A reading and a reflection
My song forever shall record
the tender mercies of the Lord;
your faithfulness will I proclaim,
and ev’ry age shall know your name.
2 I sing of mercies that endure,
forever builded firm and sure,
of faithfulness that never dies,
established changeless in the skies.
3 Behold God’s truth and grace displayed,
for he has faithful cov’nant made,
and he has sworn that David’s son
shall ever sit upon his throne.
4 “For him my mercy shall endure,
my cov’nant made with him is sure;
his throne and race I will maintain
forever, while the heav’ns remain.”
5 Almighty God, your lofty throne
has justice for its cornerstone,
and shining bright before your face
are truth and love and boundless grace.
6 With blessing is the nation crowned
whose people know the joyful sound;
they in the light, O Lord, shall live,
the light your face and favour give.
7 Your name with gladness they confess,
exalted in your righteousness;
their fame and might to you belong,
for in your favour they are strong.
8 All glory unto God we yield,
the Lord God is our help and shield;
all praise and honour we will bring
to Israel’s Holy One, our King.
9 Blest be the Lord forevermore,
whose promise stands from days of yore.
His word is faithful now as then;
blest be his name. Amen! Amen!
You can hear the congregation of the Metropolitan Tabernacle in London sing this here https://bit.ly/2RWjKK2
If you are one of many Christians who, looking back, see God’s guidance and care at every stage of your life, the words of this hymn may help you express your praise. But if you have had major times, maybe even now, when you feel God is absent or has forgotten you, you might find more encouragement later in this reflection.
These verses proclaim: God’s mercies and faithfulness never changing; justice, shining with truth, love and grace; and the blessing of God as light, help and shield.
Verses 3 and 4 of this hymn, and even more-so the different verses 3-5 in the version sung by the Metropolitan Tabernacle, resonate with the early Christians’ trust that God’s covenant with David is fulfilled in his Son on the throne for ever as Lord and Saviour, and this faithful covenant extending to the Saviour’s people, his ‘race’.
Verses 38-48 of the Psalm express the opposite experience: “But now you have spurned and rejected him … you have renounced the covenant with your servant … he has become the scorn of his neighbours … you have exalted the right hand of his foes.” If that is how you feel, you may take comfort in the psalmist’s cry to God, “Lord where is your steadfast love of old, which by your faithfulness you swore to David?” (verse 49); and perhaps also in the confidence expressed by the end of verses 30-37.
The concluding verse 52, quoted in verse 9 of the hymn, reaffirms the positive, “Blessed be the Lord for ever. Amen and Amen.” Whether that came from the writer of this Psalm, or from the editor who ended each of the five books/sections of the Psalms with these words, such trust in God’s unfailing faithfulness has sustained the followers of the son, who was tortured, mocked and crucified, yet rose to life, commissioned us to mission, and reigns for ever more.
Father, from whom every family in heaven
and on earth takes its name,
may we be strengthened in our inner being
with power through your Spirit,
and may Christ dwell in our hearts through faith,
as we are being rooted and grounded in love.
And to you be glory in the church and
in Christ Jesus to all generations,
for ever and ever. Amen.
(Based on Ephesians 3:14-17,21)