6-Week Series: Against All Odds


Summary: This is a Psalm of thanksgiving, and of hope.


Psalms 138:1-8

In Psalms 138:1, David praises the LORD.

1st, his praise is wholehearted (cf. Psalms 9:1; Psalms 86:12-13; Psalms 103:1-2; Psalms 111:1).

2nd, it is ‘in the face of’ (to use a contemporary term) all other would-be or otherwise imaginary ‘gods’ (cf. Psalms 95:3; Psalms 96:4).

Psalms 138:2.

1st, like Daniel after him (Daniel 6:10), the Psalmist bows down and worships towards the holy temple (or tabernacle) of the LORD. That would be the place where the Ark of the Covenant was to be found, and all that that represents (i.e. the presence of God among His people). Thereby he affirms the sovereignty of the LORD God of Israel alone.

When we have a right ‘fear’, or reverence, of the LORD (Psalms 5:7); we can indeed ‘lift our hands’, with pleas and cries for help, toward His ‘most holy sanctuary’ (Psalms 28:2; cf. 1 Kings 8:29-30). Yet now we worship through Jesus: One ‘greater than the Temple’ (Matthew 12:6; cf. Hebrews 10:19-22)!

2nd, the Psalmist praises “the Name” of the LORD. The Name YHWH speaks of the One who was, and is, and is to come (cf. Revelation 1:8). The Name Jesus tells us that YHWH saves, and Jesus is so named ‘for He will save His people from their sins’ (Matthew 1:21).

3rd, David praises the LORD for His steadfast love and faithfulness (cf. Psalms 115:1), and most specifically for the reliability of His Word. Jesus indicated that not a dot of God’s Word will fail, but all will be accomplished (Matthew 5:18). Heaven and earth will pass away, but Jesus’ words will not (Matthew 24:35)!

Psalms 138:3. The LORD answers prayer!

1st, in the day that David cried out, “the LORD answered” him (cf. Psalms 18:6; Psalms 34:4-6; Isaiah 65:24).

2nd the LORD gives us strength (cf. Isaiah 41:10; 1 Peter 5:10). Sometimes it is His strength even in the midst of our weakness (2 Corinthians 12:8-9; cf. Ephesians 6:10; Philippians 4:13).

In Psalms 138:4 it appears that, in response to the call of Psalms 2:10-12, the “kings of the earth” are at last yielding to Jesus (cf. Psalms 72:11; Psalms 102:15).

In Isaiah, kings appear as foster-fathers and wet-nurses to the Church (Isaiah 49:23; Isaiah 60:16). In Revelation 21:24, kings bring their glory and honour to the new Jerusalem. In the meantime, we should continue to pray that the LORD’s “words” will be heard in the corridors of power (cf. 1 Timothy 2:1-2).

Psalms 138:5.

1st, the kings yield their sovereignty to YHWH, celebrating “the ways of the LORD.” Jesus is the Way (John 14:6), and there is no other name under heaven whereby we must be saved (Acts 4:12).

2nd, “the glory of the LORD” represents His reign (cf. Psalms 24:10; Psalms 145:11-12).

In Psalms 138:6, we see the LORD setting things the right side up. He exalts the lowly and puts down the proud (cf. Luke 1:51-53; James 4:6). This is what makes His kingdom so superior.

Psalms 138:7.

1st, “Though I walk in the midst of trouble” reminds us of the ‘Valley of the Shadow of Death’ in Psalms 23:4. There David feared no evil, because the presence of the LORD was with him; His rod and staff to comfort him. Here David visualises the LORD’s hand stretched out against his enemies. The enemies of God’s people are the enemies of God and will not prevail! The LORD is with us to “revive” (i.e. “give life”) and to “save” (and all that that means). ‘If God be for us, who can be against us?’ (Romans 8:31).

2nd. David had prayed: ‘Deliver me, O my God, out of the hand of the wicked, out of the hand of the unrighteous and cruel man’ (Psalms 71:4). Here (in Psalms 138:7) we see God “stretching out His hand”, just as Jesus stretched out His hands on the Cross. In Psalms 71:20, incidentally, the strength of our hope to be ‘revived’ is found in the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ!

Psalms 138:8.

1st. David had cried out to God Most High ‘who performs (all things) for me’ (Psalms 57:2). Now the Psalmist confidently asserts, “THE LORD WILL PERFECT (THAT WHICH) CONCERNS ME.” His covenant faithfulness (cf. Psalms 138:2) guarantees it. This is echoed in the New Testament hope of God working ‘all things for good’ for the good of His people (Romans 8:28).

2nd, “Do not forsake the work of Your hands” means, ‘since I am in Your hands, I shall trust you not to drop me!’ It is a petition of faith which anticipates a good result. ‘HE WHO HAS BEGUN A GOOD WORK IN YOU WILL PERFORM IT UNTIL THE DAY OF JESUS CHRIST’ (Philippians 1:6).


‘Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely; and may your whole spirit, soul and body be preserved blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. HE WHO CALLS YOU IS FAITHFUL; HE WILL SURELY DO IT!’ (2 Thessalonians 5:23-24).

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