Think for a moment about all the things that are really long lasting in your life. Think about the things of permanence, things that do not rust, decay, spoil or fade. Think about how long even the most long lasting of those things is. In a world which cynically designs products so they won’t last, in a world of updates every year, in a world that throws away, consumes and has an increasing thirst for more God steps in like an ancient anachronism.
It’s easy to view God as an old man, a bit behind the times, old now and fading along with everything else in this world. That he would remain unchanging, steadfast, shining and young is almost too much to cope with. I suspect lots of us think of God as really needing to go to the local library and join the pensioners ‘Understanding Computers’ class. I suspect we think he’s a bit beyond our fast paced technological world, after all he was around ages ago. Surely he can’t have kept up?
Even if we think he’s got a grasp on the internet we can’t really think he’s got something relevant to say to our world? He’s a God of a bygone age, like our parents or grandparents calling us back to a time when children played in the street and families sat around a table for the evening meal.
This Psalm blows that concept of God right out of the water. Seriously out of the water, in fact right into a heat blasted desert. (I have a feeling all I’m going to ever write about these Psalms is that God is very different to what we functionally believe about him each day). The Psalmist laments, he pours out his soul and tries to come to terms with the frailty of his life. He wastes away, the world around him wastes away. Where is there hope?
There is hope, not in an old God who has also grown tired with the passing of the ages There is hope in a God who sits enthroned forever. A God whose fame endures through all generations. We have no concept of this, ideas endure, legacies endure sometimes, but God endures through all generations. There is hope today in a God who will carry on acting through history, who may not appear to be acting right now but who will act has he has done.
So many of the Psalms involve people crying out in the inbetween times, knowing God can do these things, looking around and seeing no sign of his work but looking to the future and trusting that God will work again, so “that a people not yet created may praise the Lord”. God remains the same, his work will never end. Today he is at work, he has endured and he will endure throughout the generations. This world is perishing, withering, our lives are like grass. We long and ache for permanence, some sense of stability in this world.
The good news is: there is hope. God is still at work today, he is not baffled and confused by this world, he stands as ever Lord over it all, calling people into relationship with him, calling people to stand in awe, bow down, get over themselves and embark on the life of love he has mapped out for his creatures. I suspect that if I remembered this I would walk with more confidence in this world, I would rejoice more because we have not been abandoned. I would praise my God and delight in expectation that a people not yet created might praise his name.
What images come to mind when you think of the word steadfast?
What needs to change in your thinking about what God is like?