Psalm 89:19-52: How Long, O Lord?
April 20, 2022
TODAY'S BIBLE READING:
The vision and the promise are clear. But where are the results? This is a confusing disjunction with which to be faced at the best of times, but especially when the vision belongs to God (verse 19), and the promise is guaranteed also by God (verse 35).
“But now you have cast off and rejected; you are full of wrath against your anointed” (verse 38). We know that God’s “forever” promise to David was fulfilled in Christ’s “forever” kingdom. When God says that he will “establish his offspring [or “seed”] forever” (verse 4 and 29), we know that he is referring to the “seed” of Christ (Galatians 3:16). But we still have times when we wonder what God is up to. We still sometimes pray, “How long, O Lord, will you hide yourself forever?”
At such times we can ask God to “remember” and also yet still praise God as “blessed.” We can ask God to “remember” how short our lives are (verse 47). God, of course, does not need to be reminded in the sense that he has forgotten. But in our appeal to God based on the brevity of our own lives, we are reminding ourselves in his presence that time is of the essence. The man who cannot manage time cannot manage anything – as a colleague reminds me that Peter Drucker used to say. Our days are indeed “vanity” if we are living for this life alone: for “what man can live and never see death?” (verse 48). God operates on the timescale of not just millennia but eternity. We are time-bound, and our days are brief. Therefore, ask God boldly to intervene now!
But more than this, we can ask God to remember – here the reminder posed in the form of a question – his promises to his anointed king and his people. “Lord, where is your steadfast love of old, which by your faithfulness you swore to David?” (verse 49). The word of God is a powerful weapon in the hands of a praying saint. Jesus himself employed that weapon in his battle with the adversary (Matthew 4:1-11). Therefore, ask God boldly to intervene on the basis of his promises!
We can also ask God to remember the way that his servants are “mocked” (verse 50). This is a reminder that God’s own honor is at stake. “Remember, O Lord…the insults…with which they mock the footsteps of your anointed” (verse 50-51). When God’s people are insulted, the insults are falling on God’s own head. Therefore, ask God boldly to intervene for the sake of his own glory! But these prayers – for God to work now, because of his promises, for his own glory – do not deprive the follower of God of joy and praise in the presence of God. “Blessed be the Lord forever! Amen and amen” (verse 52).
“The one who offers thanksgiving as his sacrifice glorifies me; to one who orders his way rightly I will show the salvation of God!”(Psalm 50:23)
In your praying, remember also to be praising. We bless God in the sense that we affirm that he is blessed. Bless God today, praise him for who he is even as you ask God to intervene now.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Josh Moody (Ph.D., University of Cambridge) is the senior pastor of College Church in Wheaton, IL., president and founder of God Centered Life Ministries, and author of several books including How the Bible Can Change Your Life and John 1-12 For You.
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