Honoring the Covenant

King David- A Man After God’s Own Heart

Honoring the Covenant 

Sunday, February 14th, 2021

 

Welcome! Happy Valentine’s Day! 

What a great day to gather in worship with so many of the people I love! I love you all and I’m so grateful for each one of you being in my life. You make it all the more rich and so much more enjoyable. So whether you hear it from anyone else today or not, on Valentine’s Day-know this, I see you and I love you. I’m grateful for you. 

You know the greatest valentine we’ll ever have, the greatest love we’ll ever know, is from God Himself. Our heavenly Father. The beautiful truth is we don’t have to wait for Valentine’s Day to come around once a year to have Him tell us of His love. He speaks it over us every single day, every single breath we take-His love is flowing through us. 

 

I know Valentine’s Day is a commercialized holiday in many ways, but I still love it. I love to express my love to my family and others. I love to leave little treats and notes to express my love and I love receiving special gifts from my guy (hint hint…) that shows his love for me. What can I say I’m a sap for love. You do know I love to watch the Hallmark movie channel right? 

 

I think God is a sap for love too. I know He is because God is love. For all the little ways I love to show others my love for them, think about the thousands of ways our God shows His love for us. Too many to count right? He delights in expressing His vast love to us in countless ways. Think about the sunrises and sunsets-tell me God isn’t a hopeless romantic? In the unique beauty of flowers-the colors, the shapes, the textures, the scents. The way we feel when the warm sun shines upon us. The smell of a summer rain and how it soothes and refreshes us. Can you tell where my mind is in this blasted cold? But even in the cold, the way a fresh snowfall looks like diamonds sparkling on the ground or how the frost beautifully blankets the trees and paints a stunning canvas on our windows? Or how about His comforting peace that washes over us and brings us to a place of stillness and rest when we’re overwhelmed? Or how His Word gives us courage and helps us to believe in who we truly are. His Words lift us and shine light into our darkness.

All of these examples are expressions of love from our Father, who lavishes us in His love every day. He withholds no good thing from those who love Him. God is love-it’s who He is. So everything that makes us want to express love to others comes from Him loving us first. Isn’t that awesome?

I think it is very good and right in alignment with God’s heart to express your love for others. Whether you get caught up in all the gifts is up to you, but we can do a whole lot with our actions and our words to let others know they are loved. So let us do that today- share some love with others. It feels good! 

Let us begin with expressing our love to our Father in heaven. He is worthy to have us affirm our love for Him. Maybe you are someone whose words are few, then let your actions show your love for God. Let your trust in Him demonstrate your love. Let your obedience to follow His ways be an example of your love for Him. Let us honor the covenant relationship He has invited us into as we believed in Jesus as our Lord and Savior. A covenant is an agreement between two parties. God is one party and we are the other party. He promises to be with us always, to make us heirs in His kingdom with Christ, to have eternal life with Him and to dwell in us through His Spirit. He will never leave us or forsake us. He is faithful and true. All wonderful promises right? Let’s remember we have a part of that covenant to uphold as well. We receive His love that is expressed in countless ways and we return His love; we offer our hearts to Him; we offer our lives to Him and let His Spirit live through us. This is what makes it a covenant relationship-both parties upholding their share of the agreement. 

 

Let’s pray and give thanks this morning to our God who is love and the source of all love we experience in the world around us. Let us offer our genuine expression of love to Him this morning. Let us surrender our hearts for His Spirit to freely move in us and teach us today. Let us be open to the Spirit revealing to us areas we might have neglected to honor our covenant. Let us invite the Spirit to move in us and fill us with God’s love today. 

 

In our series today we’ll be focusing on the love we have for others and how we are called to honor one another. David and his friend Jonathan give us a great example to follow. Shortly after David defeated Goliath the giant, he was at the palace with King Saul and met Saul’s son Jonathan. They became fast friends and grew very close. Jonathan loved David like a brother. Jonathan was the prince to the king, but had such great love for David-we read they were truly one in spirit, that he gave David his royal robe, his sword, his bow and his belt. He wanted to honor his friend. 

Shortly into David’s successful battles King Saul became very jealous of David. His jealousy turned into rage against David and he wanted him dead. Jonathan also knew that God had anointed David to become the next king of Israel. Everyone knew this. Jonathan could have been filled with envy for he was the rightful heir to the throne following his father Saul. Jonathan could have had the same heart as Saul and worked with his father to ensure David was taken out. But the amazing thing is, he didn’t. He helped David escape the clutches of his father. 

Early on, Jonathan didn’t believe that his father was trying to kill David, for David was innocent and a great blessing to Saul and their kingdom. Why would his father want to harm him in any way? But David knew full well what was in Saul’s heart. Because of their close bond, Jonathan did heed the fear in David’s heart and offered to feel things out. He needed to hear for himself if King Saul was truly out for his good friend’s life. Hopefully, it was a great misunderstanding. David asked Jonathan to let him hide in a field on their land while Jonathan checked things out.  The king would wonder why David wasn’t at the dinner table with them all and would inquire. Jonathan was to tell the king that David asked permission to go back to his hometown because an annual sacrifice was being made for his whole clan and he needed to be there. David advised Jonathan to see how the king responded. If he would be favorable then they both knew all would be well. If the king would lose his temper then it was a sign Saul wanted to harm him. and within 2 days Jonathan would return to the field to inform David. He would bring his bow to shooting as a reason to be out there. 

 

The two reaffirm their covenant to honor and care for one another and their families all the days of their lives. Let’s pick it up here.  

 

1 Samuel 20: 12-17 NIV

12 Then Jonathan said to David, “I swear by the Lord, the God of Israel, that I will surely sound out my father by this time the day after tomorrow! If he is favorably disposed toward you, will I not send you word and let you know? 13 But if my father intends to harm you, may the Lord deal with Jonathan, be it ever so severely, if I do not let you know and send you away in peace. 

May the Lord be with you as he has been with my father. 14 But show me unfailing kindness like the Lord’s kindness as long as I live, so that I may not be killed, 15 and do not ever cut off your kindness from my family—not even when the Lord has cut off every one of David’s enemies from the face of the earth.” 

16 So Jonathan made a covenant with the house of David, saying, “May the Lord call David’s enemies to account.” 17 And Jonathan had David reaffirm his oath out of love for him, because he loved him as he loved himself.

David inquired who will tell me what you have found out? How will I know if I can come back or if I need to go away? 

Jonathan said: 20 I will shoot three arrows to the side of it, as though I were shooting at a target. 21 Then I will send a boy and say, ‘Go, find the arrows.’ If I say to him, ‘Look, the arrows are on this side of you; bring them here,’ then come, because, as surely as the Lord lives, you are safe; there is no danger. 22 But if I say to the boy, ‘Look, the arrows are beyond you,’ then you must go, because the Lord has sent you away. 

So David hid in the field and Jonathan returned to the palace to join his father, the king, for dinner. Saul didn’t say anything the first day David’s chair was found empty but he did notice. The second day David’s chair was empty he asked, “why has David come to dinner these past two days?” 

Jonathan told the king what he and David talked about and Saul became very angry. He cursed his own son and said, “don’t you think I know you have sided with David to your own shame? As long as he lives neither you or your kingdom will be established. David must die!” 

It was pretty clear. David was right. Jonathan went to the field and shot his arrows. He said to the boy who was there to gather them up, “The arrows are beyond you. Hurry! Go quickly! Don’t stop!” The boy gathered the arrows and Jonathan sent him back. He found David and David bowed down before him, for Jonathan’s kindness. David was eternally grateful for his friendship. 

1 Samuel 20: 42 They cried and 42 Jonathan said to David, “Go in peace, for we have sworn friendship with each other in the name of the Lord, saying, ‘The Lord is witness between you and me, and between your descendants and my descendants forever.’” 

So began David’s many years of running from Saul and his men, and his eventual journey to becoming king. Fifteen years pass by in this manner. As we have discussed, King Saul and some of his sons, including David’s beloved friend Jonathan were slain in battle. David became king. Seven years passed by before all of Israel was united with the killing of another of Saul’s sons who was leading a different area. 

King David was very busy leading his kingdom, defeating enemies on all sides, uniting the nation and teaching Israel how to enjoy a personal relationship with their God. There was much on his plate. Over twenty years passed by from the time he stepped in as king and suddenly he had a memory flash through his mind of his beloved friend. He was reminded of their covenant to care for one another and their families. Jonathan said this to David when he risked his own life to keep him safe from certain death by the hand of his father, But show me unfailing kindness like the Lord’s kindness as long as I live, so that I may not be killed, 15 and do not ever cut off your kindness from my family.”

David wondered, “much of the family had been killed in battles, but is there anyone alive I have missed? Is there anyone related to my dear friend I have failed to show kindness to? I must find out right away! I have to honor our covenant and do my part, for surely Jonathan honored me.”

  1. Action Required 

To honor a covenant requires action from both parties. The covenant doesn’t mean much in words alone, if there is never any action taken to uphold what was agreed to. Words without action are empty. 

2 Samuel 9:1 David asked, “Is there anyone still left of the house of Saul to whom I can show kindness for Jonathan’s sake?”

We can tell in the way he phrased his question he was concerned he was too late and waited too long to make good on their promise to one another. Was everyone gone already? 

Have you felt like that ever in some of your relationships, or even towards God? Am I too late to make it right? 

  2 Samuel 9: 3-5 3 Ziba answered the king, “There is still a son of Jonathan; he is lame in both feet.”

“Where is he?” the king asked. Ziba answered, “He is at the house of Makir son of Ammiel in Lo Debar.” So King David had him brought from Lo Debar, from the house of Makir son of Ammiel.

You see what David didn’t know was Jonathan had a young son about five years old when Saul and he were slain in battle. In that time, it was fairly common for the incoming king to order the death of all previous royal family members, so there was a panic as news traveled throughout Saul’s royal family. The nurse caring for Jonathan’s son grabbed him up quick to run away and hide him before he could be harmed. Unfortunately, in trying to run with him, he fell from her shoulders and severely injured both his feet. He would become lame and never able to walk correctly again. Those loyal to Saul took him to a remote village called Lodebar and they raised him there. This area was filled with loyal supporters of Saul so it was not a region that David had much to do with as he became king. Jonathan’s son grew to be a young man and David was totally unaware of his existence. Until now. 

There was still time! He still had the opportunity to make things right. That was exactly what he was going to do. 

Have you ever made a vow or commitment, a covenant with someone that you would always be there for them, their family, or watch over them in some way? Married couples do right? Maybe close friends do with one another. Brothers and sisters in Christ are called to. 

Have you had moments you forget about your covenant and what you truly promised the other or to God;  it goes on the back burner of life that becomes so busy? We probably all have to some degree right? 

David almost lost his opportunity to honor his friend. That would be the last thing David would want to do. He loved Jonathan and would never intentionally dishonor him. But he let the busyness of life distract him from his covenant for a while. Fortunately, he still had time to make things right, so he took the necessary action to find out who remained and then had him brought to the palace to properly honor him. 

If the people you have committed to are still breathing, you still have time to make good on your promises to be there for them. If they have passed on, you can still bring honor to their life, what they meant to you by honoring their name, their family and how you are living. We should always take action to do the right thing by others and honor our covenants.

If you are still breathing, you still have time to make things right with God. He is rich in mercy and is waiting arms wide open for you to open your heart and embrace His love. 

You know who never fails to honor His covenant? God. He is faithful and true. 

Deuteronomy 7:9 Know therefore that the Lord your God is God; he is the faithful God, keeping his covenant of love to a thousand generations of those who love him and keep his commandments.

We can trust God will uphold every promise He has made. We in turn, should take action to uphold our part in this covenant relationship we enter with God. It takes two to be in a relationship and to keep the relationship strong. Have we neglected to honor God in some way in our daily living? There is still time to make it right. Let’s take the action needed to live in a way that honors our God who is faithful to us and to honor one another.                                          

2. Redemption and Restoration     

When we honor the covenant we can find redemption from either God or another we made a promise to. We can also bring restoration to others as we honor them and uphold our covenants.  

In David’s example, because he didn’t associate too much with Lodebar where Jonathan’s son was raised, the people there were not that favorable to him as king. Their hearts remained loyal to Saul. When David sent his men to enter their tiny village and bring out one of their own to come to the palace, it showed the people that David did care. It softened their hearts to David as king and as word spread back to the village in what David did for Mephibosheth, they were more inclined to support him as king. David through that action of honoring Jonathan’s family, was redeemed in the eyes of a community who he would later come to rely on for support. 

For Mephibosheth it meant restoring what was rightfully his. He was grandson to the king, born a royal but raised as a poor commoner. He had inheritance that should be his; property belonging to the family of Saul that had been under the care of one of the servants of Saul up until this point. He was a prince’s son and by no fault of his own, had all of that taken from him, until this moment. David restored Mephibosheth and returned all inheritance that should be rightfully his. While he couldn’t take back years that were lost, David could make his years going forward blessed and honored. You and I can’t change things that have already happened, but we can change how we move forward. 

  2 Samuel 9: 6-7 When Mephibosheth son of Jonathan, the son of Saul, came to David, he bowed down to pay him honor. David said, “Mephibosheth!”

“At your service,” he replied. Don’t be afraid,” David said to him, “for I will surely show you kindness for the sake of your father Jonathan. I will restore to you all the land that belonged to your grandfather Saul, and you will always eat at my table.”

                                                                                                      

3.   A Seat at the Table 

David treated Mephibosheth as one of his own sons and he granted him a place to eat at his own table right along side his other children. David also ensured Saul’s servant would serve and listen to Mephibosheth in the same way he listened to and served King Saul. 

2 Samuel 9: 9-10 Then the king summoned Ziba, Saul’s steward, and said to him, “I have given your master’s grandson everything that belonged to Saul and his family. 10 You and your sons and your servants are to farm the land for him and bring in the crops, so that your master’s grandson may be provided for. And Mephibosheth, grandson of your master, will always eat at my table.”

2 Samuel 9:11 So Mephibosheth ate at David’s table like one of the king’s sons.

David demonstrated to Mephibosheth what Jesus would later offer to all who believe in His name. Jesus came from the line of David by God’s appointing and because David was a man after God’s own heart. This example is a foreshadowing of what is to come for each of us-the greatest honor granted from our King of kings. For all who believe in the name of Jesus as their Lord and Savior and receive Him in their heart, He extends a personal invitation to join Him at His banquet table in heaven. 

Luke 22: 9-10 29 And I confer on you a kingdom, just as my Father conferred one on me, 30 so that you may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom and sit on thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.

 

We will eat at Christ’s table like sons and daughters of the Most High King-because that is who we are. Isn’t that incredible to ponder! You might feel like Mephibosheth, who am I that you would offer me a seat at your heavenly table to dine with You O God, and yet in His great love, He says, “Come! There will always be a place for you at My table.”  

Let us come before our Lord with humility and gratefulness for His extravagant generosity and love.

Conclusion:  David used his position as king to bless others mightily. He was loyal. He did not forget kindness shown by others to him.  He held the covenant that he and Jonathan made as sacred. God also remembers covenants and considers them sacred. God honors those who honor Him. Let us purpose to live God-honoring lives. Let us not live self-focused; rather let us live others focused. and let it be the love of God flowing through us that compels us to honor one another and the covenants we make. 

Let’s pray.  Father God we thank You for Your everlasting and gracious love. Who are we that You Lord should be mindful of us in our lowly state, yet You are. You know us. You love us deeply. You care for us. You honor us as Your beloved children and You have a seat reserved with our name on it at Your banquet table in heaven. Lord we thank You that You are unchanging and Your Words are faithful and true. We thank You Father that we can have confidence You will uphold Your covenant with us. Help us to do the same and teach us to live in ways that honor You and others. Help us to love others as Jonathan and David genuinely loved one another. Help us to remember their example of a covenant relationship and model that those You place in our lives. Show us through Your Spirit how to live others focused that we may bring glory and honor to You and be a vessel for Your love to flow through. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen. 

 

Final Blessing: Numbers 6: 24-26 “The LORD bless you and keep you; the LORD make his face shine on you and be gracious to you; the LORD turn his face toward you and give you peace.”

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