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Bible Commentaries

Thomas Scott: Explanatory Notes, Practical Observations on the book Psalms
Psalms 145

 

 

Verses 1-21

Psalm 145:1-21. Title. " Praise from David." From this Psalm to the end of the book, we find unmingled praise and thanksgiving, without one complaint or petition. " Hitherto ... the voice of complaint hath sometimes been succeeded by that of thanksgiving; and praise, at other times, hath terminated in prayer. But now, as if the days of mourning in Zion were ended, we hear no more " of Messiah as " a man of sorrows; " or of his church as despised and afflicted. ... Henceforth we seem not to be upon earth but in heaven, mingling with celestial spirits around the throne." Bp. Home. Probably David composed most of these Psalm , and towards the close of his life; when, as the setting sun breaks forth from behind intervening clouds, he shone forth, and set in mild majesty and splendour; anticipating the employment and Felicity of heaven, as he approached the mansions of the blessed. (Note, 1 Chronicles 29:26-28. P. O20 -30.) The

Psalm is composed alphabetically, each verse beginning with one of the Hebrew letters, in order, except that the letter nun is omitted.

V:1 , 2. The words rendered in these verses, " for ever and ever," are peculiarly emphatical, and imply endless duration, if human language can convey that idea. Accordingly the Septuagint translate them by the most expressive terms, that the copious Greek contains for an eternity to come No doubt, therefore, the Psalmist expected to be employed for ever, yea, for ever and ever, in the high praises of his God, his King and Saviour. (Notes, 21. Psalm 146:2. Revelation 7:13-17.)

V:3. Hereby he declareth, that all power is subject to God, and that no worldly promotion ought to obscure " God"s glory." (Notes, Psalm 96:3-4. Psalm 139:4-6. Job 26:14. Romans 11:33-36.) " The Lord is immensely great, in " power and dominion, ... and therefore to be honoured with " our highest, and with our endless praises. But when we " have said all we can, our best praise of him will be to " confess, that his transcendent excellencies cannot be " comprehended." Bp. Patrick.

V:4. " As the greatness of God our Saviour hath no " bounds, so his praises should have no end, nor should1the voice of thanksgiving ever cease in the church. As " one generation drops it, another should take it up, and " prolong the delightful strain." Bp. Home. " For as " much as the end of man"s creation, and of his preservation in this life, is to praise God; therefore he requireth " that not only we ourselves do it, but cause all others to " do the same : " that Isaiah , as far as our influence can by any means extend. (Notes, Psalm 71:17-18; Psalm 78:3-8. Isaiah 38:17-20.)

V:5- 7 " It shall be my business, in this present age, " to speak of the dazzling splendour and beauty of thy majesty, which I want words to express, but appears in " thy stupendous works: whicli they that come after shall rehearse; and ...declare to their posterity what dreadful * things were done by thy irresistible power, for the sub" version of our enemies: and with the same diligence " shall they continue the constant memory of thy numerous benefits to us; which they shall no more cease to " celebrate with their praises, than a spring doth to pour " out water; but publish in their perpetual hymns, how " just and faithful thou art to thy word." Bp. Patrick.

(Marg. Ref.)

V:8. Notes, Psalm 86:14-15. Psalm 103:6-9. Exodus 34:5-7. Micah 7:18-20.

V:9- 13. The God of love and mercy does good, in various ways, to every one of the fallen human race; and, being " full of compassion," he is ready to pardon, relieve, and bless, all that penitently and in faith sek his salvation, without respect to their past conduct. (Note, 1 John 4:7-8.) He is also exceedingly attentive to the wants and sufferings even of animals, according to their several tribes, and requires men to be so. (Marg. Ref. ) All his creatures, according to their several natures, in one way or other, though many of them unconsciously or involuntarily, subserve the display of his glory : but his " saints," his redeemed people, who have obtained his mercy and devoted themselves to his service, are the royal priesthood in this august temple of the visible creation, who, with admiring and grateful hearts, zealously offer him the spiritual sacrifices of adoring praise and thanksgiving.

(Notes, Genesis 1:31. Hebrews 13:15-16. 1 Peter 2:4-6; 1 Peter 2:9-10. Revelation 1:4-6; Revelation 1:8-10.) They are the subjects of the mediatorial kingdom of the Redeemer on earth, and heirs of the kingdom in heaven, " which God hath prepared for them that " love him : " and it is their chief business and pleasure to celebrate the power and glory of that kingdom, as the grand subject of their praises. Thus, by their means, the sons of men, who had not before known the works and kingdom of God, become acquainted with them : and in this manner the " kingdom of God comes," and is

set up more diffusively on earth, and perpetuated from generation to generation, and will be so till the end of time; when, being translated to heaven, it will endure for ever and ever. (Marg. Ref. Notes, Isaiah 9:6-7 Daniel 2:44-45; Daniel 7:13-14. 1 Corinthians 15:20-28.) The Septuagint here add another verse, (probably to complete the number of verses according to the Hebrew alphabet,)

which is not found in the original : " The Lord is faithful " to all his words, and holy in all his works." The first word of this verse would, indeed, in the Hebrew, begin with the letter nun, which is omitted : but, though the sentiment it contains is entirely scriptural, it so much resembles the seventeenth verse, that it is supposed by the best critics not to be genuine.

V:14. " JEHOVAH is the Supporter of all who are " tailing, and the Refresher of all who are dejected." " Who being in misery and affliction would faint and fall * away, if God did not uphold them : and therefore they * ought to reverence him that reigneth in heaven, and suffer " themselves to be governed by him." (Notes, Psalm 146:8. Luke 13:10-17) This is also a direction to those who are ready to fall before temptation, or to sink under affliction, where to apply for help and comfort : even to that " God who comforteth those that are cast down." (Note, 2 Corinthians 7:5-7.)

V:15 , 16. (Marg. Ref. Notes, Psalm 104:27-30. Matthew 6:11.) " He makes a constant provision also for them : " which every creature, when their necessities call for sup" ply, daily receive from thee, O Lord. ...And thou art " not sparing of thy blessings, but dispensest them with " such a bountiful hand, that there are none of them " live without satisfactions, but have all their appetites " filled, by thy liberality to the smallest of them." Bp. Patrick.

V:17. Perfect justice, truth, purity, Wisdom of Solomon , and love, invariably govern all the dispensations and works of God. And the more any man studies them, in humble faith and piety, the fuller conviction of this leading and satisfying truth will he receive. (Marg. Ref. a.) The harmony of justice and mercy in the dispensations of God, who is " a "just God and a Saviour" seems especially intended. " Merciful or bountiful." Marg.

V:18. " It is our happiness to have a King, that is not, like earthly princes, difficult of access; but one, of whom his meanest subject may at any time obtain an audience, and be certain of having his request granted, if it be made " in truth," without wavering and without hypocrisy, with humble confidence and unwearied constancy; expecting salvation from God, from none but him, and from him only in the way of duty and obedience." Bp. Home. This is a just description of a right state of heart; but the Psalmist seems to have intended the encourage- ment of all sincere supplicants, as distinguished from hypocrites, however low and imperfect their attainments were.

(Notes, Psalm 34:18. Deuteronomy 4:6-8. Proverbs 15:8-9. Jeremiah 29:11-14. Matthew 7:7-11. James 4:1-3. 1 John 3:18-24.)

V:19 , 20. All those who call on God in truth " fear " him : " and he will " fulfil their desire; " as they desire above all things that which he has promised. (Notes, Psalm 37:4. 1 John 5:14-15.) They call upon him in faith, and that " faith worketh by love." As " the called according " to his purpose," they love him, and become conscious that they love him : and, amidst all trials and temptations, " the LORD preserveth all them that love him." (Notes, Romans 8:28-39.) And " they are kept by the " power of God, through faith unto salvation." (Notes, 1 Peter 1:2-5. 1 John 5:16-18.) But the wicked, the impenitent, whether profane or hypocritical, lie will destroy.

V:21. " All men ought to praise God to eternity, and may all do this." The Psalmist thus concludes, as he had begun; except that he here called on others to do, what himself had before determined on. (Notes, 1 , 2. Psalm 57:4-7; Psalm 72:17-19; Psalm 86:9-10; Psalm 117:1-2 : Psalm 150:6.)

PRACTICAL OBSERVATIONS.

V:1-8.

Those, who under troubles and temptations abound in fervent prayer, shall in due season abound in grateful praise, which is the genuine language of holy joy. We can never extol our glorious God and Saviour in an adequate manner : we should therefore exert all our powers, and make new efforts to bless his name every day : and we may thus be delightfully employed for ever and ever, without exhausting the infinitely copious subject. For the great Head of the church is " the King of all the earth; " yea, " he is " great, and greatly to be praised; and his greatness is " unsearchable." Animated by our glorious theme, we should communicate all which we have learned of his perfections and his works, to our children; that when we join the songs of the church triumphant, the solemn service on earth may not be suspended, or at all remitted, for a moment; but that " one generation may praise hit " works unto another, and declare his mighty acts." Whether our sphere be extensive or contracted, we should in it be continually " speaking of the glorious honour of his " majesty; " especially of his wondrous work of redemption; in order to stir up other " men, to speak of his " power and terrible Acts ," whilst we " declare his greatness." For neither Egypt"s desolating plagues, nor the destruction of the devoted Canaanites, so proclaim the terror of the avenging justice of our God, as the cross of Christ does to the enlightened mind. But, while we endeavour to make sinners know " the terror of the Lord," that they may " flee from the wrath to come; " we should still more aim to lead them into the experience of his mercy, that " they may abundantly utter the memory of " his great goodness, and sing of his righteousness : " for in the salvation of Christ we see it displayed in perfect harmony with mercy, and perceive that a just God is also " gracious, full of compassion, and slow to anger."

V:9-21.

" The LORD is good to all, and his tender mercies are " over all his works; " and even impenitent sinners on earth are living monuments of his patience, and of his goodness to his enemies. All his works shew forth his praises : but his saints bless his name with joyful hearts, and render him the reasonable service of love and gratitude. Being brought into his kingdom, as governed by the divine Redeemer on his mediatorial throne, they delight to discourse of the glory of his kingdom, and the power and grace of the King. His glorious excellences, the honour of God the Father in his salvation, the privileges and characters of his subjects, and their impregnable security; the reasonableness of his laws, and the mercy and equity of his administration; the favour which he has shewn, and is ever ready to shew, to rebels who submit to him, the benefits which they themselves have received, the inheritance prepared for them, and the price paid for their ransom; these things form their favourite topics. Fain would they "" make known to all the sons " of men his mighty Acts ," and " the glorious majesty of " his kingdom; " that none might any longer refuse submission to so gracious a Prince, whose authority is established to all generations. The Lord"s condescension likewise excites their liveliest gratitude : he regards the mean and abject; he upholds all such as feel themselves falling into sin and misery and ready to perish, and apply to him for help; and he raises up all those who are bowed down with conscious guilt or deep distress. All creatures wait upon him, and are satisfied with meat in due season; and he says to his believing poor, " Your Father knoweth what " things ye have need of." (Notes, Matthew 6:25-32. Luke 12:22-34.) His justice and purity are always exercised in full perfection, whether he save or punish; yet he most delights that sinners should repent and live. He is therefore accessible at all times, and in all places, to the most guilty of our fallen race; and he is nigh to hear, to pardon, and to save, " all who call upon him in truth : " so that none who hear the gospel are excluded from its blessings, but profane despisers, careless transgressors, and hypocrites. " For he wilfulfil the desire of them that fear " him i- he will hear their cry, and will help them." And, having taught them to love his name and his holy ways, he will preserve them from the destruction of the wicked, who shall perish for ever. (Note, 1 Peter 1:3-5.) May we then fear his wrath, and seek his grace; may we love his name, and walk in his ways : then shall we speak from a full heart, whilst our lips utter his praise; and while we desire that " all flesh should bless his holy name " for ever and ever." (Note, Psalm 146:2.)

 


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Bibliography Information
Scott, Thomas. "Commentary on Psalms 145:4". Thomas Scott: Explanatory Notes, Practical Observations on the book Psalms. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tsp/psalms-145.html. 1804.

Lectionary Calendar
Saturday, November 16th, 2019
the Week of Proper 27 / Ordinary 32
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