God is Great God is Good
By Toby Crowder
“Great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised; and his greatness is unsearchable.”
“The LORD is good to all: and his tender mercies are over all his works.” Psalm 145:3 & 9
Let us thank Him for our food…By His hands, we all are fed… I imagine that is what passed through some folks’ minds when they read the title of this article. Even though many of us grew up learning (and teaching to our children) that modest prayer of blessing, how many of us have ever considered the immense truth that is contained in these simple words? Even though I only included verses three and nine of Psalm 145, I encourage you to read the entirety of this Psalm and consider the goodness and greatness of God as we enter this season of Thanksgiving.
When studying the Psalms, we learn that several of them seem to have a repetitive nature or a consistent theme. The entire thought of this particular Psalm is one of praise and thanksgiving to God. Many times, in Scripture, the themes of prayer and praise seem to blend together. Even though the preceding four chapters deal largely with prayer, there is no petition or request involved in this Psalm. It is simply a beautiful declaration of praise as the writer ponders the limitless glory and goodness of God.
As we enter the month of November, we often take time to look towards Thanksgiving and reflect upon our blessings, even though we are blessed all throughout the year! As a result, our lives should praise God daily… in all that we do. Certain people may vocally praise God while others do not. Some folks have their eyes fixed upon Him and cannot help but appreciate His goodness while others are self-absorbed, and live a life focused on their own desires. When God is the center of our life and being, we cannot help but praise Him. I am sure that this Psalmist was not perfect, and neither was His life… but he found reasons to praise God.
The Psalmist begins his chorus of praise by focusing on the greatness of God. We read about “great” men of History and Science, but God is greater than them all! If He is going to be God, He must be greater than anything else in our lives. Even though God’s greatness is immeasurable, we consider that He is great in His person AND His works. In verses 4-5, the Psalmist speaks of God’s wondrous works and terrible acts. In verse five he mentions the majesty of God. Majesty refers to that for which a person is admired or extolled. As we consider this word, we realize that everything about God is glorious…His name, His works, His ways, and all that He does is truly worthy of our praise and thanksgiving. The Apostle Paul knew God as few men ever have and yet he said in Romans 11:33: “O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out!”
Not only does the Psalmist recognize that God’s greatness is immeasurable, but he also recognizes that God is good! God is the culmination of the two traits… goodness and greatness. If God was only great but not good, He may not manifest His love to us in the ways that He does. On the other hand, If He were good, but not great He would be incapable of being our God! And so, we rejoice today in the fact that God is both great and good! God does not will anything evil for His children. We are reminded of this in James 1:17: “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.” God’s goodness is abundant (v.7), compassionate (v.8), and universal (v. 9) which inspires the Psalmist to lead a universal declaration of praise in v.21: “My mouth shall speak the praise of the LORD: and let all flesh bless his holy name forever and ever.”
As we consider the simplicity of this message and prayer, let us not forget the necessity of thankfulness during this holiday season. Truly we can say together with the writer of this Psalm… “God is great, and God is Good!”
Toby Crowder serves as Pastor of Mt. Carmel Baptist Church in Spruce Pine. He and his wife Leslie have been married for 26 years and have two daughters, Emilee, and Katy. He can be contacted via the church’s website MCfamilyforChrist.org or firstname.lastname@example.org
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