What sort of ruler is God to you? A benevolent King? A harsh, unbending dictator? A distant monarch? What (or who) has influenced your image and experience of God?
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 third and fourth paragraphs.
Read Psalm 145:13b-16 and 17-20.
First, verses 13b-16 are a section of praise about God’s faithfulness. How does the Lord reward the loyalty given to him by his subjects in the first thirteen verses? The saints are exalted and cared for. God provides and satisfies. He feeds. He provides. What does 13b say? “The Lord is faithful to all his promises.” What does 17 say? “The Lord is loving toward all that he has made.”
The Hebrew for the phrase “loving” denotes befriending. Appeal to God’s (unfailing) “love, kindness, mercy” is frequent in the Older Testament since it summarizes all that the Lord covenanted to show to Israel as well as David and his dynasty.
God is faithful to his word (13) and loving (13). His display of care and support (14), supply at the right time (15), and the way he satisfies the desires of every living thing (16) has made his name and promises more precious. How would you testify about God’s faithfulness?
Second, verses 17-20 are a section of praise of God’s righteousness. Verse 17 declares that the LORD is righteous in all his ways. V 7 said, “We joyfully sing of your righteousness.” Very often the ”righteousness” of God in the Psalms (and elsewhere in the Old Testament) refers to the rightness with which he acts. This righteousness is in full accordance with his commitment (both expressed and implied) to his people and with his status as the divine King – to whom the powerless may look for protection, the oppressed for redress, and the needy for help. In the Lord, justice lives alongside kindness. There is a basic goodness in all He does – His moral qualifications leads to His ongoing enrichment of others.
Verse 18 adds that the Lord is near to all who call on him in truth (meaning, with sincerity and integrity). Righteous though he is, He is also near to His praying people. He also looks for their sincerity (18), their reverence (19), and their love (20). His righteousness is indeed a righteousness of grace: loving, fulfilling desires, saving, watching over, but it is also the righteousness of holiness. So He judges wickedness rightly, wisely, or justly. Everything God does is RIGHT!
Consider this summary: v 17 says He’s loving toward all He has made; v 18 says He’s near to all who call on him (in truth…or w/ integrity); v 19 says He fulfills the desires of those who fear Him, and He hears their cry and saves them; v 20 wraps by saying He watches over all who love Him. And He will destroy the wicked.
Walk wisely. Why would spending time with the King 1-to-1 be the greatest reward for a citizen? How can you pass on to others your experience of God’s faithfulness and rightness?
Love is a verb,
© 2015 by Mike Olejarz