For this devotion, I want simply to read this psalm with you, slowly. I want to break up its words, so we digest them carefully. Do not rush this. Slow down, read each couplet or verse and think about what it says. I will intersperse a few reflections.
1 I will extol you, my God and King,
and bless your name forever and ever.
2 Every day I will bless you
and praise your name forever and ever.
Forever and ever? My life seems to have an end-date. COVID reminded me of that, but so do the aches and pains of my body, and so do the funerals I attend and loved ones whom I miss. But Jesus’ resurrection reminds me of another truth. I have conquered death in Christ. I will extol God forever and ever.
3 Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised,
and his greatness is unsearchable.
God’s greatness is unsearchable. You will not ever find the bottom of God’s greatness, not with 10,000 years of searching. But you can swim in those deep waters today. Dive in.
4 One generation shall commend your works to another,
and shall declare your mighty acts.
Generations shall do this to one another. Have you listened to a child? Have you spoken to one? Notice the psalm does presume that it is always the elder who speaks to the younger.
5 On the glorious splendor of your majesty,
and on your wondrous works, I will meditate.
Go out on a clear starry night, get comfortable, and gaze into the universe. Hold a flower or just a leaf in your hand and look closely at the perfection of its folds and the intricacies of its lacey design. Hold an infant and simply stare in his or her face for a while. We do not do this sort of thing enough. We are too much in a hurry to get something done. Take a moment to meditate on what God has done. Praise him for it.
6 They shall speak of the might of your awesome deeds,
and I will declare your greatness.
7 They shall pour forth the fame of your abundant goodness
and shall sing aloud of your righteousness.
Thanksgiving is done in the second person – spoken to the one who has done something good for you. Praise is normally done in the third person – spoken to someone else. What would you tell someone about God today? What goodness has he done which you can sing?
8 The Lord is gracious and merciful,
slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.
9 The Lord is good to all,
and his mercy is over all that he has made.
Our world will test this assertion about God’s goodness to all and the mercy which is over all that he has made. But as I have witnessed his grace and mercy take shape in the lives of the people whom I serve and love, I have been given opportunity to see his handiwork. Think about how you have seen that grace and mercy at work.
10 All your works shall give thanks to you, O Lord,
and all your saints shall bless you!
The mountains surrendered the ore and material which became the steel, concrete, and brick. The forests provided the wood. The fields of flax gave us the linen. The next time you sit in church and look at the beams and bricks, the altar paraments and glass, remember that in our church buildings the whole of creation joins us in the praise of God.
11 They shall speak of the glory of your kingdom
and tell of your power,
12 to make known to the children of man your mighty deeds,
and the glorious splendor of your kingdom.
Have you ever noticed how churches are tall, with spires and steeples? Even modest buildings will have a cross on top, something which directs our eye up and out. My prior parish was dwarfed by a massive redwood tree, a steeple which grew a little bit every year. We point outside ourselves and our problems to God.
13 Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom,
and your dominion endures throughout all generations.
“As a called and ordained servant of Christ…” You know the rest of that sentence. These are kingdom words. They speak of authority exercised. Christ reigns through those words. His kingdom comes to sinners and his dominion is expressed in lives re-oriented to his love.
The Lord is faithful in all his words
and kind in all his works.
14 The Lord upholds all who are falling
and raises up all who are bowed down.