My devotions brought me to Psalm 106. The CSB titles this psalm “Israel’s Unfaithfulness to God.”
“Hallelujah! Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his faithful love endures forever.”Psalm 106:1, CSB
Reading the title, this first verse is not what I expected. After a critical, harsh title, beginning with praise of God for His faithful, enduring love seemed out of place.
Because I’m an English nerd, I actually looked up the meaning of “faithful.” On dictionary.com, the first for four definitions of “faithful” are “strict or thorough in the performance of duty,” “true to one’s word, promises, vows, etc,” “steady in allegiance or affection; loyal; constant,” “reliable, trusted, believed.”
We can look at the actions of others and easily determine their level of faithfulness. Faithfulness is judged not only by the level of commitment a person has to something, but also the consistency of that commitment. A lack of faithfulness, at it’s very best, damages relationships. At it’s worst, it causes irrevocable damage. Something innate in us automatically values faithfulness in others. I have yet to meet the person who is psyched to be let down, who looks for disloyalty and inconsistency in others. No one enjoys having a promise broken. No one wants to be betrayed.
Psalm 106 includes many examples of Israel being unfaithful to God. The psalmist recounts how Israel wished to return to Egypt, created a golden calf, grumbled in the wilderness, failed to fully conquer the Promised Land, and adopted gods from other nations. Israel had a pattern of unfaithfulness.
As easy as it is to see faithfulness, or lack there of, in others, we (and by “we,” I really mean “I”) have a hard time recognizing in ourselves (myself) the same habits of inconsistency and disloyalty. Somehow, we are able to excuse those behaviors in ourselves. Specifically when it comes to our loyalty to Christ and our commitment to our relationship with Him. When I look at the definition above and force myself to evaluate my relationship with Christ based on those words, I fall short of “faithful” on a regular basis.
The psalmist doesn’t just tell of Israel’s failures, though. He also recounts all the ways that God remained faithful despite their betrayal of Him. He parted the Red Sea. He provided food and water in the wilderness. He healed them of plagues caused by their sin. He restored them time and time again after they turned from Him. God never stopped being faithful. Because He can’t stop being faithful.
The message is clear. People fail. God does not. He is the only one who will never disappoint. God’s faithfulness has nothing to do with us and everything to do with who He is. That is why the Psalmist begins and ends with praising God.
“Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, from everlasting to everlasting. Let all the people say, ‘Amen!’ Hallelujah.”Psalm 106:48