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FROM THE SERVANT GENERAL
 

FROM THE SERVANT GENERAL

LESSONS OF JOB
(Part 41)

THE AWESOME GOD OF THE COVENANT


December 24, 2009

Today’s reading is taken from Psalm 89, which is a lament over God’s promise to David. The psalm is very instructive as to the God who entered into covenant with us, just as He did with David.

First, there is the affirmation of the awesomeness of God, that there truly is none like Him. “Who in the skies ranks with the Lord? Who is like the Lord among the gods? A God dreaded in the council of the holy ones, greater and more awesome than all who sit there! Lord, God of hosts, who is like you?” (v.7-9a).

God is the Creator. The psalmist affirms: “you founded the world and everything in it.” (v.12b). Thus everything belongs to Him. “Yours are the heavens, yours the earth” (v.12a).

As Creator-God, He is all-powerful. “Mighty your arm, strong your hand, your right hand is ever exalted.” (v.14). He controls everything, even the destructive floods of Ondoy and the tsunamis. “You rule the raging sea; you still its swelling waves.” (v.10).

Awesome as He is, God reveals Himself as just and righteous. “Righteousness and justice are the foundation of your throne” (v.14,RSV).[1] God rules as King of all kings, but the foundation of His rule is justice and righteousness.

As just and righteous King, God becomes our strength and shield. “You are their majestic strength; by your favor our horn[2] is exalted. Truly the Lord is our shield, the Holy One of Israel, our King!” (v.18-19). God is there to care for us and to protect us. He favors the weak and the lowly, giving them strength. He looks to the vulnerable and oppressed, protecting them with His shield.

Why does God do this? It is because He has entered into covenant with His people.[3] God’s covenant is one of love and loyalty. God’s “love and loyalty march before you.” (v.15b). God loves us and will stand by us. God cares for us and will provide for all our needs. Now unlike human agreements that are often broken, God, being the eternal King, has made an enduring covenant. “My love is established forever; my loyalty will stand as long as the heavens.” (v.3).

What an awesome blessing covenant is! What is our part? Our part is to obey. It is to not veer away from God’s will and commands. Thus can we continue to reap the fruit of His love and loyalty.

But what if we veer away? That is when we will be severely punished. “If his[4] descendants forsake my law, do not follow my decrees, if they fail to observe my statutes, do not keep my commandments, I will punish their crime with a rod and their guilt with lashes.” (v.31-33). If we do not respond also in love and loyalty, if we turn away from God, then He will afflict us with the rod and with lashes.[5] This actually is a manifestation of His love for us, as He desires for us to stop our infidelities and turn back to Him. Even as we turn away from Him, God is still loyal to us.

When we turn back to Him, God assures us that He will restore. He will restore us in His love and in our covenant with Him. “But I will not take my love from him, nor will I betray my bond of loyalty. I will not violate my covenant; the promise of my lips I will not alter.” (v.34-35).

What a wonderful God we have! Faithful and loving, patient and forgiving. Unfortunately we often take God for granted. When our life is going well, we neglect our covenant, and even veer away. Oftentimes it is only through suffering that we begin to truly see how fragile our lives are and how so very dependent we are on God. It is often in our affliction that we begin to truly see God in the fullness of His majestic splendor and beauty.

Job was a good and upright man, but He did not truly understand the Almighty God. Like many, he did good, and he expected blessings to be his natural reward. It was only when God turned his world upside down that he began to question, to search, to grapple. In the end, Job was just confronted with the grandeur and majesty of God. That was enough. Though he still could not know the mysterious workings of God, now he had entered into a deeper relationship with Him (Job 42:3,5). Now Job knew God better, and he was content.

We too will find our happiness in knowing God for the awesome Almighty that He is, and in knowing our proper relationship with Him, that of covenant. “Happy the people who know you, Lord” (v.16a). As we know God, as He teaches us His commands, then we simply obey, knowing that to obey is for our own good. This too is the way we find our happiness. “Happy the people .... who walk in the radiance of your face.” (v.16b).

Because God is the Almighty who is just and righteous, loving and loyal, our strength and our shield, our lives ought to be filled with joy. We can live victorious lives. “In your name they sing joyfully all the day; at your victory they raise the festal shout.” (v.17).

Because God is the God of our covenant, we obey Him and keep on the right path. This path is the path of holiness. We are to be holy as God is holy. We are to be part of “the assembly of the holy ones” (v.6b).

Because God is the awesome and all-powerful Creator and King, we are to give Him worship and praise. When we do, we join with all of His creation, with the heavens and all the angels and saints. “The heavens praise your marvels, Lord, your loyalty in the assembly of the holy ones.” (v.6).

We worship the Almighty God on earth, and this is the way we prepare for all eternity in heaven.

* * *



[1] Verse 15 in NAB.
[2] A symbol of strength.
[3] Israel then, and now with us.
[4] David. We too are his descendants.
[5] Including destructive floods and other natural calamities.


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