A while ago I got to one of those ‘stuck’ places in my daily Bible reading. Eventually I got started all over again, reading the Psalms, carefully writing down every day what I was learning. A few days ago, Richard and I were settling down to spend time praying together. As we did, I realised that those Psalms had given me a whole new excitement about how God sees things and how we can pray about where we (all) are at in our nations today.
‘The Lord loves righteousness and justice; the earth is full of his unfailing love.’ Whoa! Do I really believe that? Do I really believe that God has unfailing love toward His creation? God’s unfailing love is what drives His purposes on earth; and His purposes are for good, not for evil; for well-being, outworking His love.
But then the psalm goes on to the scary bit: ‘The Lord foils the plans of the nations; he thwarts the purposes of the peoples, but the plans of the Lord endure for ever, the purposes of his heart through all generations’ (Psalm 33:10-11). So, what am I praying for my country – my country which is all in turmoil at the moment over Brexit, over Covid-19, over the economy, over employment? God, we are people who want to see Your plans and purposes fulfilled in our nations. And we want to align ourselves with Your plans – which we won’t fully understand at the moment and are certainly more long-ranging that we can grasp.
I am so glad that the psalm doesn’t end on this scary note of Almighty God smashing the plans of the nations in his justice and righteousness. There is a verse of such safety and comfort following: ‘But the eyes of the Lord are on those who fear him, on those whose hope is in his unfailing love, to deliver them from death and keep them alive in famine’ (Psalm 33:18). This mighty, awesome God, who has the nations of the world in His sights, nevertheless keeps His eyes always, lovingly, upon those who trust Him. He never lets us go. His unfailing love never lets us down, wherever our nations might be, whatever is happening.
This psalm does not promise trouble-free living for those who trust in God, BUT the eyes of God are perpetually on those who love Him and who trust Him, and He will keep them safe in time of trouble. He’ll keep them alive in times of famine and deliver them from death. Whatever comes, those who trust in God’s unfailing love will know God watching over them always in time of trouble.
Prayer: Thank You, Father God, that, as we see You bringing about Your purposes in our world, we also can know Your deep peace and safety as we trust in Your unfailing love. Amen.
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