By Ed Twedt
This beautiful psalm is the story of Israel’s history, beginning with Abraham, and God’s promises to him, and God’s covenant with him. In this poignant psalm, the author asks the offspring of Abraham to remember God’s promises and God’s covenant. The author speaks of God’s covenant as a word God commanded for a thousand generations and as an eternal covenant.
Both of those things caught my eye and my heart as I read through this psalm. Imagine a thousand generations and an eternal covenant. Of course the “thousand generations” is a metaphor intended to reemphasize the eternal covenant. And what, after all, could this have to do with lent? This season should remind us of the promises of God, a season of looking back and looking forward.
The psalmist closes by reminding us that God remembered God’s holy promise, AND God’s servant Abraham as God brought God’s people out “with joy”, “his chosen ones with singing.” We look back on our lives and the history of the church, our church – the church universal – and are reminded that all of that history is our shared history with Israel, and lent points us forward to being brought out with joy and with singing as we anticipate the glory of that Sunday when we will all greet one another with those ancient words of the Church, “He is risen”, and the answer will come back strong, “He is risen indeed.”
It is no accident that the author closes the psalm with that powerful phrase, “Praise the Lord” or Hallelujah, a transliteration of the Hebrew which means literally, “Sing praises to” or “Praises to” and ending with the short form “Jah” for the personal name of God. So let us all sing praises to our God as we remember God’s everlasting covenant with us which points back to God’s promises and forward to God’s finishing of God’s work.