By Dr. Harold Sala
Because of the LORD’S great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. Lamentations 3:22-23
With the uncertainties of life, you’ve probably been wondering, “What can I really count on?” Will there be food, gasoline and fuel when we need them? Will the banks have my money when I need it? Can I be sure that when I retire, there’s going to be enough?
You can’t be sure of anything except death or taxes, goes the popular aphorism, but that is not really true. You can count on God! As you face a new year, you need to know that He will be there to walk with you, to comfort you in times of sorrow, to strengthen you in times of weakness, and to help you in times of temptation.
How can I be so sure? I have the word of Him who cannot lie, who is honor bound to keep His promise, and that is God Himself. Then I have the documented testimonies of generations of men and women who put God to the test and could say, “He kept His Word. You can count on Him.” I also have the sure word of Scripture, and that’s a good point to begin on today’s brief commentary.
First, three times the Bible says that God will keep His covenant or His promise of love to a thousand generations. As Moses reviewed what God had promised, He told Israel, “Know therefore that the LORD your God is God; he is the faithful God, keeping his covenant of love to a thousand generations of those who love him and keep his commands” (Deuteronomy 7:9).
Notice, if you would, that Moses begins with a reassuring premise: God is God! God needs no qualification! “God is God,” he says; period! He is not God only when there are no storms, and no world conflicts. He is God who presides over the rise and fall of nations, the flow of history, and the passing of centuries–a good reminder as we face an unknown future.
He also says that this God is a faithful God. “Great is Thy Faithfulness,” contends the hymn writer who based his verses on the words of the prophet Jeremiah, one who lived in a time of great international turmoil. With Babylon knocking on the door, knowing that Jerusalem was about to fall, Jeremiah wrote, “Because of the LORD’S great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness” (Lamentations 3:22-23).
These words came from a man whose life was less than easy. Called a traitor, he was renounced by his king and government. Thrown in a slime pit and left to die, Jeremiah’s life was saved by a kind eunuch in the court who risked his neck to save Jeremiah. Yet Jeremiah contends faithful is the Almighty.
Moses along with the writer of Chronicles and the Psalmist all say God remembers His covenant or promises for a thousand generations. Based on a generation as being 40 years, perhaps even longer, the minimum length of time attached to that promise is 4,000 years, extending well into the twenty-first century or even longer.
Did God mean for only a thousand generations? Or is Scripture saying, “God will always be faithful in honoring His word?” There is one thing for sure: You can prove for yourself that God is faithful and will honor His word as you trust Him and walk with Him.
The Good News is that the door of mercy is still ajar and that God still freely dispenses His grace to those who walk with Him and love Him. The New Testament tells us the same thing. It’s Good News as we face a New Year.
Resource reading: Deuteronomy 7:1-14.