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Psalm 37:23-24

Psalm 37:23-24
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Ps 37:23-24, ‘The steps of a man are established by YHWH, when he delights in His way; though he fall, he shall not be cast headlong, for YHWH upholds his hand.’

Here we see an interesting dynamic of the Christian life: The saint is one who both will most certainly fall and who will never truly fall.

Now, this dynamic is enabled by and rooted in the shape of THE faithful life, THE True Servant of YHWH: Jesus Christ. Jesus is the true and archetypical man who delights in the way of the Lord (indeed, whose very identity IS the way of the Lord) and it is precisely His obedience to this way of the Lord that leads Him to ‘fall’ into the suffering of His people (Phil.2:6-8). There is no greater ‘falling’ than the cross of Christ, in which are borne ALL the ‘fallings’ of God’s people. All their stumblings, all their struggles, all their plummets into despair, every collapse of their will, every plunge into rebellion—every one, is borne in the experience of Jesus Christ through His own substitutionary fall on Calvary.

And yet, from this fall, Christ is raised up again. He is not ‘cast headlong’, He is not abandoned to the pit, He is raised up again by the faithfulness of the Father. And as He stands in risen victory beyond His fall (which is EVERY fall), He Himself reveals and secures the end of all His people’s falling—namely, to be raised up again, upheld by YHWH’s strong right hand.

So in this picture I tried to capture that same dynamic. The saint has fallen (whether in sin or sorrow or suffering, etc.), but—even in his fallenness—he is simultaneously being upheld by the hand of the slain and risen Lord (who is Himself the living assurance that falling is not the end for those in Him).

The crown on the saint’s head is the crown of the Lord’s own wounds, glorified in light of the resurrection. This points to the assurance that, in Christ, every fall of His people will be redeemed through His own bearing of it on the cross and turned to a jewel in the crown of His people’s grace-given glory.

In the distance, the sunrise is revealed beyond a large round stone. This is, of course, a reminder of the resurrection (which is also the promise that those who fall will be raised up—yes, in this life; and finally, in the life to come). Just as those who fall will be upheld by the one who fell and was raised up again, so too those who die will yet continue to live in the slain and risen One who is the Resurrection and the Life (Jn 11:25).