Daily Family Worship

Psalm 138: A Psalm of Praise

by | Jul 5, 2024

psalm 138

This little Psalm is a sparkling cluster of bright gems in the setting of the Lord’s own Word – all stamped with the Holy Spirit’s seal of unerring truth. It begins with that often-repeated declaration of the Psalmist that he would praise Jehovah with his whole heart, and he adds that this resolution would hold good wherever he was – in the presence of kings and great men; before all the gods of the heathen; in his own chamber, where no eye except that of the Lord was upon him; in the congregation of the people, when all would join with one heart and voice in similar praise; or even before the company of the unbelieving and the scorner, when every eye would be upon him to watch for his stumbling and to misquote his words. No matter where he was, he resolved that his lips would sing praise to His Lord with his whole heart; he would declare His name before an assembled world: “You are my God, and You are God alone!”

It seems that David was an exile when he uttered this holy resolution, perhaps as a wanderer in the wilderness. His heart and affections were set Zionward (verse 2), even though his straining eyes could not catch a glimpse of the earthly tabernacle where he had been accustomed to worship. Our blessed Lord has said, “God is a Spirit, and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth”; and that is how both David in exile and Daniel in Babylon worshiped Him. Although their eyes were turned toward Jerusalem and the holy temple, they could not physically see them; their eyes could not lay hold upon the walls, the altar, the sacrifice, the ephod, or the priest; and yet the Shekinah of God’s presence shone as gloriously and effectually upon their hearts as it ever rested upon altar, tabernacle, or temple. And we still have the precious promise of our Lord, that where only two or three are gathered together in His name, there He is in the midst of them – even though their gathering-place may be a hillside, a hidden valley, a secluded cave, or even a prison cell.

It is a strong expression which the Psalmist here uses of walking “in the midst of trouble” (verse 7). It is as the Apostle afterwards said, “Troubled on every side, persecuted, cast down”; and yet, like Paul, David was not in despair, destroyed, or forsaken. We may recall the strong confidence which David expressed in the 23rd Psalm, when he spoke of walking through the midst of that dark valley, with the shadows of death deepening on every side; for even then, he declared that he would fear no evil. He was confident that however low he was brought – even to the very dust – yet on that dust, the dew of the Redeemer would descend and cause the withered ones to revive!

This Psalm concludes with a very blessed truth. In the day of David’s cry, the Lord had strengthened his soul; in the midst of his trouble, the Lord had revived and refreshed him; and now, in verse 8, he expresses the assured confidence and trust that the Lord would perfect that which concerned him. And what was it that most concerned the Psalmist? What is it which most concerns us? It is the salvation of that soul which the Lord has strengthened. It is the work of His own hands, it is the seed of His own sowing, and it is the tree of His own planting; could He ever forsake the work of His own hands, and leave it incomplete? Never! Having begun a good work in His child, would He not bring it to a perfect end? Having given to His own beloved Son His redeemed ones as the purchase of His own blood, would He allow anyone to pluck them out of that Son’s hands? Never! The love of an earthly father or mother may wax cold; but “I will never forget, I will never forsake, saith the Lord of hosts!”

Dear God, we pray for grace to continually discover new reasons for singing praises “in the ways of the Lord!” May Your constant lovingkindness lead us to say, “I will bless the Lord at all times: his praise shall continually be in my mouth!” Amen.

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