Praising God for his Faithfulness to David

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We ought to be amazed by God's faithfulness to us through his Covenant with David

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God has many great attributes. All of them are worthy of our praise. One of the most important ones is faithfulness. So often today people cannot be trusted. We make promises we never intend to keep just to avoid looking bad. We make commitments we do intend to keep, but forget about them. We make promises, but sometimes cannot keep them because of unforeseen difficulties. But God is not like that. He is always faithful. He never makes a promise and then breaks it. He never forgets to do something. He is never too weak to accomplish what he intended. God does this because that is just the kind of God he is.
Deuteronomy 7:9 ESV
Know therefore that the Lord your God is God, the faithful God who keeps covenant and steadfast love with those who love him and keep his commandments, to a thousand generations,
Exodus 34:7 ESV
keeping steadfast love for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, but who will by no means clear the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children and the children’s children, to the third and the fourth generation.”
Deuteronomy 7:8–9 ESV
but it is because the Lord loves you and is keeping the oath that he swore to your fathers, that the Lord has brought you out with a mighty hand and redeemed you from the house of slavery, from the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt. Know therefore that the Lord your God is God, the faithful God who keeps covenant and steadfast love with those who love him and keep his commandments, to a thousand generations,
Deuteronomy 7:9 ESV
Know therefore that the Lord your God is God, the faithful God who keeps covenant and steadfast love with those who love him and keep his commandments, to a thousand generations,
Jonah 4:2 ESV
And he prayed to the Lord and said, “O Lord, is not this what I said when I was yet in my country? That is why I made haste to flee to Tarshish; for I knew that you are a gracious God and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love, and relenting from disaster.
;
Psalm 59:16 ESV
But I will sing of your strength; I will sing aloud of your steadfast love in the morning. For you have been to me a fortress and a refuge in the day of my distress.
Even greater than this, God eagerly commits himself to making enormous, eternal covenants with certain individuals. To Noah he promised never to send another flood on the earth. He promised to bless Abraham as the founder of a people who would bless the whole world. He made a covenant with Israel through Moses that shaped the identity of the people of Israel, through which Jesus would come. He promised David an eternal dynasty that is ultimately fulfilled in Jesus himself. When God makes one of these covenants, it never is a private matter between them and God. It always spills over to include other people as well.
Even greater than this, God eagerly commits himself to making enormous, eternal promises with certain individuals and peoples. To Noah he promised never to send another flood on the earth. He promised to bless Abraham as the founder of a people who would bless the whole world. He promised David an eternal dynasty that is ultimately fulfilled in Jesus himself. When God makes one of these covenants, it never is a private matter between them and God. It always spills over to include other people as well.
Even greater than this, God eagerly commits himself to making enormous, eternal covenants with certain individuals. To Noah he promised never to send another flood on the earth. He promised to bless Abraham as the founder of a people who would bless the whole world. He made a covenant with Israel through Moses that shaped the identity of the people of Israel, through which Jesus would come. He promised David an eternal dynasty that is ultimately fulfilled in Jesus himself. When God makes one of these covenants, it never is a private matter between them and God. It always spills over to include other people as well.
Even greater than this, God eagerly commits himself to making enormous, eternal covenants with certain individuals. To Noah he promised never to send another flood on the earth. He promised to bless Abraham as the founder of a people who would bless the whole world. He made a covenant with Israel through Moses that shaped the identity of the people of Israel, through which Jesus would come. He promised David an eternal dynasty that is ultimately fulfilled in Jesus himself. When God makes one of these covenants, it never is a private matter between them and God. It always spills over to include other people as well.
This is why you often find people praising God for his faithfulness, especially when it concerns one of these covenants. When Abraham’s servant realized that he had found a wife for Isaac, he said
;
Genesis 24:27 ESV
and said, “Blessed be the Lord, the God of my master Abraham, who has not forsaken his steadfast love and his faithfulness toward my master. As for me, the Lord has led me in the way to the house of my master’s kinsmen.”
When Jeremiah sought for comfort when sitting in the rubble of Jerusalem after Babylon destroyed it, he said
Lamentations 3:22–23 ESV
The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.
Lamentations 3:21–23 ESV
But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope: The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.
Lam 3:22-23
In ,
Psalm 59:16 ESV
But I will sing of your strength; I will sing aloud of your steadfast love in the morning. For you have been to me a fortress and a refuge in the day of my distress.
Psalm 56:1 ESV
Be gracious to me, O God, for man tramples on me; all day long an attacker oppresses me;
ps 59:16
Psalm 101:1 ESV
I will sing of steadfast love and justice; to you, O Lord, I will make music.
In ,
Psalm 56:19-20
please turn there
In , Ethan the Ezrahite praises God for his steadfast love through his eternal covenant with David. We know almost nothing about who Ethan was. in he is compared to Solomon as one whose wisdom was widely known. He also appears in ; where he is a singer appointed by David. But whoever he was, he understood that God’s promises to David concerned him. Although God was certain to keep his word, there was no guarantee that God would do this within his own lifetime, which is why he said
Ethan the Ezrahite praises God for his steadfast love through his eternal covenant with David. We know almost nothing about who Ethan was. in he is compared to Solomon as one whose wisdom was widely known. He also appears in ; where he is a singer appointed by David. But whoever he was, he understood that God’s promises to David concerned him. Although God was certain to keep his word, there was no guarantee that God would do this within his own lifetime, which is why he said
Psalm 89:46–47 ESV
How long, O Lord? Will you hide yourself forever? How long will your wrath burn like fire? Remember how short my time is! For what vanity you have created all the children of man!
He wanted God to do something within his lifetime. It would not help him if God waited until after he died to keep his promise. We are going to see that David’s Covenant did not just concern him. It is something that has to do with the future of the whole world.
is in two parts. The first part goes up to verse 37. Ethan invites us to praise God for his eternal faithfulness to the Covenant he made with David. The second part turns to the reality that does not seem to fit this tremendous promise. Because of time we will cover the second part next time.
In the first part, Ethan invites us to praise God for his eternal faithfulness to the Covenant he made with David.
Psalm 101:1 ESV
I will sing of steadfast love and justice; to you, O Lord, I will make music.
God’s faithfulness is a fundamental part of who he is
Deuteronomy 7:7–9 ESV
It was not because you were more in number than any other people that the Lord set his love on you and chose you, for you were the fewest of all peoples, but it is because the Lord loves you and is keeping the oath that he swore to your fathers, that the Lord has brought you out with a mighty hand and redeemed you from the house of slavery, from the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt. Know therefore that the Lord your God is God, the faithful God who keeps covenant and steadfast love with those who love him and keep his commandments, to a thousand generations,
Deuteronomy 7:8–9 ESV
but it is because the Lord loves you and is keeping the oath that he swore to your fathers, that the Lord has brought you out with a mighty hand and redeemed you from the house of slavery, from the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt. Know therefore that the Lord your God is God, the faithful God who keeps covenant and steadfast love with those who love him and keep his commandments, to a thousand generations,
God’s people have always recognized God’s faithfulness to them from times of unexpected blessing
Genesis 24:27 ESV
and said, “Blessed be the Lord, the God of my master Abraham, who has not forsaken his steadfast love and his faithfulness toward my master. As for me, the Lord has led me in the way to the house of my master’s kinsmen.”
to times of dark distress
Lamentations 3:21–23 ESV
But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope: The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.
Lamentations 3:22–23 ESV
The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.
Words like “forever” and “all generations” are used a total of 11 times.
What is it that makes God’s faithfulness so wonderful?

I. God is Faithful in his Character —Praise him

It is that God is so great. If a world leader, someone rich and powerful, became your friend and offered to do whatever he could for you, what would you think? That would be incredible. It would be even more incredible if that world leader was perfectly loyal to you, that he really meant it and would never break his promise. On the other hand, if you have a dog, you know that your dog will always be loyal. That is nice, but not very incredible. Why? because it’s just a dog.

A. Theme from the Psalmist

Psalm 89:1–4 ESV
I will sing of the steadfast love of the Lord, forever; with my mouth I will make known your faithfulness to all generations. For I said, “Steadfast love will be built up forever; in the heavens you will establish your faithfulness.” You have said, “I have made a covenant with my chosen one; I have sworn to David my servant: ‘I will establish your offspring forever, and build your throne for all generations.’ ” Selah
Three words are used over and over throughout the psalm. I have been using the word “faithfulness,” but your bible may say something different. The Hebrew word חֶסֶד (hesed) is difficult to translate because it has such a wide range of meaning. It is often translated as “steadfast love” “kindness” “loyalty” or “mercy.” The KJV translated it as “lovingkindness.” In this context it means God will be faithful to his promises. he will bless because he already established a relationship with you.
Words like “forever” and “all generations” are used a total of 11 times. Almighty God made an eternal covenant with David, one that would continue beyond the life of the universe.
A Covenant (, , ) is more than just a promise. It is a legally binding agreement like a contract, but with God himself as one of the recognized witnesses. Covenants could be made between individuals, like the one that David and Jonathan made with each other. Kings could also make covenants with a subject, to bless a faithful servant in some way. Whenever a Covenant was made, it created a relationship between two people in which one or both parties were obligated to do certain things. Upholding a covenant was about being trustworthy or faithful, as well as about being a good, loyal friend. That is what “faithfulness” or “steadfast love” was all about.
is a commentary on God’s Covenant with David.
is a commentary on God’s Covenant with David.
Turn to
God had given David a measure of peace from all the wars he had fought. Furthermore, David now lived in a luxurious palace of cedar. But God’s house, the Tabernacle, was still the tent that Moses had put up. David had gone to a lot of trouble to bring the Ark of the Covenant to Jerusalem, but the place he had to put it was much less grand than his own house. So he told Nathan the Prophet that he would like to build a better temple for God’s name, a place where the building could reflect something of the magnificence and majesty of God. This sounded like a great idea to Nathan, so he said
2 Samuel 7:3 ESV
And Nathan said to the king, “Go, do all that is in your heart, for the Lord is with you.”
But God had different ideas. In he told Nathan,
2 Samuel 7:5 ESV
“Go and tell my servant David, ‘Thus says the Lord: Would you build me a house to dwell in?
2 Samuel 7:5–16 ESV
“Go and tell my servant David, ‘Thus says the Lord: Would you build me a house to dwell in? I have not lived in a house since the day I brought up the people of Israel from Egypt to this day, but I have been moving about in a tent for my dwelling. In all places where I have moved with all the people of Israel, did I speak a word with any of the judges of Israel, whom I commanded to shepherd my people Israel, saying, “Why have you not built me a house of cedar?” ’ Now, therefore, thus you shall say to my servant David, ‘Thus says the Lord of hosts, I took you from the pasture, from following the sheep, that you should be prince over my people Israel. And I have been with you wherever you went and have cut off all your enemies from before you. And I will make for you a great name, like the name of the great ones of the earth. And I will appoint a place for my people Israel and will plant them, so that they may dwell in their own place and be disturbed no more. And violent men shall afflict them no more, as formerly, from the time that I appointed judges over my people Israel. And I will give you rest from all your enemies. Moreover, the Lord declares to you that the Lord will make you a house. When your days are fulfilled and you lie down with your fathers, I will raise up your offspring after you, who shall come from your body, and I will establish his kingdom. He shall build a house for my name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever. I will be to him a father, and he shall be to me a son. When he commits iniquity, I will discipline him with the rod of men, with the stripes of the sons of men, but my steadfast love will not depart from him, as I took it from Saul, whom I put away from before you. And your house and your kingdom shall be made sure forever before me. Your throne shall be established forever.’ ”
2 Samuel 7:5–12 ESV
“Go and tell my servant David, ‘Thus says the Lord: Would you build me a house to dwell in? I have not lived in a house since the day I brought up the people of Israel from Egypt to this day, but I have been moving about in a tent for my dwelling. In all places where I have moved with all the people of Israel, did I speak a word with any of the judges of Israel, whom I commanded to shepherd my people Israel, saying, “Why have you not built me a house of cedar?” ’ Now, therefore, thus you shall say to my servant David, ‘Thus says the Lord of hosts, I took you from the pasture, from following the sheep, that you should be prince over my people Israel. And I have been with you wherever you went and have cut off all your enemies from before you. And I will make for you a great name, like the name of the great ones of the earth. And I will appoint a place for my people Israel and will plant them, so that they may dwell in their own place and be disturbed no more. And violent men shall afflict them no more, as formerly, from the time that I appointed judges over my people Israel. And I will give you rest from all your enemies. Moreover, the Lord declares to you that the Lord will make you a house. When your days are fulfilled and you lie down with your fathers, I will raise up your offspring after you, who shall come from your body, and I will establish his kingdom.
2 Samuel 7:13–16 ESV
He shall build a house for my name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever. I will be to him a father, and he shall be to me a son. When he commits iniquity, I will discipline him with the rod of men, with the stripes of the sons of men, but my steadfast love will not depart from him, as I took it from Saul, whom I put away from before you. And your house and your kingdom shall be made sure forever before me. Your throne shall be established forever.’ ”
2 sam 7:13
The incredible thing about God’s faithfulness, is that even though he is not obligated to do anything for anyone, he wants to find people to bless, and enters into covenant with them to bless them forever. He wants to enter into a relationship with people where he can bless them, a relationship that will never end. That is why Ethan wants to sing about God’s faithfulness.
God’s faithfulness in making eternal covenants is so amazing, that even the angels recognize it.

B. God’s Majesty is seen in Heaven

Psalm 89:5–8 ESV
Let the heavens praise your wonders, O Lord, your faithfulness in the assembly of the holy ones! For who in the skies can be compared to the Lord? Who among the heavenly beings is like the Lord, a God greatly to be feared in the council of the holy ones, and awesome above all who are around him? O Lord God of hosts, who is mighty as you are, O Lord, with your faithfulness all around you?
Over 1,000 times in Scripture God is called the “Lord of hosts.” But have you ever stopped to ask yourself exactly what sort of “hosts” he is the Lord of? These hosts are the angels. They are a vast host numbering in the trillions according to one interpretation of . Each of these mighty beings have existed from the dawn of time. They are wiser and stronger than humans. They are holy, having never sinned once. And they comprise the heavenly council, a host of angels that oversee the affairs of the universe. Imagine standing and watching the majestic assembly of these mighty, holy, ancient beings. But God is so much greater than any of them, that they all are in awe of his power and majesty.
It is this majestic, awesome God that obligates himself to do good for his creatures. When we sing about God, are we conscious of how great he is? When we pray, do we realize that it is the majestic God of the universe that we are talking to? The one for whom even the angels pause in wondering awe?
The God who makes covenants does not only sit in majestic splendor in heaven.

C. God’s Power is seen on Earth

Psalm 89:9–13 ESV
You rule the raging of the sea; when its waves rise, you still them. You crushed Rahab like a carcass; you scattered your enemies with your mighty arm. The heavens are yours; the earth also is yours; the world and all that is in it, you have founded them. The north and the south, you have created them; Tabor and Hermon joyously praise your name. You have a mighty arm; strong is your hand, high your right hand.
Only God can rule the sea. I remember once watching a documentary about nuclear submarines. The USS Ashville, for example, is 360 feet long and can cruise at 23 mph from her 35,000 hp engine. She can dive up to 800 feet. Yet I remember this sub captain saying that despite all this, the sea was still the master. These subs can only dive in the top 20% of the world’s oceans, and it is so huge that even this massive sub is a mere speck on the vastness of the ocean. Yet God commands the sea.
God also is master of “Rahab.” Now this is not the Rahab that helped Joshua’s spies at the Battle of Jericho, because the word is spelled differently in Hebrew. [רָהַב vs רָחַב]. There are two options for what this is. This may be another name for the devil
Isaiah 51:9–10 ESV
Awake, awake, put on strength, O arm of the Lord; awake, as in days of old, the generations of long ago. Was it not you who cut Rahab in pieces, who pierced the dragon? Was it not you who dried up the sea, the waters of the great deep, who made the depths of the sea a way for the redeemed to pass over?
There is no reference to this word in pagan literature, but Rahab is called a dragon or serpent (). And the Devil is also called a dragon and ancient serpent
Revelation 20:1–2 ESV
Then I saw an angel coming down from heaven, holding in his hand the key to the bottomless pit and a great chain. And he seized the dragon, that ancient serpent, who is the devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years,
If this is the idea, then Ethan is using the name of a pagan mythical monster to describe Satan. There are other examples of this practice. “Beelzebub” is also a name for the devil, and this is another name for Baal, a Canaanite god. So Ethan is not saying that there really is a mythical sea-monster called Rahab. Rather, it is a poetic way of saying that God masters the real monster-serpent - who is the Devil. God cursed the serpent in the garden of Eden, making it impossible for the Devil to ever tempt mankind that way again. Another possibility is that Rahab could be a reference to Egypt
Isaiah 30:7 ESV
Egypt’s help is worthless and empty; therefore I have called her “Rahab who sits still.”
Because Rahab is associated with the sea several times, as it is in our psalm, then this would be a poetic way of describing the crossing of the Red Sea. God completely defeated the most powerful army in the world at the time. Whether Rahab means the Devil or Egypt, God’s mastery is evident on the earth.
Only God is the creator of all things. To help us picture the size of God’s kingdom, Ethan mentions the limit of the known world - from North to South.
Tabor and Hermon are mountains. Mt Hermon is in the far north west of Israel. It is by far the largest mountain in Israel at 9,000 ft. Mt. Tabor is only 1,900 ft tall, but it was the site where Deborah and Barak defeated Sisera in . They are on the Eastern and Western sides of the Jordan River, so Ethan now has mentioned all points of the compass - North, South, East, and West all praise God for his power.
This God who makes Covenants with people is majestic and powerful. But it is God’s righteousness that gives his majesty and power real meaning.

D. God’s Righteousness is seen in his People

D. God’s Righteousness is seen in his People

Psalm 89:14–18 ESV
Righteousness and justice are the foundation of your throne; steadfast love and faithfulness go before you. Blessed are the people who know the festal shout, who walk, O Lord, in the light of your face, who exult in your name all the day and in your righteousness are exalted. For you are the glory of their strength; by your favor our horn is exalted. For our shield belongs to the Lord, our king to the Holy One of Israel.
Righteousness means that everything that God does perfectly reflects absolute moral uprightness. God’s character is itself the standard by which we know what is right. Therefore God is just - the Judge of All the earth is completely free from all favoritism, self-interest. When we become God’s people, that righteousness and justice becomes ours. It is the only way for us to be right with God. But as God’s people, we also participate in God’s glory, strength, and favor. In Ethan’s time only Israelites got to enjoy these blessings, but now as Christians we have them too. As you move through the world, the glory and righteousness of God rests upon you. As people see you, they see who God is by who they see you to be.

II. God’s Faithfulness is demonstrated in his Covenant with David

A. The Lord Elected Him

Psalm 89:19–20 ESV
Of old you spoke in a vision to your godly one, and said: “I have granted help to one who is mighty; I have exalted one chosen from the people. I have found David, my servant; with my holy oil I have anointed him,

B. The Lord Equipped Him

Psalm 89:21–23 ESV
so that my hand shall be established with him; my arm also shall strengthen him. The enemy shall not outwit him; the wicked shall not humble him. I will crush his foes before him and strike down those who hate him.

C. The Lord Exalted Him

Psalm 89:24–27 ESV
My faithfulness and my steadfast love shall be with him, and in my name shall his horn be exalted. I will set his hand on the sea and his right hand on the rivers. He shall cry to me, ‘You are my Father, my God, and the Rock of my salvation.’ And I will make him the firstborn, the highest of the kings of the earth.

D. The Lord Established Him

Psalm 89:28–29 ESV
My steadfast love I will keep for him forever, and my covenant will stand firm for him. I will establish his offspring forever and his throne as the days of the heavens.
Psalm 89:

E. The Lord Edifies Him

Psalm 89:30–34 ESV
If his children forsake my law and do not walk according to my rules, if they violate my statutes and do not keep my commandments, then I will punish their transgression with the rod and their iniquity with stripes, but I will not remove from him my steadfast love or be false to my faithfulness. I will not violate my covenant or alter the word that went forth from my lips.
Conclusion
It is a marvelous thing that God would condescend to make a covenant with anyone for any length of time. But God delights in making eternal covenants with individuals that spill over to impact everyone who lives. This is amazing because God so majestic and powerful. He is so glorious that the mighty angels stand in awe of him. He is so powerful that he rules the sea, and even the Devil. All the earth sings his praises. And he is the perfect God of justice who delights to bless his people. In all his majesty and power he stands at the ready to help his people out of all their troubles. As his people, we show others his greatness. Can you sing of God’s majesty? is his power your comfort in distress?
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