1 I’ll praise you, LORD, with all my heart; Before the gods I’ll sing your praise. 2 I’ll bow towards your holy place And bless your holy name always.
I’ll praise you for your faithfulness And for your cov’nant love, O LORD, For over all things you have raised Your holy name and faithful word.
3 The very day I called to you, You gave an answer to my plea. You made me bold within myself; With new resolve you strengthened me.
4 O LORD, let all earth’s kings give praise, When from your mouth they hear your word. 5 Let them extol the ways of God, For great’s the glory of the LORD.
6 Although the LORD God dwells on high, The lowly person he protects, Whereas the proud and haughty one He knows afar off and rejects.
7 Although I walk a troubled path, Your tender care preserves my life. You raise your hand against my foes; Your right hand saves me from their strife.
8 The LORD will certainly fulfil For me the purpose he commands. Your love endures for ever, LORD; Preserve the works of your own hands.
You can hear a Free Church of Scotland congregation sing this, from verse 4, here to the tune St Bartholomew.
This Psalm is a huge outpouring of a thankful heart for a recent great blessing, which apparently has been the fulfilment of a divine promise. The singer is so absorbed in his blessedness that he neither names the Lord as the one he is thanking, nor specifies what has set his heart vibrating.
We do not know what the Psalmist is praising the Lord for. If David is the Psalmist then it can only have been the fulfilment of the monarchy and the Lord’s promise to restore Israel to their land.
The second part (4-6) resembles many earlier Psalms in connecting the singer’s deliverance with a world-wide spreading of God’s name. This great lesson of the Lord’s providence, care for the lowly, faithfulness to His word, so clearly demonstrated in the Psalmist’s recent history will become known and those who think of themselves as ‘great’, shall learn the principles of the Lord’s ways and become lowly receivers of His attention and adoring singers of His great glory. The glowing vision is not yet fulfilled; but the singer clearly holds no illusions when he sings. Could this be a foretelling of God’s manifestation of Himself in Christ?
In verses 6 to 8, the Psalmist returns to his own needs, and takes to his heart the calming assurance of his recent experience, that he bears a charmed life. He may be surrounded by troubles but he is now in God’s protection. He may walk in the valley of the shadow of death unafraid, for God will hold his soul in life. So was the Psalmist assured; and so will those also be who will have wonders to thank the Lord for. That last prayer of the Psalm blends confidence and petition beautifully. Because the Lord’s loving kindness endures forever, everyone on whom His shaping Spirit has begun to work can be sure that they will come to fruition. He never stops till He has completed His work. We would do well to remember this.
Faithful God, We are grateful for the unfailing love and faithfulness You have shown toward us: you answer when we call; you give us strength when we are exhausted; You stand with us in times of trouble. Open our eyes to see and know you. Open our ears to hear your voice. Give us what we need to we live and work in the world as your faithful disciples. Amen.
Ann Barton, member of Whittlesford URC in the Eastern Synod.