Unto Thee Forever
‘What one nation in the earth is like Thy people, even like Israel, whom God went to redeem for a people to Himself, and to make Him a name, and to do for you great things and terrible, for Thy land, before Thy people, which Thou redeemedst to Thee from Egypt, from the nations and their gods? For Thou hast confirmed to Thyself Thy people Israel to be a people unto Thee for ever: and Thou, Lord, art become their God.’—2 Sam. vii. 23, 24.
ONE thought, containing three thoughts, seems to pervade this epitome of the history of God’s people. The one thought is ‘Unto Thee I’ The three thoughts contained in it are—Redeemed, Separated, Confirmed unto Thee.
Let us take them in order. 1. God ‘went to redeem’ His people. It was no easy sitting still, no costless fiat: ‘Thou wentest forth for the salvation of Thy people, even for salvation with Thine anointed.’1 These ‘goings forth have been from of old, from the days of eternity,’2 and we have seen by faith these ‘goings of my God, my King.”
It was not only to purchase them out of bondage and death, as one might buy a captive thrush on a winter evening, and let it loose into the hungry cold, and think no more about it; it was to redeem them unto Himself, to be His own portion and inheritance and treasure and delight, to be a ‘people near unto Him,’ to be the objects on which all His divine love might be poured out, to be the very opportunity of His joy.
His glory and our good were inseparably joined in it. He did it ‘to make Him a name;’ and we may reverently say, that even the very Name which is above every name * could not have been the crown of the exaltation of the Son of God but for this.
He also did it because He would ‘do for you great things and terrible,’—great things in mercy, ‘terrible things in righteousness,’—bringing all His sublimely balanced attributes to bear on His great work ‘for you.’ ‘Before His people,’ that we might see, and know, and believe, and praise.
2. This redemption to Himself necessarily involved separation ‘from Egypt, from the nations and their gods.’
1 Hab. iii. 13. 2 Micah v. 2
sPs. Ixviii. 24. *Phil. ii. 9.
We cannot have the ‘ to’ without the ‘ from,’ any more than we could go to the equator and not come away from the arctic regions. And the test and proof of the ‘to Thee’ lies in the ‘from Egypt.’ But what do we want with Egypt? what is there to attract us to the house of bondage and its old taskmasters? Did we not have enough of them? and shall we not gratefully accept redemption ‘from the nations,’ ‘out of them, from the tyranny of ‘ the customs of the people,’ ‘from our vain conversation,’1 and say henceforth, ‘Thy people shall be my people’?’ ‘What have / to do any more with idols,’3 when God Himself has redeemed me ‘ from their gods’? Yes, has redeemed me, for He says so. ‘Sing, O ye heavens; for the Lord hath done it!’ He ‘ gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from all iniquity.’*
3. How magnificently God seals all His transactions! So He has not only redeemed and separated us unto Himself, but ‘Thou hast confirmed to TJiyself Thy people Israel.’ He, not we. His hands laid the foundation, and His hands shall also finish it. He stablisheth us in Christ, and He ‘hath also sealed us.’ He ‘shall also confirm you to the end ; ‘6 your life shall be one great Confirmation Day of continual defending and strengthening and blessing; He avouching you this day and every day to be His peculiar people, ‘as He hath promised,’ and establishing you an holy people unto Himself, and you avouching the Lord to be your God and to walk in His ways.
t 1 Pet. i. 18. 2 Ruth i. 16. 8 Hos. xiv. 8.
* Titus ii. 14. * 1 Cor. i. 8.
Not’ this day, only’for we are confirmed to Him ‘to be a people unto Thee for ever.’ ‘Thine for ever!’ ‘For I know that whatsoever God doeth, it shall be for ever ;” so, having done this, it must be ‘ for ever!’ Fling this at the enemy when he tempts you to doubt your complete and eternal redemption—’ Unto Thee forever !’ when he tempts you to regret or tamper with your separation— 4 Unto Thee for ever!’ when he tempts you to quiver about your confirmation ‘ to the end ‘—’ Unto Thee for ever /’
For ‘ the Lord is faithful.’2 ‘And now, O Lord God, the word that Thou hast spoken . . . establish it for ever, and do as Thou hast said.”
In full and glad surrender,
I give myself to Thee,
Thine utterly and only,
And evermore to be.
O Son of God, who lovest me,
I will be Thine alone,
And all I have and all I am
Shall henceforth be Thine own.
lEccles. iii. 14. ^?z Thess. iii. 3. 3 2 Sam. vii. 25.