1 Sing joyfully to the Lord, you righteous; it is fitting for the upright to praise him. 2 Praise the Lord with the harp; make music to him on the ten-stringed lyre. 3 Sing to him a new song; play skillfully, and shout for joy. 4 For the word of the Lord is right and true; he is faithful in all he does. 5 The Lord loves righteousness and justice; the earth is full of his unfailing love. 6 By the word of the Lord the heavens were made, their starry host by the breath of his mouth. 7 He gathers the waters of the sea into jars[a]; he puts the deep into storehouses. 8 Let all the earth fear the Lord; let all the people of the world revere him. 9 For he spoke, and it came to be; he commanded, and it stood firm. 10 The Lord foils the plans of the nations; he thwarts the purposes of the peoples. 11 But the plans of the Lord stand firm forever, the purposes of his heart through all generations. 12 Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord, the people he chose for his inheritance. 13 From heaven the Lord looks down and sees all mankind; 14 from his dwelling place he watches all who live on earth— 15 he who forms the hearts of all, who considers everything they do. 16 No king is saved by the size of his army; no warrior escapes by his great strength. 17 A horse is a vain hope for deliverance; despite all its great strength it cannot save. 18 But the eyes of the Lord are on those who fear him, on those whose hope is in his unfailing love, 19 to deliver them from death and keep them alive in famine. 20 We wait in hope for the Lord; he is our help and our shield. 21 In him our hearts rejoice, for we trust in his holy name. 22 May your unfailing love be with us, Lord, even as we put our hope in you.
I love that pattern in many of the psalms: praise God … for he is/does …
This is not empty flattery: praise just because he likes to hear it. Praise is the logical consequence of recognising who he is and what he does. It’s simply being honest about who he is, part of being in an honest relationship (and paired with being honest about who I am and what I do).
This psalm focuses on praising him because of two aspects of his sovereignty:
- He only had to speak to create and the universe was formed and organised (even nothingness obeys him and becomes something – that’s astounding) (v6-9). Science sheds interesting light on many details of His creation, but I should never compromise on the truth that it is God who created all this; no accident or random chance.
- He frustrates the plans of those who oppose him (v10-11) and rescues those who fear him (v18-19). Though we often act as though it were otherwise, we are subject to him. He is not subject to our desires.
Because he has absolute authority, I can absolutely trust what he says and does (v4-5), and that is worthy of my praise.
I love verse 15. He made my heart, so he understands me better than I understand myself. He speaks to my real, deep needs and desires, even those I don’t recognise. He sees through my pretence, so there is no point being anything but honest with him.
Father, I praise your absolute sovereignty that means I can trust everything you say and do. I praise your intimate knowledge (and love) of me that makes being under your sovereignty the most wonderful safe place to be.
Written by David Cornell