My wife and I are reading through the Psalms in our evening reading and occasionally a nugget of the Psalms jumps out of the page. Don’t you love it when, after years of reading the “Old Book” passages become alive, reinforcing old teachings or simply warming your heart.
This is the book of Psalms, and it is rich.
I pray I can communicate a portion of the blessing we receive from this wonderful book.
1 Shout for joy in the LORD, O you righteous! Praise befits the upright.
2 Give thanks to the LORD with the lyre; make melody to him with the harp of ten strings!
3 Sing to him a new song; play skillfully on the strings, with loud shouts.
4 For the word of the LORD is upright, and all his work is done in faithfulness.
5 He loves righteousness and justice; the earth is full of the steadfast love of the LORD.
6 By the word of the LORD the heavens were made, and by the breath of his mouth all their host.
7 He gathers the waters of the sea as a heap; he puts the deeps in storehouses.
8 Let all the earth fear the LORD; let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of him!
9 For he spoke, and it came to be; he commanded, and it stood firm.
10 The LORD brings the counsel of the nations to nothing; he frustrates the plans of the peoples.
Can we settle on one verse this morning. So many great verses in this chapter but verse 5 has stuck in my craw, and it won’t let go.
Psalm 33:5b …the earth is FULL of the steadfast love of the LORD.
Is it? Is it really?
My friends , as we walk this path with the Lord through the lives that He has granted us, we make many decisions. Out of these decisions, our lives are expanded to new understandings and appreciation of the Lord Jesus, or we are shrinking in our love and desire to know Him. Thoughts like this occur to me at the oddest time and I am thankful for the still small voice that whispers truth to me.
Let me share a time of hearing a still small voice.
As many of you know, I am an engineer, encased in numbers and schedules, with pressure and deadlines always upon me. Lately staff shortages and the winning of new work has exacerbated this condition. It was only yesterday that I was on the phone with my mechanical lead (a mechanical engineer who leads his group to complete a task I have assigned for a certain deadline), discussing how thinly spread we are in getting our tasks done, when he mentioned how ugly his surroundings are.
You see, we had to send him to a desert of California to oversee the construction of a boiler install for a couple months. Each time I have chatted about his conditions, he states that his surroundings are ugly, windy, too hot (or too cold) and too dry.
Much to complain about I suppose, but I argued there must be something of beauty in the area. He claimed none and challenged me to consider when I first moved to Texas, being in the Panhandle area, where nothing grows, the wind always blows and the ground is flatter than a pancake. I agreed that the first few months in the panhandle were barren for beauty, especially since I had moved there from the beautiful shores of Lake Superior in Canada.
And yet, after a few months of living in the area, I began to see a beauty in the area. Of course I am not speaking of the oil pump jacks, or the abandoned factories, or of the rusting storage tanks. We have to remember that man has had an effect on this world. But given this concession, there appeared to be a beauty I did not expect. A vastness, an expanse that argued for the greatness of God, and of how little I was! That is a good lesson to learn for a proud man like I!
Am I equating the love of the Lord with beauty of my surroundings? Not at all. His love is steadfast. My surroundings change. Whether I’m experiencing the rocky shores of Lake Superior, or the flat vastness of the Texas panhandle, His love is steadfast.
The earth is FULL of the steadfast love of the Lord, yet we look at our surroundings as if He provided only difficulties and hurdles to “put up with”.
Do you believe the earth is FULL of the steadfast love of the Lord?
How do you “receive” the surroundings you are in? What is your perception? How do you translate your situation?
There are a number of passages that inform me that my decisions, which result in actions I perform, come back around on me. This isn’t the karma thing that seems so prevalent, since that includes a non-personal force that supposedly reacts to our actions.
No, what I am speaking on is the realization of God’s steadfast love in all our experience, being thankful and doing all things without murmuring and disputing’s. In this decision to trust God in His communication of His steadfast love, we have the opportunity to experience His love in a deeper and fuller way. When we distrust our loving Father, and interpret our situation as being from the hand of an angry God, one who will seek to trip us up, or that is angry with us, we cause our lives to become bitter, lonely and full of suspicion. Our very fears become a reality, become a self fulfilling prophecy, and our lives go down the proverbial toilet.
Consider the following passages
With the merciful you show yourself merciful;
with the blameless man you show yourself blameless;
with the purified you show yourself pure;
and with the crooked you make yourself seem tortuous.
Notice the Lord shows Himself to us in response to our character. Yet the Scripture states that the earth FULL of the steadfast love of the LORD!
What gives? If the earth is full of the steadfast love of the Lord, why do some experience Him as tortuous?
He loved to curse; let curses come upon him! He did not delight in blessing; may it be far from him!
He clothed himself with cursing as his coat; may it soak into his body like water, like oil into his bones!
One more time where our decision to perform an action (cursing, not delighting in blessings) results in a similar action coming back to us.
Toward the scorners he is scornful, but to the humble he gives favor.
This verse is in the same vain as Psalm 18, but as I began to see this pattern in the Word, it continued to become a recurring theme in the Old Testament.
The New Testament also speaks of His reactions to our actions.
But he gives more grace. Therefore it says, “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.”
Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.
Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you.
Will you trust the Word and believe that the earth is FULL of the steadfast love of the Lord?
Take a step back, examine your life and consider if you are one who complains, finds fault or is generally negative. Find a friend or relative that you consider to be an honest person. Sit them down and ask for an honest evaluation of your life. It may be very enlightening!
You see, your base understanding of God is critical! You have, in the past, somehow assumed Him to be one who complains, finds fault and is negative towards you. What you believe about the LORD will ooze out of your life in the attitudes and actions you live in. Your actions and attitudes will be responded to in like manner, and the downward spiral continues!
If that is your understanding of God, your understanding of God is not according to truth.
Consider the goodness and loving kindness of our God!
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