Great is the Lord! He is most worthy of praise! No one can measure his greatness. Let each generation tell its children of your mighty acts; let them proclaim your power. I will meditate on your majestic, glorious splendor and your wonderful miracles. Your awe-inspiring deeds will be on every tongue; I will proclaim your greatness. Everyone will share the story of your wonderful goodness; they will sing with joy about your righteousness. The Lord is merciful and compassionate, slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love. The Lord is good to everyone. He showers compassion on all his creation. (NLT)
We can go to a couple of extremes when we think about God. We can so emphasise his majesty and power that he becomes an awesome yet distant deity. He imperiously commands, he authoritatively pronounces. Or we can so emphasise his personal kindness that he becomes like an especially nice great uncle. He comforts us and even indulges us yet has no special power.
Psalms like this remind us that God is both great and good. He is on the one hand the creator and sustainer of the universe, and on the other hand a personal father to his much-loved children. He is not so great that he has no time for our mundane concerns. He is not so kind that he can’t pursue justice and righteousness.
When we are in times of trouble, it is important to keep this balance. He is great enough to help me face and conquer my fears. He is kind and gentle enough to understand my fears. He is neither a stern supreme being indifferent to personal suffering, or a compassionate wimp who is overcome by it.
Like the Psalmist, we do well to praise our great God. Like the Psalmist, we do well to praise the fact that he is good and merciful and compassionate. How we perceive God shapes how we face every circumstance of life.