A taste of eternity

“O sing unto the LORD a new song…shew forth his salvation from day to day” (Psalm 96:1). Salvation is only mentioned a few times in the Bible before David became king of Israel. Many personal names contain a form of the word that is translated salvation or yeshuw’ah (yesh – oo´ – aw), such as Joshua, Isaiah, and Jesus which is a Greek form of yeshu’ah (3444). When David speaks of salvation, I believe he is referring to the Messiah. Before David, there was not a focus on God’s eternal plan of salvation, the main focus of the Israelites was getting settled in the Promised Land.

In Psalm 89, it says “I have sworn unto David my servant, thy seed will I stablish for ever, and build up thy throne to all generations, Selah” (Psalm 89:3-4). The words for ever signifies eternity. The literal translation of the Hebrew, ad olam, is “into the indefinite future” (5769). The concept of eternity was new in David’s time. People did not talk about life beyond death, their attention was on things that were temporal.

The psalmist goes on to say in Psalm 89:

Then thou spakest in vision to thy Holy one, and saidst, I have laid help upon one that is mighty; I have exalted one chosen out of the people…With whom my hand shall be established; mine arm also shall strengthen him…Also I will make him my firstborn, higher than the kings of the earth. My mercy will I keep for him evermore, and my covenant shall stand fast with him. His seed also will I make to endure for ever, and his throne as the days of heaven. (Psalm 89:19, 21, 27-29)

It’s not easy to focus on eternity when you are wrapped up in the day to day activities of life. David had the ability to focus on both at the same time, he saw his accomplishments from an eternal perspective and was able to worship the LORD as if he was already in heaven.

The Hebrew word olam is properly translated as concealed. It represents the vanishing point when we are no longer aware of time. Even though we are currently bound by time, God has given man the ability to live “above time” (i.e. to remember yesterday, plan for tomorrow, and consider abstract principles)” (5769). It takes a conscious effort, but when we show forth God’s salvation from day to day, live in the moment and focus our attention on what is happening now, the awareness of time disappears and we get a taste of eternity.

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