World Wide Study Bible
a Bible passage
Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised;
his greatness is unsearchable.
1. I will extol thee, my God and my king. David does not so much tell what he would do himself, as stir up and urge all others to this religious service of offering to God the praises due to his name. The design with which he declares God to be beneficent to the children of men is, to induce them to cultivate a pious gratitude, he insists upon the necessity of persevering in the exercise; for since God is constant in extending mercies, it would be highly improper in us to faint in his praises. As he thus gives his people new ground for praising him, so he stimulates them to gratitude, and to exercise it throughout the whole course of their life. In using the term daily, he denotes perseverance in the exercise. Afterwards he adds, that should he live through a succession of ages he would never cease to act in this manner. The repetitions used tend very considerably to give emphasis to his language. As it is probable that the Psalm was written at a time when the kingdom of David was in a flourishing condition, the circumstances deserves notice, that in calling God his king he gives both himself and other earthly princes their proper place, and does not allow any earthly distinctions to interfere with the glory due to God.
This is made still more manifest in the verse which follows, where, in speaking of the greatness of God as unmeasurable, he intimates that we only praise God aright when we are filled and overwhelmed with an ecstatic admiration of the immensity of his power. This admiration will form the fountain from which our just praises of him will proceed, according the measure of our capacity.
4. Generation to generation, etc. Here he insists upon the general truth, that all men were made and are preserved in life for this end, that they may devote themselves to the praise of God. And there is an implied contrast between the eternal name of God, and that immortality of renown which great men seem to acquire by their exploits. Human excellencies are eulogized in histories; with God it stands differently, for there is not a day in which he does not renew remembrance of his works, and cherish it by some present effect, so as indelibly to preserve it alive upon our minds. For the same reason he speaks of the glorious brightness, or beauty of his excellence, the better to raise in others a due admiration of it. By the words of his wonderful works, I consider that there is an allusion to the incomprehensible method of God’s works, for so many are the wonders that they overwhelm our senses. And we may infer from this, that the greatness of God is not that which lies concealed in his mysterious essence, and in subtle disputation upon which, to the neglect of his works, many have been chargeable with mere trifling, for true religion demands practical not speculative knowledge. Having said that he would speak of, or meditate upon God’s works, (for the Hebrew word, אשיחה, asichah, as we have elsewhere seen, may be rendered either way,) he transfers his discourse to others, intimating, that there will always be some in the world to declare the righteousness, goodness, and wisdom of God, and that his divine excellencies are worthy of being sounded, with universal consent, by every tongue. And, should others desist and defraud God of the honor due to him, he declares that he would himself at least discharge his part, and, while they were silent, energetically set forth the praises of God. Some think, that the might of his terrible works is an expression to the same effect with what had been already stated. But it seems rather to denote the judgments of God against profane scoffers.