“The LORD will perfect that which concerneth me: thy mercy, O LORD, endureth for ever: forsake not the works of thine own hands.” (Psalm 138:8)
The psalms are a vast repository of praise, lament, wonder, anguish, fellowship, and meditation. Through it all, God reigns supreme over His creation, and the care and devotion He shows to His children never fades or falters. Psalm 138 is a doxology of God’s attention and provision for His beloved people, recognizing that God’s intentions toward us are always rooted in love and will never be taken away from us.
#1 God of Complete Praise
The psalm opens with a joyful statement of praise: “I will praise thee with my whole heart: before the gods will I sing praise unto thee.” (Psalm 138:1)
Worship of God required the whole person: mind and soul and body had to be aligned to focus on Him and Him alone (Deuteronomy 6:5). This command of God was identified by Jesus as the chief of all commandments (Matthew 22:35-38), and its expression in this psalm can be found in outward praise. This would later be stated by the church as the primary reason for mankind’s existence (1 Corinthians 10:31, Romans 11:36), showing that our primary duty and pleasure must come from looking to God in praise and worship.
The psalm continues by showing what we can praise God for, calling out His lovingkindness and His truth, and the fact that He has made His Word known to us (Psalm 138:2). We are called to assemble in a house of worship and praise His Name with other believers, proclaiming what He has done for us.
#2 God of Compassion and Preeminence
Praising God is an effort He is absolutely worthy of. His status as our Creator and Sustainer (Colossians 1:17) is reason enough to worship Him, but He shows His infinite love to us every day. He continually speaks to us, and responds when we cry out to Him (Psalm 138:3). Not only that, but He will answer our requests when we ask for more of His presence (Ephesians 3:16).
God also deserves our praise because He is above every power on the earth (Psalm 138:4). The Bible consistently teaches that every knee will bow before the throne of Christ (Philippians 2:11), which would include every king, president, and noble ruler that has ever lived or ever will live. When God speaks, humanity cannot help but listen and respond.
#3 God of Concern and Power
As magnificent and awesome as God is, He still pays close attention to the needs of His children (Psalm 8:3-5). He is repeatedly said throughout Scripture to care for the orphans, the widows, the homeless, and the foreigner (people who were not Israelites) – classes of people who did not enjoy a prominent social status in the cultures of the day. These downtrodden and often forgotten groups were the prime recipients of God’s compassion and love, and were the cornerstone of much of the generosity detailed in the laws and commandments given to the Hebrews.
And God is mighty to uphold His statutes and care for those He has compassion on. He is quick to save us (Psalm 138:7), secure as a stronghold (Psalm 91:2, 4), and always watching over us (Psalm 23:4). God is described as having a mighty hand and an outstretched arm, indicating His majesty and control over His creation; none can escape His gaze or His judgment. That being said, His actions toward those that love Him will always work for our good (Jeremiah 29:11).
#4 God of Continual Presence
Psalm 138:8 states that God will “perfect” whatever concerns us. This means that He is working all things for our good (Romans 8:28), that He has a perfect plan for our lives and He will move heaven and earth to accomplish it. God’s timetable may not align with ours in every case, but we can rest assured knowing that He sees more than we can, and His perspective – while high above our own (Isaiah 55:8-9) – will always bring about the best for us.
Finally, the psalmist recognizes that God’s mercy is the reason he is secure, and asks that God’s favor be continually upon him. God will never abandon us, even though we may forsake Him from time to time (2 Timothy 2:13). It would be contrary to His nature: He will always accept a wayward heart that turns back to Him.
If you are struggling with the circumstances of your life, return to Psalms like this and use them as a guide for your praise. Even when things look their darkest, it is always wise and right for us to turn our faces to heaven and open our hearts before the Father. By claiming His great and precious promises (2 Peter 1:4), and remembering all that He has done, we can find some comfort for our souls and gain peace from knowing that He is always looking out for us.
Natalie Regoli is a child of God, devoted wife, and mother of two boys. She has a Masters Degree in Law from The University of Texas. Natalie has been published in several national journals and has been practicing law for 18 years.