Have you ever found yourself in the midst of a conflict or under attack? Maybe it was a friend who turned against you, or someone you trusted who proved unfaithful. Perhaps your generosity was misunderstood or you simply encountered a contentious and self-serving person. Whatever the cause of the distress, it may lead to feelings of despair and self-doubt, but a verse I read this week is a good reminder during such times. In Psalm 55:19, David said, “God, who has ruled forever, will hear me and humble them.” David was certainly speaking about more than just opposition from his enemies; he spoke of a betrayal by one whom he considered his equal, his “companion and close friend (v.13).” This was one with whom he had enjoyed the fellowship of the faith, having “walked together to the house of God (v.14).” Clearly, David was distressed over this former “friend” who had turned against him, but he resolved to call on the Lord for help. He expressed confidence that the Lord would hear his voice (v.17) and rescue him (v.16), keeping him safe even in the midst of much opposition (v.18). But the reason that v.19 caught my eye was David’s description of this God in whom he trusted; He is the God, who has ruled forever!
A god who does not rule is not worth trusting. In fact, that is exactly the distinction made by the prophet Jeremiah (10:1-16) when he compared the false gods of the nations to the God of Israel. Imagine trusting in a god which must be secured with nails, because he cannot stand on his own and is in constant danger of toppling over, or trusting in a god who cannot speak and must be carried because he is unable to go anywhere by himself. These gods ought not inspire confidence or fear, since “they cannot do evil, nor can they do any good (v.5).” In contrast the true God is “King of the nations (v.7)” and “the living God and the everlasting King (v.9).” Our God rules over all the earth and over every nation. Truly he can be trusted.
But it is not just the breadth of his rule which David points to in Psalm 55:19, it is the eternality of his authority which inspires confidence and hope. You see, he did not begin to rule yesterday, or last year, or a century ago. God’s authority predates the very existence of the universe over which he reigns, and this truth is vital. If God were to have taken over the reigns of power at some point in the past, then we could not truly say that he rules at all. There would be elements of history, of creation, even of our lives over which he would not have the final say. But our confidence rests in the God, who has ruled forever. Whatever the opposition we may face, whatever betrayal or injury, we can trust that the God, who has ruled forever, will not abdicate his throne or neglect his children and will hear our cries. He will humble those who have lifted themselves up with pride and ransom those who have abased themselves before him. He is the God who rules forever!