A Biblical doxology is a short segment of Scripture praising God and extolling His glory. Doxology means ‘word of glory.’ This article will present popular doxologies in the Old Testament Book of Psalms and elaborate upon their meaning. We will find these doxologies are understood when viewed within the greater context of the Psalm in which they reside.
Ascribe to the Lord, O sons of the mighty, ascribe to the Lord glory and strength. Ascribe to the Lord the glory due to His name; worship the Lord in holy array (Psalm 29: 1-2).
Most Old Testament doxologies are in the Psalms, and King David wrote the majority of these. David writes of God’s might and strength. God is all-powerful—omnipotent. Nothing is beyond His power. Reading the Psalm beyond verse two, we find the setting is in the midst of a fierce thunderstorm. God’s voice speaks in the thunder and his majesty reigns over the raging waters. God breaks the mighty cedar trees of Lebanon like toothpicks. He is the God over nature. “Mother nature” is no goddess, as the world portrays. God controls the forces of nature and uses them to His advantage. One might imagine God spinning stars and constellations by the billions from His fingertips on day four of the creation week. The Creator God also sustains the earth and the celestial bodies in the heavens. David attributes glory and strength to the Lord. His glory must be indescribable if His strength is unsurpassed! God’s great name, Jehovah (Yahweh in Hebrew) evokes great glory. Give the Lord the glory due His name. Our prayer and worship should always begin with God’s glory and majesty. Beautiful churches and temples do not manifest God’s glory. They merely reflect man’s architectural achievements. Men create an environment of pomp and circumstance to worship. But special clothes and beautiful buildings of worship do not impress God, and they certainly do not approximate His glory. His majesty is so much greater. Our worship is spiritual and our spiritual eyes catch glimpses of God’s glory in this life. But we will apprehend the fullness of His glory when we cross through the veil into eternity.
Blessed be the LORD God, the God of Israel, Who alone works wonders. And blessed be His glorious name forever; and may the whole earth be filled with His glory Amen, and Amen (Psalms 72:18-19).
David authored this Psalm, probably near the end of his life, as the Psalm petitions God’s blessings over the rule of his son, Solomon. The Psalm is also Messianic, in that it anticipates the SON from the lineage of King David, who will rule over the entire earth with justice. The Psalm ends with this wonderful doxology, which initially ascribes blessings to the God of Israel. David is likely contrasting the God of Israel to the gods of surrounding pagan nations. The God of Israel works wonders, but the ‘gods’ of pagan nations were merely lifeless statues—powerless works of art. The gods of today’s world’s religions are no different. They have no power to bring justice to a wicked world. They have no ability to redeem souls. In fact, the souls in their hands face a miserable eternity of flames and punishment. Earlier in the Psalm, David, petitions God for the king’s SON, who will bring righteous justice to the entire world. The doxology completes the Psalm with David anticipating God’s glory filling the whole earth. And so it shall one day! God will answer King David’s prayer. Jesus will return to this planet and bring it into subjection to His will. Jesus Christ is the glory of God who will fill the whole earth!
Ascribe to the Lord, O families of the peoples, ascribe to the Lord glory and strength. Ascribe to the Lord the glory of His name (Psalm 96: 7-8).
This doxology is quite similar to the one noted above in Psalm 29: 1-2. The psalmist proclaims God’s glory and strength, and invites the families of Israel to join that proclamation. What more can be said about God’s glory? Plenty! All of life, all of His creation, and all of His heavenly creations bear testimony of His glory and strength. His glory, splendor, and power overwhelm the sum of all that is!
Blessed be the LORD, the God of Israel, from everlasting even to everlasting. And let all the people say, “Amen.” Praise the LORD! (Psalms 106:48).
Jehovah is the God of Israel for eternity. God will never forsake His promises to Israel. His covenants with the Jews will forever stand. In fact, God’s promises and covenants are ultimately fulfilled in God the Son—the Savior, the Redeemer, and the Messiah. The sinless Lamb of God satisfied all requirements of the Mosaic covenant. Jesus fulfills the Abrahamic covenant as the ‘Seed’ in whom Israel and all the nations of the world will be blessed (Gen. 17: 4-8; 22: 17-18). Jesus fulfills the Davidic covenant as David’s Son who will forever sit on the throne ruling Israel and the rest of the world (2 Sam. 7: 12-13). And Jesus fulfills the New Covenant, by sacrificing his Body and pouring out His blood for the sins of Israel and the world (Matt. 26: 26-28). Israel will enter the New Covenant with Jesus one day (Jer. 31: 31-34). He will redeem the Jewish nation and rule the Kingdom from Mount Zion. Jesus Christ will be their Messiah forever and ever. “and let all the people say, Amen! Praise the LORD!” Yes, all those who know Jesus Christ and have been redeemed by Him, are partakers of all these covenants—not just Israel.
Even so, Abraham believed God and it was reckoned to him as righteousness. Therefore, be sure that it is those who are of faith who are sons of Abraham. The Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel beforehand to Abraham, saying, “All the nations will be blessed in you.” So then those who are of faith are blessed with Abraham, the believer (Gal. 3: 6-9).
Now the promises were spoken to Abraham and to his Seed. He does not say, “and to seeds,” as referring to many, but rather to one. “And to your Seed,” that is, Christ (Gal. 3: 16).
Not to us, O Lord, not to us, but to Your name give glory because of Your loving kindness, because of Your truth (Psalm 115: 1).
This doxology is the very first verse of Psalm 115. It is thought by many theologians that this Psalm was written after the return of the Israelites from their Babylonian captivity. Pagan nations of Middle East had been hurling insults against the God of Israel for seventy years. Babylon had recently pushed their way through Jerusalem, destroying the temple and decimating the country. The Babylonians had witnessed none of the so-called miracles the Israelites had commemorated as God delivered them from the mighty Egyptian Empire centuries before. King Cyrus of the Medo-Persian Empire had allowed the Jews to return to Jerusalem and rebuild their temple. The Israelites longed for the omnipotent God to make Himself known among the nations of the world. This Psalm may have been sung at the dedication of the second temple (Ezra 6:16). The entire Psalm extols the God of Israel as the only God. The gods of surrounding pagan nations were merely idols made by human hands. God is superior to all other gods who cannot see, speak or hear (Ps. 115: 5-7). God, alone, deserves all glory because all that is has emanated from His hand.
All Your works shall give thanks to You, O Lord, and Your godly ones shall bless You. They shall speak of the glory of Your kingdom and talk of Your power (Psalms 145: 10-11).
David wrote Psalm 145 as a true song of praise to God. Theologians regard it as David’s quintessential praise song. Nearly every verse ascribes praise for God’s multiple attributes. God has incorporated this Psalm into His Word as an example for each believer to create his own living psalm of praise to God. The works of God offer so many opportunities to lavish praise upon Him. God’s works around us are always praiseworthy. But God’s works within each believer should stimulate the greatest of praises and thanksgiving. We bless God because He has aroused our affection and appreciation for the great victory He has achieved in each of our lives. All believers die, but their praise lives on, adding to the glory of God. But the sum of all man’s praise and blessings can never suffice the debt we owe to Him. God’s royalty arouses our loyalty. All who heap blessings and praises upon our Master yearn for Him to manifest His power and glory in this wicked world. Indeed, one day He will.
Praise the LORD! Praise God in His sanctuary; Praise Him in His mighty expanse. Praise Him for His mighty deeds; Praise Him according to His excellent greatness. Praise Him with trumpet sound; Praise Him with harp and lyre. Praise Him with timbrel and dancing; Praise Him with stringed instruments and pipe. Praise Him with loud cymbals; Let everything that has breath praise the Lord. Praise the Lord! (Psalm 150: 1-6).
This is another one of many doxologies written by King David. “Praise the LORD!” One Hebrew work encompasses this phrase—Hallelujah! Praising God is the focus of David’s doxologies. This Psalm completes the Psalter. It instructs Who to praise, when to praise, and how to praise. It reaches the mountain summit of praise to God. David extols God for His greatness, for His mighty works and for His authority over all His creation. David calls us to praise God in the sanctuary and in His mighty expanse—the creation. God deserves praise in times of worship and in the mundane moments of everyday life. All God’s inanimate creation, all His heavenly creations—angelic and celestial, and all humanity will praise the God who originated all of this (Romans 8: 19-23; 14: 11; Ps. 150: 6). Now is the time to begin the practice of praise. David proclaims we can praise God with our lips and with musical instruments. Appropriate music extols God and is a sweet aroma that wafts into His heavenly abode. No orchestra is too large and no song too lofty to heap praises upon an eternal God, whose love, mercy, and justice are everlasting! This Psalm begins and ends with the proclamation, “Praise the LORD!” Indeed, the beginning and the end of all that is exalt the One Who brought it into being.