Everyone for Nothing

Today's devotion from Psalm 89.

Ethan the Ezrahite is confused about the promises of God. This is saying something because, according to 2 Kings 4:31, Ethan the Ezrahite was a very wise man. He is the pinnacle of human wisdom against which Solomon is measured. Ethan was so wise that it was remarkable to state that Solomon was even wiser. The only other thing we know for certain is that he had four brothers (1 Chronicles 2:6). There is speculation as to whether he was called by another name in other places, but that is only speculation.

So, what is it that this wise man is so confused about? Suffering. He recognizes the promises and the covenant of God. He recounts God's former actions on behalf of His people.  He calls to mind visions of God's sovereign selection of David and the people. All of these things are powerful and important, but that is what is so confusing. If God is for the people, why do they suffer? How can Israel be chosen and spurned simultaneously?

He concludes that it is obviously due to God's righteous wrath. His anger burns against the people, but for how long? Then he states, "Remember how short my life is. Have you created everyone for nothing? What courageous person can live and never see death? Who can save himself from the power of Sheol?" (Psalm 89:47-48, CSB)

The answer to these questions is obvious. God has not created anyone for nothing. We know that every person is created with the goal of glorifying the Creator. We know that courage has nothing to do with never seeing death, because it is appointed for people to die once. (Hebrews 9:27) And we know that no one can save himself from the power of the grave, but that, "Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him." (Hebrews 9:28, CSB)

So what's the point?

Ethan, this man of renowned wisdom, cannot figure it. He cannot understand the unfathomable workings of God. If one so known for his wisdom can't grasp it, what hope do we have? Ultimately Ethan displays his wisdom in his closing remarks. He can't understand it, but he can remain faithful. He can praise God's name even when he doesn't comprehend God's work.

Maybe today you find yourself confused or unable to understand what God is up to in your life. Why should that stop you from doing the one thing you can be certain of?