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Majestic Beauty, Incomparable Glory

Seeing God for who he truly is results in joyful worship and compelling commendation.


Recently while riding on an airplane, I was doing some light reading. As usual, this book had endorsements on the back, and one caught my eye. This particular person gave a blurb and then was identified as being the author of a New York Times bestseller, as well as the designator “Former Chief Evangelist for Apple.” And if you look, many tech companies now have such positions, garnering a following for their products. If you go to the Apple Store, you will see employees and consumers who are passionate about their product. There is a kind of worship and commendation going on. They love it and believe it, and so they talk about it with gusto.

People love all sorts of things. I love my family, teaching, biking, hiking, cheesecake, college football, and a host of other things. I talk about all these things; you do not have to coerce me to do so.

So the question becomes, do we know God? Is that knowledge of God truly shaping our minds, affections, and actions? How vast is our love for God? Are we in awe of his absolute majesty and glory? I pray that God would open our eyes to this reality as we read from Psalm 145.

This is the very last of the psalms of David in the Psalter. It is contained in book 5 (Psalm 107–150). The trajectory of the whole Book of Psalms seems to be going toward Yahweh’s eschatological triumph through the conquering Davidic king, who brings about judgment on his enemies and salvation for his people. Psalm 145 is an acrostic psalm (cf. Ps. 25, 34, 119), meaning that the beginning of each verse begins with a successive letter of the Hebrew alphabet (aleph, bet, gimel, daleth, etc.). One letter of the alphabet (nun) is lacking from the Hebrew text, but one Hebrew manuscript and several ancient translations include the missing verse found in the second half of verse 13.

It is obvious, from start to finish, this psalm is aimed at showing the greatness of God and inviting others into the joyful worship of our great God.

Declare the wonders of God (v. 1–7)

As we get toward the end of the psalms, we see a resounding theme of praising God for who he is (Ps. 146–150). God is not just meant to be analyzed and understood; he is meant to be proclaimed and worshiped and loved. Verses 1–3 are personal: I will extol, bless, and praise God, because his greatness is unsearchable.

Historically, many have taken the adjective Great and made it part of their name: Alexander the Great, Peter the Great, Catherine the Great. However, we recognize that God alone is great! Furthermore, his greatness is unsearchable (v. 3). No one ever has or ever will fully fathom the depths of his greatness (cf. love in Eph. 3:17–19). Not all the minds of all the ages using the most advanced scientific equipment can capture all that God is. The glorious splendor of God’s majesty is blinding and breathtaking and beyond comprehension or calculation (v. 5). God and his character are what is worthy of our meditation, both alone as well as in our conversations with others.

Then verses 4–7 talk about commending God and his works to the next generation and meditating on his majesty and mighty works. So let me remind you God is holy and loving, just and gracious, full of wrath toward sin and full of mercy toward sinners. He is unstoppable, all-powerful, all-knowing, present everywhere, the Judge, the Redeemer, the Righteous One (perfectly conforms to the standards of his own perfections), glorious, beautiful, majestic, and incomparable. He has created and sustains everything in the universe, smote Egypt with ten plagues, parted the Red Sea and Jordan River, defeated armies, set up and tore down kings and kingdoms, and worked on behalf of his people to bring about their salvation.

When my wife and I met we really didn’t know each other that well, so our first date was informative, but it was not just data collection. It was information aimed at knowing her better, which led me to liking/loving her more.

This text compels us to know God as he is revealed in his Word and to open our mouths and declare God’s reality to those around us. But we may remain unconvinced. Most of the things I mentioned weren’t done for me. They are from the Old Testament, so why should I declare this? It seems irrelevant to my life. We declare the wonders of God because we see that God is at work presently; is the same yesterday, today, and forever; and is constantly displaying his perfect character. We can fill in more with our own stories of God’s faithfulness.

Ponder today, write down today, share over lunch today, or in small groups this week the ways you have experienced the wonders of God in your life.

Recognize the perfect character of God (v. 8–9)

These verses are derived directly from Exodus 34:6–7. There Moses met with God. God passed before him and Moses saw the backside of God, which was so astounding in terms of God’s glory, that when Moses came off the mountain his face was glowing. But even more astounding than that is the declaration God makes about himself.

He declares that he is gracious, he is merciful, slow to anger (a long fuse), abounding in steadfast love (covenant loyalty/faithfulness), good to all. Note the word “all.” Even those who deny and blaspheme his name are recipients of his patience and long-suffering. He permits his enemies to live, even while speaking and thinking ill of God, all the while blessing them with food and air and earthly pleasures, affording them even more time and opportunity to repent (cf. Rom. 2:4–5). Our God has perfect, unimpeachable character.

One can think of a text like 1 Peter 1:15–16 and recall that God’s character should shape the character of his people (be holy as he is holy). As we behold, understand, and enjoy the character of God, increasingly we seek to emulate, by God’s grace and the Spirit’s power, attributes like grace, mercy, goodness, holiness, justice, and love. We also declare what we know of God, because he has perfect character. We do this in our families (meals, family devotions, teachable moments), classrooms, jobs, neighborhood, recreation, etc. We declare and recognize not only his wonders and character, but we also marvel at the works God performs.

Marvel at the work of God (v. 10–21)

All of God’s works, all of creation, will give thanks to God, and we his saints will bless him (v. 10). He is worthy! Look at all the items highlighted here. God’s kingdom is everlasting (no term limits) and contains glorious splendor (v. 11–13). He is powerful and performs mighty deeds (v. 11–12). He is faithful in all his words. His promises never miss the mark (v. 13) unlike our parenting or job promises at times. He is kind in all his works. Do you really know and see the ugliness of your sin? Then you should recognize God’s kindness in your life (v. 13).

He upholds those who are faltering and weary. Isaiah 40 says even youths grow weary, but those who trust in and wait on the Lord will renew their strength. The right song can help me when biking, but faith in God and his promises helps me in real life (v. 14).

He provides food and sustains all life. Think of the vastness of the universe. Our sun is 93 million miles away; a light year is almost 6 trillion miles, and the Milky Way is 100,000 light years in diameter, and that is a small galaxy. He upholds it all (v. 15–16).

He is righteous (v. 17). He is near to those who pray earnestly to him. Even if he feels distant, persevere in prayer. He promises he is near to you (v. 18). He answers prayer. We would benefit from recounting more our answers to prayer (v. 19). He preserves his people and destroys those who oppose him. God glorifies himself both in salvation and judgment (v. 20).

He has demonstrated these points in the lives of Adam (grace even in the midst of rebellion), Noah (salvation from a worldwide flood that he brought about), Abraham (gracious calling, miraculous birth of Isaac), Isaac (grace and guidance), Jacob (continued faithfulness to his covenant), Joseph (using evil things for good ends), Moses (calling, deliverance, Red Sea, vision of glory, etc.), Joshua (conquest of the land, keeping of covenant), Ruth (gracious restoration, line of the Messiah), David (mercy in sin, faithfulness to covenant), Peter (calling, forgiveness, restoration), John (showing of miracles and signs, declarations of truth), Paul (conversion, faithfulness in his missionary journeys), and for everyone sitting in this room.

We should marvel at the amazing reality of our great God. Oh that we would be a church filled with people who are obsessed, captivated, and enthralled with God for the long haul. That he would be our everlasting joy, and we would put away the idols of self, entertainment, performance, technology, sex, money, fame, and power. To see the Trinitarian God—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit—as all-satisfying. We join creation and speak the praise of the Lord for the sake of all the nations (v. 21).

Do you know this God? Have you read about him, pondered your own smallness, and recognized that everything is absolutely nothing compared to him? Continue to read big texts about God (Ps. 29, Isa. 40, John 1, Col. 1, Heb. 1) and pray to God for open eyes to see how incredible he is. The Good News of Jesus Christ, his perfect life, his substitutionary, sacrificial, bloody death, and his resurrection on our behalf is the means by which our eyes are opened to the glory of God. 2 Corinthians 3:18 says that we all with unveiled face (new covenant gospel reality) behold the glory of the Lord, and as we do so we are being transformed from one degree of glory to another. Seeing and marveling at God for who he truly is results in increasingly and joyfully knowing and living out God’s character, and this leads us to speak passionately about him to those around us (this is the message of the bookends; vv. 1, 21). In other words, we need to see, savor, and spread a passion for God and what he has done in Christ.


Seeing God for who he truly is results in joyful worship and compelling commendation. We adore and talk about what we love. This message was meant to put the focus on who God is so that we recognize our love and joy should be directed toward him. A heart flooded with thoughts of the splendor of God and what he does can no more conceive of an end of praise than it can conceive of an end of God himself! We need to see him, for our salvation and our growth as a Christian (invitation to gospel and to grow in godliness).

So as we seek to be these kinds of people, let’s pray to see God for who he truly is. As you read Scripture, underline all the times you see truths about the Father, Son, and Spirit in terms of character and action. Know God’s attributes and pray accordingly. Be amazed by who he is and what he has done to such a degree that you share this good news with others.

May we be a church that fixes our eyes and minds and hearts on the great God of the universe, the only reality worth all of our attention and all of our affection.

Jeremy Kimble is Assistant Professor of Theology at Cedarville University and the author of '40 Questions About Church Membership and Discipline' (Kregel, 2017).

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