The Year 2020
Dear Harvest Family,
I woke up somewhere in the middle of the night last night with this hymn playing in my mind.
Let thy children see Thy power, let their children learn Thy praise
On us let the grace and beauty of the Lord our God remain
Strengthen us for noble duty that our work be not in vain.”
I remember being surprised at the clarity with which I recalled those words. They are from my childhood and the blue Psalter Hymnal rendition of Psalm 90 - one of my favorite psalms. It was traditionally sung during the Old Year’s service at Coopersville CRC.
Psalm 90 begins like this:
Before the mountains were brought forth,
The heading tells us that this is “A Prayer of Moses, the Man of God”. The first line tells us who God is for us; the second what God is unto Himself. The comfort of the first line rests entirely upon the glory of the second.
Psalm 90 seems particularly appropriate as we close out the tumultuous year of our Lord 2020. What a year it’s been. And yet, what a wonderful thing to be able to say that, through it all, God has been our dwelling place. Our place of refuge and safety. Our spiritual home and abiding place. The place we could turn to, again and again, to find rest and restoration in the grace and goodness of our God.
I love the fact that Moses not only confesses that God has been his dwelling place, but he notes that God is “our” dwelling place – through all generations. I don’t know why, but with the passing of Dad last January, this concept of generational faith has become more precious to me. My dwelling place in God is shared with my Dad and Grandpa John. This is where they found refuge. Our dwelling place is the dwelling place of all of God’s people throughout the history of this world. Adam and Abraham and Moses all found shelter here. What a comfort to know that our dwelling place provided safety and shelter in the trials of this world for all the saints who’ve gone before us. It never failed a single saint who fled for refuge there. And it won’t fail us.
The reason, of course, is due to the eternal character of the God to whom we’ve fled. He is the eternal God who has always been and who changes not. From everlasting to everlasting, He is God; immutable in His attributes and His being. This means that the grace that sheltered fearful Abraham and blessed deceiving Jacob and restored adulterous David has not grown thin over the generations. It is as fresh and powerful as it ever was. It has proven sufficient as the power of God unto salvation for every child of God in ages past – and that means that it is sufficient for me. And for you.
That means we have nothing to fear as we enter the new year. God is God both from and to everlasting. Not a hair can fall from our head in 2021 apart from His sovereign will and to the end of His saving purposes. “Fear not, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom” (Luke 12:32).
Let this wonderful, immutable, truth be a shelter for your soul in all the circumstances and all the days of this life.
In our fears and tribulations, Thou hast been our dwelling place.
Ere the vast and wide creation by Thy word was caused to be,
Or the mountains held their station, Thou art God eternally.”
Happy New Year