The praiseworthy steadfast love of the Lord

Running from Absalom, David finds himself in the wilderness thirsty and in fear for his life. Even though David knows God has the ability to immediately change the situation, he turns to the Lord, seeking Him in earnest. His soul thirsts for him as he thirsts for water.

Why does David thirst for the Lord is such difficult times, especially knowing God’s sovereign hand can change his situation in a moments notice?

Later in the Psalm, David reflects on the Lord’s steadfast love. He says,

“because your steadfast love is better than life, my lips will praise you.”

Psalm 63:3

God’s steadfast love “refers to [his] special commitment to the people with whom he has gladly bound himself in an unbreakable covenant bond” (Ortland, Gently and Lowly, 149). It is God’s steadfast love that causes David to seek the Lord and trust that He will rescue him from his situation. He knows the Lord will not forsake or withdraw His love from him no matter the situation he faces or the sins he commits against the Lord.

Prior to this episode with Absalom (2 Samuel 16), David sins against Bathsheba and ultimately the Lord (see Psalm 51). But God doesn’t reject him. He doesn’t cast him out. He doesn’t annul his covenant with David due his sin and rebellion against Him. Instead, He sends Nathan the prophet to call David back to Himself (2 Samuel 12).

God’s steadfast love draws David in, it captivates him. Reflecting on God’s steadfast love causes David to thirsts for the Lord, his “soul clings to [Him]” (vs 8a). He is satisfied by the Lord alone (vs 5).

In the same way that David is drawn to the Lord, we should be drawn to the Lord. His steadfast love should captivate us and draw us in too.

Despite our consistent rebellion, God remains faithful. He doesn’t cast us off, instead He seeks us out. He sends people into our life to call us back to Himself when we sin. He provides encouraging voices so that we keep pressing on. He reminds us, through the work of the Spirit, of His steadfast love. A love that is greater than riches, status, comfort, power, and even life itself (vs 3).

God is there both when we are running from Him and towards Him. His steadfast love never ceases.

What an amazing God we serve! A God worthy of worship and praise for His steadfast love endures forever!

Psalm

Pour out your heart to the Lord

I’m reading through the Bible using the Bible Project’s reading schedule with my church. It has been great. We are at the end of Zechariah and beginning Malachi. As I read today, I was struck by Zechariah 14 and the accompanying Psalm, which is Psalm 62.

Combined with our recent reading in Zechariah 14 regarding the day of the Lord, we find that we can place our trust in the Lord. Zechariah prophesies in verse 9 “And the LORD will be king over all the earth. On that day the LORD will be one and his name one.” – (Zechariah 14:9).

Do you trust in the Lord? Is He your refuge in times of trouble? Do you pour your heart out to Him? Or do you seek comfort, refuge, protection, purpose in someone, or something else?

Do not seek comfort from the world’s false idols. They can’t and they won’t provide you the comfort you seek. Put your card back in your wallet, the snacks back on the shelf, the ice cream back in the freezer, let the selfie remain in your camera roll, and your posts about your performance go unposted.

Instead, drop to your knees and seek the Lord in prayer. Pour out your heart to Him and trust Him to act. He is the King over the whole earth now and forevermore.

We should not be afraid of bad news – A meditation on Psalm 112

“Praise the Lord! Blessed is the man who fears the Lord, who greatly delights in his commandments! His offspring will be mighty in the land; the generation of the upright will be blessed. Wealth and riches are in his house, and his righteousness endures forever. Light dawns in the darkness for the upright; he is gracious, merciful, and righteous. It is well with the man who deals generously and lends; who conducts his affairs with justice. For the righteous will never be moved; he will be remembered forever. He is not afraid of bad news; his heart is firm, trusting in the Lord. His heart is steady; he will not be afraid, until he looks in triumph on his adversaries. He has distributed freely; he has given to the poor; his righteousness endures forever; his horn is exalted in honor. The wicked man sees it and is angry; he gnashes his teeth and melts away; the desire of the wicked will perish!” (Ps 112:1–10)

Psalm 112, in the ESV, is entitled: The Righteous Will Never be Moved. I believe that is an apt title for this Psalm of praise. The righteous, as we will see, should not be moved by anything, let alone bad news.

The Psalm carries the theme of the wisdom literature in general “blessed is the man who fears the Lord.” Fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge and understanding.

What does it mean to fear the Lord?

Fearing the Lord does not necessarily mean that we stand afraid of God. Certainly, God is to be feared. He is more powerful than the strongest storm, earthquake, or volcanic eruption. He is to be feared for His power as well as for the judgment He will bring on those who have continued to set their face against Him.

The Psalmist, however, primarily has another fear in mind in this passage. He has in mind a reverential fear as we stand in awe of the Lord. Our God is mighty. He is powerful. As well as He can bring destruction and death both physical and spiritual. For those who are in Christ, we need not fear the wrath of the Lord. Christ has taken the wrath we deserve on our behalf. He suffered and died in our place. As a result, we don’t have to fear the punishment of the Lord. Instead, we can experience a relationship with Him. But that relationship must be driven out of a healthy reverence for who He is – the all-holy, wise, powerful, sovereign Creator and Ruler of this universe. We must give Him the respect He deserves, which should lead us to follow Him, seeking His wisdom, instead of living by our own wisdom and rules.

A blessing for those who fear the Lord

Those who follow the Lord are blessed – they live in a happy and joyful state not necessarily because everything goes well for them at all times, but because they experience the divine favor of the Lord that Christ has won for them. Those who fear the Lord are a part of the Lord’s family. They receive the blessings of an eternal relationship with Him. As well as they received temporal blessings. In fact, everything we experience that is good comes from the hand of the Lord. We have a good job, a good home, a good family, a nice yard, car, bike, etc, because God gave them to us. We must not believe for a moment that we have what we have because we have made it happen. That is not to say we shouldn’t work hard. And that hard work doesn’t pay off. It certainly does. But we must ask, why can and do we work hard? God has a hand in everything we do. God blesses His children, just as you seek to bless your own children.

God is able to give blessings freely because He owns the land, He has wealth and riches beyond measure, He is eternally righteous, gracious, and mercifully. As a generous God, He does pour out blessings. Not only temporal blessings, but He also pours out spiritual blessings. He has given us the greatest blessing of all – His son Jesus, who died in our place.

We should not be afraid of bad news

Those who serve such a good and generous God, should not be afraid of bad news. This is where our current situation in the Corona Virus connects. We know the Lord has a plan. He is the all-sovereign God after all. The virus and the destruction that has resulted, and will result, does not surprise God. He is working in and through this virus to bring blessing to the nations, primarily through the hope of Jesus, but secondarily through His day to day provisions. Even if we face sickness, or worse yet death from this virus, we can rest assured that God has not left us or forsaken us. The hope Jesus offers is still the same.

As well as we can know that God is working through this virus in our own life. Paul says in Romans 8:28:

“And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.” (Ro 8:28)

Everything works together for our good because our ultimate good is life with God in His eternal kingdom. He works, even though there is bad news, to bring us to our eternal resting place in His eternal kingdom.

God is the same today, as He was yesterday, and as He will be tomorrow. He has not changed. He is a faithful God who loves His children. He is a God to be praised. Blessed, indeed, are those who fear the Lord for they are not afraid of bad news.

Question for Reflection

  1. What blessings have you experience from God recently?