What you praise defines you

During a recent funeral service I spoke from Psalm 145. It is titled, “A Psalm of Praise”.
Spurgeon suggested it was a favorite of King David’s and summarises his entire view of God, the world and himself. Yet the Psalm has no personal requests or cries for help. It is purely singing God’s praises. In so doing, it presents a liberating worldview.

This Psalm invites us to see is the profound hope and peace that is generated when we rightly praise God and treasure him as the most important, crucial, valued, sacred person and thing above everything else in life.

Slightly modifying Spurgeon’s suggested outline there are four things David praises God for.

1. His Greatness and Power
Great is the Lord and most worthy of praise;
his greatness no one can fathom.” v3
One generation will commend your works to another;
they will tell of your mighty acts. They will speak of the glorious splendor of your majesty” vv4-5

Greatness without goodness could make God a selfish powerful tyrant and goodness without greatness could make him willing to help us and show us kindness, but be unable to.

So David also praises God for

2. His Goodness
celebrate your abundant goodness” v7
The Lord is gracious and compassionate” v8
The Lord is good to all;” v9

God displays his goodness indiscriminately, to all – not because we deserve it but because of his compassion.

David also praises God for

3. His Government – how God rules as King
“Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom” v13
“The Lord is faithful to all his promises”

Because he is sovereign we have the assurance that he is in control and that his promises will prevail.

Where we stand today, we can see that in Jesus, God has fulfilled his promise to restore us and our broken world. Jesus death has paid the just penalty for our sin and his resurrection is the first validation that death is a defeated foe and life everlasting is his to give to all who cling to him in faith.

God’s power, greatness, goodness and government are not distant abstract concepts. David also praises God for

4. His Grace
The Lord upholds all those who fall” v14
The Lord is near to all who call on him” v18
He fulfills the desires of those who fear him” v19

This is a God who, though he is powerful, is not some far off distant deity worshipped only for fear of punishment or worshipped to bribe for some favour.

Jesus Christ came near to us and experienced all our limitations as well as all of our sorrow, pain and loss to the point of death.

Despite all that, he lived as we ought to, but are not able to, in complete dependence and obedience to God. Because of that the Bible tells us he has made atonement for the sins of the people and because he suffered when he was tempted, he can help those who are being tempted.

In fact, he doesn’t just help us in our frailty and weakness he sympathizes with our weaknesses – yet without sin, so we can approach him with confidence and receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.

We will all praise and worship something. There is something that you treasure, value above everything else in your life. It is something you adore and worship.

When you are alone, that’s what your mind will drift to – your most treasured possession. Comfort, food, control, making more money, career, house, holiday, pleasure. They never satisfy – you’re always seeking more.

When we learn, like David, to make the praise of God our greatest treasure. When the praise of God dominates and saturates your life, then everything else is put into it’s proper perspective and you gladly let it go for the sake of treasuring God above everything else.

As Keller notes in ‘Counterfeit Gods‘, praising (treasuring/valuing) God has a way of bringing sweetness and rest to the heart that heals you and frees you to relax your grip on anything else you think you must have and you will come to see he is all you need to have.

That gives you a profound hope and a confident peace.