(Reposted in full here because of the brevity; original post.)
A source of countless contemporary songs, this is one of the most popular psalms, and for good reason. Some doubting scholars question whether David could have written this. There is no doubt this psalmist was way ahead of his peers in moral discernment. You would almost think it was penned after Christ, but we know its actually quite ancient. Instead, it scolds us for imagining that ancient beliefs were too primitive for such soaring spiritual awareness.
It’s clear David must have been looking back from late in his life when things were going well. He gives glory where it is due — to the God who carried him like a child through all the sorrows of his life. The sweetness of life is the mercy of God forgiving his sins and healing his suffering. This is no mere theory or doctrine, but a personal experience both long and vividly remembered.
But not only for me, says David, but His mercy falls on anyone who calls on His name. He is the same God to all Creation and all living. He revealed Himself most famously through Moses (up to that point in history). And if there is any proof of God’s mercy, it’s in His dealings with rebellious Israel. David notes most forcefully that Israel never received the full measure of wrath she deserved. God’s patience and forbearance is off the charts. The space between heaven and earth cannot contain His mercy. The distance between east and west hardly match His power to separate us from our sins. He treated Israel as His own child, and never forgot that humans are just so much wet dirt.
Have you ever noticed how those desert flowers pop up during the brief rains? Yet when their time is past and the dry season returns, you would think the ground had never seen a single blossom. Just so, the Lord forgets our sins, because His mercy is more durable than the rocks in that same wilderness. He keeps His covenant promises long after men have forgotten His name. How much more so for those who seek His favor!
The eternal Jehovah established His throne outside this realm of existence. Not only we creatures, along with all Creation, but the angels owe Him praise and glory. His authority reaches from the heavens to our very lives here. Let no one fail to praise and glorify Him.