Doing God's Will
(6) Behold, we heard it in Ephrathah. We found it in the fields of Jaar. (7) “Let us come into his tabernacle. Let us worship at his footstool.” (8) Arise, Yahweh, and (enter) your resting place, you and the ark of your strength! (9) Let your priests be clothed with righteousness and let your saints shout for joy! (10) For the sake of your servant, David, do not reject the face of your anointed one. (11) Yahweh swore to David an oath from which he will not turn back: “From the fruit of your body I will place (a son) on your throne. (12) If your sons keep my covenant and my testimonies which I will teach them, then their sons will sit forever on your throne.”
The account of Israel’s loss of the Ark of the Covenant to the Philistines in battle provides the historical background to this segment of the psalm (1 Sam. 4-7). After the Ark was restored to Israel, it remained in the house of Abinadab in Kiriath-Jearim for twenty years. The two strange place names, Ephrathah and Jaar, make sense when we understand that Ephrathah was another name for the area around Bethlehem, David’s home town, and that Jaar was a shortened form of Kiriath-Jearim (vs. 6). This segment gives us a poetic account of David’s decision to transport the ark to Jerusalem to prepare for the building of the temple, a permanent dwelling place for Yahweh, where the nation would gather to worship him.
Because David honored Yahweh by resolving to build him a glorious dwelling place, Yahweh in response gave him an irrevocable promise. The closing two verses of this segment constitute a summary of the Davidic Covenant. In 2 Samuel we find a full statement of this gracious offer (2 Sam. 7:8-14). Two repetitions should be noted: “on your throne” (vss. 11 & 12) and “sons” (twice in vs. 12).
I. David taking the initiative (6-10)
- remembering the ark in its temporary resting place (6 & 7)
- determining to build for God a permanent dwelling (8-10)
II. Yahweh responding with the David Covenant (11 & 12)
Yahweh will honor those who are committed to honoring him.
For the child of God, there should be no greater joy than in doing the Father’s will. This was true of David when he brought the Ark of the Covenant to its rightful place in Zion. This was certainly true for Jesus at the end of his life when he addressed the Father with the following words of triumph in his High Priestly Prayer: “I have brought you glory on earth by completing the work you gave me to do” (John 17:4). This will also be true for followers of Jesus when they complete the work that he has given them to do. When we commit our lives to carrying out the will of God, we can identify with Paul’s final recorded words: “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on that day – and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.” (1 Tim. 4:7 & 8).
In the Parable of the Talents, Jesus tells the story of two servants who have been faithful to invest the large sums of money that their master had entrusted to them and one who was not faithful. When he returned to receive an accounting, those who had been obedient heard these wonderfully affirming words: “Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master's happiness” (Mt. 25:21 & 23). This is the commendation all of us who serve Christ long to hear someday when we stand before our Lord to give an account of our lives.