For why what is to me in heaven; and what would I of thee on earth? (For what is there for me in heaven, but thee? and what else do I desire here on earth, but thee?) My flesh and mine heart failed; God of mine heart, and my part is God [into] without end. (Though my flesh and my heart fail; but God is my strength, and my portion forever.)
David could be the weary and suffering Job in this passage. Here David speaks perhaps after the shame of murdering Uriah so as to have Bathsheba; perhaps after the death of his son. At any rate, David sings that even if his flesh and heart fail, God is his strength and his portion forever. David rhetorically asks, What else in heaven and earth do I desire? And his answer is, Nothing but You, God.
This truth is what Job discovers in his ordeal. At the end of his rope, so to speak, Job realizes that only God matters, that everything else is a pale shadow compared to Him. Job’s devotion to God does not, however, diminish his love of others or his view of himself. Rather, as Job falls in humility before God, God lifts him up and places him above where he was in the first place.
In one of his many songs, David proclaims – at least in the Wycliffe translation of the Word – that God “loveth mercy and doom.” In parenthesis, the translator adds an alternative version: “[God] loveth righteousness and justice.”
On one hand, “mercy”; on the other “righteousness.” On one hand, “doom”; on the other hand “justice.” Even in the final phrase, on one hand, “mercy”; on the other “love.”
For the word of the Lord is rightful (For the word of the Lord is true); and all his works be (done) in faithfulness. He loveth mercy and doom; the earth is full of the mercy of the Lord. (He loveth righteousness and justice; the earth is full of the love of the Lord.)
Imagine God loving “doom.”
If you look around at the state of the world at large, God loving doom is not hard to imagine. Listen to the evening news and doom is all around you – earthquakes, erupting volcanos, tsunamis, rising sea levels, erratic weather patterns, droughts, fires. And this doom does not yet include what people do to you ( or what you do to people… )!
So, where’s the evidence that God loves mercy?
The evidence for God’s mercy is less compelling, you might say. But, I would argue the evidence of God’s mercy is the doom inflicted and endured by Him on the Cross. “All [God’s] works be done in faithfulness.”
Here David presents God the Father as the loving parent who seeks out His child, bows His head downward so that His ear is close by, fully able and willing to listen to His baby’s voice. God even hears and fully comprehends His child’s “inward call.”
Alleluia. I loved the Lord; for the Lord shall hear the voice of my prayer. (Alleluia. I love the Lord; for the Lord hath heard the words of my prayer.) For he bowed down his ear to me; and I shall inwardly call him in my days (and I shall call to him in all my days).
“I delighted in the way of thy witnessings; (as much) as in all riches. (I delighted in the way of thy teachings, or thy commands; as much as in great riches.)”
“I rejoice in the way revealed by Your decrees as much as in all riches.” (HCSB)
People recognize it’s fun to be wealthy, to have riches, to wallow in money. David wisely knows it’s best to “delight in the way of [God’s] witnessings” (His teachings, His commands, His decrees; i.e His Word).
God’s Word reveals the way. Wisdom is rejoicing in God’s ways, knowing always God’s ways are not our ways, and His thoughts are not our thoughts.