God’s love is eternally expressed in Jesus Christ.
Please read Psalm 89 in your Bible. I used the NIV to research my remarks.
Picture the usual Christmas scene and focus on the husband and wife opening their gifts to each other. This is one of those moments in life when something funny is bound to happen.
The husband pointed to an ill-wrapped package and said, “Open that one next.”
The wife picked up gift and unwrapped it, opening it to find one of those obnoxious singing-and-dancing robot Christmas trees. She is a bit shocked, remembering how just days ago she had pointed out how much she hated those things when she and her husband were shopping together.
Holding it at arm’s length she said, “Weren’t you listening when I said I thought these were the most annoying things ever?”
“Open that other gift,” the husband said, pointing to a long package that is even more poorly wrapped and is very heavy.
His wife set down the robotic Christmas tree as if it were radioactive. She opened the second package to reveal a sledgehammer.
“Is this for what I think it’s for?”
The husband replied, “And you thought I wasn’t paying attention!”
<Adapted from https://www.rd.com/funny-stuff/funny-christmas-jokes/ on 12/21/17.>
We pin a lot of hopes and waste a lot of time trying to both please and surprise one another with Christmas gifts, don’t we?
One person wrote about how her dad got her mom a DVD of her favorite movie. That would’ve been a thoughtful gift, except the DVD was a rental and they didn’t own a DVD player!
When calamities come, one question that springs to mind is “Why? Why did God allow this to happen to me?” The worst calamity to ever befall the OT people of God (Judah) was to be taken over and taken captive by the Babylonians. This psalm is one of many examples of songs lamenting this terrible circumstance.
The psalm writers were not shy about expressing these questions, even accusing God of neglecting them. They pleaded for an end to their suffering and leaned on His promises to encourage their hope. This morning’s Psalm is an example of this way of attempting to renew the hopes of the captive Jews.
- The forever love of God is found in the dynasty of David (Psalm 89:1-4).
In verses one and two the LORD is worshiped because of His LOVE and FAITHFULNESS. These words occur seven times in the 52 verses of this psalm.
Eternity is bound up in this song; it is meant to be “The Song that Never Ends.” We see this in the use of FOREVER and THROUGH ALL GENERATIONS; this worship is as eternal as HEAVEN ITSELF. In Hebrew, the word translated as FOREVER is an indefinite length of time. It is not exactly the same as the New Testament idea of eternity. For example, in Romans 11:29, Paul wrote GOD’S GIFTS AND HIS CALL ARE IRREVOCABLE. This assures us that God is not going to suddenly change His mind. Our salvation is secure. Here we see the idea that eternal means “unchanging.”
The LORD’s GREAT LOVE, a constant (faithful) LOVE. So faithfulness is another aspect of things eternal.
These divine virtues they have been ESTABLISHED…IN HEAVEN ITSELF. The idea implied in the Hebrew is that the psalmist is creating a record of God’s faithfulness that will be preserved for future generations.
The appropriate human response is to praise God for His perfect love. The words SING and DECLARE cover the two main ways we humans use our mouths to praise God. The phrase WITH MY MOUTH meant “aloud” or “loudly.” The joy of being in God is not supposed to be something we contain. It ought to be too wonderful for us to conceal or hold inside; it ought to flow out of us, revealing God’s LOVE and FAITHFULNESS to our family and community.
The rest of this song gives us examples of other reasons the LORD is worthy of worship.
Vs. 5-13 = God’s power over creation.
Vs. 14-18 = God’s moral power.
Vs. 19-29 = God’s Son will be imbued with power.
Vs. 30-45 = God’s wrath against sin is mitigated by his covenant LOVE and FAITHFULNESS to keep His part of the covenant.
Vs. 46-52 = Worship includes pleading to God for mercy and relief from His discipline.
Verses three and four explain one aspect of His LOVE and FAITHFULNESS: His eternal covenant with David in which God established the dynasty of David forever. (See also vs. 26-29.) King David is referred to as the LORD’s CHOSEN ONE and His SERVANT, emphasizing the special relationship they enjoyed.
The title CHOSEN ONE refers to the way God always works. He chooses us first. He makes His plans and attempts to work them with our cooperation. The emphasis is never on our qualifications, but on God’s choosing and empowering.
The title SERVANT refers to David doing his part of the covenant-relationship; doing God’s will.
The COVENANT God swore with David was to establish an eternal dynasty, having one of David’s descendants reign over God’s people for all eternity. The fulfillment of this promise was realized in Jesus, who was a member of David’s royal family and because of His victory over death, Jesus Christ will reign as King for all eternity.
We are to feel secure in this promise. The psalmist expressed that feeling of security in a couple different ways: he used the words STANDS FIRM (2) and ESTABLISH (4) to assure us of this trustworthy foundation to our faith.
- The forever love of God is found in the Son of David, Jesus Christ.
The genealogy of Jesus in Matthew’s Gospel (1:1-17) is there to prove that Joseph, Jesus’ stepfather, was of the line of David and went back only as far as Abraham. The purpose behind that family tree was to show that Jesus is related to all Jews.
The genealogy of Jesus in Luke’s Gospel (1:1-17) is also there to prove that Joseph, Jesus’ stepfather, was of the line of David. But Luke’s version goes all the way back to Adam, with the purpose of showing that Jesus is related to all people. Some people also think that even though Mary’s name is not used by Luke, these ancestors Mary shared in common with Joseph.
The love of God the Father for Jesus, God the Son, was expressed three times in the New Testament.
The first was at Jesus’ baptism by John (Matthew 3:13-17; Mark 1:9-11; Luke 3:21-22), where the voice from heaven said, “THIS IS MY SON, WHOM I LOVE; WITH HIM I AM WELL PLEASED.”
These words were repeated by the voice of our Heavenly Father at Jesus’ Transfiguration (Matthew 17:1-8; Mark 9:2-13; Luke 9:28-36), with an addition, “LISTEN TO HIM.”
In John 12:20-50, Jesus taught some Greeks about eternal life and prayed, “FATHER, GLORIFY YOUR NAME.” The heavenly voice responded, “I HAVE GLORIFIED IT, AND WILL GLORIFY IT AGAIN.” Jesus explained that the voice spoke so that the people there would realize that His immanent death would provide salvation for all people.
God’s love is eternally expressed in Jesus Christ.
In an article entitled “Keep Close to the Heart of Christmas,” Bible Teacher and Pastor John Piper put Christmas in perspective.
“Now, I think this is as close as we get to the actual description of the event of the incarnation — of the divine nature, in some way, uniting with the human nature in the womb of Mary. We know from numerous texts in the New Testament that Jesus was God, very God, who had a divine nature. He had a real divine nature. Colossians 2:9 says that in his body there was ‘fullness of deity.’
“And we know that Jesus Christ also had a human nature. Paul says, ‘There is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus’ (1 Timothy 2:5). So he was a mediator between God and man because he was a man. So we know that Jesus was a God-man. There were two natures, the divine nature and the human nature, in this one person — Jesus Christ.”
<Retrieved from https://www.desiringgod.org/interviews/keep-close-to-the-heart-of-christmas on 12/21/17.>
On this last Sunday in Advent, with Christmas Eve just hours away, we reach the climax of our struggle to keep Christmas centered on Christ. Too soon, the day will be over and we’ll wonder why we got into such a fuss again this year. We’ll vow to do better next year and probably fall back into old habits instead.
We’ve learned that Jesus Christ is the focus of both Old and New Testaments. He gives all that is needed for salvation to all who will, by faith, receive it. Be one of those people at Christmas and all year long.