David here mentions four features of the character of God. They seem to be divided into two sets of two, each set being preceded by a reference to his kindness (13b; 17). The first pair mentions God’s care of the struggling and his provision of the physical needs of all his creatures (vv. 14-16). Those two benefits are what he provides as the Creator. The second pair is more focussed on what he does for his people (vv. 18-20). He answers their prayers and he protects them from their enemies.
Of course, the Lord has been doing this in every generation. Who can calculate the number of needy people he has helped and who can possibly work out how much provision he has ensured was there for all his creatures who once lived on the earth? And when we move to consider the second pair, who can say how many prayers have been answered by the Lord? Nor can we say how many of the Lord’s people have been delivered by the Lord’s power?
Verses 18 and 19 are very comforting for God’s people. We can see from verse 18 that our prayer and his presence go together, and in verse 19 we see that our fearing him and his fulfilment of our longings go together. When we pray, we speak to a God who is very near, who draws close, as it were, to listen to us. The Lord listens to our hearts as well as to our words (our ‘desire’ describes our hearts) and is pleased to hear our prayer for full salvation.
What does it mean to call on God in truth? It includes sincerity because insincere prayer is mockery. But it must include a sense of sonship, that we are drawing near to a Father who wants to give good things to his children. And it also involves a willingness to submit to his decisions regarding our requests because we are praying to a sovereign King who knows what is best for us.
David closes the psalm with a statement of intent, a personal vow: ‘My mouth will speak the praise of the Lord.’ This may be his last word and it reveals what he intended to do with the rest of his life. His statement also reveals what he wanted to happen in the future: ‘let all flesh bless his holy name for ever and ever.’ Although he was a king, he knew who the true King is!