THE THING ABOUT PROMISES

           Today’s reading from the One Year Bible has us in Psalm 89, a very difficult Psalm. The writer presents a picture of God’s faithfulness, a reminder of God’s promises, and a plea for God to come through. I can relate with this psalmist: as the world seems to lean further away from God with each day, I find myself looking to the promises of my God that He will return and overhaul all this someday. I look to the Scriptures and see the many stories of God’s faithfulness to His people throughout history. I dwell on the beauty of the kingdom of heaven that Christ gave us the keys to. I ponder on the meaning of the apocalyptic prophecies and wonder if they will happen in my lifetime. In the words of the Psalmist, I cry out “how long, Lord?"
            It is intriguing that this psalm ends on something of a cliffhanger. Other psalms of this type end with a reminder of God’s faithfulness or one more mention of the promises that are waited for. Here the writer allows the emphasis to remain on the hardships of his time and the seeming lack of God’s presence and power.  It almost seems like he is calling out God for failing to fulfill His word. After all, how often do people fail to fulfill what they say they will do? Has God let him down too? All the signs seem to point that way.
            However, there is one last little phrase thrown in that ought to challenge us all. Despite the times and the troubles, the Psalmist closes with a cry of praise, blessing the Lord. Here we have our challenge: Even in the worst of times, when the God of our fathers seems distant and the awaited promises of our faith are yet to be fulfilled, still we cry out “Blessed be the Lord forever.” Why? Because that is the thing about God’s promises: He has never failed to fulfill them, and He never will.

by Ben Urban

No Comments