I was struck this morning by the emphasis the Book of Deuteronomy gives to the faithfulness of God. Moses cries out to the people of Israel:
Know therefore that the LORD your God is God, the faithful God who keeps covenant and steadfast love with those who love him and keep his commandments, to a thousand generations… (Deut. 7:9)
The Deuteronomist declares that faithfulness lies at the very core of the nature of God, and is expressed not just in terms of his faithfulness to his people (though that is one great way it is expressed) but also in faithfulness to his purposes for his creation (which is what his covenant with this particular people is all about). The Creator is so faithful to his purposes for his creation (broken and rebellious and helpless as it is), that he binds himself faithfully to this people (weak and wayward and unfaithful as they are), through whom and by whom he will bring those purposes to their consummate end. There is nothing in all creation that can hinder the faithfulness of God being expressed in and for his creation.
I was also struck this morning by how the Scriptures declare that the faithfulness of God is meant to evoke and empower the faithfulness of his people (a faithfulness both towards him and towards his purposes for his creation). That is the essence of the Christian life.
But here’s the rub: it is difficult to live a faithful life in relationship with this faithful God in the midst of this broken, rebellious and hostile world! Read David’s psalm set for this morning and this will jump out at you (Psalm 37). There is much to ‘fret about’ in the world we live in. There is much that is and remains wrong with and within the world we live in. There is much that discourages us and distracts us from living a faithful life in relationship with this faithful God awaiting the consummation of his faithful purposes! But this is exactly what God’s people MUST do!
Note David’s imperatives: ‘Trust in the LORD, and do good… Delight yourself in the LORD…. Commit your way to the LORD…. Be still before the LORD…’, and all of these summed up in the words of verse 34:
‘Wait for the LORD…’
We are to wait for the LORD to fulfill his purposes, not only for us, but through us for his creation! We are to remind ourselves of his faithfulness- the essence of his being and the essence of his doing – and build our lives upon that foundation.
We are to ‘wait for the LORD’, but while we are waiting we are also to ‘keep his way’ – that is, we are to live our lives faithfully towards and with this faithful God, regardless of our context! And what is the promise?‘and he will exalt you to inherit the land; and you will look on when the wicked are cut off.’
The promise is that God will fulfill his purposes for his creation; that he will find a way to deal with the problem of evil within his good creation; and he will do this faithfully with and for and through his faithful people.
At the beginning of Lent we would do well to heed the message of the Scriptures and reflect on the faithfulness of God, that we might truly become and be the people who reflect that faithfulness within his creation.