Psalm 145 is a hymn of David written to praise God's greatness. It's a full-scale telling of who God is and what He has done and is considered the prelude to the final Hallel (represented through the contents of the last five Psalms, Psalm 145–150).
Psalm 145 is altogether praise, and this type of praise needs pitched in a high key. The contents of this chapter elevate the goodness, sovereignty, faithfulness, and mercy of God. William Morley Punshon describes the Psalm with clarity: "The praise described in (Psalm 145) goes singing into heaven and is ready without a teacher to strike the harp, that is waiting for it, to transmit along with the echoes of eternity the song of the Lamb." The Lord's kingdom is without beginning, without a break, and end, and in every season, God is worthy of praise.
Psalm 145 [English Standard Version] expresses several lasts in the formal book of Psalms. Those lasts noted in the reality that Psalm 145 is the last acrostic psalm (acrostic stating the Psalm is a composition in which the initial letters of each line or unit, when taken together, spell something meaningful — this also aids in the memorization of the text). Also, the last Davidic Psalm (meaning written by King David) within the book of Psalms. The Psalm falls under the category of a hymn and begins with a call to praise, and this praise continues throughout six individual sections. Those sections are A commitment, A celebration, A declaration, A covenant, A Righteous God, and A rekindled promise. In the breakdown below, we've underlined the critical phrases of praise.
Section 1: A commitment [I will bless the Lord]
145:1–2; I exalt you, my God the King, and bless your name forever and ever. I will bless you every day; I will praise your name forever and ever.
Section 2: A celebration [God is great and greatly to be praised]
145:3–7; The Lord is great and is highly praised; his greatness is unsearchable. One generation will declare Your works to the next and will proclaim your mighty acts. I will speak of Your splendor and glorious majesty and our wondrous works. They will proclaim the power of Your awe-inspiring acts, and I will declare your greatness. They will give a testimony of your great goodness and will joyfully sing of your righteousness.
Section 3: A declaration [God is full of compassion and faithfulness]
145:8–13; The Lord is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger, and great in faithful love. The Lord is good to everyone; His compassion rests on all he has made. All you have made will thank you, Lord; the faithful will bless you. They will speak of the glory of your kingdom and will declare your might, informing all people of your mighty acts and of the glorious splendor of your kingdom. Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom; your rule is for all generations. The Lord is faithful in all his words and gracious in all his actions.
Section 4: A covenant [God is Faithful]
145:14–16; The Lord helps all who fall; he raises up all who are oppressed. All eyes look to you, and you give them their food at the proper time. You open your hand and satisfy the desire of every living thing.
Section 5: A righteous God [in all His ways]
145:17–20; The Lord is righteous in all his ways and faithful in all his acts. The Lord is near all who call out to him, all who call out to him with integrity. He fulfills the desires of those who fear him; he hears their cry for help and saves them. The Lord guards all those who love him, but he destroys all the wicked.
Section 6: A rekindled commitment [My mouth will declare]
145:21; My mouth will declare the Lord's praise; let every living thing bless his holy name forever and ever.
In modern worship, we can use this Psalm to bring to mind who God is, what He has done, and what He has promised to do. Whatever others may do, we will not be silent in praise of the Lord: whatever others may speak upon, our hearts affix to his faithfulness and mercy. Our love for God echoes throughout the generations, and as Charles Spurgeon states: "Our mouth, our mind, our lip, our life shall be our Lord's throughout this mortal existence, and when time shall be no more."
Psalm 145 can be read publicly, using either classic translations or modern translations such as The Passion Translation (TPT):
My heart explodes with praise to you! Now and forever, my heart bows in worship to you, my King, and my God! Every day I will lift up my praise to your name with praises that will last throughout eternity.
Lord, you are great and worthy of the highest praise! For there is no end to the discovery of the greatness that surrounds you. Generation after generation will declare more of your greatness and declare more of your glory. Your magnificent splendor and the miracles of your majesty are my constant meditation.
Your awe-inspiring acts of power have everyone talking! I’m telling people everywhere about your excellent greatness! — Psalm 145 (vs.1–6)
The text can also be sung, and there are many examples, but Phillip Keveren and Travis Cottrell wrote one of my favorite versions called Forevermore (Psalm 145)¹. Their lofty stanzas and delicate melodic piano lines create awe and wonder and draw the listener into places of praise and surrender. Frequently, the piece is artfully presented as a solo but can also be a mighty choral piece².
Psalm 145 is simple yet complex. The text relates to the history of Jewish worship (penned by David) and our current need to focus on God as our solution to our modern world's uncertainty. He helps those who fall; he is righteous and faithful. He hears and cries and answers. Therefore, we will exalt him forever and ever.