“Praise the Lord, all you nations.
Praise Him, all you people of the earth.
For His unfailing love for us is powerful;
the Lord’s faithfulness endures forever.
Praise the Lord!”
Psalms 117:1-2 NLT
Now here’s a short Psalm. Just two verses. But it’s very clear in its content. In its exhortation, everyone is instructed to “Praise the Lord”. No exceptions. No time off for doing other things. And the Psalmist seriously lays out the reason for the praise – the powerful nature of God’s love for us, and the everlasting, eternal, nature of His faithfulness. If we look closely we can see that both His love and His faithfulness are not just passing whims, sputtering out after a while like a candle at the end of its usefulness; God’s love and faithfulness are unfailing and enduring. They go on for ever. Regardless of circumstances.
In case we miss the point of these two verses and consign them to history as being Old Testament, we have an example of God’s love and its extent laid out in the first century AD. The Apostle Paul reminded the early Roman church about the love of God. He wrote in Romans 5:8, “But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners.” And he goes on to say, “So now we can rejoice in our wonderful new relationship with God because our Lord Jesus Christ has made us friends of God.” How can we ever get our minds around the fact that God loved us so much, even when He endured so much abuse from sinners, and yet He still pressed through in displaying and implementing a love for us beyond comprehension. That is truly “powerful” love. And regarding God’s faithfulness, Paul again writing to his protégé Timothy, said, “If we are unfaithful, He remains faithful, for He cannot deny who He is.” (2 Timothy 2:13).
So there we have it. The loving and faithful God working through the centuries. Never changing. Never leaving us. Day after day. Problem after problem. We can see why the psalmist finished this Psalm with a “Praise the Lord!”. Let’s do the same.
“I have not kept the good news of Your justice hidden in my heart; I have talked about Your faithfulness and saving power. I have told everyone in the great assembly of Your unfailing love and faithfulness.”
Psalms 40:10 NLT
David, the Psalmist behind Psalm 40, never hid his relationship with his loving Heavenly Father from the people around him. He always communicated things about God – His justice, faithfulness, saving power, unfailing love – to those around him in the “great assembly”, as we can see from this verse. These were things about God that he had experienced through a life spent close to God. That is not to say he was perfect and never sinned (Bathsheba?) or made mistakes but his heart was after God all his life. And so, David told people around him all the things he knew about God. He was a natural evangelist.
As a Christian I have a story to tell. Through the things God has done for me, my faith in Him has grown. I have experienced His grace and mercy, His love and kindness, His faithfulness even when I haven’t been faithful. He has put a hope for the future in my heart so real and pressing that it is bursting out to inform others.
But this “great assembly”. Is it the church we attend? It could be, but God’s heart is for the lost. Luke records this verse in his Gospel, “I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous people who do not need to repent” – Luke 15:7. C.S Lewis said, “The salvation of a single soul is more important than the production or preservation of all the epics and tragedies in the world“. So the “great assembly” consists of our friends, family, and community, not just the church we attend. We may not be Billy Grahams, speaking to thousands in one rally after another. But I am, as the quotation from J.T.Hiles says, “a beggar telling another beggar where to find bread“.
So, like David, we must take every opportunity to tell others the “good news” about God. May we never be guilty of keeping it to ourselves.