The greatness and goodness of him who is optimus et maximus—the best and greatest of beings, were celebrated in the former part of the psalm; here, in these verses, we are taught to give him the glory of his kingdom, in the administration of which his greatness and goodness shine so clearly, so very brightly. Observe, as before,
I. From whom the tribute of praise is expected (Ps. 145:10): All God’s works shall praise him. They all minister to us matter for praise, and so praise him according to their capacity; even those that refuse to give him honour he will get himself honour upon. But his saints do bless him, not only as they have peculiar blessings from him, which other creatures have not, but as they praise him actively, while his other works praise him only objectively. They bless him, for they collect the rent or tribute of praise from the inferior creatures, and pay it into the treasury above. All God’s works do praise him, as the beautiful building praises the builder or the well-drawn picture praises the painter; but the saints bless him as the children of prudent tender parents rise up and call them blessed. Of all God’s works, his saints, the workmanship of his grace, the first-fruits of his creatures, have most reason to bless him.
II. For what this praise is to be given: They shall speak of thy kingdom. The kingdom of God among men is a thing to be often thought of and often spoken of. As, before, he had magnified God’s greatness and goodness in general, so here he magnifies them with application to his kingdom. Consider then,
1. The greatness of his kingdom. It is great indeed, for all the kings and kingdoms of the earth are under his control. To show the greatness of God’s kingdom, he observes, (1.) The pomp of it. Would we by faith look within the veil, we should see, and, believing, we should speak of the glory of his kingdom (Ps. 145:11), the glorious majesty of it (Ps. 145:12), for he has prepared his throne in the heavens, and it is high and lifted up, and surrounded with an innumerable company of angels. The courts of Solomon and Ahasuerus were magnificent; but, compared with the glorious majesty of God’s kingdom, they were but as glow-worms to the sun. The consideration of this should strike an awe upon us in all our approaches to God. (2.) The power of it: When they speak of the glory of God’s kingdom they must talk of his power, the extent of it, the efficacy of it—his power, by which he can do any thing and does every thing he pleases (Ps. 145:11); and, as a proof of it, let them make known his mighty acts (Ps. 145:12), that the sons of men may be invited to yield themselves his willing subjects and so put themselves under the protection of such a mighty potentate. (3.) The perpetuity of it, Ps. 145:13. The thrones of earthly princes totter, and the flowers of their crowns wither, monarchies come to an end; but, Lord, thy kingdom is an everlasting kingdom. God will govern the world to the end of time, when the Mediator, who is now entrusted with the administration of his kingdom, shall deliver it up to God, even the Father, that he may be all in all to eternity. His dominion endures throughout all generations, for he himself is eternal, and his counsels are unchangeable and uniform; and Satan, who has set up a kingdom in opposition to him, is conquered and in a chain.
2. The goodness of his kingdom. His royal style and title are, The Lord God, gracious and merciful; and his government answers to his title. The goodness of God appears in what he does,
(1.) For all the creatures in general (Ps. 145:15, 16): He provides food for all flesh, and therein appears his everlasting mercy, Ps. 136:25. All the creatures live upon God, and, as they had their being from him at first, so from him they have all the supports of their being and on him they depend for the continuance of it. [1.] The eye of their expectation attends upon him: The eyes of all wait on thee. The inferior creatures indeed have not the knowledge of God, nor are capable of it, and yet they are said to wait upon God, because they seek their food according to the instinct which the God of nature has put into them (and they sow not, neither do they reap, Matt. 6:26), and because they take what the God of nature has provided for them, in the time and way that he has appointed, and are content with it. [2.] The hand of his bounty is stretched out to them: Thou givest them their meat in due season, the meat proper for them, and in the proper time, when they need it; so that none of the creatures ordinarily perish for want of food, no, not in the winter. Thou openest thy hand freely and liberally, and satisfiest the desire of every living thing, except some of the unreasonable children of men, that will be satisfied with nothing, but are still complaining, still crying, Give, give.
(2.) For the children of men in particular, whom he governs as reasonable creatures.
[1.] He does none of them any wrong, for (Ps. 145:17) the Lord is righteous in all his ways, and not unrighteous in any of them; he is holy, and acts like himself, with a perfect rectitude in all his works. In all the acts of government he is just, injurious to none, but administering justice to all. The ways of the lord are equal, though ours are unequal. In giving laws, in deciding controversies, in recompensing services, and punishing offences, he is incontestably just, and we are bound to own that he is so.
[2.] He does all of them good, his own people in a special manner.
First, He supports those that are sinking, and it is his honour to help the weak, Ps. 145:14. He upholds all that fall, in that, though they fall, they are not utterly cast down. Many of the children of men are brought very low by sickness and other distresses, and seem ready to drop into the grave, and yet Providence wonderfully upholds them, raises them up, and says, Return, Ps. 110:3. If all had died who once seemed dying, the world would have been very thin. Many of the children of God, who have been ready to fall into sin, to fall into despair, have experienced his goodness in preventing their falls, or recovering them speedily by his graces and comforts, so that, though they fell, they were not utterly cast down, Ps. 37:24. If those who were bowed down by oppression and affliction are raised up, it was God that raised them. And, with respect to all those that are heavy-laden under the burden of sin, if they come to Christ by faith, he will ease them, he will raise them.
Secondly, He is very ready to hear and answer the prayers of his people, Ps. 145:18, 19. In this appears the grace of his kingdom, that his subjects have not only liberty of petitioning, but all the encouragement that can be to petition. 1. The grant is very rich, that God will be nigh to all that call upon him; he will be always within call of their prayers, and they shall always find themselves within reach of his help. If a neighbour that is near is better than a brother afar off (Prov. 27:10), much more a God that is near. Nay, he will not only be nigh to them, that they may have the satisfaction of being heard, but he will fulfil their desires; they shall have what they ask and find that they seek. It was said (Ps. 145:16) that he satisfies the desire of every living thing, much more will he fulfil the desire of those that fear him; for he that feeds his birds will not starve his babes. He will hear their call and will save them; that is hearing them to purpose, as he heard David (that is, saved him) from the horn of the unicorn, Ps. 22:21. 2. The proviso is very reasonable. He will hear and help us, (1.) If we fear him, if we worship and serve him with a holy awe of him; for otherwise how can we expect that he should accept us? (2.) If we call upon him in truth; for he desires truth in the inward part. We must be faithful to God, and sincere in our professions of dependence on him, and devotedness to him. In all devotions inward impressions must be answerable to the outward expressions, else they are not performed in truth.
Thirdly, He takes those under his special protection who have a confidence and complacency in him (Ps. 145:20): The Lord preserves all those that love him; they lie exposed in this world, but he, by preserving them in their integrity, will effectually secure them, that no real evil shall befal them.
[3.] If any are destroyed they may thank themselves: All the wicked he will destroy, but they have by their wickedness fitted themselves for destruction. This magnifies his goodness in the protection of the righteous, that with their eyes they shall see the reward of the wicked (Ps. 91:8); and God will by this means preserve his people, even by destroying the wicked that would do them a mischief.
Lastly, The psalmist concludes, 1. With a resolution to give glory to God himself (Ps. 145:21): My mouth shall speak the praise of the Lord. When we have said what we can, in praising God, still there is more to be said, and therefore we must not only begin our thanksgivings with this purpose, as he did (Ps. 145:1), but conclude them with it, as he does here, because we shall presently have occasion to begin again. As the end of one mercy is the beginning of another, so should the end of one thanksgiving be. While I have breath to draw, my mouth shall still speak God’s praises. 2. With a call to others to do so too: Let all flesh, all mankind, bless his holy name for ever and ever. Some of mankind shall be blessing God for ever; it is a pity but that they should be all so engaged.