The Unchanging God: Our Hope in Changing Times
Read Psalm 102
“But you are the same, and your years will not come to an end.” (27)
Psalm 102 is a Psalm of Lament. The Lament Psalms were written in the context of trials and adversity (see also Psalm 13, 22, 51 as examples of other Psalms of Lament). These Psalms were written when people were confronted with a crisis that interrupted their daily life and brought great discomfort and spiritual confusion. When we read the Psalms of Lament, they shock us with their bluntness before God. Expressing deep emotion, pain and anger, they express their confusion of why God is not acting on their behalf. But the psalmist does not leave us in the throes of despair, for intrinsic to the Lament is a confession of trust and the vow to praise God for his deliverance.
Psalm 102 contains all the elements we find in the Psalm of Lament. We see crisis confronting the Psalmist in verses 2-11 and in 13-17. We see the honest complaint before God; (vs 9-11, 23). As a result of God’s abandonment of him, his enemies have attacked and taunted him mercilessly (vs 8). But just when we might expect the psalmist to abandon his faith in God, he instead reaffirms his trust (12-22, 25-28) and so brings his prayer before God (vs 1-2, 24).
But what moves the psalmist from his pain and complaint to confident trust in God? The answer lies in verse 27 (see also verse 12). He finds his confidence in the unchanging nature of God which stands in stark contrast to the decay and change we see in the world around us. In the Hebrew the words are more striking. Literally the first line reads, “And you are He.” The words echo the thought given in Psalm 100:3, “Know that the LORD—He is God.” The idea of being that he is the God who is the same, the one who is—who does not change. He is not the God who was, nor the God who will be, but the God who IS. God stands in contrast to the physical world which suffers from decay, change and decline. God is the one who is constant. His essence and being is never altered, either by himself or by some external cause. This is the anchor point in a world driven by the winds of circumstances. No matter how much life around us changes and circumstances beyond our control seem to blow us aimlessly around, God remains the constant one. For the psalmist, this was his comfort, the God who delivered his people in the past, is the same God who would bring deliverance to him. Because God does not change, we can rest in the same assurance today. The God who acted in the Old Testament on behalf of his people, is the same God who acts today on our behalf. Therefore, just as the psalmist made his prayer to God with blunt honesty and confident faith, so we can also come before him in prayer. As you go throughout this week and feel the pressures of the struggles you are facing, be open and honest with God regarding your circumstances, struggles and doubts and then pray with confidence that he will always hear and respond in his perfect timing.