Psalm 145—The Gentleness and Goodness of God

Psalm 145—The Gentleness and Goodness of God

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Welcome to The Daily Prayer Team messages, each day includes a passage of scripture, a reflection and a prayer. Sponsored by Saint John Greek Orthodox Church in Tampa, FL.
The Lord is gracious and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love. The Lord is good to all, and His compassion is over all that He has made.
Psalm 145:7-8
Psalm 145 has two distinct themes. It speaks about the gentleness of God and the goodness of God. First, let’s talk about God’s gentleness.
Here is an exercise for you. Let’s take the words “slow,” “quick”, “anger” and “forgive” and match them up.
There are some people that are
1.     Slow to anger, slow to forgive
2.     Slow to anger, quick to forgive
3.     Quick to anger, quick to forgive
4.     Quick to anger, slow to forgive.
Which one are you? Which one is God? According to Psalm 145:7, God is #2, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love, which means He is quick to forgive.
Now there are reasons to get angry, such as if someone hits your car. That’s a reason to get angry. There are reasons why we might be slow to forgive, such as a person who has been abused. But these are the exceptional ends of the spectrum. We are talking more the day to day, common things that happen in our homes, at our jobs, with our friends. Overall, everyone falls into one of these four patterns. In the context of how these four possibilities are laid out, “forgiveness” refers to the speed at which we are no longer angry at someone. Because true forgiveness involves releasing anger we have towards people.
We’ve discussed previously how if we count up the iniquities of others, or they count up our iniquities, no relationship can survive. Thus, for a relationship to make it long term—marriage, friendships, work relationships—anger shouldn’t happen quickly, and when one does get angry, forgiveness ideally happens quickly. The Lord has given us a great example of how to be, in terms of anger and forgiveness. He is slow to anger, and quick to forgive. He does not keep a record of the sins for which we repent. This means, when we turn to God in repentance, when we ask His forgiveness, He erases our sins. This is why we confess often in our private prayers and go for the Sacrament of Confession frequently as well, so that we can receive the forgiveness of God. God will give us an opportunity to repent from any sin. Forgiving others frees us from anger and frustration. But it also follows the Lord’s example. We should especially be forgiving towards those who repent, meaning, to those who come to us looking for a path to wholeness, we should freely offer that.
Psalm 145 is read at the end of the Pre-Sanctified Liturgy during Lent. As I wait in the altar for the Psalm to end, so that I can offer the last line of the service, I always find this Psalm to be soothing, especially when I’m having a hard time.  Psalm 145 emphasizes the goodness of God. Not only is the Lord “faithful in all His words, and gracious in all His deeds, The Lord upholds all who are falling, and raises up all who are bowed down.” (Psalm 145:13-14) He is especially gracious to those who have been knocked down. On a very serious note, I know many parents who have lost children. Sadly, I have helped bury many of them. I believe that the Lord will hold each of us to a different standard. For example, from Matthew 25: 14-30, the one who received the five talents will be held to a much higher standard than the person who received only one talent. Likewise, those whose lives have been extremely difficult, and I think especially of those who have lost children, God, I believe, will be especially merciful and understanding. This is why I tell parents who have lost children that they just need to survive and stay faithful, nothing too spectacular, just survive and not lose faith. “The Lord is near to all who call upon Him, to all who call upon Him in truth.” (v. 18) This may not seem so to those who go through traumatic things in life. It may not seem that God is close. However, the Psalm says the Lord is close to all who call upon Him. Oftentimes, when the Lord seems far away, I realize that it is I who have put myself far away, because I am not calling out to Him, or I am not calling out to Him in His truth, but in my truth.
“The Lord preserves all who love Him; but all the wicked He will destroy.” (v. 20) No life will last forever, but a soul can last forever. God will preserve the souls of all who love Him. He will give them a place of everlasting rest in the Kingdom of heaven. However, those who live a life of wickedness, who place their souls intentionally far from God, it is those whose souls will be permanently separated from God in eternal condemnation. Therefore, it is important to each of us that we seek to speak the praise of the Lord, on a daily basis, and “let all flesh bless His holy name forever and ever.” (v. 21) In other words, we should bless God with our minds (what we think), with our bodies (what we do) and with our hearts (how we serve others).
I will extol Thee, my God and King, and bless Thy name forever and ever. Every day I will bless Thee, and praise Thy name forever and ever. Great is the Lord and greatly to be praised, and His greatness is unsearchable. One generation shall laud Thy works to another, and shall declare Thy mighty acts. On the glorious splendor of Thy majesty and on Thy wondrous works I will meditate. Men shall proclaim the might of Thy terrible acts, and I will declare Thy greatness. They shall pour forth the fame of Thy abundant goodness, and shall sing aloud of Thy righteousness. The Lord is gracious and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love. The Lord is good to all, and His compassion is over all that He has made. All thy works shall give thanks to Thee, O Lord, and all Thy saints shall bless Thee! They shall speak of the glory of Thy kingdom, and tell of Thy power, to make known to the sons of men Thy mighty deeds, and the glorious splendor of Thy kingdom. Thy Kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and Thy dominion endures throughout all generations.  The Lord is faithful in all His words, and gracious in all His deeds. The Lord upholds all who are falling and raises up all who are bowed down. The eyes of all look to Thee, and Thou givest them their food in due season. Thou openest Thy hand, Thou satisfiest the desire of every living thing. The Lord is just in all His ways, and kind in all His doings. The Lord is near to all who call upon Him, to all who call upon Him in truth. He fulfills the desire of all who fear Him, He also hears their cry and saves them. The Lord preserves all who love Him; but the wicked
He will destroy. My mouth will speak the praise of the Lord, and let all flesh bless His holy name, forever and ever. Psalm 145
Be slow to anger, and quick to forgive. Be assured of God’s faithfulness to all those who are able to do this!
The Prayer Team now has its own dedicated website! There you may find a database for past prayer team messages as well as books by Fr. Stavros and other information about his work and St. John the Baptist Greek Orthodox Church in Tampa, FL.

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Fr. Stavros Akrotirianakis

Fr. Stavros N. Akrotirianakis is the Proistamenos of St. John Greek Orthodox Church in Tampa, FL. Fr. contributes the Prayer Team Ministry, a daily reflection, which began in February 2015. The Prayer Team now has its own dedicated website! Fr. Stavros has produced two books, “Let All Creation Rejoice: Reflections on Advent, the Nativity and Epiphany”: “https://amzn.to/2t1rXwh and “The Road Back to Christ: Reflections on Lent, Holy Week and the Resurrection.” https://amzn.to/2WAcfG0