Psalm 33:5 (ESV) – …the earth is full of the steadfast love of the Lord.
What do you think when you read this verse? “No, it’s not. The earth is not full of the steadfast love of the Lord”? As I look out, my mind could easily wander toward all that’s wrong in the world: the threat of nuclear war, bitter divisiveness in our nation’s capital, men who abuse women and women who abuse babies, deprivation and starvation in third world countries, disease, broken marriages, abandoned children, gender dysphoria, etc. I had a Bible study last night with some men, and we read Proverbs 6:16–19 (ESV)
16There are six things that the Lord hates, seven that are an abomination to him:
17haughty eyes, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood,
18a heart that devises wicked plans, feet that make haste to run to evil,
19a false witness who breathes out lies, and one who sows discord among brothers.
From a certain vantage point, that’s pretty much what I see when I look out my window.
But I’m told differently by the psalmist in our psalm for prayer for this week. When he looks out, he sees that the earth is full of the steadfast love of the Lord. It teeming with God’s goodness, like a swarm of bees looking for a new hive. What does he see?
Well, actually, if you look honestly, there’s more good than bad. Really. There are more animals that are being born than are dying. Same with people. Right now, I see rabbits eating grass that they’ve done nothing to produce. And birds, and insects, and worms. I see death, but I also see life. I see chaos, but I also see peace. I see golfers pounding the fairways in frustration, and I see others high-fiving each other over a pin-high approach shot. I see weeds, and flowers. More importantly, there are people still being converted to Christ and being conformed to his image. God is still working all things together for the good of his people and the glory of his name. This is always true.
To say that the earth is full of the steadfast love of the Lord isn’t to turn a blind eye to all that’s bad in the world. It’s not a myopic perspective or a bury-your-head-in-the-sand silly optimism. God’s steadfast love is really there. Things are bad, sure, but things aren’t anywhere close to being as bad as they could be. God’s common grace moves him to send the rain on the just and the unjust. Sparrows stay in flight unless the Lord takes note of their fall.
I don’t believe that psalmist is just looking at a glass half full. I believe the psalmist really sees that a good and gracious God is actively working in this world and showing his steadfast love in continuous generosity.
The song we often sing as a church family is wafting through my mind as I type.
The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases.
His mercies never come to an end.
They are new every morning, new ever morning.
Great is thy faithfulness, O Lord, great is thy faithfulness.
Things may not be as you want them to be in every area of your life, but it’s true, whether you want to see it or not, that the earth indeed is full of the steadfast love of the Lord.
May God give us eyes to see.