When the psalmist wrote the words of Psalm 102, he wrote it for his own day and people, but somehow was aware that many people in future generations would also read it and be impacted. So, in verse eighteen he says:
Let this be written for a future generation,
that a people not yet created may praise the Lord.
But I’m sure he wasn’t imagining that approximately 3000 years later the teaching of this psalm would still be impacting people like you and me in the 21st Century! And what was this amazing teaching that would cause that we (who were amongst those people not yet created) would praise the Lord?
The answer lies in what follows in verses 18-19. It is that:
19 “The Lord looked down from his sanctuary on high,
from heaven he viewed the earth,
20 to hear the groans of the prisoners
and release those condemned to death.”
At Christmas every year we celebrate this wonderful truth! Yes, the coming of Jesus into our world was God’s response as he viewed the earth [and heard] the groans of the prisoners! Jesus was God’s solution to enable the release [of] those condemned to death – i.e., every single one of us!
In Luke 2:22-32 we read of the time after the birth of Jesus when,
Joseph and Mary took him to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord… Now there was a man in Jerusalem called Simeon, who was righteous and devout…. When the parents brought in the child Jesus to do for him what the custom of the Law required, Simeon took him in his arms and praised God, saying:
29 “Sovereign Lord, as you have promised,
you may now dismiss your servant in peace.
30 For my eyes have seen your salvation,
31 which you have prepared in the sight of all nations:
32 a light for revelation to the Gentiles,
and the glory of your people Israel.”
“Under the inspiration of the Spirit, he realizes that the long-awaited time has come and he praises God in language with many Old Testament echoes… Jesus is not just for Israel but for the world… a Messiah/Saviour who transcends social and national boundaries.” (SU notes. Encounter with God. 28.12.21)
Later, Jesus himself, in the synagogue, quoted the words of Isaiah 61:1-2
18 “The Spirit of the Lord is on me,
because he has anointed me
to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners
and recovery of sight for the blind,
to set the oppressed free,
19 to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”
Jesus then rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant and sat down. The eyes of everyone in the synagogue were fastened on him. 21 He began by saying to them, “Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.” (Luke 4:18-19)
With this thought in mind, it is interesting that many Old Testament scriptures are quoted by the New Testament writers (including the one above by Jesus), and Psalm 102 is no exception. If we turn to the letter to the Hebrews, in the very first chapter the author is speaking of the superiority of Jesus, the Son of God, over the angels and quotes from Psalms 2, 97, 104 and 45. Then in verses 10-12 he quotes from Psalm 102:25-27, applying words, that were originally referring to Yahweh, to Jesus!
About the Son [God] says…
25 In the beginning you laid the foundations of the earth,
and the heavens are the work of your hands.
26 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.
27 But you remain the same,
and your years will never end.
The author of Hebrews explains why when he says:
3 The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven. 4 So he became as much superior to the angels as the name he has inherited is superior to theirs. (Hebrews 1:3-4)
“The logic of this is that Jesus is God, and thus what the book of Psalms ascribes to the Lord is rightfully applied to Jesus. He is the One, after all, through whom ‘all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made.’ (John 1:3). He is from the beginning, and his years will never end.” (# 30)
May this truth for all generations continue to positively impact you and enable you to praise the Lord, no matter what 2022 brings.