God’s Goodness – The Heart of His Glory
It might seem obvious that God deserves all the glory for His magnificent splendor, power, and majesty. If we stop at His greatness, however, we have missed the very heart of what makes Him so glorious. God’s goodness (or faithful love) is at the foundation of all of His glory. Remember that God’s manifest attributes are the sum total of His glory. One attribute that stands as one of the descriptions of God is love. 1 John reminds us that God is love and that love comes from God. There is no love apart from God. God’s holy love motivates all of the actions for which we praise Him.
Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever. Give thanks to the God of gods, for his steadfast love endures forever. Give thanks to the Lord of lords, for his steadfast love endures forever. to him who alone does great wonders, for his steadfast love endures forever; to him who by understanding made the heavens, for his steadfast love endures forever; to him who spread out the earth above the waters, for his steadfast love endures forever; to him who made the great lights, for his steadfast love endures forever; the sun to rule over the day, for his steadfast love endures forever; the moon and stars to rule over the night, for his steadfast love endures forever. (Psalm 136: 1-8)
The Psalm above goes on to say that from the very act of creation to God’s care and protection for His people, all have been done out of His steadfast love. The word translated as steadfast love comes from the Hebrew word חֶסֶד (ḥeseḏ) and has the idea of a never-ending, always faithful, covenant love. It represents both a firm, premeditated, and continuous decision to love as well as a warm-hearted, tender, and compassionate kindness. For this reason, it is also often translated as mercy or lovingkindness.
I think you can see fairly quickly why God’s glory is so much greater when tempered by this beautiful, enduring love. Yes, God is an all-powerful God Who has created everything. However, the Psalmist here praises this God for His everlasting, covenant love which motivated His incredible actions. God has and will do all that He does out of this heart of love.
Study it Out
- Read Psalm 107 and make note of all of the instances of God’s faithful love demonstrated.
- Read Psalm 145 and note how His love, power, and authority are all interwoven throughout. How would this passage be different if only God’s attributes of greatness were praised without the motivation of love? Is it possible to separate the two?