TEXT: Psalm 138
Verses 1-3: The psalmist expresses his intention to praise the Lord, and by doing so he does praise him with full sincerity and enthusiasm (with all his heart). He will praise God’s name, since his name represents his character and his actions.
Verses 4-5: The psalmist then expresses the hope that his praise/thanksgiving for God will extend beyond himself, and indeed, beyond the borders of Israel. God is the God of the entire world and thus deserves the praise of all the kings of the earth.
Verses 6-8: The psalmist stands amazed that such a great and powerful God cares for the vulnerable (the lowly). He counts himself among their number since he is in the midst of trouble. But God takes care of him and fights off his foes. The psalmist ends with an appeal to God to not abandon him while in the midst of trouble.
INTERPRET: This psalm is the first of eight Davidic psalms. He thanks God for answering his prayers and calls on the kings of the earth to join in the praise. He praises God for his great name and his wonderful promises. He loves the Lord for taking care of the vulnerable.
During the Old Testament period, the kings of the earth did not praise God; if anything, they resisted and challenged him. However, when Christ came, the gospel began to spread throughout the earth. Revelation 21:24 pictures the end of time when the kings of the earth will bring their splendour into the New Jerusalem.
APPLICATION: This psalm provides clarity on how to worship God. Simply, that there is only one way to worship God—with your whole heart. Half-hearted praise will never do. This whole-hearted praise will only come from a life devoted to God and souls that have been radically saved from power of the enemy.
To worship God in Spirit and in truth, we must comprehend two realities: We must clearly understand who we are, and we must understand who God is. Therefore, two questions remain for every believer regarding our worship. Are we humble? And is God glorified? This is what matters above everything else. Jesus must be the purpose and source of our worship in every way. That is the heart of worship.
PRAYER: Holy Lord, we come before you with gratitude and praise, offering you the worship of our hearts and lives. Open our eyes to see you; open our ears to recognize your voice; and open our mouths to praise you. Send us out from here, to live and work in the world as your faithful disciples. We pray in the name of Jesus Christ, our Saviour and Lord. Amen.
SONG: The Heart of Worship
In 2023, each week's blog is a follow-up reflection written by the preceding Sunday’s preacher to dig deeper into the sermon topic and explore engaging discussion questions.