The Book of Psalms

Tuesday: Our Covenant-Keeping God, Part 2


Theme: God Does All Things Well
In this week’s lessons we learn that although at times it can seem as if there is a gap between God’s promises and reality, God is unchanging in his faithfulness.
Scripture: Psalm 89:38-52
What is most striking about the phrasing of the psalmist’s list of accusations is that God is held to be responsible. Notice the pronoun “you,” meaning God. It is the subject of nearly every sentence in this section (eleven times in the New International Version). The only sentences that do not have God as their subject are in verse 41:
But you have rejected, you have spurned, you have been very angry with your
anointed one.
You have renounced the covenant with your servant and have defiled his crown in the
You have broken through all his walls and reduced his strongholds to ruins.
All who pass by have plundered him; he has become the scorn of his neighbors.
You have exalted the right hand of his foes; you have made all his enemies rejoice.
You have turned back the edge of his sword and have not supported him in battle.
You have put an end to his splendor and cast his throne to the ground.
You have cut short the days of his youth; you have covered him with a mantle of
shame (vv. 38-45, emphasis added).
No wonder the psalmist adds a selah at this point. This is a situation that ought to give us pause. For this is not just a random or meaningless event. It is something that has been caused by God. And that is the real problem; the problem is that God has caused it.
A problem? Yes, for us, but not for God. If God is not behind the disaster, then the tragedy of the king’s defeat and overthrow, as well as any other disaster in life, really is a random and therefore meaningless event. Therefore, by definition there is not and never can be a solution. Likewise, to bring it home to us, whatever tragedies come into your life have no meaning and no solution. If there is no God, sickness, death, the loss of friends, jobs, reputation or anything else just happens. And the good things have no meaning either! All you can do is go with the flow, take it as it comes, and die knowing that no matter what you have accomplished in life it means nothing.
On the other hand, if God is behind what happens, then we may not understand what God is doing, since He is infinitely above us. His ways are not our ways nor are his thoughts our thoughts. Nevertheless, we can know that there is a purpose somewhere and that a solution to the problem will be found, if not in this life, then in the next.
Some will consider this to be hiding one’s head in the sand, failing to face up to reality. But the choice is not between an unfounded optimism and a bold facing of reality. It is between faith and despair. The psalmist is no Pollyanna. He faces reality, but he faces it with God.
Study Questions:

What is the real problem for the psalmist? Why is this also the solution?
How does knowing God controls even disaster give things a purpose?
Some may consider the psalmist’s approach to reality as hiding his head in the sand. Why is this not the case?

Application: Think about the tragedies you have faced (or are facing) and actively look for the good. Ask God to change the way you face such circumstances, not falling into despair, but abounding in faith and trust in what God is doing in them.
Key Point: The psalmist faces reality, but he faces it with God.

Study Questions
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