URC Daily Devotion 6th August 2023

6th August 2023
Psalm 146

I’ll praise my Maker with my breath,
And when my voice is lost in death,
Praise shall employ my nobler powers
My days of praise shall ne’er be past,
While life, and thought, and being last,
Or immortality endures.

2 Why should I make humans my trust?
Princes must die and turn to dust;
Vain is the help of flesh and blood:
Their breath departs, their pomp and power,
And thoughts all vanish in an hour,
Nor can they make their promise good.

3 Happy the one whose hopes rely
On Israel’s God; He made the sky
And earth and seas, with all their train;
His truth for ever stands secure;
He saves th’ oppress’d, He feeds the poor,
And none shall find His promise vain.

4 The Lord hath eyes to give the blind;
The Lord supports the sinking mind;
He sends the labouring conscience peace,
He helps the stranger in distress,
The widow and the fatherless,
And grants the prisoner sweet release.

5 He loves his saints, He knows them well,
But turns the wicked down to hell;
Thy God, O Zion, ever reigns;
Let every tongue, let every age,
In this exalted work engage;
Praise Him in everlasting strains.

6 I’ll praise Him while He lends me breath;
And when my voice is lost in death,
Praise shall employ my nobler powers;
My days of praise shall ne’er be past,
While life and thought and being last,
Or immortality endures.

Isaac Watts (1674-1748)
You can hear the hymn here


It is reputed that Isaac Watts’ paraphrase of Psalm 146 was a favourite of John Wesley and that he tried to sing the first line as he lay dying.  Isaac Watts and others understood that a good way to learn scriptures is to set it to music. And so many of us will have a treasury of scripture because of the songs and hymns we have learned to sing by heart. We can use them to lift up our voices in praise which can be part of our daily rhythm. But we are also able to draw on these when we are at our weakest and most vulnerable. Hymns are not just for Sundays!

The Psalmist goes on to illustrate how God is deserving of our praise. He is the creator, remains the same yesterday, today and forever and has a longing for justice. He is concerned for and looks after his people, especially those who are marginalised: the oppressed, the poor, the stranger, the widow, the fatherless and the prisoner. We hear it again in the words of the prophets and also in Jesus’ actions and teaching. In the upsides down kingdom God puts the last first.

In a broken and unjust world with victims of war, poverty and prejudice the Psalmist reminds us that evil will not prevail but that God’s kingship will endure and all are invited and called in joining in praise.

And therein lies a challenge. How can we praise God and close our eyes and ears to the needs of those around us? Just as the Psalmist goes on singing, so we are called to go on serving. And as we join in the chorus of praise we are empowered for the work we are called to do in God’s name.


And on that day when my strength is failing
The end draws near and my time has come
Still, my soul will sing Your praise unending
Ten thousand years and then forevermore
10,000 reasons Matt Redman




Today’s writer

The Rev’d George Watt, Moderator Thames North Synod


New Revised Standard Version Bible: Anglicized Edition, copyright © 1989, 1995 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

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