World Wide Study Bible
a Bible passage
God the Helper of the Needy
Praise the Lord!
Praise, O servants of the Lord;
praise the name of the Lord.
1 Praise, ye servants of Jehovah! This psalm contains abundant reasons for all men without exception to praise God. The faithful alone being endued with spiritual perception to recognize the hand of God, the prophet addresses them in particular. And if we consider how cold and callous men are in this religious exercise, we will not deem the repetition of the call to praise God superfluous. We all acknowledge that we are created to praise God’s name, while, at the same time, his glory is disregarded by us. Such criminal apathy is justly condemned by the prophet, with the view of stirring us up to unwearied zeal in praising God. The repetition, then, of the exhortation to praise him, ought to be considered as referring both to perseverance and ardor in this service. If, by the servants of God, some would rather understand the Levites, to whom the charge of celebrating his praises under the Law was committed, I am not much opposed to it, provided they do not exclude the rest of the faithful, over whom formerly God appointed the Levites as leaders and chief musicians, that he might be praised by all his people without exception. When the Holy Spirit addresses the Levites expressly in relation to the subject of God’s praises, it is designedly that, by their example, they may show the way to others, and that the whole Church may respond in one holy chorus. Now that we are all “a royal priesthood,” (1 Peter 2:9) and as Zechariah testifies, (Zechariah 14:21) that under the reign of Christ, the meanest of the people shall be Levites, there is no question that, excepting unbelievers who are mute, the prophet invites us all in common to render this service unto God.
2 Blessed be the name of Jehovah The prophet confirms what I stated above, that the praises of God must be continued throughout the whole course of our life. If his name is to be continually praised, it ought, at least, to be our earnest endeavor, during our brief pilgrimage here, that the remembrance of it may flourish after we are dead. In the next verse, he extends the glory of God’s name to all parts of the earth; wherefore our apathy will be totally inexcusable, if we do not make its praises resound among ourselves. Under the law, God could not be praised aright, excepting in Judea by his own people, to whom the knowledge of him was confined. His works, however, which are visible to all nations, are worthy of the admiration of the whole world. To the same effect is the following clause respecting the loftiness of God’s glory; for can there be any thing more base, than for us to magnify it but seldom and tardily, considering it ought to fill our thoughts with enrapturing admiration? In extolling the name of God so highly, the prophet intends to show us that there is no ground for indifference; that silence would savor of impiety were we not to exert ourselves to the utmost of our ability to celebrate his praises, in order that our affections may, as it were, rise above the heavens. When he adds, that God is high above all nations, there is an implied reproach, by which he fastens upon the chosen people the charge of apathy in the exercise of praise. For can there be any thing more preposterous, than for those who are eye-witnesses of God’s glory, which shines forth even among the blind, to refrain from making it the theme of their praises? At the very time when God conferred upon the Jews the exclusive honor of being the depositaries of the knowledge of his heavenly doctrine, he was nevertheless, according to Paul, not without a witness, (Acts 14:17; Romans 1:20) After the promulgation of the Gospel, his exaltation above the nations was more evident, for then the whole world was placed under his sway.