Pastor John, in episode 101 we looked at Jeremiah 29:11 — a very popular verse for a lot of Christians — and a listener asked if the promised blessings to Israel can be rightly applied to the Christian life, and if so, how? As a follow-up to that episode, how do the blessings promised to the psalmist apply to us today, or do they at all?
Tony, I was reading in Psalm 18 — in fact, I read the whole psalm; it is a long psalm of fifty verses — and the question that arose was, What does this have to do with me? Because this is really about David. Psalm 18 has, I think, the longest introduction of any psalm. It goes like this: “To the choir master, a Psalm of David, the servant of the Lord, who addressed the words of this song to the Lord on the day when the Lord delivered him from the hand of all his enemies, and from the hand of Saul. He said . . .”
Who Owns God’s Promises?
Now that is a long introduction. So we know this is really about David. It is about his situation. And when you read it, it is just full of God’s salvation for David from his enemies. And then it ends that way: “Great salvation he brings to his king, and shows steadfast love to his anointed, to David and his offspring forever” (Psalm 18:50). So I got finished reading it, and I was happy for David, and I know that Jesus is the true David — the final David and the final king — and so I am celebrating the triumphs of the Messiah, but I wondered, Can I take these verses?
I mean here they are, things like this:
“O Lord, my strength. The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer . . . my shield. . . . I am saved from my enemies.” (verses 1–3)
“He brought me out into a broad place; he rescued me, because he delighted in me.” (verse 19)
“[He] lights my lamp; the Lord my God lightens my darkness. For by [him] I can run against a troop, and by my God I can leap over a wall.” (verses 28–29)
“Your right hand supported me.” (verse 35)
“You delivered me from the strife with the people.” (verse 43)
So when I read that, can I say, Yes, God does that for John Piper because it says so here? Or do I have to say, Well, it says so here, but, really, I have to go over and find some nice text in Matthew to find God’s care for me?
And here is the thing I would love to share, because God just did it for me this morning in a very precious way. When it says at the end, “Great salvation he brings to his king, and shows steadfast love,” that is what I want every day. I want God to love me in a steadfast moment-by-moment way. I want to be assured of that from the Bible in a warranted, true way. I don’t want to just make it up. And he says he does that to David and his offspring. And when I read offspring, I thought, Okay, is that just Christ? Is that just the line of kings who have a right to the throne, or is more going on there for me than I might think?
Everyone Who Comes
And the Lord brought that to my mind because I worked on this years ago in a pretty concerted way when I preached on the first verses of Isaiah 55 — goodness it must be ten or fifteen years ago. A lot of people know these verses; they are really precious: “Come, everyone who thirsts, come to the waters.”
So now when I read that, I think, Everyone who thirsts? Okay, I am there, and I am thirsty. So this is about me. “He who has no money [that’s me], come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without price” (Isaiah 55:1). So this is incredibly broad. You don’t have to be a Jew. You don’t have to be smart. All you have to be is hungry for me. Come to me. “Why do you spend your money for that which is not bread, and your labor for that which does not satisfy? Listen diligently to me . . . Incline your ear, and come to me” (Isaiah 55:2–3). And here is the promise: “I will make with you an everlasting covenant, my steadfast, sure love for David” (Isaiah 55:3).
And I thought, Okay, I think what you are promising me there is that if I am just a hungry, thirsty, bankrupt, needy person willing to turn to God, he will make a covenant with me, and the covenant is his love for David which is an absolutely stunning promise, because what it says is: All the promises I make to David, all of that Psalm 18:50 — the steadfast, sure love that I have for David and his offspring — is yours, because you have come to me. I have grafted you into that.
And then you can go over to the New Testament where all of that is worked out for us and see how that works, but the truth of it was really there in Isaiah 55:3 and Psalm 18:50. And in the New Testament, “if we endure, we will reign with him” (2 Timothy 2:12). We will sit with him on his throne (see Revelation 3:21). So you start to feel the incredible implications of being the offspring of David and having the covenant with David made to us.
So what God did for me this morning in regards to Psalm 18, Tony, was really quite precious, and I would just commend the Psalms to all of our listeners that they might enjoy the way they really are meant to be taken for God’s people.