This is one of many psalms that speak of the goodness of God. Verse three says; Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised. Then David goes on to explain why that is true.
The Lord is gracious and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love. The Lord is good to all, and His mercy is over all that He has made. (verses 8-9)
God is good to every human being, merciful over the entire earth. We, along with every created thing is cared for and blessed by our good God.
But there is a distinct difference between how He relates to believers and non-believers.
The Lord is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth. He fulfills the desire of those who fear him; he also hears their cry and saves them. The Lord preserves all who love him, but all the wicked he will destroy. (verses 18-20)
Back in verse 17 David tells us God is righteous in every way. He’s kindness is seen in His care of His creation. Just look around and you know that is true.
But God is only near to and fulfills the desires of those who call on His Name. He has a relationship only with us who have received His forgiveness through the blood of Jesus, who worship Him in truth.
I think it’s time we start making that distinction, too. I recently was reminded of a popular praise song that says God restores every broken heart. Sounds right. In fact, the whole song is full of wonderful truth about God. But it’s partial truth. And it only applies to people who are saved by grace, although the song never makes that distinction.
Can the person who refuses to repent of sin sing that and apply it to themselves? The truth is God does restore the broken hearts of His children. But not everyone is His child. Do we give false hope to an unrepentant sinner when they sing about the blessings of knowing God, without making the important choice to surrender to Him?
Look at verse 20. That’s an important “but” in there. In fact, it’s the difference between life and death. I just think if we insist on inviting unsaved people into our worship services, we need to be careful about the message we are sending out to them. Not everything that is said or sung applies to them. And we’re wrong if we ignore the “but.”