GOD’S GOODNESS, MERCY, AND TRUTH
by Wayne S. Walker
“For the LORD is good; His mercy is everlasting, and His truth endures to all generations” (Psalm 100:5). The “Old Hundredth” is one of the better known psalms. With the arrangement attributed to William Kethe beginning “All People That on Earth Do Dwell,” it is one of the few metrical versions of the Psalms from the old Anglo-Genevan Psalter of 1560 to remain in common use, although some would argue that the tune, attributed to Guillaume Franc and arranged by Louis Bourgeois, had as much to do with its popularity as anything else. The final verse of the Psalm alludes to three of God’s qualities.
“For the LORD is good.” Yes, the Lord is certainly good. He has been good to mankind in general with His wondrous gifts. “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning” (James 1:17). Also, each individual who considers things honestly can say that regardless of what has happened to him in life, God has been good to him. David suffered much in his life, yet he wrote “O, taste and see that the LORD is good; blessed is the man who trusts in Him” (Psalm 34:8). Why did David say this? He also wrote, “I have been young, and now am old; yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his descendants begging bread” (Psalm 37:25).
“His mercy is everlasting.” The fact that God continues to give “to all life, breath, and all things” is an expression of His mercy (Acts 17:25). Truly, “in Him we live and move and have our being” (Acts 17:28). However, God’s mercy is manifest in more than just providing for the physical needs of life. “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16). As a result, “Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit” (Titus 3:5).
“And His truth endures to all generations.” Truly intelligent people have always understood that what God says is the truth. “The entirety of Your word is truth, and every one of Your righteous judgments endures forever” (Psalm 119:160). Jesus, who is the way, the truth, and the life, speaks God’s truth to us today (John 14:6, Hebrews 1:1-2). Therefore, we can be assured that God’s word is truth as revealed in the scriptures (John 17:17, 2 Timothy 3:16-17). As Kethe reminds us, “Know that the Lord our God is good; His mercy is forever sure; His truth at all times firmly stood, And shall from age to age endure.”