Psalm 108:1-6
May 12
David A. Davis
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My heart is steadfast, O God, my heart is steadfast. Steadfast. Steady. Fixed. Always ready for you, Holy One. Deep within my soul, always resolute. Firm in my love for you. Solid as a rock in my life lived for you. Yes, I am a strong foundation of faithfulness and loyalty to you, the living and loving God. I am always here for you, O God of all.

My heart is steadfast, O God, my heart is steadfast. If I repeat it, if I say it over and over, maybe it will be true. Maybe I can make it happen. I sure do yearn for my heart to be steadfast, to be forever faithful to you, O God. To be fixed, locked on you. But you know, you know me Lord. You know when I sit down and when I rise up. You know my inner most thoughts. When I am on a mountaintop full of gratitude in this walk with you, when I feel like you and I are as close as could be, when I feel like singing “And God walks with me and talks with me, and tells me I am God’s own”, you are there. But I know you are there when I wander, when I find myself in a distant place. Those moments of a spiritual life best described as arid, empty, maybe even dark. The kind of darkness where I can’t see my hand in front of my face, much less your hand in front of my face. You tell me, you promise me you are there. Right there even when I am waist deep in the pig slop of life like the lost son in the parable. Even then, you are there. If I am honest, God, the mountaintop, the “in the garden” moments and the pig slop feelings can come on the same day, during the same night. Or at least in the same season. Yeah, sometimes it seems like my life with you, this steadfast heart of mine is more like whiplash. Back and forth. Back and forth.

My heart is steadfast, O God, my heart is steadfast. Let’s not kid ourselves, Mighty One, when it comes to steadfast, that’s you. You’re the steadfast one in this relationship. You are the one who told Moses up on Mt Sinai that you are “a God merciful and graciousness, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness, keeping steadfast love for the thousandth generation.” (Ex 34) The psalmists testify to you being steadfast over and over again. “I trusted in your steadfast love; my heart shall rejoice in my salvation”. (Ps 13) “All the paths of the Lord are steadfast love and faithfulness.” (Ps 25) “Let your face shine upon your servant; save me in your steadfast love.” (Ps 31) “Because your steadfast love is better than life, my lips will praise you.” (Ps. 63) “Show us your steadfast love, O Lord, and grant us your salvation…Steadfast love and faithfulness will meet, righteousness and peace will kiss each other.” (Ps.85) “God’s steadfast love endures forever.” (Ps. 100) “Your steadfast love is higher than the heavens, your faithfulness reaches to the clouds.” (Ps. 108) The Book of Psalms is so full of your steadfast love, your steadfast-ness. You write the book on steadfast.

My heart is steadfast, O God, my heart is steadfast. It is not just wishful thinking, Lord. But it is aspirational. I want to be steadfast. Deep, deep down I have this craving that won’t go away. A craving to be steady for you. To be ready, and willing, and able to make a difference for you. But darn it, it is hard sometimes. So hard sometimes. The weight of the world really isn’t an empty expression anymore. At least not for me. Not for those you have entrusted to my love and care. To make the list, to pray the litany, to go over the weight of the world in my heart again and again, it can bring such weariness, worry, and discouragement. Honestly, the long list doesn’t help much when it comes to my heart being steadfast. I find myself relying more and more on your promise of the Holy Spirit interceding for us, not just with sighs but with groans, groans to deep with words. I am guessing that’s a better prayer, a more effective prayer, at least a holier prayer since it is sort of your prayer. You, O Maker of heaven and earth. You who created this world and once called it good.

To be fair, it’s not just the heavy stuff that challenges my heart being ready for you. More often than not, it is just the busyness and pace of the day to day. It isn’t always the pull of the earthly powers and principalities that chip away at my steadiness of heart. All the blessings, all the good things, everything I am so thankful for in life, it can all, they can all distract me a bit when it comes to my life of faith. I know that sounds kind of strange to say, Lord. It’s not that when things are going great or when I am in a good place, the best of places inside that I forget you all together. Or that I only turn to you when I need something or life is so hard. No, I really don’t look at you and me, our relationship, as a transactional one. I guess what I am trying to say is that when it comes to my heart being steadfast for you, it isn’t just the weight of the world or the pains of life, or the reality of death and loss that makes my heart and soul shakey at times, sometimes, maybe most times, it’s just me. My humanity. My feeble self. But I guess you know that too, don’t you, O God of steadfast love, endless grace, and an endless stream of forgiveness.

My heart is steadfast, O God, my heart is steadfast. The wonder of your love is that when I pray that, when I pray it twice yearning to be so, you already know. I am guessing you appreciate the effort, the yearning, buy you know. You knew it when you called Moses and told him of your steadfast-ness. You knew it when the songs of the psalmists overflowed with your steadfast-ness. That when it comes to understanding steadfast for me, for us, it has to be yours not ours. That you will always be steadfast and we…well, we will keep trying. Maybe that is why in your wisdom, and in your mercy, and in your love, and in your plan of salvation, and in the fullness of time, you showed us steadfast this side of heaven. You showed us steadfast in human form. You allowed your steadfast love to come all the way down to our human flesh. Steadfast became flesh and dwelt among us. Thank be to you O God of our salvation!

Your Son, our Savior, Jesus the Christ. Like us, he knew temptation in very way, he knew what it meant to be human in every, but unlike us, he was without sin. He was steadfast. His teaching, whether in the temple or out somewhere surrounded by a crowd or just with the twelve, always pointed to you and what it means to live for you and to follow him as his disciple. His embrace of the outcast, his favor of the poor, his touch of the unclean, his care for the sick, his concern for the widow, the imprisoned, the child, it is all so steadfast. How he stepped right up to religious and cultural boundaries and then crossed right over, how he spoke truth to power and challenged those who had so much, how he offered forgiveness over and over and over again….and with all of that, calling us to go and do likewise. Yes, you showed us steadfast, Of God so full of compassion and righteousness.

The Savior of the world, our Messiah, God with us, God’s steadfast love with us, he knew grief, he shed tears, he expressed anger, he lamented, he loved and loved deeply, Holy One. But he also suffered. People said hateful things to him and about him. His knowledge, authority, and relation to you were questioned, doubted, and denied by the most religious. He was betrayed, denied, and deserted by those he loved. Those he taught so much. Those he showed so much. He was arrested, beaten, whipped, humiliated, spat upon, mocked, and brutally murdered. In all of it, Lord, every bit of it, including “not my will but yours, be done”, in all of it he was steadfast. Your son took steadfast to the cross. Jesus Christ endured the weight of the world. He endured the weight of the world then and he endures the weight of the world now. We don’t take on that weight of world alone, thanks to you O God. You and your Son.

My heart is steadfast, O God, my heart is steadfast. Jesus didn’t have to pray it twice, did he? Yes, he showed us steadfast. You showed us steadfast, Eternal One. Before it was his steadfast love for us, it was your steadfast love for us. Before and after his steadfast love, it is your steadfast love. Yes, in the mystery of your great love for us, you gave life again when death had taken him from you and us. In his rising from the grave, you showed us, not just your steadfast love, you showed us that nothing can defeat your great and mighty and everlasting steadfast love for us and for the world. What’s more, you promise that the wonder and the mystery of your great love lives on in the world in and through us in the resurrection power of Jesus. Your steadfast-ness in and through us, only by grace and the work of the Holy Spirit.

I discovered something this week, O God of resurrection life. I notice that once you showed us steadfast in Jesus, the word steadfast almost leaves the bible’s page. Compared to how many times it appears in the Hebrew scripture, steadfast is almost non-existent in the New Testament. Five times by my count, Lord. And all but one refer to the call of following Jesus, the call of discipleship, the call for us to be steadfast. You write the book on steadfast. You show us steadfast in human form. You call us, even us to be steadfast. Knowing full well, the only thing, the only way, the only steadfast in our heart when it comes to you, is your resurrection spirit at work in us.

My heart is steadfast, O God. I only have to pray it once. We only have to pray it once. For it is you at work in us. Your resurrection power and promise and life at work in us. And so, we can live into your call, not with aspiration but with confidence, taking to our heart, to our feeble little hearts the exhortation of the Apostle Paul to be “steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.” (I Cor 15).

Steadfast. Steadfast. Thank you, God. Thank you. “Now to you who by this power at work within us is able to accomplish abundantly far more than all we can ask or imagine, to you be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.” (Eph 3)