The Secret Of Dedication
Mr. Jerry Clark of McMinnville, Tenn., continues to provide us with practical lessons in his series of studies in Psalms 120-134.
A song of goings-up:
1. Remember, O LORD, David for all his troubles.
2. How he swore to the LORD, he vowed to the Mighty One of Jacob, saying,
3. Surely, I shall not go into the tent of my house; I shall not go up upon the couch of my bed;
4. I shall not give sleep to my eyes, nor slumber to my eyelids;
5. Until I find a place for the LORD, tabernacles for the Mighty One of Jacob.
6. Behold, we heard of it in Ephratah, We found it in the fields of Ja’ar.
7. We will go into His tabernacles, We will bow down at His footstool.
8. Arise O LORD to your rest, You and the Ark of your strength.
9. Your priests shall be clothed with righteousness, and all your saints shall shout for joy.
10. Because of David, your servant, turn not away the face of your anointed one.
11. The LORD swore to David in truth, He will not turn away from it: “Of the fruit of your body I will set on your throne.
12. If your sons will keep my covenant, and my testimony which I will teach them, then their sons shall also sit on your throne for ever.”
13. For the LORD has chosen Zion, He has desired it for His dwelling place.
14. “This is my rest for ever; Here will I dwell for I have desired it.
15. Its provision I will surely bless; its needy I will satisfy with bread.
16. And its priests I will clothe with salvation, and its saints shall surely shout for joy!
17. There I will make to bud a horn for David; I have established a lamp for my anointed one.
18. His enemies I will clothe with shame, But upon him shall flourish his crown.”
The present psalm — the longest and in some ways the most historically-oriented of all the Psalms of Degrees — could be considered a reaffirmation of the Davidic Covenant. In addition to the insight which it gives us into the relationship between God and David, there is also revealed a “secret” by which we too may enjoy such an intimate relationship.
1. David’s Determination (VV. 1-10)
The first part of the psalm stands as a prayer which calls to God’s remembrance the zeal of David as seen in his desire to find a “resting place” for the Ark of God, a temple worthy of God’s habitation.
In examining the role which zeal played in the life of David, we must remember that God’s selection of David was by grace (1 Sam. 16:1, 2, 12). We know that the LORD had already looked into the heart of David, recognizing a heart eager to respond to God’s call (1 Sam. 13:14; 16:7), and He manifested His grace by giving David such an opportunity to respond.
David does, indeed, respond to this call by faith and displays his faith in an enthusiastic and zealous dedication of himself to God’s will.
There are some of us who, if God calls us to perform a specific task, do respond but we do so as though by constraint, grumbling and complaining. David responded by joyously turning everything over to the LORD — holding back nothing. David’s dedication made him willing to forego personal comfort and considerations, and even personal vengeance (cf. 1 Sam. 24:1-13), and involved the consecration of his time, talents and resources to God’s cause (1 Sam. 24:24).
2. God’s Declaration (VV. 11-18)
God’s declaration to Israel is a reminder of His covenant with David: “Of the fruit of (David’s) body I will set upon the throne” (v.11). The Davidic covenant is given in the Old Testament an importance approaching that of the Abrahamic Covenant. Both, in their deepest implications, involve the advent of the Messiah. To Abraham it was promised that the Messiah would come from his seed (Gal. 3:16). In succeeding generations, God’s grace is seen at work, selecting and narrowing the line through which Christ would be born: Isaac, not Ishmael or the sons of Keturah; Jacob, not Esau; Judah, not his brothers. And out of the tribe of Judah, God further narrows it — by means of the Davidic Covenant — to a “son of David” (cf. the importance given to this relationship between David and Christ both in the Old Testament — Isa. 9:7; Jer. 23:5 —and the New — Matt. 1:1; 22:41-46.
This covenant is both irrevocable and conditional: irrevocable, in that it promises that of David’s seed one would rule forever (Jesus Christ); conditional, in so far as it concerned the placement of any particular descendant of David on the throne.
God’s grace is promised to be present for David’s descendants, just as it was for David. His choosing of David’s line is in itself an act of grace. But for His grace to remain operative in any individual circumstance would depend upon the individual’s acceptance of that grace, as David had accepted it.
The vital principle of this psalm is its revelation of the role which dedication plays in our lives. Since God’s blessings are “all of grace” it is not possible to say that David’s dedication earned him the blessing of God (cf. Luke 17:10). However, it is noticeable that both in this psalm and in 2 Samuel 7:1-17, God’s promise is made in response to David’s zeal for the Lord. We see, therefore, that our attitude towards God (as evidenced by zeal on the one hand and indifference or outright rejection on the other), determines whether God will be able to act toward us in blessing as He desires, or whether He must act in the character of a chastening Father (Heb. 12:5, 6) in order to bring our attitude and heart back into line with His.
Surely, we need more today of the zeal which David showed (vv. 2-5) in place of the apathy, fear and discouragement so common in modern chistendom. Let us consecrate and dedicate ourselves anew (Rom. 12:1, 2).