Prayer: Awesome God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. There is no one like You. You stand alone as Creator, Savior, and Counselor. Thank You for times of quiet meditation and prayer. Thank You for being so accessible even in Your greatness. Please fill this time with Your presence and hear my praises with joy. You are wonderful, dear Lord. In the name of Jesus I pray. Amen.
Read: Psalm 89:1-37
Thoughts: One of the subjects taught in literature class used to be ancient Greek and Roman mythology. It seemed important to those who developed the course work that a well-rounded individual be able to retell the stories of man-made gods and goddesses. While these characters all had some sort of power greater than your average human, they were still filled with foibles and follies. At times they were capricious, mean, and always self-serving. They made mistakes and hardly ever followed through on a promise. Because they were created inside the minds of human being, they were just like us and their stories often read like a modern soap opera. One word that would never be used of these “gods” was faithful. Some of them are even mentioned in our Bible as they were very much a part of the culture surrounding the people of God.
In reading a passage such as we find in our Psalm for this week, we find that the true God is nothing like the figments of ancient imagination. He is self-defining and not subject to the problems of a human god. One of the most striking differences lies in God’s ability to make and keep a promise. Unlike the ancient Romans, we never have to wonder if our God is actually going to follow through on what He said He would do. He doesn’t suddenly change His mind and terrorize His people over a slight or disobedience. While we may be disciplined by a loving Father, we will never be abandoned or punished capriciously. Read verses 30-37 again. In these words lies the truth about how God operates with us. Because we are quick to sin we know that we are guilty of forsaking His law and punishment is His response to that behavior. But – and this is huge – the punishment did not fall upon us but upon Jesus. He is the one who bore the blows of the rod and the stripes of the whip (verse 32). The words of verse 33 comes as pure Gospel. God will never remove His love or forget His promises. We can stand secure in our relationship with Him at all times. He will never lash out in a fit of rage or torture us for some infraction. Instead He seeks to love us and care for us. He’s not busy fighting with other “gods”. Instead His attention is focused on us and what we need. When offered this glorious God who is eternally present, why would we turn instead to a created god and give them our attention and worship? Because they are controllable. Anything of our own making is controllable. But that control comes with a price. That man-made god is weak and powerless. The man made god has no ability to love us, care for us, and certainly has no power to save us from destruction.
Abandoning those gods of our own creation can be difficult. We like them because they fit into our god-shaped box and we can take them out whenever we want to and manipulate them to our own satisfaction. But it is a hollow relationship and one that leads to destruction for they have no power to save us. Instead, the God of the Bible is the God we serve. He alone is willing to keep His promises and will save us from the sin that captivates and destroys.
Prayer: “Let the heavens praise Your wonders, O Lord, Your faithfulness in the assembly of the holy ones! For who in the skies can be compared to the Lord? Who among the heavenly beings is like the Lord, a God greatly to be feared in the council of the holy ones, and awesome above all who are around Him? O Lord God of hosts, who is mighty as You are, O Lord, with Your faithfulness all around You?” Psalm 89:5–8