Monday, July 12, 2010

Filling the Space Between Heaven and Earth

Your steadfast love is great to the heavens,
Your faithfulness to the clouds.
(Psalm 57:10 ESV)
David was in a tight spot. He wrote this psalm when he had fled from Saul and was hiding out in a cave. Though he is closed in, his faith is in God, trusting Him to be gracious to him. Even in the midst of his trouble, he knows that God is moving on his behalf.

He will send from heaven and save me;
He will put to shame him who tramples on me. Selah.
God will send out his steadfast love and his faithfulness!
(Psalm 57:3 ESV)
The Hebrew word for “steadfast love” is hesed. It speaks of God’s personal commitment, His covenant to love His people and show them His mercy and favor. God’s “faithfulness” (Hebrew, emeth) is His truthfulness, His trustworthiness, His reliability. It is the guarantee that He is always going to come through on what He has promised. It is David’s assurance, and this is his prayer:
Be exalted, O God, above the heavens!
Let Your glory be over all the earth!
(Psalm 57:5 ESV)
Isn’t this how Jesus taught His disciples to pray when He said, “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be Your name. Your kingdom come. Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven”? It is not an abstract request. Not in David’s case, nor in Jesus’ prayer. They both call for a tangible manifestation of God’s glory and holiness — on earth as it is in heaven. The Message Bible has the opening lines of Jesus’ prayer as, “Our Father in heaven, reveal who You are. Set the world right.”

That is what David, in his exile, is asking the God to do. He is looking for God to be exalted in the heavens, to reveal Himself, by might mighty acts of deliverance. To reveal His glory on earth by His saving deeds, and set the world right. David is so certain of God’s deliverance that he begins to sing the victory, even from the bowels of his hideout.
My heart is steadfast, O God,
My heart is steadfast!
I will sing and make melody!
Awake, my glory!
Awake, O harp and lyre!
I will awake the dawn!
I will give thanks to you, O Lord, among the peoples;
I will sing praises to you among the nations.
(Psalm 57:7-9 ESV)
God’s love is steadfast and David’s heart is fixed on it. The matter of his deliverance is settled; everything else is just details, and they will soon be worked out. All that remains now is to wake up the world with praise to God, and exalt him among the nations. So David stirs up his “glory” (Hebrew, kabod, every good thing within him) and pours it out to God. This is his song, his cause for rejoicing:
Your steadfast love is great to the heavens,
Your faithfulness to the clouds. (v. 10)
God sends out His steadfast love and faithfulness, filling the space between heaven and earth. It exalts Him above the heavens and fills the earth with His glory.