GEMS FROM THE OLD TESTAMENT
(Read Psalm 27)
Change is a part of life. In a real sense, change defines life. Every living thing is a changing thing. But as Christians, we never face change alone.
The first six verses of Psalm 27 are brimming with confidence. “The Lord is my light and my salvation; Whom shall I fear?” In verse 7, however, the tone changes from triumph to uncertainty. The psalmist writes: “Hear, O Lord, when I cry” verse 7. “Do not hide Your face from me” and “Do not leave me nor forsake me,” verse 9. “I would have lost heart,” verse 13.
This abrupt change has led some commentators to conclude that David wrote Psalm 27 in two stages, each stage separated by years. Did he? Possibly. But perhaps there is a simpler explanation; namely, real life can change that abruptly. Haven’t we all experienced at least one incident, one phone call, one knock on the door, one consultation with a doctor, that instantly changed our lives?
Change is a part of life, and it impacts all of us. Yet, one of the key messages of Psalm 27 is that we never face change alone. God is always with us. Thirteen times in Psalm 27 David uses the Hebrew name YAVEH for God, the source of our English word Jehovah. This name, YAVEH, derives from the verb “I AM.”
Though we often imagine God has forsaken us, His very name, “I AM,” declares the opposite. In Matthew 28:20 Jesus promises, “And lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” In Hebrews 13:5 God says, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.”
Let’s put the principle into practice. When we lose a job, then and there the Lord is saying, “Don’t lose hope. I AM with you.” When we struggle to repair a troubled marriage, then and there the Lord is saying, “Don’t give up. I AM with you.” When we receive a bad report from the doctor, then and there the Lord is saying, “Don’t be afraid. I AM with you.”
This great name for God, “I AM,” is not only the guarantee of God’s eternal presence, but also the guarantee of His changelessness. “For I am the Lord, I do not change,” says God in Malachi 3:6; just as the writer of Hebrews states, “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.” (Hebrews 13:8) Can you think of anything more comforting, uplifting, or inspiring than the promise of an UNCHANGING GOD in a constantly changing world?
When confronted by change, don’t think God Himself is changing. God cannot change. He loves you in the good times, and He still loves you in the bad times. He is never for you one day and against you the next. He never grows sleepy, bored, or irritable; rather, according to Scripture, He loves you with an everlasting love and enfolds you in an everlasting embrace.
Psalm 136:1 invites and reminds: “Oh, give thanks to the Lord, for He is good! For His mercy endures FOREVER.” And this is what empowers us to accept change with confidence, praise, and thanksgiving.
Mark Weis is professor and Dean of Students at Immanuel Lutheran College in Eau Claire, Wisconsin.