"This is the resting place, let the weary rest; and this is the place of repose"—

"But You remain the same." Psalm 102:27

This is an antithetical clause; a statement which is placed in contrast with something preceding, in order to bring the truth it contains more strongly and powerfully before us. The sacred writer deepens the shadows of his background, to give a more vivid prominence to a great Pillar of natural and revealed belief, the Immutability of God. The background! it is the dark, fitful, flitting shadows of time and sense. He thus chronicles their history—"They will perish." His foreground! it is the changeless and unchanging Jehovah, "BUT You remain the same."

The highest and most sublime truths in theology are often supported alike by reason and revelation. What says reason with regard to the Divine Immutability? That if God is a changeable Being He cannot be perfect, for mutability is the necessary attribute of imperfection. Again (if we dare to suppose for a moment), that if God were to undergo a change, it must be an Infinite change; moreover, it must be one of these three (I quote the words of an old divine)—(1.) A change for the better. This would suppose present imperfection. Or (2.) a change for the worse; bold and blasphemous impiety, which would reduce the Holy One to a level with the creature. A third supposition—most presumptuous of all—is that of annihilation. This would leave the world without God, which would be a contradiction in terms.

Turn we, now, to what is the testimony of revealed scripture. That testimony, though uttered in many ways, may be comprised in the one assertion, "I the Lord do not change" (Mal. 3:6). Glorious truth! To think, as imagination wings its flight from everlasting to everlasting, that in the existence of the Being whose lifetime is eternity, there has been no "variableness"—that He was the same before the world was; that He is the same now; and will be the very same, ages and ages after the angel has stood on the wreck of matter and proclaimed "Time to be no longer"—as perfect at the present moment as He can be when an "eternity of eternity" shall have rolled by.

But in what ways may this unchangeableness of God be regarded as a 'Palm of Elim,' imparting a sense of rest and refreshment to those encamping under its shadow? Comforting doctrine, it undoubtedly is. It leads us, among other reflections, to feel assured of His certain foreknowledge of all events—that whatever happens to us must be ordained by Him; and that the fitful changes in a changing world—our relations to one another, our domestic and social ties, our joys and our sorrows, are ordained, watched, and controlled by Him, who sits enthroned alike amid the radiant sunshine and above and behind the cloud-lands of life; bringing good out of seeming evil, order out of apparent confusion; overruling all (ALL), for His own glory and for the best interests of His Church.

He is spoken of as "the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows" (James 1:17). "This," observes an eminent Christian of a former age, commenting on the words, "is His disposition. An act of love may be very kind, but there is no security for the future. But when the disposition is love—unchanging love—all must be loving because He is love—all must be wise because He is wisdom." "Because God," says the inspired writer of the Epistle to the Hebrews, "wanted to make the unchanging nature of His purpose very clear to the heirs of what was promised, He confirmed it with an oath. God did this so that, by two unchangeable things in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have fled to take hold of the hope offered to us may be greatly encouraged" (Heb. 4:17, 18).

There is a view of this peerless truth connected with our motto-verse, pre-eminently comforting, to which we have not yet turned our attention. The passage of which that verse forms a part, has, by Scriptural warrant (Heb. 1:10-12) a special application to the adorable Person in the sacred Trinity, who is pre-eminently the PALM under whose shadow His Pilgrim Israel repose. Christ, the God-man Mediator, may be supposed (in vers. 23-27) to address His Divine Father—"In the course of My life He broke my strength; He cut short My days. So I said: 'Do not take Me away, O My God, in the midst of My days.'" Then follows the Father's answer—"Your years go on through all generations. In the beginning You laid the foundations of the earth; and the heavens are the work of Your hands. They will perish, but You remain; they will all wear out like a garment. Like clothing you will change them and they will be discarded. But You remain the same, and Your years will never end" (vers. 24-2 7). Yes, of Jesus, wearing our glorified human nature—the sympathies of a refined and exalted humanity, we can say, "You are the same."

The absolute unchangeableness of God we could take little hold of —it is high, we cannot attain to it. But "the Man Christ Jesus"—the same as He lived and moved and suffered and died on earth; the same in His compassion, in His words of mercy, in His messages of love, in His tenderness to the penitent, the fearful, the doubting; in His sympathy with the bereaved and lonely; and who no longer with tears to shed, has still the heart to feel—Oh, when the spirit is torn with sorrow, and wounded with thoughts into which the cold world cannot enter; when estrangement severs brother from brother and friend from friend; where can the eye peacefully repose but on this unchanging One? "BUT YOU are the same!" Truly this is "an anchor of the soul, sure and steadfast," for it "enters within the veil!"

Change is our portion here in this present world. The Psalmist in this passage points to the starry heavens above, and the apparently immovable, immutable foundations of the earth beneath, and inscribes on them the record, "They will perish. Like clothing You will change them and they will be discarded" (as a worn-out garment which the Almighty Maker lays aside, as for no more use). When everything within and around us may be echoing the same sad verdict, it is blessed to be able to turn from the unstable to the stable; from the reed which the blast may bend and the hurricane shiver, to the Great living ROCK which spurns the storm and defies all change! In a word, to lay firm grasp on the glorious antithesis of Israel's Kingly Minstrel. It is God in contrast with man; Immutability in contrast with mutability, the Infinite with the finite, the mortal with the Immortal, Eternity with time. "But You are the same!"

"Our years are like the shadows
On sunny hills that lie;
Or flowers that deck the meadows
That blossom but to die;
A sleep, a dream, a story,
By strangers quickly told,
An evanescent glory
Of things that soon are old.

"O God! the Rock of Ages,
Who evermore has been,
What time the tempest rages
Our dwelling-place serene.
Before Your first creations
You were the same as now,
To endless generations
The Everlasting Thou!"

"Those who know Your name will trust in You."

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