“O PRAISE THE LORD! O THANK THE LORD” (Psalm 106:1-5)
“Praise the Lord. Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; His love endures forever” (Ps. 106:1)
INTRO.: A hymn which encourages us to praise and thank the Lord is “O Praise the Lord! O Thank the Lord” (#559 in Hymns for Worship Revised). The text, based on Ps. 106:1-5, is taken from The Book of Psalms for Singing, 1973, originally published by The Board of Education and Publication, Reformed Presbyterian Church of North America. An “updated” version appears in The Book of Psalms for Worship, 2010, from the same publisher. The text came to use in churches of Christ through Selected Psalms for Church Singing, edited by Edward Fudge and originally published by C. E. I. Publishing Co. in 1974, from which it passed into Hymns for Worship. It is interesting that the original edition of Hymns for Worship had the same four stanzas as Selected Psalms for Church Singing, but the Revised edition has only the first three, perhaps due to lack of spacing.
Selected Psalms for Church Singing used a tune (Azmon) by Carl Glaser which we usually associate with “I’m Not Ashamed to Own My Lord.” The original edition of Hymns for Worship had words only with a note to use this same tune, and the Revised edition sets the text to this tune. Both The Book of Psalms for Singing and The Book of Psalms for Worship set Ps. 106:1-5 to a tune (Brown) by William B. Bradbury which we usually associate with “How Sweet, How Heavenly Is the Sight.” Those two books also have renderings of the rest of Ps. 106 in various compilations of verses all in the same meter with different tunes. For Ps. 106:1-5, the Trinity Hymnal Revised Edition, published in 1990 by Great Commission Publications, uses a tune (Exeter) composed in 1923 by Henry Lowell Mason (1864-1957). The Book of Psalms for Singing uses this same tune for its rendering of Ps. 106:13-23.
The song may well be used to express praise and thanksgiving to the Lord.
I. Stanza 1 praises God for His lovingkindness
O praise the Lord! O thank the Lord!
For bountiful is He;
Because His lovingkindness lasts
To all eternity.
A. We should always thank the Lord: 1 Chr. 16:34
B. He is bountiful in His goodness towards us: Ps. 107:8
C. One manifestation of this bountiful goodness is that His lovingkindness or mercy endures forever: Ps. 136:1
II. Stanza 2 praises God for His deeds of might
Who can express Jehovah’s praise
Or tell His deeds of might?
O blessed are they who justice keep
And ever do the right.
A. No one can completely express Jehovah’s praise, but we should speak of His deeds of might to the best of our ability: Ps. 145:6
B. Those who do praise God should also keep justice: Ps. 119:121
C. And they will ever want to do righteousness: Ps. 15:2
III. Stanza 3 praises God for His salvation
Regard me with the favor, Lord,
Which Thou dost bear to Thine.
O visit Thou my soul in love;
Make Thy salvation mine.
A. We should entreat the Lord’s favor: Ps. 119:58
B. We can be thankful that the Lord has demonstrated His love for mankind: Jn. 3:16
C. The result is that in His love He visits those who entreat His favor with salvation: Lk. 1:68-69
IV. Stanza 4 praises God for His inheritance
That I may (O may I) see Thy people’s good
And in their joy rejoice,
And may with Thine inheritance
Exult with cheerful voice.
A. Another reason why we should praise and thank the Lord is the good or benefits which He gives His people: Ps. 103:2
B. Therefore, we can rejoice with gladness: Ps. 16:9
C. One of His great benefits is His inheritance: 1 Pet. 1:3-5
CONCL.: The character of the Psalm changes at verse 6 from praise to confession, which probably explains why the Psalm paraphrasers stopped this first section there, but here are a couple of further stanzas, based on vs. 6-7, for comparison:
5. With all our fathers we have sinned,
Iniquity have done;
We have gone on in wickedness,
In evil ways have run.
6. Our fathers did not understand
Thy works in Egypt done;
Of all Thy many mercies shown,
They did remember none.
We do not sing exclusively or even primarily from the Psalms, as a few religious groups do. However, because of their range of topics in dealing with God’s relationship to us and our relationship to Him, we would do well to consider the Psalms in our singing more than we do to help us say, ““O Praise the Lord! O Thank the Lord.”