Wednesday, September 8, 2010

The Enduring Love of the Godhead

The love and resulting covenant between David and Jonathan is one of the most interesting accounts in the OT.  Two things stand out to me from my most recent study of this subject.  There were two aspects of this covenant of love between David and Jonathan.   In 1 Samuel 20 the word for “love” is one of a steadfast, dependable or enduring love. 
On the one hand Jonathan promised to warn David of his father Saul’s intention of harm toward David if he learned of any.  In verse 42 we see that because he promised to take care of David, David could go in peace.  1Sa 20:42  Then Jonathan said to David, "Go in peace, because we have sworn both of us in the name of the LORD, saying, 'The LORD shall be between me and you, and between my offspring and your offspring, forever.'" And he rose and departed, and Jonathan went into the city.”
So David has some measure of rest and security even amid very trying circumstances.  I see this covenant as teaching us of the everlasting covenant.  Surely there is a sense in which Christ has left us with peace in this life even though our circumstances are anything but peaceful.  Is there not a sense in which we can breathe easy no matter what is threatening us?  How can David go in peace even while the king is trying to kill him?  Because he trusted the word of Jonathan.  And has not Jesus left us with a very similar word?  John 16:33 “ I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world."  And also Rom 5:1 “ Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.
We do not have peace because things are peaceful; we have peace because One greater than Jonathan and greater than David and greater than Saul sits upon the throne and we are at peace with Him through Jesus Christ!  It is because the blood of a greater covenant has been shed and imputed to us that seals God’s protection to us. 
The other aspect of this covenant and the primary one is David’s promise to spare Jonathan’s descendants instead of destroying them as legitimate threats to his kingdom.  By the time David becomes king Jonathan is dead, nobody knows about the covenant and he could have easily decided not to abide by it.  But it is his love for Jonathan that forces him to look for someone from Jonathan’s family to do good to.  We can just see one of Jonathan’s sons being hauled before David and expecting death.  Why is it that David spares him and blesses him instead?  Surely not because of anything Jonathan’s son has done; he was born in a condemned family.  It was because David’s love for Jonathan and his desire to keep his word because of that love that is as strong as ever that is the basis for love being shown to Jonathan’s descendents. 
What a picture of grace!  God loves us and saves us because of Jesus Christ.  When I stand before him someday the only hope I have that I will not be cast away is because of the love between the Father and the Son.  It will be the knowledge that I am loved, not for some pitiful thing that I have done or even for whatever love God might have towards one of his creation, but he loves me with the same love he loves his Son because I have been placed in Christ and accepted in The Beloved.  That is my hope and surety and that love will never diminish unless the Father’s love for the Son diminishes.  Much more than David, time won’t erode it, he won’t get bored with me or even angry with me because I am in his beloved Son.
Do we not see the Apostle John banking on this love in 1Jn 3:1-3? “ See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. The reason why the world does not know us is that it did not know him.  Beloved, we are God's children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is.  And everyone who thus hopes in him purifies himself as he is pure.” 
It is when John says, “And so we are” that teaches me that the covenant is already in effect and I am just waiting for its fulfillment.  Notice also, “We are God’s children now”.  But it goes on to say that since we know this is a done deal we can live victoriously now.  Now that’s enduring love and I am glad it is not up to me to keep it aflame.  My father Adam was a rebel and I deserve the same fate of all rebels, but I have found safety in Christ Jesus and the Everlasting Covenant.

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