Monday, January 2
Psalm 145 I will extol you, my God and King,
and bless your name forever and ever.
Every day I will bless you
and praise your name forever and ever.
Great is the Lord and greatly to be praised;
his greatness is unsearchable.
One generation shall extol your works to another
and shall declare your mighty acts.
They will recount the glorious splendor of your majesty,
and on your wondrous works I will meditate.
They will proclaim the might of your awesome deeds,
and I will declare your greatness.
They shall celebrate the fame of your abundant goodness
and shall sing aloud of your righteousness.
The Lord is gracious and merciful,
slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.
The Lord is good to all,
and his compassion is over all that he has made.
All your works shall give thanks to you, O Lord,
and all your faithful shall bless you.
They shall speak of the glory of your kingdom
and tell of your power,
to make known to all people your mighty deeds
and the glorious splendor of your kingdom.
Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom,
and your dominion endures throughout all generations.
The Lord is faithful in all his words
and gracious in all his deeds.
The Lord upholds all who are falling
and raises up all who are bowed down.
The eyes of all look to you,
and you give them their food in due season.
You open your hand,
satisfying the desire of every living thing.
The Lord is just in all his ways
and kind in all his doings.
The Lord is near to all who call on him,
to all who call on him in truth.
He fulfills the desire of all who fear him;
he also hears their cry and saves them.
The Lord watches over all who love him,
but all the wicked he will destroy.
My mouth will speak the praise of the Lord,
and all flesh will bless his holy name forever and ever.
As we start a new year we have the opportunity this week to read the last six Psalms.
Psalm 145 is an acrostic Psalm. The Psalm starts out with the first letter of the Hebrew alphabet; each successive line begins with the word with the next letter. As you read this Psalm admire the skill of the writer who could create such a fabulous expression of praise within this acrostic method.
Pastor Paul defines praise as extolling God for a quality or act of God. The first sentence of this Psalm has the word, “extol” in it. And all throughout the Psalm qualities or acts of God are praised. It’s worth mentioning a few.
God’s acts are mighty (verse 4b)
God’s deeds are awesome (verse 6)
God is gracious and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love (verse 8)
Authentic praise is expressing our own love for God. Our love is dependent on particular qualities or acts of God which are meaningful to us.
It’s important to be able to identify the qualities or acts of God that are most important to us. What are the three qualities of God that are especially meaningful to you? In reading this Psalm you can come across a list of qualities or acts of God that could be most meaningful to you.
Read through this Psalm and come up with your list. When you have three qualities, spend some time sharing the following prayer.
I praise you God for (a particular quality of God)
What qualities of God especially resonate with you? Please share.
Tuesday, January 3
Psalm 146 Praise the Lord!
Praise the Lord, O my soul!
I will praise the Lord as long as I live;
I will sing praises to my God all my life long.
Do not put your trust in princes,
in mortals, in whom there is no help.
When their breath departs, they return to the earth;
on that very day their plans perish.
Happy are those whose help is the God of Jacob,
whose hope is in the Lord their God,
who made heaven and earth,
the sea, and all that is in them;
who keeps faith forever;
who executes justice for the oppressed;
who gives food to the hungry.
The Lord sets the prisoners free;
the Lord opens the eyes of the blind.
The Lord lifts up those who are bowed down;
the Lord loves the righteous.
The Lord watches over the strangers;
he upholds the orphan and the widow,
but the way of the wicked he brings to ruin.
The Lord will reign forever,
your God, O Zion, for all generations.
Praise the Lord!
In this Psalm we read about the contrast between God and leaders. The Psalmist was sharing that leaders will eventually disappoint us. It’s important to follow leaders and be thankful for their qualities. But eventually they are going to depart and their plans will perish.
In contrast, God is everlasting. God is never going to depart or leave us. God is always present. This reality of God is worth our praise.
At the end of the Psalm we read about the special place in God’s heart for those who live on the margins of the world. God looks out for the prisoners, the blind, those who are bowed down, the stranger, the orphan, and the widow.
If this Psalm was written today, we would say that God loves the homeless, and especially homeless teens.
This deep care by God for those on the margins is a reason to give God praise.
What does it mean to you that God has a special place in God’s heart for those who live on the margins? Please share.
Wednesday, January 4
Psalm 147 Praise the Lord!
How good it is to sing praises to our God,
for he is gracious, and a song of praise is fitting.
The Lord builds up Jerusalem;
he gathers the outcasts of Israel.
He heals the brokenhearted
and binds up their wounds.
He determines the number of the stars;
he gives to all of them their names.
Great is our Lord and abundant in power;
his understanding is beyond measure.
The Lord lifts up the downtrodden;
he casts the wicked to the ground.
Sing to the Lord with thanksgiving;
make melody to our God on the lyre.
He covers the heavens with clouds,
prepares rain for the earth,
makes grass grow on the hills.
He gives to the animals their food
and to the young ravens when they cry.
His delight is not in the strength of the horse
nor his pleasure in the speed of a runner,
but the Lord takes pleasure in those who fear him,
in those who hope in his steadfast love.
Extol the Lord, O Jerusalem!
Praise your God, O Zion!
For he strengthens the bars of your gates;
he blesses your children within you.
He grants peace within your borders;
he fills you with the finest of wheat.
He sends out his command to the earth;
his word runs swiftly.
He gives snow like wool;
he scatters frost like ashes.
He hurls down hail like crumbs—
who can stand before his cold?
He sends out his word and melts them;
he makes his wind blow, and the waters flow.
He declares his word to Jacob,
his statutes and ordinances to Israel.
He has not dealt thus with any other nation;
they do not know his ordinances.
Praise the Lord!
The character of God is expressed in multiple ways in this Psalm. One way is in verses 10-11:
“God’s delight is not in the strength of the horse, nor his pleasure in the speed of the runner; but the Lord takes pleasure in those who fear him, in those who hope in his steadfast love.” (Psalm 147: 10-11)
God is most impressed in our character—in the ways that we have respect or fear of God. God is more impressed with our inner character then the strength of our body or the quality of our own outer beauty.
These pleasures that God has for us opens up the possibility of everyone having a relationship with God. A person doesn’t have to be strong or beautiful to be with God. God is most interested in our own spirit—that which is inside of us.
Everyone might not be beautiful by the terms of the world, but everyone has an inner character or spirit in which God can take pleasure.
What does it mean to you to fear or have reverence for God? Please share.
Thursday, January 5
Psalm 148 Praise the Lord!
Praise the Lord from the heavens;
praise him in the heights!
Praise him, all his angels;
praise him, all his host!
Praise him, sun and moon;
praise him, all you shining stars!
Praise him, you highest heavens
and you waters above the heavens!
Let them praise the name of the Lord,
for he commanded and they were created.
He established them forever and ever;
he fixed their bounds, which cannot be passed.[a]
Praise the Lord from the earth,
you sea monsters and all deeps,
fire and hail, snow and frost,
stormy wind fulfilling his command!
Mountains and all hills,
fruit trees and all cedars!
Wild animals and all cattle,
creeping things and flying birds!
Kings of the earth and all peoples,
princes and all rulers of the earth!
Young men and women alike,
old and young together!
Let them praise the name of the Lord,
for his name alone is exalted;
his glory is above earth and heaven.
He has raised up a horn for his people,
praise for all his faithful,
for the people of Israel who are close to him.
Praise the Lord!
In this Psalm the writer shares how nature expresses praise for God. The sun and moon and shining stars and waters can praise God.
The beauty of nature is an expression of praise to God. None of this beauty could happen without the creative expression of God.
One way to express praise to God is to take some time in nature and reflect about what God has done. Seeing a sunset, or going to the woods, or spending time around water can feed our inner spirit. We can give praise to God.
What qualities in nature are especially meaningful to you? Please share.
Friday, January 6
Psalm 149 Praise the Lord!
Sing to the Lord a new song,
his praise in the assembly of the faithful.
Let Israel be glad in its Maker;
let the children of Zion rejoice in their King.
Let them praise his name with dancing,
making melody to him with tambourine and lyre.
For the Lord takes pleasure in his people;
he adorns the humble with victory.
Let the faithful exult in glory;
let them sing for joy on their couches.
Let the high praises of God be in their throats
and two-edged swords in their hands,
to execute vengeance on the nations
and punishment on the peoples,
to bind their kings with fetters
and their nobles with chains of iron,
to execute on them the judgment decreed.
This is glory for all his faithful ones.
Praise the Lord!
The first five verses of this Psalm describe different ways to praise God. Each of us can praise God with dancing, with tambourine, with a lyre or harp.
It’s easy to get into a rut in our relationship with God; however, God is interested in the varieties of ways we can praise. We can praise God with our words and also with our actions. We can praise God through art or by reaching out to a friend who needs help. We can praise God with our thoughts and the attitude of our own heart.
We’re only limited in our praise of God by our own imagination.
Today as you pray, talk to God about the varieties of ways you can praise God. If you find yourself in a rut, ask God to help you get out of that rut. Ask God to reveal to you different ways you can express authentic praise right now.
Do you have some special ways that you praise God? Please share.
Saturday, January 7
Psalm 150 Praise the Lord!
Praise God in his sanctuary;
praise him in his mighty firmament!
Praise him for his mighty deeds;
praise him according to his surpassing greatness!
Praise him with trumpet sound;
praise him with lute and harp!
Praise him with tambourine and dance;
praise him with strings and pipe!
Praise him with clanging cymbals;
praise him with loud clashing cymbals!
Let everything that breathes praise the Lord!
Praise the Lord!
The very last psalm in the book of Psalms is like a noisy worship service. What an appropriate way to end this collection of Praise Psalms.
Look at all the instruments that are mentioned—trumpet, lute, harp, tambourine, strings, pipe, clanging cymbals, loud clashing cymbals. It’s as if people are encouraged to use all different methods to praise God.
The last verse of the Psalm captures the essence of the message: “Let everything that breathes praise the Lord!”
All creatures on earth are asked to extol God for a quality of God.
How well do you praise the Lord? Please share.