Week of Monday, February 8, 2021
Opening Prayer (from Collects, BCP 2019)
Almighty God, give us the increase of faith, hope, and love; and, that we may obtain what you have promised, make us love what you command; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
Bible Reading – Psalm 100
1 Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth!
2 Serve the Lord with gladness!
Come into his presence with singing!
3 Know that the Lord, he is God!
It is he who made us, and we are his;
we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.
4 Enter his gates with thanksgiving,
and his courts with praise!
Give thanks to him; bless his name!
5 For the Lord is good;
his steadfast love endures forever,
and his faithfulness to all generations. (ESV)
Devotional – Enduring Forever
As the saying goes, “Nothing lasts forever”, we are painfully aware that most everything in our lives has an expiration date. From the yogurt in our fridge to our most cherished friends and loved ones, everything that is organic in this world will one day break down. An argument can be made that the human creation of Styrofoam might just last forever, but even that eventually will pass away. That saying is a sobering one, but true and applies to more than just the things that are made up of matter. There are times in our lives that we have cherished most and wish could have lasted forever, but inevitably they too pass away. Maybe it was your college years, or your years as a parent with young children. In life nothing last forever.
As hard and depressing as that may be, our Psalm today offers us some incredibly good news. While nothing of this world lasts forever, there are two things that King David proclaimed do endure forever. It was those two things that filled his heart with joy and gladness despite the extreme frailty of life. Those two enduring things are the love and faithfulness of God. In verse 9 we are told that, “the Lord is good, His steadfast love endures forever, and His faithfulness to all generations.”
Think about it for just a moment. God’s love never ceases, it has no expiration date. It endures all our perceived limits of time and space. This means that His steadfast love extends well beyond our mortal lives and into eternity. It also means that His steadfast love endures even in the midst of our own failures in this present life. God “is love” as 1 John 4:8 reminds us. It is His nature. All love that exists in this world and in our lives is there because we were created out of the love of God. His love knows no bounds and is with us forever. This does not mean that God does not discipline His beloved. In fact, love demands correction when we fall into destructive behaviors.
God’s love though is not the only thing that endures forever. King David also took heart in God’s “faithfulness to all generations”. God is always true to His word. I was reading this week from the Book of Judges to my children. This Old Testament book is a constant reminder of human faithlessness and God’s faithfulness. Time and time again God’s people rebel against Him and turn to other gods, yet time and time again God answers their call for salvation by sending a deliverer to rescue them. God has sent His own Son into this world to deliver us from our great faithlessness. One of my favorite verses in the Bible is Romans 5:8, “God showed his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us”. That word “still” is crucial to our understanding of the Gospel. What this means is that Jesus died for us, not because of our faithfulness, but rather in the midst of our faithlessness. God’s faithful love is always meeting us in the midst of our faithlessness from the time we first answer His gracious calling, until the day He takes us home to be with Him forever.
Friends it is true that nothing in this world lasts forever. This is why our hope does not reside in anything that is of this world. Our hope is in the one true God of enduring love and faithfulness. In our lives right now, there is a lot to be discouraged about. It is paramount that we cast our eyes firmly on the enduring love and faithfulness of our God. Everything in this world is passing away, but God’s love and faithfulness are with us always.
Closing Prayer (from Collects, BCP 2019)
O Lord, you never fail to support and govern those whom you bring up in your steadfast love and fear: Keep us, we pray, under your continual protection and providence, and give us a perpetual fear and love of your holy Name; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.