2 Samuel 23:5

[3 sermons on 2 Samuel 23:5]


2 Samuel 23:5              No.1 [Sunday 23 April forenoon]

 

Although my house be not so with God; yet he hath made with me an everlasting covenant, ordered in all things, and sure: for this is all my salvation, and all my desire, although he make it not to grow.

 

The beginning of this chapter is commended to our notice, as the last words of David – the last words of a man of eminent spirituality, so as to receive the title of the man after God’s own heart – and of one who had been long and variously exercised.  He had been in troubles from his youth – sometimes so pressed that he almost despaired, yet always seasonably supported.  In this verse he is speaking of the two points which respecting his personal concern lay nearest his heart - his family and his soul.  The truths he here contemplates and the manner of his expression afford room for more discourses than one.  At present and by way of introduction to what I may offer hereafter from the passage, I shall endeavour to give you a brief exposition upon the word and to raise a few observations for general use.  May the Lord command his blessing.

 

1.                   Although.  From this word and the case referred compared with the general case of Scripture, I would observe that the people of God, however situate or circumstanced, have each their trials.  David was a child, a prophet of God.  He was a warrior and a king.  He had great riches and great honours.  But still he had an Although.  Let this

 

1.                   encourage some.  Why do you complain as though none were exercised like yourself? (1 Peter 5:9)

2.                   teach others what to expect.  You may possibly for a little while think yourselves well in all points – but whether believers or not, you will find a cross.  Pray that trials may be sanctified.  Escape them you cannot.

 

2.                   My house.  David was prosperous in many respects, but afflicted in his family.  One son slain by another, and he that murthered his brother proved a rebel and traitor to his father.  He had many children, but few that he could hope were the Lord’s children.  His sorrow on [t]his account found a place even in his last words.  Observe hence:

 

1.                   A good man longs for the spiritual welfare of his children and family.  Indeed those who have tasted that the Lord is gracious, wish that all around them were partakers of the same mercy, but charity will in this sense at least begin at home.  I think those of you who have dear relatives may try yourselves by this test.  Do you travel[travail] as it were in birth for those who are dear to you?  It is a good sign, and if your desires prompt to the use of every probable and appointed means, and if a failing of success with them gives you a deep sensible concern, and excites your prayers to God for them yet more earnestly, be not discouraged, you may yet have the desire of your hearts.  But remember:

 

2.                   that grace does not run in the blood.  David had Ammon and Absolem.  Manasseh, who was brought up under good Hezekiah, was wicked beyond all that were before him.  Nothing but the power of God can change the heart.  Therefore:

 

1.                   Beware of trusting to outward privileges (Matt 3:9).

 

2.                   Be not discouraged if you have not had them in early life.  They could not have saved you of themselves, and if you seek to the Lord Jesus, he can save you without them.

 

3.         Not so with God.  David’s children were something in the sight of men: king’s sons and honourable. But alas, says he, what will this avail, unless they are precious in the Lord’s sight?

 

1.                   We are all just so and no otherwise than as we are with God.  His judgment is right.  Those whom he favours are happy in a cottage.  All others are and will be miserable though they may [be] rich and honourable in the sight of the world.  Examine, my dear friends, do you truly think so?  Do you regard his loving kindness as better than life, and account all things but loss and dung in comparison with Christ?  If not, unless the Lord change your mind, how miserably will you be disappointed, when the things you love must leave you and you be constrained to appear before God?

 

2.                   Here is a rule for parents.  Do you wish your children well?  Then remember to seek for them the kingdom of God and his righteousness in the first place.  Endeavour to impress them with a sense of the importance of eternal things.  Pray for their souls.  If you neglect this, and only put them in a way and set them an example of heaping up wealth, you are not their friends but their enemies.

 

4.         Yet he hath made.  As every believer has an Although, so likewise a Yet to balance it.  Many are the comforts provided for the children of God, but none like the consideration of this covenant.  Observed, the parts:

 

1.                   A covenant.  An engagement in which the Great God condescends to bind himself to performance.

 

2.                   Everlasting.  From everlasting in its glorious contrivance, to everlasting in its blessed effects.

 

3.                   Ordered.  Prepared, disposed.  The Lord foresaw whatever would be wanted and has provided according.  A fullness of grace, a supply for every want, is treasured up in this blessed covenant, and in a way wonderfully suited/fitted for the encouragement and consolation of unworthy sinners.

 

4.                   Sure.  Not suspended upon uncertain conditions, but established with and in Christ, confirmed by promises, by oath and by blood.

 

5.         When David calls this covenant his own, he adds an experimental reason, It is all my salvation and all my desire.  These great truths deserve a more large consideration, but at present I shall conclude with recommending you to try yourselves by this last clause.

 

1.       Is it all your salvation?  That is, do you see your need and value of it, and see it so sure and suitable that you are determined by the help of God to venture your soul in this way and to seek no other?  Surely all who are taught of God agree here - whatever else they doubt or differ about, they are satisfied that Jesus is the sufficient and only Saviour.

 

2.       Is it all your desire?  Does nothing appear valuable in comparison of this?  Can you with respect to disappointment, see sufficient compensation if you could be able to say upon good grounds, He hath made with me etc.

 

If you have not this view of salvation by grace, and this desire towards it, you are nothing in the sight of God.  Whatever you may think of yourself, or others think of you, you are not so with him as his people are.  The Lord help you to consider this.  He once more sets these things before you.  Take heed that you not slight his goodness.

 

But if your conscience bears you witness that your desire is to heaven and holiness and Christ is the way in which you choose to walk, if you admire thus everlasting, and long above all things to know that your name is in it, I may venture to tell you from God’s word that your name is indeed surely there.  Without his grace you could not have made this choice.  The Lord help you to take the comfort and give him the glory of what he has done for your souls.  Press on, read, pray, attend diligently on his means, and you shall know more and more of this covenant while you live, and ere long shall be put in possession of all its blessings in a better world.

 

Amen

 

 

2 Samuel 23:5              No.2 [Sunday 30 April forenoon]

 

Although my house be not so with God; yet he hath made with me an everlasting covenant, ordered in all things, and sure: for this is all my salvation, and all my desire, although he make it not to grow.

 

Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but they have a sure refuge and strong consolations provided in the Covenant of grace.  This secures them so that their enemies have no reason to rejoice over them.  When they seem to fall they shall rise again.  This is a balance to all their sufferings.  I have made some general observations on the text and propose at this time to speak more particularly of that Covenant in which David rejoiced in his last words.  David was taught great things concerning the Messiah – witness the many glorious passages in the Psalms, and what he recorded by the Spirit of God for others, he was enabled to understand and feed upon for his own use.  I shall:

 

1.                   Explain the doctrine of the Covenant of Grace

 

2.                   Speak of it as a matter of experience - the believer can say, He has made with me

 

1.         In explaining the doctrine, we may consider:

 

1.                   the word – A Covenant

1.                   This word in common use signifies a compact or agreement in which two parties are bound to each other upon mutual conditions.  Thus there is a covenant between the king and his subjects, between masters and servants, and in many concerns of common life.  But this sense will not bear in a covenant wherein God and man are concerned – for we can promise or perform nothing. Therefore it is called a Covenant of grace.  We have no natural claim to the benefits of it, nor can be[we] by any means perform the conditions.

2.                   We must therefore abide by a scriptural sense of the word, if we consider the covenant as respecting ourselves.  The expression is often when the Lord freely, and of his own mere good pleasure, engages to perform good to his people, the accomplishment of which is nit suspended upon any conditions to be performed by them.  This we read of the [Lord’s] God’s covenant of day and night (Jer. 33:20), his covenant with Noah (Gen. 10:11) and a full promise of all spiritual blessings is called, his covenant (Is. 59:21).

3.                   The same word is rendered a Testament (Heb. 9:15-18), or Last Will.  This sense points out the way in which the blessings of the covenant are derived to us by the death and appointment of the great Testator.  These distinctions of the word will help us to understand:

2.         The thing

1.                   The Scripture teaches us that the first man in his state of innocence stood under a covenant of works.  I confess the phrase is not expressly in Scripture but the meaning of it is plainly there.  Adam was formed in the image of God, capable of serving and enjoying him.  The covenant with him was, Do this and live.  His duty was marked out, under the double sanction of promises and penalties he was furnished with sufficient power and motives to obey and warned of the consequences of disobedience.  Had he thus continued in the will of God, he would have acquired a right to immortality and happiness.  Indeed, this in a sense was of grace likewise, for God was not bound to reward him thus, till he was pleased to bind himself.  But when he had this promise, Adam had a just claim upon performance of the condition.  In this covenant his posterity likewise were included, but it was of short continuance, not like the everlasting covenant in my text, and brought ruin and death u[on himself and all his posterity.

 

2.                   This event was no sudden unexpected thing in the sight of God; he foresaw it must, it would be so, and therefore in his infinite wisdom and love he had provided the remedy before the calamity took place.  He permitted it so to be, because he had determined for the manifestation of his own glory, that where sin had abounded, grace should much more abound.  Upon this ground the covenant of grace became necessary.  That is a dispensation of mercy to undeserving sinners in a way suited to vindicate and illustrate all the Divine perfections.

 

3.                   This covenant of grace was established with and in our Lord Jesus Christ, for the recovery and salvation of all that should believe in his name.  The Scripture speaks of transactions between the Father and the Son before the foundation of the world.  If we understand it of the Divine persons in the Trinity it intends a mutual consent that the work of our redemption should be brought about in such a way.  But if we understand it of the God man Christ Jesus, the word made flesh, appearing in our nature and cause, we may say that the covenant of grace to us was to him a covenant of works, strictly speaking.  He was the Mediator between God and sinners, and there was according to the first sense I gave you of the word, a compact or agreement.  He engaged for men to God and for God to men.

 

1.                   He engaged to God on the behalf of men.  To vindicate the honour of his broken law, by his voluntary obedience unto death, fulfilling all the commands of God in his own person and making atonement for transgression with his own blood.

 

2.                   He received authority on the behalf of God to bring many sons to glory, even all who should embrace the message of his love and put their trust under the shadow of his wings (John 12:30; Isa. 53:11).  He is our surety, on whom our debt was charged, and having paid it, he proclaims a free discharge to every weary, wounded soul.  When their hearts are pricked with a sense of those sins which caused his death, he, like another, Joseph, says by his Gospel, Let it not grieve you that your sins brought sorrow and death upon me – for so God appointed, and so I readily engaged to save your lives and to preserve your souls from death.

 

Jesus therefore is the sum and substance of the everlasting covenant.  The blessings of it are numerous: he has obtained for us everything we need.  In my next, we may consider them from the properties here mentioned in my text.  In the mean time, briefly,

 

1.                   Pardon of all sin.

2.                  Adoption which includes a right to the Spirit, promises, providences of God.

3.                  Eternal glory (John 17:24).

 

1.                  What think you of these great truths?  We are told, these things the angels desire to look into; they learn by his dispensations to his church, more of his wisdom and glory than from the knowledge of all his other works.  Have any of you no relish for them?  How unfit then are you to join in the company and worship of heaven.  If the Lord should pass by your actual sins, and take you up, amongst the millions that are before his throne, what could you do there?  How would you have either will or skill to sing their song unless you learn it?  What a strange notion have you of heaven, if you think you could enjoy it without the knowledge and love of Jesus Christ.  Could you say, Thou hast washed us, if you were still in your sins?  May you be enabled to see the necessity of being born again – of having your hearts changed and your whole souls formed anew in order to your admission into that better world.  If you see this remember that Jesus is exalted to bestow this salvation.  All things are ready – nothing wanting to make you happy but faith in the Lamb of God.  And this he will give to them that ask.  Will you go home and say, How foolish have I lived – so many years have I wasted and thought nothing of this everlasting covenant.  Lord forgive me what is past and teach me that which I know not.

 

2.                  Some I doubt not have their desires to this covenant, but guilt and fear keep them.  Satan says as Jehu, What hast thou [to] do with peace?  If the Covenant blessings were for you, the Lord would not let you wait so long without comfort.  O resist that enemy.  Put yourself into the hands of Jesus, his compassions are infinite, and he shall exalt you in due time.  Did you ever hear of any who trusted in him and perished?  How could you ever have had a desire towards him unless he had put it into your hearts?

 

3.                  Believers – rejoice in this Covenant.  Walk about this Sion, consider her foundations and all the towers thereof and mark well the bulwark.  See how it is fixed upon an immoveable rock, guarded by almighty power, encompassed with infinite love, and enriched with all desirable blessings, and then with a holy indifference to all the trials of the present hour, rejoice and say, Although my house be not so with God, yet he has made with me an everlasting covenant, ordered and sure, etc.

 

NB: see Zion, or the city of God

[written for Sunday 16 April 1775, Easter Day, evening]

[Isaiah 33:20,21 Glorious things of thee are spoken, Zion, city of our God!]

 

 

2 Samuel 23:5              No.3 [Sunday 7 May forenoon]

 

Although my house be not so with God; yet he hath made with me an everlasting covenant, ordered in all things, and sure: for this is all my salvation, and all my desire, although he make it not to grow.

 

Having spoken of the Covenant in general, I now come to speak particularly of its properties.  It is everlasting, ordered and sure.  Each of these would bear a whole discourse but I shall endeavour to comprise them all in one.

 

1.                  Everlasting.  This in two senses:

 

1.         From everlasting.  It is not a new and hasty contrivance, but was established in the counsels of God from before the foundation of the world (Titus 1:2).  Christ as the head of the covenant was set up form everlasting (Prov. 8:23).  And from hence we may prove:

 

1.                   That there never was but one true religion since the fall of Adam, though under various dispensations (see Heb. 11).

 

2.                   That salvation is all of grace.

 

 

2.         To everlasting.  It is unchangeable.  It is inexhaustible.  It has been the refuge of the people of God in all ages.  It is so to us, and thousands yet unborn shall rejoice in it.  We are gone off the stage of this life.  It is not the weaker for all the assaults that have been made against it, it is not the poorer for all the supplies that have been derived from it, but like its great Author is the same yesterday, today and forever.  It will be still the same to eternity. [see original for a ref?]

 

2.                  Ordered in all things.  The word signifies disposed, suited, provided, in such a manner as to answer every case and necessity that should arise.  O this is a comfortable thought when the soul is enabled to look round.  See how everything in this covenant is exactly fitted to its state (see 1 Cor. 1: 30).

The Lord knew what would be wanted and has provided accordingly (1 Tim 4:8; Heb 13?26??):

1.                   The poor awakened soul is distressed and terrified by the guilt of sin, but here is pardon – free pardon – a pardon bought with blood.

2.                   Distressed by fears and unbelief which make it shrink back and say, For others it may be, but not for me. But here are many, great, exceeding, precious promises.

3.                   It sees itself all over wants, but the ordered covenant contains an infinite fullness.

4.                   It is alarmed with numerous enemies, but when we look to the covenant, we see there are more with us than against us.

5.                   There is a dreadful heart of unbelief tempting to depart from God and when it is felt, the believer thinks, This enemy will be too hard for me at last.  Nay, says the covenant, that cannot be.  I will put my fear into thy heart.

 

Thus every objection and complaint being provided for and answered, the covenant is:

 

3.                  Sure or as the word is secured.  Freed from any possibility of miscarrying.  It is sure:

 

by the

1.                   word                 }                                   Ps. 111:5,9; Isa. 54:10

2.                   oath                 }           of God               Ps. 110; Heb. 6:17

3.                   power               }                                   Deut. 33:27

 

by the

4.                   blood                }                                   Zech. 9:11        

5.                   intercession      }           of Christ            Heb. 12:24

6.                   government       }                                   Matt. 28:18

 

We have only time briefly to hint at these things.  But, O what comfort does the consideration of this covenant afford!

 

Hence:

 

1.         You that desire to be established in faith and peace – meditate much on this subject.  You will never get strength by poring only upon your own hearts.

 

2.                   Let all examine - concerning your faith in Christ, if you are united to him.  This covenant which is made in and with him, you may say of it as David, He has made it with me.  But not otherwise.  There is not a drop of mercy or a grain of comfort out of Christ.

 

Can you adopt David’s word?

 

1.         Is it all your salvation?  Do you understand this way?  Do you approve it?  The whole of it?  Is Christ precious to you?  In all his offices?  If so, the covenant is yours.  If not, you are yet in covenant with death, under the covenant of the law, bound down with a curse.

 

2.         Is it all your desire?  Then you are waiting upon the Lord, you are weary of sin, you love his ordinances, you account all things loss and dung compared with the blessings of the Covenant.  Such shall not be disappointed.  Although your house be not as you could wish, although you are not made to grow so fast as you are taught to pray for, yet here is comfort: the Lord has made an everlasting covenant.  He has made it known to you, drawn your heart to approve and desire it.  This is a sign you are surely interested in it.  Fear not.  You are in a good care.  You have committed yourself to the Lord and none can snatch you out of his hands.

 

 

 





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