I’ve a friend and brother who’s coming to what looks like the conclusion of his life. This has caused me to dwell on certain predictable thoughts, the kind that Ecclesiastes recommends for every one from time to time, so that we’ll think more soberly about our own mortality. And that fact has cast a certain spin on my reading of these psalms. I hope you don’t mind, and I hope you find my take on these passages useful.
What happened? (Psalm 89) — The first part of this psalm is the wonderful reminder of God’s amazing promises to David for his faithful service. But 3/4 of the way through the psalm the psalmist takes things a different direction than expected, essentially saying, “What happened?” God had made great promises, but at the writing of the psalm something had gone a bit haywire. The writer, probably David, had apparently temporarily forgotten that God had not promised uninterrupted bliss, had not promised that everything would be coming up perpetual roses, indeed He had even threatened to punish David or his sons if and when they proved unfaithful. The blessing was that God would not destroyed them, like He did, for example, in the case of Saul’s family because Saul was unfaithful. So also with all of us — God still doesn’t promise rose gardens and all of us are mortal. We mustn’t forget this crucial fact in our Christian lives. Yes, the covenant is there; yes, we are chosen; yes, we are His children; and yes, so much more. But no, we won’t be immune from trouble and trial.
Don’t get up gentlemen, we’re only passing through (Psalm 90) — Everyone ought to read and meditate on this passage at least once a week. The contrast between men and God is so well done: transitory v. permanent, numbered days v. numberless days, moral v. eternal. They are things that we all know about, but spend very little time taking seriously — even if we’re Christians. Yes, of course, unbelievers should should get and stay prepared for the great appointment with death; and it could be argued that part of the reason that many people are Christians is because these folks DID consider these things. But getting prepared initially doesn’t mean that we’re still thinking much about it.So we’re surprised when it happens to a friend or brother and perhaps much worse we don’t think much about helping others get ready. We’re all just passing through.
The ironclad security of those who trust in the Lord (Psalm 91) — But the wonderful promise of Christianity is the ironclad promise of security. Granted this psalm was intended to be for the warrior fighting the battles of the Lord, but there are still those who are fitting the good fight, right? Hopefully you, right? This is the comfort that Paul knew at the end of his life — “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith; in the future there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day; and not only to me, but also to all who have loved His appearing.” 2 Timothy 4:7, 8, NAS95.
See you tomorrow, Lord willing.