Today’s Scripture Reading (July 27, 2013): Psalm 118
I used to play golf – if what I used to do could be termed playing golf. Now I seem to lack the time and the money to pursue the sport. And to certain extent, I also lack the motivation to play. The problem with golf is that it is a sport that you have to be regularly involved in if you want to get better at it. That principle applies to almost every aspect of our lives, but the results are possibly a little more apparent in the game of golf. There was a time when I tried to get out on the golf course a few times a week. When I could do play that regularly, I felt that I was improving, but as soon as I was unable to maintain that level of commitment, my golf game slid backwards.
The secret to the game of golf is actually consistency. And that little secret is also why the game can be so frustrating. When I was playing well, I can remember stretches when I would be able to play a few holes of golf under par. But then, to me seemingly without reason, my game would deteriorate. All in sudden my drives were no longer hitting the fairway, my chips were missing the green, and my putts never went toward that hole on the green that I was aiming at. Far from the pars and birdies that I started the game with, it was now a good thing if I could even bogey a hole – and sometimes even that score was simply out of reach. But the nagging feeling remained – I could really be good at this game if I could only find a way to be consistent.
The Psalmist begins this psalm with a note of thanksgiving because “God is good.” What the little word “good” really means is that God is “consistent.” He works out of a character that never changes. As much as we might want to argue otherwise, what God views as right he has always declared right. And what he despises he has always despised. The Psalmist follows up the idea of the consistency of God with an example – “his love endures forever.” It does not matter in the eyes of God what has transpired before. Because God is consistent, and because one of the key areas of this consistency is found in his love, his love can be applied to us in every circumstance and in every time. Israel may have wandered away from God, but God had never wandered away from Israel – and God had never stopped loving the nation that he chose. The promise that God made to Abraham was still in force.
It is a promise that we need to recognize today. If we serve a good God or a consistent God, then he still loves the people of his promise. Israel still stands in his favor, as does the descendants of Ishmael – and by faith and adoption, the Christian Church. All of us stand in dependence on the goodness and consistency of God – and we stand in the knowledge that his love truly does endure – forever.
Tomorrow’s Scripture Reading: Psalm 119:1-48