“Although my house be not so with God; yet he hath made with me an everlasting covenant, ordered in all things and sure: for this is all my salvation, and all my desire, although he make it not to grow.”—2 Samuel 23:5.
These be the last words of David. It is always blessed to hear the words of departing saints.
The Psalmist says he had sorrow in his house—“Although my house be not so with God.” What man is there of all our race, who, if he had to write his history, would not need to use a great many “althoughs?” David, though a man who had been raised from the sheepfold, a mighty warrior, a conqueror of giants, a king over a great nation, yet, had his “althoughs,” and the “although” which he had, was one in his own house. Civil war is always the fiercest—those are foes indeed who are of our own household.
I think, perhaps David intended when he said “Although my house be not so with God, to speak partly of his affairs. [F]or you know the word “house” in Scripture often means our business, our affairs, our transactions. [B]eloved, there are some of us who can walk before our fellow-men conscious of innocence…[b]ut with all this conscious innocence—with all that dignity with which we stand before our fellows—when we go into God’s sight, how changed we are…we fall prostrate, and cry, “Unclean, unclean, unclean.” [W]e are obliged to confess, that honest as we may be, upright as we have been, just and holy before men, yet our house is “not so with God.”
But I imagine that the principal meaning of these words of David refers to his family—his children. David had many trials in his children. It has often been the lot of good men to have great troubles from their sons and daughters. Oh! happy is that family whom God hath blessed. But there are other houses where you will find the children are the trials of the parents. “Although my house be not so with God,” may many an anxious father say; and ye pious mothers might lift your streaming eyes to heaven, and say, “Although my house be not so with God.” But, Christian men! ye are not alone in this. If ye have family troubles, there are others who have borne the same. Remember Ephraim! Abraham himself had his Ishmael. Think of Eli.
First, let me say to you, my brethren, it is necessary that you should have an “although” in your lot, because if you had not, you know what you would do; you would build a very downy nest on earth, and there you would lie down in sleep; so God puts a thorn in your nest in order that you may sing. Trials are sent to wean you from the world; bitters are put into your drink, that ye may learn to live upon the dew of heaven: the food of earth is mingled with gall, that ye may only seek for true bread in the manna which droppeth from the sky. Your soul without trouble would be as the sea if it were without tide or motion; it would become foul and obnoxious.
But furthermore, recollect this, O thou who art tried in thy children—that prayer can remove thy troubles. Have you prayed long for your children without a result? Though the promise tarrieth, it will come. They shall be converted even after thy death; and though thy bones shall be put in the grave, and thy son may stand and curse thy memory for an hour, he shall not forget it in the cooler moments of his recollection, when he shall meditate alone. Then he shall think of thy prayers, thy tears, thy groans; he shall remember thine advice—it shall rise up, and if he live is sin, still thy words shall sound as one long voice from the realm of spirits, and either affright him in the midst of his revelry, or charm him heavenward, like angel’s whispers, saying, “Follow on to glory, where thy parent is who once did pray for thee.” So the Christian may say, “Although my house be not so with God now, it may be yet.”
But secondly: David had confidence in the covenant. Having done with his “Although,” he then puts in a blessed “yet” Oh! it is a “yet,” with jewels set: “He hath made with me an everlasting covenant, ordered in all things, and sure.”
First, David rejoiced in the covenant, because it divine in its origin. “Yet hath he made with me an everlasting covenant.” God, the everlasting Father, has positively made a covenant with thee.
But notice its particular application. “Yet hath he made with me an everlasting covenant.”
“Oh how sweet to view the flowing
Of Christ’s soul-redeeming blood,
With divine assurance knowing,
That he made my peace with God.”
You will hear persons say, “Well, I believe the doctrine of justification; I think that men are justified through faith.” Yes, but are you justified by faith? “I believe,” says another, “that we are sanctified by the Spirit.” Yes, all very well, but are you sanctified by the Spirit? Oh! how sweet it is to say, “Yet hath he made with me an everlasting covenant. Rejoice, Christian; it is a personal covenant.
Furthermore, this covenant is not only divine in its origin, but it is everlasting in its duration. An everlasting gospel is the only one which I think worthy of an everlasting God. Some do not believe in the everlasting nature of God’s love to his people. They think that God begins to love his people when they begin to love him. [D]id you ever sing that verse in your meeting?—of course you have—
“O yes, I do love Jesus,
Because he first lov’d me.”
Well, then, if Jesus loved you before you loved him, why cannot you believe that he always did love you? Besides, how stupid it is to talk so, when you know God does not change. There is no such thing as time with him; there is no past with him. If you say, “he loves me now,” you have in fact said, “he loved me yesterday, and he will love me for ever.” There is nothing but now with God. Tell me that God has now pardoned my sins; it means, that he always has, for his acts are eternal acts. That is the greatest safeguard on earth—that I have something within me that never can be quenched; that I put on the regimentals of a service which I never must leave, which I cannot leave without having proved that I never was enlisted at all. Brother, what is there else? If we do not preach an everlasting gospel, the gospel is not worth twopence.
“I to the end shall endure
As sure as the earnest is given;
More happy, but not more secure,
Are the glorified spirits in heaven.”
But notice the next word, for it is a sweet one, and we must not let one portion go. “It is ordered in all things.” “Order is heaven’s first law,” and God has not a disorderly covenant. He so arranged it, that justice should be fully satisfied, and yet mercy should be linked hand-in-hand with it…Jesus Christ came to confirm it…the Holy Spirit…sweetly applies it!
What dost thou want more than this? Dost thou need constraining grace? It is “ordered in all things.” Dost thou require more of the spirit of prayer? It is “ordered in all things.” Dost thou desire more faith? It is “ordered in all things.” Art thou afraid lest thou shouldst not hold out to the end? It is “ordered in all things.”
But now, to wind up our description of this covenant, it is sure. We cannot call anything “sure” on earth; the only place where we can write that word is on the covenant, which is “ordered in all things and sure.” Oh! if God were to put my salvation in my hands, I should be lost in ten minutes; but my salvation is not there—it is in Christ’s hands. [A]s a Christian I cannot destroy myself, for my life is wrapped up in the covenant: it is with Christ in heaven. Oh, glorious and precious covenant!
Now to close our meditation. The Psalmist had a satisfaction in his heart. “This is,” he said, all my salvation, and all my desire.” Bring up the moralist. He has been toiling and working in order to earn salvation. Are you confident that if you died you would enter into heaven? “Well, I have been as good as other people, and, I dare say, I shall be more religious before I die;” but he cannot answer our question. Bring up the religious man—I mean the merely outwardly religious man. Are you sure that if you were to die you would go to heaven? “Well, I regularly attend church or chapel, I cannot say that I make any pretensions to be able to say, ‘He hath made with me an everlasting covenant.’ ” Very well, you must go. So I might introduce a score of men, and there is not one of them who can say, “This is all my salvation.” They always want a little supplement, and most of you intend making that supplement a little while before you die.
Then, the Psalmist says, he has all his desire. There is nought that can fill the heart of man except the Trinity.
Just one word with my friends who do not agree with me in doctrine. [T]hose dear friends who cannor bear the thought of an everlasting covenant. Now, you cannot alter it, can you? If you do not like it, there it is. “God hath made with me an everlasting covenant.” And you must confess, when you read the Bible, that there are some very knotty passages for you. You might, perhaps, remove them out of your Bible; but then you cannot erase them out of divine verities. [T]ake the Bible as it stands, and if you do not see everlasting love there, there is some fault in your eyes. If you cannot see everlasting, eternal security, blood-bought righteousness, there, I am hopeless altogether of your conversion to the truth, while you read it with your present prejudices.
All the evidence you require is to feel your need of Christ. God enable you now to become his adopted children by faith in Jesus.