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Singing Psalm 89 for beautiful strength

“The lovingkindness of the LORD    Forever I will sing.Your faithfulness to every age    My mouth in song shall bring.” ~ Psalm 89:1

There is something very beautiful about strength when it is coupled with kindness.

It is said that those who “have it all” so to speak, now only seek to gain more and more power. Control. Conquest. Self-advancement. Strength is used to buoy oneself above the fray, to become untouchable, indestructible. This kind of strength has little or nothing to do with having concern for others.

This kind of brute strength is just not a part of who God is.

Singing Psalm 89 for beautiful strength that is willing to hurt

David progressively moved from one who used brute strength to one who relied on the Lord’s beautiful strength. Though he was chosen by God, he suffered through many communication and relational breakdowns and setbacks. People like Jonathan and Abigail pointed him to the Lord, but oftentimes he drew near to God alone, even when his men returned from an assignment humiliated or when they thought to stone him.

“I will proclaim, ‘Your steadfast love    Forever will endure.Your faithfulness in heaven high    You will establish sure.’” ~ Psalm 89:2

David’s motives were impugned by Hunan, after the death of his father, Nahash, over David’s gesture of comfort and sympathy. He was badly misunderstood, and though he was God’s chosen, David’s envoys suffered humiliation for communicating David’s condolences. A battle ensued and Joab entrusted all to the Lord’s beautiful strength:

“Be of good courage, and let us be courageous for our people, and for the cities of our God, and may the Lord do what seems good to him.” ~ 2 Samuel 10:12

You often encounter God’s beautiful strength when you are hurting. What will you do with it? I wonder if it was David’s wallowing in the hurt of being misunderstood that led to his time on the palace roof looking to comfort himself rather than to gratefully receive comfort from God. In my own power, resentment would take me over. The power to function in the world without bitterness comes from Christ alone.

“I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” ~ Galatians 2:20

Like a lamb before its shearers is silent, so Jesus, in quiet strength, did not open his mouth to defend or save himself so that you would learn to trust him and so that he could save you. You tap into his beautiful strength when you resist the urge to talk yourself up but to make much of who he is.

“Then he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures, and said to them, ‘Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead, and that repentance for the forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things. And behold, I am sending the promise of my Father upon you. But stay in the city until you are clothed with power from on high.'

“And he led them out as far as Bethany, and lifting up his hands he blessed them. While he blessed them, he parted from them and was carried up into heaven. And they worshiped him and returned to Jerusalem with great joy, and were continually in the temple blessing God.” ~ Luke 24:45-53

I have often found myself in the sad cycle of trying to work out my feelings by talking them through in weak relationships that I thought were strong. Learning to deny yourself before you know yourself, it can get quite messy. I disclosed lessons learned about elementary things related to my delayed journey. I had made myself vulnerable to those who, I learned too late, had no interest but who for years, it seemed, politely listened pretending to be engaged.

“Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.” ~ Ephesians 4:29

Eventually the masks came off as they always do when pretenses become unbearable. This revealed that I had badly missed the mark, speaking in ways and of things that didn’t fit the occasion. I misjudged how I was being received as I thought these friendships were undergirded by trust and acceptance, truth and sincerity – the marks of beautiful strength. I trustingly spoke of things being unaware of the negative impact they were having on those who heard and inadvertently undermined their trust. I was blindsided that our presuppositions and worldviews did not align, did not clue in to feigned loyalty however unintentional, and the prince of the power of the air, smelling an opportunity to block true, sincere love, sowed seeds of enmity and strife instead. Unity exits. Estrangement enters and remains for a time.

In stark contrast, the Lord’s beautiful strength shines through his faithfulness in word and deed for his people. He plants repentance, waters with redemption, and harvests restoration, reconciling our every thoughtless word and deed. He pours his love into our hearts, pulls up relational weeds, binds up our wounds, and heals deep emotional scars. By Christ’s wounds, his people are healed from relational devastation and therefore cannot help but worship and praise him with one voice along with the angels.

“God is revered by holy ones,

    More feared than all around —

LORD God, of hosts, the LORD of might,

    For faithfulness renowned.” ~ Psalm 89:7-8

As you stand against the schemes of the devil, it is God’s strong arm that conquers your enemies all the while keeping you steady through the relational storms and crashing waves that threaten to knock you down and keep you down.

“You rule the water’s surging waves;

    You still the stormy seas.

You with a strong arm slew the beast,

    And scattered enemies.” ~ Psalm 89:9-10

Singing Psalm 89 for beautiful strength that is willing to wait

“Who is the man that’s now alive

    Who death will never see?

Or from the power of death’s realm

    Who can his soul set free?” ~ Psalm 89:48

How can I accept myself and go on knowing that my words somehow, unbeknownst to me, unwittingly sowed death and caused others to stew in anger, feel unaccepted, and/or wonder in confusion? Isn’t it easy give up when your very presence incites a disconnect and lack of trust in those you love?

“If you faint in the day adversity,

    your strength is small.“ ~ Proverbs 24:10

Alas, you faint under the weight of adverse disconnections, so what can you then do? Go in God’s beautiful strength and not your small strength. “But we are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed, but of those who have faith and preserve their souls.” ~ Hebrews 10:39

“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.” ~ Ephesians 6:10-12

The Lord is willing to share his beautiful strength with you that enables you to go on in your failures and weaknesses, to not give up hope for better things. He did this for Ruth whose unwavering allegiance to Naomi, who was “more to [her] than seven sons,” who went largely unnoticed and unappreciated at first. Naomi shared upon returning to Bethlehem from Moab that she went away full and returned empty. The Lord in his beautiful strength did this, but it did not seem beautiful to Naomi until later. The Lord’s beautiful strength enabled Ruth to hear this humbly without taking offense as she stood by Naomi’s side. She was most likely comforting Naomi in her grief even while mourning her own losses. She was gentle with Naomi and cared for her needs despite being a foreigner in a strange place. Hannah, in God’s beautiful strength, was honest with Eli when he misinterpreted her praying for being drunk and didn’t hold it against him.

The Lord Jesus calms relational turbulence as he calmed the sea.

“And he awoke and rebuked the wind and said to the sea, “Peace! Be still!” And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm. He said to them, “Why are you so afraid? Have you still no faith?” And they were filled with great fear and said to one another, “Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?” ~ Mark 4:39-41

In his very big sanctifying strength, God will use relational suffering to restore his people, to bring them to stand in peace, secure in his presence. When people are certain that there is nothing they have to gain from being around you, they might eventually make themselves scarce. Yet the Lord has nothing to gain from being with his people. That he’s ever present regardless served to rip out the people-centered idol from the root of my heart which simultaneously left me weak and made me strong. I am an available friend, and more than that, an adopted daughter whose Father is faithful and steadfast in his beautiful strength characterized by his unending covenant love and mercy.

“It like the moon shall ever be

    Established firm and sure;

A faithful witness in the sky,

    It steadfast shall endure.“ ~ Psalm 89:37

Jesus made himself weak on the cross so you could forever be strong in him fulfilling his covenant to Abraham and to David. Yet when it seemed to many that he had failed, they counted him out. Whether or not you physically struggled through the birth canal, Jesus’ resurrection from the dead makes it possible for you to struggle through being born again spiritually. Jesus uses his beautiful strength to make genuine and whole those that were chameleon-like and broken.

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls.” ~ 1 Peter 1:3-9

God knits deep within your heart, knot-by-knot, a true reliance on the beautiful strength of his grace. God uses his kind, beautiful strength to make his people gentle, humble, understanding, forgiving, beautiful. Acceptance replaces severance. Mercy triumphs over judgment.

Willingness to be a friend wins over expecting or demanding friendship. Willingness to give with no strings attached brings about no expectations to get anything for yourself. Willingness to wait indefinitely for those who were with you under duress to either know that you release them from such pressures or that you would welcome them to genuinely engage with you if they so choose, proves your trust that God is the maestro of relationships, that it is only he who directs them to go, stop, or change direction as he thinks best. This kind of renewed mindset only comes about through God’s beautiful strength.

O Lord, please help those that I have communicated with to remember whatever wise words were said that came from experiencing Jesus and following his word, and to forget all the hurtful, useless words that were said that did not come from you or from your word. Thank you for your beautiful strength, for being in the thick of the inworkings and outworkings of our connections, that you build bridges and demolish walls all with perfect timing according to what is needed and well worth waiting for.

“Now to the LORD all blessings be    Ascribed forever then;Forevermore, so let it be!    Amen, and yes, Amen!” ~ Psalm 89:52

Singing Psalm 89 for beautiful strength that can’t help but rejoice

“Your arm and hand are full of strength;

    Your right hand’s lifted high.

On right and justice rests Your throne;

    Your love and truth draw nigh.

Behold, how blessed the people are

    Who know the joyful sound;

For in your light and presence, LORD,

    Their footsteps will be found.” ~ Psalm 89:13-15

How can you help provide access to God’s beautiful strength? Find out for yourself from God’s word what his beautiful strength is like. You will never want to part from it yourself nor will you want anyone else to miss out on knowing the King of kings or being a part of his restoring kingdom.

“And Jonathan, Saul’s son, rose and went to David at Horesh, and strengthened his hand in God.” ~ 1 Samuel 23:16

Singing Psalm 89 readies your mind toward pointing others to depend on God’s beautiful strength rather than guiding them to futile attempts to manufacture it for themselves. The Lord chooses to make and keep his covenant promises to David and his offspring not because of who David is but because of God’s incredible faithfulness and lovingkindness.

“Truly, truly, I say to you, you will weep and lament, but the world will rejoice. You will be sorrowful, but your sorrow will turn into joy.” ~ John 16:20

When the changes in your life become apparent to others, they might waver between despising you and thinking more of you than is warranted. Yet, there is only one source of beautiful strength:

 And when Peter saw it he addressed the people: “Men of Israel, why do you wonder at this, or why do you stare at us, as though by our own power or piety we have made him walk? … And his name—by faith in his name—has made this man strong whom you see and know, and the faith that is through Jesus has given the man this perfect health in the presence of you all.” ~ Acts 3:12, 16

Because of who Jesus is, you can change from the heart, be forgiven in his beautiful strength, and share together with his body, his people, his church, in your Master’s happiness. Your destiny in Christ is to enjoy being clothed with his beautiful strength that subdues his and your enemies and to live together forever with God glorified: the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

“Yes, they rejoice in Your great name

    With gladness all the day;

And in Your perfect righteousness

    Exalted high are they.

You are the beauty of their strength

    For them You glorify;

And by Your favor, Your good will,

    Our horn is lifted high.

Because our shield belongs to Him,

    The LORD will safety bring;

The Holy One of Israel,

    He only is our King.” ~ Psalm 89:16-18

April 12-19, 2024


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