God (not us) the source of faithful love

Posted Oct 7, 2019

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This week we are memorizing:

Do not commit adultery.

Daily Scripture

Psalm 89:1-5

1 I will sing of the Lord’s loyal love forever.
    I will proclaim your faithfulness
    with my own mouth
    from one generation to the next.
2 That’s why I say,
    “Your loyal love is rightly built—forever!
    You establish your faithfulness in heaven.”
3 You said, “I made a covenant with my chosen one;
    I promised my servant David:
4  ‘I will establish your offspring forever;
    I will build up your throne from one generation to the next.’”
5 Heaven thanks you for your wondrous acts, Lord—
    for your faithfulness too—
    in the assembly of the holy ones.

Reflection Questions

Here rendered “loyal love,” the Hebrew word hesed “includes the idea of love and devotion, and faithfulness to a promise or a covenant. When used to describe God its emphasis is on God’s faithfulness to his covenant with his people, his promise to be their God always, and to protect them and take care of them. It describes his special feeling for his people.”* The idea of loving faithfully began in Scripture not with human commitments but with the very character of God.

  • In Psalm 89:14, hesed is described as one of the basic foundations of God’s rule in the universe: “Your throne is built on righteousness and justice; loyal love and faithfulness stand in front of you” (cf. also Psalm 33:5). How easy or hard do you find it to trust in God’s faithful love when life brings disappointment or pain? Even in human relationships, do you find value in “I’m with you” even in a situation which the other person cannot “fix”?
  • Other passages (Micah 6:8 is a notable example) called God’s people to lives filled with loyal, faithful love. Clearly this kind of love that reaches deeper than just the fluctuating, changeable emotions our culture often labels “love.” In her novel Many Waters, Madeleine l’Engle wrote of a “vast, patiently waiting love” at the heart of the cosmos. How does believing in that, rather than a cold, empty universe, lay the foundation for you to live a life of loyal, faithful love?

Prayer

God of loyal love, I am keenly aware of the times when I do not live up to your love for me. Keep me growing to both live into your love and live it out toward others. Amen.


* Robert G. Bratcher and William D. Reyburn, A Handbook on the Book of Psalms. New York: United Bible Societies, 1991, p. 53.

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GPS Guide

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Michelle Funk

Michelle Funk

Michelle provides direction and support for all discipleship opportunities for women at Resurrection Leawood. She and her husband have three sons. They love spending time with friends, hanging out with family, and taking trips out of town or the country.

Brandi Carlile is described as a “folk-rocker,” but says of her style, “I just can't get the country and western out of my voice.” She is a singer-songwriter and producer whose music spans multiple genres and earned 6 nominations at this year’s Grammy Awards, the most nominations for a female in 2019, including the all-genre Album and Song of the Year categories. She won in three categories.

Her rendition of the song, Hallelujah, while beautiful, maintains the original woeful lesson about a love that has soured and, frankly, really hurts:    

Maybe there is a God above
But all I've ever learned from love
Was how to shoot somebody who outdrew ya
And it's not a cry that you hear at night
It's not somebody who's seen the light
It's a cold and it's a broken hallelujah 

Love is supposed to bring absolute happiness and delight, right?! Yet, as the lyrics suggest, it can also bring pain into our lives. Our passage from Psalm 89 speaks of a steadfast, faithful love that is tied to a covenant or promise.   

Your love, God, is my song, and I’ll sing it!
I’m forever telling everyone how faithful you are.
I’ll never quit telling the story of your love…
Your love has always been our lives’ foundation… (The Message) 

Here we learn that true love actually exists and is generously offered to you and me by the One who is dependable and constant. Love like this goes above and beyond what is normally required, it seals the deal and places an exclamation mark on a promise or vow. It’s the real thing, and we can sing about it, forever telling everyone. 

However, there is a pattern in the full passage, beginning with the declaration that love exists and is sure to last. Then the middle section of Psalm 89 speaks of rejection, the broken hallelujah in life. Here the psalmist recounts in detail how God seemingly has abandoned God’s people. Words of urgent prayer follow with a plea for God to remember and restore the former great love once extended. 

When have you found love to be sure and wonderful? When have you found it to be tricky or messy? You might find it helpful to pray in a similar fashion, with words describing love as loyal and true. If lost, talk to God about the rejection and sorrow you feel. Then ask to once again experience a loving and lasting relationship, one that provides joy and prompts a restored hallelujah.

May this be the kind of love we offer, and receive, and pass on to those we cherish. Hallelujah!

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