Having called the whole world to join him in song, the psalmist declares the reason God deserves universal thanksgiving and praise. His rationale for worldwide celebration is based on three facts concerning the Lord's character.
Reasons for the Commands
Fact 1: He is good. Psalm 100:3 told us "He is God," the one and only Creator and Sovereign of the universe; this final verse 5 tells us "He is good." Verse 3 states His position and role; verse 5 describes the quality of His character. The Hebrew term, tōv, means "pleasant, agreeable, delightful, good." How different from the present-day concept many people have of God. He is not an irritated tyrant pacing the floors of heaven looking for reasons to smash our lives or squelch our happiness—like some celestial bully with a club in His hand. No! He is good. And His commands are for our good. Love motivates His every word and deed.
Fact 2: His lovingkindness is everlasting. "Lovingkindness" is the best English word to translate the Hebrew term chesed, but it is woefully inadequate. Chesed is perhaps the most important word in the entire Old Testament because it effectively sums up the character of God. That colorful word is so steeped in Hebrew culture and theology that it has no equivalent in other languages. That explains why chesed has been rendered by different translations as "mercy," "kindness," "lovingkindness," "goodness," and others. It describes God's covenant love for His people—a passionate, merciful, pursuing, unrelenting kindness that overlooks their inability to repay Him or even return His love.
The Bible is filled with wonderful, moving stories that show chesed in action. I think of Ruth's extraordinary loyalty for her mother-in-law, Naomi (Ruth 1:16-17). I think of Jonathan, the son of King Saul, and how he extended extraordinary friendship to David despite the enormous personal cost: the right to succeed Saul as king (1 Samuel 18:1). And when David eventually became king, he extended extraordinary mercy to Mephibosheth, the son of Jonathan (2 Samuel 9:7). Of course, we have no greater example of kindness than God Himself, who demonstrated His love in becoming a human in the person of Jesus Christ.
God loves and accepts us as we are, knowing that we have no way of repaying the debt of extraordinary kindness. His unqualified love and acceptance are behind His every command. Moreover, nothing will cancel or compromise His chesed love for us; it lasts forever.
Fact 3: He is faithful to all generations. The Lord is not partial. The God who commands is fair and faithful to all generations. He didn't make a limited-time offer to one generation only to rescind it from the next. He doesn't play favorites. His commands and promises apply to all people throughout all time because God never changes. He remains consistently faithful.
Note the psalmist didn't call for this joyous response to God as merely our part of a transaction. We don't praise and worship the Lord because of what we get in return. He calls for worship as a natural response to our firsthand experience of God's character. Of course, that's based on the presumption that we actually have firsthand experience of God's character!
From Living the Psalms by Charles R. Swindoll, copyright © 2012. Reprinted by permission of Worthy Inspired, an imprint of Hachette Book Group, Inc.
Used with permission. All rights reserved.
In Embraced by the Spirit, we step away from the heat of theological battle that analyzes and criticizes and move quietly and closely to the One who has been sent alongside to help.