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Lenten Devotions from Fourth Presbyterian Church

Thursday, July 19, 2018

Today’s Scripture Reading | Psalm 89:20–37 

I have found my servant David;
   with my holy oil I have anointed him;
my hand shall always remain with him;
   my arm also shall strengthen him.
The enemy shall not outwit him,
   the wicked shall not humble him.
I will crush his foes before him
   and strike down those who hate him.
My faithfulness and steadfast love shall be with him;
   and in my name his horn shall be exalted.
I will set his hand on the sea
   and his right hand on the rivers.
He shall cry to me, ‘You are my Father,
   my God, and the Rock of my salvation!’
I will make him the firstborn,
   the highest of the kings of the earth.
Forever I will keep my steadfast love for him,
   and my covenant with him will stand firm.
I will establish his line forever,
   and his throne as long as the heavens endure.
If his children forsake my law
   and do not walk according to my ordinances,
if they violate my statutes
   and do not keep my commandments,
then I will punish their transgression with the rod
   and their iniquity with scourges;
but I will not remove from him my steadfast love,
   or be false to my faithfulness.
I will not violate my covenant,
   or alter the word that went forth from my lips.
Once and for all I have sworn by my holiness;
   I will not lie to David.
His line shall continue forever,
   and his throne endure before me like the sun.
It shall be established forever like the moon,
   an enduring witness in the skies.” (NRSV)

Reflection
God is being reminded of a promise he made. “We had a deal,” the psalmist says. Under the circumstances, it is an odd posture because the Bible is a long, tortuous story of men and women reneging on the deal. The deal is God’s promise of “faithfulness” and “steadfast love” for us through David. But it is no ordinary contract. God’s end is unconditional. He commits himself to us no matter what.

These verses are the better part of a speech by God regarding his commitment. In verse 30, it pivots away from God’s promises to what is likely to occur: “If [David’s] children forsake my law.” Sounding every bit like a modern-day parent, God says even if we fail, break the rules, and disappoint, he will love us forever.

In God’s transcendent promise—“I will not remove from him my steadfast love or be false to my faithfulness”—I hear Jesus’ assurance from the closing words of Matthew’s Gospel: “And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:20).

Prayer
Thank you, God, for your grace, which I do not deserve; for your forgiveness, which I have not earned; and for your everlasting love and faithfulness, which I return inadequately. Amen.

Written by Andy McGaan, Member of Fourth Presbyterian Church

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