I think I can relate to Ethan, and I am guessing you can too. Ethan the Ezrahite (ever heard of him?) was grieved because his loved ones were in distress, and he knew it was because of God's wrath against His anointed kingly line - David's family. Have you ever felt sick over the distress in someone's life, all the while knowing that God was chastising them and chasing them down because they wandered from Him? We long for our prodigals to come home, but we hate it when it has to hurt to get them to come.
Now can you relate to Ethan?
Even when it feels like we're abandoned by God, His love and His faithfulness have not changed. What makes me (and Ethan) so sure? It's a covenant thing.
Next week I'm starting a new Bible study, "Covenant: God's Enduring Promise," with a couple of groups of women at my church. We're using THIS study published by Lifeway, and my early study is SO exciting! I'll be reflecting on one lesson each Friday here at Come Have a Peace starting Sept. 16, so if you want to order a copy and join me in the study, you'll have the bigger picture of what we're learning.
Knowing God has made a covenant with us (a promise, a pledge, a contract) gives us confidence to ask God to be true to His word. A covenant involves a choice based on love that is STEADFAST, a word used throughout this Psalm. God can NOT go against what He has promised. He can NOT fail; it would go against who He is. He says, "I will not violate my covenant or alter the word that went forth from my lips" (Ps. 89:34). Even if we suffer and experience shame and pain as a result, like God's people and Ethan's loved ones, God still keeps His promises. That's why His people could call on Him to be true in Ethan's day and why we can call on Him to be true today.
I agree with these words of Ethan's song: "I will sing of the steadfast love of the Lord, forever; with my mouth I will make known your faithfulness to all generations." (89:1)
If you know what it is to be heavy hearted about a suffering loved one, even if it's the loving rebuke of a heavenly Father, call out to our covenant keeping, steadfast loving God. He listened to Ethan, and He'll listen to us, too.
Was there a time when you felt like God had turned away from you? What did He use to show His love?