Do me a favor and please read Psalm 145.
Our psalm today seems like a needful break from the gloom of the previous few psalms as while they were very dark and sad this was is praise-worthy and hopeful. This doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t recognize those dark psalms because clearly we need them because there are dark times in our lives. But we should also look for the hopeful praise-worthy ones as well. So what do we know about this psalm? We know that it’s given to David as the author and we know that it’s titled “A psalm of praise” and in truth that title ONLY belongs to this psalm. No other psalm has that title. And as soon as you read it you realize that it’s completely true. That from beginning to end David solely is about declaring his praise of God for all that he has done.
For me, as I read this praise, I picture David trying his best to describe who God is, his love, his work, his acts and yet fully understanding that his words are falling short. That his descriptions are not descriptive enough. That his praise is not praisy enough. That his joy is complete and yet only partially complete. The last part of verse 3 David says, “his greatness no one can fathom.” Nobody knows just how awesome God is. Nobody knows just how mighty God is. Nobody knows all that God does – so how could we fathom him and his work? I liken this to kind of like Job (but on the opposite side) when he is called out for his anger towards God and God reminds him that not only is he insignificant, not only does he have no clue who and what all God does, but he has no right to even try. But David doesn’t care. What he knows is enough for him to declare the majestic awesomeness praisey-ness of God.
I think God, in a way, is like an iceberg floating in the sea. We have wonderfully smart people that study stuff and reveal the workings of this world to us. Why the wind blows, how gravity works, how _______ does ______ and yet those studies, that revealed workings of the world, are only a fraction of reality. There are things that we don’t know, that are yet to be discovered, that God’s hand and work are in. There are things we see and know and yet those are just the top of the iceberg for there is so much below the waterline that we cannot comprehend, know, or understand. And we have people in machines that can dive under the sea and see the complete iceberg that is below and they can learn even MORE stuff. And for the Believer it’s simply more truths about God that help us understand who He is and all that he has done.
But God is NOT an iceberg because he’s more than that. The iceberg is just what we SEE or CAN see from numerous places, spaces, and means. But what about all the unknowns? What about the things we cannot see with God? What about all the things we’ve never thought of? What about the things we understand and yet cannot fully comprehend because it simply doesn’t make sense to us – even though we know it’s true? Things like grace, undying love, complete sacrifice, and eternity? These are things we know and declare and have a fraction of a grasp on – but our puny minds cannot truly fathom their depths and complete existence.
And yet….AND YET David says that we are to not only praise God for them but TELL others about them. We are to tell from “one generation to the next” not only who God is but all the things we know and yet cannot truly fathom. Things like, and yet not limited to: His awesome works, deeds, abundant grace, his goodness and righteousness as well as his majesty and glory. We are to tell of hope and joy and that his kingdom reigns forever and ever. That God is near when you call him, hears their cries and saves them, removes sin and wickedness from this world, and flat out loves creation! So much so that he died for it to restore it. To bring creation back into holiness and goodness God sent his One and only Son, Jesus Christ our Lord, to redeem, provide, secure, and heal all those that call upon them.
So where do we go from here with this psalm? Exactly wherever our praise goes! Maybe we’re challenged to recognize that there is so much more to God than we know. Maybe we’re called to stop putting God in a box, to stop limiting his grace and love, to stop feeling that we are “too far” from God. And why? Because we know we’re not! We know there’s more to the iceberg than what is seen and there is VASTLY more to God than what we know and can comprehend. So praise him. For what is known and not and yet what will be revealed and to come because of his Son.
Some questions to chew on and think about:
- Where do you see God today…right now? And how can you praise him for those “known” things?
- Where is it difficult to see God – and how can we see him when we cannot “see” him where we are?
And here’s a challenge for all of us: How can you praise God every day?