But God stands by his covenant
Psalm 105:1-2, 7-8 Give thanks to the Lord and proclaim his greatness. Let the whole world know what he has done. Sing to him; yes, sing his praises. Tell everyone about his wonderful deeds. … He is the Lord our God. His justice is seen throughout the land. He always stands by his covenant—the commitment he made to a thousand generations.
Matthew 26:28 This is my blood, which confirms the covenant between God and his people. It is poured out as a sacrifice to forgive the sins of many.
I was only thinking of three generations when I wrote Karis: All I See Is Grace: my own generation, my children, and my grandchildren, yet unborn. I wanted my children’s spouses and my future grandchildren to know what God had done in our family through his faithfulness to Karis. Verses 1 and 2 of this psalm were part of what motivated me to persist through the three years it took me to write the book, along with Psalms 78:4-7, 102:18, 107:2, 118:17, and 145:4 and 12. All of them instruct us to remember and to tell what God does for us.
Imagine making a commitment to a thousand generations! I know that number means “all the generations to come,” but if we think about it literally and conservatively, choosing twenty years as the length of a generation, a thousand generations is 20,000 years. God keeps his covenant for at least that long. All recorded history is a small dent. Here we are, in our generation, still praising God for his faithfulness to us. If we notice what God does for us when it happens, remember it, and tell others, we’ll be part of Asaph’s vision in Psalm 78.
Last week in Idaho, my sister Marsha and I put together the “reunion puzzle” our daughter Valerie created from photos of the members of the extended Elliott family, in keeping with our reunion theme, “Pieces of a Whole.” The progeny of my parents, Ray and Helen Elliott, now numbers 81, with three to be born in the next three months.
As the beloved faces emerged in the puzzle, I prayed for each of us to remember and celebrate God’s covenant of love for us, in the past, in the present, and stretching into the future to those not yet born and those yet to be brought into the family by marriage or by adoption.
Keeping covenant is costly. It’s not simple or easy. It cost God the life of his son. That’s the measure and standard he set for us. Today, my 68th birthday, I’m asking him to show me day by day in this next year how to live out his covenant; with more boldness remembering and telling, “so the next generation will set its hope anew on God” (Psalm 78:4-7).