How Great Is Our God!
slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.
The Lord is good to all,
and his mercy is over all that he has made.
All of us have stories of the way our children learned to pray. My daughters struggled to pray for everything at once, so at dinner they would slowly identify each piece of silverware and each item of food, pausing along the way to express their gratitude for them one by one! In the ancient world of Israel, it was customary to pray Psalm 145 before a communal meal. But this psalm is not so much about the food God provides as it is about the God who makes provision in all things.
We live in a world that has trivialized God, having reduced him to human proportions. God is now little more than an exalted man, a superhero at best, but not the all-powerful, majestic, sovereign King over all kings that we read about in Scripture. Here in Psalm 145 we see God for who he is, and we are given a model for how we ought to respond.
David’s focus is clearly on the unrivaled glory, holiness, and altogether otherness of God. God alone is “great” (Ps. 145:3, 6). We can know him truly, but never exhaustively. His greatness transcends the greatest and most celebrated geniuses on earth. The psalmist therefore directs our thoughts to God’s majesty and his “glorious splendor” (v. 5). The radiant beauty of God’s person and power outshine everything and everyone else combined.
But this “great” and “majestic” God is also “good” (vv. 7, 9) and “gracious and merciful” (v. 8) and “abounding in steadfast love” (v. 8). It would be horrifying if God’s power and majesty were used in the cause of evil and destruction. We rejoice in God because he turns his power and “righteousness” (v. 7) to bless and prosper his people.
It is because of who God “is” that what he “does” is marvelous and awe-inspiring. His “works” (vv. 4, 5, 6, 10, 12) are “mighty” (v. 4) and “wondrous” (v. 5) and “awesome” (v. 6). He exercises providential oversight of all his creation in such a way that his people give thanks and bless his name, speaking of his glory and telling of his power (vv. 10–13).
He sustains what he has made and abundantly supplies whatever is needed (vv. 14–15). The Lord is not only “righteous” in all his ways, but he is also “kind” in all his works (v. 17). There is tenderness in his power, compassion in his sovereignty. He is a God who answers prayer and delivers his people yet destroys the wicked (vv. 18–20).
How else could we respond than to do what this psalm calls for—extol him, bless him, praise him, speak about him, think about him? Let us “sing aloud” (v. 7) and “give thanks” (v. 10) and “make known” (v. 12) all that he has done, and let it never cease (vv. 1, 2, 21). Let there be great praise for a great God!
This article by Sam Storms is adapted from the ESV Women's Devotional Bible.
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