The closing psalms are the outposts of heaven. In the Psalms the ruin of sin has been discussed and the glory of God set forth over all. At the end of the collection, the Psalms conclude with praise to the Lord. “Come, rejoice with me; let us magnify his name together!” is a worthy theme for the ending of this collection of writings. This psalm of praise also has an instructional purpose: to urge people to put their trust in the Lord, for only then are we humans truly happy.
The psalm opens with determination to praise the Lord. Hallelujah! My soul, praise the Lord. I will praise the Lord all my life; I will sing to my God as long as I live (146:1-2 HCSB).
The writer provides a lesson in self-exhortation (146:1; cf. Psalm 103:1; 104:1). Spiritually, we must be self-controlled; that is, we must not allow the events and circumstances of life to dictate our spiritual tone. This requires us to talk to ourselves. “Why are you so depressed or lethargic, my soul? You are a child of the King, an heir of heaven, and one who will reign with Christ!” This involves the ministry of the Holy Spirit, as we will see in our series of articles about the Spirit of God. “O Holy Spirit, enlighten my eyes with the glory of my blessed Redeemer. Control me with the truth that is in Jesus, and then I will be self-controlled.” Practically, we must start here, because we will never be able to encourage others to praise the Lord until praise for him flows out of our own hearts.
We read of the response of the writer’s soul to his self-exhortation (146:2). A fire has been kindled in the psalmist’s soul. And not only is that true, but the fire has intensified so much that he resolves to praise God as long as he lives (cf. Psalm 104:33). This is like being “bit” by the physical fitness “bug”. Those bitten by it desire to do their selected activity repeatedly, whether it is swimming, walking, running, cycling, hiking, or skiing. (Let it snow!) When godly aspirations govern the soul, a person does not think about growing weary of them or of them ever losing their freshness. Even now, for example, I can sense the excitement of putting on the skis and taking off in eight to twelve inches of fresh powder. The problem is that too few have tasted the majesty, the glory, and the goodness of God, so that they long to praise him. Do you crave the glory of the Lord?
If your soul has been saved from eternal wrath, then come, let us praise God together! Certainly, we have something we can share together, because we know the joy of sins forgiven and the wonder of Christ’s perfect righteousness, and the Spirit living within as the Spirit of adult sonship. We cannot tell how long or short our lives may be, but as long as we live, we may glorify the Lord!
The key to such praise is knowing that God is yours—that he is in covenant with you in Christ by the blood of his cross. Can you say, “The Lord is my God; I will praise him forever?”
Grace and peace, David