”

 Up to that great day God does not leave us all alone in the battles of life but he through the Lord Jesus Christ and his Holy Spirit stands with us to comfort, protect and even fight for us in every difficulty the battle of life can bring upon us Paul confidently told the Thessalonians in 2 Thessalonians 3: 3,

But the Lord is faithful, and he will strengthen you and protect you from the evil one”

  1. A sense of national security and peace (vs. 14)

The final outcome and blessing David predicts will come to him and his people if God protects and delivers them from their enemies is what I call a sense of national security and peace expressed in the words and poetic images of verse 14,

“There will be no breaching of walls, no going into captivity, no cry of distress in our streets”.

 We must always try to come to terms with the words and images used in the Psalms in the context of the ancient world they were written in and here in verse 14 we have a great example of this.

The people lived in the ancient world lived under the constant threat of being conquered and over run by other nations. Ancient history is littered with stories of peace loving and often materially successful nations being conquered and overrun by an enemy. The miracles of the history of Israel and the Jews is that even as a tiny in worldly terms insignificant nation or race of people they survived so long throughout history when far more powerful nations perished.

The conquering of a nation in ancient times involved invasion and usually the sieging of cities that always had large walls around them to protect them from invading armies. This is why David says that if God protects them and delivers them from their enemies that would experience,

“No breaching of walls”.

 Once a wall of a city was breached the conquered population was often taken into captivity as happened to the Northern Kingdom of Israel in 722BC by the Assyrians and then nearly 200 hundred years later the Southern Kingdom of Judah was overrun and taken into captivity by the Babylonians in 587BC and Jerusalem’s walls were breached and its people were taken in captivity,

        2   (vs. 15)   Blessings, protection, deliverance only for true believers

I have many non-believing friends and family who I seek to be a witness to but they often seem so entrenched in ignoring God and even considering that faith God has any value and purpose. I know many of my non-believing friends and family even find me to be an irritant to their so called Godless existence. I often wish them well on their birthdays and other special times but deep inside I know that without turning to God in faith and obedience there is no real blessing from God for them because all the promises of God are for faithful true believers.

David makes this clear in the closing verse of his Psalm 144,

“Blessed is the people of whom this is true, blessed is the people whose God is the Lord”.

 Certainly, God does bless both the righteous and the unrighteous in this life as Jesus makes clear from what he said in Matthew 5: 45,

“He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous”.

 The context of Jesus words here is his call for us to love our enemies and be like his father our God in heaven who believe sent his son The Lord Jesus Christ into the world and has made us his children. So wishing non-believers well is acting like our Father in heaven and his Son, The Lord Jesus Christ.

Jesus put his words into action about loving our enemies even when he was being crucified he prayed for the forgiveness of those who were nailing him to the cross.

However, David is correct, the best and only way for people to have a guarantee of God’s blessing in their lives is by people having a true and genuine faith in the God of the bible who David calls,

“God the Lord”

I like Albert Barnes comments on this verse when he writes,

“Prosperity and peace, such as are referred to in the previous verses, are, and must be, the result of pure religion. Peace, order, abundance, attend it everywhere, and the best security for a nation‘s prosperity is the worship of God; that which is most certain to make a nation happy and blessed, is to acknowledge God and to keep his laws”.

 All through this Psalm I have referred to two unique aspects of this Psalm, which are:

  1. The images of ancient battle and war which I have applied to the spiritual battle we as true believers are always caught up in.

2. The obvious connection of this Psalm, 144 to David’s Psalm 18, which I have advocated is that Psalm 144 is the prayer for protection and deliverance from his enemies and Psalm 18 is a praise for that protection and deliverance from those enemies.

So, if I am correct somewhere in Psalm 18 I should find evidence of both of these two unique aspects and I believe verses 25 – 29 is proof of my theory,

 “To the faithful you show yourself faithful, to the blameless you show yourself blameless,
26 to the pure you show yourself pure, but to the devious you show yourself shrewd.

27 You save the humble but bring low those whose eyes are haughty.28 You, Lord, keep my lamp burning;my God turns my darkness into light.29 With your help I can advance against a troop; with my God I can scale a wall”.

 These are great words of praise of a faithful true believer of the God of the bible who has experienced the blessing of God for himself and his people in the form of protection and deliverance from their many enemies.

As Christians, I have advocated in this Psalm talk and many others that being a true believer in the God of the bible does not mean we will not face hardship and difficulty as we are always caught up in a great spiritual battle as Paul spoke of in Ephesians 6: 12.

“For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms”.

 We will not also escape the reality in this life that we are living in a fallen and often Godless world but this does not mean that God is not with us and even blessing us.

I am reminded here of the apt words of James in James 1: 2 – 8 about God’s purpose and role of facing the battles of life with God through the Lord Jesus by our side,

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds,because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. Such a person is double-minded and unstable in all they do”.

Julie Ward Howe in 1861 saw first-hand the horrors that man’s rebellion to God can cause and even true believers like her could not escape the difficulties and trials the horrific war called the civil war in America brought to all people in its day but Julie Ward Howe saw the spiritual dimension to that war and the hope that only Faith in the God of the bible through the Lord Jesus Christ can bring and this hope and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ is beautifully expressed in her last verse of her great hymn, “The Battle Hymn of the republic”,

“In the be beauty of the lilies Christ was born across the sea,

With a glory in His bosom that transfigures you and me,

As He died to make men holy, let us die to make men free!

While God’s is marching on”.

I close as usual with an original poem / song and a final word of prayer:

THE CHRISTIAN BATTLE SONG

(Based on Psalm 144)

Praise to the Lord my rock who trains me for war

He guides me by his hands so that I will not fall.

Against all the forces of evil he gives me success

For my God is a loving God and fortress.

A strong hold when my life is in distress

So, praise to the Lord my deliverer who longs to bless.

 

O Lord what are human beings that you care so much for them.

For they are just mortal beings Oh yes, we are just mere men.

We’re like a breath of air that’s here and gone

May our world come to see that they are wrong.

Show your power against our enemies we do long

O Lord reach down your hand make our enemies be gone.

 

I will sing a new song to you Lord on the string instrument I play.

I will sing of the victory He gives to me each day.

Great powers of darkness now oppose our God

Many enemies stand in the path that we trod

The words they use against us are the bombs they lob

But I will sing of God’s power trusting in the word of God.

 

Blessed are all the people who trust in the mighty God above.

Their sons and their daughters will be blessed with love.

And spiritual riches will be theirs all of their days

For they will be free from sins curse and Satan’s ways.

For Jesus died on the cross and in victory was raised.

Blessed then are those who turn to him in faith and praise.

By: Jim Wenman

PRAYER:

 I thank you Lord that you are always with me in the many battles of life. I thank you Father in heaven that you sent your son, Jesus Christ to die for my sins on the cross making a way back to you in heaven. I thank you Holy Spirit for your presence in my life making me strong against the devil’s attacks and interceding for me with the Father in heaven when I need assistance and help in my daily battles with sin the world and the devil. I look forward then to the day I will be with you in heaven when there will be no more pain, death and tears, when all true believers will experience your total blessing for all eternity, In Jesus name I pray this, Amen.