God Raises Up David
2 Samuel 7:18–29; Psalm 89:19–24
Samuel Lesson #179
July 16, 2019
“Father, we thank you that You are a sovereign God who rules over His creation. We do not know all about Your plan and purposes, and as we look out now, as in just about any other decade or century, in the course of human history, there just seems to be uncertainty and chaos— all the results of sin—but we know You are in control. You are working things out according to a plan, and You’re going to bring things to a conclusion that will bring maximum glory to Yourself, demonstrating that only when creatures are completely dependent upon You, can they have true joy, peace, happiness, and stability.”
“Father, we thank You for Your love for us, that You are faithful to Your Word; no matter how we sin, no matter how we fail, no matter how many bad decisions we make, there is always grace. There is always forgiveness. And that there is no sin too great for Your grace. There is no sin that was forgotten at the Cross and all was paid for.
“Father, we need to be challenged to be in Your Word so that Your Word can be in us and that God the Holy Spirit can use it to transform us, because the really significant reason we are here is not to be successful as students, not to be successful as parents, not to be successful as teachers, or in the military—as great as those things are—what counts is what we take with us into eternity.
“Father we pray that You would encourage us to focus more upon Your Word and to build our relationship with You that we might know You. And we pray this in Christ’s name. Amen.”
Open Your Bibles with me to Psalm 89. This is such a great psalm, and I’ve had a lot of fun and some not so great fun trying to work my way through some of the issues in this particular psalm. We are now down into a section that focuses on the part of this prayer where the author is reminding God of what He has promised, of what He has done and why He has done it because that will lay the foundation for the basic request that comes at the end of this particular psalm.
So, the focal point that begins in Psalm 89:19 and goes down to Psalm 89:37 is how God raises up David. It gives us some additional information to the giving of the Davidic Covenant, the revelation of the Davidic Covenant, and different aspects than what we see in either 2 Samuel 7 or 1 Chronicles 17, so this is a very important passage.
We need to be reminded that the focal point is always on God. The focal point is on the faithfulness of God in terms of His loyal, faithful love, the Hebrew word is chesed, in conjunction with His faithfulness or stability—His certainty as seen in the word for “faithfulness,” which is emunah and how many times each of these two words are used as you move through the text. That is part of what we’ll see again today.
Just a reminder, this is a 1 and 2 Samuel course and study that we have been in for many, many lessons—178 hours so far—and we are covering all of the psalms that we can in the context where we know about it, so we’re covering Psalm 89 as part of that study of the Davidic Covenant coming out of 2 Samuel 7.
There are three basic divisions that we have seen here: The first is a focus on God’s love, His faithful, loyal love, chesed, and His faithfulness, emunah, and that is praised and described in Psalm 89:1–18; we’ve covered that.
Now we get into the second section which is Psalm 89:19–37, which reminds God of the promises He made to David, how He raised up David, how He exalted David, and how He’s empowered and strengthened David. This is going to be the foundation for the petition.
The application for us is that when we pray, we should learn a lot about prayer just by studying the psalms, but what we see here is by taking God’s promises to Him and walking our way through them mentally, reminding God and us of what that promise is, then this lays a foundation to a request that we are making as we petition God.
We’ll then come to the third part, Psalm 89:38–52, which is the petition of the psalmist that God would remain faithful to His promises to David despite the corruption, the sin, the failure that takes place among David’s descendants and that God would not cancel the covenant.
Now that’s a reminder—just the three steps in the Faith-Rest Drill. We first claim a promise, we see promises that relate to us in the Church Age that are maybe in the Old Testament, that relate to Israel, but they reflect a universal principle, a promise. And so, we claim that and by claiming it, it means that we are telling God, “This is a promise You made and I want You to fulfill that in this particular area.”
We’re not making a demand of God, but we are relating His promises in His Word to what is going on in our life and making a request. As we do that, and it is very helpful to memorize passages, memorize Scripture because that forces us to think the passage through, think through the verse.
We ask, what is the writer saying? What is being said in this verse? And we see that there is an internal logic or structure to any verse, any statement, any sentence, and we see that there is a logical progression in promises. That sets up a rationale, an argument for a conclusion. So, we think that through, and we apply it in step three, which is where we take those conclusions and then apply that to our particular situation.
When we get into Psalm 89, I’ve gone through the three basic divisions. The first division was Psalm 89:1–18. God’s promise to David is the foundation of the psalmist’s petition. This is in Psalm 89:19–37. Now there are four sections here that we will work our way through.
First, God chose David to be His anointed king; we see that in verses 19 and 20, which serves as an introduction to this section down through verse 25.
Then secondly, God promised to protect, preserve, and bless David; He will strengthen him; He will establish him, and He’ll protect him from his enemies. He will protect him both internally because of the Word that David has hidden in His soul that protects him from fear from, anxiety, from worry.
We see so many times in the psalms, how when David writes a psalm, he begins in a position of fear, worry, or anxiety: there is a threat, it’s overt, but as he focuses on the character of God, it transforms His mental attitude so that he’s not worrying, he’s not afraid, he’s not overwhelmed by circumstances. This is a problem that every one of us faces at different times in life. Sometimes more intense than others, but God has made the same kinds of promises to us and so is great application there then. That’s Psalm 89:21–25.
Then in three [see Slide 6], God promises an intimate relationship with Him through an eternal covenant and that will start in Psalm 89:26 and go through Psalm 89:29.
Then in the fourth section: God’s promises will never be canceled, though they will be hindered by sin and disobedience. The same thing is true for us is that God’s promises to us will never be cancelled; we’ll never lose our salvation; we’ll never lose the indwelling of God the Holy Spirit; we’ll never lose the basic package of blessings that we get when we’re saved. But there may be a hindrance to realizing them in our own life simply because of our own bad decisions, our own sins, our own carnality.
God’s promises are certain, and so that’s why we keep going through the emphasis on God’s chesed love—it’s loyal, faithful to the covenant—and God’s emunah [faithfulness]—it’s stability; it is rock-solid; you can count on it. No matter what happens, what the circumstances are, what winds of economic disaster blow, or political disaster, military disaster or meteorological disaster; and no matter what happens—relationships, death, loss of jobs—whatever happens, God is still faithful and true to His promises.
In the previous lessons, we’ve gone through the first 18 verses of Psalm 89; now we’ll start this next section starting in Psalm 89:19. When we look at the outline, this is under the second section: “God’s promise to David is the foundation of the psalmist’s petition.” The promises are always based on God’s character; God’s character was what was developed in Psalm 89:1–18.
So, now we come to the beginning of his section dealing with God raising up David and giving a covenant to David. In the first two verses of this section, Psalm 89:19–20, we see that God reveals His plan to choose David. In verse 19, David’s described as a mighty warrior, and it is said that in this passage that God spoke in a vision to His holy one, so we have to understand what that’s talking about.
Then in Psalm 89:20, we’ll see an anthropomorphism where we see God talking as if He is searching for David, and He finds David. So, this is sets us up in terms of the basic structure and of this entire psalm.
In this verse [Psalm 89:19] we read: “Then”— and that’s an important word in terms of the structure of the psalm because it’s moving us to a new section, a new topic—“Then You spoke in a vision to Your holy one, and said: ‘I have given help to one who is mighty; I have exalted one chosen from the people.’ ” Now there are various problems with that translation that we will have to address and to talk about.
I spent a lot of time on this. I spent five or six hours just trying to work through the first two lines. See, this doesn’t come easy sometimes, and you’d be amazed at how much you have to work on some minor little thing just to make sure you have it right. I looked at numerous, numerous translations.
So, this first word is a Hebrew word which shifts the focus in the text; it is transitioning to a new topic, from the focus on the character and the essence of God.
The first problem that we have to face here when we get into this text is, what does it mean when it says, “You spoke in a vision to Your holy one”? I’ve underlined that, that is the focus on what I want You to look at, which is Psalm 89:18. In Your King New King James Version, it reads: “For our shield belongs to the Lord [Yahweh], and our king to the Holy One of Israel.” Now when he says, “our king,” and several times through here, he mentions “the king,” we don’t know exactly which king was there when this was written. It could have been, and I think it probably was written during the time of Rehoboam, but we’re not certain of that.
But it doesn’t matter because it’s talking about the Davidic king, and it applies to any king of Judah that is a descendant of David. So, in one sense, it’s irrelevant who or which king is being talked about. We don’t need to know that; we just need to know God is going to be faithful to the Davidic Covenant and His promises to David, and to His descendants, the Davidic line of kings.
In that verse it states in the second’s strophe, “and our king to the Holy One of Israel.” That phrase “Holy One” is not the same in the Hebrew as the lowercase “holy one” that we have in the New King James Version. The word for “Holy One of Israel” in Psalm 89:18 is from qadosh, the verb qadash or the noun qadosh, which relates to God as the unique, one-of-a-kind, distinct God of the universe. He is not like the gods of other peoples; He is not like any idol; He is not like anything that we can imagine. He is the unique Creator God of the universe, and He is uniquely righteous and just, and He is also a God of love.
Qadosh is not the word that is used here in Psalm 89:19; it is a completely different word. It is the word chasid, which has a different sense altogether. So, part of the problem as we look at this is, we have a textual problem, which in some versions, had it as singular and in other translations had it as plural. So, we have to decide first of all whether it’s singular or plural because that’s going to affect our understanding, our interpretation of the text.
Then, we’re going to have to figure out just exactly how it should be translated to understand who is being referred to by this phrase “holy one,” or “faithful ones,” “pious ones,” or “devout ones,” or something of that nature. But it helps to understand the first part of this verse, that it’s referring to a time when God spoke through a vision, and this occurred in 2 Samuel 7:4–5.
2 Samuel 7:4–5 states: “But it happened that night—now if we go back to 2 Samuel, David had already talked earlier in the day to Nathan about His plans to build a temple, and Nathan thought that was an outstanding idea and encouraged him to do that. Then when Nathan went home and went to bed that night, God spoke to him in a vision and said, “That’s not My plan,” so—“it happened that night that the word of the Lord came to Nathan, saying, ‘Go and tell My servant David, “Thus says the Lord: ‘Would You build a house for Me to dwell in?’ ” ’ ”
In the context, God is going to tell David, “No, you’re not going to build the house”—which refers to the temple—“but I will build a house for you,” that is, a dynasty for you. So, that’s when this vision was. Historically, it is indicated in the Scripture.
So, the text says, “Then You spoke in a vision to Your holy one,” and this is the Hebrew word chasid, which is related etymologically to the Hebrew noun chesed; so, it’s a variant of chesed. The meaning of chesed has to do with God’s faithful, loyal love, His covenant love; God is loyal to His promises, loyal to His covenant, and so the root meaning for chasid is going to refer to those who are faithful.
But we have a textual variant here because there are various translations of this phrase. Some of them are based on a textual variant that has a plural form here, and others are based on the fact that some of the manuscripts and versions have a singular form there.
The Masoretic Text has the plural form, and so it would be “holy ones” or “faithful ones” or “pious ones,” and that’s what you also find in the Septuagint, in the Syriac version, in the Vulgate—the Latin version, in the targums, and in some later Greek translations of Aquila and Symmachus.
In other words, the large number of manuscripts have a plural there, which is why you’ll see in other versions a plural. I think the plural is a superior reading just because the way it is spread across the different ancient manuscripts.
When I went to Dallas Seminary and we were taught textual criticism, the bottom line—this is oversimplification but the bottom line—was if the Masoretic Text thought that was the reading, then you can pretty much go with that now. We spent a lot of time studying why that was, but that was their basic view over the years.
As I’ve become more educated in other areas, I’ve become aware, mostly through some of the works of Michael Rydelnik, as well as some others like an Israeli scholar named Emmanuel Tov, that in many cases the Qumran documents relate to older manuscripts than the Masoretic Text. Also, there were some problems that the Masoretes changed some things simply to take away some of the messianic implications.
So, the rule that has been proposed by some is, if you have the Septuagint and any other ancient documents in agreement against the Masoretic Text, then they’re probably right, and the Masoretic Text is wrong. But that doesn’t apply here because the Masoretic Text has the plural form, the Septuagint has the plural form, the targums have the plural form, other ancient manuscripts have the plural form.
So, I think we can say that this is a plural form, and the use of the singular here, while it reflects what’s in a number of different manuscripts, it doesn’t reflect the best manuscripts and the best textual criticism. So, it should be translated as not “holy ones,” but I think the best translation is probably “faithful ones.”
Now that we know what the Hebrew says, we have to figure out what it means. There are six different translations of this word in commentaries and translations. The New King James Version translates it with a singular calling it, “holy one,” then you have some of the translations that translated it “devout ones”, taking chasid as “devout”; others translate it as “faithful followers.”
Then you have others that take it as “faithful ones,” and then you have a little different slant. If it’s “devout ones”, “faithful followers”, and “faithful ones”, what that does is it’s looking at a group of people and carves out or separates them: some are faithful, some are not faithful; some are devout, some are not devout; some are pious, some are not pious.
So, that would distinguish among the people. Then you have another view that says it’s just, “beloved people”, talking about all of Israel, that God is now speaking to the nation. And then, there is another commentary, actually, that takes it as, “people committed to You.” So he’s not talking about the Israelites that aren’t committed to You; He’s just talking about those that are committed, so which one is it going to be?
You have to work through some various issues there and in terms of translation and interpretation, several of these are focusing on the recipient simply as God’s covenant people, which would be all of Israel—believer, unbeliever; faithful, unfaithful; devout, not devout. It is speaking of them positionally as God’s covenant people, as the firstborn of God.
The second view is that this refers to just a special group within Israel—those who are committed to You, those who are the devout ones—and that is distinguishing this sort of the saved from the unsaved, the righteous from the unrighteous.
The problem with that is that it would just limit God speaking to only believers, only faithful believers. But the reality is that David’s Covenant was an unconditional covenant, and so the Davidic king is the king of everybody, whether they’re saved or unsaved, faithful or unfaithful, devout or not devout. It’s a covenant that relates to the rulership of the of the people, and so I think there are some real problems with those views because of their implications.
The best view is the one that takes the background for this statement to be 2 Samuel 7:4 and 1 Chronicles 17:3, which was the vision given to Nathan for David, and so the plural relates to Nathan and David. That’s where you get a plural. It’s possible that by extension, or implication, it also would include the writer of this psalm, Ethan the Ezrahite, so you have lots of different views that come along.
For example, Keil and Delitzsch [Biblical Commentary on the Old Testament] take the view that this refers to Samuel and Nathan. Then there are some others who say, “No, it refers to Samuel and Nathan in Gath.” Then, if you really want to get out there, you look at the rabbinical commentaries, and they think it refers to Abraham and Moses, who are not mentioned in this passage at all, except by some really strange allegorical interpretation.
So, the best thing to do with this is to understand that this is referring to that historical event when God revealed the vision to Nathan and Nathan transmitted that to David.
The second thing that he says after setting it up is that historically, God spoke in a vision to these devout ones, these faithful ones [Psalm 89:19], “And [He] said: ‘I have given help to one who is mighty.’ ” Now what is said here isn’t revealed in 2 Samuel 7, so this is additional information. And God said, “ ‘I have given help to one who is mighty; I have exalted one chosen from the people.’ ”
This is sort of an idiomatic statement in the Hebrew, but if we look at the keywords, it will help us. When it says, “I have given help,” it literally means, “I have put help on somebody.” That’s literal, but it’s probably idiomatic for, “I have strengthened one”, or “I have assisted one.”
So, “I have given help to one who is mighty,” and this is an important word; it’s etzer, and again and again, we find that this word etzer is applied mostly to God.
God is the One who is always giving help, giving assistance to people, all throughout the Scripture, but the first time we find it in the Scripture, it is applied to the woman in the Garden. God said about Adam that it is not good for man to be alone; I will provide an etzer or a helper, an assistant for him.
We live in the era when people’s thoughts are completely misshapen by the feminist movement that somehow for a woman to be a helper is said to be demeaning, that it just runs her down. [They say] she’s not equal to the man at all, and this just makes her subservient. That is just a total crock.
This is talking about God as an etzer; only God is an etzer. This is an extremely honorable word, and it indicates something that only God does, and it elevates the woman as an etzer to a position that is very similar to the role that God takes.
That is an extremely significant position, and it is demeaned by these radical feminists in their arguments as they seek to completely overturn the whole system of leadership that has been established in marriage and in the home.
So, here we have an example of its use where God is the one who provides that help. “I have given,” “I have put help on one who is mighty.” But, let’s look at some other passages.
In Psalm 70:5, the psalmist is praying to God and he says, “But I am poor and needy—in other words, I’m helpless—Make haste to me, O God! You are my etzer and my deliverer.” “You are the one who will save me”; in essence, “You’re my helper, I can’t make it without You.” I’m in a bind. I am in need of assistance. I cannot live life on my own. God, hurry up and intervene. You are my helper; [Psalm 70:5b] “O Lord, do not delay.”
Then we have it again in Psalm 121:1where the psalmist says, “I will lift up my eyes to the hills—notice this is a situation where you have an individual, a man who is crying out to God because he can’t do it on his own. He needs God to come in and intervene—I will lift up my eyes to the hills—From whence comes my help? My help comes from the Lord, Who made heaven and earth.”
God is the One who can solve all of our problems and sustain us in any circumstance no matter what it is, because if He could make the universe and all of the aspects of the universe and the complexity of the universe and all of the systems that make the earth function and survive and rule all of that, if God can do that, then our big problems are just nothing to God. He can solve everything. So, we need to trust in Him. God is the One who is the source of our help.
But as we look a little deeper into the psalms, we discover that David as the king, the recipient of this covenant recognizes that he is uniquely in need of divine help. In Psalm 20:2, he says: “May He send you help from the sanctuary—from His dwelling place from the mishkan, the dwelling place of God on the on the Temple Mount—and strengthen you out of Zion.”
Again, in Psalm 118:13, we have a phrase, “You pushed me violently, that I might fall—referring to enemies who were attacking—But the Lord [Yahweh] helped me.” So, this relates to the function of God as an etzer for David. Now that’s the promise that God is the etzer for David in Psalm 89:19: “I have put My help on one who is mighty.”
Later on in 2 Chronicles 18:31, we have an example of God helping a Davidic king, in this case it’s Jehoshaphat, a descendant of David and king of Judah: “So it was when the captains of the chariots saw Jehoshaphat, that they said, ‘It is the king of Israel!’ Therefore, they surrounded him to attack—so, he’s really in a tight place surrounded, and they want to kill him, but Jehoshaphat did what we ought to do and he cried out,—but Jehoshaphat cried out, and the Lord [Yahweh] helped him, and God diverted them from him.”
Then a little later on Amaziah, another Davidic king and king over Judah, is warned by God because he wants to go his own way into a battle with the evil alliance, and he’s warned, 2 Chronicles 25:8: “But if you go, be gone! Be strong in battle! Even so, God shall make you fall before the enemy;—You may be mighty in your own strength and power, but if you’re doing it in a rebellion against God’s command, God will defeat you and make you fall before the enemy—for God has power to help [etzer] and to overthrow.”
So, again and again, we see God is the One who helps. Amaziah listened to the warning from the prophet here and he backed off of the battle, and God sustained him and protected him and strengthen him.
So, we see that this statement of God that “I have put help on one who is mighty” applied not just to David, but because of the Davidic Covenant it applied to all of David’s descendants who were kings of Israel, who were walking in obedience to the Lord.
So, we have the first statement: [Psalm 89:19] “I have put help on one who is mighty—and the word for mighty is the Hebrew word gibbor. The word gibbor refers to a mighty man.
Today, in modern Hebrew, it’s interesting, it refers to basically “a man.” So, if you go out to eat at a restaurant, and you go back to go to the restroom, you’ll find that one of the rooms is identified “Gibborim”; it’s not talking about mighty warriors, it’s talking about males.
The language has changed a little bit, but this is talking about one who is “mighty” or a “mighty one,” or “mighty man”. The Hebrew root here for gibbor is commonly associated in Hebrew text with a warrior, somebody who is going to battle, and it emphasizes the strength and the vitality of a successful warrior. David has abilities on His own to be a warrior, but it is God who gives him the victory, God who sustains him, God who helps him. God uses our natural abilities, but we are not to use our natural abilities apart from dependence upon God.
Then in the next phrase, I have underlined chosen; we have a word that’s become familiar to us and this is the word bachur, and it is the word that as a verb in one of the main stems it would have the idea of “a choice,” but here, it is a participle and it’s used as a noun or an adjective, an adjectival usage and God raises up, lifts up “a choice one” from the people.
That would be the best way to translate this, that God raises up a choice one—or “an excellent one”. This is how this word is used as a participle in an adjectival sense. I want to give you some examples of this because this is the background for understanding that word “election.”
In Judges 20:16, this is a terrible incident at the end of the period of the judges when all of the tribes are gathered against Benjamin and the Benjamite’s have been quite perverse and they go to war.
In Judges 20:16 we read: “Among all this people were seven hundred select—the word there is “select men” or “choice men”—who were left-handed; every one could sling a stone at a hair’s breadth and not miss.” Now when this word is applied to election, God is focusing on “choice people,” not because of their good works, not because of inherent righteousness or talents or abilities, but because they possess the righteousness of Christ.
We go back to that parable in Matthew 22 with the wedding feast. There, you have one show up and he doesn’t have on the right clothes, and the parable starts off that God sent out an invitation to everybody, which is focusing on the Jews, and invites them to the wedding, so that’s “the call”. But they say, “No, we’re not coming. We don’t want to be involved.”
So, then the Father of the groom decides to go to all the people—which would be the Gentiles—and issue the invitation, and they respond. But at the end, it says [Matthew 22:14], “For many are called but few are chosen.”
The only choosing that takes place in the parable is the choosing of the second crowd to respond to the invitation. There’s no choice on the part of the of the king who is extending the invitation and so it’s not talking about many are called, if you are chosen, but many are called, or invited, but few are choice. Few are excellent.
What makes them excellent is that they have the right robes on; the right dress on when they are at the wedding feast, the wedding banquet, and the one who is cast out is cast out because he didn’t have on the right clothes, i.e., the righteousness of Christ.
That’s the emphasis here that they are not selected by putting on a blindfold, ignoring your knowledge and information about their qualifications, and going “eenie meenie miney moe” and just randomly selecting some to be part of this elite corps of slingers. They were choice when they were qualified to do it; every one of them could sling a stone at a hair’s breadth and not miss.
I don’t know whether you’ve ever tried to use a sling of this type and tried to hit something. I bet not one of us here could hit the back wall if you stood up here in the pulpit, and if you did, you probably wouldn’t come within a foot of whatever your target is; it’s extremely difficult, but they can’t miss at a hair’s breadth. I don’t know if you could do that with a .45 from up here, and you’ve got sights and could stabilize on the pulpit. So, this is a remarkable feat. They had to pass a qualification test to be part of this 700.
Then in Judges 20:34 we read: “And ten thousand choice men from all Israel came up against Gibeah, and the battle was fierce. But the Benjamites did not know that disaster was upon them.” So, they have to face an elite army coming against them.
In 1 Samuel 24:2 we’re told that “Saul took three thousand choice men.” He didn’t go out and say, “Okay, you three companies, you come with me.” He qualified them first, and he took the choice men and made an elite force of special forces, special ops, to go on this particular mission to find David.
In 2 Samuel 6:1, David did the same thing. He “gathered all the choice men of Israel, thirty-thousand.” He got the best of the best and put them in the field. So, this is important to understand what is going on here. David knew as a result of all of this that God was his real strength; God was His etzer.
In Psalm 33:16–18, he [David] says, “No king is saved by the multitude of an army; A mighty man is not delivered by great strength.” Now you can put whatever qualifications you can think of in there: Nobody is saved by a great education, and no mighty politician is delivered by his majority. You can’t rely on anything in the created world. God promotes those who are prepared and it’s up to God who He will promote and who He won’t.
Psalm 33:17: “A horse is a vain hope for safety; Neither shall it deliver any by its great strength.” Yet we often think that if we’ve got the best technology, we can win the war. But the best technology doesn’t do it. You’ve got to have God on your side, and I think that’s what happened in World War II.
When you read something like Rick Atkinson’s The Liberation Trilogy on the American involvement in World War II, the number of logistic nightmares and catastrophes that plagued the American troops from of the time they went into North Africa until past D Day to the end of the war, it’s just phenomenal how many errors were made, and yet God overrode all that human error and gave us the victory. So, God is the One in whom we have to trust.
Psalm 33:18, “Behold, the eye of the Lord is on those who fear Him, on those who hope in His mercy.” I want you to notice that—the eye of the Lord—this is talking about God’s knowledge, God’s omniscience, and He is aware of who fears Him, and that is who God is protecting: those who hope in His mercy. That’s what it means to fear God is to trust in Him and to have confidence in His mercy.
So that brings us to Psalm 89:20 and in verse 20 we’re seeing that God was searching, and it’s an anthropopathism. God is omniscient. He’s always known that He was going to elevate David to the kingship. He always knew David was the one who was going to give the Davidic Covenant. There never was a time when He didn’t know it.
Human decisions do not cause God to do something different because God is omniscient and always knew, but God does not determine human volition. So, we see a wonderful passage here describing God as searching for someone to be the king and then he says in Psalm 89:20, “I have found my servant David; With my holy oil I anointed him.” That’s my translation.
Now the word for “I have found” is the Hebrew word matza’, which means “to find,” or “to discover,” and it’s usually paired about 35 times in the Hebrew text with the word “to seek”—you seek and you will find. In this passage, we don’t have seeking, we have just the second half, “I have found,” but it is language that is reminiscent of a couple of other passages in Scripture that help us to understand how this is working.
For example, in 2 Chronicles 16:9, we’re told: “For the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show Himself strong on behalf of those whose heart is loyal to Him. In this you have done foolishly; therefore, from now on you shall have wars.” This is because Israel has been disobedient.
So, when we look at this verse, the first phrase we have is one we’ve seen already. The phrase “eyes of the Lord,” is just a term for God’s omniscience, that He knows what is going on everywhere. He knows the inner thoughts of every single human being. He knows your inner thoughts and my inner thoughts. He knows the inner thoughts that you don’t want anybody to know, and He knows them as clear as anything.
His eyes are running to and fro throughout the earth. No, God doesn’t actually have to go knocking on every door and turning over every rock to find somebody because He’s omniscient; He knows everything. But this is just dramatic imagery in order to communicate the omniscience of God—that He runs “to and fro” throughout the whole earth because it’s emphasizing God’s mercy.
He wants to show Himself strong. God wants to show Himself strong in our lives much more than we want Him to show Himself strong in our lives, but He’s looking for something. He’s looking for an inner attitude of trust and faithfulness, and that’s why it says He wants to show Himself strong on behalf of those whose heart is loyal to Him.
The Hebrew, the word for loyal there is the word shalom, those who have peace with God, those who have a whole relationship with God, those who are at peace with Him. And so, He’s looking for those whose heart is peaceful with Him now.
The second thing we ought to note is that this word “heart” is a word that refers to the intellect. So many people think it is pure subjectivity and emotion; that “oh, my heart hurts.” Well, you’re just having an emotional breakdown, but get over yourself and use the word heart correctly.
Heart refers primarily to intellect. It’s not talking about emotions. Up until about 200 years ago, we didn’t have the word “emotion,” and I could spend a whole lot of time on this, and eventually I will—talking about understanding of emotion—but that word did not enter into the English language until about 200 years ago. So how did we talk about it?
Did You know that there’s no word for emotion in Hebrew? There is no word for emotion in Greek. They didn’t have that kind of vocabulary. The word “emotion” entered into the English language in the late 1700s, and it wasn’t long before it got co-opted by the whole psychological movement. What they talked about prior to that were two categories.
You can go back to the ancient Greeks even in talking about breaking down these things into these two categories. On the one hand you had the positives, and they were the intellectual affections. And by the word “affection,” it doesn’t mean emotion; by the word “affection,” it emphasizes that the intellect is volitionally attaching itself to an object.
So, on the one hand you have intellectual affections in contrast to bodily passions—anger, love or lust, resentment, bitterness—all these things are bodily passions, and they flow from the sin nature. This was the way that people talked about this until the late 1700s, and then you had the development of the term “emotion”.
There’s a book called From Passions to Emotions: The Creation of a Secular Psychological Category by Thomas Dixon, who traces the history of this term. The emphasis in intellectual affections was on the inclination of the will to an object. God, in this sense, has intellectual affections, and this is what the term “heart” would refer to is those “intellectual affections.”
So, God is looking for someone who is the volitionally focused on Him. It is an intellectual attraction that is driven by volition. God is saying that He is looking for those who are positive to Him, volitionally directed toward Him, and are loyal to Him, and so that is the focus. God is looking for those; He is seeking, and then He will find. He is seeking to find the right kind of man to lead His people Israel.
That’s what we find in 1 Samuel 13:14, when Samuel is lowering the boom on Saul because of Saul’s disobedience, and he says there: “But now your kingdom—talking to Saul—your kingdom shall not continue.” This is another example of how God knows what could happen, what might have happened.
You know, there are people out there who don’t want to understand this. There are people out there who think that God only knows what will happen because God determines what will happen; that’s why He knows it. But the Scriptures are very clear that God knows what might happen, what could have happened, what would have happened, what should have happened.
You have passages where He is talking condemning Capernaum and Bethsaida for rejecting the significance of Jesus’ miracles, and He says that if what was done in you was done in Sodom, then Sodom would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes [see Matthew 11:20–24].
He knows what would happen under different circumstances if different decisions were made. God says here that [1 Samuel 13:14] “your kingdom shall not continue” because Saul had every opportunity to be obedient to God and to be faithful to God, but he was disobedient, so the kingdom was taken from him.
What is God looking for in a leader? The Lord has sought for Himself a man after His own heart. That’s the language there; it’s not talking about some man who’s in touch with his inner feminine side and his emotions; it’s talking about a man who is volitionally driven to know God and to have a deep walk with the Lord.
“… The Lord has sought for Himself a man after His own heart, and the Lord has commanded him to be commander over His people, because you have not kept what the Lord commanded you.” This is in 1Samuel 13; it is not until 1 Samuel 16 that David is anointed. Paul quotes from this in Acts13:22. When he’s talking about David, he says, “And when he had removed him—that is Saul—he raised up for them David as king, to whom also he gave testimony and said, ‘I have found David the son of Jesse, a man after My own heart, who will do all My will.’ ”
This doesn’t mean that David was perfect or David was sinless. What this means is David was a horrible sinner, just as horrible a sinner as you are, just as horrible a sinner as I am, and yet when all was said and done, David did not break the first three commandments. He did not succumb to idolatry. He did not succumb to evil.
You have to understand how the Old Testament uses the word “evil.” When you get into the all of the activities of the kings of the north at the end of their reigns, it says that “so-and-so did evil in the sight of the Lord and followed in the sin of Jeroboam the son of Nebat.”
What was Jeroboam’s sin? He set up idolatrous temples in the north when he led a revolt against the Southern Kingdom, he split off the 10 northern tribes on their own, he rejected God, he set up a temple in the south in Bethel and in the north in Dan, and he set up a golden calf in each one and said this is the God who took You out of Egypt. It was pure idolatry.
Idolatry is evil. Evil is when you’re putting your hope and your trust in something in the creation, something other than God, to provide stability and to provide strength for you and happiness and joy in this life. David never did that. David got involved in a lot of sin, and you and I can get involved in a lot of sin, but what we have to determine with people is are they sinning or have they succumbed to evil.
There a lot of Christians that succumb to evil because they reject the authority of God in their life. They turn their back on God, and they start living just for themselves, and they no longer live for God. They are no longer a person who is after God’s heart.
God shows such tremendous grace to David, that towards the end of His life, as we studied, God gave him this covenant. Even though David had sinned so much, and what we find Paul saying in Acts 13:22, “I have found David the son of Jesse, a man after My own heart, who will do all My will.” So, God is gracious to David in giving him this covenant.
We are reminded of how Psalm 89 began. It began [Psalm 89:3] with, “I have made a covenant with My choice one, I have sworn to My servant David.” That is an extremely significant statement referring to David as His servant. The servant of God in Isaiah is the Messiah. There’s a definite allusion here to the messianic implications of that covenant, that it is through that covenant that God was going to provide the Messiah. So, Psalm 89:3 introduces that back at the beginning of the psalm.
Then we get into the next section, and the next section begins in Psalm 89:21, where God promises to protect, preserve, and to bless David.
I think I’m going to stop here because I like taking the sections together rather than breaking up these verses because they all work together. Psalm 89:21–25 are a unit, and I would prefer to cover all of that next time in one unit and maybe even get into the next one. There’s not quite as much to deal with in the next unit as there was at the beginning of this section, so we’ll just stop here.
The reminder is that God is gracious. God is looking for someone. He is seeking those whose heart is focused on Him. The question for us is, is that true about us? Are we focused on God? God is more concerned about our relationship with Him, that we know Him.
This is in Jeremiah 9:23–24: “Thus says the Lord: Let not the wise man boast in his wisdom; let not the mighty man boast in his might, nor let the rich man boast in his riches; but let him who boasts boast in this, that he understands and knows Me.” And that’s the priority—that we know God.
“Father, thank you for this opportunity to come together to study Your Word, to be reminded of Your faithfulness, Your loyalty, and that You’re seeking those who desire to know You, who put their hope, their trust, their faith in You, who are loyal to You, who will trust You above all things, and then You will work magnificently in their lives.
“And Father, we pray that this would be true of every single one of us. We all fail; we all sin; we all know how much we do that, but nevertheless, You praised David as a man after Your heart because at bottom line, He was loyal to You despite failures, just as we desire to be loyal to You despite our sins and our failures.
“We pray that You would challenge us with this, and we would be strengthened spiritually. In Christ’s name, amen.”