- P. Tarcisio
PSALM 138 (137) I will praise you, LORD, with all my heart.
1. TYPE OF PSALM: Thanksgiving hymn
It is a Psalm of thanksgiving, because God has kept his promises of deliverance. This song is raised in the assembly of the temple, the house of the Lord and of his meeting with the people, inviting all nations to join in praising God.
2. READ THE WORD.
I will praise you, Lord, with all my heart; before the “gods” I will sing your praise. 2 I will bow down toward your holy temple and will praise your name for your unfailing love and your faithfulness, for you have so exalted your solemn decree that it surpasses your fame.
3 When I called, you answered me; you greatly emboldened me.
4 May all the kings of the earth praise you, Lord, when they hear what you have decreed. 5 May they sing of the ways of the Lord, for the glory of the Lord is great.
6 Though the Lord is exalted, he looks kindly on the lowly; though lofty, he sees them from afar. 7 Though I walk in the midst of trouble, you preserve my life. You stretch out your hand against the anger of my foes; with your right hand you save me.
8 The Lord will vindicate me; your love, Lord, endures forever— do not abandon the works of your hands.
What does the text say?
The psalmist affirms that "he will bow down towards the sanctuary" of Jerusalem (cf. v. 2): in it he sings before God, who is in heaven with his court of angels, but who is also in the earthly space of the temple (cf. v. 1). He is a believer who is grateful to God for having been heard in his prayers and in the midst of his need.
vv. 4-5. However, personal thanksgiving is not enough and invites all the kings of the earth to also give thanks and sing to the glory of God. By referring to the kings of the earth, he is including all peoples.
Something that the psalmist admires is that God, even though he is the Lord of all the earth, great and sublime, looks at the humble, helps and protects him. And, furthermore, he meets the lofty and the wicked, whom he will treat as they deserve.
The concluding words of the Psalm are a fiery profession of faith in God because his mercy is eternal. "He will not abandon the work of his hands", that is, his creature (cf. v. 8).
3. MEDITATE ON THE WORD. Does this reading say anything special to you?
We must give thanks to God, because, no matter how heavy and stormy the trials we must face, we will never be abandoned to ourselves, we will never fall out of the hands of the Lord, the hands that have created us and that now accompany us by the life path.
4. PRAY WITH THE WORD. What do you say to God?
We thank you Lord, because you have saved us, because you go with us at every step we take. You, who look at the humble and know the lofty from afar, extend your right over us and save us, completing the work of your hands.
5. CONTEMPLATE THE WORD. How does your look change?
As believers, we are to sing the wonders of God both personally and together with our community. God is great, he does not leave us alone. Let us remember that he does not abandon the work of his hands. Let us therefore not stop praying and asking for the help of our God, especially in times of difficulty.