The Greatest Greatness

The greatness of God transcends our imagination and offers comfort to a broken world.

“Great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised, and his greatness is unsearchable.” (Psalm 145:3 ESV) 

The word “great” is often overused. Meals are great, movies are great, the weather is great, sporting events are great, and so on. Like many other words in our vocabulary, it has lost some of its weight and significance because we use it to describe virtually everything. 

As we look at this third verse of Psalm 145, however, the greatness of God is not something that falls into this common, everyday category. David’s statement “Great is the Lord” carries a weightiness and significance that deserves our full attention. Matthew Henry describes God’s greatness this way: “his presence infinite, his power irresistible, his brightness insupportable, his majesty awful [full of awe], his dominion boundless, and his sovereignty incontestable.” These are not attributes we can assign to a “great” sandwich. These are descriptions conveying the highest glory, authority, and majesty human words can utter—the height, breadth, and depth of the divine. 

When we proclaim God as great, we are acknowledging the fullness of his divinity and sovereign rule, which David affirmed in verse 1 (“my God and King”). His ways and thoughts are higher than ours (Isaiah 55:8-9), and his wisdom and strength are superior to ours (1 Corinthians 1:25). God’s transcendence is largely in view here. He is enthroned in the heavenlies (Psalm 2:4), from which he rules and reigns. 

God’s intrinsic greatness demands that our praise be proportionately great. David’s next thought in Psalm 145 expresses that God is “greatly to be praised.” The Lord, who is the greatest of all beings, despises half-hearted praise. Again, Matthew Henry offers a helpful explanation when he says we should praise God “with all that is within us, to the utmost of our power, and with all the circumstances of solemnity imaginable.” Worship is a solemn, reverent duty and privilege, which we are to dispense in a manner commensurate with the one whom we are worshipping. If we attempt to worship God with a wrong attitude or in a manner contrary to what he has commanded, we may reap tremendous consequences (Leviticus 10). We are to worship God with the greatest joy (Psalm 100) and the greatest reverence, because he is great. 

Even as we acknowledge the greatness of the Lord, we also acknowledge that our finite minds cannot fully comprehend the depth of what that means. God’s greatness is “unsearchable.” Our words fail to appropriately express the true greatness of the Lord. An eternity will not be enough to exhaust the vocabulary of praise. If we were to compile every penstoke in the history of the church dedicated to examining and extolling the greatness of God, they would be like a feather on the scales of the divine majesty. Charles Wesley recognized both his inability to express this greatness and his desire to do so when he penned the first stanza of his famous hymn “O For a Thousand Tongues”: 

O for a thousand tongues to sing
My great Redeemer’s praise,
The glories of my God and King,
The triumphs of his grace!

Isaac Watts expressed a similar inability to render to God his due: 

Were the whole realm of nature mine, 
That were a present far too small. 
Love so amazing, so divine, 
Demands my soul, my life, my all.  

Though we will never plumb the depths of God’s greatness, we ought to dive as deeply as he gives us grace. There is no other pursuit as worthwhile as examining the existence and attributes of God (note that this is also the title of an exceptional work by Stephen Charnock). Not only will it render to God what is rightly his, but it gives the believer the utmost confidence and peace in a turbulent world. 

As we see the rise and fall of kingdoms, we can take comfort in the unchangeable, eternal greatness of the Lord. Every kingdom will end except the kingdom of the Lamb (Luke 1:33). This was David’s proclamation and hope. May it continue to comfort God’s people as we live in a broken world, and may it motivate us to tell others of the greatness of our God. 


Heavenly Father, 
You are great. You are beyond all finitude and sit enthroned above all creation. May we recognize and humbly acknowledge the greatness of your glory in a manner that is pleasing to you. Grant us to know, love, and worship you to the fullest extent that our frail minds and hearts can allow. 
In your Son’s name, amen. 

Prayer Requests: 

  • Pray for the effectiveness of the Heart, Mind, and Soul and Good Soil seminars as they teach the greatness of God through the Scriptures to the lost and unreached across the globe.
  • Pray for a deeper understanding of the transcendent majesty of God in your church, such that laborers for the harvest would be spurred on and sent out.
  • Pray for more devoted missionaries seeking to make known God’s sovereign authority among the nations.