David’s Praise - Psalm 145 (The Message)
1 I lift you high in praise, my God, O my King!
and I’ll bless your name into eternity.
2 I’ll bless you every day,
and keep it up from now to eternity.
3 God is magnificent; he can never be praised enough.
There are no boundaries to his greatness.
4 Generation after generation stands in awe of your work;
each one tells stories of your mighty acts.
5 Your beauty and splendor have everyone talking;
I compose songs on your wonders.
6 Your marvelous doings are headline news;
I could write a book full of the details of your greatness.
7 The fame of your goodness spreads across the country;
your righteousness is on everyone’s lips.
8 God is all mercy and grace—
not quick to anger, is rich in love.
9 God is good to one and all;
everything he does is suffused with grace.
10-11 Creation and creatures applaud you, God;
your holy people bless you.
They talk about the glories of your rule,
they exclaim over your splendor,
12 Letting the world know of your power for good,
the lavish splendor of your kingdom.
13 Your kingdom is a kingdom eternal;
you never get voted out of office.
God always does what he says,
and is gracious in everything he does.
14 God gives a hand to those down on their luck,
gives a fresh start to those ready to quit.
15 All eyes are on you, expectant;
you give them their meals on time.
16 Generous to a fault,
you lavish your favor on all creatures.
17 Everything God does is right—
the trademark on all his works is love.
18 God’s there, listening for all who pray,
for all who pray and mean it.
19 He does what’s best for those who fear him—
hears them call out, and saves them.
20 God sticks by all who love him,
but it’s all over for those who don’t.
21 My mouth is filled with God’s praise.
Let everything living bless him,
bless his holy name from now to eternity!
Devotional reflections from Jools Hamilton
I am at my worst when I do something that when I see others doing it causes me to grumble and complain.
Oh well. Here I go.
I am a massive fan of Scripture, and the complexity and adventure of this ‘strange world’ as theological giant Karl Barth called it. Hence I detest taking one verse, and swinging it around out of context to make a point I desire to make. It usually strikes me as reductionist and incomplete to choose a verse here or there to suit my own (already prejudiced) understandings. I usually desire to see the full colour of a text, not a minimal social media soundbite.
And here I am taking just one verse from a whole, beautiful, Psalm.
But it is a good one!
‘The Lord is loving to all, and his mercy is over all his works.’
“The LORD [is] good to all: and his tender mercies [are] over all his works” (more literal translation into English)
I love this Psalm, and this verse in particular.
The Hebrew words for ‘good’ and for ‘mercy’ are what they say on the tin. Not a lot of deeper fancy word-plays here. Good (tobh) is used as you would use it – pleasant / appropriate / gooooooooood. And mercy (khus) is to look upon with pity / with compassion. It is the same root as the words for ‘black’ and ‘darkened,’ and one helpful thought is that to have genuine compassion for/with someone, is to gaze upon their darkness, or, more correctly, to sit in their darkness with them. Having compassion cannot be an external pitying gaze from afar, it has to be connected and alongside. It is an emotional connection. To truly have compassion for someone else, is to allow yourself to have empathy by acknowledging and connecting the darkened shadows within yourself. We do not ever sit over pitying other humans, we sit in the midst of them.
Looking toward with an emotional compassion. An empathy. True knowing in the deepest parts.
This is how the writer of the Psalm chooses to speak of how God gazes upon his creation. ALL of it.
This verse by the way, is one of the verses that the founder of my tribe (John Wesley + the Methodists) was fond of quoting. Turns out it runs deep in my veins.
Gods looks upon his creation, upon us, upon humanity, with nothing but the deepest heart.
Actually, I suppose if I have to take one verse and swing it about wildly without context critique, complexity or nuance – this isn't a bad one to take.
Rev Dr Julian Hamilton is an ordained minister of the Methodist Church in Ireland, and Chaplain in Residence to Trinity College, Dublin. He is founder of Youthspirit, and co-founder + CEO of The Good Summit – organizations committed to the bettering of social transformation and the bringing about of Peace.
“The LORD is good to all: and his tender mercies are over all his works”