Through the Bible in a Year: Psalm 89, 96, 100-101, 105, 132
I will sing of the steadfast love of the Lord, forever; with my mouth I will make known your faithfulness to all generations. For I said, “Steadfast love will be built up forever; in the heavens you will establish your faithfulness.” Psalm 89:1-2
Several years ago, we bought a house before it was built. For the next several months, we watched our house being built. Every morning I would leave the apartment a few minutes early, just so I could drive by the construction site and see the progress on the house.
Some days were really exciting, because you could see the progress from the road. And I would call my wife and say, “Trish! They got the shingles on today!” Or I would send pictures from where they started the bricks.
But there were other days–even long stretches of days–where it didn’t look like anything was happening. From the street, it appeared that work had come to a standstill.
There was still work being done. Workers were inside the house. They might be laying down carpeting, or hanging drywall, or working on the wiring. I might not see progress from the street, but I knew that the house was being built.
A chronological reading plan is like that. There are days when there is a lot of progress in the storyline. Moses parts the Red Sea, David kills Goliath, Jesus is born.
But there are other days, like today, where we are skipping through the Psalms, seemingly at random. We get to a Psalm such as Psalm 89, by Ethan the Ezrahite. Who in the world is Ethan the Ezrahite, and what does he have to do with the God’s redemptive story?
Answers: Don’t know, and not much. As always, the folks at gotquestions.org do a great job of telling us everything they can about Ethan the Ezrahite. I learned, for example, that he’s mentioned in 1 Kings 4:31. When Solomon’s wisdom is being extolled, Solomon is described as being “wiser than Ethan the Ezrahite.” But that’s pretty much all we know about him. He was wise, but not as wise as Solomon.
Um, okay. The main thing we know about him is that Solomon is smarter than he is.
And yet, Ethan the Wise-But-Not-As-Wise-As-Solomon gets a Psalm. And a relatively long Psalm at that. And in Ethan’s Psalm, you get some of the highest expressions of praise to God:
I will sing of the steadfast love of the Lord, forever; with my mouth I will make known your faithfulness to all generations. (Psalm 89:1)
But you also get some of the most honest, heartfelt questions:
Lord, where is your steadfast love of old, which by your faithfulness you swore to David? Remember, O Lord, how your servants are mocked, and how I bear in my heart the insults[f] of all the many nations, (Psalm 89:49-50)
So back to my analogy about having a house built. Ethan the Ezrahite is a sub-contractor. He’s an electrician, working on the wiring. He helps me understand that even when the switch is turned off, there is still power in the line. That I may not be able to see what is going on behind the walls, but that doesn’t mean God is not at work.
So don’t lose heart on Psalms days. They are the “leg days” of our reading plan. The Lord is working on the wiring of your soul. He is showing you how His people walked with Him, more than He’s showing you what happened when they did.