Goodness and Compassion

 “Let this be recorded for future generations, so that people not yet born will praise the Lord.” Psalm 102:18 

What did the Psalmist want to be recorded for future generations?  Verses 19 and 20 of Psalm 102 tells us. “Tell them the Lord looked down from heaven to hear the groans of the prisoners, to release those condemned to die.”

This Psalm was penned by an older man who knew his days were numbered and was overwhelmed with the struggle his land was going through, but he didn’t have much personal strength left to make it better. He was a man who loved his city, Jerusalem, and lamented with great emotion over his beloved Israel’s distress. We don’t know which of the times in history this Psalmist is writing about. The truth is, Jerusalem was ransacked so many times during its history and had been captured over 40 times, so this could have been a number of different time periods. But what we do know, is this man’s love for his land caused him to cry out to God for help and then record those words for future generations.

The Psalmist, a man in deep anguish wanted his children and his children’s children and all who came after him to know God listens, cares, and acts. He wanted those who came after him to understand that God answers prayers, that he works on behalf of his people, and he loves them so much that he takes action even when their strength is gone. He wanted these truths written down so you and I, and our children, and our children’s children will gain strength when we don’t know what to do. This hurting Psalmist was giving testimony, amid deep sorrow to God’s continuously abundant and wondrous faithfulness.

The Psalmist wanted all future generations to be made aware that God not only takes action but he bends down to see and hear the groans of those who are suffering. That he is still in the business of bringing relief. 

“This verse teaches us that we ought to have an eye to posterity, and especially we should endeavor to perpetuate the memory of God’s love to his church and his people, so that young people as they grow up may know that the Lord God of their fathers is good and full of compassion.”  

Charles Spurgeon

I love these words from Spurgeon!  Isn’t this what we need to do too.  We need to make sure that our legacy is one that speaks confidently that God is still good and full of compassion.  That even when things look really bad and so many are so very sad, that God is not done, that he still hears prayers and laments. God can still work, and can help us, and grow us, and make us more like him.  Our children need to know that God still has a plan and it is one for our good, because how can a good God plan otherwise for his children?

It would be easy to lose hope.  To despair over the sorrow and deep sadness in our country.  Many are without hope.  Many need to know that God still bends down to hear and respond to cries for help.  It would be easy to give up and say, all hope is gone, the divisions are too great and the despair too deep even for God to work.  But let’s take our Psalmist’s example and let our children and their children know that God is a God of love and he wants to shower his children with his goodness and compassion.  Let’s tell our children about all that God has done in the past and how he can still work in the future.  Those who came before us did this for us- let’s be people of real faith and record for those who come after us- that our God is good and compassionate and he still is in the business of bending his ear to hear and take action.

 I would have despaired unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord In the land of the living. Wait for the Lord; Be strong and let your heart take courage; Yes, wait for the Lord. Psalm 27:13-14

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