Study Guide – Psalm 138

1 I will praise you, Lord, with all my heart;
    before the “gods” I will sing your praise.
2 I will bow down toward your holy temple
    and will praise your name
    for your unfailing love and your faithfulness,
for you have so exalted your solemn decree
    that it surpasses your fame.
3 When I called, you answered me;
    you greatly emboldened me.

Psalm 138 is a psalm of David. What risks does he take by praising the Lord before other "gods"?

Side thought/prayer: In what circumstances today might we choose to worship the Lord before other "gods"?

What does it mean to have "love" that is "unfailing"?

What does David mean that God's "solemn decree" has surpassed his fame? What does this tell you about God's intentions?

Look at verse 3: Describe how David is emboldened:


4 May all the kings of the earth praise you, Lord,
    when they hear what you have decreed.
5 May they sing of the ways of the Lord,
    for the glory of the Lord is great.

Again, David mentions a decree. David anticipates that when other rulers hear God's decree, they should praise the Lord. What do you imagine this decree could be?

Side thought/prayer: What could this world be like if "all the kings of the earth" praised the Lord and sang of God's ways:

6 Though the Lord is exalted, he looks kindly on the lowly;
    though lofty, he sees them from afar.
7 Though I walk in the midst of trouble,
    you preserve my life.
You stretch out your hand against the anger of my foes;
    with your right hand you save me.
8 The Lord will vindicate me;
    your love, Lord, endures forever—
    do not abandon the works of your hands. NIV

How does verse 6 reaffirm what you already know about God's character?

How does the specific context of David's circumstances in verses 6-8 deepen the intensity of verses 1-5?

With which of the ideas from verses 6-8 do you most resonate today? Take a moment to recite this idea to God in your own words.

Related articles

Study Guide – Psalm 70
Study Guide – Psalm 43
Study Guide – Psalm 113
Study Guide – Psalm 13
Study Guide – Psalm 24
Study Guide – Psalm 1
Ken Castor

Ken Castor is a husband, dad, pastor, writer and teacher. He serves as a professor at Crown College, Minnesota, where he equips students to pursue Jesus-Centered Faith and Next Generation Ministry. For 20+ years he's focused on equipping the next generations in places like the U.S., Canada, and Northern Ireland. He's the author of Grow Down (Simply Youth Ministry, 2014), Make a Difference (Broadstreet, 2016), the Blue-Letters Editor of the Jesus-Centered Bible (Group, 2015) and numerous other articles and Bible Study guides. But, whenever possible, he gets down on the floor and builds Lego with his kids. Connect with him @kencastor.

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