I will praise you, Lord, with all my heart;
before the ‘gods’ I will sing your praise.
I will bow down towards your holy temple
and will praise your name
for your unfailing love and your faithfulness,
for you have so exalted your solemn decree
that it surpasses your fame.
When I called, you answered me;
you greatly emboldened me.
May all the kings of the earth praise you, Lord,
when they hear what you have decreed.
May they sing of the ways of the Lord,
for the glory of the Lord is great.
Though the Lord is exalted, he looks kindly on the lowly;(Ps. 138:1-8 NIV)
though lofty, he sees them from afar.
Though I walk in the midst of trouble,
you preserve my life.
You stretch out your hand against the anger of my foes;
with your right hand you save me.
The Lord will vindicate me;
your love, Lord, endures for ever –
do not abandon the works of your hands.
This is a thanksgiving Psalm and typical of thanksgiving Psalms is the repetition of the verbs to praise: Praise, sing and I will bow down. The devotion of the Psalmist is clear because he worships the Lord with all his heart. He sings the praise of God before the gods. This shows the uselessness of false gods. They cannot prevent the songs being sung to God because they cannot move, they have no power. The song of the Psalmist identifies God as the one true God.
The Psalmist bows down and praises God for His unfailing covenant love and His faithfulness. The act of bowing is a sign of both reverence and submission. It is no burden to bow down before the Lord because of His great love and faithfulness.
The Lord has become known for honouring His promises. When the Psalmist cried out to the Lord, the Lord answered, and the Psalmist was emboldened to proclaim the supremacy of God over the false gods.
Because the Psalmist has been emboldened, he speaks of the Lord, and he prays that all the kings of the earth will come and bow down and praise the Lord when they hear about the covenant keeping God. May they sing about the way that the Lord works and acknowledge that He alone is God. The Lord looks down from on high and He has special regard for the lowly for they have humbled themselves and acknowledges the Lord. The proud are seen by the Lord from afar. The proud are too proud to bow down and worship the Lord. The Lord knows who they are and what is in their hearts. God will avenge Himself against those who have been proud and He will cause them to bow down.
The Psalmist walks in the midst of trouble. Life for him is tough but the Lord has preserved his life. The Psalmist has enemies, and they are angry with him, but the Lord stretches out His hand to prevent the enemy from harming the Psalmist. The Lord has promised that He will never leave us or forsake us.
The Psalmist is confident that the Lord will fulfil His purpose for the Psalmist. Whatever purpose God has for us He will fulfil. This is the confidence that Paul had and spoke about in Philippians ch 1. Whether in life or in death, the apostle Paul was sure that God would deliver him. If the Lord gave the apostle life then he would preach Christ, if the Lord were to take his life then he would be with Christ. As long as Christ was exalted that was really all that Paul cared about.
The Lord’s love endures for ever. The Lord never stops loving us and we are loved with an everlasting love that will not change. People’s opinions may change but the Lord is steadfast, He never changes. The Lord was working in the Psalmist’s life and the Psalmist does not want that work to stop.
Lord we thank You for Your unfailing love. We thank You that You never change Your promise and that You continue to work in our lives. We praise You because of Your love and faithfulness. Help us to be emboldened to witness for You, that others may sing Your praise because we ask this in Jesus’ name. Amen.