I remember meeting Robby from Uganda when he came to Ohio University in the 1980’s. I met him when he came up to introduce himself while I was doing some 2×2 evangelism on the main center of campus. We met soon after and got to know one another better. He mentioned how different the idea of “fellowship” was from his country (amidst civil war at the time) and America. He described the activity of fellowship he and other Christians practiced as meeting to discuss the Word of God and the activity of the Holy Spirit in their lives rather than just bowling, pizza, and hanging out. He added that he didn’t think it had to be either-or, but circumstances do affect how we perceive and handle life, its outcomes and consequences.
Read Psalm 145:8-13a.
Psalm 145 is a hymn of praise to the Lord, the great King, for His mighty acts and benevolent virtues, which are reflections and examples of his kingly rule. Between the two-line introduction (v 1-2) and the one-line conclusion (v 21), four poetic paragraphs develop themes of praise, each introduced with a thematic line (v 3, 8, 13b, 17). Consider the second of the four paragraphs.
Verses 8-13a describe the praise of God’s benevolent virtues, which moves all creatures to celebrate the glory of His Kingdom. What virtues? How about His grace, mercy, compassion, impartiality, providence…as a start?
The Lord’s gracious benevolence is reviewed in v 8-9; how His nature expresses itself in kindness. His specific goodness to his covenant people is accompanied by flat out universal goodness (v 9). For this, His saints owe him thanks (v 10-16).
God’s grace = unmerited favor. It’s freely given. It empowers people for service. It enables people to live a simple life. It’s not given for selfish use. It’s promised to the humble. God’s mercy is eternal and boundless. It prolongs life, and encourages us to penitence. His mercy forgives our sins, and makes salvation possible. God’s compassion is benevolent, helpful, burden bearing, and shows a concern for the unfortunate. To God’s people belongs a testimony of His might (11), and to the glory of His kingly rule (12). God is impartial. Peter says in Acts 10:34-35 that, “I now realize how true it is that God does not show favoritism, but accepts men and women from every nation who fear him and do what is right.” One of God’s names is Jehovah Jireh, “our Provider.”
What is the divine King’s true greatness? (His character – 8). How does God treat His subjects? (He is good to all – 9). How do His subjects treat God? (All will praise Him- 10). Do all the subjects respond equally? (10-13) …”All you have made will praise you, O Lord, your saints will extol you. They will tell of the glory of your kingdom and speak of your might, so that all men may know of your mighty acts and the glorious splendor of your kingdom. Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and your dominion endures through all generations.”
Did you hear the topic of conversation? It centers on God’s virtue and His Kingdom. Do you speak this way about the LORD with your friends? Not just at church, but on a regular basis? Is it part of your holy habits to praise the Lord with like-minded followers of the One True God? Do you talk about and tell of the glory of His rule in your life and academic and professional service? Live communally. Learn from Robby and his pals and practice war-time conversation.
Love is a verb,
©2015 by Mike Olejarz