Read Psalm 145.
Psalm 145 is the last psalm in the Bible attributed to David. Though it may not have been the last psalm he actually wrote, it is, for us Bible readers, the last song we’ll hear from David in the epic playlist we know as the Psalter.
It’s a psalm of praise through and through, with a focus on God’s character: “The LORD is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and rich in love” (v. 8; see also Exodus 34:6, where God describes Himself to Moses using almost the same language). In fact, we can think of Psalm 145 as the answer to the question What is God like? David spent much of his life chasing after the heart of God, so it’s fitting that he is the one to reveal that very heart to the world in this way.
Psalm 145 is also an acrostic poem, meaning that each line begins with a Hebrew letter, following the order of the Hebrew alphabet. Not only is such a thing a beautiful, painstaking tribute to God and His love; it also serves to help others memorize the poem. David wants people to take these truths about the Lord and bury them in their heart. He wants them to remember.
Reading through this psalm, I’m struck by David’s repeated use of the word all:
The LORD is good to all; he has compassion on all he has made. (v. 9)
… so that all people may know of your mighty acts and the glorious splendor of your kingdom. (v. 12)
The LORD is trustworthy in all he promises and faithful in all he does. (v. 13)
The LORD upholds all who fall and lifts up all who are bowed down. (v. 14)
The eyes of all look to you, and you give them their food at the proper time. (v. 15)
The LORD is righteous in all his ways and faithful in all he does. (v. 17)
The LORD is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth. (v. 18)
The LORD watches over all who love him, but all the wicked he will destroy. (v. 19)*
Though it might be tempting to consider the life of David and conclude that the king’s blessings are due to his place of privilege as ruler over God’s people, God does not have favorites (Romans 2:11). His mercy is available to all. His justice is handed down to all.
That’s not to say everyone starts off on the same footing in this life. We all know people who were born in a place of privilege and others who came into this world with severe setbacks to overcome. No one chooses the circumstances of their childhood, and yet how we start out sets a trajectory for the life to follow.
God can overcome the whims of circumstances. He can lift up the lowly and bring low the proud. David’s own life is a testament to this truth. He started out as a shepherd boy from a small village. There is no indication that anyone perceived greatness in his future. There was nothing about him that screamed royalty. In fact, when Samuel came to Bethlehem looking to anoint the next king, David’s father, Jesse, didn’t even bother to get David. “People look at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart” (1 Samuel 16:7).
In Psalm 145, David declares that God looks at everyone’s heart, not just a chosen few. That’s not a guarantee that everyone who loves the Lord will be granted a comfortable life of ease and influence. Rather, it means a relationship with God our Maker is available to all who call on Him. It means there is a place in God’s family for all who lean into His grace and accept His mercy. It means there is eternal and abundant life to be experienced by all who follow Jesus. It means there is coming a day when God will dwell with all His people. “Let every creature praise his holy name for ever and ever” (Psalm 145:21).
It doesn’t matter where you were born or what your past looks like. God does not change. His compassion and mercy are available to all who call on Him.
* For the sake of clarity, I’ve left out a few instances where the same Hebrew word is rendered “every” in the NIV.