Introduction

Introduction

Devotional

Great Are You Lord

Praise the Lord! Praise God in his sanctuary; praise him in his mighty heavens! Praise him for his mighty deeds; praise him according to his excellent greatness! . . . Let everything that has breath praise the Lord! Praise the Lord!” (Psalm 150:1–2, 6)

Psalms is God’s book of praise to God — 150 chapters of God-entrusting, God-enjoying, and God-exalting words from God. The book gives reliable and enduring words to our worship. It guides us in using the breath and life God has given us to make much of God.

Psalm 150, the very last of dozens and dozens of psalms, lands this massive plane of praise. It lifts up all the promises and petitions that came before with one last call for us all to worship the God we’ve seen again and again. It’s a plea to reflect over the previous pages and let what we’ve seen and heard overflow back to God in praise.

You give life. You are love. You bring light to the darkness. You give hope. . . . Great are You, Lord!

You Give Life

You give life. “You make known to me the path of life” (Psalm 16:11). Before, we walked in darkness, not knowing where to go or how to get there. But God redeemed our life from the pit (Psalm 103:4), and paved a pathway away from death and destruction, and into everlasting life and joy. “With [our God] is the fountain of life” (Psalm 36:9). And he is “the upholder of my life” (Psalm 54:4). We draw on him daily for the life he has promised, and we rest on his sovereign power and grace to sustain our lives through every circumstance, however bleak or painful. “This is my comfort in my affliction, that your promise gives me life” (Psalm 119:50). Great are you, Lord!

You Are Love

One of the great anthems of the whole Bible, but the Psalms in particular, declares, “But you, O Lord, are a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness” (Psalm 86:15; 103:8; 145:8). The character of God is perfectly holy and just, but it is also thoroughly and lavishly loving. God’s love is very near the hottest core of who God is. It extends as high as the heavens, even above the clouds (Psalm 36:5), and lasts from everlasting to everlasting (Psalm 103:17).

It is by God’s love and faithfulness that we are saved (Psalm 69:13). It’s by his love that we know how to live in this life (Psalm 25:10). It is by his love that we are conformed again into his image (Psalm 119:88) — made pure by his power and his word. It is by his love that we will enter into paradise (Psalm 5:7). And it is because of his great love that we are satisfied in the morning and rejoice in him now and forever (Psalm 90:14).

Psalm 136 is an entire psalm devoted singularly to the steadfast love of the Lord. Again and again, the psalm sings, “his steadfast love endures forever. . . his steadfast love endures forever. . . his steadfast love endures forever. . .” The echo of those verses remind those of us in love with God that we can never sing the end of his love for us. His steadfast love is longer than life, and it is better than life (Psalm 63:3). Great are you, Lord!

You Bring Light

All light originates with God. He built the sun and every other star, filling the universe with light (Psalm 74:16). There is no light, physical or otherwise, without him. And the light of the sun is nothing compared with the light of God’s face (Psalm 4:6). “In your light do we see light” (Psalm 36:9). It is this light that breaks into our brokenness, bringing his hope, peace, and life. “It is you who light my lamp; the Lord my God lightens my darkness” (Psalm 18:28).

His light has saved us (Psalm 27:1); his light will lead us (Psalm 43:3); and his light will keep us (Psalm 56:13). He sheds his light on us through his word, graciously imparting his light through words, sentences, and paragraphs (Psalm 119:130). “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path” (Psalm 119:105). Great are you, Lord!

You Give Hope

“Hope in God” (Psalm 42:5; 131:3). It’s the message of the whole Bible, and the only truly good news the world has ever known. “For God alone, O my soul, wait in silence, for my hope is from him” (Psalm 62:5). Our only hope is from God. He is the longing buried deep in every soul. “And now, O Lord, for what do I wait? My hope is in you” (Psalm 39:7). The God who is for us in Jesus is the hope of our hearts, the promise of an unbeatable future. “Blessed (happy) is he whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in the Lord his God” (Psalm 146:5).

He is the hope of the young and old (Psalm 71:5). And he is the hope of every people and nation on earth, not functionally today, but sincerely in reality. “By awesome deeds you answer us with righteousness, O God of our salvation, the hope of all the ends of the earth and of the farthest seas” (Psalm 65:5).

It’s fitting, then, to end 150 chapters of this God — this life, this love, this light, this hope — with these words, “Let everything that has breath praise the Lord! Praise the Lord!” (Psalm 150:6). God, receive back now the breath you have given us in praise to you. You are worthy of all the honor, praise, and glory for every aspect of your goodness to us.