I always enjoy listening to people order food at a restaurant. The waiter asks if they want ice or no ice. Someone wants to know if the sauce is spicy or tangy. Put the ranch dressing in a cup on the side, not on top of the salad. Is the bread gluten-free? I married into a family that will barter with each other before ordering. “If you order this plate, and I order that plate, do you want to split it in half?” Meanwhile, members of my family would say, “I ordered this plate. It’s all mine!” The kids just want their mac and cheese right now. Mom wants them to get their mac and cheese right now, too! And whoever is paying orders a cheeseburger because it’s the cheapest thing on the menu.
Even a simple process like ordering food reveals to us the fact that people are complicated. Behind all of the preferences, ideas, and words are people with personalities. And we have not just one, not just two, but many reasons and feelings that help explain why we act the way we act. The more we get to know other people, the more we understand the complexities and intricacies of their personalities. So it is with God.
For the past few blogs we have looked at what the Psalms teach us about God’s character as revealed in creation. Now we will see that, though we may try to fit God’s character into neat, easily understandable categories, we cannot fully succeed. You cannot fit God’s character into a box.
The Psalms do not speak of God’s character in a dry, systematic fashion. Here is one of the most common combinations describing God’s character in the Psalms:
Notice those four character traits. God is the Creator. God is the King. God is the loyal Covenant-Keeper. God is the righteous Judge. He is all those things at once. Were God any one of those things in isolation, we would be in trouble. But he is all of them. Because he is Creator, he has the right to reign. He has the power to help us. He is not a harsh, stingy dictator—he is a benevolent King. He reigns in steadfast, loyal love and righteousness. He has the compassion to heal us.
God Can Handle “Complicated”
Why does that matter to you and me? Because life is complicated. Relationships are complicated. And, when things don’t go as planned, all the complications can seem a bit overwhelming. When we are overwhelmed, we need to remember that God is not. He is everything we need all at once. When we grasp for control over our future, our King reminds us to trust in his plan. When we despair for having made the same mistake for the umpteenth time, our Covenant-Keeper reminds us he never gives up on us. When we sit in stunned silence having experienced the cruelty of this world, our righteous Judge reminds us that he will set all things right.
Take a moment to read this Psalm and study these four truths: God is the Creator, God is the King, God is the loyal Covenant-Keeper, and God is the righteous Judge (Psalm 33 is another good one to check out!).
Praise the Lord!
I will give thanks to the Lord with my whole heart,
in the company of the upright, in the congregation.
Great are the works of the Lord,
studied by all who delight in them.
Full of splendor and majesty is his work,
and his righteousness endures forever.
He has caused his wondrous works to be remembered;
the Lord is gracious and merciful.
He provides food for those who fear him;
he remembers his covenant forever.
He has shown his people the power of his works,
in giving them the inheritance of the nations.
The works of his hands are faithful and just;
all his precepts are trustworthy;
they are established forever and ever,
to be performed with faithfulness and uprightness.
He sent redemption to his people;
he has commanded his covenant forever.
Holy and awesome is his name!
The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom;
all those who practice it have a good understanding.
His praise endures forever!
God, in his character, can handle everything you are facing today. He is never overwhelmed. Run to him. Pour out your heart to him. Find him to be all you need for today.