Each stanza relates something different about God, progressing from God's mighty acts in the past to the present and eventually even to anticipate the future. The psalm's survey of the majestic sweep of God's doings is superb. It is hard to find another psalm to equal it.

The third and final stanza of this psalm is a little bit surprising in one respect, and that is its mention of God causing the land to yield a good harvest (v. 6). Nothing has been said about harvests or any other specific material blessing thus far in the psalm, and we wonder why this seems to be thrown in. The answer is probably that if material blessings are to be thought of at all, the most evident place they can be seen is in an abundant harvest. And the desire of the people is that God will bless them there so that the surrounding nations may see how God provides for a people who love him and seek to walk in his ways.

One of the older commentators whom Charles Haddon Spurgeon quotes in his Treasury of David is William Binnie, who speaks of a balance here between the desire that others might be saved and our responsibility to tell them how.

How are the nations of the world to get to know God? How is this great blessing to be known throughout the earth? These questions are raised inescapably by stanza two (vv. 3-5), which is a prayer for God's blessing on the nations parallel to the prayer for his blessing on Israel in stanza one. This is the longest stanza, as noted earlier; hence it is the one that should receive the most emphasis. It is also set apart in that it opens and closes with an identical verse, which is the second inclusio.

When a section of a psalm begins and ends with a similar verse, phrase or emphasis, scholars call it an inclusio. This is a literary device that sets the included subject matter apart and gives it emphasis. We have two such "inclusions" in this psalm, one within another. The second, middle, stanza is set apart in this way and is the clearest example because it begins and ends with the same verse: "May the peoples praise you, O God; may all the peoples praise you" (vv. 3, 5). The less apparent example is the psalm itself which begins and ends with the prayer that God might bless Israel and that the God of Israel might be known and feared among the Gentiles (vv. 1, 7).