Scripture Reading: Psalm 145
Key Verse: “Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised, and his greatness is unsearchable.” – Psalm 145:3
“God is good.” What a common phrase this is. It seems that every Sunday morning I witness countless Facebook statuses and tweets regarding how they are “expecting God to show up big” and then after the church service predictably the follow up status or tweet reads “Great service! God is good!” What could possibly be wrong with all of this? From a distance, this just seems like followers of Christ who are waiting on God and then praising Him for how good He is. However, how accurate is all of this? My impression, as a bystander, is that God must be good on Sunday during the church service. Oh, but that is not the only time that He is good. God is also good when we pass exams, or when we play great in a game or competition. God is also good when a baby is born. God is also good when someone gets married. God is also good when we get that raise from work. God is so dear to our hearts when have a good time of fellowship with our friends. This line of thinking results in heavy and dangerous implications. Thinking this way implies that God is good when circumstances are good. Therefore, wouldn’t it be fair to say that God is bad when circumstances are bad? By taking the approach that so many of us do at times, this is exactly what it implies. Thinking, speaking, and behaving in this way implies directly that God’s goodness is conditional to the situation. In other words, when something is going our way or when something wonderful happens to us, or maybe just when we are having a good day, we declare to all that God is good. However, is God still good when something goes bad? What about for the many who live in desperate poverty or maybe those who are beaten and abused daily? Is God still good? According to our own declarations He is not. If they based God on our behaviors at times, it would be apparent to them that God is absent and silent. This is because as soon as something bad happens to us, things aren’t going our way, or we are having a bad day, we get silent about our God. He is no longer good, but absent. Is this true theology? Is this belief (or at least physical evidence) correct? We would never claim to believe this way (that God’s goodness is dependent on the circumstance) but our actions and words declare that we do. I hope to change our attitudes and declarations that “God is good.” We must get this right. I pray by the end you realize what God actually is. I pray you will see the truth: God is Great!
Firstly, get your vocabulary right. Our God is not good. He is GREAT! He is King! He is Lord! HE is Creator! He is Master! He is Father! He is GOD! To belittle Him to merely something that is good does not do His name justice. Therefore, as David in the Psalms so often calls Him great, so will we! A more correct Facebook status (if that’s what you are interested in) would be “Great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised, and his greatness is unsearchable.”
(Psalm 145:3) The word “great” is used three different times in three different ways. He is great. He should be praised greatly. His greatness is unsearchable. God is so great in fact that you will never be able to come to the end of it. Now, what so many that declare how “good” (hopefully now “great”) God is seem to leave out is what makes Him great. How is God great? Verse 8 of Psalm 145 perfectly describes the greatness of God. “The LORD is gracious and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.” (Psalm 145:8) This sounds slightly different than God is great because He helped me pass that test, win that game, or have a great day! While all of these descriptions of why God is great focuses on the person, the previous descriptions focus on God Himself. Simply put, God is great because He is God! How that affects us is that we experience His mercy, grace, patience, and steadfast love when we believe, trust, and have faith in Christ Jesus for salvation. God is good to all by extending this mercy and grace to all as a free gift if they would but believe. By believing and confessing Jesus as Lord of our life, God extends His gifts of mercy, grace, patience, and steadfast love to us as our sins are pardoned and we are reconciled to Him. In other words, God gives us Himself. Since grace and mercy are characteristics of His that make Him great, when He extends these to us by faith in Christ, we experience God Himself. God is not good, He is great because of His mercy, grace, patience, and steadfast love. What great works of the Lord these are!
Understanding how great God is leads us to another tremendous truth and implication which is a declaration of His greatness. A lot of you may feel you do this already. We have already examined the inaccuracy in the claims of so many that God is good when circumstances are good. However, these claims have been observed because those claiming them are declaring. Therefore, the will to declare is not absent when things are going good. Nevertheless, God’s greatness is worthy of being declared. As David we must have this in our hearts, “…I will declare your greatness.”
(Psalm 145:6) As followers of Christ, we must declare of His greatness so that those who have yet to see it in their own lives will hear of how great He is. Since God does extend His mercy and grace to all who would believe, we must declare His wondrous deeds and works to all so that they will believe. God is great and He is worthy to be praised among all peoples and all nations. For those who have not believed, He is worthy to be praised. For them to believe, we must declare how great He truly is to them. There is no deed so evil that it can escape the mercy of God. There is no lifestyle so blasphemous that God’s grace cannot overwhelm it and transform it into one lived for Him. Nothing is outside the power of God because all that is here is His. They will not experience His greatness if they do not believe and how can they believe if they do not hear? So, to the point, by not declaring the greatness of God, you are robbing them of true eternal joy found in God through Jesus Christ. This is the greatest injustice the world has ever or will ever see: God’s people refusing to declare His greatness and in essence keeping the greatest joy the world has ever seen from those yet to believe. All in all, declare His glory and greatness! Realize the importance of this not only for our generation but most importantly for the belief and joy of our children and our children’s children to come. (Psalm 145:11-13)
Finally, we must see not only that God is great (not good) and that His greatness deserves to be declared, but when His greatness should be declared. The answer is simple: forever and always! If we are going to declare God’s greatness, we must do so every day from now on. David declares in Psalm 145 that he will “bless [His] name forever and ever.”
(Psalm 145:1) He continues in verse 2 declaring when he would bless the name of the Lord: “Every day I will bless you and praise your name forever and ever.”
(Psalm 145:2)There is not a season for declaring the greatness of God. We must do this daily and continuously without ceasing. We must boldly “speak of the glory of [His} kingdom and tell of [His] power.” (Psalm 145:11) But we must do this daily. Do not settle for the happiness of the moment when something is going your way or you have immediate success. Settle for nothing less than the joy God has prepared for you by delighting in His greatness and declaring His glory to others, believers and non-believers alike. His deeds are mighty in and of themselves. His greatness is not dependent on circumstances. God is great forever and always and His greatness should be declared likewise; forever and always!
Therefore take heed to this Word of the Lord. God is great because of His mercy, grace, patience, and steadfast love. This greatness should be declared every day for all time! So, in your life declare the greatness of God in all circumstances. For it is true, God is great regardless of the circumstance. Therefore, it is true to say when you fail a test, “Failed my test today, God is great!” Say to your teammates, “We lost the game tonight, God is great!” Even in the most dreadful circumstance say, “I was diagnosed with cancer today, God is great!” Or maybe, “I lost my job today, God is still and always will be great!” What a witness you will become to the true nature of God, that His mercy, grace, love and patience extends to all who believe in His Son Jesus Christ and claim Him as Lord. This is true of God in the good, the bad, the pretty, and the ugly. In the most hideous of circumstances, God is God and His character is unchanging and He is faithful to His mercy, grace, and overall greatness! Be true to your belief in the Holy God of the Bible! Declare Him as He is, GREAT and not good. Tell of His glory, greatness, and power forever and most importantly, always in every circumstance whether good or bad! Praise Him in the good and praise Him in the bad! Remember, no matter how awful the situation you are in is, God is still great and He always will be extending love, mercy, and grace to you if you would believe in His Son Jesus Christ! Declare Christ as Lord of your life today and tell of the greatness of God! Be a part of the everlasting kingdom of God today which will endure forever! (Psalm 145:13)