2 Kings 10:32-11:20; Acts 18:1-11; Psalms 145:8-21; Proverbs 30:17
Psalms: “The Lord is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and great in faithful love. The Lord is good to everyone; his compassion rests on all he has made. All you have made will thank you, Lord; the faithful will bless you. They will speak of the glory of your kingdom and will declare your might, informing all people of your mighty acts and of the glorious splendor of your kingdom. Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom; your rule is for all generations. The Lord is faithful in all his words and gracious in all his actions. The Lord helps all who fall; he raises up all who are oppressed. All eyes look to you, and you give them their food at the proper time. You open your hand and satisfy the desire of every living thing. The Lord is righteous in all his ways and faithful in all his acts. The Lord is near all who call out to him, all who call out to him with integrity. He fulfills the desires of those who fear him; he hears their cry for help and saves them. The Lord guards all those who love him, but he destroys all the wicked. My mouth will declare the Lord’s praise; let every living thing bless his holy name forever and ever.” (Psalms 145:8-21 CSB)
In the first few verses of this psalm, David described the importance of passing the knowledge of God from one generation to another. Beginning in verse 8, David described the character and attributes of the God that he had come to know and understand. God is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger, and great in [checed] mercy and faithful committed love. Many images of God picture Him as an old man with a beard and a nasty temper who hurls lightning bolts on those who question Him. That is not the character of God at all. Many people think that God the Father is vengeful and angry… but that Jesus the Son is kind and merciful. That is not true either. Whatever we see in Jesus, we can know is in God the Father… and everything that is in God the Father, we will find in Jesus. God is both just and merciful, righteous and gracious. His commitment to the human race is longsuffering and His covenantal love is unbreakable. Notice how many times the word ‘all’ is used in this passage. All doesn’t mean a select few. All means all. All good things come from the Father of Lights. The fact that we as humans, regardless of our spiritual state, have anything good in this life to enjoy and celebrate is testament to God’s great mercy and longsuffering towards all. Love comes from God. The ability to be joyful and happy comes from God. Life and fruitfulness comes from God. The miracle of reproduction comes from God. That general graciousness of God flows to all. For those who think that hell is going to be an eternal party… just consider that your ability to enjoy a party comes from God, and once you are completely removed from God, so will your ability to enjoy anything. However, for those who choose to be faithful to God… who humble themselves and call out to God for help… who honor and respect the Lord, God is extra gracious. He blesses those who are faithful to Him with superabundance. As long as God’s longsuffering has lasted, it is not eternal. There will come an end to His patience. At that time, those who were not faithful to Him, who took advantage of His graciousness and squandered their lives, will be cut off from His general benevolence and will spend eternity separated from life and anything good. Those who were faithful to God will be swept up to abide with and enjoy His presence for eternity.