“I will sing of the Lord’s great love forever; with my mouth I will make your faithfulness known through all generations. I will declare that your love stands firm forever, that you established your faithfulness in heaven itself. ” – Psalm 89:1-2
As I was reading Psalm 89 this afternoon, I was struck by David’s example of unwavering confidence and trust in God’s faithfulness. He begins by praising God and reminding himself of God’s faithfulness to him. He then goes on to state specific promises that God has made to him. And then finally, in verse 38, he starts to express his frustrations. He feels rejected and abandoned by God. His circumstances tell him that God is not reliable. He is not trustworthy. He has not kept his promises or his covenant to David.
“O Lord, where is your former great love, which in your faithfulness you swore to David? Remember, Lord, how your servant has been mocked, how I bear in my heart the taunts of all nations, the taunts with which your enemies have mocked, O Lord, with which they have mocked every step of your anointed one.
Praise be to the Lord forever! Amen and Amen.” – Psalm 89:49-52
How easy is it to get stuck in that mindset? To question God’s love for us. To question His faithfulness. To look at what He has promised. To look at his Word even, and to feel like all the circumstances in our life prove Him wrong.
But what is so beautiful about David’s heart in this Psalm, is the last verse. The song of his heart is still, “Praise be to the Lord forever! Amen and amen.” I wondered at first, how he could arrive at this conclusion. The circumstances he had just finished describing – his walls broken, strongholds ruined, plundered, the scorn of his neighbors, covered in a mantle of shame – were completely contradictory to what God had promised him. His circumstances would tell him that God is NOT faithful. He is NOT true to His word.
But David wasn’t looking to his circumstances for evidence of God’s faithfulness. He looked to God himself.
“O Lord God Almighty, who is like you? You are mighty, O Lord, and your faithfulness surrounds you.” – Psalm 89:8
“Righteousness and justice are the foundation of your throne; love and faithfulness go before you. Blessed are those who have learned to acclaim you, who walk in the light of your presence, O Lord.” – Psalm 89:14-15
David chose to take his eyes of his circumstances and look to God. And when he lifted his eyes, he saw a God who is surrounded in faithfulness. Who sits on a throne of righteousness and justice. And his confidence was restored. David’s ability to come to the conclusion at the end of Psalm 89 that the Lord is worthy to be praised forever, comes from his decision to look to heaven. The place where (like it says in verse 2), God’s faithfulness was established.
Think about what that means. God’s faithfulness was established in heaven. The world is a broken place. With broken people. Hard circumstances. Sickness. Death. Defeat. But heaven remains in tact. Heaven remains in perfection. In holiness. And this is the place where God’s faithfulness has been established. This is the place where his love stands firm. Verse 15 says, “BLESSED are those who have learned to acclaim you, who walk in the light of your presence, O Lord.” We are blessed when we see through the lens of the light of His presence.
In 2 Corinthians, Paul addresses the fact that there will always be a tension between the burden of our life on earth, and the inheritance we have in heaven as children of God.
“Now we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands. Meanwhile we groan, longing to be clothed with our heavenly dwelling, because when we are clothed, we will not be found naked. For while we are in this tent, we groan and are burdened, because we do not wish to to be unclothed but to be clothed with our heavenly dwelling, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life. Now it is God who has made us for this very purpose and has given us the Spirit as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.” – 2 Corinthians 5:1-5
Yes, we groan. Yes, we are burdened. But we have a heavenly dwelling. A place where our hearts can turn to, and “what is mortal may be swallowed up by LIFE.” And this is why God has given us his Spirit. The Holy Spirit serves as a deposit guaranteeing what is to come in that heavenly place. When we walk in the light of God’s presence as David described, and allow our spirits to dwell where they were designed to dwell, we are filled with assurance and confidence in who God is. The Holy Spirit is who helps us enter into that place.
It’s no coincidence then, that Jesus himself commands us to pray this way:
“Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” – Matthew 6:9-10
Lord, may we discipline ourselves to lift our eyes and our hearts to heaven. To choose to dwell in the victory you’ve won for us, the righteousness you’ve clothed us in, and the faithfulness and love you’ve established. Regardless of our circumstances, let your will be done in us, on earth as it is in heaven. And let us rest assured in your faithfulness, not because of what we can see, but because it surrounds you. Because your faithfulness remains untouched in the heavenly dwelling we were created for. “Praise be to the Lord forever! Amen and Amen.”