This week we are memorizing:
Do not commit adultery.
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.
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.
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.
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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