... continuing with The Covenant Promise
We’re still with Psalm 2. Its Word is so important we want to stay with it till it is planted in our spirits. Eventually we will move on, but, I pray, we will do so with the strong foundation of understanding God’s Kingdom and its power and authority for this present age.
I think I mentioned how the Lord impressed on me that the Promise in this Psalm from God to His begotten Son should become more permanent in my memory than even my own name. I might stutter and stammer when asked who I am, but I must never hesitate in knowing and declaring that God has pledged this whole earth, with the authority of its Government, to our Lord Jesus Christ. This is the Promise from the Psalm I was never to forget: Thou art My Son; this day have I begotten Thee. Ask of Me, and I shall give Thee the heathen ("the nations") for Thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for Thy possession (Ps 2:7,8).
Getting this word into my spirit meant spending hours, days and months with the Psalm, going to it day after day, hours on end, "soaking" in its Word and the Words that pertain to it. And, let me admit, I’m still learning from it. Like Ephesians, Ps 2 is a fountain that will not run dry. Every time I go there, its Water is fresh. The Promise of the Psalm has proved viable and potent time and again as we’ve gone among the nations. We’re looking now to see its potency for a new day in our lives, in which we’re not allowed to go through the earth as we once did.
And, we want to present its power to you who, for the most part, are confined to some corner in life that offers little hope of egress. The power of the promise is as great to us as it is to a soldier on the frontline of some field of mission. And, I can confess, having been out there, many days have seemed like days of confinement, even out on the front lines, till the force of His Kingdom has broken through and we’ve seen His power and glory.
To state it again: the power of this Promise from God to His begotten Son will come to us wherever we are—if we know ourselves in Christ. This is so even if we’re in some kind of prison or physical limitation. We must remember there is no plot of ground, even the size of a postage stamp, where the authority and light of His Kingdom cannot be known.
Don’t you think that’s part of the reason Jesus taught us to pray, Thy kingdom come (Mt 6:10)?
With regard to the Promise of Ps 2, Peter understood that the day God’s Son was begotten was the day of His Resurrection. See this from Ac 13:32, 33. And we declare unto you glad tidings, how that the promise which was made unto the fathers, God hath fulfilled the same unto us their children, in that He hath raised up Jesus again; as it is also written in the Second Psalm, Thou art My Son, this day have I begotten Thee.
While the word begotten, from the Greek gennáo, generally has reference to the generation of a person in birth, the Hebrew understanding of the word can carry the meaning "to constitute as a king, or as the representative of God." The same word from Ps 2 comes forth in Heb 5:5— So also Christ glorified not Himself to be made an High Priest; but He that said unto Him, Thou art My Son, to day have I begotten Thee. When He was raised up, He was constituted to become both our Priest and our King.
And before we move too far from Ac 13, see verse 34. And as concerning that He raised Him up from the dead, now no more to return to corruption, He said on this wise, I will give You the Sure Mercies of David. Take note of the Sure Mercies of David. Hold this in your spirit as we see that mercy is the signature of Christ’s Kingdom, and of His Priesthood.
The basis for the promise of Ps 2 lies in the Covenant God made with David, called the Sure Mercies of David. The assurance that the promise is granted lies in the certainty of Christ’s Resurrection, brought on because of the promise to raise up David’s Seed. The guarantee of the continuance of the Promise lies with the faithfulness of the Lord God, sworn with an oath to David. These three matters—•the Covenant, •the actuality of the Resurrection, and •the assurance that God is faithful—are the present focus of our attention. As these principle factors become settled with us, we’re on our way to becoming settled as children of the Kingdom who know His abiding presence in all our ways and days.
I hope Christ’s Resurrection is a settled matter with you. I’ve had to grow in my understanding of what did indeed happen when God raised Him from the dead. (Paul helps us here in Eph 2:6 by letting us know that He hath raised us up together.) But years ago, shortly after I was born again, it became settled with me that He is alive. I remember that moment. I was walking through the barn lot on my way into the pasture to bring up the cows for their feeding. As a young farm boy, I was learning that out in the pasture was a good place for communion with the Lord. I had also learned a wonderful Gospel song, "He Lives." I was singing it at the top of my voice as I stepped down into the lot and came to the line that says: You ask me how I know He lives. I’ll tell you: He lives within my heart. Strangely, and rather wonderfully, I suddenly knew He was alive. He was living in me, and I supposed He was making this known to many others. From that moment I never doubted that Christ Jesus is, indeed, alive. None of the searching and probing of theologians—and non-theologians—has moved me at all since that time, to convince me that His Resurrection is only a "Christian tradition" held by the less informed.
And now—we see that knowing He is alive places us on the ground of knowing His Covenant and His Kingdom.
Let me tell you something else we’re coming to know about all this, with a new dimension of conviction and faith. Christ’s Kingdom, founded in the Davidic Covenant and in His Resurrection, is a Kingdom of mercy. I can not get away from observing how the cry of so many desperate people for His Kingdom’s grace and healing power has been a cry for mercy, and that from Him as the Son of David. See these passages; mark them well: Mt 9:27; Mt 15:22; Mt 20:30,31; Mk 10:47,48; Lk 18:38,39. We’ll use these in our "prayer starters" with this article. Jesus would stop running worlds to let His mercy flow to blind beggars who called Him the Son of David. I have had my eyes opened to see that mercy is one of the chief tenets of the Covenant. This is the understanding, as it is breaking upon me, that we’re reaching for in this article. Please reach for it with me. None of us is deserving enough to receive the graces of His Kingdom, but we can know with David, Thy mercy, O LORD, endureth for ever—Ps 138:8. If you want to have this impressed on you, see Ps 136 where this string of words is repeated 26 times! It can be repeated over and over in your life.
As I was laying out the principles revealed in the little book The Seven Covenants, the Lord impressed me I was neglecting an important part of the Covenant He had made with David. I had come to see this is the "Kingdom Covenant," the one in which God gives assurance that He will set One upon the Throne of David forever. This Covenant is first laid out in II Sam 7:8-16, then repeated in I Chron 17. Since you may not have the Covenants book at hand, let us view the Scripture here to take knowledge of its nine points. Know that I almost missed the ninth one. We intend presently to take up points 8 and 9 to see how they reach for us today who have placed our trust in the Lord Jesus Christ and who find ourselves in need of His continuing mercy.
II Samuel 7
8 Now therefore so shalt thou say unto My servant David, Thus saith the LORD of hosts, I took thee from the sheepcote, from following the sheep, to be ruler over my people, over Israel:
9 And I was with thee whithersoever thou wentest, and have cut off all thine enemies out of thy sight, and have made thee a great name, like unto the name of the great men that are in the earth.
10 Moreover I will appoint a place for My people Israel, and will plant them, that they may dwell in a place of their own, and move no more; neither shall the children of wickedness afflict them any more, as beforetime,
11 And as since the time that I commanded judges to be over My people Israel, and have caused thee to rest from all thine enemies. Also the LORD telleth thee that He will make thee an house.
12 And when thy days be fulfilled, and thou shalt sleep with thy fathers, I will set up thy seed after thee, which shall proceed out of thy bowels, and I will establish his kingdom.
13 He shall build an house for My Name, and I will stablish the throne of His Kingdom for ever.
14 I will be His Father, and He shall be My Son. 8If he commit iniquity, I will chasten him with the rod of men, and with the stripes of the children of men:
15 But My mercy shall not depart away from Him, as I took it from Saul, whom I put away before thee.
16 And thine house and thy kingdom shall be established for ever before thee: thy throne shall be established for ever.
Point 8 as taken it from the King James Version could never seem to have reference to the Lord Jesus. But, viewing it in the Original helps us see it has all the more reference to Him and the mercy that will reach for us through Him. See it again as we have placed it here: …8If he commit iniquity, I will chasten him with the rod of men, and with the stripes of the children of men (II Sam 7:14). Most interpreters of the passage declare this part of the Covenant has reference only to David’s lesser son, Solomon. Doing this, we fracture the Scripture and lessen its meaning. In the Hebrew language in which it was first recorded, the word "gahvah," here translated commit iniquity, can carry a diverse meaning determined by its context. It can mean 1"commit iniquity." But it can also mean 2"bear the consequence of iniquity" or 3"pay the penalty for iniquity." In the context of this passage where so much can only have reference to the greater Son of David, the Lord Jesus, can we not conclude this part has reference to Him also, and the meaning demanded for the word gahvah is points 2 or 3 of the above?
Also, there is a prefix to the word in the Hebrew which, when used as it is here, means "in." Thus, we have, "In His bearing the consequence of iniquity," or "in His paying the penalty for iniquity," I will chasten him with the rod of men, and with the stripes of the children of men.
What can bear greater reference to this than the Scripture of Isaiah 53, the most tender and compelling prophecy of how the Lord Jesus will bear the consequence of our iniquity. The language of David’s Covenant simply flows in this passage. See this:
4 Surely He hath borne our griefs ("sicknesses"), and carried our sorrows ("pains"): yet we did esteem ("take account of") Him stricken (as with a dreadful disease), smitten of God (as if beaten in battle), and afflicted (brought down in humiliation).
5 But He was wounded ("pierced") for our transgressions (for all our "rebellions" against God, for our every defection and sin), He was bruised ("crushed") for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace ("the correction that brings our peace") was upon Him; and with His stripes ("His wounds") we are healed ("we, emphatically, are cured, restored, made wholesome").
6 All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on Him the iniquity of us all. Oh, see it!
This is language right out of the Covenant God made with David. "In His bearing punishment for iniquity, I will chasten Him with the rod of men, and with the stripes of the children of men" (II Sam 7:14). Not only did Isaiah see it, but Peter too. When Isaiah made his statement, he said, …with his stripes we are healed. When Peter made his, he said, …by whose stripes ye were healed—I Pet 2:24. Isaiah spoke with an Imperfect Tense, for the work was not then completed. Peter spoke with an Aorist Tense, that of a completed action, for the work of our healing was finished, made complete in Him Who took our wounds and diseases upon Himself, as well as the punishment for our iniquity. Thus our High Priest and our King has become our Savior and our Healer—and has received us to Himself in Covenant.
See more of this Word from Peter. He interprets what was in the Davidic Covenant, seeing it forcefully in the New Covenant. Christ also suffered for us…Who did no sin, neither was guile ("deceit") found in His mouth: Who, when he was reviled, reviled not again (with evil spoken against Him, He did not retaliate with evil); when He suffered, He threatened not; but committed Himself to Him that judgeth righteously: Who His Own self bare our sins in His Own body on the tree (the Cross), that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by Whose stripes ye were healed—I Pet 2:21-24. Let this enter your spirit. It will do you well.
When we know ourselves as God’s Covenant people, brought into His realm by His Son, Christ Jesus, the promise of this Davidic Covenant becomes ours. It reaches where we are, just as it reached into the tomb where Jesus was laid. It brought Him forth alive. It’s bringing us forth, too.
Let what we lay out here reach into your "tomb," whatever may be inclosing you in some degree of hopelessness. Let His promise come to you in your sealed darkness and dispense its light and liberation. There is no prison wall so dense but that God’s mercy and faithfulness will penetrate it to set you free.
If you feel unworthy, know that a distinguishing mark of this Covenant is mercy. God loves mercy. Refuse it not. See what He said through the Prophet. Therefore have I hewed them by the Prophets; I have slain them by the Words of My mouth: and thy judgments are as the light that goeth forth. For I desired mercy, and not sacrifice; and the knowledge of God more than burnt offerings. But they like men have transgressed the Covenant: there have they dealt treacherously against Me.—Hos 6:5-7.
See what Hosea was saying. "My Words through the Prophets have revealed the true condition of My people. My judgments upon them have been like a light. My delight would have been to show them mercy, but they were too involved with empty religion to know this. I wanted them to know Me, but they were taken with rituals, only shadows of the reality to which I would have brought them. Like the Man Adam, they disregarded the Covenant I made with them. In doing this, they behaved like deceitful traitors toward me."
While this Word was initially for ancient Israel, can we not hear it now as a Word to His present-day people? They ignored His Covenant and the bond of mercy in which He would have held them. They contented themselves with empty religious practices that became abhorrent to the Lord. Calling themselves believers, they were filled with unbelief.
We can still hear this Word from the last Prophet of the Old Testament. For I am the LORD, I change not… Return unto me, and I will return unto you, saith the LORD of Hosts (from Mal 3:6,7). God has never turned from being merciful. He has reached toward us with mercy ever since our Parents in the Garden spurned the warmth of union with Him in favor of a bond with the serpent who was a liar, and the father of it (Jn 8:44).
We can see God’s mercy in all the Covenants through the ages as He has pledged His faithfulness and made known His purposes to His people. And now—never is mercy so fully known as in the New Covenant of which the Lord Jesus is the Mediator between God and us ( II Tim 2:5).
God’s Covenant faithfulness is reaching for us with a substance and reality nothing of the world can match. The early men of the New Testament—such as Peter, Paul, Matthew, Luke, John, to name few—clearly understood that the Lord Jesus Christ was the recipient of the Covenant God made with David. They saw that His place in the Covenant was made firm by His being raised from the dead.
I make reference to this one thing over and over because there is no facet of the Covenant more important: the very fact that He was raised from the dead stands firmly on the ground of this Covenant Word, Thou wilt not leave My soul in hell, neither wilt Thou suffer Thine Holy One to see corruption—Ps 16:10 and Ac 2:27.
We want the power and light of this to break over upon us like the dawning of a new day. In our desperation—that in some is increasing by the hour—are we not ready for a new day?
Never has the cry of my own heart become more firm. "Show us Your Covenant, Oh Lord! Draw me, my family, these people to whom we minister to know You in a Covenant Bond that even death itself cannot destroy. Let this Covenant Knowledge come over on the plagues of life that have tempered our days and have made us like a people tossed in a sea of trouble. We have come to the place where our only hope lies in Your faithfulness and in Your mercy. I now believe this is confirmed in Your Covenant with us, Your People."
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