Saturday, December 15, 2018

A Joy Unspeakable

O give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his steadfast love endures forever!
Let Israel say, “His steadfast love endures forever.”
Let the house of Aaron say, “His steadfast love endures forever.”
Let those who fear the Lord say, “His steadfast love endures forever.”
Ps. 118:1-4 

It is sometimes said that the Old Testament presents us with a somewhat limited view of God's love. Certainly it is in the New Testament that we see it placed in the brightest of all lights—the Cross—and that we find the argument in its most irresistible formHe that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not, with him also, freely give us all things? But one must have read the Old Testament in a very careless spirit if one has not been struck with its frequent and most impressive revelations of God's goodness. What scenes of gracious intercourse with his servants does it not present from first to last, what outpourings of affection, what yearnings of a father's heart! If there were many in Old Testament times whom these revelations left as heedless as they found them, there were certainly some whom they filled with wonder and roused to words of glowing gratitude. The Bible is not wont to repeat the same thought in the same words. But there is one truth and one only which we find repeated again and again in the Old Testament, in the same words, as if the writers were never weary of them—For his mercy endureth for ever. Not only is it the refrain of a whole psalm, but we find it at the beginning of three other psalms, we find it in David's song of dedication when the ark was brought up to Jerusalem, and we find also that on the same occasion a body of men, Heman and Jeduthun and others, were told expressly to give thanks to the Lord, because his mercy endureth for ever. This, indeed, is the great truth which gives the Old Testament its highest interest and beauty. In the New Testament, in its evangelical setting, it shines with incomparable brightness. Vividly realized, it makes the Christian's cup to flow over; as it fills him likewise with the hope of a joy to come—a joy unspeakable and full of glory.
 W.G. Blaikie (1893) 

Forgive my prejudice, Lord, when I assume your people of old did not see you as the same loving Parent you are in the time after Christ's birth. Help me to watch for and celebrate the signs of your extravagant love both before Matthew and after Malachi. In the Name of the One who was Love Incarnate, and who taught me to pray...