What Does Psalm 138:2 Mean?

I will bow down toward Your holy temple And give thanks to Your name for Your lovingkindness and Your truth; For You have magnified Your word according to all Your name.

Psalm 138:2(NASB)

Verse of the Day

While certain psalms look back to God's faithfulness to His people in times past, others prophesy of God's continuing mercy and grace towards Israel in days to come. The previous psalm, number 137, captures the mournful mood of Jews who had been deported to Babylon. It paints a pitiful picture of these exiles from Israel, who sadly hung up their harps on the willow trees and simply sat down by the rivers of Babylon and wept when they remembered the glory of the holy city of Zion, bewailing the complete destruction of the beautiful Temple of God by Nebuchadnezzar, the king of Babylon.

Psalm 138, however, presents a complete contrast to Israel's anguish in Psalm 137. It is a joyful declaration of praise to the Lord, written by David centuries before Israel was taken into captivity, first by the Assyrians and then the Babylonians, but through the inspiration of the Spirit of God, this 'man after God's own heart' not only anticipated the temple his son Solomon would one day build and dedicate to the Lord, but prophesied of the distant future when Israel would return to the land promised to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and the redeemed Nation of Israel would once again fellowship with the God of their fathers, in His holy temple, amidst great jubilation.

King David's prophetic hymn tells of the time when a remnant of believing Jews will return to their homeland and once again take up their harps and praise the God of their salvation. With songs of thanksgiving and jubilant praise, they will thank God for His faithfulness to His erring people, for their deliverance from the hands of the Gentiles, and their return to the land of promise. In his prayerful anthem of gratitude, thankfulness, and praise, David proclaims, "I will bow down toward Your holy temple. I will give thanks to Your name for Your lovingkindness and Your truth, for You have magnified Your Word according to all Your name."

David was a man who believed God. He was given precious promises, and trusted that the Lord would bring them to fruition in the distant future, long after he himself was dead and buried. And David's faith was credited to him as righteousness, just as Abraham's faith was also credited to him as righteousness. David believed the unconditional promise he received from the Lord; that Jesus Christ, the Messiah of Israel, would come from his line, through the tribe of Judah, and establish a kingdom that would endure forever. Jesus would take up everlasting sovereignty on his kingly throne and rule the nations with an iron sceptre, in equity, righteousness, truth, and justice. On that day, David would be resurrected from the dead and bow towards God's holy Temple.

While the first temple was yet to be built by his son Solomon and dedicated to God, David foretold of the Millennial Temple of the Lord, about which Ezekiel wrote. This is the future temple of God which Jesus will one day build, following His second advent, at the end of the 7-year Tribulation. David wrote of the time when one of His descendants would sit upon his kingly throne and rule the world in righteousness. And in grateful thanksgiving for God's goodness and grace, David wrote: "I will bow down toward Your holy temple And give thanks to Your name for Your lovingkindness and Your truth; For You have magnified Your Word according to all Your name."

Because Israel rebelled against God and broke their covenant with Him, they had to be punished. While a remnant of Jews did indeed return to Jerusalem at the end of their 70 years-long exile in Babylon, they remained under the yoke of Roman rule. Israel as a nation did not recognise the time of their visitation, when Jesus came to offer His people the kingdom of God and presented Himself as their promised Messiah. Throughout the 'times of the Gentiles' (from Israel's exile in Babylon to Christ's return to earth, at the end of the coming Tribulation period), Israel as a nation has been estranged from their God. But God will never renounce the plans and purposes He has for His people, and in Psalm 138, David rejoices that a day is coming when God's promises to His people will finally be fulfilled. He recognises that this will be a time when the Davidic Covenant he received from the Lord in 2nd Samuel 7 will reach its fulfilment, and Israel will repent of their sin in rejecting their Messiah and declare, both nationally and individually, their love and loyalty to Jesus Christ, their God and King.

David gave us a wonderful example of a man who lived by faith, trusted God Word, and confidently expected God to fulfil all His precious promises, in His time and in His way. David's psalm demonstrates his deep respect for the integrity of God. Today, we have far greater illumination than King David, for we have been given the whole counsel of God in the completed Scriptures, we have eyewitness accounts of Christ's ministry, message, His sacrificial death, and glorious Resurrection. Even so, there are many that try to belittle God's Word and discredit His truth, declaring the Scriptures to be tired and lacking credibility in this post-modern era. But God's Word is living and active; His truth is powerful and potent, His promises are steadfast and sure, and the God of our salvation will certainly fulfil His Word, for He cannot deny His name or contradict His eternal character.

Should we not follow in David's footsteps and praise the name of the Lord? Let us give thanks to our Father for His loving kindness and truth and believe, in spirit and truth, that GOD has magnified His WORD according to all His holy NAME.

My Prayer

Heavenly Father, thank You for Your goodness and grace and for Your never-failing faithfulness towards the children of men. Thank You for the treasures we discover in the wonderful book of Psalms, and for psalmists, like King David, who wrote of Your faithfulness in times past, Your gracious deliverance in times of need, and Your precious promises in times to come. Thank You for Your unchangeable Word of Truth and the lessons it teaches us. I give you honour, glory, praise, and thanksgiving that Your promises are altogether truth for You have magnified Your Word according to Your holy name. Thank You, in Jesus' name AMEN.

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Psalm 138:2 Further Study

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