Praise you the LORD. O give thanks to the LORD; for he is good: for his mercy endures for ever.…
This is actually expressed in ver. 44, but it is the theme of the whole psalm. Note concerning it -
I. IT IMPLIES PREVIOUS AND TERRIBLE PROVOCATION. And, indeed, there had been such:
1. In sins actually committed. What a catalogue of them the psalm contains! Sin at the very beginning (ver. 7). The former psalm reviewed the history of God's people as a subject for adoring praise, because of God's never-failing care. Here, also, a "Hallelujah!" is raised, in view of the same history, because of God's never-failing forgiveness. And the sins that needed this forgiveness are confessed here - the shortlived gratitude (ver. 13); the shameful murmuring (ver. 15); the wicked envy (ver. 16); the disgraceful idolatry (ver. 19); their unbelief (ver. 24); their sacrifices to Baal-peor (ver. 28): their murmuring at Meribah (ver. 32); their disobedience (ver. 34). What a melancholy list it is! And this is not all; for see:
2. The mercies of God despised. (Ver. 13.)
3. Their treatment of Moses. (Vers. 16, 23, 32.)
4. Their hardened resistance, so that God's punishments had no power to change their evil will (cf. John 1:5). Yes, there had been provocation indeed.
II. IT PROCLAIMS THE INFINITE COMPASSION AND FORBEARANCE OF GOD. Sin is the dark foil on which the brightness of God's mercy is all the more seen. That is why the angels of God can never render the praises of the redeemed. What a marvel it is that he should have spared Israel! It is equalled only by the marvel of his sparing us.
III. WHEN THE SOUL BECOMES CONSCIOUS OF ALL THIS, IT IS OVERWHELMED IN GRATITUDE, LOVE, AND PRAISE. See the opening of this psalm and its close. Thus is God's mercy the spring and abiding impulse of the new life unto him. See the well known verse -
"Oh the sweet wonders of that cross
On which my Saviour groaned and died
Her noblest life my spirit draws
From his dear wounds and bleeding side." S.C.
Parallel VersesKJV: Praise ye the LORD. O give thanks unto the LORD; for he is good: for his mercy endureth for ever.