On a recent Sunday morning we happened to sing the old Hymn, “Great Is Thy Faithfulness,” for the first time in a long time. I was particularly struck by the message of the lyrics.
Great is Thy faithfulness, O God my Father;
There is no shadow of turning with Thee.
Thou changest not, Thy compassions, they fail not;
As Thou hast been Thou forever wilt be.
God’s love never fails, and this is a mark of His faithfulness. God’s faithfulness is the abiding hope of all mankind.
Tragically, many believe that their hope is largely a function of their own faithfulness, their ability to get the requirements straight and then to adhere faithfully to those requirements until the end of their days. That is not a reason for hope but rather for hopelessness. Man’s frailties and fickleness are well documented throughout history, including the biblical story. How could anyone possibly rely upon their own faithfulness?
The message I draw from this old hymn is that God’s faithfulness is the power behind man’s redemption and ultimate destiny. Man’s faithfulness is worthless, but God’s unchanging nature and relentless love is priceless. A salvation based on God’s faithfulness is the only kind that could succeed in its purpose because it eliminates man’s weakness from the equation.
A joyous celebration of God’s faithfulness, as engendered by this song, is a much needed response in our churches. For too long we have preached a frustrating message emphasizing the need to be faithful to God, when all the time the real message was about God’s faithfulness to mankind.