The LORD will fulfill his purpose for me; your steadfast love, O LORD,
endures forever. Do not forsake the work of your hands. (Psalm 138:8 ESV)
theology and life in one powerful stroke and then set you up on the other side to confidently do what God commands. You and I can believe this is true because Psalm 138:8 is all about God.
While so much attention today is given to what I should be doing and
how do I do this or that, the common theme of Scripture debunks that idea and shouts “the Lord will fulfill his purpose for me.” It is always God’s grace out work in us that accomplishes what pleases Him … no thanks to us.
Want some correlating texts? How about: “… for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure” (Phil. 2:13 ESV); or “Now may the God of peace … equip you with everything good that you may do his will,
working in us that which is pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ…” (Heb. 13:20-21 ESV); or even “And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ” (Phil. 1:6 ESV).
This is confidence. God has a purpose for me. It is one purpose not two or several purposes.Yes, it does involve a specific career, place to live, family and other things that consume my thinking, but ultimately the Lord’s will for me is to be an divine image bearer who honors and proclaims his King’s greatness. And there is no stopping this train. God will achieve all He sets out to do in the lives of His children.
And the psalmist writes that the Lord will fulfill this “for me” not “in me.” Please don’t think that I’m being a little too exacting in interpreting this verse. I believe this is important. Our faith, despite what skeptics and postmoderns believe, is more than an internal experience. It is a reality that starts outside of us (coming from Christ), invades our heart with transforming power, and then goes back outside of us again as we are empowered to administer His grace to others.
What makes all this possible? I need to know because as I look at my daily (or hourly) failures I don’t think it is very likely that God will be able to pull this one off. The answer is His never changing, always constant steadfast love which has no end. David knew this and threw all his weight on a love that would not fail him. Can you do that? Have you started to measure the depths of Christ’s love? No matter how big your ruler, you’re going to find that there’s no bottom and you’ll drown in this ocean. But if you have been humbled by God, this drowning will be the best experience you’ve ever had.
David ends with a prayer … “Do not forsake the work of your hands.” How weird is that? He just said that the Lord WILL fulfill His purpose for him and now David is desperately praying that God wouldn’t let up, wouldn’t
forget or get tired of holding up His end of the bargain. What’s up with this?
What is up with this goes back to what the Lord planned from the beginning. God ordained or decreed that certain things would be and nothing or no one would frustrate or spoil His divine plan. However, at the same time the Godhead decided that the way in which His divine will would be accomplished was to be through the prayers of His people. There is no inconsistency here. The Lord is not speaking out of both sides of His mouth. David is confident that God would bring about good and complete what was started in the impassioned shepherd-king’s messed up life. David also knew that it was his delightful task to commune with His God and pray to that end.
So, with Psalm 138 in mind, I have to ask myself, “Self, are you confident that Christ will finish this great salvation within you?” “Do you believe as the apostle Paul wrote, ‘… sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under law but under grace’ (Rom. 6:14 ESV)?” “Will you treat every hardship as momentary and not too heavy to carry and actually present to bring about something good in your life (Rom. 8:18, 28)?”
And what about you? Where does your confidence lie? With the Almighty God or your scrawny attempts at holiness?