When I Think About God
In the beginning you laid the foundations of the earth,
and the heavens are the work of your hands.
They will perish, but you remain;
they will all wear out like a garment.
Like clothing you will change them
and they will be discarded.
But you remain the same,
and your years will never end.
The children of your servants will live in your presence;
their descendants will be established before you.”
In The Knowledge of the Holy , A. W. Tozer observes:
We tend by a secret law of the soul to move toward our mental image of God…Were we able to extract from any man a complete answer to the question, ‘What comes to your mind when you think about God?’ we might predict with certainty the spiritual future of that man.
One of the remarkable things about praying the Psalms is how they can help sharpen our thinking about God and His ways. The Psalms immerse us in the wonder of who God is and His mighty deeds.
The superscript of today’s psalm speaks volumes: “A prayer of an afflicted person who has grown weak and pours out a lament before the LORD.” Here is a man who is obviously in great trouble! Earlier verses in the psalm indicate that he wrote after the Babylonian Captivity when Jerusalem had been reduced to “dust”. In his desperation the psalmist feels his days “vanish like smoke” and “wither away like grass” (v. 3, 11). Forgetting to even eat (v. 4) he is withered to “skin and bones” (v. 5). Alone in the world, his enemies taunt him “all day long”.
What does a person do in such extremity? What does one do when crushed by trouble? The psalmist knows what he must do: he must refocus and center his thoughts on the greatness of God. It is time for him to see affliction in the context of God’s big picture. In the midst of the change and cataclysm he will take refuge in the one unchangeable certainty – God. He knows that even the earth and the heavens “will perish… they will all wear out like a garment”. But His God will remain and reign forever. God will discard the heavens and the earth like worn out clothing and establish the new heavens and earth where righteousness and peace reign. (Isaiah 65:17; Revelation 21:1).
That’s something on which to focus our thoughts and our faith. God’s promise to us stands forever. Our days may “vanish like smoke” and “we may wither away like grass“, but we and our descendants will live forever.
It is important to note that the Book of Hebrews applies these verses about God to His Son Jesus Christ:
But about the Son he says…’In the beginning, Lord, you laid the foundations of the earth, and the heavens are the work of your hands. They will perish but you remain; they will all wear out like a garment. You will roll them up like a robe; like a garment they will be changed. But you remain the same, and your years will never end (Hebrews 1:10-12).
Tozer wrote about the importance of “what comes into your mind when you think about God”. From the crucible of affliction and weakness the psalmist can help us in thinking about God. Though the world and everything in it changes, God remains, and His love for us remains. He will establish us forever.
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