Who Will Praise the King?
“I will exalt you, O my God the King, and I will bless your name to time indefinite, even forever. All day long I will bless you, and I will praise your name to time indefinite, even forever.”—Ps. 145:1, 2.
1. What did King David say in behalf of Jehovah as his King, and why?
KING David wrote words of praise to his heavenly King, Jehovah God. To some it may appear rather unusual for an earthly king to speak out so forcefully in favor of another as his own superior King. But David had good reason for doing so. His utterances were out of appreciation for that King, Jehovah. David possessed a mildness before this King such as belongs to wisdom. (Jas. 3:13) David was a loyal worshiper of Jehovah and had a wonderfully close relationship with this “Lord of kings.”—Dan. 2:47.
2, 3. (a) What are some examples of David’s expressions of appreciation of Jehovah in the Psalms? (b) What are some points made by David in 1 Chronicles concerning Jehovah and his kingship?
2 From David’s many expressions in Scripture we can see what made him appreciate his King, Jehovah God, so much. Psalm 19 shows David’s appreciation for Jehovah as Creator, Lawgiver and Redeemer. Psalm 24 declares that Jehovah is the Owner of the earth and the glorious King, the mighty One. In Psalm 103:19 David expresses appreciation for Jehovah’s kingship, saying: “Jehovah himself has firmly established his throne in the very heavens; and over everything his own kingship has held domination.” Then David calls on angels and men to bless or praise Jehovah. David’s song of thanks recorded in 1 Chronicles 16:8-36 emphasizes David’s appreciation of Jehovah.
3 Near the end of David’s reign he expressed his lifelong feelings before all his people, saying: “Blessed may you be, O Jehovah the God of Israel our father, from time indefinite even to time indefinite. Yours, O Jehovah, are the greatness and the mightiness and the beauty and the excellency and the dignity; for everything in the heavens and in the earth is yours. Yours is the kingdom, O Jehovah, the One also lifting yourself up as head over all. The riches and the glory are on account of you, and you are dominating everything; and in your hand there are power and mightiness, and in your hand is ability to make great and to give strength to all. And now, O our God, we are thanking you and praising your beauteous name.”—1 Chron. 29:10-13.
THE KINGSHIP ISSUE
4. What happened in Samuel’s day so that Israel came to have a human king, and how did the nations around Israel become a snare to them?
4 Jehovah’s kingship became an issue in Israel shortly before the birth of David. It was toward the end of Samuel’s judgeship, as is seen in 1 Samuel 8:4-20. But what was it that motivated the covenant people of Jehovah to ask for a king to rule over them and thus to reject Jehovah? They told Samuel that they wanted to be like all the other nations. Jehovah through Samuel warned them of the price they would have to pay for seeking to be like the nations in having a human king over them. Really, they were so much better off with Jehovah as their King.—See also Deuteronomy 4:7.
5. How did kingship become an issue in Gideon’s day?
5 The issue had come up before in the nation of Israel when Jehovah gave the people under Gideon’s command victory over the Midianites. “Later the men of Israel said to Gideon: ‘Rule over us, you and your son and your grandson as well, for you have saved us out of the hand of Midian.’ But Gideon said to them: ‘I myself shall not rule over you, nor will my son rule over you. Jehovah is the one who will rule over you.’” (Judg. 8:22, 23) Loyally Gideon turned aside the request of the people of Israel and confirmed the kingship of Jehovah over them. However, not long after the death of Gideon, one of his sons named Abimelech violently murdered most of his brothers and set himself up as a king, but his rule was short-lived and his end was disastrous. (Judg. chap. 9) This history was well known in Israel. It shows how the kingship of Jehovah has been put at issue down through the centuries. Also, during all this time the opportunity has existed for each person to show his loyalty to Jehovah as King.
6. What does earlier history show concerning kingship, and what had Jehovah foretold as to how matters would turn out?
6 God’s Word shows that the people of the worldly nations had kings over them from very early times. Not long after the Flood man-ruled kingdoms were organized in opposition to Jehovah, as shown at Genesis 10:8-12. This was under the influence of Satan the Devil who originally raised a challenge against the rightfulness of Jehovah’s rulership by rebelling against Jehovah and seeking to draw other creatures away from the worship of Jehovah. Jehovah has allowed time for the wicked one to try to prove his challenge. He has also disclosed how the matter will turn out.—Gen. 3:15.
JEHOVAH’S GREATNESS CALLS FORTH PRAISE
7. (a) What part did Jehovah’s spirit play in David’s life? (b) In what ways is Psalm 145 outstanding?
7 It was Samuel, who, under Jehovah’s direction, anointed David. “And the spirit of Jehovah began to be operative upon David from that day forward.” (1 Sam. 16:12, 13) David is a fine example of how the spirit of Jehovah operates on his loyal ones. It was God’s spirit that impelled David to write so many of the psalms in which he praises Jehovah. (2 Sam. 23:2) One of his finest expressions of praise is Psalm 145. This psalm blesses, praises, lauds and magnifies Jehovah’s goodness, greatness, mightiness, righteousness, eternalness, unsearchableness and his mercy. Indicative of the regard Jewish scholars have for this psalm is the fact that it appears three times in their daily liturgy. In Hebrew, the book of Psalms is termed Tehil·limʹ, meaning “Praises.” Psalm 145 is the only psalm that has as its superscription “A praise,” the term in its singular form.
8. What is implicit in the resolve to praise Jehovah’s name forever?
8 The very opening verses of this psalm overflow with joy and appreciation:
“I will exalt you, O my God the King, and I will bless your name to time indefinite, even forever. All day long I will bless you, and I will praise your name to time indefinite, even forever.” (Ps. 145:1, 2)
Bible commentators generally interpret David’s resolve to praise God’s name “to time indefinite, even forever” to mean as long as David lived. But is there not another meaning implicit in David’s resolve? To praise God’s name forever one would have to live forever. Did not David have the future hope of everlasting life? Certainly today, the “great crowd” of the “other sheep” as a class do have that very hope, of being able to bless and praise Jehovah’s name forever because of never dying off the earth.—Zeph. 2:3; John 11:26; Rev. 7:14-17; 21:4.
9. What can be said about fully comprehending Jehovah’s works?
9 David’s paean of praise continues:
“Jehovah is great and very much to be praised, and his greatness is unsearchable.” (Ps. 145:3)
The evidence of Jehovah’s greatness has been there for all mankind to see from creation onward. (Rom. 1:20) Yet comparatively few people have been praisers of Jehovah in trueness despite his greatness and his creative works from which they all benefit. In fact, so great are Jehovah and the works he has done that even to this day mankind has been able only to start to fathom the intricacies of a few of the things that he has created. The patriarch Job had appreciation like that of David, for he spoke of God as “the One doing great things unsearchable, wonderful things without number.” (Job 5:9; 9:10; 26:14) And the apostle Paul, after discussing God’s grand purposes, felt impelled to exclaim: “O the depth of God’s riches and wisdom and knowledge! How unsearchable his judgments are and past tracing out his ways are!”—Rom. 11:33, 34.
10. How has one “generation” told another “generation” about God’s mighty works?
10 “Generation after generation will commend your works, and about your mighty acts they will tell.” (Ps. 145:4)
Yes, generations have come and gone, and from among them some have told of Jehovah’s mightiness. But may it not also be said that the anointed remnant constitute one “generation” that has commended Jehovah’s works to another “generation,” the “great crowd” of “other sheep,” so that these, in turn, can tell still others about Jehovah’s mighty acts? Surely! By carefully considering God’s Word we, whether of the spiritual “generation” or of the earthly, have come to know these great works and mighty acts of Jehovah. What a privilege it is to tell others about these things! (See David’s example in speaking of Jehovah’s mighty acts in Psalm 68.)
11. How do we show concern for Jehovah’s dignity and his works?
11 “The glorious splendor of your dignity and the matters of your wonderful works I will make my concern.” (Ps. 145:5)
If we are to praise our Creator correctly, we must be thinking of and be concerned in our hearts with his glorious person and his wonderful works. (Matt. 12:34) How do you show concern for these? Do you take time personally to study about the things God has told in his Word? As you do so, do you meditate and let the meaning sink down deep inside to make a lasting impression? How can we speak well of or bless Jehovah God unless we have a deep conviction ourselves and really have love for Jehovah? Appreciating the splendor and dignity of Jehovah helps us to speak with enthusiasm, determination and positiveness about the great King.
12. Why is it good to think and talk about Jehovah’s fear-inspiring things?
12 “And they will talk about the strength of your own fear-inspiring things; and as for your greatness, I will declare it.” (Ps. 145:6)
Ah, yes, there is much more for us to tell. Through the pages of the Scriptures many fear-inspiring things are revealed showing the power of Jehovah demonstrated on behalf of his faithful servants and against those who make themselves enemies of God. Many of those mighty acts in the past serve as prophetic pictures and are instruction that this generation of mankind must have. Yes, “all the things that were written aforetime were written for our instruction, that through our endurance and through the comfort from the Scriptures we might have hope.” (Rom. 15:4) Talking about those things publicly is a service and an act of love for others. It serves to warn them concerning Jehovah’s purposes for the days ahead. Those who tell it benefit themselves also in the manner of the watchman described at Ezekiel 3:17-19. The approaching “great tribulation” will further demonstrate the greatness of Jehovah in carrying out his stated purpose. So let us declare it as long as Jehovah keeps the way open in this system of things. We may copy the manner of Jesus Christ in delivering God’s warning of judgment.—Matt. 10:28-30; Luke 19:41-44.
13, 14. (a) Why should mention be made of Jehovah’s goodness? (b) What reason do we have to cry out joyfully?
13 “With the mention of the abundance of your goodness they will bubble over, and because of your righteousness they will cry out joyfully.” (Ps. 145:7)
We must tell the world not only of Jehovah’s mighty power, but also of his goodness and righteousness. Throughout history Jehovah God has shown goodness to his servants. Whenever they were serving him in faithfulness they received blessings in great abundance. Down to this very time the goodness of Jehovah toward those loving him has been outstanding, moving them to become like a large spring that continually bubbles with appreciative expressions. Such expressions of praise are bound to attract many others to experience the abundant goodness of Jehovah. Repetition of thoughts serves to retain them in the memory. This is a real blessing, helping us never to lose appreciation of the way Jehovah has dealt with his people. It truly is profitable to rehearse publicly the goodness of Jehovah toward us.
14 Do we not have reason to cry out joyfully now? Through Adam we all came to be sinners and were condemned to die. (Rom. 5:12) But in connection with His righteousness and justice, Jehovah showed great love in providing the way out of mankind’s difficulty. This was by means of the ransom sacrifice of Jesus Christ. Through Jehovah’s written Word we have come to know of His righteous ways and dealings with his earthly children. It is a pleasure to see these things and truly a cause for crying out joyfully concerning Jehovah. We have good reason to follow the example of King David, who cried out: “As for me, in your loving-kindness I have trusted; let my heart be joyful in your salvation. I will sing to Jehovah, for he has dealt rewardingly with me.”—Ps. 13:5, 6.
15. What examples do we have of Jehovah’s mercy, patience and love?
15 “Jehovah is gracious and merciful, slow to anger and great in loving-kindness. Jehovah is good to all, and his mercies are over all his works.” (Ps. 145:8, 9)
From early in human history the marvelous qualities of Jehovah were demonstrated toward the human family as he carried forward his purpose to save some of mankind. Jehovah’s way was demonstrated at the time of the Flood. (1 Pet. 3:20) David certainly was a recipient of Jehovah’s mercies and had every reason to praise Jehovah. How well Jesus reminds us of Jehovah’s love as seen by his words recorded at John 3:16, 17! Appreciation of it should cause us to speak out in praise of Jehovah, and also move us to love others. The apostle John reasoned on it in this way: “By this the love of God was made manifest in our case, because God sent forth his only-begotten Son into the world that we might gain life through him. The love is in this respect, not that we have loved God, but that he loved us and sent forth his Son as a propitiatory sacrifice for our sins. Beloved ones, if this is how God loved us, then we are ourselves under obligation to love one another.”—1 John 4:9-11.
16-18. (a) What course are all urged to take while time permits? (b) What does Jehovah’s mercy mean for us? (c) What appreciative sentiments of Paul do we do well to echo?
16 As we see how this present generation of mankind is acting toward Jehovah and read of men’s wickedness and violence down through the centuries, we can indeed say that Jehovah is slow to anger. How grateful we should be that we have been able to come to this time when Jehovah’s patience is still being exercised! Appreciation of Peter’s words at 2 Peter 3:9 and 15 should move us to think well of Jehovah’s great mercy and loving-kindness: “Jehovah . . . is patient with you because he does not desire any to be destroyed but desires all to attain to repentance. Furthermore, consider the patience of our Lord as salvation.”
17 We know the system of things under Satan is doomed to destruction, and so we want to urge all persons to view seriously God’s patience and take the steps necessary toward salvation before it is too late. (Zeph. 2:3; Rev. 18:4) How happy we are that we have taken those lifesaving steps! And yet as fleshly descendants of Adam we are subject to the frailties of the flesh, and we make mistakes, even as David and others did. Because this is so, Jesus taught us to pray: “Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And do not bring us into temptation, but deliver us from the wicked one.”—Matt. 6:12, 13.
18 The provision Jehovah has made through Jesus Christ means so much to all of us. May we always appreciate Jehovah’s loving-kindnesses and mercies and all he has done for us. The apostle Paul had such appreciation, for he said: “I am grateful to Christ Jesus our Lord, who imparted power to me, because he considered me faithful by assigning me to a ministry. . . . Faithful and deserving of full acceptance is the saying that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners. Of these I am foremost. Nevertheless, the reason why I was shown mercy was that by means of me as the foremost case Christ Jesus might demonstrate all his long-suffering for a sample of those who are going to rest their faith on him for everlasting life. Now to the King of eternity, incorruptible, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen.” (1 Tim. 1:12, 15-17) Our gratitude should move us to praise Jehovah all the more, as we continually speak of his kingship.