“They shall abundantly utter the memory of thy great goodness, and shall sing of thy righteousness. The LORD is gracious, and full of compassion; slow to anger, and of great mercy. The LORD is good to all: and his tender mercies are over all his works.” (Psalm 145:7-9)
This psalm was a well-known song among the Israelites in Old Testament times. What do you think the people in the neighboring nations must have thought when they heard the lyrics to this Israelite tune? The “neighbors” were godless people, meaning they were without the God of the Bible. Some of them were idolaters who worshipped many gods. Some of them would not bow the knee to any kind of god at all.
Do you think these godless people were happy? Were their idols hearing or answering their prayers? Were they able to get themselves through hard times on their own, without God? Maybe you are thinking, Well, how can I know what those ancient people were thinking? I am living in the twenty-first century, and those people are all dead now. I can’t watch them live without God. I can’t ask them how they liked their godless lives.
And you would be right, in a way. In our time, we can only imagine what people might have been thinking back then. But you can look around at people today. You can watch how godless people respond in a crisis and see how hopeless they are. You can read about them and see what they do and say. You can watch how it is for them to live life apart from belief in the God of the Bible. And you can see for yourself whether they really are happy or at peace.
When the USA’s World Trade Center was attacked on 9/11/01, Americans everywhere were asking a few questions: “Is God really out there?” “Is God really good?” If you have ever heard recordings of reporters and bystanders that day, as they watched the towers burn and fall, and as so many lives were lost, you can hear that many of them – even the ones who would never admit that God exists – were calling out on God! Most of them were probably saying His name in vain (in an empty way, because they were not really calling Him for help). But if you do not believe that God exists, why would your first reaction be to call out the name of a non-existent “God”?
There are many people who do not know God, and many who do not really want to know Him. But if they could believe what Psalm 145 teaches about God’s character, maybe they would be able to trust Him and obey Him. If they could have understood that their homemade idols could never be “good to all” like the LORD is, maybe they would have listened more carefully to the Israelite psalms.
Of course, we can only guess. But we can look around us today, too. Do your “neighbors” (everyone around you) believe in the God of the Bible? Do they have any clue how utterly great He is in His goodness, and how that goodness does extend to everybody? If they did, do you think we could watch their lives and see them happy and at peace? Do you think we could think of ways to show them the truth of God’s goodness, even in the way we live in front of them? The Israelites’ neighbors had heard of them, and they knew the stories about their God. Maybe we should be “singing” the goodness of our God a little “louder” here in the twenty-first century.
The LORD is good to all.
» How is the LORD better than idols and better than having no god at all?
» Do I really believe (and act like it) that the LORD is good?
» Can people around me tell what I believe about the LORD’s goodness?