TBU: The Bible Unpacked: In-Depth Edition

II. Reasons to Exalt God

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Chapter 25  Part II

Reasons to Exalt God

Not only does the Bible tell us to persistently exalt God, it is bulging with good reasons for doing so. Generally speaking, these compelling reasons, or things for which to exalt God, concern what God is like and what he does.

Note that the ensuing sections and subsections, to a degree correspond to the following chapters and their major sections (and generally have been ordered accordingly): 1. God’s Being; 2. God’s Character; 6. God’s Creation; 7. God’s Sovereignty; and 19. God’s Care of His People.

Also note that as rejoicing is usually done in the context of exalting God – praising, thanking and glorifying him – verses speaking of things for which to rejoice, or rejoice in God, have been included in the following sections. These are usually amongst the other references, but they are in a separate subsection where there are a number of them regarding a particular theme.

Aspects of God’s Being

The verses in this and the following section speak of exalting both attributes of God and exalting God himself because of attributes of his. Doing the former effectively does the latter as well.

God’s glory

See also:

Note that it is debatable in a number of the following verses as to whether the writers are speaking of: exalting the actual glory of God’s essence and presence; acknowledging the glory or gloriousness of God that is due to his attributes – such as his power, wisdom and grace – and to what he does (which demonstrate or manifest his attributes); or giving glory to him in the sense of glorifying or honoring him (cf. Glorify God, giving glory to him). See also the comment below under 1 Chronicles 29:10b-13, and the introductory comment to God’s Glory.

1Chr 29:10b-13  And David said: “Blessed are you, O Lord, the God of Israel our father, forever and ever. 11Yours, O Lord, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the victory and the majesty, for all that is in the heavens and in the earth is yours. Yours is the kingdom, O Lord, and you are exalted as head above all. 12Both riches and honor come from you, and you rule over all. In your hand are power and might, and in your hand it is to make great and to give strength to all. 13And now we thank you, our God, and praise your glorious name. ▤ 

As in some of the following passages, in v. 11 the speaker appears to ascribe glory to God. Doing so appears to both attribute it to God and in a sense assign it to God, the latter being somewhat similar to a blessing. God’s name is glorious (v. 13) in no small part due to the glory of his presence along with: the glory that emanates from attributes such as his power, which in a sense reflect the glory of God’s presence; and the glory given to him by people glorifying him.

Ps 29:1-2  Ascribe to the Lord, O heavenly beings,a ascribe to the Lord glory and strength. 2Ascribe to the Lord the glory due his name; worship the Lord in the splendor of holiness.b ▤ 

a Hebrew sons of God, or sons of might

b Or in holy attire

Ps 29:9  The voice of the Lord makes the deer give birthc and strips the forests bare, and in his temple all cry, “Glory!” ▤ 

c Revocalization yields makes the oaks to shake

The cry of “Glory” is in response to the aforementioned manifestation of God’s awesome power (cf. vv. 3-8) and in acknowledgment of its reflection of God’s glory.

Ps 66:2  … sing the glory of his name; give to him glorious praise! ▤ 

The call to “give to him glorious praise” probably has in view the form of the praise reflecting the glory or gloriousness of God.

Ps 71:8  My mouth is filled with your praise, and with your glory all the day. ▤ 

The last clause may well be speaking of declaring God’s glory (cf. GNT, NIV, NLT).

Ps 72:19  Blessed be his glorious name forever; may the whole earth be filled with his glory! Amen and Amen! ▤ 

The second clause appears to express the desire – virtually as a prayer – that God’s glory be revealed throughout all the earth (cf. CEV). The manner and context in which the author does this exalts God’s glory.

Ps 138:5  … and they shall sing of the ways of the Lord, for great is the glory of the Lord. ▤ 

This implies that God’s ways exhibit his glory (cf. Eph 1:4b-6, 11-14 ). Singing of God’s marvelous ways, indirectly at least, points to and exalts his glory.

Isa 24:14  They lift up their voices, they sing for joy; over the majesty of the Lord they shout from the west.d ▤ 

d Hebrew from the sea

This speaks of praise of God’s majesty (cf. 1Chr 29:11 ; Jude 1:25 ), an attribute associated with and reflective of his glory.

Ezek 3:12  Then the Spirite lifted me up, and I heard behind me the voicef of a great earthquake: “Blessed be the glory of the Lord from its place!” ▤ 

e Or the wind; also verse 14

f Or sound

The phrase “from its place” appears to refer to heaven (cf. GNT, NCV). The glory of God’s essence and presence is in view.

Jude 1:24-25  Now to him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy, 25to the only God, our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen. ▤ 

Here “glory, majesty, power and authority” (v. 25) are ascribed to God – or proclaimed as God’s – throughout the past, present and future. With the clause “through Jesus Christ our Lord”, Jude quite possibly means that they are God’s through Christ. Alternatively he may be speaking of offering such acclamation through Christ (cf. NIrV).

Rev 19:1  After this I heard what seemed to be the loud voice of a great multitude in heaven, crying out, “Hallelujah! Salvation and glory and power belong to our God, … ▤ 

Note that “hallelujah” is a call to praise God, often used itself as an expression of praise to God.

  • What God has done regarding his people through Jesus Christ is to the praise of his glorious grace and his glory:

Eph 1:4b-6, 11-14  In love 5he predestined usg for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, 6to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved. ▤ 11In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will, 12so that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of his glory. 13In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, 14who is the guaranteeh of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it,i to the praise of his glory. ▤ 

g Or before him in love, having predestined us

h Or down payment

i Or until God redeems his possession

These verses reflect that God’s glory is manifested or reflected in what he does (vv. 11-14). Note that the praise spoken of in the final clause (v. 14b) may have in view believers being sealed with the Holy Spirit (v. 13) as well as their inheritance and completed redemption (v. 14a; cf. text note).

God’s eternity

See also:

Neh 9:5  Then the Levites, Jeshua, Kadmiel, Bani, Hashabneiah, Sherebiah, Hodiah, Shebaniah, and Pethahiah, said, “Stand up and bless the Lord your God from everlasting to everlasting. Blessed be your glorious name, which is exalted above all blessing and praise. ▤ 

The phrase “from everlasting to everlasting” may well be speaking of God’s eternity (cf. CEV, NCV, NIV, NLT) – hence the inclusion of the verse here. But note that some translations interpret the phrase to be referring to how we should bless or praise God, i.e. that we should do so forever (cf. GNT, NASB). Even so, the latter case points to the former.

Dan 4:34  At the end of the days I, Nebuchadnezzar, lifted my eyes to heaven, and my reason returned to me, and I blessed the Most High, and praised and honored him who lives forever, for his dominion is an everlasting dominion, and his kingdom endures from generation to generation; … ▤ 

1Tim 6:15-16  … which he will display at the proper time—he who is the blessed and only Sovereign, the King of kings and Lord of lords, 16who alone has immortality, who dwells in unapproachable light, whom no one has ever seen or can see. To him be honor and eternal dominion. Amen. ▤ 

Rev 4:8-10a  And the four living creatures, each of them with six wings, are full of eyes all around and within, and day and night they never cease to say, “Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord God Almighty, who was and is and is to come!” 9And whenever the living creatures give glory and honor and thanks to him who is seated on the throne, who lives forever and ever, 10the twenty-four elders fall down before him who is seated on the throne and worship him who lives forever and ever. ▤ 

The expression “who was and is and is to come” (v. 8) attests to both the past and future aspects of God’s eternity, along with his present existence.

  • Ascribe honor and glory to God forever:

1Tim 1:17  To the King of ages, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever.j Amen. ▤ 

j Greek to the ages of ages

In conjunction with and indicative of his eternity, Paul speaks of honor and glory either as being possessed by or as being continually given to God, “forever and ever”.

God’s greatness

See also:

Deut 32:3  For I will proclaim the name of the Lord; ascribe greatness to our God! ▤ 

Ps 48:1a  Great is the Lord and greatly to be praised in the city of our God! ▤ 

Ps 95:2-3  Let us come into his presence with thanksgiving; let us make a joyful noise to him with songs of praise! 3For the Lord is a great God, and a great King above all gods. ▤ 

Ps 99:2-3  The Lord is great in Zion; he is exalted over all the peoples. 3Let them praise your great and awesome name! Holy is he! ▤ 

Ps 104:1  Bless the Lord, O my soul! O Lord my God, you are very great! You are clothed with splendor and majesty, … ▤ 

Ps 145:3  Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised, and his greatness is unsearchable. ▤ 

Ps 150:2  Praise him for his mighty deeds; praise him according to his excellent greatness! ▤ 

Isa 12:6  Shout, and sing for joy, O inhabitant of Zion, for great in yourk midst is the Holy One of Israel. ▤ 

k The Hebrew for your in verse 6 is singular, referring to the inhabitant of Zion

  • Praise God for his great deeds:

Rev 15:3  And they sing the song of Moses, the servantl of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying, “Great and amazing are your deeds, O Lord God the Almighty! Just and true are your ways, O King of the nations!m ▤ 

l Greek bondservant

m Some manuscripts the ages

God’s power

See also:

1Chr 29:10b-13  And David said: “Blessed are you, O Lord, the God of Israel our father, forever and ever. 11Yours, O Lord, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the victory and the majesty, for all that is in the heavens and in the earth is yours. Yours is the kingdom, O Lord, and you are exalted as head above all. 12Both riches and honor come from you, and you rule over all. In your hand are power and might, and in your hand it is to make great and to give strength to all. 13And now we thank you, our God, and praise your glorious name. ▤ 

Ps 21:13  Be exalted, O Lord, in your strength! We will sing and praise your power. ▤ 

Ps 59:16  But I will sing of your strength; I will sing aloud of your steadfast love in the morning. For you have been to me a fortress and a refuge in the day of my distress. ▤ 

The psalmist tells how he will sing about God’s “might” (NRSV) – along with his love – which the psalmist had experienced in God’s fortress-like protection.

Ps 66:3-4  Say to God, “How awesome are your deeds! So great is your power that your enemies come cringing to you. 4All the earth worships you and sings praises to you; they sing praises to your name.” Selah ▤ 

Ps 68:32-35  O kingdoms of the earth, sing to God; sing praises to the Lord, Selah 33to him who rides in the heavens, the ancient heavens; behold, he sends out his voice, his mighty voice. 34Ascribe power to God, whose majesty is over Israel, and whose power is in the skies. 35Awesome is God from hisn sanctuary; the God of Israel—he is the one who gives power and strength to his people. Blessed be God! ▤ 

n Septuagint; Hebrew your

Eph 3:20-21  Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, 21to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen. ▤ 

Rev 19:1  After this I heard what seemed to be the loud voice of a great multitude in heaven, crying out, “Hallelujah! Salvation and glory and power belong to our God, … ▤ 

Here power is ascribed to God (cf. Ps 68:34 ). The implication is that ultimate power belongs to God.

  • Acknowledge God’s might:

Isa 33:13  Hear, you who are far off, what I have done; and you who are near, acknowledge my might. ▤ 

God’s wisdom and knowledge

See also:

Rom 11:33-34, 36b  Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways! 34“For who has known the mind of the Lord, or who has been his counselor?” ▤ 36… To him be glory forever. Amen. ▤ 

The rhetorical questions in v. 34 underline that God’s mind and wisdom far surpass that of anyone else.

Rom 16:27  … to the only wise God be glory forevermore through Jesus Christ! Amen. ▤ 

Dan 2:20  Daniel answered and said: “Blessed be the name of God forever and ever, to whom belong wisdom and might. ▤ 

Rev 7:11-12  And all the angels were standing around the throne and around the elders and the four living creatures, and they fell on their faces before the throne and worshiped God, 12saying, “Amen! Blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honor and power and might be to our God forever and ever! Amen.” ▤ 

Wisdom, along with the other attributes mentioned, is being ascribed to God – such things “belong to our God” (CEV, GNT, NCV, NLT).

Ps 92:5  How great are your works, O Lord! Your thoughts are very deep! ▤ 

The subsequent verses (vv. 1-4) speak of thanksgiving, praise and rejoicing, suggesting that this also is spoken in praise.

God’s “name”

See also:

Note that references to God’s “name” are synonymous with God himself. As such, references to attributes of his “name” for which it should be exalted, are effectively speaking of attributes of God for which he should be exalted.

Neh 9:5b  Blessed be your glorious name, which is exalted above all blessing and praise. ▤ 

Ps 29:2  Ascribe to the Lord the glory due his name; worship the Lord in the splendor of holiness.o ▤ 

o Or in holy attire

Ps 66:2  … sing the glory of his name; give to him glorious praise! ▤ 

The psalmist calls us to sing about the glory of God’s name (cf. CEV, NCV, NLT).

Ps 99:3  Let them praise your great and awesome name! Holy is he! ▤ 

Ps 148:13  Let them praise the name of the Lord, for his name alone is exalted; his majesty is above earth and heaven. ▤ 

Ps 30:4  Sing praises to the Lord, O you his saints, and give thanks to his holy name.p ▤ 

p Hebrew to the memorial of his holiness (see Exodus 3:15)

Ps 89:12  The north and the south, you have created them; Tabor and Hermon joyously praise your name. ▤ 

  • Give thanks to God that “his Name” is near:

Ps 75:1  We give thanks to you, O God; we give thanks, for your name is near. Weq recount your wondrous deeds. ▤ 

q Hebrew They

The psalmist effectively gives thanks that God himself (cf. CEV, NCV, NLT) is near, as evidenced by his wonderful deeds.

Pray for persecuted Christians

Aspects of God’s Character

God’s holiness

See also:

God’s holiness – in which he is set apart from all others in his purity and righteousness – should evoke awe, praise and worship.

Ps 71:22  I will also praise you with the harp for your faithfulness, O my God; I will sing praises to you with the lyre, O Holy One of Israel. ▤ 

“O Holy One of Israel” suggests that God’s holiness is at least partly in view in the aforementioned praise.

Ps 97:12  Rejoice in the Lord, O you righteous, and give thanks to his holy name! ▤ 

Ps 99:3, 5, 9  Let them praise your great and awesome name! Holy is he! ▤ 5Exalt the Lord our God; worship at his footstool! Holy is he! ▤ 9Exalt the Lord our God, and worship at his holy mountain; for the Lord our God is holy! ▤ 

Rev 4:8  And the four living creatures, each of them with six wings, are full of eyes all around and within, and day and night they never cease to say, “Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord God Almighty, who was and is and is to come!” ▤ 

Rev 15:4  Who will not fear, O Lord, and glorify your name? For you alone are holy. All nations will come and worship you, for your righteous acts have been revealed. ▤ 

2Chr 20:21  And when he had taken counsel with the people, he appointed those who were to sing to the Lord and praise him in holy attire, as they went before the army, and say, “Give thanks to the Lord, for his steadfast love endures forever.” ▤ 

It is debatable as to whether “holy attire” refers to God’s holiness (cf. CEV, NCV, NIV, NKJV, NLT) – which would make the verse relevant to this subsection – or to the priests’ holy garments (cf. AMP, GNT).

  • Glory in God’s holy name:

Ps 105:3  Glory in his holy name; let the hearts of those who seek the Lord rejoice! ▤ 

We are to glory or exult in God’s holy name (cf. NLT), rejoicing and being glad that we belong to him (cf. GNT, NCV).

God’s steadfast love . . .

See also:

Ps 31:7-8, 21  I will rejoice and be glad in your steadfast love, because you have seen my affliction; you have known the distress of my soul, 8and you have not delivered me into the hand of the enemy; you have set my feet in a broad place. ▤ 21Blessed be the Lord, for he has wondrously shown his steadfast love to me when I was in a besieged city. ▤ 

Ps 36:7  How precious is your steadfast love, O God! The children of mankind take refuge in the shadow of your wings. ▤ 

Ps 63:3  Because your steadfast love is better than life, my lips will praise you. ▤ 

Ps 59:16-17  But I will sing of your strength; I will sing aloud of your steadfast love in the morning. For you have been to me a fortress and a refuge in the day of my distress. 17O my Strength, I will sing praises to you, for you, O God, are my fortress, the God who shows me steadfast love. ▤ 

Ps 86:12-13  I give thanks to you, O Lord my God, with my whole heart, and I will glorify your name forever. 13For great is your steadfast love toward me; you have delivered my soul from the depths of Sheol. ▤ 

Ps 107:1, 8  Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever! ▤ 8Let them thank the Lord for his steadfast love, for his wondrous works to the children of man! ▤ 

Ps 136:1-3, 26  Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever. 2Give thanks to the God of gods, for his steadfast love endures forever. 3Give thanks to the Lord of lords, for his steadfast love endures forever; ▤ 26Give thanks to the God of heaven, for his steadfast love endures forever. ▤ 

The refrain “his love endures forever” is repeated in each of this psalm’s 26 verses. It is likewise used as a refrain in 118:1-4.

Ezra 7:27-28a  Blessed be the Lord, the God of our fathers, who put such a thing as this into the heart of the king, to beautify the house of the Lord that is in Jerusalem, 28and who extended to me his steadfast love before the king and his counselors, and before all the king’s mighty officers. ▤ 

. . . along with God’s faithfulness

See also:

God’s love and faithfulness are often spoken of together in the OT, usually in the context of praise to God, as shown in a number of the passages here.

Ps 57:9-10  I will give thanks to you, O Lord, among the peoples; I will sing praises to you among the nations. 10For your steadfast love is great to the heavens, your faithfulness to the clouds. ▤ 

Ps 89:1-2, 5, 8  I will sing of the steadfast love of the Lord, forever; with my mouth I will make known your faithfulness to all generations. 2For I said, “Steadfast love will be built up forever; in the heavens you will establish your faithfulness.” ▤ 5Let the heavens praise your wonders, O Lord, your faithfulness in the assembly of the holy ones! ▤ 8O Lord God of hosts, who is mighty as you are, O Lord, with your faithfulness all around you? ▤ 

Verse 2a speaks of God’s steadfast love being established to last forever.

Ps 92:1-2  It is good to give thanks to the Lord, to sing praises to your name, O Most High; 2to declare your steadfast love in the morning, and your faithfulness by night, … ▤ 

Ps 100:4-5  Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise! Give thanks to him; bless his name! 5For the Lord is good; his steadfast love endures forever, and his faithfulness to all generations. ▤ 

Ps 115:1  Not to us, O Lord, not to us, but to your name give glory, for the sake of your steadfast love and your faithfulness! ▤ 

Ps 117:1-2  Praise the Lord, all nations! Extol him, all peoples! 2For great is his steadfast love toward us, and the faithfulness of the Lord endures forever. Praise the Lord! ▤ 

Ps 138:2  I bow down toward your holy temple and give thanks to your name for your steadfast love and your faithfulness, for you have exalted above all things your name and your word.r ▤ 

r Or you have exalted your word above all your name

David speaks of God demonstrating his love and faithfulness in helping David, by which he had exalted above all things his name and his word or promises.

Isa 25:1  O Lord, you are my God; I will exalt you; I will praise your name, for you have done wonderful things, plans formed of old, faithful and sure. ▤ 

Isa 38:19  The living, the living, he thanks you, as I do this day; the father makes known to the children your faithfulness. ▤ 

Gen 24:27  … and said, “Blessed be the Lord, the God of my master Abraham, who has not forsaken his steadfast love and his faithfulness toward my master. As for me, the Lord has led me in the way to the house of my master’s kinsmen.” ▤ 

1Ki 8:15, 56  And he said, “Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel, who with his hand has fulfilled what he promised with his mouth to David my father, saying, ▤ 56“Blessed be the Lord who has given rest to his people Israel, according to all that he promised. Not one word has failed of all his good promise, which he spoke by Moses his servant. ▤ 

God’s faithfulness is exemplified by him faithfully keeping his promises, for which Solomon blesses him.

  • Request that God’s name be given glory because of his love and faithfulness:

Ps 115:1  Not to us, O Lord, not to us, but to your name give glory, for the sake of your steadfast love and your faithfulness! ▤ 

God’s righteousness and justness

See also:

Judg 5:11a  To the sound of musicianss at the watering places, there they repeat the righteous triumphs of the Lord, the righteous triumphs of his villagers in Israel. ▤ 

s Or archers; the meaning of the Hebrew word is uncertain

Job 36:3  I will get my knowledge from afar and ascribe righteousness to my Maker. ▤ 

Ps 7:17  I will give to the Lord the thanks due to his righteousness, and I will sing praise to the name of the Lord, the Most High. ▤ 

Ps 71:15-16, 24  My mouth will tell of your righteous acts, of your deeds of salvation all the day, for their number is past my knowledge. 16With the mighty deeds of the Lord God I will come; I will remind them of your righteousness, yours alone. ▤ 24And my tongue will talk of your righteous help all the day long, for they have been put to shame and disappointed who sought to do me hurt. ▤ 

Ps 145:7  They shall pour forth the fame of your abundant goodness and shall sing aloud of your righteousness. ▤ 

Isa 24:16a  From the ends of the earth we hear songs of praise, of glory to the Righteous One. ▤ 

Ps 101:1  I will sing of steadfast love and justice; to you, O Lord, I will make music. ▤ 

Dan 4:37  Now I, Nebuchadnezzar, praise and extol and honor the King of heaven, for all his works are right and his ways are just; and those who walk in pride he is able to humble. ▤ 

Rev 15:3  And they sing the song of Moses, the servantt of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying, “Great and amazing are your deeds, O Lord God the Almighty! Just and true are your ways, O King of the nations!u ▤ 

t Greek bondservant

u Some manuscripts the ages

God’s mercy

See also:

Ps 103:2-5  Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits, 3who forgives all your iniquity, who heals all your diseases, 4who redeems your life from the pit, who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy, 5who satisfies you with good so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s. ▤ 

Rom 15:8-11  For I tell you that Christ became a servant to the circumcised to show God’s truthfulness, in order to confirm the promises given to the patriarchs, 9and in order that the Gentiles might glorify God for his mercy. As it is written, “Therefore I will praise you among the Gentiles, and sing to your name.” 10And again it is said, “Rejoice, O Gentiles, with his people.” 11And again, “Praise the Lord, all you Gentiles, and let all the peoples extol him.” ▤ 

Christ’s ministry to the Jews confirmed God’s promises to the patriarchs (v. 8) which included promises of blessings for all nations, including that of salvation through the Messiah. So the Gentiles can now glorify God for his mercy (v. 9a), praising him and rejoicing with the Jews over the fulfillment of such promises (vv. 9b-11).

1Pet 1:3  Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, … ▤ 

2Cor 1:3-4  Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, 4who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. ▤ 

God’s mercy is often manifested in comforting his people, as reflected in the following verse. As such, God’s comfort is another reason to exalt him, in conjunction with his mercy and compassion (cf. Isa 49:13 ).

Isa 49:13  Sing for joy, O heavens, and exult, O earth; break forth, O mountains, into singing! For the Lord has comforted his people and will have compassion on his afflicted. ▤ 

God’s goodness

See also:

Ps 54:6  With a freewill offering I will sacrifice to you; I will give thanks to your name, O Lord, for it is good. ▤ 

Ps 106:1  Praise the Lord! Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever! ▤ 

Note that the second exclamation (cf. Ps 136:1 ; 2Chr 5:13 ) occurs verbatim in 1 Chronicles 16:24, Psalm 107:1 and Psalm 118:1, 29.

Ps 135:3  Praise the Lord, for the Lord is good; sing to his name, for it is pleasant!v ▤ 

v Or for he is beautiful

Ps 136:1  Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever. ▤ 

2Chr 5:13  … and it was the duty of the trumpeters and singers to make themselves heard in unison in praise and thanksgiving to the Lord), and when the song was raised, with trumpets and cymbals and other musical instruments, in praise to the Lord, “For he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever,” the house, the house of the Lord, was filled with a cloud, … ▤ 

2Chr 6:41  And now arise, O Lord God, and go to your resting place, you and the ark of your might. Let your priests, O Lord God, be clothed with salvation, and let your saints rejoice in your goodness. ▤ 

Ps 145:7  They shall pour forth the fame of your abundant goodness and shall sing aloud of your righteousness. ▤ 

Pray for persecuted Christians

What God Does in the World

God’s deeds in general

See also:

Job 36:24  Remember to extol his work, of which men have sung. ▤ 

Ps 26:6-7  I wash my hands in innocence and go around your altar, O Lord, 7proclaiming thanksgiving aloud, and telling all your wondrous deeds. ▤ 

Ps 66:3-4  Say to God, “How awesome are your deeds! So great is your power that your enemies come cringing to you. 4All the earth worships you and sings praises to you; they sing praises to your name.” Selah ▤ 

Ps 72:18  Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel, who alone does wondrous things. ▤ 

Ps 92:4-5  For you, O Lord, have made me glad by your work; at the works of your hands I sing for joy. 5How great are your works, O Lord! Your thoughts are very deep! ▤ 

Ps 86:8-10  There is none like you among the gods, O Lord, nor are there any works like yours. 9All the nations you have made shall come and worship before you, O Lord, and shall glorify your name. 10For you are great and do wondrous things; you alone are God. ▤ 

Ps 138:5  … and they shall sing of the ways of the Lord, for great is the glory of the Lord. ▤ 

Isa 12:4-5  And you will say in that day: “Give thanks to the Lord, call upon his name, make known his deeds among the peoples, proclaim that his name is exalted. 5“Sing praises to the Lord, for he has done gloriously; let this be made knownw in all the earth. ▤ 

w Or this is made known

Isa 25:1  O Lord, you are my God; I will exalt you; I will praise your name, for you have done wonderful things, plans formed of old, faithful and sure. ▤ 

Rev 15:3-4  And they sing the song of Moses, the servantx of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying, “Great and amazing are your deeds, O Lord God the Almighty! Just and true are your ways, O King of the nations!y 4Who will not fear, O Lord, and glorify your name? For you alone are holy. All nations will come and worship you, for your righteous acts have been revealed.” ▤ 

x Greek bondservant

y Some manuscripts the ages

Verse 4 may well have in view people bringing glory to God because he is holy as shown by his deeds (v. 3), his “righteous acts” (v. 4).

Luke 19:37-38  As he was drawing near—already on the way down the Mount of Olives—the whole multitude of his disciples began to rejoice and praise God with a loud voice for all the mighty works that they had seen, 38saying, “Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord! Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!” ▤ 

God’s creative work

See also:

Rev 4:11  “Worthy are you, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they existed and were created.” ▤ 

Neh 9:5b-6  Blessed be your glorious name, which is exalted above all blessing and praise. 6 z “You are the Lord, you alone. You have made heaven, the heaven of heavens, with all their host, the earth and all that is on it, the seas and all that is in them; and you preserve all of them; and the host of heaven worships you. ▤ 

z Septuagint adds And Ezra said

Ps 136:3-9  Give thanks to the Lord of lords, for his steadfast love endures forever; 4to him who alone does great wonders, for his steadfast love endures forever; 5to him who by understanding made the heavens, for his steadfast love endures forever; 6to him who spread out the earth above the waters, for his steadfast love endures forever; 7to him who made the great lights, for his steadfast love endures forever; 8the sun to rule over the day, for his steadfast love endures forever; 9the moon and stars to rule over the night, for his steadfast love endures forever; … ▤ 

Ps 148:2-6  Praise him, all his angels; praise him, all his hosts! 3Praise him, sun and moon, praise him, all you shining stars! 4Praise him, you highest heavens, and you waters above the heavens! 5Let them praise the name of the Lord! For he commanded and they were created. 6And he established them forever and ever; he gave a decree, and it shall not pass away.a ▤ 

a Or it shall not be transgressed

Ps 95:2, 5-6  Let us come into his presence with thanksgiving; let us make a joyful noise to him with songs of praise! ▤ 5The sea is his, for he made it, and his hands formed the dry land. 6Oh come, let us worship and bow down; let us kneel before the Lord, our Maker! ▤ 

Note that the title “our Maker” may refer to God as the creator of the nation Israel, rather than actually to him as the creator of their beings.

Ps 71:6  Upon you I have leaned from before my birth; you are he who took me from my mother’s womb. My praise is continually of you. ▤ 

Ps 139:13-14  For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. 14I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.b Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. ▤ 

b Or for I am fearfully set apart

The phrase “your works” (v. 14b) is probably primarily at least a reference to God’s works of creation.

Ps 145:10  All your works shall give thanks to you, O Lord, and all your saints shall bless you! ▤ 

All that God has made will give thanks to him. The fact that he created them may well be primarily in view as the reason for giving thanks.

Rom 11:36  For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen. ▤ 

In this context “through him” either indicates that all things are created through him – in which case it ties in very closely with the preceding phrase “from him” – or that all things continue to exist through him.

Ps 65:8b  You make the going out of the morning and the evening to shout for joy. ▤ 

This suggests that God’s working of morning and evening give reason to rejoice.

  • Wisdom’s rejoicing over God’s creation:

Prov 8:30-31  [Wisdom:] … then I was beside him, like a master workman, and I was daily hisc delight, rejoicing before him always, 31rejoicing in his inhabited world and delighting in the children of man. ▤ 

c Or daily filled with

Wisdom is here personified and portrayed as delighting and rejoicing over God’s creation while participating in its formation.

God’s provision of water and food . . .

See also:

Ps 147:7-9  Sing to the Lord with thanksgiving; make melody to our God on the lyre! 8He covers the heavens with clouds; he prepares rain for the earth; he makes grass grow on the hills. 9He gives to the beasts their food, and to the young ravens that cry. ▤ 

Ps 136:25-26  … [It is] he who gives food to all flesh, for his steadfast love endures forever. 26Give thanks to the God of heaven, for his steadfast love endures forever. ▤ 

Ps 107:4-6, 8-9  Some wandered in desert wastes, finding no way to a city to dwell in; 5hungry and thirsty, their soul fainted within them. 6Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble, and he delivered them from their distress. ▤ 8Let them thank the Lord for his steadfast love, for his wondrous works to the children of man! 9For he satisfies the longing soul, and the hungry soul he fills with good things. ▤ 

Isa 43:20-21  The wild beasts will honor me, the jackals and the ostriches, for I give water in the wilderness, rivers in the desert, to give drink to my chosen people, 21the people whom I formed for myself that they might declare my praise. ▤ 

For comment, see Isa 43:20-21 – under Note: God has formed his people to bring himself praise and honor.

Joel 2:26  You shall eat in plenty and be satisfied, and praise the name of the Lord your God, who has dealt wondrously with you. And my people shall never again be put to shame. ▤ 

Mark 8:6  And he directed the crowd to sit down on the ground. And he took the seven loaves, and having given thanks, he broke them and gave them to his disciples to set before the people; and they set them before the crowd. ▤ 

Luke 22:17, 19  And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he said, “Take this, and divide it among yourselves. ▤ 19And he took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” ▤ 

Rom 14:6  The one who observes the day, observes it in honor of the Lord. The one who eats, eats in honor of the Lord, since he gives thanks to God, while the one who abstains, abstains in honor of the Lord and gives thanks to God. ▤ 

Irrespective of what foods one considers appropriate to eat or not to eat, one should give thanks to God for that which one does eat.

1Cor 10:30  If I partake with thankfulness, why am I denounced because of that for which I give thanks? ▤ 

The reference is to food that had been previously offered to idols (cf. v. 28).

1Tim 4:3-5  … who forbid marriage and require abstinence from foods that God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the truth. 4For everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving, 5for it is made holy by the word of God and prayer. ▤ 

Any food that is received with thanksgiving is holy and acceptable to God, and so the eating of it is also acceptable to him. In v. 5 “prayer” may well refer to saying grace before meals, and possibly “the word of God” may then denote Scripture used in the grace. The “word of God” has also been interpreted as referring to teaching in Scripture regarding food, and even as an allusion to God’s creative word.

. . . in which one should rejoice

Joel 2:23-24  Be glad, O children of Zion, and rejoice in the Lord your God, for he has given the early rain for your vindication; he has poured down for you abundant rain, the early and the latter rain, as before. 24“The threshing floors shall be full of grain; the vats shall overflow with wine and oil. ▤ 

Deut 12:7  And there you shall eat before the Lord your God, and you shall rejoice, you and your households, in all that you undertake, in which the Lord your God has blessed you. ▤ 

The Israelites were to rejoice in everything they had worked for, because God had blessed them in their work in obtaining food (cf. Deut 16:15 ).

Deut 16:13-15  You shall keep the Feast of Booths seven days, when you have gathered in the produce from your threshing floor and your winepress. 14You shall rejoice in your feast, you and your son and your daughter, your male servant and your female servant, the Levite, the sojourner, the fatherless, and the widow who are within your towns. 15For seven days you shall keep the feast to the Lord your God at the place that the Lord will choose, because the Lord your God will bless you in all your produce and in all the work of your hands, so that you will be altogether joyful. ▤ 

The Feast of Booths was in part to celebrate the fruit harvest before God, rejoicing in and acknowledging God’s provision.

Deut 26:9-11  And he brought us into this place and gave us this land, a land flowing with milk and honey. 10And behold, now I bring the first of the fruit of the ground, which you, O Lord, have given me.’ And you shall set it down before the Lord your God and worship before the Lord your God. 11And you shall rejoice in all the good that the Lord your God has given to you and to your house, you, and the Levite, and the sojourner who is among you. ▤ 

Jer 31:12  They shall come and sing aloud on the height of Zion, and they shall be radiant over the goodness of the Lord, over the grain, the wine, and the oil, and over the young of the flock and the herd; their life shall be like a watered garden, and they shall languish no more. ▤ 

Such radiance is indicative of great joy.

  • Bless God for good land that produces food:

Deut 8:10  And you shall eat and be full, and you shall bless the Lord your God for the good land he has given you. ▤ 

God’s reign

See also:

1Chr 29:11-13  Yours, O Lord, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the victory and the majesty, for all that is in the heavens and in the earth is yours. Yours is the kingdom, O Lord, and you are exalted as head above all. 12Both riches and honor come from you, and you rule over all. In your hand are power and might, and in your hand it is to make great and to give strength to all. 13And now we thank you, our God, and praise your glorious name. ▤ 

Job 1:20-21  Then Job arose and tore his robe and shaved his head and fell on the ground and worshiped. 21And he said, “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return. The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.” ▤ 

In his incredible anguish, Job blesses God for his sovereignty displayed in Job’s circumstances (v. 21); one of the most riveting verses in the Bible.

Ps 47:1-2, 7-9  Clap your hands, all peoples! Shout to God with loud songs of joy! 2For the Lord, the Most High, is to be feared, a great king over all the earth. ▤ 7For God is the King of all the earth; sing praises with a psalm!d 8God reigns over the nations; God sits on his holy throne. 9The princes of the peoples gather as the people of the God of Abraham. For the shields of the earth belong to God; he is highly exalted! ▤ 

d Hebrew maskil

Verse 9 speaks of the leaders of the earth (cf. NCV, NIV, NLT) and/or their weapons/power as belonging to God, emphatically affirming his reign.

Ps 67:4  Let the nations be glad and sing for joy, for you judge the peoples with equity and guide the nations upon earth. Selah ▤ 

Rejoice in and exalt God not just because he reigns supreme but, as indicated here, also because of how he reigns.

Ps 136:2-3  Give thanks to the God of gods, for his steadfast love endures forever. 3Give thanks to the Lord of lords, for his steadfast love endures forever; … ▤ 

This implies that as God is sovereign over all other authorities, we should give thanks to him – thanking him for such things as all he does and all we have within and because of his reign.

Ps 145:1, 10-13a  I will extol you, my God and King, and bless your name forever and ever. ▤ 10All your works shall give thanks to you, O Lord, and all your saints shall bless you! 11They shall speak of the glory of your kingdom and tell of your power, 12to make known to the children of man youre mighty deeds, and the glorious splendor of your kingdom. 13Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and your dominion endures throughout all generations. ▤ 

e Hebrew his; also next line

Note that this shows that the realm of God’s kingdom includes the world, in which are seen many of his mighty acts.

Ps 146:10  The Lord will reign forever, your God, O Zion, to all generations. Praise the Lord! ▤ 

Ps 149:2  Let Israel be glad in his Maker; let the children of Zion rejoice in their King! ▤ 

Dan 4:34-35  At the end of the days I, Nebuchadnezzar, lifted my eyes to heaven, and my reason returned to me, and I blessed the Most High, and praised and honored him who lives forever, for his dominion is an everlasting dominion, and his kingdom endures from generation to generation; 35all the inhabitants of the earth are accounted as nothing, and he does according to his will among the host of heaven and among the inhabitants of the earth; and none can stay his hand or say to him, “What have you done?” ▤ 

1Tim 6:15-16  … which he will display at the proper time—he who is the blessed and only Sovereign, the King of kings and Lord of lords, 16who alone has immortality, who dwells in unapproachable light, whom no one has ever seen or can see. To him be honor and eternal dominion. Amen. ▤ 

1Pet 5:11  To him be the dominion forever and ever. Amen. ▤ 

Jude 1:25  … to the only God, our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen. ▤ 

Rev 11:15-17  Then the seventh angel blew his trumpet, and there were loud voices in heaven, saying, “The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ, and he shall reign forever and ever.” 16And the twenty-four elders who sit on their thrones before God fell on their faces and worshiped God, 17saying, “We give thanks to you, Lord God Almighty, who is and who was, for you have taken your great power and begun to reign. ▤ 

For comment, see Rev 11:15-17 – under God will impose his absolute rule on all.

Rev 19:6  Then I heard what seemed to be the voice of a great multitude, like the roar of many waters and like the sound of mighty peals of thunder, crying out, “Hallelujah! For the Lord our God the Almighty reigns. ▤ 

1Chr 16:31  Let the heavens be glad, and let the earth rejoice, and let them say among the nations, “The Lord reigns!” ▤ 

Ps 97:1  The Lord reigns, let the earth rejoice; let the many coastlands be glad! ▤ 

  • Exalt him as your God:

Ps 118:28  You are my God, and I will give thanks to you; you are my God; I will extol you. ▤ 

Similarly Exodus 15:2 says, “… this is my God, and I will praise him, my father’s God, and I will exalt him.”

God’s word . . .

See also:

Ps 56:4, 10  In God, whose word I praise, in God I trust; I shall not be afraid. What can flesh do to me? ▤ 10In God, whose word I praise, in the Lord, whose word I praise, … ▤ 

Ps 119:48, 54, 62, 111, 162, 164, 171-172  I will lift up my hands toward your commandments, which I love, and I will meditate on your statutes. ▤ 54Your statutes have been my songs in the house of my sojourning. ▤ 62At midnight I rise to praise you, because of your righteous rules. ▤ 111Your testimonies are my heritage forever, for they are the joy of my heart. ▤ 162I rejoice at your word like one who finds great spoil. ▤ 164Seven times a day I praise you for your righteous rules. ▤ 171My lips will pour forth praise, for you teach me your statutes. 172My tongue will sing of your word, for all your commandments are right. ▤ 

Characteristically, joy and rejoicing (vv. 111, 162) accompany praise. In v. 48, the expression “I will lift up my hands towards” may be indicative of praise (cf. NCV), or similarly respect (cf. GNT, CEV).

Ps 138:4  All the kings of the earth shall give you thanks, O Lord, for they have heard the words of your mouth, … ▤ 

The “words of your mouth” probably refers to God’s promises (cf. AMP, CEV, GNT, NIrV).

Acts 13:47-48  For so the Lord has commanded us, saying, “‘I have made you a light for the Gentiles, that you may bring salvation to the ends of the earth.’” 48And when the Gentiles heard this, they began rejoicing and glorifying the word of the Lord, and as many as were appointed to eternal life believed. ▤ 

. . . and the spreading of the gospel

See also:

Acts 11:12-18  And the Spirit told me to go with them, making no distinction. These six brothers also accompanied me, and we entered the man’s house. 13And he told us how he had seen the angel stand in his house and say, ‘Send to Joppa and bring Simon who is called Peter; 14he will declare to you a message by which you will be saved, you and all your household.’ 15As I began to speak, the Holy Spirit fell on them just as on us at the beginning. 16And I remembered the word of the Lord, how he said, ‘John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.’ 17If then God gave the same gift to them as he gave to us when we believed in the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I that I could stand in God’s way?” 18When they heard these things they fell silent. And they glorified God, saying, “Then to the Gentiles also God has granted repentance that leads to life.” ▤ 

Note that glorifying of God for the extension of salvation to the Gentiles is also apparent in 13:47-48 in the previous subsection and 21:19-20a below.

Acts 21:19-20a  After greeting them, he related one by one the things that God had done among the Gentiles through his ministry. 20And when they heard it, they glorified God. ▤ 

2Cor 2:14  But thanks be to God, who in Christ always leads us in triumphal procession, and through us spreads the fragrance of the knowledge of him everywhere. ▤ 

Paul alludes to the practice of victorious Roman generals leading their soldiers and captives in a triumphant procession, where the air was filled with sweet aroma, to portray God triumphantly spreading the gospel through him in Christ.

2Cor 4:15  For it is all for your sake, so that as grace extends to more and more people it may increase thanksgiving, to the glory of God. ▤ 

Paul speaks of God’s grace producing great thanksgiving, as it touches the lives of more and more people in bringing salvation through the gospel.

Phil 1:18a  What then? Only that in every way, whether in pretense or in truth, Christ is proclaimed, and in that I rejoice. ▤ 

1Thes 2:13  And we also thank God constantlyf for this, that when you received the word of God, which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of men but as what it really is, the word of God, which is at work in you believers. ▤ 

f Or without ceasing

Rom 6:17  But thanks be to God, that you who were once slaves of sin have become obedient from the heart to the standard of teaching to which you were committed, … ▤ 

Here Paul appears to be giving thanks to God for the Roman believers’ adherence to Christian teaching, subsequent to their conversion.

God’s judgments

See also:

The following verses largely speak of exalting God for his judgments because of their justice and/or their awesomeness.

Ps 9:2-4  I will be glad and exult in you; I will sing praise to your name, O Most High. 3When my enemies turn back, they stumble and perish beforeg your presence. 4For you have maintained my just cause; you have sat on the throne, giving righteous judgment. ▤ 

g Or because of

Ps 67:4-5  Let the nations be glad and sing for joy, for you judge the peoples with equity and guide the nations upon earth. Selah 5Let the peoples praise you, O God; let all the peoples praise you! ▤ 

Ps 76:8-10  From the heavens you uttered judgment; the earth feared and was still, 9when God arose to establish judgment, to save all the humble of the earth. Selah 10Surely the wrath of man shall praise you; the remnanth of wrath you will put on like a belt. ▤ 

h Or extremity

The meaning of the Hebrew in v. 10 is unclear. Quite possibly the first clause is meaning that God’s judgment (v. 9) against “the wrath of man” will bring him praise (cf. GNT, NRSV).

Ps 96:10-13  Say among the nations, “The Lord reigns! Yes, the world is established; it shall never be moved; he will judge the peoples with equity.” 11Let the heavens be glad, and let the earth rejoice; let the sea roar, and all that fills it; 12let the field exult, and everything in it! Then shall all the trees of the forest sing for joy 13before the Lord, for he comes, for he comes to judge the earth. He will judge the world in righteousness, and the peoples in his faithfulness. ▤ 

Here and in 98:8-9 immediately below, creation is poetically called upon to rejoice and sing because of God’s righteous judgment. The implication is that all people everywhere should rejoice and sing as such.

Ps 98:8-9  Let the rivers clap their hands; let the hills sing for joy together 9before the Lord, for he comes to judge the earth. He will judge the world with righteousness, and the peoples with equity. ▤ 

Ps 48:11  Let Mount Zion be glad! Let the daughters of Judah rejoice because of your judgments! ▤ 

Rev 14:7  And he said with a loud voice, “Fear God and give him glory, because the hour of his judgment has come, and worship him who made heaven and earth, the sea and the springs of water.” ▤ 

Rev 19:1-3  After this I heard what seemed to be the loud voice of a great multitude in heaven, crying out, “Hallelujah! Salvation and glory and power belong to our God, 2for his judgments are true and just; for he has judged the great prostitute who corrupted the earth with her immorality, and has avenged on her the blood of his servants.”i 3Once more they cried out, “Hallelujah! The smoke from her goes up forever and ever.” ▤ 

i Greek bondservants; also verse 5

The “great prostitute” (v. 2) is “Babylon the great” (18:2), which is usually understood to represent either ancient Rome, ungodly world powers in general, or a future ungodly city of great influence.

Deut 32:43  “Rejoice with him, O heavens; bow down to him, all gods,j for he avenges the blood of his childrenk and takes vengeance on his adversaries. He repays those who hate himl and cleansesm his people’s land.”n ▤ 

j Dead Sea Scroll, Septuagint; Masoretic Text Rejoice his people, O nations

k Dead Sea Scroll, Septuagint; Masoretic Text servants

l Dead Sea Scroll, Septuagint; Masoretic Text lacks He repays those who hate him

m Or atones for

n Septuagint, Vulgate; Hebrew his land his people

This and the following references do not refer explicitly to “judgment”, but they are obviously examples of God’s judgment and the joy and/or the glorifying of God that it inspires.

Isa 25:2-3  For you have made the city a heap, the fortified city a ruin; the foreigners’ palace is a city no more; it will never be rebuilt. 3Therefore strong peoples will glorify you; cities of ruthless nations will fear you. ▤ 

Rev 11:13  And at that hour there was a great earthquake, and a tenth of the city fell. Seven thousand people were killed in the earthquake, and the rest were terrified and gave glory to the God of heaven. ▤ 

Note that these survivors had been ungodly people. Commentators differ over whether their giving glory to God was an indication of genuine repentance.

Pray for persecuted Christians

What God Does for His People

See also:

God’s great deeds for his people

See also:

Deut 10:21  He is your praise. He is your God, who has done for you these great and terrifying things that your eyes have seen. ▤ 

Ps 66:4-5  All the earth worships you and sings praises to you; they sing praises to your name.” Selah 5Come and see what God has done: he is awesome in his deeds toward the children of man. ▤ 

Here and in 107:31-32 below, “the children of man” refers to people of God. Here the crossing of the Red Sea and possibly also the crossing of the Jordan are in view in particular (cf. v. 6).

Ps 107:31-32  Let them thank the Lord for his steadfast love, for his wondrous works to the children of man! 32Let them extol him in the congregation of the people, and praise him in the assembly of the elders. ▤ 

Isa 63:7  I will recount the steadfast love of the Lord, the praises of the Lord, according to all that the Lord has granted us, and the great goodness to the house of Israel that he has granted them according to his compassion, according to the abundance of his steadfast love. ▤ 

Joel 2:21, 26  Fear not, O land; be glad and rejoice, for the Lord has done great things! ▤ 26“You shall eat in plenty and be satisfied, and praise the name of the Lord your God, who has dealt wondrously with you. And my people shall never again be put to shame. ▤ 

Luke 1:46-49  And Mary said, “My soul magnifies the Lord, 47and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, 48for he has looked on the humble estate of his servant. For behold, from now on all generations will call me blessed; 49for he who is mighty has done great things for me, and holy is his name. ▤ 

Ps 126:3  The Lord has done great things for us; we are glad. ▤ 

  • The people’s rejoicing at God carry out something suddenly for his people:

2Chr 29:36  And Hezekiah and all the people rejoiced because God had prepared for the people, for the thing came about suddenly. ▤ 

The reference here is to the re-establishment of the service of the temple of the Lord (cf. v. 35).

God’s salvation through Jesus Christ and the associated blessings . . .

See also:

Note that salvation is not specifically mentioned in most of the following passages, but each passage does speak of at least one aspect of salvation.

Luke 1:68-69  Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, for he has visited and redeemed his people 69and has raised up a horn of salvation for us in the house of his servant David, … ▤ 

Luke 2:10-12, 16, 20  And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. 11For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. 12And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.” ▤ 16And they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in a manger. ▤ 20And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them. ▤ 

The fact that the shepherds found the child as they had been told (vv. 16, 20b) was a sign to them (v. 12) affirming the truth of the rest of the angel’s message (v. 11). As such they glorified and praised God for what had been made known to them concerning this savior (v. 20).

Rom 7:23-25a  … but I see in my members another law waging war against the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members. 24Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? 25Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! ▤ 

For comment on “body of death” (v. 24), see Rom 7:23-25 – under Jesus Christ’s death sets us free from sin’s control . . ..

1Cor 15:54-57  When the perishable puts on the imperishable, and the mortal puts on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written: “Death is swallowed up in victory.” 55“O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?” 56The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. 57But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. ▤ 

Death gets its “power to hurt” (GNT, NCV) from sin, which in turn is empowered by the law’s condemnation of people who commit sin (v. 56). But through Jesus Christ believers are given victory over death (vv. 54-55), a key aspect of salvation.

2Cor 9:15  Thanks be to God for his inexpressible gift! ▤ 

This “inexpressible gift” is most probably a reference to Jesus Christ, reflective of the salvation that comes through him.

Gal 1:3-5  Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ, 4who gave himself for our sins to deliver us from the present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father, 5to whom be the glory forever and ever. Amen. ▤ 

Eph 1:3-6, 13-14  Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, 4even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love 5he predestined uso for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, 6to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved. ▤ 13In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, 14who is the guaranteep of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it,q to the praise of his glory. ▤ 

o Or before him in love, having predestined us

p Or down payment

q Or until God redeems his possession

The phrase “in the heavenly places” (v. 3) may be indicating that the blessings spoken of are ones that we will experience in the afterlife. Alternatively, the phrase is possibly emphasizing the heavenly and eternal dimension of spiritual blessings that we have now. Note that blessings associated with God’s salvation are prominent in this and the following verses.

Col 1:11-12  May you be strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy, 12giving thanksr to the Father, who has qualified yous to share in the inheritance of the saints in light. ▤ 

r Or patience, with joy giving thanks

s Some manuscripts us

Heb 12:28  Therefore let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, and thus let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe, … ▤ 

1Pet 2:9  But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. ▤ 

Jude 1:24-25  Now to him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy, 25to the only God, our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen. ▤ 

. . . in which we should rejoice

See also:

Zec 9:9  Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout aloud, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your king is coming to you; righteous and having salvation is he, humble and mounted on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey. ▤ 

The people were called on to rejoice in view of the coming of the Messiah, who would bring salvation.

1Pet 1:3-6, 8-9  Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, 5who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. 6In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, ▤ 8Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, 9obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls. ▤ 

Note that v. 3 speaks of how through Jesus Christ’s resurrection God has brought believers into a “living hope” (v. 3). This is a hope of such things as their own resurrection and inheritance (v. 4), which are aspects of the salvation to be consummated in “the last time” (v. 5).

Rom 5:11  More than that, we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation. ▤ 

The reason given for rejoicing here is our reconciliation with God, a key aspect of our salvation.

Luke 10:20  Nevertheless, do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven. ▤ 

Rom 5:2  Through him we have also obtained access by faitht into this grace in which we stand, and weu rejoicev in hope of the glory of God. ▤ 

t Some manuscripts omit by faith

u Or let us; also verse 3

v Or boast; also verses 3, 11

The “hope of the glory of God” refers to the hope of “sharing God’s glory” (GNT, NCV, NLT).

  • Future rejoicing and glorifying of God for the wedding of the lamb:

Rev 19:7  Let us rejoice and exult and give him the glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and his Bride has made herself ready; … ▤ 

The bride represents God’s people, ready to be brought into a consummate relationship with Jesus Christ, the “Lamb”.

God’s deliverance from difficulties . . .

See also:

Ex 15:1-2  Then Moses and the people of Israel sang this song to the Lord, saying, “I will sing to the Lord, for he has triumphed gloriously; the horse and his riderw he has thrown into the sea. 2The Lord is my strength and my song, and he has become my salvation; this is my God, and I will praise him, my father’s God, and I will exalt him. ▤ 

w Or its chariot; also verse 21

The “horse and his rider” (v. 1b) refers to the enemy Egyptian forces.

Ps 18:46-49  The Lord lives, and blessed be my rock, and exalted be the God of my salvation— 47the God who gave me vengeance and subdued peoples under me, 48who delivered me from my enemies; yes, you exalted me above those who rose against me; you rescued me from the man of violence. 49For this I will praise you, O Lord, among the nations, and sing to your name. ▤ 

Ps 40:16  But may all who seek you rejoice and be glad in you; may those who love your salvation say continually, “Great is the Lord!” ▤ 

Ps 44:7-8  But you have saved us from our foes and have put to shame those who hate us. 8In God we have boasted continually, and we will give thanks to your name forever. Selah ▤ 

Ps 54:6-7  With a freewill offering I will sacrifice to you; I will give thanks to your name, O Lord, for it is good. 7For he has delivered me from every trouble, and my eye has looked in triumph on my enemies. ▤ 

Ps 56:12-13  I must perform my vows to you, O God; I will render thank offerings to you. 13For you have delivered my soul from death, yes, my feet from falling, that I may walk before God in the light of life. ▤ 

Ps 96:2  Sing to the Lord, bless his name; tell of his salvation from day to day. ▤ 

Ps 98:1  Oh sing to the Lord a new song, for he has done marvelous things! His right hand and his holy arm have worked salvation for him. ▤ 

Ps 107:18-22  … they loathed any kind of food, and they drew near to the gates of death. 19Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble, and he delivered them from their distress. 20He sent out his word and healed them, and delivered them from their destruction. 21Let them thank the Lord for his steadfast love, for his wondrous works to the children of man! 22And let them offer sacrifices of thanksgiving, and tell of his deeds in songs of joy! ▤ 

This psalm contains cycles, each of which describe: hardship; cries to God for help; God’s deliverance; and calls to give thanks to God for his deliverance. A longer excerpt is included in Praise and thank God when he answers prayer made in hard times.

Isa 38:20  The Lord will save me, and we will play my music on stringed instruments all the days of our lives, at the house of the Lord. ▤ 

Isa 44:23  Sing, O heavens, for the Lord has done it; shout, O depths of the earth; break forth into singing, O mountains, O forest, and every tree in it! For the Lord has redeemed Jacob, and will be glorifiedx in Israel. ▤ 

x Or will display his beauty

Isa 51:3  For the Lord comforts Zion; he comforts all her waste places and makes her wilderness like Eden, her desert like the garden of the Lord; joy and gladness will be found in her, thanksgiving and the voice of song. ▤ 

The joy, gladness, thanksgiving and singing in Zion are undoubtedly focused on God in response to his comfort in restoring her.

Isa 52:9-10  Break forth together into singing, you waste places of Jerusalem, for the Lord has comforted his people; he has redeemed Jerusalem. 10The Lord has bared his holy arm before the eyes of all the nations, and all the ends of the earth shall see the salvation of our God. ▤ 

Jer 20:13  Sing to the Lord; praise the Lord! For he has delivered the life of the needy from the hand of evildoers. ▤ 

Luke 5:24-25  But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins”—he said to the man who was paralyzed—“I say to you, rise, pick up your bed and go home.” 25And immediately he rose up before them and picked up what he had been lying on and went home, glorifying God. ▤ 

Acts 3:6-8  But Peter said, “I have no silver and gold, but what I do have I give to you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk!” 7And he took him by the right hand and raised him up, and immediately his feet and ankles were made strong. 8And leaping up he stood and began to walk, and entered the temple with them, walking and leaping and praising God. ▤ 

Acts 4:21-22  And when they had further threatened them, they let them go, finding no way to punish them, because of the people, for all were praising God for what had happened. 22For the man on whom this sign of healing was performed was more than forty years old. ▤ 

2Tim 4:18  The Lord will rescue me from every evil deed and bring me safely into his heavenly kingdom. To him be the glory forever and ever. Amen. ▤ 

. . . in which we should rejoice and exult

See also:

Ex 18:9  And Jethro rejoiced for all the good that the Lord had done to Israel, in that he had delivered them out of the hand of the Egyptians. ▤ 

1Sam 2:1  And Hannah prayed and said, “My heart exults in the Lord; my strengthy is exalted in the Lord. My mouth derides my enemies, because I rejoice in your salvation. ▤ 

y Hebrew horn

Ps 5:11  But let all who take refuge in you rejoice; let them ever sing for joy, and spread your protection over them, that those who love your name may exult in you. ▤ 

God’s protection, effectively delivering from harm, gives good reason to rejoice.

Ps 21:1  O Lord, in your strength the king rejoices, and in your salvation how greatly he exults! ▤ 

Ps 35:9-10  Then my soul will rejoice in the Lord, exulting in his salvation. 10All my bones shall say, “O Lord, who is like you, delivering the poor from him who is too strong for him, the poor and needy from him who robs him?” ▤ 

Ps 63:9-11  But those who seek to destroy my life shall go down into the depths of the earth; 10they shall be given over to the power of the sword; they shall be a portion for jackals. 11But the king shall rejoice in God; all who swear by him shall exult, for the mouths of liars will be stopped. ▤ 

Ps 66:6  He turned the sea into dry land; they passed through the river on foot. There did we rejoice in him, … ▤ 

Ps 118:15-16, 24  Glad songs of salvation are in the tents of the righteous: “The right hand of the Lord does valiantly, 16the right hand of the Lord exalts, the right hand of the Lord does valiantly!” ▤ 24This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it. ▤ 

The expression “the Lord does valiantly” (vv. 15-16) and the resultant “day the Lord has made” (v. 24) speak of the “salvation” (v. 15a) that he had brought about for his people (cf. v. 21).

Ps 149:4-5  For the Lord takes pleasure in his people; he adorns the humble with salvation. 5Let the godly exult in glory; let them sing for joy on their beds. ▤ 

The “glory” (v. 5) is associated with the “salvation” that God has adorned them with (v. 4).

Isa 25:9  It will be said on that day, “Behold, this is our God; we have waited for him, that he might save us. This is the Lord; we have waited for him; let us be glad and rejoice in his salvation.” ▤ 

Isa 29:19-20  The meek shall obtain fresh joy in the Lord, and the poor among mankind shall exult in the Holy One of Israel. 20For the ruthless shall come to nothing and the scoffer cease, and all who watch to do evil shall be cut off, … ▤ 

This is taken from prophecies of future restoration for Israel.

Isa 61:10  I will greatly rejoice in the Lord; my soul shall exult in my God, for he has clothed me with the garments of salvation; he has covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decks himself like a priest with a beautiful headdress, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels. ▤ 

Although a number of commentators think it is being used in its usual sense as speaking of living righteously, here “righteousness” may be referring to righting what is wrong. If this is the case, then “he has covered me with the robe of righteousness”, like the clause preceding it, also refers to God’s salvation.

Phil 1:18b-19  Yes, and I will rejoice, 19for I know that through your prayers and the help of the Spirit of Jesus Christ this will turn out for my deliverance, … ▤ 

God’s strength for his people

See also:

Ps 68:35  Awesome is God from hisz sanctuary; the God of Israel—he is the one who gives power and strength to his people. Blessed be God! ▤ 

z Septuagint; Hebrew your

1Pet 5:10-11  And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you. 11To him be the dominion forever and ever. Amen. ▤ 

In apparent praise of God – for his strengthening (v. 10) – in v. 11 Peter ascribes dominion to God, acknowledging God’s sovereignty, and in a sense expressing the desire and/or belief that it will belong to God forever.

Ex 15:2  The Lord is my strength and my song, and he has become my salvation; this is my God, and I will praise him, my father’s God, and I will exalt him. ▤ 

The description of the Lord as “my strength and my song” appears to speak of the strength that God gives as leading to praise of him in song.

Ps 28:7  The Lord is my strength and my shield; in him my heart trusts, and I am helped; my heart exults, and with my song I give thanks to him. ▤ 

David calls God “my strength” (cf. Ex 15:2a ; Ps 59:17 ; Hab 3:19 ; cf. Ps 81:1 ) for the strength of God’s people lies in God’s strength.

Ps 59:17  O my Strength, I will sing praises to you, for you, O God, are my fortress, the God who shows me steadfast love. ▤ 

Ps 81:1  Sing aloud to God our strength; shout for joy to the God of Jacob! ▤ 

Hab 3:18-19a  … yet I will rejoice in the Lord; I will take joy in the God of my salvation. 19God, the Lord, is my strength; he makes my feet like the deer’s; he makes me tread on my high places. ▤ 

Ps 147:12-13  Praise the Lord, O Jerusalem! Praise your God, O Zion! 13For he strengthens the bars of your gates; he blesses your children within you. ▤ 

  • David’s blessing of God for helping and protecting him:

Ps 144:1-2  Blessed be the Lord, my rock, who trains my hands for war, and my fingers for battle; 2he is my steadfast love and my fortress, my stronghold and my deliverer, my shield and he in whom I take refuge, who subdues peoplesa under me. ▤ 

a Many Hebrew manuscripts, Dead Sea Scroll, Jerome, Syriac, Aquila; most Hebrew manuscripts subdues my people

Further things that God does for his people

See also:

Gen 24:48  Then I bowed my head and worshiped the Lord and blessed the Lord, the God of my master Abraham, who had led me by the right wayb to take the daughter of my master’s kinsman for his son. ▤ 

b Or faithfully

This illustrates that we should bless God for his guidance.

Ezra 7:27-28a  Blessed be the Lord, the God of our fathers, who put such a thing as this into the heart of the king, to beautify the house of the Lord that is in Jerusalem, 28and who extended to me his steadfast love before the king and his counselors, and before all the king’s mighty officers. ▤ 

Ezra blessed God for moving the king to greatly assist him in his work for God. Like Ezra we should praise God for his help in our service of him.

1Ki 8:56  Blessed be the Lord who has given rest to his people Israel, according to all that he promised. Not one word has failed of all his good promise, which he spoke by Moses his servant. ▤ 

Ps 16:7-9  I bless the Lord who gives me counsel; in the night also my heart instructs me.c 8I have set the Lord always before me; because he is at my right hand, I shall not be shaken. 9Therefore my heart is glad, and my whole beingd rejoices; my flesh also dwells secure. ▤ 

c Hebrew my kidneys instruct me

d Hebrew my glory

Ps 52:8-9  But I am like a green olive tree in the house of God. I trust in the steadfast love of God forever and ever. 9I will thank you forever, because you have done it. I will wait for your name, for it is good, in the presence of the godly. ▤ 

In v. 9, David appears to have his own blessed state at least partly in view – as depicted by the flourishing olive tree imagery (v. 8) – in speaking of thanking God for what he has done. As such, David speaks of thanking God for his blessing of him.

Ps 103:2-5  Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits, 3who forgives all your iniquity, who heals all your diseases, 4who redeems your life from the pit, who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy, 5who satisfies you with good so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s. ▤ 

Ps 119:171  My lips will pour forth praise, for you teach me your statutes. ▤ 

Isa 12:1  Youe will say in that day: “I will give thanks to you, O Lord, for though you were angry with me, your anger turned away, that you might comfort me. ▤ 

e The Hebrew for you is singular in verse 1

Isa 26:12-13  O Lord, you will ordain peace for us, for you have indeed done for us all our works. 13O Lord our God, other lords besides you have ruled over us, but your name alone we bring to remembrance. ▤ 

Matt 11:25  At that time Jesus declared, “I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that you have hidden these things from the wise and understanding and revealed them to little children; … ▤ 

The “things” (v. 25) probably primarily refers to the significance of Jesus’ mission and matters of the kingdom. The term “little children” refers to those who like a child are humble, unassuming and unlearned but open to being taught.

1Tim 1:12  I thank him who has given me strength, Christ Jesus our Lord, because he judged me faithful, appointing me to his service, … ▤ 

James 5:13  Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray. Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing praise. ▤ 

When we are cheerful we should praise God for such happiness and the reasons for it, which generally are things God has done for us.

  • Believing in God gives reason to rejoice:

Acts 16:34  Then he brought them up into his house and set food before them. And he rejoiced along with his entire household that he had believed in God. ▤ 

Pray for persecuted Christians

Epilogue: God’s Vast Blessing of His People

See also:

The previous section spoke of some of the wonderful things that God does or has done for his people – in the context of exalting God. This section emphasizes the vastness of God’s blessing of his people. The verses in this section generally do not explicitly speak of exalting God because of his vast blessings, but obviously they are readily applicable and adaptable to doing so.

Note that references to blessings in verses from the OT often have material blessings primarily in view. In contrast NT verses primarily speak of spiritual blessings, reflecting one of the differences between the old and new covenants. The OT promises of material blessings can be applied in a spiritual sense to believers in the present life and also the afterlife.

God and Jesus Christ greatly bless their people . . .

See also:

Deut 7:14a  You shall be blessed above all peoples. ▤ 

Ps 13:6  I will sing to the Lord, because he has dealt bountifully with me. ▤ 

Ps 65:4  Blessed is the one you choose and bring near, to dwell in your courts! We shall be satisfied with the goodness of your house, the holiness of your temple! ▤ 

The “goodness of your house” may refer to – and is at least applicable to – the spiritual blessings that come from God’s presence, where one can have communion with God.

Ps 115:12-13  The Lord has remembered us; he will bless us; he will bless the house of Israel; he will bless the house of Aaron; 13he will bless those who fear the Lord, both the small and the great. ▤ 

Ps 132:15  I will abundantly bless her provisions; I will satisfy her poor with bread. ▤ 

Similarly in Genesis 24:35 Abraham’s servant says, “The Lord has blessed my master abundantly…”

Mal 3:10  Bring the full tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. And thereby put me to the test, says the Lord of hosts, if I will not open the windows of heaven for you and pour down for you a blessing until there is no more need. ▤ 

Luke 18:29-30  And he said to them, “Truly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or wife or brothersf or parents or children, for the sake of the kingdom of God, 30who will not receive many times more in this time, and in the age to come eternal life.” ▤ 

f Or wife or brothers and sisters

Rom 10:12  For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, bestowing his riches on all who call on him. ▤ 

2Cor 8:9  For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you by his poverty might become rich. ▤ 

Eph 3:8  To me, though I am the very least of all the saints, this grace was given, to preach to the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ, … ▤ 

Paul preached to the Gentiles about “the endless treasures available to them in Christ” (NLT).

2Chr 25:7-9  But a man of God came to him and said, “O king, do not let the army of Israel go with you, for the Lord is not with Israel, with all these Ephraimites. 8But go, act, be strong for the battle. Why should you suppose that God will cast you down before the enemy? For God has power to help or to cast down.” 9And Amaziah said to the man of God, “But what shall we do about the hundred talents that I have given to the army of Israel?” The man of God answered, “The Lord is able to give you much more than this.” ▤ 

Gen 12:2-3  And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing. 3I will bless those who bless you, and him who dishonors you I will curse, and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”g ▤ 

g Or by you all the families of the earth shall bless themselves

This wonderful blessing of God for Abraham, including God’s blessing of others through him, arguably has an application to Abraham’s spiritual descendants – as often do other blessings bestowed on persons of God. Note that Numbers 24:9b – spoken of in regard to Israel – echoes v. 3a: “Blessed are those who bless you, and cursed are those who curse you.”

. . . God bestows much favor on his people

Deut 33:23  And of Naphtali he said, “O Naphtali, sated with favor, and full of the blessing of the Lord, possess the lakeh and the south.” ▤ 

h Or west

Ps 5:12  For you bless the righteous, O Lord; you cover him with favor as with a shield. ▤ 

Ps 30:5  For his anger is but for a moment, and his favor is for a lifetime.i Weeping may tarry for the night, but joy comes with the morning. ▤ 

i Or and in his favor is life

Ps 102:13  You will arise and have pity on Zion; it is the time to favor her; the appointed time has come. ▤ 

This speaks of a time of deliverance for Jerusalem.

Luke 1:30  And the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. ▤ 

Luke 4:18-19  “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed, 19to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” ▤ 

This quotation is from Isaiah 61:1-2 where it initially had the Israelite’s release from the Babylonian exile in view. Here Jesus applies it to his mission. As such it speaks of the salvation that God grants through him. The phrase “liberty to the captives” (v. 18b) is understood by many here in the context of Jesus’ ministry to refer to release from sin; the clause “set at liberty those who are oppressed” (v. 18b) possibly also alludes to this.

Acts 7:45b-46  So it was until the days of David, 46who found favor in the sight of God and asked to find a dwelling place for the God of Jacob.j ▤ 

j Some manuscripts for the house of Jacob

  • Blessed are those whose God is the Lord:

Ps 144:15  Blessed are the people to whom such blessings fall! Blessed are the people whose God is the Lord! ▤ 

God does many good and great things for his people

See also:

The verses in this subsection highlight that the things God does for his people (in blessing them) are numerous, good and/or great.

1Ki 8:66  On the eighth day he sent the people away, and they blessed the king and went to their homes joyful and glad of heart for all the goodness that the Lord had shown to David his servant and to Israel his people. ▤ 

Isa 63:7  I will recount the steadfast love of the Lord, the praises of the Lord, according to all that the Lord has granted us, and the great goodness to the house of Israel that he has granted them according to his compassion, according to the abundance of his steadfast love. ▤ 

Jer 32:40  I will make with them an everlasting covenant, that I will not turn away from doing good to them. And I will put the fear of me in their hearts, that they may not turn from me. ▤ 

God promised to “never stop doing good things for them” (GNT; cf. NIV, NLT). Note that the renewed Israel of the end time may well be primarily in view here and in 33:9 immediately below.

Jer 33:9  And this cityk shall be to me a name of joy, a praise and a glory before all the nations of the earth who shall hear of all the good that I do for them. They shall fear and tremble because of all the good and all the prosperity I provide for it. ▤ 

k Hebrew And it

Ex 34:10  And he said, “Behold, I am making a covenant. Before all your people I will do marvels, such as have not been created in all the earth or in any nation. And all the people among whom you are shall see the work of the Lord, for it is an awesome thing that I will do with you. ▤ 

Deut 4:34  Or has any god ever attempted to go and take a nation for himself from the midst of another nation, by trials, by signs, by wonders, and by war, by a mighty hand and an outstretched arm, and by great deeds of terror, all of which the Lord your God did for you in Egypt before your eyes? ▤ 

As well as doing many great things in providing blessings for his people, God has done many great things in delivering his people.

Judg 2:7  And the people served the Lord all the days of Joshua, and all the days of the elders who outlived Joshua, who had seen all the great work that the Lord had done for Israel. ▤ 

1Sam 12:7  Now therefore stand still that I may plead with you before the Lord concerning all the righteous deeds of the Lord that he performed for you and for your fathers. ▤ 

All the “righteous acts” refers to all the “good” (NCV™, NIrV) or “great” (NLT) things that God had done for Israel.

2Sam 7:18-21  Then King David went in and sat before the Lord and said, “Who am I, O Lord God, and what is my house, that you have brought me thus far? 19And yet this was a small thing in your eyes, O Lord God. You have spoken also of your servant’s house for a great while to come, and this is instruction for mankind, O Lord God! 20And what more can David say to you? For you know your servant, O Lord God! 21Because of your promise, and according to your own heart, you have brought about all this greatness, to make your servant know it. ▤ 

In v. 18 David refers to the great things that God had already done for him, far more than he or his family were worthy of. Then in v. 19 David speaks of God going even beyond this, with God promising to extend the reign of David’s line far into the future – effecting “all this greatness” (v. 21; cf. 1Chr 17:19 ).

1Chr 17:19  For your servant’s sake, O Lord, and according to your own heart, you have done all this greatness, in making known all these great things. ▤ 

Ps 116:12  What shall I render to the Lord for all his benefits to me? ▤ 

John 1:16  And from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace. ▤ 

The phrase “grace upon grace” speaks of “one gracious blessing after another” (NLT). Spiritual blessings are in view.

  • God has given his people very great promises:

2Pet 1:4  … by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire. ▤ 

In addition to having done many great things for his people, God has also given us great promises including promises of great things that he will do for us in the future.

God blesses his people in many ways

Gen 24:1  Now Abraham was old, well advanced in years. And the Lord had blessed Abraham in all things. ▤ 

Mark 10:29-30  Jesus said, “Truly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or lands, for my sake and for the gospel, 30who will not receive a hundredfold now in this time, houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands, with persecutions, and in the age to come eternal life. ▤ 

The “houses” and “lands” promised in this present age (v. 30) are quite unlikely to be speaking of accumulated property. More likely the promises in v. 30 have in view what Christians have within the community of believers. There God’s people have many new intimate relationships and a share in all that belongs to the fellowship of believers.

1Cor 1:4-7  I give thanks to my God always for you because of the grace of God that was given you in Christ Jesus, 5that in every way you were enriched in him in all speech and all knowledge6even as the testimony about Christ was confirmed among you— 7so that you are not lacking in any spiritual gift, as you wait for the revealing of our Lord Jesus Christ, … ▤ 

In v. 7 “you” is referring to the Corinthian church as a whole, among whom there was no spiritual gift lacking. Note that, particularly in the light of v. 7, Paul also may have spiritual gifts in the church primarily in view in v. 5.

Eph 1:3  Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, … ▤ 

Deut 2:7  For the Lord your God has blessed you in all the work of your hands. He knows your going through this great wilderness. These forty years the Lord your God has been with you. You have lacked nothing.” ▤ 

2Sam 23:5  For does not my house stand so with God? For he has made with me an everlasting covenant, ordered in all things and secure. For will he not cause to prosper all my help and my desire? ▤ 

The phrase “all my help” may be speaking of God always providing effective help for him (cf. CEV); it has also been rendered to speak of David’s salvation (cf. NASB, NCV, NIV, NKJV). In speaking of God granting him “my desire”, David has in view God’s wonderful everlasting covenant with him regarding his family (cf. 7:11b-16), giving him in a sense all that he could have hoped for.

Gen 49:25-26  … by the God of your father who will help you, by the Almightyl who will bless you with blessings of heaven above, blessings of the deep that crouches beneath, blessings of the breasts and of the womb. 26The blessings of your father are mighty beyond the blessings of my parents, up to the bounties of the everlasting hills.m May they be on the head of Joseph, and on the brow of him who was set apart from his brothers. ▤ 

l Hebrew Shaddai

m A slight emendation yields (compare Septuagint) the blessings of the eternal mountains, the bounties of the everlasting hills

These many wonderful blessings bestowed on Joseph may not all be readily applicable to God’s people generally, but they are illustrative of the great extent of God’s blessings for his people. Note that “the deep that crouches beneath” (v. 25b) refers to water from springs or other subterranean sources.

  • The various blessings stated in “the Beatitudes”:

Matt 5:3-12  Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 4“Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted. 5“Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth. 6“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied. 7“Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy. 8“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God. 9“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sonsn of God. 10“Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 11“Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. 12Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you. ▤ 

n Greek huioi; see Preface

To be “poor in spirit” (v. 3) means to be aware of and acknowledge one’s spiritual need (cf. GNT, NCV, NLT), arguably with the suggestion that one looks to God to meet such need (cf. CEV); it implies humility (cf. AMP). The clause “theirs is the kingdom of heaven” (vv. 3, 10) probably refers primarily to the future inheritance of the consummated kingdom, though an application to sharing in the blessings of the kingdom in its present form is viable. Quite likely “those who mourn” (v. 4) is speaking mainly of the mourning of godly people over sin and its consequences – their own sin and/or the world’s. Such people “will be comforted,” which may well have initially in view their salvation from sin through Christ’s work; it would encompass the comfort God’s people will receive in the afterlife. The “earth” (v. 5) is probably the new or renewed earth of the afterlife, though some think it refers to the earth in a millennial reign of Jesus Christ. The “peacemakers” (v. 9) are people who “work for peace” (GNT, NLT, cf. NCV) – probably inclusive of both reconciling people with God and making peace between people. They will be deemed to be children of God because they show that they partake of his nature, and perhaps also in that such work is in accordance with his purposes.

God’s people lack no good thing

See also:

Ps 34:9-10  Oh, fear the Lord, you his saints, for those who fear him have no lack! 10The young lions suffer want and hunger; but those who seek the Lord lack no good thing. ▤ 

God’s people lack nothing of any real consequence.

Ps 84:11  For the Lord God is a sun and shield; the Lord bestows favor and honor. No good thing does he withhold from those who walk uprightly. ▤ 

Ps 23:1  The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. ▤ 

God’s people will not be in want of anything they need.

Isa 55:2  Why do you spend your money for that which is not bread, and your labor for that which does not satisfy? Listen diligently to me, and eat what is good, and delight yourselves in rich food. ▤ 

That which people acquire apart from God, ultimately does not satisfy (cf. Ps 16:2 ). Those who listen to and follow God are blessed with the “food that is good for the soul” (NLT) – “the best food of all” (GNT). This suggests that God’s people have the things which are truly good and necessary – i.e. they lack no good thing.

Philem 1:6  … and I pray that the sharing of your faith may become effective for the full knowledge of every good thing that is in us for the sake of Christ.o ▤ 

o Or for Christ’s service

God’s people are abundantly blessed with many a “good thing” in Christ. In teaching this, the verse is not actually saying that God’s people have “every good thing” – but arguably it does point to this.

Rev 2:9  I know your tribulation and your poverty (but you are rich) and the slanderp of those who say that they are Jews and are not, but are a synagogue of Satan. ▤ 

p Greek blasphemy

Although the believers in Smyrna were materially very poor, they had great spiritual riches. For in their poverty they did not lack what are true riches – the things that are ultimately genuine riches.

  • Apart from God, his people have nothing good:

Ps 16:2  I say to the Lord, “You are my Lord; I have no good apart from you.” ▤ 

Ultimately, God gives his people all things

As is reflected in the following verses, in a sense God has given his people all things now – a reality that will be consummated in the afterlife.

1Cor 3:21-23  So let no one boast in men. For all things are yours, 22whether Paul or Apollos or Cephas or the world or life or death or the present or the future—all are yours, 23and you are Christ’s, and Christ is God’s. ▤ 

Verse 23 may be implying that all things belong to us (v. 22) as we belong to Christ. For as Christians are in Christ they share in all that belongs to Christ – to whom God has given or will give everything (cf. Rom 8:32 ). This reality will be more tangible in the life to come.

2Cor 6:10  … as sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, yet possessing everything. ▤ 

Matt 5:3, 5  Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. ▤ 5“Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth. ▤ 

As noted earlier, the future forms of God’s kingdom and the earth appear to be primarily in view, encompassing all good things.

Luke 15:31  And he said to him, ‘Son, you are always with me, and all that is mine is yours. ▤ 

With the father mirroring God in a number of ways in the parable of the prodigal son, arguably one can infer from this verse that everything of God belongs to his children, as their inheritance.

Rom 8:32  He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? ▤ 

The phrase “all things” may have in view the inheritance that believers will receive on entry into God’s kingdom. However, given the context, this could be primarily speaking of our salvation. As such, Paul’s thinking may be that if God gave up his Son – the greatest possible gift – to save us, surely he will give us everything else needed to secure our salvation.

1Tim 6:17  As for the rich in this present age, charge them not to be haughty, nor to set their hopes on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly provides us with everything to enjoy. ▤ 

The phrase “provides us with everything” may mean that all things that we have come from God, or that God provides us with everything we need (cf. CEV, NLT). Alternatively it may be saying that God gives us everything, similar to the above references, although the focus here does not appear to go beyond material things.

Note: God gives his people blessings that last

See also:

Rom 11:29  For the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable. ▤ 

Heb 10:34  For you had compassion on those in prison, and you joyfully accepted the plundering of your property, since you knew that you yourselves had a better possession and an abiding one. ▤ 

With “a better possession and an abiding one”, presumably the writer has primarily in view our salvation and the associated blessings – including those of the age to come (cf. NLT).

Ps 21:6  For you make him most blessed forever;q you make him glad with the joy of your presence. ▤ 

q Or make him a source of blessing forever

This points to blessings “that will last forever” (CEV, NIrV; cf. GNT), applicable to but not specifically referring to the eternal blessings of the afterlife.

Ps 23:6  Surelyr goodness and mercys shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwellt in the house of the Lord forever.u ▤ 

r Or Only

s Or steadfast love

t Or shall return to dwell

u Hebrew for length of days

1Chr 17:27  Now you have been pleased to bless the house of your servant, that it may continue forever before you, for it is you, O Lord, who have blessed, and it is blessed forever. ▤ 

This speaks of God’s promise to David regarding establishing his royal line forever, primarily through one of his sons (cf. vv. 10b-14).

  • God’s favor lasts a lifetime:

Ps 30:5  For his anger is but for a moment, and his favor is for a lifetime.v Weeping may tarry for the night, but joy comes with the morning. ▤ 

v Or and in his favor is life

Pray for persecuted Christians