Covenant Rest III
A COVENANT REST -- PART III
A. Introduction: One of the things God offers His people is rest = a life of dependence on and trust in Him for everything. Matt 11:28
1. One way God inspires our trust and confidence in Him is through covenants.
a. A covenant is a solemn (binding) agreement between two parties through which they bind themselves to each other for mutual purposes.
b. God has chosen to bind himself to man through various covenants.
c. Since man has nothing to give God which He needs, a covenant between God and man is in reality a contract or promise from God to do good for those who have nothing to offer.
d. By entering into covenants with man, God demonstrates His love and His faithfulness -- and inspires our confidence so we can rest in Him.
2. The Bible itself is divided into two great covenants between God and man -- the Old Covenant (testament) and the New Covenant (testament).
a. God established the Old Covenant with Abraham and gradually expanded it to include his descendants -- Israel. Gen 17:1-7; Ex 24:3-8
b. The New Covenant was established through Jesus and it includes all who believe on Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. Matt 26:26-28
3. God has bound Himself to man for our good through legal contracts that had severe penalties if they were broken or not honored. Why did God do this?
a. It isn't because He has to be forced to stay faithful, but rather to magnify the certainty of His faithfulness and reliability.
b. He wants to be held to His part of the covenant because He is faithful.
c. Heb 6:13-18 tells us that God gave Abraham two unchangeable things -- His oath and His promise -- because He wanted to clearly show Abraham His faithfulness. Gen 12:2; 15:5; 22:16,17
4. Under the terms of the Old Covenant with Israel:
a. God blessed them with physical protection from enemies, pestilence, disease; He gave them food, clothing, shelter, shade, warmth, direction; He caused their crops, flocks, and herds to multiply. Ex 19:4-6; 23:20-33
b. They had to serve God only and obey His laws. Ex 24:3-8
c. He gave them a system of blood sacrifices to cover their sins, and instructions for building a tabernacle so He could dwell with them. Ex 29:42-46; Lev 26:9-13
5. Heb 8:6--New Covenant is a better covenant established on better promises.
a. Better includes all the benefits, blessings of the Old Covenant plus more.
b. If our covenant lacks anything Israel had, then it isn't better, it's different.
c. Heb 8:10-12 states the four-fold better blessing of the New Covenant.
6. The New Covenant is better than the Old Covenant in these ways:
a. In the Old Covenant, their sins were covered; in the New Covenant, our sins are removed. Luke 24:46,47; Heb 8:12; 10:1,2
b. The Old Covenant dealt with the outer man; the New Covenant deals with the inner man. Heb 10:10;14; I Cor 1:30; Col 1:22
c. Under the Old Covenant, God dwelt with them; under the New Covenant, God dwells in us. John 14:17; I Cor 6:19; Phil 2:13
d. Under the Old Covenant, they were God's servants; under the New Covenant, we are God's sons. Ex 4:22,23; I John 3:2
7. We haven't mentioned in detail the human side of these covenants. What part do we play in fulfilling the various covenants since we have nothing God needs?
a. We'll deal with this more fully later, but let's make a few comments.
b. In both covenants man's part was and is to believe God's word, and, out of that belief comes faithfulness and obedience.
8. Remember the point: God created man for relationship, sonship, fellowship.
a. He's been working toward that since before creation. Isa 45:18; Eph 1:4,5 b. Sin marred the plan, but God has been working progressively toward a deeper and deeper relationship with man.
1. Under the Old Covenant, God dwelled with His people; under the New Covenant, God dwells in His people.
2. Under the Old Covenant, covenant people were servants of God; under the New Covenant, covenant people are sons of God.
c. Not only are we sons, God's making us like Jesus. I John 3:2; Rom 8:29
9. These covenants show us what God wants to do to and for us -- knowledge which should inspire faith, trust, and dependence on Him which leads to rest.
10. One of the things the Old Covenant did for covenant people and should do for us as New Covenant people, is produce confidence before God and in the face of trouble (satan).
B. When David faced Goliath, he had confidence in God's help and Goliath's certain defeat because David was a covenant man and knew the covenant rest. I Sam 17
1. There are two key points in this account in connection with our subject:
a. David viewed this attack from Goliath as something that had no right to oppose the people of God. I Sam 17:26
b. David knew God would help him. I Sam 17:36,37
c. That's the kind of confidence that we can have as covenant people.
2. David viewed this as a non-covenant man attacking covenant people -- and it had to be and would be stopped. I Sam 17:26
a. What will a man get for killing this Philistine and ending his insults to Israel? Who is this heathen Philistine, anyway, that he is allowed to defy the armies of the living God? (Living)
b. What will be done for the man who kills this Philistine and frees Israel from disgrace? (Beck)
c. ... that he should taunt the battle-lines of the living God? (Goodspeed)
d. ... and removes this disgrace from Israel? For who is this uncircumcised Philistine, to dare insult the armies of the living God? (Moffatt)
3. As covenant people, we have rights -- not before God, we don't need them; He's our Father; we have relationship -- but before satan and all the things we've been redeemed from.
a. Poverty, sickness, destruction, oppression, etc. no longer have the right to function in my life! I have a covenant with God! Deut 28:15-68; Gal 3:13
b. Just because those things have no right in my life doesn't mean they won't enter my life -- that's life in a sin cursed earth.
c. But, I have the right and the authority given to me by God Almighty -- to demand that those things go! Mark 16:15-18; Luke 10:19; Luke 13:16
4. Notice how Goliath defied the covenant people of God. Defy = to carp at = to find fault; to defame = speak ill of; reproach; shame.
a. He's an enemy who wants to put Israel in bondage, and / or kill them.
b. These are the tactics he used to intimidate and enslave them:
1. The facts of his physical appearance: 7-9 feel tall; 200 lb coat of mail; a javelin several inches thick, tipped with a 25 lb iron spear; an armor bearer to carry the huge shield. v4-7
2. The constancy of his attacks -- 2 times a day for 40 days. v16
3. Spoke of Israel only in natural terms -- they were the armies of Israel and servants of Saul. v8;10
5. Trouble defies us in just the same way. But if you know the covenant rest as David did, you can face trouble with the confidence that, through faith in God and His promises, you will be victorious. I Sam 17:36,37
a. God helping David defeat attacks against his flocks = covenant protection. b. God helping David defeat attacks against Israel = covenant protection.
6. God binds Himself to us, not because He has to be held accountable, but to show us AHEAD OF TIME how faithful He is, so that we can be confident of God's help, and rest in our expectancy of it.
a. Note, David spoke what he believed before he saw it. I Sam 17:45-47
b. As New Covenant people, we profession our faith. Heb10:23
c. It gave David confidence to meet the problem head on. v48
d. David had exactly what he believed and what he said. v49-51
C. David knew some things about covenants which gave him confidence and rest.
1. He knew the covenants were initiated by an awesome God for the good of helpless, undeserving men, and he understood that covenants are based on God's faithfulness and power to fulfill them.
2. God made a specific covenant with David that a descendent of his would rule out of Jerusalem forever. It was the promise of Jesus. Ps 89:4,5; 28-37
3. Let's look at when God initiated that covenant. II Sam 7 (Living Bible)
a. v18--Why have you showered your blessings on such an insignificant person as I am?
b. v20,21--For you know what I am like! You are doing all these things just because you promised to and because you want to.
c. v23--What other nation in all the earth has received such blessings as Israel, your people? For you have rescued your chosen nation in order to bring glory to your name.
d. v24--You chose Israel to be your people forever, and you became our God. e. v28--For you indeed are God, and your words are truth; and you have promised me these good things.
f. v29--So do as you have promised! Bless me and my family forever.
4. Remember, when Israel was carried off to Babylon, God said this covenant was as certain as the covenant of day and night. Jer 33:20-26; Gen 8:22
5. David's last words were expressions of his confidence in the covenant God made with him. II Sam 23:1-5 (Living Bible)
a. David knew God would be faithful to fulfill the covenant.
b. David had lived a lifetime seeing God fulfill His covenant. Ps 37:25
6. Time, distance, circumstances, human failures, other peoples' choices cannot stop God from fulfilling His covenant because He is faithful. Rom 8:35-39
a. Love was, is the motivation behind each covenant. Deut 7:6-9; John 3:16
1. Luke 22:15--Jesus said He desired to eat the last supper.
2. With desire = I have heartily desired = Jesus was eager to establish this covenant with us, despite the great cost to Himself.
b. Love initiated these covenants, love will see them through, fulfill them.
D. One of the greatest descriptions of a life of rest found in the Bible is Psalm 23.
1. The Holy Spirit inspired David to write this, the testimony of a covenant man.
2. It is the testimony of a man who knew God's provision in a sin-cursed earth. v4
a. v1--The Lord is my Shepherd and He will provide for me.
b. v2--He will lead me to provision as I walk through the troubles of life.
c. v3--He restores me when I am weary.
d. v3--He leads me in the path of righteousness (the right way to go).
e. v4--As a result, I have no fear of the evil I encounter along the way.
f. v5--God makes full provision for me in the midst of it.
g. v6--When I look back over it all, I can clearly see God was and is at work.
3. Where did David get that kind of confidence?
a. From the Book of the Covenant. Ps 19:7-11; I Kings 2:1-4; Ex 24:7
b. From the covenant making and keeping God, the Great Shepherd.
4. Jesus is the Great Shepherd of the Old Covenant and the New Covenant.
a. Ezek 34:23,24 tells us there is only One Shepherd of Israel.
1. The passage refers to the Messiah: The name David is used here for the coming Messiah instead of the more commonly used names.
2. David (the person) is a type of Christ in the OT; Jesus is a physical descendent of David. Ezek 37:24,25; Jer 30:9; Hos 3:5
b. Matt 2:6--Rule = GR = to tend as a shepherd: For out of you will come a ruler who will be the Shepherd of My people Israel. (NIV)
c. God the Shepherd led Israel out of bondage in Egypt and cared for them in the wilderness. Ps 77:20; 78:52-54; 80:1
5. Rock of Israel: Preincarnate Jesus; told David about the covenant. II Sam 23:3
6. Not only did Jesus initiate our covenant by shedding His blood, He is the guarantee of our covenant -- just as He was for David and Abraham.
a. Heb 7:22--Jesus has become the Guarantee of a better (stronger) agreement - a more excellent and more advantageous covenant. (Amp)
b. The Blood of the Shepherd initiated the Covenant, and the God of peace will fulfill it. Heb 13:20,21
E. Conclusion: There is a rest that comes with knowing you are in covenant with God Almighty.
1. Rest does not mean inactivity -- that is clear from the life of David.
2. But, none of your actions are efforts to earn or deserve God's help.
3. Instead, they are actions which demonstrate your faith and confidence in God's promise to you.