There’s a worship song that you may know. You may even have sung it in Church. The first half of the chorus is really memorable, as it goes ‘Yesterday today and forever, you stay the same, you never change’ at a fast tempo, with a catchy beat to it. Lots of people will have sung this, but I wonder how many have actually stopped to think about the meaning and magnitude of the words that they’ve just sung. Let’s take a look at our God who really is the God of yesterday, today and forever.
Firstly, we need to think about God and time. You and I both know how time works. Seconds turn to minutes, minutes turn to hours and hours turn to days (and so on….). Time runs in this linear fashion, and doesn’t speed up or slow down (apart from when it seems to drag in that boring Friday afternoon lesson!). God doesn’t follow this human concept of time that we operate by. Instead, we can consider God as being outside of time (bear with me, this is confusing). Instead of being trapped in one moment of time, like we as humans are, God is in every moment of time, all of the time. To try and put that into some context, that means that God is simultaneously in the moment this morning when you woke up and the moment this evening when you’ll go to sleep (and every moment before, after and in-between). A way that I like to visually picture this is by thinking about a timeline. We can consider ourselves as being on one point of the timeline, but God is on all points. As time is a human concept, God is not bound by it.
This is one of the reasons why God is a forever God. He experiences what we consider our ‘yesterdays’, ‘todays’ and ‘forevers’ all at the same time. They are not split up as separate times for God, so of course he will be the same in all three.
We believe in an eternal God. He has always been and will always be. Psalm 90:1-6 reads “1Lord, you have been our dwelling place throughout all generations. 2Before the mountains were born or you brought forth the whole world, from everlasting to everlasting you are God. 3You turn people back to dust, saying, ‘Return to dust you mortals’. 4A thousand years in your sight are like a day that has just gone by, or like a watch in the night. 5Yet you sweep people away in the sleep of death – they are like the new grass of the morning: 6In the morning it springs up new, but by evening it is dry and withered”. To me, the Psalmist here is showing how insignificant we are compared to this eternal God, even referring to us as the grass of the morning, gone by the night. We are so insignificant, and so often we anger him – yet he still takes such a great interest in us, and has unfailing love for each one of us. Long before we were born, God knew each of us individually and had his plan for our lives. He has made his promises for us. He will always stick to the promises, and will not change them over time. Because God’s promises are unchanging, they are the best foundations that we can build or lives upon, because we can know that they will not crumble and fall down, but will support what we build forever.
I know that I believe in the authority of scripture, and there’s a verse that really couldn’t put it an awful lot clearer. Hebrews 13:8 says “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday today and forever”. In the Trinity, The Father, then Son and the Holy Spirit are one, so this verse may equally say God is the same yesterday today and forever. We can have faith that by putting our full trust in God, we will be neither mislead nor let down. For me, I find it truly incredible that this eternal God, who sees all things, and who is completely unchanging through time invites us, personally, into relationship with him. One way to clearly see one of God’s unchanging promises is by observing the sacrifice that he made, to us as a broken human race, by sending his one and only Son to die. Through this we may once again be welcomed into that perfect relationship with our timeless God.
The end of Psalm 90 (verse 17) is the Psalmist asking for the favour of God to rest upon us, and to establish the work of our hands. Compared to God, who is eternal, we are but a speck of dust – yet he gives us purpose and brings us into his eternal story. He will guide us and direct our passions and lives. So, where does our timeless God want to establish the work of your hands today?