Lord, teach us to believe in Your goodness and mercy. Amen.
Text: Psalm 145:14–21
The Lord upholds all who fall, And raises up all those who are bowed down. The eyes of all look expectantly to You, And You give them their food in due season. You open Your hand And satisfy the desire of every living thing. The Lord is righteous in all His ways, Gracious in all His works. The Lord is near to all who call upon Him, To all who call upon Him in truth. He will fulfill the desire of those who fear Him; He also will hear their cry and save them. The Lord preserves all who love Him, But all the wicked He will destroy. My mouth shall speak the praise of the Lord, And all flesh shall bless His holy name Forever and ever.
“Yes, great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised; And His greatness is unsearchable… The Lord is gracious and full of compassion, Slow to anger and great in mercy. The Lord is good to all, And His tender mercies are over all His works.” His goodness attracts all creatures to Him. Just as the flowers all turn toward the sun, so the eyes of all wait on the Lord. As children stand around their mother and look in her hand, all creatures stand around the Lord and watch for His full and gentle hand. Only the ungodly, along with the devil, turn away from the Lord. They live from His gifts, but they receive them with evil and cold hearts and do not thank Him.
The Lord’s hand is so rich and full of good gifts; His heart is so full of goodness toward us. As a stream pours out its water year after year and century after century and is always just as abundant, so is the Lord’s goodness from eternity to eternity. Take and enjoy, pour and drink, and give to others with you. It is His delight to do good to us, to cheer our heart and to feed us with His good pleasure. “Do not fear; Zion, let not your hands be weak. The Lord your God in your midst, the Mighty One, will save; He will rejoice over you with gladness, He will quiet you in His love, He will rejoice over you with singing” (Zep 3:16-17).
“But why then is He often so harsh toward me? Or how shall I be able to pour abundance from His stream when it is empty before my eyes? Often it seems He deals with me in the most unmerciful way, gives me something I am fond of, but takes it back when I love it the most, leads me forward, but only to strike me so much farther back, shows me a good escape, but closes it to me when I go there.” Dear friend, do not be angry with the Lord, but with your own sin and unbelief! If the only thing you needed was earthly success, then God would give you plenty of it. If it seemed good for you to become great and rich and to fare sumptuously every day (Luk 16:19), then you would complain to the Lord if He did not let it happen. But such would not be good. If you thought about it, then you would have lost everything; but the Lord took care, even more care than your heart, – so that you might have and enjoy everything eternally. When He denies your earthly wishes and deals harshly with you, it is either so that you will be converted, or, if you already are His child, that you should die to corruptible things and live for heavenly things. No, God’s stream is not empty, it is full of water. Even the tributary that brings earthly things flows rich past your feet, so that you could pour out and give to others, if you are not lacking the faith of the widow of Zarephath! Seek that above all else, and He shall give it to you. The Lord is good to all, And His tender mercies are over all His works. This is most certainly true.
Confirm this truth in our hearts, merciful God, for Jesus’ sake. Amen.
God all things is making,
Servant’s form now taking,
Mighty still is He;
Or should any perish
Who the Lord does cherish,
Praying to be free?
Forward hence With confidence!
All things stand within His owning,
All your need He’s knowing.
God all things is making,
By your hand He’s taking
When you sink with woes,
When with doubts you’re wrestling
And can find no resting
From your many foes,
God shall then To you attend,
All your lamentation vanquish,
As the grass does vanish.
Stockman/Brorson: Gud skal al Ting mage L 490:3-4 tr. DeGarmeaux;
tune: Gud skal al Ting mage (ELH 264); alternate hymn: All praise to God who reigns above ELH 435:4