This week’s psalm was quite possibly written during the time of the Babylonian Exile. A few years before, the Temple in Jerusalem had been destroyed by a foreign power, and Israel’s people had been left leaderless—if not deported to a strange land. It was a time of great discouragement, and many felt hopeless, even abandoned by God.
In that hard time, the psalmist recalls God’s promise to King David generations before, the pledge in 2 Samuel 7 that God would sustain David and his children forever. The psalmist uses the word covenant, a holy promise. It is much greater than a contract. Even if David and his descendants were unfaithful and had to suffer the consequences of their sin, God would never forsake them. The covenant was a promise of God’s steadfast and ultimately redeeming love.
We have our own times of discouragement, of course. Even in our homes or homeland we may feel like exiles. Whether because of our own sins or the sins of others, we may fear that God has abandoned us. In times of illness or grief, we may feel forsaken. The psalmist reminds us that others have felt such things and urges us to trust the covenant. God will stand firmly with us to the end.
A frame near my desk holds a certificate that records the day my parents presented me as an infant for the covenant of baptism. This document reminds me that even before I knew my name I was being held by the steadfast love and faithful promises of my family, my community, and most enduring of all, the love and promises of God. Even before I could make—or break—any promises, God’s loving covenant was already and forever in effect.
O God of the loving covenant, help us to trust this day that you will never forsake us. Amen.
David was God’s anointed king over Israel. He believed God desired a house, a temple worthy of God. But God wanted David to understand that only God can build things that truly last. Thus, God promised to construct a dynasty from David’s family. From this line will eventually come the ultimate King, the Messiah, who will rule God’s people forever. The Messiah will complete God’s work of uniting all people as children of God, and the author of Ephesians declares that this has happened through Christ. All God’s people—Jew and Gentile—are now part of a holy, spiritual temple. In Mark, Jesus shows that part of being a great king is showing compassion. He puts aside his own desires to help those in need of guidance and healing.
Read 2 Samuel 7:1-14a. When have you changed your opinion on something significant? What led to the change?
Read Psalm 89:20-37. What helps you recall God’s faithfulness in times when you may feel abandoned?
Read Ephesians 2:11-22. Where have you found Christ breaking down dividing walls between groups of people? What part does your Christian community play in bringing people together?
Read Mark 6:30-34, 53-56. When have you had an experience of illness or accident that left you isolated from community? How did that increase your awareness of others in that situation as you moved to health?
Respond by posting a prayer.
I join many of those who will pray for you as you seek to discern what you are called to be at this moment. May God grant you the courage to fulfill that calling. May we all open our eyes and see the misery, open our ears and hear the cries of God’s people, and, like God through the Lord Jesus Christ, be incarnate amongst them.”
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