Hello everybody and welcome in to episode #342 of the Bible 2021 podcast. We are reading Psalm 145-146 today and our focus is on What is the Most Accurate Short Description of God? What is the Most Accurate One Verse Description of God in the Bible? What Does God’s Compassion Look Like? We are a daily 10ish minute podcast, where we will dig in to the truth of the Word of God by reading one Bible chapter a day and discussing it. Welcome to new listeners in . Our goal is to encourage DAILY Bible reading, so you can jump in at any time and join with us. We want to invite as many people as possible to join us in daily Bible reading, so help spread the word and share the podcast! Don’t forget about our web-page, Bible2021.com – contact page, show notes, transcript and more– Click here for our Bible 2021 reading plan\
Two more Psalms today, one a hymn of David, and the other an anonymous Psalm. In the first Psalm, David gives us as wonderful and compact a description of God as could be possible, and here it is:
The Lord is gracious and compassionate,
slow to anger and great in faithful love. Psalm 145:8
I am fairly confident that this is as accurate of a description of God that you can have in one verse and less than twelve words. Does it cover everything about God’s character – of course not, an infinite God could only be adequately described in a perfect and infinite amount of words, but in this verse nails much of the most important things we must know about God – and if He was introducing Himself, so to speak, I suspect these words might be the first out of His mouth. And, by the way, I don’t just say that out of some silly presumption, because God did, in fact, show Himself to Moses as clearly as He has revealed Himself to anybody in Scripture, and notice precisely how God begins to describe Himself:
5 The Lord came down in a cloud, stood with him there, and proclaimed his name, “the Lord.” 6 The Lord passed in front of him and proclaimed: The Lord—the Lord is a compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger and abounding in faithful love and truth, 7 maintaining faithful love to a thousand generations, forgiving iniquity, rebellion, and sin. But he will not leave the guilty unpunished, bringing the consequences of the fathers’ iniquity on the children and grandchildren to the third and fourth generation. Exodus 34:5-7
So, yes, David is quoting here in Psalm 145:8 God’s own description of Himself, so we can take this as a description of God as reliable and perfect as it can be for a short description. Here are some wise words from John Piper on God’s compassionate nature:
God abounds in steadfast love and faithfulness. Two images come to my mind. The heart of God is like an inexhaustible spring of water that bubbles up love and faithfulness at the top of the mountain. Or the heart of God is like a volcano that burns so hot with love that it blasts the top off the mountain and flows year after year with the lava of love and faithfulness.
When God uses the word “abounding,” he wants us to understand that the resources of his love are not limited. In a way, he’s like the Federal government: Whenever there’s a need, he can just print more money to cover it. But the difference is that God has an infinite treasury of golden love to cover all the currency he prints. The U.S. government is in a dream world. God banks very realistically on the infinite resources of his deity….
The sheer magnificence of God means that he does not need us to fill up any deficiency in himself. Instead his infinite self-sufficiency spills over in love to us who need him. We can bank on his love precisely because we believe in the absoluteness of his existence, the sovereignty of his freedom, and the limitlessness of his power….And I see a connection between that perseverance of God’s love and the statement that God is slow to anger. Love cannot last where anger has a hair trigger. If God’s anger had a hair trigger, his love would not last one day in my life. If rockets of wrath shot out from God’s eyes every time I sinned, I would be blown to smithereens before I got out of bed in the morning.
But he shouts on Mount Sinai, “I am slow to anger!” He holds back his wrath by the reigns of his love. He is long-suffering. He is extraordinarily patient. And so he keeps steadfast love. He guards it and preserves it by being slow to anger.
John Piper, Sermons from John Piper (1980–1989) (Minneapolis, MN: Desiring God, 2007).
If you’ve paid attention to the discussions in Christian circles recently, you’ve probably heard quite a few debates about ‘wokeness,’ with many conservative leaning Christians expressing great concern about the infiltration of progressive or liberal theology, and often going out of their way to identify this preacher, that writer, or this other theologian as “woke.” As I have seen several extremely conservative and faithful teachers of God’s Word labeled “woke,’ over the past year, I find this whole situation quite tedious in many ways, and very difficult to follow. My concern is not with wokeness or non-wokeness, but with fidelity to God’s Word. And in today’s Psalms, we will see that God is abounding in compassion to the least of these – just as we should be. Note how the very first description of God from God’s own mouth is: “The Lord is compassionate and gracious.” This must carry great weight, because it is the very first thing God says about Himself when He describes Himself to Moses. What does that compassion look like? We can see it all over BOTH of our Psalms today:
145:9 The Lord is good to everyone;
his compassion rests on all he has made.
145:14 The Lord helps all who fall;
he raises up all who are oppressed.
145:19 He fulfills the desires of those who fear him;
he hears their cry for help and saves them.
146:6-7 He remains faithful forever,
7 executing justice for the exploited
and giving food to the hungry.
146:7-8 The Lord frees prisoners.
8 The Lord opens the eyes of the blind.
The Lord raises up those who are oppressed.
The Lord loves the righteous.
146:9 The Lord protects resident aliens
and helps the fatherless and the widow,
but he frustrates the ways of the wicked.
God’s compassion is practically shown in the Earth in so many ways – He is near to those who need Him greatly, caring about their needs and demonstrating His faithfulness. I love how Psalm 138:6 sums up God’s compassion, and the kinds of people that God dwells near: Though the Lord is exalted,
he takes note of the humble; but he knows the haughty from a distance.
So, wokeness is meaningless, as far as I’m concerned – let us faithfully hold to ALL of the truth of God’s Word AND reflect the kind, compassionate and gracious heart of God in all of our actions.
Bible Memory passage for the month of December: Revelation 5:12, “They said with a loud voice: Worthy is the Lamb who was slaughtered to receive power and riches and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and blessing!”
The Bible 2021 Podcast Is a ministry of Valley Baptist Church A Baptist Church in Salinas, California.
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