The next Hallelujah Psalm (first of three in a row), also alphabetical Psalm – different letter begins each phrase. Pehaps written that way to enhance memorization, make it easier to remember encouraging truths contained in it. A very tightly structured piece of literature, including several terms repeated for emphasis. Covers the whole alphabet, helping worshipers remember that Lord Jesus is the Alpha and Omega, the A-to-Z, sufficient for all things in all of life now and through eternity.
A familiar song in our hymnal, “God Is So Good”. Given sermon title, might wonder why we don’t sing it. Has pretty strong associations: often selected when God has answered prayer and done something really great and….positive….in response. Song isn’t wrong, we just tend to think in too narrow a way about how and when God is good.
God is worthy of our worship because: the works of God, the Word of God, and the will of God are both good and good for us. Is true in every circumstance, always, because God is good in all of his being. How God’s goodness is expressed will vary in details depending on situation; but God in his essence never changes.
A. worship of God v.1, 10c
always right thing to praise the Lord – is one thing we do now, will do so for all eternity; will be no end to praise
not only best thing we can do, is first thing we should do – before we begin ABC’s, or any other activity, praise and encourage others to do so especially by example
right worship is wholehearted
“unconditional and enthusiastic devotion”; “free from all reserve or hesitation” – may look a little sideways at brothers and sisters at one of “those” churches, how they worship, but….good to ask if we’re holding back
first commandment: love God with all heart, soul, mind, strength; if that describes us, wholehearted worship shouldn’t be a problem
right worship is public as well as private
is proper to worship – express our reverence and adoration for God – privately; should do so, regularly, for practical as well as spiritual reasons
regular fellowship with God means mind and heart are more closely focused on him, all the time; don’t have to get up to speed on Sunday morning ’cause we’re out of the habit
worship / praise along with prayer strengthen and deepen relationship we have individually with heavenly Father
praise and worship must not stay private – don’t skip church to worship in canoe or tree stand or mountain top
should give expression to love for God, devotion to God in all sorts of settings – small group or large, informal or formal
assembly: small group, circle of friends; and congregation: συναγωγή, synagogue – prayer meeting, Bible study, missions group, home gathering, and in church / worship service
right worship is continual
never a wrong time or place for praise; how we express adoration of God depends on situation, should always be ready to praise him
praise now is practice for eternity – will never be any less reason to praise God: “I Will Always Be Who I Have Always Been,” indicating that God will forever be who He has been from eternity.
change will be in us: will be able to express devotion more properly when we are done with sin; even so, finite creatures (even when perfect) can never overdo it, can never give infinite good God too much worship
B. works of God v.2-7
God’s works demonstrate his character, display his goodness – more they are studied, more apparent his greatness and majesty and glory and righteousness
true of his works revealed in creation as well as those revealed by special revelation – cannot really study either without “wow!”
when love someone, love to study what they do; since God is a “doing” God, there’s plenty of material to study
funeral Thursday, man who enjoyed making checkerboard bowls, etc; grandson loved him, wanted to know how he made them, treasured that understanding
unlike people, because God is God he always works up to his pay grade, his ability level; what he does perfectly matches who he is
God is great: immense, infinite, without limits; no surprise his works are great in size and number
“the observable universe is a sphere with a radius of about 46 billion light years”; “approximately 20,000 species of butterflies in the world”
God is majestic (honorable), kingly, showing superiority and sovereignty over all his creation – seen in the precise ordering of all aspects of his creation; obvious also in God’s works when he intervenes, overruling “natural order” in miraculous ways
God is glorious, possessing great beauty and splendor (think visions of Isaiah, Daniel, John) – glory seen in small measure at all levels of scale, microscopic to macroscopic
God is righteous in his Being, a natural outworking of his goodness: because he is perfectly and infinitely good, God only and always does what is right eternally
at no time – before, during, after Creation – up through present time and continuing forever every work of God is right in his decrees and acts of both creation and providence
especially seen in his greatest work, redemption: seen in its complete scope, will be cause for praise because of its majesty and glory and righteousness forever
God is powerful, all-powerful: “God is able to do whatever he wills in the way in which he wills it.” – uses his power to do what is good, and for good of his people
God is faithful (verity) and just (see 1 John 1:9); all of his works display those characteristics
God intends for his amazing works to be remembered – doesn’t expect his people to receive his goodness, then move on to next thing (every day’s a new day mindset) – remembering confirms our faith, encourages praise and confidence
C. Word of God v.5, 7-9
no coincidence that longest Psalm is devoted to praising various aspects of God’s word; prelude found in second half of Ps. 19 (v.7ff)
goodness of God expressed in his Word both in terms of relationship (covenant) and principle (precepts)
many of God’s attributes require relationship for their full expression – because God is good, He took initiative to establish covenant with his people
could have just sat back and waited for man to come to him; never would have happened, had to track Adam and Eve down, then restore to fellowship
is a good covenant having good terms with a good Sovereign; is designed for good of all those who are party to covenant
even though people forget covenant (most apt to forget the terms, not the benefits!) God never forgets his promises – we remember all God promised to do for us because he loves us, forget what he expects us to do because we love him
God’s precepts are sure / reliable / trustworthy; would have been of no use to us if God in goodness had not revealed them
Deut. 29.29“The secret things belong to the LORD our God, but the things that are revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may do all the words of this law.”
precepts reflect God’s goodness, following them will result in our good; they are good not only for now, for later also: “They stand fast forever and ever” – won’t have to learn another standard when we get to heaven!
precepts are good for healthy relationships: know what is expected, what to expect when they are clearly communicated
D. will of God v.8b, 10a-b
don’t need to hunt to find God’s will for your life: he’s made it plain – his precepts “are established forever and ever, to be performed with faithfulness and uprightness.” (v.8, ESV)
do what is right consistently day by day according to his precepts revealed to us in his Word
starts with fear of the Lord – “To obey the Lord is the fundamental principle for wise living;” NET
goodness is one of God’s communicable attributes – something that describes God and that we should strive to imitate
God himself is the standard of good and is his will that we emulate that standard in our own lives
means we should do what is good and for the good of others at all times, in other words, only doing what God will approve
Once again, in closing words of psalm are reminded that all of these truths about God should remind and incite us to praise. His name is holy and awesome because God is holy and awesome – for that reason alone he deserves our praise and worship. Because of God’s infinite goodness we should want to praise and worship him, should want to please him, should strive to meet his expectations.
God’s goodness has another important aspect: we can count on God to do absolutely all that is his to do so we can glorify him and enjoy him forever. God not like a demanding supervisor – issue a directive, a goal to be met, then fail to provide supplies / resources necessary to meet the goal. Doesn’t just automatically supply our needs: Jesus said, “Ask…seek…knock” (Matt. 7:7; Luke 11:9) God stands ready to answer prayer, grant request, satisfy our seeking.
God’s ultimate design for his people and their good: that they will be satisfied with seeking God as an end in itself. Not seeking him for what he does, for what he gives – both good things to do, what God expects us to do to live dependently. But there’s something greater: seeking understanding and closeness and fellowship with God because we want to be near him and know him. Because God is good, he allows his children to come close, into his very presence. More than that, God invites and encourages his children to do so: “Seek the LORD while He may be found, Call upon Him while He is near.” (Isa. 55:6)
Psalmist David promises: “The LORD is near to all who call upon Him, To all who call upon Him in truth.” (Psa. 145:18) Make praise your first and last thing to do, also in between; trust in our good God to do what is best for our good, obey his precepts depending on God for all things.