The Promise of Love

“Of old You laid the foundation of the earth, and the heavens are the work of Your hands.  They will perish, but You will endure; yes, they will all grow old like a garment; like a cloak You will change them, and they will be changed.  But You are the same, and Your years will have no end.  The children of Your servants will continue, and their descendants will be established before You” (Psalm 102.25-28).

6A7FE51A-DD06-46E3-8CA7-F1C8E2A4C826The author of these words was overwhelmed and afflicted. He calls upon God to hear him quickly. His cry is one of anguish. Verses 3-11 describe that anguish:

  • He is skin and bones because he forgets to eat. Perhaps this is due to a raging fever.
  • He is isolated and alone and emotionally spent.
  • He believes that he is receiving God’s indignation and wrath for sin in his life.

Verses 12-22 are the hinge-point of the psalm. “But You, O LORD, shall endure forever” (v. 12). God continues forever even though the psalmist’s life is brief. If the psalm is written during the exile, then he believed God would restore Jerusalem or Zion once again. God “shall regard the prayer of the destitute and shall not despise their prayer” (v. 17). Future generations would declare the name of the LORD in Zion and His praise in Jerusalem (v. 21). The people will gather together once again. The kingdoms shall serve the LORD (v. 22). While this happened when Israel came back to rebuild after the exile, the psalmist is also looking forward to this happening on a worldwide scale during the Millennial reign of Christ.

The psalmist prayed that the Lord would not take his life away in the midst of his days. He didn’t want to die too soon.  The psalmist then writes of God’s eternal existence. God was present at creation. He is present now. He will be present when the first heaven and the first earth pass away, and a new heaven and a new earth take their place. God outlasts creation. He has no beginning and no end. Psalm 102.25-28 are quoted by the writer of Hebrews as well (Hebrews 1.10-12).

“…You, LORD, in the beginning laid the foundation of the earth, and the heavens are the work of Your hands.  They will perish, but You remain; and they will all grow old like a garment; like a cloak You will fold them up, and they will be changed.  But You are the same, and Your years will not fail” (Hebrews 1.10-12).  

The fact that Psalm 102 obviously refers to the LORD God and that Hebrews 1 is referring to God the Son demonstrates that Jesus is the LORD. There are two aspects of the character of Christ highlighted in both Hebrews 1 and Psalm 102: His eternality and His immutability.

Christ is eternal.

“By Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers” (Colossians 1.16). Jesus Christ is “before all things, and in Him all things consist” (Colossians 1.17).  If Jesus created all things, then He Himself cannot be created.  He is the eternal creator God.  He was with God in the beginning. “All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made” (John 1.3). Yet He was robed in flesh and came out of Bethlehem Ephrathah. He came forth from the Father to be the Ruler in Israel. He is the One “whose goings forth are from of old, from everlasting” (Micah 5.2). He is everlasting God.

Christ is immutable.

He laid the foundation of the earth that will perish. Yet He endures. The creation is changed, but He does not change. “The day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night, in which the heavens will pass away with a great noise, and the elements will melt with fervent heat; both the earth and the works that are in it will be burned up” (2 Peter 3.10-11). The creation will change but “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever” (Hebrews 13.8).

Hezekiah thought just like the psalmist is thinking. He thought he would die in the prime of his life. He believed that he would be deprived the remainder of his years. His life span was gone. But as frail and as fleeting as our lives are, we find hope in the eternal and immutable Christ.  Verse 28 says that the children of the Lord Jesus’ servants will continue. Their descendants will be established before Him. He is referring to Israel, but what was true of them is also true of us. God’s eternal and changeless character brings comfort to all God’s people.

Jesus Christ is the resurrection and the life. Those that believe in Him, though they may die, yet they shall live. He will never leave us or forsake us. He keeps us from falling. All that the Father has given Him will never be lost. “The children of Your servants will continue, and their descendants will be established before You.”

Among us are people who are overwhelmed and afflicted. But there is not a reason that a Christian should be without hope. The Lord Jesus lives.  He is our anchor and refuge. His grace is sufficient for us in our weakness.

Perhaps others are resting confidently in Christ. They must remember to direct their praise and thanksgiving to the One who has given them access, hope, and confidence. Imagine what life would be like without Christ. We would be lost and undone. But thanks be to God that we rest our confidence in Christ. He is our unchanging Savior in our ever-changing world.

Praying Psalm 102

Lord Jesus,

I know You hear me. Help me to listen to You. Life is brief and often filled with pain and sorrow. You know this better than I ever could. I may feel as if Your indignation and wrath have isolated me from You, but Your Word makes it clear that You will never leave nor forsake me. You drained the cup of the Father’s indignation for me. I cannot pay for my sins. I could not endure His wrath. You were forgotten and forsaken for my sins. Though I am often sick, overwhelmed, exhausted, and broken emotionally, I know it is temporary. My days here are as smoke, but my hope is restored and set on eternity.

The time is coming when the world shall be made whole. The kingdoms of men will be subdued by You as the King of all kings. You shall bring all things under Your dominion. The Father shall be all in all. My prayer comes before You at the right hand of God. You shall regard it and not despise it. This is the promise of love. Restore my hope. Revive my joy. Strengthen me to redeem the days I have before me.

I am so grateful for Your Word. I am part of the generation that would yet praise You from the Psalmist’s perspective. Both his days, my days, and all those intervening days of long-forgotten saints are as smoke. But You haven’t forgotten them. You haven’t forgotten me.

Everything is changing in the world around me. So much uncertainty. So much pressure. So much opportunity. You are the same yesterday, today, and forever. Your years have no end. But You have become the first fruits of those who sleep. My temporal life fades. Sleep comes enveloped in darkness, but joy comes when the never-ending dawn breaks. This is why I remain in hope. Though I may die, I shall live. I believe this. Even so, come Lord Jesus. Amen.

There shall be showers of blessing:
This is the promise of love;
There shall be seasons refreshing,
Sent from the Savior above.

There shall be showers of blessing –
Precious reviving again;
Over the hills and the valleys,
Sound of abundance of rain.

There shall be showers of blessing:
Send them upon us, O Lord;
Grant to us now a refreshing;
Come and now honor Thy Word.

There shall be showers of blessing:
Oh, that today they might fall,
Now as to God we’re confessing,
Now as on Jesus we call!

Showers of blessing,
Showers of blessing we need;
Mercy drops ’round us are falling,
But for the showers we plead.

D. W. Whittle, 1863

 

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