Wednesday, January 4, 2017
Whatever Happened Was Not Because God Was Unfaithful
Psa. 89:1 I will sing of your steadfast love, O LORD, forever;
with my mouth I will proclaim your faithfulness to all generations.
2 I declare that your steadfast love is established forever;
your faithfulness is as firm as the heavens.
The line of David was in trouble but the Psalmist wanted to make clear that the failures were not a result of God’s unfaithfulness. Some may have asked whether God had promised something and then not fulfilled that promise. This isn’t possible because God, by nature, is faithful.
The people of God faced difficulties, not because God had been unfaithful, but because they had not remained faithful to the covenant. To lay down an understanding of God the Psalmist begins by singing about the faithfulness of God. The very character of the LORD is seen in the love and mercy of God. This is God's nature and is revealed forever, and will never be altered. There is nothing that humanity can do to change the fact that God loves us.
God continually reaches out to humanity with steadfast love and mercy. Whatever has happened to us is not because God us unfaithful. Therefore, in the midst of the trials and tribulation, remember the steadfast love of the LORD, and proclaim how faithful God has been and remains for all generations.
God’s people have often remembered the faithfulness of God, whether in the Old Testament or the New. Hebrews chapter 11 is a great reminder of the people who lived by faith, leaning into God’s faithfulness, and through them, Christ was revealed. However, at the end of that chapter, and the beginning of the next, it says that they have still not reached perfection — or come to completion — because the story has not yet ended. We are invited into that story of faithfulness and we are asked to write another chapter with our own lives.
When I was a child it was common to have “testimony” services where people stood up and shared what God was doing in their lives. The church where I attended in Kansas City would occasionally have a Sunday evening service simply devoted to “testimonies.” It was in that space that I heard some of the “saints” of the church share the ways in which they had learned to trust in God through the hard times. They were “singing” of the steadfast love of God and were creating a path for us to follow after them.
How often do we hear “testimonies” any more? If the multi-generational family of God does not worship together and openly speak of God’s faithfulness, the next generation will not be able to follow after us. There is a reason that the Psalmist said it was time to sing of God’s faithfulness. Life wasn’t looking too good and the people of God needed to be reminded that this was not God’s failure. They needed to sing praises to God and then recount the stories of the ways in which God had been faithful to them.
Our family has stories of God’s faithfulness, both on my side and my husband’s. We have shared those stories with our children. They are part of the lore of being a member of this family, but they are “our” story. God’s faithfulness to our grandparents and great-grandparents has helped to shape who we are. Whatever happened in their lives, God was always faithful! Our children know that, and I hope and pray our grandchildren will as well.
God is faithful and the love of the LORD will reach throughout all generations -- forever. When we “share our testimonies,” we are proclaiming the very nature of God for the next generation, and those to come.
Let’s spend some time today singing of the steadfast love of the LORD.
Lord, I am amazed by your steadfast love and mercy. Thank you for revealing yourself to my family members who have gone before, and continuing your covenant of love. Amen.