The Lord is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and rich in love. The Lord is good to all; he has compassion on all he has made. […] The Lord upholds all who fall and lifts up all who are bowed down. The eyes of all look to you, and you give them their food at the proper time. You open your hand and satisfy the desires of every living thing. The Lord is righteous in all his ways and faithful in all he does. The Lord is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth. He fulfills the desires of those who fear him; he hears their cry and saves them. The Lord watches over all who love him, but all the wicked he will destroy. Psalm 145:8,9,14-20 (NIV)
Today I focused in Psalm 145. It is a chapter very rich in promises. I have found several promises, and I will try to comment a bit on each.
1. The lord is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and rich in love.
With in these words we find the parallel between grace and “slow anger”. The Hebrew word for anger is “aph”, which means “nostrils”. Slow to anger describes a God with “long nostrils”. i.e. The image that the writer wants to create in our mind is someone (God) which inspires a lot of air when someone provokes Him, before becoming upset. A looooong inspiration (long nostrils). God has a “long fuse” or long nostrils. He will (almost) never finish inhaling air before getting upset. So, God is very, very, very patient with us.
The other parallel is between compassion and love. It is because He loves us so much, that he is compassionate with us, and for that reason God will take a looooong breath before getting upset with us.
2. The Lord is good to all; he has compassion on all he has made.
It is part of the first text, but I would like to underline the words “compassion on all he ha made”. How often we want to see instant justice from God. How often we behave like John and James, asking God to make fire rain from heaven upon those who we consider our “enemies”. But we forget that they are as well creatures of God. He has compassion on ALL he has made. And thanks to that compassion, now I am a new creature, a new believer. So, if God has been patient with me so far, others deserve at least the same opportunities I have been granted in Mercy. We should never forget that ALL human beings deserve compassion as we have been granted so far, and yet to come.
3. The Lord upholds all who fall and lifts up all who are bowed down.
I love this text. As a father, I have been very impatient with my kids when were toddlers. I remember that sometimes when any of my kids fell down because they were acting sillily, I got upset with him or her. Even being a sinful parent, I lifted him/her up, but I was pointing out “you shouldn’t do like that…”.
Here I see a merciful God who helps us to stand back in our feet after we fell down, and remain there. I see the image of a Father who has His kid grabbed by the hand, and upholds him just in the moment when he slips the step, keeping him on his feet. And in the worse case, even if we decide to release ourselves from God’s hand and we fall down to the ground, grieving our pain and weeping our mistake, bowed down, God will come and lift us up. Surely He will have something to teach us, but he will first help us to recover our stand.
4. The eyes of all look to you, and you give them their food at the proper time. You open your hand and satisfy the desires of every living thing.
This promise is always comforting. God is the provider of all our needs, and in the proper time. Not when we think we need it, but when He knows we really need it. I like the idea of satisfying the desires of every living thing, not only humans.
The problem is that humans have confused what they really need (desire) with what we think we need. How often we achieve that we have pursuing for long time and, when we have got it, then we realize that we do not feel really satisfied. We thought that a car, a house, or whatever, would fill the empty hole we feel inside, and after we got it, we continue having the same feeling of emptiness.
We have missed the real meaning of “desire”. What we really desire is one thing, and the materialization of what could fill the gap is misunderstood. But God really know what we need, what really fills our “gap” and what will satisfy us, making our real desires come true.
5. The Lord is righteous in all his ways and faithful in all he does. The Lord is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth. He fulfills the desires of those who fear him; he hears their cry and saves them.
We are quick in judging others, even God. We oftenly do not agree how God manages some situations. We return to the idea of point 2. “God should make me justice and punish that person” we might think. But never forget that God is righteous. He knows what He does and why. He is always faithful in ALL He does. He is the only one who will never betray you. Even when we see others who have flagrantly betrayed us, we feel a wave of rage asking God for “justice”, and we see that God is “too” merciful with those who have been unfaithful to us, we must remember God manages the situations in the best behalf for all parts, and He will never betray us, He is the only one who will always be faithful, so, we need to trust Him and the way He manages the situations, even if we do not understand it. He is not ignoring us, He hears and listens to our cry, our pain expressed in prayers. He sees everything and doesn’t miss a point of what happens in our life.
6. The Lord watches over all who love him, but all the wicked he will destroy.
Finally, after all this display of patience, deep breaths (long nostrils), real mediation, not as human beings think what mediating is, we need to remember that God actually sees everything. Further more, he observes with interest every single detail. He is the only one we can not deceive. We might justify ourselves before other human beings, commissions, committees, and any authority, but God is the only one who can not be deceived. He watches over those who love Him, who claim to act for God and to love Him, and, He is the only One who can actually know which are the final intentions of each one of us. We, human beings, should judge according to facts, but we can not judge intentions (even when we perceive they are not the best), because it is almost impossible to judge an intention at least we find a fact which demonstrate it. But God can not be deceived, and He watches over us in every aspect. At the end, it is not to us to decide who is a just or wicked person. Accepting that we are all sinners, we are all wicked. Among those who accept God’s mercy, we are not the ones to decide who is wheat and who is grass. We have a short last sentence: “but all the wicked he will destroy”. God has used an entire chapter to describe His merci, love, patience, forgiveness, help, provision, and much more. At the end, after all possible efforts to save those who have fell down, when there’s no other chance, after having burned the last resource, God, and only Him, will decide who will be punished. Even that, is a promise, a sad one, but indeed.