Sometimes I act like a teenager with God. Psalm 89 provides an illustration of my tendencies, which appear to be common to man. There is a cycle of standing in the blessings and then turning away only to wonder why God is not as close as he was…
20 I have found David my servant;
with my sacred oil I have anointed him.
27 And I will appoint him to be my firstborn,
the most exalted of the kings of the earth.
28 I will maintain my love to him forever,
and my covenant with him will never fail.
38 But you have rejected, you have spurned,
you have been very angry with your anointed one.
49 Lord, where is your former great love,
which in your faithfulness you swore to David?
52 Praise be to the Lord forever!
Amen and Amen.
Psalm 89:20, 27-28, 38, 49, 52
God has made promises and anointed me – I’m not David, don’t get me wrong. Yet God chose to show me mercy and enter my life through Jesus.
There are promises with that election – God is with me (Matthew 28:20) and fills me with the Holy Spirit (Romans 8:9) and will be faithful to complete the work he started in me (Philippians 1:6).
And then the wheels fall off. That’s what’s happening in Psalm 89.
David was anointed by God and promises made. His people and descendents, however, turned away from God. Once they realize that God was distant, they ask God why he is so distant. This doesn’t match your promise, God…
And yet God is not the one who distanced himself. It was the people.
This is self-centred teenager behaviour. I know it because I have lived it. I have been the teenager and I have been the parent.
How long will you stand back, God? Probably as long as you act like this. Change your behaviour and you will be standing closer to me again…
I appreciate, in the case of the psalmist, that he ends with a praise to God. At least he has the perspective to recognize God as God. He is asking how long God will leave them feeling abandoned, yet he knows in his heart that God is God and is still almighty. That’s more than we get from teenagers and more than most of us give God when we act like this…
Psalm 89 reminds us that God doesn’t move – we move. And when we come back, God is still there. Still there like a faithful parent.