A Portrait of a Thankful Heart

October 23, 2022 Psalm 145

The Psalms is divided into 5 “books” or collections

Collections 1-4 end with a short doxological tag but collection 5 ends differently

  • End of Book 1 – Psalm 41:13 Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel, from everlasting to everlasting. Amen and Amen.
  • End of Book 2 – Psalm 72:18-19 Blessed be the Lord God, the God of Israel, Who alone works wonders. And blessed be His glorious name forever; and may the whole earth be filled with His glory. Amen, and Amen.
  • End of Book 3 – Psalm 89:52 Blessed be the Lord forever! Amen and Amen.
  • End of Book 4 – Psalm 106:48 Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel, from everlasting even to everlasting. And let all the people say, “Amen.” Praise the Lord!
  • End of Book 5 is Psalm 145 – an extended “Blessed be the name of the Lord” doxology.
  • Psalm 146-150 is a crescendo of Praise

In the ongoing epic story of God’s people waiting for the perfect king and kingdom of God amidst oppression, personal failure, and national failure, God’s people needed to be reminded of a conclusion their past king David came to amidst all his failures. Psalm 145 is the epic conclusion of a failed Davidic king recognizing that God is his merciful King. God’s Kingship is not great because of His power to spin galaxies in His hands and execute vengeance, but the greatness of this King is in His mercy and compassion in relationship to His subjects (His kingdom). The King’s subject’s gracious experience at the hand of the King is the “glory” of the King and Kingdom throughout each enduring generation. Thus, the individual sharing of praise and thankfulness experienced at God’s merciful and saving hand leads others – “all flesh” – to bless the name of God (145:21) from generation to generation. Herein lies God’s people’s legacy – the sharing of the King’s Glory to the next generation! Appropriately so, then, after Psalm 145, Israel selected 5 psalms that enjoin all that has breath to offer praise to God.

3 characteristics of an exuberant thankful heart

I. Is Enamored with God’s Greatness (vv. 3-7)

  • great…and highly…
  • unsearchable
  • mighty acts
  • glorious splendor of Your majesty
  • wonderful works
  • power of your awesome acts
  • eagerly utter the memory of your abundant goodness
  • shout joyfully

“I think we delight to praise what we enjoy because the praise not merely expresses but completes the enjoyment; it is its appointed consummation.” (Lewis, C.S., Reflections on the Psalms, p. 111 HarperCollins. Kindle Edition)

II. Understands the Primary Reason for God’s Greatness (8-20)

Psalm 145:8 - The Lord is gracious and merciful; slow to anger and great in lovingkindness. (Hebrew word - “hesed”) Cf. Exodus 34:6

A. His works – grace in His people’s lives

B. His kingdom – which operates differently than the kingdoms of men (vv. 10-12)

III. Overflows with Proclamation of God’s Greatness for the Purpose of Edification and Evangelism (vv. 1-2, 21)

Good morning, saints of light! We’re coming to the end of our thanksgiving series for the month and onto our series on stewardship for the month of November. We’re bringing our annual series of Growing in Gospel Gratitude along with our fall series, The Heart of Thanksgiving to a close.

Let’s conclude our series on Growing in Gospel Gratitude by seeing

A Portrait of a Thankful Heart

It goes without saying, that the seasons are strikingly beautiful to behold, but the beauty that comes with the seasons are a fleeting reminder of times past gone.

There are some seminary interns here today who have not experienced the seasonal changes like we do because of the region they come from.

Typically what follows with the coming and going of the seasons is this question: Where did the time go? Or, wow, time went by fast! Or, as the time goes by, so does my memory.

In my seminary days, I remember having a Chia Pet of hair on my head some years back and I’d pay over $20.00 for a nice fade until I no longer wished to spend money on a fade – so I began to shave my head for the low cost of nothing. After all, I was in seminary and $20.00 toward seminary was money much better spent than a $20.00 I would spend on a haircut every other week.

After I graduated from seminary, I missed my Chia Pet, so I decided to grow my hair back, and to my shock and horror, the lush crown of hair on my head upon its return looked more like a Peat Bog! It wasn’t growing like it used to in places where it was supposed to grow! And so I essentially went into a state of mourning! Where did the time go? I was typically clean shaven too in those days so when I grew back some of the hair on my face to keep warm, I soon realized the fact the hair on my chinny chin chin was white! Where did the time go? What in the world happened…?

Job put it well – the Lord gives and takes away! Listen, perhaps as humorous as those small seasons of my life may be, I believe there’s sufficient reason to be reminded of why we should be thankful, and to extol our Lord for His goodness.

Because let’s face it – this year is coming to a close and a new year is upon us, yes? Perhaps for some of you, this year was a wonderful season of thankfulness, while for others it was a season of anger and bitterness, so the thought of thankfulness to our God in your life can be fleeting like the seasons that come and go, and there’s very little pulse to the notion of thankfulness in your life, especially when your season in life or in a given circumstance is dry…

Don’t we want to reflect a portrait of a thankful heart? Why do so many psalms reflect the heart of David and the other writers of the psalms a portrait of thankfulness? Because

So with the time we have together before we fellowship in communion together on this Lord’s day. I want for us to turn to Psalms 145 (read)

It’s been said that the Word of God is simple enough for a child to understand, yet its deep enough to drown the smartest theologian. So for this reason, I only want to pull out…

Three characteristics of a thankful heart.

That is, a thankful heart…

I. Is Enamored with God’s greatness (vv. 3-7)

It’s been said that David wrote this Psalm around the close of his life and ministry. And what is it that we see coming out of the overflow of this man’s heart?

Verses 3-7 “Great is the Lord, and highly to be praised, and His greatness is unsearchable.
4One generation shall praise Your works to another, and shall declare Your mighty acts.
5 On the glorious splendor of Your majesty and on Your wonderful works, I will meditate.6 Men shall speak of the power of Your awesome acts, and I will tell of Your greatness. 7 They shall eagerly utter the memory of Your abundant goodness and will shout joyfully of Your righteousness.” (stop)

Saints of light, there’s a weightiness that overflows from the heart of this King that reflect a kind of depth of God’s greatness to which David has personally experienced throughout the course of his life – and it just overflows from him, that I would have us to at least ponder whether that is the overflow of our hearts as well?

When all is said and done – when you have lived through many a season of life as David lived with the many testings that have been sifted through the hands of your King of glory – when you’ve lived through the many vanities of this life – the overflow of your heart will speak something…will your heart extoll your King of glory or will it curse Him?

Because out of the overflow of a person’s hear the mouth speaks, right? I mean, that’s what our Lord said. What we say is a window in our heart? But a life lived bears a similar weight, does it not?

And King David has been through many a circumstance, and look at what comes out of his heart – “I will extoll You, my God, O King.” We find him…overflowing in praise…in praise to His God.

That’s what extolling means – it means to praise. Recently, there was a graduation at Vision of Hope, and a few of us had opportunity to go and give our support to the graduates, and to hear the testimonies of these saints of light who graduated from the program.

And to hear the testimonies of some of these women was deeply moving on a profound level. But to see their hearts in praise to God in their lament is a deep and powerful testimony of the overflow of their hearts that you cannot help but see portraits of grace out of the lives of God’s people that echo in the celestial halls of eternity.

I would hope to God that the overflow of our hearts would learn to be enamored by the greatness of our God, don’t you? Because if God is the overflow of our hearts, there’s no question that others would see Christ in us, the hope of glory.

On many occasions under the sun, David has had his faith tested by the many Ecclesiastes trials of life, and it’s through the psalms in which we get a window into the life of what made David so great a King – it was his God!

Even through David’s sin and failures, we come to see a portrait of a man so enamored by the immensity of God, so smitten by His LORD that by the time he reached the close of his life, all that is left of him is not a life of bitterness – it’s not a life of profound regret – but a man utterly consumed by His God.

For David, this began at a young age, when he had to flee from the hand of the rage of a jealous King Saul and placed himself under the hand of the Philistines. And it was there that he learned that bad company corrupts good morals, and to not allow his surrounding circumstances to his living before a holy God.

Perhaps it was here that David penned Psalm 23:1-3 where we read that “Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor stands in the path of sinners, nor sits in the seat of the scornful.”

When David finally became King of Israel, David had come to learn to trust his covenant keeping God, for when he was young, the prophet Samuel told him that he would eventually become King (1 Samuel 16)

…but between Samuel’s statement of David’s Kingship lay a period of time that he learned and experienced the promises of His God in his own life (2 Samuel 2:1-4,8-10 2 Samuel 3:1,6-12, 17-39 2 Samuel 4:5-7 2 Samuel 5:1-12 2 Samuel 7:1-13).

But it’s not as though David’s circumstances were no less real than our own, in that he had learned through the blessings of adversity that though he “walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; For You are with me.” (Psalm 23:4)

When David sinned against the Lord by committed adultery with Bathsheba and murdering her husband, God sent Nathan the prophet to confront him, David had come to learn on that day that not only does God take sin seriously, but he had come to understand the sweet mercy of God’s grace in his life, even though there were consequences to his behavior.

What would seem so rudimentary – so basic – so elementary – in the life of God’s covenant people God is that of praise, but does the course of our lives reflect that by our behavior?

I’m not suggesting that our behavior ought to reflect a plastic smile, but I am saying that even in seasons of lament may we reflect…praise – may the summation of our lives reflect…praise.

Why…? Because a thankful heart…

II. Understands the primary reason for God’s greatness (vv. 8-20)

Verses 6 “Men shall speak of the power of Your awesome acts, and I will tell of Your greatness.”

What are these awesome acts? What part of God’s greatness is David highlighting for God’s people to read? Let’s keep reading…

Verse 7 “They shall eagerly utter the memory of Your abundant goodness and will shout joyfully of Your righteousness.”

OK – so it’s God’s “goodness” and “righteousness” as displayed by what?

Psalm 145:8 The Lord is gracious and merciful; Slow to anger and great in lovingkindness (Hebrew word—“hesed”)— Cf. Exodus 34:6

King David is not calling to mind God’s power as displayed by his omnipotence. He’s not calling to mind God’s power in Creation. He’s does not have in mind God’s power over the parting of the Red Sea, or the splitting of the Jordan River by God so that God’s people could walk through. That’s not what David wants the saints of Christ to see!

My friends, David is enamored by the greatness of his God as seen by his… “lovingkindness.” In other words, God’s goodness and mercy is bound up in one word – lovingkindness toward his people – it’s from the Hebrew word Hesed.

David pulled a truth out of an Old Testament text from Exodus 34:6 – you know the story, but I need to set the context. No sooner than Israel had covenanted with the God of Israel, that they broke the covenant because of their sin of idolatry.

Breaking of the covenant meant death by the hand of their Creator. Moses has to intercede for Israel and eventually, there is a reunification of the covenant and Moses has to make a new set of 10 commandments that he previously had broken in the presence of Israel.

It was during this that Moses directly asked the Lord to see His glory. The Lord essentially said – “you cannot see my face, for no one can see me and live.” (Exod. 34:20)

So as an act of God’s lovingkindness, instead of consuming Moses – he grants Moses request, partially – to see not his face, but his back. So he placed Moses in a narrow opening in the mountain, and covers Moses’ face and he was permitted to see a glint of God’s glory as he passed by – and whatever Moses saw of God’s nature transformed into blazing light is referred to as “God’s back.”

And it’s that word glory David described as God’s lovingkindness. Just as Moses was not consumed by God’s holiness because he was a sinner, so David marvel’s at God’s lovingkindness toward him, that he is not consumed by God’s justice, but that God bathed David with his…lovingkindness.

If You, LORD, should mark iniquities, O Lord, who could stand? – Psalm 130:3. The answer is that none would stand.

That’s why David is so enamored by the depth of God’s love – that’s why he could say in verses 9-10 the it’s…

Verses 9-10 “The Lord is good to all, and His mercies are over all His works. All Your works shall give thanks to You, O Lord, and your godly ones shall bless You.”

His most glorious work is nothing other than that the heart of God (gentle, lowly, compassionate grace) manifested in relationship to His people…

His works—grace in His people’s lives.

That’s David’s point to the end of the spear! Friends, can you look back on the chronicles and see God’s lovingkindness bathed upon your life? Is that the overflow of your heart?

If it’s not, may I submit to you to read further – for David would go on to flesh out the lovingkindess of His God as seen by his common grace in

Verses 14-20

“The Lord sustains all who fall and raises up all who are bowed down. The eyes of all look to You, And You give them their food in due time. You open Your hand and satisfy the desire of every living thing. The Lord is righteous in all His ways and kind in all His deeds. The Lord is near to all who call upon Him, to all who call upon Him in truth. He will fulfill the desire of those who fear Him; He will also hear their cry and will save them. The Lord keeps all who love Him, but all the wicked He will destroy.”

Take note that God’s lovingkindness will not strive with man forever. I don’t know what that may mean for some of you hear who have not yet surrendered your life over to Christ in salvation. But I do know that you are leeching off of the rich fat of God’s common grace as seen by the provisions of your life. I know that he has granted you time on this earth to live and to move and you have your being.

But God has appointed a time for all under the sun and if you do not turn by faith to the lovingkindness as is seen in Christ as your only means of salvation, then at his appointed time, he will remove his loving-kindness from you in and in its placed you will receive his wrath.

You may say – that’s not a very unloving thing to say – ask yourself this question: Why should God save any?

My friends, understand that the exuberant thankful heart is enamored with the greatness of God as it pertains to the personal experience of God’s great grace! This is it and nothing else!!!

And that brings us into his glorious and celestial kingdom – His Kingdom

B. His kingdom—which operates differently than the kingdoms of men

Christian, what we are witnessing today and in the future is God’s lovingkindness toward you in that he has chosen gladly to give you the kingdom.

You see…this year has come and gone already – this year has brought with it its share of trials and tribulation…and it can become all too easy to be weighed down by the travails of this fallen world. That’s why every year, we do series of thankfulness because the opposite of thankfulness is ingratitude and gracelessness.

Allow us the opportunity to remind you dear saint that a heart shaped by thankfulness

III. Overflows with proclamation of God’s greatness for the purpose of edification and evangelism (vv. 1-2, 21)

Verses 11–12 “They shall speak of the glory of Your kingdom and talk of Your power; To make known to the sons of men Your mighty acts and the glory of the majesty of Your kingdom. Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and Your dominion endures throughout all generations.”

Mark this, friends – David speaks of the millennial age – and in that millennial age, we will marvel at the glories of God’s lovingkindess in that we didn’t receive the justice due to us, but that God has chosen gladly to grant us the Kingdom – and it’s only through the Cross of Christ by which we are granted entrance into the Celestial City of His beloved Son.

I tell you church, have you have had one of those moments in which you at your surrounding and simply marvel at the reality that that one day the kingdoms of this world will one day become the kingdom of our Lord?

In your being thankful, have you have you ever pondered the reality that because of the redemption of your life through Christ, that there will be a magnificent role to play for you in God’s kingdom. If the Lord tarries, perhaps we will have opportunity to talk about the glories of the new age to come.

I want to be a man who is seen as…thankful. I want my wife and kids and friends to what God is doing in my life in that God is weaving a portrait of a thankful heart.

I hope that Christ in my will be the testimony and legacy of my life before the Lord closes the door of my life. And when all is said and done for all us – may our life and ministry close in very much the same way David did.

Acts 13:36 “For David, after he had served the purpose of God in his own generation, fell asleep, and was laid among his fathers and underwent decay”

Don’t you want your life to end this way? I know I do! And note something else: Psalm 145 is the last word you hear from David in the Bible…what an appropriate last word.

Lord’s table.