Originally titled "Covenant Song," Hoekema's storylike text recounts various points in salvation history when God made covenant promises with his people: to Noah (st. 1; In Gen. 9 and also 1 Pet. 3, where Peter relates the flood story to baptism), to Abraham and Sarah (st. 2), and to us in the new covenant in Christ (st. 3), with baptism the sign of our union with Christ and his body, the people of God (st. 4). This hymn was first published in the 1987 Psalter Hymnal.
Psalter Hymnal Handbook
Seven passages are referred to in this Litany, each of which is undergirded by the promise of covenantal protection expressed in Isaiah 43:1-7.
This song affirms that, as children of God, our identity comes from God who calls us his own. Our World Belongs to God, paragraph 2 speaks of God’s promise which first came to Abraham (paragraph 21) and gives even more firm assurance when it says that “from the beginning through all the crises of our times, until the kingdom fully comes, God keeps covenant forever...”
The unity of Old Testament and New Testament covenant promises is highlighted in this song. Heidelberg Catechism, Lord’s Day 27, Question and Answer 74 also speaks to this by explaining that what “was done in the Old Testament by circumcision...was replaced in the New Testament by baptism.”
The phrase “you are my people” recurs in this song to indicate our covenant tie with God, a truth that is underscored by Belgic Confession, Article 34, when it says that by baptism “…we are…set apart…that we may wholly belong to him.”