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.
Psa. 48:9 ¶ We have thought on your steadfast love, O God,
in the midst of your temple.
Psa. 48:10 As your name, O God,
so your praise reaches to the ends of the earth.
Your right hand is filled with righteousness.
Psa. 48:11 Let Mount Zion be glad!
Let the daughters of Judah rejoice
because of your judgments!
We often think of the Old Testament as depicting a God who is wrathful, full of vengeance and ready to judge. How can we reconcile that general impression with the specific verse we find in our passage this fine day?
For the Old Testament does not refer to the steadfast love of God only in this passage. The Old Testament God is the God of covenantal love, a love that is based on commitments, on promises and on His character. I have heard it said that the wrath of God is spoken of more in the New Testament than in the Old, and after considering it (although I have not studied it) I tend to see that as possible.
Yet I divert from the text, and our considering of the steadfast love of God.
The Old Testament often has prophets or writers speak of God as keeping the covenant, and of His lovingkindness. This was required for the people of God, for they often did not keep the covenant, but continually and instantly broke the marriage covenant they had with the God of all creation. Many times they may have considered God’s reaction to be similar to their faithfulness to the covenant, that all was lost, that He had abandoned them, that His patience wore thin. For the nation, this fear became a reality at the cross, as the old covenant was made obsolete by providing a better covenant.
Hebrews 8:13 ESV – In speaking of a new covenant, he makes the first one obsolete. And what is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to vanish away.
In the midst of our rebellion, it is the only message that will pull us back. Judgement and wrath, though spoken of throughout the Word, most often is provided to wake the listener, and without realizing the love of God, may only produce a self serving response, a short term commitment to Him in order to “get out of trouble”.
Fear of judgement is not a remedy for a broken relationship. Sacrificial love will heal a marriage, and make two one! Let us remember that it is not our sacrifice that is healing relationships with God, but His miraculous love toward His enemies that brings us back to Him.
Two verses from the prophets typify the Old Testament declaration of the love God for His people.
Jeremiah 31:3 the LORD appeared to him from far away.
I have loved you with an everlasting love;
therefore I have continued my faithfulness to you.
Is. 54:10 For the mountains may depart
and the hills be removed,
but my steadfast love shall not depart from you,
and my covenant of peace shall not be removed,”
says the LORD, who has compassion on you.
In the final verses of this portion of Psalm 48, the psalmist speaks to the people of Israel and of their response. Joy, and rejoicing. The natural response of understanding the covenantal love of God is rejoicing. Do we get this?
As we venture through life, and we find the joy somewhat lacking in our life, consider who our God is. Think on the picture we see of the covenantal God who is faithful, expressing love to His people. He is the covenantal promise keeping God who has sacrificed all for your deliverance. Guilt is not a proper response, nor self loathing or fear.
He is a covenant keeping God, He is good, and He is good all the time! Rejoice!
Thanks again for coming to visit. I hope you found something of interest in this post and would appreciate a comment, to begin a discussion.
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