I will extol you, my God and King,
and bless your name forever and ever.
Every day I will bless you
and praise your name forever and ever.
Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised,
and his greatness is unsearchable.
One generation shall commend your works to another,
and shall declare your mighty acts.
On the glorious splendor of your majesty,
and on your wondrous works, I will meditate.
They shall speak of the might of your awesome deeds,
and I will declare your greatness.
They shall pour forth the fame of your abundant goodness
and shall sing aloud of your righteousness.
The Lord is gracious and merciful,
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 your works shall give thanks to you, O Lord,
and all your saints shall bless you!
They shall speak of the glory of your kingdom
and tell of your power,
to make known to the children of man your mighty deeds,
and the glorious splendor of your kingdom.
Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom,
and your dominion endures throughout all generations.
[The Lord is faithful in all his words
and kind in all his works.]
The Lord upholds all who are falling
and raises up all who are bowed down.
God the Good King
Merciful, gracious, slow to anger, loving. When’s the last time you heard those words to describe the platform a politician was running on? Our leaders tend to be characterized more by words like judicious, self-promoting, quick to refute, and quicker to place blame. It’s hard to imagine a leader characterized by showing mercy to all people, even those who don’t deserve it. A leader who is slow to anger instead of swift to cast judgment and apply justice; one characterized by unwavering love, unphased by bribes or quid pro quo deal making. This kind of leader would hardly survive a heated political debate, let alone get elected!
And yet this is exactly how God, our true king, is described.
Psalm 145 paints a counter-cultural picture of a person in authority. God is described as a king, one who has power over an everlasting kingdom. God, the good king, shows mercy over all He has made (v.9). His works throughout creation declare His greatness and power. “He’s faithful in all His words and kind in all His works” (v.13b).
What a king! Who wouldn’t want to live under this kind of rule? However, when I take a good look at my life, I recognize that more often than not, I live by the rules of our society rather than modeling God’s kingly character. Like the broken world we live in, I, too, tend to be quicker to judge than to show mercy. I demand my rights instead of extending grace. I quickly defend my point of view instead of remaining slow to anger. My love for others often depends upon their love for me. I am so far from acting like I live in God’s everlasting kingdom that abides by different priorities than this world.
And yet, when I confess my shortcomings and failings to King Jesus, He continues to be merciful and gracious to me. He is patient, loving, and kind even when I am not worthy of this response. He continues to shower me with the good gifts found throughout creation. He grants me forgiveness of sins, life, and salvation through the means of grace. Praise God, the good and gracious King!
As we consider God’s love and mercy to us in spite our sin, Martin Luther’s explanation to the Second Article comes to mind: “ … that I may be His own and live under Him in His kingdom … and serve Him in everlasting righteousness, innocence, and blessedness … “ Christ died and rose to be our King so that we might live in His kingdom forever. All hail, King Jesus!
Discussion question: Which attribute of God described in this psalm seems most surprising for the King of the universe?
Prayer: Dear Jesus, our Good King, thank You for ruling over all of creation with grace and mercy. Forgive me when I choose to live by my own priorities instead of following the ways of Your kingdom. Thank You for being slow to anger and dealing with me in patience. Amen.
Challenge/Takeaway activity: Verse 4 says, “One generation shall commend your works to another, and shall declare your mighty acts.” What would it look like for you to tell someone of a different age than you about God’s everlasting kingdom?