A Legacy of Praise (Psalm 145)

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My name is Robert Dodson–I serve as an elder here at FBC. My wife Tracy and I serve in the high school ministry. We are the older couple working with staff. We are so blessed to have Morgan and the staff in our high school department. Wasn’t that awesome to see the students that are graduating?

Be praying for them—college freshman year can be amazing, but many can also fall away. We need more staff in high school, so after this message I hope some of you will realize you are in sin and need to join staff.

How many in here remember their grandparents? What about great grandparents? Do you know their names? Joan Ardo is a great grandma to five, soon to be seven great grandkids. She is 81, going to be 82 in like two weeks and still spry. Her eyes are failing her, but she is in good health. She’s gonna be here another twenty years.

Anyone remember your great great grandparents? Their names? You are the weirdos that are way into their heritage. I remember my grandparents and I know some things about them.

Harry Dodson was a golfer at Big Canyon—he won club championship at 51 and beat a 30-year-old. But I never once golfed with him. He owned a machine shop—I have no idea what he machined. I don’t remember talking to him much—“How you doing?” was about it. His funeral was an open casket–I must have been 11 or so and it scared me.

Leigh Dodson was a professor of zoology at UCLA and LA City College. When each of her grandkids graduated from 6th grade, she took us to Washington DC, New York and Virginia. She was sweet and she would tickle me. She had dementia later in life. I did not see her the last couple years—she passed away while I was in college.

Bill Engstrom worked in a post office. I think he owned some apartments. He bought a home in Bel Air for $17,000 with a monthly payment of $73. He was quite a kind man. He played the organ and piano and would always play for us. They went to a Presbyterian church where he served as an usher. I have no recollection of spiritual discussions. I never went to church and never went with them.

Loretta (Letsy) Engstrom, grandma, stayed home when the kids were young and then went to work for Hughes Aircraft. She helped my mom run us around. I did commercials as a child—Patrick, you are not the only member of SAG at FBC. I would often spend the night at her house and she would take me to the set for my thriving acting career.

Breakfast at her house was cereal with a surprise–Grapenuts with bananas. So I can relate to Chris when he says, “What are Grapenuts? They’re not Grapes or Nuts.” She would always whistle while she did the dishes. She was very capable—she started driving at 14 when her mom passed away. Whenever we would leave in the car, she would always say, “We’re off like a heard of turtles.” I still say that today with my kids as we head out for a trip.

She sang in the choir at the Presbyterian church. I remember one conversation with her where she told me we were Christians–other than that, it was never discussed. I’m not sure if they were saved or not. I would think if they were, they would have talked to me about it more.

A little fun fact about the Dodsons–Joe Cobb, Uncle Joe, was the original Chubsy on Little Rascals. I think he was 4’10” full height. On Easter when we had egg hunts, he would point out the eggs for us.

Joan’s parents were John and Thora Dunlap. Tracy remembers her grandpa drove a red VW bug and she was always excited coming home from school when it was parked out front. They had an awesome German shepherd named Machen. I never met Tracy’s grandpa, but have heard Joan tell me of how he came to Christ later in life, six months before he passed away.

They were married during the depression at 16 and 17 years old. John picked lettuce during the Depression—he did whatever he could do to work. They both worked at the General Telephone company in Santa Monica. Tracy remembers spying on her grandma as she removed her false teeth and putting Tabasco in her drink. Honey–you were kind of mean!

We went there for dinner and Nana made Kraft macaroni and cheese with cream of mushroom soup–it was disgusting. I remember Nana from when we talked at Aunt Jonnies and Tracy left me.

Chris’s parents were from Greece–Tom (Athenaseus) and Francis Ardavanis. Tracy was afraid of her grandpa cause he had a thick accent. Her grandma would say, “Oh you’re joking.” I never met either of them. They had six children. Tom owned a bakery in Baltimore. They moved to Santa Monica and had a restaurant on the beach in Santa Monica called the Spaghetti House–a Greek owning an Italian restaurant.

The story of how we are Greek–I am Greek, my adopted kids are Greek, and we realize that there are two kinds of people in the world. Those of us that are Greeks, and the rest of you who wish you were Greeks. They obviously had a big impact on our lives!

These are the collective grandparents of Tracy and me. We have five kids–Jessy, Sam, Nano, Daniele, and Stephanie. And . . . I am weeks away from being a grandpa. I have talked to Tracy about one day wanting to be a grandpa since we were married even before we had kids. I cannot wait I’m so excited.

I can touch my grandparents and “Lord willing” my grandkids and maybe even great grandkids. But my kids and grandkids will have no idea who my grandparents were. In fact this is the most my kids have ever heard about our grandparents. They don’t know them. The might see pictures, maybe an old family video—but they don’t know them.

Here is my point–when Tracy and I die, with us go any and all memories of our grandparents. They weren’t famous and will have no one remember them–except my Uncle Joe. And the reality is that none of us will be remembered in history.

In 100 years, if the Lord tarries, no one will have any idea who Robert Dodson is. They won’t know what I did for a living, what my hobbies were, the home I lived in, what my personality was like. The only lasting influence I will have is whatever I accumulated in this life–money and things, stuff . . . and my impact on this world for Christ. That is it!

That will be my only lasting legacy. David is coming to the end of his life. This is his final Psalm. This is his legacy. Turn in your Bibles to Psalm 145 and let’s stand and read together.

We turn our study to Psalms–psalms were sacred songs or poems used in worship. These were meant to be sung and are expressions of the heart made in the spirit of worship. This is the final psalm attributed to David. It is the last of the alphabetic (acrostic) psalms in which each verse begins with consecutive letters of the Hebrew alphabet.

One man said, “The psalm offers praise from A to Z to God described from A to Z.” The ancient Hebrews declare him happy whoever utters this Psalm three times each day with the mouth, heart, and tongue. The title of this psalm is, “David’s Psalm of Praise.”

Charles Spurgeon said of Psalm 145, “It is David’s, David’s very own, David’s favorite. It is David’s praise just as Psalm 86 is David’s prayer. It is altogether praise, and praise pitched in a high key. David had blessed God many a time in other psalms, but this he regarded as his peculiar, his crown jewel of praise.”

David was one of the most successful men that has ever walked the planet. If anyone had reason to boast or reflect on a life well-lived, it would be David. A lowly shepherd boy who became king of Israel. A skilled musician–so much so that he was brought to play before the king.

A mighty warrior–the defeat of Goliath was the greatest one-on-one battle in the history of mankind. He was a man after God’s own heart. He ushered in the greatest period in the history of Israel. David could have recounted his accomplishments, but instead we see a life that was devoted to praise. That is our first point.

1.  A  Life Devoted to Praise  Verses 1 to 3

The first thing we see about David’s life devoted to praise is his . . .

A.  Resolve to praise

I will extol you, My God, O King” (verse 1). He was resolved to praise–notice the emphatic, “I will.” This was a choice he made, exerting his will over any thoughts or feelings he might have otherwise.

Extol means to lift up, or to praise. He is his God and personal, but He is also the King. The word melek (king) occurs more than 2,000 times in the Hebrew Old Testament. Generally it designates one invested with ultimate authority and power over his subjects.

David was king, and yet he knew who the real King was. David is showing his allegiance to God. David is acknowledging that God is King and David is His subject. Very humbling thing to say when you are the most powerful person in your country.

And I will bless Your name forever and ever” (verse 1). The word bless is a deepening and sweetening of the sense of praise. To bless God is to praise him with a personal affection for Him, and a wishing well to Him. It is to speak words of excellence about.

Again, notice the “I will bless”–he was determined to do so. Our blessing God is a full one forever–into eternity. David forbids an idea of it ever ending by adding another ever. Our praise of God shall be as eternal as the God we praise.

If what we are going to do is worship God in Heaven for eternity, shouldn’t that be what marks us today? I remember when I was younger, I honestly thought, “We will praise God in Heaven forever?” It seemed boring—like the cartoon with a man on a cloud playing a harp. I didn’t want to go to Hell–that was worse. But Heaven didn’t seem that fun.

Once I became a Christian, I enjoy singing in church–but that is not close to what heavenly worship will be like. I often try to imagine what heavenly worship will be like to somehow explain to youth. I think of the greatest sporting event you can imagine–UCLA beating USC.

Your favorite concert–multiply that times infinity. That joy, that exuberance is what heavenly praise will be like. Talk of several thousand men singing at the Shepherd’s Conference. Worshiping is what God made us to do.

John 4:23, “But an hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for such people the Father seeks to be His worshippers.” True believers worship God now and will for all eternity.

If you ever find yourself downcast, or discontent, or complaining–whatever you are going through, we need to be resolved to praise. If you find yourself consumed with yourself, that life is all about you–take your eyes off yourself and be resolved to praise. Read the Psalms, memorize songs based on the Psalms.

When your will wants to relish in its problems, when praise is not something we want to do–we must overcome how we feel and direct our hearts in praise to God. Like David resolved to praise His Lord, so must we—which leads us to verse 2.

B.  Trusting Praise

Every day I will bless you”–I love this phrase. Whatever the circumstances of the day–whether good or bad. Whatever the conditions–I will bless Him. Again, to praise Him with a personal affection for Him. It is not most days or many days. It is every day. Psalm 34:1, “I will bless the Lord at all times; His praise shall continually be in my mouth.”

There is never a time, a season, a circumstance where we cannot praise the Lord. Shawn taught two weeks ago about trusting God, even in the midst of hard times. This message was so good. Shawn was 100% accurate that we need to trust God. He brought up four things about God that should lead us to trust.

God is sovereign, God is good, God is wise, God is love. When we ponder these things about God in the midst of trials, it should totally lead us to trust. But I would argue, it should lead us to praise. Are you praising God in the midst of a trial? If the answer is, “No,” then I would question, “Are you trusting Him?”

We think we have difficult circumstances, but David many times was being hunted to be killed. Psalm 27:2 says, “When evildoers came upon me to devour my flesh.” I have had some hard days, but I don’t recall a day where people were coming upon me to devour my flesh.

My adversaries and my enemies, they stumbled and fell. Though a host encamp against me, my heart will not fear; though war arise against me, in spite of this I shall be confident. One thing I have asked from the Lord, that I shall seek; that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord and to meditate in His temple.”

Even in the worst of days, if we were to consider all that we have in a day–a God who saved us, loves us, and wants what is best for us. Take our eyes off our circumstances and we have much to praise God for! We need to be resolved to praise, have a trusting praise, and thirdly . ..

C.  Great Praise

Read verse 3, “Great is the Lord, and highly to be praised”–great praise for a great God. Great means remarkable, or out of the ordinary in degree, magnitude or effect. Every day should be filled with not just praise to God, but great, high praise. Highly means abundantly, immense, exceedingly, so much or I love the word “muchness”.

Our Lord is great and He is worthy to be praised highly. I am so convicted studying this passage of how much I don’t praise the Lord throughout a regular day. I can go hours without acknowledging Christ, let alone praising Him. Do you find yourself throughout the day pausing, and in your heart, lifting up praise?

The Psalms were written to help us remember and lead us to praise throughout the day. Great truths have been set to music for us. Do you sing the songs Patrick is leading us in each Sunday? Listen to Christian music to fill your mind with praise. Man, this is an area we can always grow in.

Praise is to happen all throughout the day, but our worship on Sunday should be especially great. It should be our best. We are so blessed to have Patrick as our worship leader–or what he was called by Alex Montoya? Our jumping what? Our music is so-o good.

Our God is so good, yet when we worship, some of us are barely singing. Sometimes we are quiet because we think we cannot sing. God made you with your voice. He is not in Heaven wanting only those with good voices to sing loudly. Please find me a verse that says, “Praise Him, you who can actually sing.”

I can give you an example of someone who I really believe is tone deaf. He is just off. He is like the bird on Little Mermaid. When he worships, he sings loud. He sounds awful. But God is pleased. I find that I am so encouraged when I am next to him worshipping.

When we gather to sing, our hearts should be full of praise and the result of that is full singing. You know why? It is a reflection of our hearts. Great is the Lord and highly to be praised.

Prior to gathering, we need to be ready to praise. Confess sin, meditate prior to service on God, be ready for corporate singing. It is not about us, but about His people collectively gathering to worship. If our hearts are not right, look what the Lord says in

Amos 5:21 to 23, “I hate, I reject your festivals, nor do I delight in your solemn assemblies. Even though you offer up to Me burnt offerings and your grain offerings, I will not accept them; and I will not even look at the peace offerings of your failings. Take away from Me the noise of your songs; I will not even listen to the sound of your harps.”

We need to be daily praising the Lord and corporately highly praising our great God. Look at verse 3, “His greatness is unsearchable.” I love the word unfathomable. A fathom was the length between your outstretched arms, middle finger to middle finger–about six feet. It became a nautical term to measure the depths of the sea. They would make knots on a rope and let it out to see how deep the water is.

When discovering the greatness of God, you can keep letting the rope out for all eternity. You never hit the bottom. God is unfathomable. We live so much of our lives in boredom or complacency. We don’t think on God and His greatness enough. When you go to read the Bible in a quiet time, ponder the Scriptures, pray, read until you are in awe and wonder of who God is.

Every message we hear we can learn. It should never be a great reminder, but a great message! Find a truth that is new to you. See the failings in your life that need to be addressed in light of that message. There is so much to learn. We have not arrived. God is so far above and beyond us.

Do you ever think about the fact that we are talking about God? Just ponder that for a second. We say we believe in God who is bigger than the universe. We are sitting on a ball of matter flying through space at 67,000 miles per hour and none of us are panicked.

We sit at home bored cause there is nothing on TV–really? This God is personal. He chose you, if you are in Christ, before the foundation of the world to be His child. We did nothing to deserve this. You can never learn all there is to know about God. His greatness is unfathomable.

Never grow complacent, never be content where you are at. David lived a life devoted to praise. His praise was resolved, trusting and great–and why? Because he knew we need to be . . .

2.  A People Devoted To Passing it on (Verses 4 to 9)

Look at verse 4, “One generation shall praise your works to the next.” Here it is—this is our legacy. Read Deuteronomy 6:4 to 9, “Hear, O Israel! The Lord is our God, the Lord is one! You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. These words, which I am commanding you today, shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your sons and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up.  You shall bind them as a sign on your hand and they shall be as the frontals on your forehead. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.”

This is God’s design–one generation loving the Lord with all their heart, full of great praise and telling the next generation. I remember when I first found out we were adopting Jessy. I remember thinking I had to get ready to be a Dad. I didn’t grow up in a Christian home, so I better learn.

I started to look through the Bible and was quite honestly underwhelmed by how little the Bible talked about parenting. Then I realized, this is it! I needed to understand the God of this book, love Him with all my heart and tell my kids about Him. We have strong examples in Scripture of failure to warn us.

I think about the generation of Israelites who came out of Egypt when they were young. Some saw the miracles of Egypt and some were too young. They watched their parents fail to take the land and spend 40 years in the wilderness–just as God said.

They saw manna and quail, water from rocks when needed. They watched that generation that failed all die. Then Joshua leads them into the Promised Land, talk about the priests carrying the ark into the Jordan River and the water stopped, the walls of Jericho fall down, battle after battle won.

Read Joshua 21:45, “Not one of the good promises which the Lord had made to the house of Israel failed; all came to pass.” Read Judges 2:7 to 10, “The people served the Lord all the days of Joshua, and all the days of the elders who survived Joshua, who had seen all the great work of the Lord which He had done for Israel. Then Joshua the son of Nun, the servant of the Lord, died at the age of 110.”

Look at verse 10, “All that generation also were gathered to their fathers; and there arose another generation after them who [what?] did not know the Lord, nor yet the [what?] work which He had done for Israel.” This amazing generation of Joshua and his peers failed to tell the next generation all that God did.

They were so busy doing that they forgot to stop and tell the next generation. Yet there are encouraging examples as well. Look at Judges 6:12, “The angel of the Lord appeared to him [Gideon] and said to him, ‘The Lord is with you, O valiant warrior.’ Then Gideon said to him, ‘O my lord, if the Lord is with us, why then has all this happened to us? And where are all His miracles which our fathers [what?] told us about? saying did not the Lord bring us out of Egypt?’” A remnant of faithfulness.

It is our job to declare the mighty acts of God to the next generation. We must speak. Look at the words in these verses. “One generation shall praise Your word to another, and shall declare Your mighty acts.” Look at verse 6, “Men shall speak of the power of your awesome acts, and I will tell of your greatness. They shall eagerly utter the memory of your abundant goodness and will shout joyfully of your righteousness.”

This is not a quiet, embarrassed conversation. We are to praise, declare, speak, tell, eagerly utter, and shout joyfully to the next generation. In our homes–family devotions need to be a normal regular part of our home. We must talk to our children about the Lord and where they are at.

Spurgeon says, “Let us see to it that we praise God before our children, and never make them think that his service is an unhappy one.” Our children’s ministry should be full of excitement. Harry Clay Trumble (Elizabeth Elliot’s grandfather) says Sundays should be the best day, the day our children most look forward to.

If you are teaching Sunday school, please don’t be boring. This is why youth ministry is so important. The next generation needs to know how great God is and we need to tell them.

A.  We Must Speak

B.  God Must Save

We know this to be true. Read verses 8 to 13, with the key verse being 13. Dominion is God’s power and authority. Ultimately it is God who has supreme dominion over all creation. Ephesians 2:8 to 9, “For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.”

We speak–God sovereignly saves. This last section gives us a beautiful picture of our Lord as we tell them about point number 3 . . .

3.  A God Devoted to Salvation (Verses 14 to 21)

Look at all He does for us in these verses. “He sustains . . . He raises up . . . He gives us our food . . . His hand is open ready to satisfy our every desire . . . He is righteous . . . He is kind . . . He is near . . . He will fulfill the desire . . . He will hear our cry . . . He keeps.” Who does He do this for? Notice “all” and “every” in these verses.

14 The Lord sustains all who fall and raises up all who are bowed down.

15 The eyes of all look to You, and You give them their food in due time.

16 You open Your hand and satisfy the desire of every living thing.

17 The Lord is righteous in all His ways and kind in all His deeds.

18 The Lord is near to all who call upon Him, to all who call upon Him in truth.

19 He will fulfill the desire of those who fear Him; He will also hear their cry and will save them.

He is a good and faithful God. Turn to Him in humility for salvation. Notice verse 16—“His hand is open.” He is not clutching or holding on to. He is the only one that can satisfy, which means to fill or meet a want or need. Nothing the world has to offer will ever satisfy–not money, fame, power, prestige. God alone can truly satisfy.

If you are here this morning and don’t know Christ–I beg of you, turn to Him. Cry out to Him for salvation. “And it shall be that everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved” (Acts 2:21). “For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, abounding in riches for all who call on Him; 13 for “whoever will call on the name of the Lord will be saved” (Romans 10:12 and 13).

Young people, don’t follow the pursuit of the world–pursue Christ. If anyone is here this morning that has not given their life to Christ, you need to understand that what you do in this life determines your future destiny. There is a solemn warning at the end of verse 20—read it.

You might be thinking–well I am certainly not wicked. Wickedness here means someone who is characterized by wickedness (sinfulness) and godlessness. This is all of us. God provided a means through Jesus Christ on the cross for you to be saved. Your sins can be forgiven if you turn to Christ recognizing your sinfulness and “Confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord.” You make Christ Lord and Master of your life. We become His subjects just like David at the beginning of this Psalm and believe in your heart God raised Him from the dead–you shall be saved.

Read 2 Corinthians 4:7, “But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, so that the surpassing greatness of the power will be of God and not from ourselves.” Earthen vessels–these were jars of clay. Clay pots–they were cheap, breakable, and replaceable, but were important to household functions. They might hold something valuable, but they were most often used for holding garbage and human waste.

The latter is what Paul had in mind here. Paul viewed himself as lowly, common, expendable, and replaceable. Folks, that is what we are–clay pots. Nothing spectacular about us. Just like I mentioned about my grandparents at the beginning, so will we be. Unspectacular, not remembered, a distant memory, common, expendable, replaceable clay pots.

But we have this [what?]—treasure.” This is the Gospel! Look at the second half of that verse, “so that the surpassing greatness of the power will be of God and not from ourselves.” By using frail and expendable people, God makes it clear that salvation is the result of His power and not any power his messengers could generate.

John MacArthur says, “The great power of God overcomes and transcends the clay pot. The messenger’s weakness is not fatal to what he does; it is essential.”

Let’s have everyone over 50 stand up. We have less and less to look up to. We are the generation that needs to declare to everyone else in this room the greatness of God. Everyone around this room needs to know. Our time is short. They need to hear it. Who are you mentoring? Who are you discipling?

Those of you in here who are under 25—listen, you need to be learners. We want you to know that there is nothing on Earth that satisfies but God alone. Pursue Christ with all your heart. Marry someone who loves Christ more than you–don’t settle. God is so good. He can be trusted. Don’t pursue the folly the world has to offer.

Don’t give into the thinking of your generation that is abandoning God. The morality of this generation is disappearing–be that remnant. Be discipled. There is so much wisdom in the older generation. As Nigel preached–you need to go seek it out. Those of you between 25 and 50? Ah–you are in that unique time where you need to look to the generation above you and be learners and you need to disciple the next generation.

You know why I wanted to be a grandpa so bad when we were first married? I came to Christ as a freshman in college. I realized there was nobody in my family that I looked up to from a spiritual standpoint. There was no heritage of Christ and no faithfulness. I longed for the day I could look down and see a heritage of believers.

By God’s grace, my kids have all professed Christ. I am going to be a grandpa in weeks. But it is more than just our family–it is the Church. We need to strive to raise up a generation that does great things for the Kingdom.

What will be your legacy? Your job or title? Your hobbies, humor or personality? The amount of wealth you accumulate? Complaining? Your sickness? We need to be about the Kingdom. I hope our legacy is a people full of praise that talk about our great God. That we will be remembered as men and women of God. That is the only legacy that matters. This valley needs Christ. This generation coming needs Christ. Amen? Let’s pray.

About Robert Dodson

Robert serves as an elder at Faith Bible Church

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