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Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Today's Scripture Reading | Psalm 145

I will extol you, my God and King,
   and bless your name forever and ever.
Every day I will bless you,
   and praise your name forever and ever.
Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised;
   his greatness is unsearchable.

One generation shall laud your works to another,
   and shall declare your mighty acts.
On the glorious splendor of your majesty,
   and on your wondrous works, I will meditate.
The might of your awesome deeds shall be proclaimed,
   and I will declare your greatness.
They shall celebrate the fame of your abundant goodness,
   and shall sing aloud of your righteousness.

The Lord is gracious and merciful,
   slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.
The Lord is good to all,
   and his compassion is over all that he has made.

All your works shall give thanks to you, O Lord,
   and all your faithful shall bless you.
They shall speak of the glory of your kingdom,
   and tell of your power,
to make known to all people your mighty deeds,
   and the glorious splendor of your kingdom.
Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom,
   and your dominion endures throughout all generations.

The Lord is faithful in all his words,
   and gracious in all his deeds.
The Lord upholds all who are falling,
   and raises up all who are bowed down.
The eyes of all look to you,
   and you give them their food in due season.
You open your hand,
   satisfying the desire of every living thing.
The Lord is just in all his ways,
   and kind in all his doings.
The Lord is near to all who call on him,
   to all who call on him in truth.
He fulfills the desire of all who fear him;
   he also hears their cry, and saves them.
The Lord watches over all who love him,
   but all the wicked he will destroy.

My mouth will speak the praise of the Lord,
   and all flesh will bless his holy name forever and ever. (NRSV)

Reflection
“On the glorious splendor of your majesty, and on your wondrous works, I will meditate.”

David sings forth this exuberant psalm of praise, his written words almost leaping from the page with their excitement and unfettered adoration. God’s attributes—”good,” “righteous,” “merciful,” “gracious,” “compassionate,” “just”—and actions through “mighty deeds” receive equally thorough attention. We get the sense that David is overcome with awe in this particular psalm and that it isn’t just a sacred poem of lip service. His desire to not just acknowledge but also to meditate on God’s character creates a moving, wholehearted, and expansive view of the goodness of God.

Indeed, the very structure of this psalm lends itself particularly well to meditation and repetition. In the original language, the poem is an acrostic, each line beginning with the subsequent letter of the Hebrew alphabet. Perhaps David wanted to create his own poetic mnemonic device, a way to recall all of God’s unique qualities regardless of other surrounding factors. He begins by proclaiming this desire, to “extol” and “bless” God’s name “every day.” Whatever challenges each day might bring—and there were bound to be many—David could use written structure to mediate on everything from God’s might to God’s kindness and let that influence his own daily actions and interactions.

What a beautiful challenge. In the midst of daily stresses, how often do I remember to praise God? Do I meditate on God’s patience when I am impatient, openness when I’m shutting down, or nearness when help seems far? How might I behave differently if I did?

Prayer
Dear multifaceted God, I praise you in the midst of whatever may be challenging me today, for everything from your awesome might to your zeal for the suffering. Help me reflect your praise in every moment. Amen.

Written by Sarah van der Ploeg, Member of Fourth Presbyterian Church


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