This is the last “Psalm of David” in the book of Psalms, and it features the shepherd-king at his artistic best. The quality of his Holy Spirit-inspired poetry is never finer than right here. David used the “acrostic” technique in this psalm, with each verse beginning with the successive letters of the Hebrew alphabet — he praised God from A to Z! He also used an “inclusio,” beginning and ending the psalm with “forever and ever” (v.1, 21), giving it an eternal tone. In between, he used the broadest, most far-reaching language at his disposal: unsearchable, everlasting, throughout all generations (and I counted 17 times he used the world “all”).
David, the king of Israel, knew that he served the King of kings, and he began this psalm “extolling” Him. To extol (v.1) means “to set preeminently on high, to exalt above all others.” David knew that as a believer, he would have cause and opportunity to bless and praise the Lord like that “forever and ever” (v.1-2) — both here and in the hereafter. And after all that praising, he would never get around to praising every praiseworthy thing about God, because “His greatness is unsearchable” (v.3). Verse 7 pictures God’s people pouring out their praise in the form of a song, the overflow of grateful hearts.
Verses 8-9 give us one of the most beautiful descriptions of God’s loving character in the Bible. He is unwaveringly holy, but He loves to love lost sinners. He “abounds” in love — a steadfast, stubborn love that will not let go. The rest of the psalm is a list of ways God expresses His love, all the powerful works, the glorious splendor, and the “mighty deeds” He does that flow from His loving heart (v.10-12).
The Lord knows when I am staggering under the weight of life’s pressures, and because He loves me, He raises me up and gives me strength (v.14). He saves, but He also satisfies — His people live under His generous open hand (v.15-16). He is near to all who cry out to Him, ready and willing to save anyone who calls on Him from a repentant heart (v.18-19). But those who do not respond to His love will someday be crushed by His holiness: “The Lord preserves all who love Him, but all the wicked He will destroy” (v.20).
In the final verse we see that the psalm ends as it began, with a call for praise to go on and on, without end, forever and ever. Amen!
Suggestion: Re-read this psalm aloud, making David’s words your own. Let your mouth speak the praise of the Lord (v.21)!