“From Everlasting to Everlasting”
“Blessed be the Lord God of Israel from everlasting to everlasting: and let all the people say, Amen. Hallelujah!”
Is it possible, beloved, that we can begin the first Sabbath of the new year with any language more cheering, gratifying and comforting to our souls, or glorifying to God, than this?
If we were to take review of the year – let me say years – that are past, and were to summon the utmost of our powers of recollection, to make out as long a catalogue as possible of trials, of sorrows, of cares, of difficulties, of sharp exercises of body or mind, and all the rest of the trials of the wilderness through which we have passed, and set against them the mercies, the supplies, the preservation, the forbearance, the forgiveness of our covenant God, and the knowledge and assurance of our personal interest therein, should we not be obliged to break out into the exclamation of my text, “Blessed be the Lord God of Israel from everlasting to everlasting”?
I beseech you, glance a moment at those expressions which first fastened my attention upon the text: “from everlasting to everlasting.”
How can I carry back the thought, “from everlasting”?
Where is it?
Who can conceive of it?
How can I convey the thought, “to everlasting”?
The vast extremes are more than enough for man’s mind, more than enough for human intellect.
We talk about everlasting and eternal, but who can comprehend it?
Who can comprehend what it is?
“From everlasting.” Go back millions of ages.
Where did it begin?
Where is “from everlasting”?
Where is “to everlasting”?
Go forward millions of ages in contemplation (O sweet contemplation! millions of ages in glory for you and me to realise!) – but where is the end?
Where is “to everlasting” ?
I cannot reach it; my finger will not touch it; my thoughts cannot comprehend it.
“From everlasting to everlasting.”
The phrase fastened upon me with the sweetest interest.
Now, I just cast a thought back, through the twelve months that have rolled away in the year called the year 1849.
January commenced, and the following months rolled on, and December came, and the first day of the year, and the last day of the year, have seemed like a vapour, like a “watch in the night”; or as the psalmist has it again, “a tale that is told.”
Contrast it with all its cares, with all its vexations, with all its labours, with all its joys, with “from everlasting to everlasting.”
This is our God, “from everlasting to everlasting.”
I do not know where to find a finger than can point to it, except it be the crucified finger of my Lord; and I see Him stretched upon the cross, pointing with one extended hand to the “from everlasting” of His covenant engagements, and with the other to the “to everlasting” of the glorification of His church with Himself; and I cannot understand it anywhere else.
In fact, I must go to Calvary to understand anything of it; I must go to Calvary to get a solution of any one difficulty or mystery in the grand scheme of salvation.
You see, beloved, it is not my intention to go on, as some people accuse me of going on, always grumbling and muttering; no, I have begun the year upon another string – whether I shall go on with it is no concern of mine; but this is what I want, that the whole of my remaining hours should be employed in blessing “the Lord God of Israel,” who is “from everlasting to everlasting.”
By Joseph Irons – 1850