♣ GOD’S STEADFAST LOVE: The Hub of Life
God, you are my God; earnestly I seek You;
my soul thirsts for You;
my flesh faints for You,
as in a dry and weary land where there is no water.
So I have looked upon You in the sanctuary,
beholding Your power and glory.
Because Your steadfast love is better than life,
my lips will praise You.
So I will bless You as long as I live;
in Your name I will lift up my hands.
My soul will be satisfied as with fat and rich food,
and my mouth will praise You with joyful lips,
when I remember You upon my bed,
and meditate on You in the watches of the night;
for You have been my help,
and in the shadow of Your wings I will sing for joy.
My soul clings to You;
Your right hand upholds me.
“…Your steadfast love is better than life…”
David spoke these words during the great limiting and desperate moments of his life. His situations obstructed him from the ‘regular’ pattern of life where one is secure comfortable and content with all that goes on, but David’s experience was just quite the opposite: “…a dry and weary land where there is no water.” Just like water slakes agonizing thirst, David longed for the relief from his painful encounters.
Life’s situation made David yearn for God; made him realize that none but God alone could meet his needs; that He alone can satisfy; that He alone is the center to all activity – the ‘Hub of life’. Despite the royal life that came from being king, despite the throne and palace David occupied, he realized that God was his Most High; God was his fortress; God alone was his solid Rock, not David’s identity as a king.
So many of us can draw a false sense of security from our statuses, our titles, our vocation; we feel important because of what we do rather than who we are; our gifting, talents and abilities do not determine who and what we are. Unfortunate circumstances will shatter any false notions and leave us feeling lost if our identity is wrapped up in things we do. If I through disability lose the gift of painting, then who am I? If someone is involved in a car wreck and can never physically labor in the field of construction, or if someone falls ill and is bed ridden for years upon end: who is that person? When Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones was, for a lengthy period of time, too ill to preach, someone asked him how he coped with that reality and his response was that he didn’t live to preach; the whole Christian life was one of wonder and amazement to him. So whether busy in the call of God on his life or ill in bed, drawing near to the end of his life, he saw it all as part of purpose and meaning of God’s will for his life – it was who he was in Christ that made every bit of difference to him no matter what the circumstance.
In the Psalm we’re considering, we see David as a refugee on the run most probably from his son Absalom and his armies, fleeing his enemies in a land that was unwelcoming, discomforting, uncomely, a place that offered no security or peace from trouble; always on the move and greatly wearied as a result.
It certainly was a desert experience in more ways than one for David, out of which he uttered the words, “My soul clings to You; Your right hand upholds me.” David realized this as a result of remembering and meditating upon God and His past dealings with him. “Forget not all His benefits.” He says in Psalm 103. God’s past deliverance’s, His faithfulness that continues from everlasting to everlasting, ministered to the heart of this shepherd king. Such reflection compelled him, at other times, to say with confidence, “Surely goodness and mercy will follow me all the days of my life.” It was in the shadow of God’s wings that he realized God’s power, protecting him and sustaining him, and even though all status seemed to crumble before his eyes he could say, “Your steadfast love is better than life” knowing that he was the apple of God’s eye; that God was the Shepherd of his soul; that even though his earthly kingdom seemed insignificant and faint, it didn’t change or alter in one degree his position of belonging to the King of kings, and that he indeed was loved with an eternal love. It was a love that would see him through to victory because God’s love does not wane, change, or falter; He is the same yesterday, today and forever.
David, through the anguish, suffering and pain was brought to the realization of how secure he was in God; that He was his deliverer, not by the sheer might of David’s hands, armies or strategy in warfare, but God. David learned that he was not great in his own eyes but understood that his greatness was due to the result of God’s gentleness; His hand supporting him. Psalm 18 is where David ascribes all honor and glory to God, without which David would have miserably failed. It was in no way that David was a coward or a loser but rather that he realized trusting in his own strength was man’s greatest weakness. David was wise to learn this lesson quickly and that his success came from God alone.
David learned these lessons when he was IN the desert moments of his life; stripped of the armor of self confidence, his own strength, his pride, his own wisdom until he found his ALL in God alone; David’s glory came only through God’s salvation (Psalm 21:5). Earthly riches could not satisfy him and life without God’s steadfast love was not worth living at all.
We know of David’s victories; we know of his ups and downs, but despite all that he went through he was able to say, “Many are the afflictions of the righteous but the Lord delivers him out of them all.” He was a man who was able to say, even before Paul, that all things work together for good, for those who are called according to His purpose: all because of the eternal and steadfast love of God. David’s testimony to God’s faithfulness in Psalm 71:20-21 will also be ours:
“You who have made me see many troubles and calamities will revive me again; from the depths of the earth You will bring me up again. You will increase my greatness and comfort me again.”
In our wildernesses and deserts of isolation, obscurity, poverty, illness and nothingness – those long months or years of waiting; where all purpose seems totally non-existent and some may feel as much use for the scrap heap – it’s in these barren places that God performs some of His greatest work. He brings beauty out of ashes; He brings order out of chaos; He brings glory out of nothing; He brings growth out of confinement, He brings joy out of pain; He brings new life out of dying; and He brings freedom out of bondage. It is in the great losses that we realize we have actually lost nothing but gained everything, above and beyond, in Him.