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Singing Psalm 108 for a steadfast heart

“God, my heart is steadfast;” ~ Psalm 108:1a

Why pursue a steadfast heart?

“What agreement has the temple of God with idols? For we are the temple of the living God; as God said,

’I will make my dwelling among them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Therefore go out from their midst, and be separate from them, says the Lord, and touch no unclean thing; then I will welcome you, and I will be a father to you, and you shall be sons and daughters to me, says the Lord Almighty.’” ~ 2 Corinthians 6:16-18

What does it take for your heart to be at ease, steady, not all over the place with worry, following the course of and seeking counsel from those who don’t know God?

You can spot a steadfast heart by what it’s not: Fluid. Tumultuous. Fickle. Duplicitous. Vain. Dissatisfied. Contentious. Disloyal. Easily swayed. Anxious.

Or by what it is: Consistent. Stable. Dependable. Unchanging. Trustworthy. Prudent. Pure. Steady. Firm. Holy. Sincere.

Which would you rather have? Spontaneity or predictability? The spectacular or the temperate? All things being equal, it’s hard to choose.

Even in the arts, where you would expect more spontaneity, there are predictable, temperate modes. And even in predictable relationships, there can be spontaneous, spectacular moments. Those who are spontaneous can be exciting or volatile. Predictable people can be dull or faithful.

The Lord contains the seemingly spontaneous waves of the sea within predictable ocean topographies. The varying size, force, and frequency of waves can make them seem crazy at times, but they are purposely patterned and limited.

Our emotions can be like the waves. Singing the psalms is like surfing them into God’s shore.

Singing Psalm 108 for a steadfast heart towards God

“God, my heart is steadfast;    I will sing praises.And with all my being to You    my song I’ll sing.Waken harp and psalt’ry;    dawn I will awaken,” ~ Psalm 108:1-2

The psalms awaken each wave of emotion within the context of the ocean of God‘s grace. As waves settle at the shoreline, emotions are given space to be fully expressed through singing psalms that settle you in a secure posture before God in line with every kind word Jesus writes in the sand—words of mercy, grace, and truth that whittle a steadfast heart and holiness within you.

You in your sinful state can hear Jesus say:

“Neither do I condemn you; go, and from now on sin no more.“ ~ John 8:11b

The apostle Paul distinguishes between a presumptuous heart and a steadfast heart:

“Or do you presume on the riches of his kindness and forbearance and patience, not knowing that God’s kindness is meant to lead you to repentance?” ~ Romans 2:4

When you know what you deserve (the wages of sin is death) God in his kindness astounds by giving you what you don’t deserve: eternal life instead of eternal death. Receiving the good that you don’t deserve leads you to repentance, a desire to please God and not yourself. God’s kindness forms a steadfast heart in you. With all that you are, with all your being—heart, soul, mind, strength, thoughts, feelings, actions—with each aspect of your whole self which is your glory, you devote yourself to the Lord. You glorify him.

Singing Psalm 108 can help you answer this catechism question with your whole heart:

“What is the chief end of man?

“Man’s chief end is to glorify God and to enjoy him forever.”

What’s most amazing is that God gives you his glory. He gives you his all in Christ as he becomes your all in all.

“And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.” ~ Philippians 4:19

“God, above the heavens O be exalted,    And above all earth may Your glory lifted be;So that your beloved then may be delivered,    Save with your right hand; answer give to me.” ~ Psalm 108:5-6

When you don’t know what you deserve and think you are better than you are, you are in no way able to receive God’s kindness. Jesus had much more to give to the Syrophoenician woman than to simply say, “Sure, I’ll heal your daughter.” Though Jesus likened her to a dog, her agreement with him only strengthened her plea for her daughter’s healing. She clearly knew what she did and did not deserve. Jesus presented this woman with a difficult comparison in his first response and then answered her steadfast heart with joy at her trust in him—the humility that he wrought within her that she bore from her faith in him. And he healed her daughter to boot. She is famous for knowing her need for Jesus and trusting his love even when it came to her camouflaged—a worthy example to every disciple of Jesus.

When I was 19 years old, someone I met at a bus stop gave me a Bible to read. When I reached my destination, I opened it to this woman’s story. Because my pride was strong within me, I was offended, disappointed, and confused by what I read and did not open the Bible again until the Lord sent yet another person in my life at the age of 21 to disrupt me on the path of going my own way. I was intrigued that this person went to church, seemed to get much from it, and also went to a bible study. 

My pride was so thick though, that instead of it melting away as it ought to have, it morphed from rebellious to religious so that I began to take credit that I was starting to seek God. I was smug toward those who were not seeking God because of the positive changes that God was working in me. Eventually, it became clear that God had made himself irresistible to me in his incredible grace—not because of who I am but who he is—compassionate, slow to anger, abounding in steadfast love.

He shows his kindness to sinners like me, both the blatantly rebellious and the religiously proud, who don’t get the eternal damnation we deserve. Instead, God shows his glory as when Moses asked that he please show it. God’s glory is revealed in the word he has given you to obey where you learn that he is with you and that he takes you for his inheritance!

“For how shall it be known that I have found favor in your sight, I and your people? Is it not in your going with us, so that we are distinct, I and your people, from every other people on the face of the earth?” ~ Exodus 33:16

Time and time again, the Lord pursues and initiates to develop within his hasty people humility and a steadfast heart. Then we cannot help but pursue and initiate to know him and his love more and more and to love him back all the while being patient with and loving others as he brings them to himself in his perfect timing. He shows you his grace and mercy as he meets you where you are over time. It becomes very clear that he has prepared in advance the good that he has for you to do. Then he gives you words enabling you to communicate what he has done, is doing, and will do to bless others. You take credit for none of it but boast only in the Lord as his power is made perfect in your weakness. And the most natural thing for you to do in this state of mind is to worship God.

When you don’t think your sin is that bad, you don’t see your need for God’s kindness. Blind, deceived, and playing into the hands of the devil who would have you die for eternity rather than change a thing, your pride is your demise.

These words from Jesus are most convicting to those whose hearts stray away from loving God sincerely with a steadfast heart:

“And he said to them, ‘Well did Isaiah prophesy of you hypocrites, as it is written, 

    ‘This people honors me with their lips,        but their heart is far from me;    in vain do they worship me,        teaching as doctrines    the commandments of men.’” ~ Mark 7:6-7

When you are unaware of your sin, your deluded heart keeps you from pleasing God and those who want to please God. Using people to get what you want is the name of the game. In your pursuit to please yourself, you are duped so that you end up pleasing neither God nor yourself. May God transform you to abide in him using what you get and the things that you want to love people and defy the devil.

“Have You not cast us off,    O God, in Whom we boast?Will You no more, O God, go out    In battle with our host?” ~ Psalm 108:11

Singing Psalm 108 for a steadfast heart among the nations

“With many peoples, LORD,    I thanks will bring.LORD, among the peoples    I’ll sing Your praises,From among the nations    my praise to you will rise.” ~ Psalm 108:3

The Lord promised Abraham that he would be a blessing to all nations. He gives each of his children a steadfast heart that endears them to all sorts of people from all kinds of places. He makes you thankful for differences that expand your horizons to approach the height, length, and depth of God’s love.

“[The Lord] chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him.” ~ Ephesians 1:4

Sarai was harsh with Hagar when she treated Sarai with contempt after becoming Abraham’s second wife and conceiving Ishmael. Sarai’s steadfast heart was yet to come. Abrahm, like Mary, questioned God in worshipful reverence. Sarai and Zechariah said similar words as Abrahm and Mary, but without a holy fear, and the Lord called them out on it as he was in the process of building a covenant heart, a faithful, holy, blameless, steadfast heart within them. You can see these distinctions and God’s kindness toward each of these image bearers as you read their stories in Genesis and in Luke.

“And it is my prayer that your love may abound more and more, with knowledge and all discernment, so that you may approve what is excellent, and so be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.” ~ Philippians 1:9-11

Jesus’ disciples’ hearts were hardened when they did not understand about the loaves and the fish. They persevered and so you also continue to seek and follow the Lord when you don’t understand. In time, you will see clearly with a holy, steadfast heart that sincerely worships God who alone is worthy of your adoration.

Have you ever said or done something that you wouldn’t ordinarily choose to say or do but to save face, you said or did it?

Never was a more tragic decision made along these lines than the one King Herod, also an image bearer, made regarding John the Baptist because he looked around him fearing what people would think. Fear of man rather than fear of God is the number one obstacle to a steadfast heart.

You cry out to the Lord for a steadfast heart to care what God thinks over what anyone else thinks.

Abraham in lovingkindness appealed to the Lord for the people of Sodom with a steadfast heart in keeping with God’s covenant to make him a blessing to all nations. He cared about people he didn’t even know. As a child of the King of kings, you find yourself caring about and bringing before the Lord those you know and love, and also those whom you don’t yet know, like Abraham did.

“For your lovingkindness is above the heavens,    Your faithfulness extends into the skies.” ~ Psalm 108:4

Singing Psalm 108 for a steadfast heart against the enemy

You build up a steadfast heart against the enemy of God, acknowledging that God’s enemy is your enemy, too. You transform from believing lies to admitting and even loving the truth. You accept God’s grace with wonder in Christ, who alone can set you apart and save you.

Again, when you don’t acknowledge your sin, what keeps you from having a steadfast heart is the nagging insecurity you feel from not knowing what unsettles you. You go about tossed to and fro by the winds and waves of constant learning without acknowledging the truth, a shaky, unstable foundation that will eventually cause the whole structure of your life to crumble. You might misread yourself or a loved one as the enemy only because you leave your sin unexamined and therefore are unrepentant.

The enemy causes you to feel pain in hopes that you will curse God and die. The Lord uses your pain to make a steadfast heart within you as he did with Job.

The enemy triggers your pride so that you take offense at insults. The Lord uses insults to lower that pride, and raise up humility for a steadfast heart, as he did with the Syrophoenician woman.

The enemy wants you to see waiting as intolerable. The Lord uses waiting to give you a steadfast heart like he did Abraham who revered God above his promised son. Abraham loved God through his obedience. He would have sacrificed his son, but in actuality, that is what God did out of love for those he would give to Jesus as an inheritance once he was risen from the dead. Pointing ahead to the most important moment in history, Abraham figuratively received Isaac back from the dead.

“By faith Abraham, when he was tested, offered up Isaac, and he who had received the promises was in the act of offering up his only son, of whom it was said, ‘Through Isaac shall your offspring be named.’ He considered that God was able even to raise him from the dead, from which, figuratively speaking, he did receive him back.” ~ Hebrews 11:17-19

You also can be secure with a steadfast heart because of the glory of God’s grace displayed in what he has done, is doing, and will do.

“…you were dead…but God raised us up with him and seated us in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus…” ~ Ephesians 2:1-6

The enemy wants you to look around and compare yourself to others, and strive to be better than, to have more than, to be at the top. The Lord works in every trial to form in you a steadfast heart, to consider others better than yourself, and to be at peace with them as far as it depends on you. You worship the Lord your God only.

“Strive for peace with everyone, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord.” ~ Hebrews 12:14

God clearly makes his and your enemies known: the devil and all who follow his false, hatred-filled, self-serving, murderous ways. Singing Psalm 108 shapes your mind to clearly recognize the enemy’s existence. It brings you to the end of your independent self. You think to ask the Lord to help you turn from the enemy and to forge a steadfast heart within you. Jesus answers, at just the right time, to loosen the enemy’s chains that have kept you captive for years and to set you free to be holy as he is holy.

“Against the foe give help;    No help can man bestow.In God we’ll gain the victory,    For He’ll tread down our foe.” ~ Psalm 108:12-13

January 4-12, 2024


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