Verses 1–9

I will extol thee, my God, O king; and I will bless thy name for ever and ever. 2 Every day will I bless thee; and I will praise thy name for ever and ever. 3 Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised; and his greatness is unsearchable. 4 One generation shall praise thy works to another, and shall declare thy mighty acts. 5 I will speak of the glorious honour of thy majesty, and of thy wondrous works. 6 And men shall speak of the might of thy terrible acts: and I will declare thy greatness. 7 They shall abundantly utter the memory of thy great goodness, and shall sing of thy righteousness. 8 The Lord is gracious, and full of compassion; slow to anger, and of great mercy. 9 The Lord is good to all: and his tender mercies are over all his works.

The entitling of this David’s psalm of praise may intimate not only that he was the penman of it, but that he took a particular pleasure in it and sung it often; it was his companion wherever he went. In this former part of the psalm God’s glorious attributes are praised, as, in the latter part of the psalm, his kingdom and the administration of it. Observe,

I. Who shall be employed in giving glory to God.

1. Whatever others do, the psalmist will himself be much in praising God. To this good work he here excites himself, engages himself, and has his heart much enlarged in it. What he does, that he will do, having more and more satisfaction in it. It was his duty; it was his delight. Observe, (1.) How he expresses the work itself: “I will extol thee, and bless thy name (Ps. 145:1); I will speak well of thee, as thou hast made thyself known, and will therein express my own high thoughts of thee and endeavour to raise the like in others.” When we speak honourably of God, this is graciously interpreted and accepted as an extolling of him. Again (Ps. 145:2): I will bless thee, I will praise thy name; the repetition intimates the fervency of his affection to this work, the fixedness of his purpose to abound in it, and the frequency of his performances therein. Again (Ps. 145:5): I will speak of thy honour, and (Ps. 145:6) I will declare thy greatness. He would give glory to God, not only in his solemn devotions, but in his common conversation. If the heart be full of God, out of the abundance of that the mouth will speak with reverence, to his praise, upon all occasions. What subject of discourse can we find more noble, more copious, more pleasant, useful, and unexceptionable, than the glory of God? (2.) How he expresses his resolution to persevere in it. [1.] He will be constant to this work: Every day will I bless thee. Praising God must be our daily work. No day must pass, though ever so busy a day, though ever so sorrowful a day, without praising God. We ought to reckon it the most needful of our daily employments, and the most delightful of our daily comforts. God is every day blessing us, doing well for us; there is therefore reason that we should be every day blessing him, speaking well of him. [2.] He will continue in it: I will bless thee for ever and ever, Ps. 145:1, 2. This intimates, First, That he resolved to continue in this work to the end of his life, throughout his ever in this world. Secondly, That the psalms he penned should be made use of in praising God by the church to the end of time, 2 Chron. 29:30. Thirdly, That he hoped to be praising God to all eternity in the other world. Those that make praise their constant work on earth shall have it their everlasting bliss in heaven.

2. He doubts not but others also would be forward to this work. (1.) “They shall concur in it now; they shall join with me in it: When I declare thy greatness men shall speak of it (Ps. 145:6); they shall abundantly utter it” (Ps. 145:7), or pour it out (as the word is); they shall praise God with a gracious fluency, better than the most curious oratory. David’s zeal would provoke many, and it has done so. (2.) “They shall keep it up when I am gone, in an uninterrupted succession (Ps. 145:4): One generation shall praise thy works to another.” The generation that is going off shall tell them to that which is rising up, shall tell what they have seen in their days and what they have heard from their fathers; they shall fully and particularly declare thy mighty acts (Ps. 78:3); and the generation that is rising up shall follow the example of that which is going off: so that the death of God’s worshippers shall be no diminution of his worship, for a new generation shall rise up in their room to carry on that good work, more or less, to the end of time, when it shall be left to that world to do it in which there is no succession of generations.

II. What we must give to God the glory of.

1. Of his greatness and his great works. We must declare, Great is the Lord, his presence infinite, his power irresistible, his brightness insupportable, his majesty awful, his dominion boundless, and his sovereignty incontestable; and therefore there is no dispute, but great is the Lord, and, if great, then greatly to be praised, with all that is within us, to the utmost of our power, and with all the circumstances of solemnity imaginable. His greatness indeed cannot be comprehended, for it is unsearchable; who can conceive or express how great God is? But then it is so much the more to be praised. When we cannot, by searching, find the bottom, we must sit down at the brink, and adore the depth, Rom. 11:33. God is great, for, (1.) His majesty is glorious in the upper world, above the heavens, where he has set his glory; and when we are declaring his greatness we must not fail to speak of the glorious honour of his majesty, the splendour of the glory of his majesty (Ps. 145:5), how brightly he shines in the upper world, so as to dazzle the eyes of the angels themselves, and oblige them to cover their faces, as unable to bear the lustre of it. (2.) His works are wondrous in this lower world. The preservation, maintenance, and government of all the creatures, proclaim the Creator very great. When therefore we declare his greatness we must observe the unquestionable proofs of it, and must declare his mighty acts (Ps. 145:4), speak of his wondrous works (Ps. 145:5), the might of his terrible acts, Ps. 145:6. We must see God acting and working in all the affairs of this lower world. Various instruments are used, but in all events God is the supreme director; it is he that performs all things. Much of his power is seen in the operations of his providence (they are mighty acts, such as cannot be paralleled by the strength of any creature), and much of his justice—they are terrible acts, awful to saints, dreadful to sinners. These we should take all occasions to speak of, observing the finger of God, his hand, his arm, in all, that we may marvel.

2. Of his goodness; this is his glory, Exod. 33:19. It is what he glories in (Exod. 34:6, 7), and it is what we must give him the glory of: They shall abundantly utter the memory of thy great goodness, Ps. 145:7. God’s goodness is great goodness, the treasures of it can never be exhausted, nay, they can never be lessened, for he ever will be as rich in mercy as he ever was. It is memorable goodness; it is what we ought always to lay before us, always to have in mind and preserve the memorials of, for it is worthy to be had in everlasting remembrance; and the remembrance we retain of God’s goodness we should utter, we should abundantly utter, as those who are full of it, very full of it, and desire that others may be acquainted and affected with it. But, whenever we utter God’s great goodness, we must not forget, at the same time, to sing of his righteousness; for, as he is gracious in rewarding those that serve him faithfully, so he is righteous in punishing those that rebel against him. Impartial and inflexible justice is as surely in God as inexhaustible goodness; and we must sing of both together, Rom. 11:22. (1.) There is a fountain of goodness in God’s nature (Ps. 145:8): The Lord is gracious to those that serve him; he is full of compassion to those that need him, slow to anger to those that have offended him, and of great mercy to all that seek him and sue to him. He is ready to give, and ready to forgive, more ready than we are to ask, than we are to repent. (2.) There are streams of goodness in all the dispensations of his providence, Ps. 145:9. As he is good, so he does good; he is good to all, to all his creatures, from the highest angel to the meanest worm, to all but devils and damned sinners, that have shut themselves out from his goodness. His tender mercies are over all his works. [1.] All his works, all his creatures, receive the fruits of his merciful care and bounty. It is extended to them all; he hates nothing that he has made. [2.] The works of his mercy out-shine all his other works, and declare him more than any of them. In nothing will the glory of God be for ever so illustrious as in the vessels of mercy ordained to glory. To the divine goodness will the everlasting hallelujahs of all the saints be sung.