Sunday, May 7, 2017 pm                                                    Psalms Index


Psalm 138


This particular psalm is attributed to David.  At what point in his life he wrote this we do not know as it is a general psalm acknowledging the greatness of God and David’s resolve to proclaim that.  In this psalm, there are many qualities addressed which we can and should apply in our lives as Christians. In this lesson we will notice a few of them. 

 I.                     With my whole heart, I will praise You (1-3)

a.       God demands our all.  And, our praise and service to Him must be from within –
Moses in Deuteronomy 6:4-5 called for Israel to remember this. 
Jesus also addressed this thought at least twice as noted in Luke 10:27 where a lawyer asks Jesus what one must do “to inherit eternal life.”  Later in Matthew 22:37, He was asked what is “the greatest commandment” to which He answered we love God with our all and our neighbor as ourselves.  On these two commands hang the whole law.   When we love God as we ought to, it will be reflected in our praise for Him.
David, as he begins this psalm does so realizing this.  It is also something we have noted in numerous other psalms (Psalm 9:1, 86:12, 103:1-2, 111:1, etc.).

b.       Before gods, I will sing praises to you Who are the gods of this verse? 

                                                   i.      It could be a reference to false idols, but they do not hear.  If so, David’s acknowledgment is in the ONE true God.

                                                 ii.      Or it could be rulers, those who put themselves in the place of gods (or assume that they are direct representatives of them) – Psalm 82:1, God stands in the congregation of the mighty, He judges among the gods.  Also vs. 6 which Jesus addresses in John 10:34-35.

                                                iii.      Even in the midst of an antagonistic society, which worships man, itself and things, we must still openly and unashamedly praise Him. 

c.        Worship toward Your holy temple – this is where we find God.  Psalm 99:9 speaks of worshipping at His holy hill.  Psalm 11:4 speaks of The LORD being in His holy temple, and His throne is in heaven.
Habakkuk 2:20 – He is in His holy temple, let all the earth keep silence before Him.
When we are praising Him with our whole heart, we will respect that which He has assigned us to be and do.  John 4:24, 1 Corinthians 14:15 – with the spirit and with the understanding.

d.       Praise Your name

                                                   i.      For His lovingkindness and truth – God is kind and loving
Praise also for His truth – or faithfulness.  Psalm 12:6, The words of the Lord are pure words, Like silver tried in a furnace of earth, Purified seven times.

Psalm 18:30, As for God, His way is perfect; The word of the LORD is proven; He is a shield to all who trust in Him.
Psalm 56:4, In God (I will praise His word), In God I have put my trust; I will not fear. What can flesh do to me?
The word can also mean faithfulness as in God is one who not only speaks, but He keeps His word.  He can and does what He promises! 

                                                 ii.      He has magnified His word even above His name
How does God magnify (make great) His word?  By keeping it; Through the wisdom it reveals; By its divine nature – there are elements of God’s word that show He is God – such as prophecy, declarations made before they are discovered, etc. 
is God’s word greater than His name?  NO!  Both are of EQUAL greatness, as is all that is associated with Him. 
The Hebrew word translated “above” can also mean on account of, together with, or on the basis of, etc.   Within our text this seems to be the point as David is showing due reverence for God’s word which declares His holy and awesome name (Psalm 111:9).
In other words, when you respect God’s word you WILL respect His name.

e.       When he cried out, the LORD answered him and made him bold with strength of soul.
Confidence found in answered prayers. 

 II.                   All kings will praise You (4-5)

a.       All the kings of the earth – consider our former discussion on the “gods” of vs. 1.  If this is judges and rulers, here we find they will praise Him. 

b.       They will praise Him when they hear His words, they will sing the ways of the LORD for His great glory

Who are these kings praising Him?

                                                   i.      It could be specific and multiple nations – who were associated with a particular (and unnamed) event(s) related to Israel.  There were many occasions where rulers of nations, especially around Israel witnessed the power of God, praised Him and aided His kings
– 2 Samuel 8:10 – after David defeated kings, other kings sent him gifts. 
- 2 Samuel 5:11 after conquering Jerusalem, the king of Tyre aided David.
- Naaman who acknowledged God while in a foreign land
- Assyria, Babylon and Medo-Persia at times submitted to God in praise – cf. 2 Chronicles 36:22-23

                                                 ii.      It could be a description of God’s sovereign rule - God is a God of judgment – for all.  Nations and their rulers WILL bow before Him.  The only question is – WHEN? Philippians 2:9-11. 

                                                iii.      It could be looking to a future hope and descriptive of those who do surrender to Him – as in many of the prophets that speaks of this future hope and peace in the world.

c.        Great is the glory of the LORD - Whatever it be, the point is they cannot resist Him and His will.  David in this psalm is describing the victory of God – for He is with Him. 

 III.                 He regards the lowly (6-8)

a.       David knows this is why God would be with Him.   God doesn’t judge man the same way man does.  God’s ways are higher than our ways. 

b.       Even from heaven, He regards the humble
In this expression we see God as caring, just, righteous, merciful, gracious, good and loving, etc.   He is not your typical ruler who with arrogance looks down upon his subjects. 
He regards the lowly – those who show humility – whether in their lifestyles or their demeanor. 
Humility is one of those qualities that is crucial to pleasing God.   
As Jesus began the Sermon on the Mount – He began by describing the poor in spirit, those who mourn and the meek – (Matthew 5:3-5) – all three of these qualities manifest our humility which brings us to Him. 
Micah 6:8, He has shown you, O man, what is good; And what does the Lord require of you But to do justly, To love mercy, And to walk humbly with your God?
Isaiah 57:15, For thus says the High and Lofty One Who inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy: “I dwell in the high and holy place, With him who has a contrite and humble spirit, To revive the spirit of the humble, And to revive the heart of the contrite ones.

James 4:6-10 describes how we humbles before Him.  Let Him lift you up.
Therefore, we must humble ourselves before Him that in due time He may exalt us.
Isaiah 57:15 - For thus says the High and Lofty One Who inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy: “I dwell in the high and holy place, With him who has a contrite and humble spirit, To revive the spirit of the humble, And to revive the heart of the contrite ones.
THOUGHT: Why does God love the humble?  There are many reasons, but one is because they LISTEN to His word (see vs. 2).

c.        He knows the proud from afar – i.e. they are NOT close to Him.  He doesn’t want them around Him!  Often in scripture, both humility and pride are listed together – opposed to one another.  This double emphasis shows how important this attitude is. 
Pride is a quality that often leads to sin.  It drives one away from God AND it drives God away from him!  Pride keeps us from repenting and submitting to Him.  Pride causes me to think more highly of myself than I ought to (Romans 12:3).  Pride produces arrogance and rebellion against God because one thinks he doesn’t need him.
Proverbs 16:5 notes that the proud heart is an abomination to God.
That is why we have read in James 4:6 He resists the proud.   Psalm 18:27, For You will save the humble people, But will bring down haughty looks.
Psalm 147:6 says, The Lord lifts up the humble; He casts the wicked down to the ground.
Finally consider Proverbs 18:12, Before destruction the heart of a man is haughty, And before honor is humility.

d.       Even in the midst of trouble, He will revive and save those who belong to Him.  He will stretch out His hand against our enemies.  Again, consider God’s judgment – He knows what is going on.  He knows how you are being treated.  Be reminded of:
1) Romans 12:18-21 - Vengeance is mine, I will repay.  Leave the judgment in God’s hands.
2) Don’t live a life of worry and hopelessness – God is in control!  Life is not about the abundance you accumulate here. Matthew 10:28
3) Trust Him – Proverbs 3:5-6 – if you trust Him, He will direct your paths.

e.       He will perfect (complete) that which concerns me.  See the previous point. 

f.         Do not forsake the works of Your hands – David’s final request is that the LORD remember him and all that has bee accomplished to bring Him glory.


When we consider who God is, what He has done and can do, let us resolve that we too will praise Him with our whole heart.