He forever remembers His covenant, the promise He ordained for a thousand generations—[the covenant] He made with Abraham, swore to Isaac,… Then He brought Israel out with silver and gold, and no one among His tribes stumbled. Egypt was glad when they left, for dread of Israel had fallen on them. He spread a cloud as a covering and [gave] a fire to light up the night. They asked, and He brought quail and satisfied them with bread from heaven. He opened a rock, and water gushed out; it flowed like a stream in the desert (vv. 8-9, 37-41).
Certain key words leap from the pages of the Psalms—words used repeatedly to speak of the enduring quality of God’s covenant with his people—words and phrases such as “forever, ” “for a thousand generations, ” “everlasting” (vv. 8-10).
In this psalm the musician is praising the Lord for taking his promises seriously. Unfortunately, we contemporary Christians use these words and phrases pretty casually. They have a certain ring that makes them attractive to songwriters and poets. In fact, our list of synonyms is extensive: eternal, always, evermore, unending, endless, ceaseless, continual, perpetual. But do we really grasp the meaning of forever?
In reviewing this passage, I see again the “forever” faithfulness of God in keeping his covenant with Israel. First, he protected them as aliens in foreign lands, keeping his eye on Abraham wherever he went—Chaldea, Haran, Canaan, Egypt, and the Negev (vv. 12-15). Second, the Lord guided his people to Egypt and promoted Joseph to rule over them (vv. 17-22). Third, the lord blessed his oppressed people with productivity (v. 14). Fourth, the Lord used Moses and Aaron to deliver them from Egypt (vv. 26-36). Finally, the Lord was faithful in providing for them while they were in the wilderness (vv. 39-41). So even when Israel was “following afar off, ” God was faithful in meeting their needs (vv. 42-45).
If I were to trace the steps of my own pilgrimage, there would be many parallels because God’s character never changes. It is this kind of endless love and provision he promises me today.
Dear Lord, I thank you for providing for Israel’s needs in the ancient world. Because your character never changes, I know you will care for me unceasingly, always, forever!