2 Samuel 23:5


No. 1

preached Sunday morning 23 April 1775

2 Samuel 23:5

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.

The beginning of this chapter is commended to our notice, as the last words of David – the last words of a man of eminent [1] spirituality, so as to receive the title of the man after God’s own heart [2] – and of one who had been long and variously exercised. He had been in troubles from his youth – sometimes so pressed that he almost despaired, yet always seasonably supported. In this verse he is speaking of the two points which respecting his personal concern lay nearest his heart – his family and his soul. The truths he here contemplates and the manner of his expression afford room for more discourses than one. At present and by way of introduction to what I may offer hereafter from the passage, I shall endeavour to give you a brief exposition upon the word and to raise a few observations for general use. May the Lord command his blessing.
1. Although
From this word and the case referred compared with the general course of Scripture, I would observe that the people of God, however situate or circumstanced, have each their trials. David was a child, a prophet of God. He was a warrior and a king. He had great riches and great honours. But still he had an Although. Let this
  1.1 encourage some. Why do you complain as though none were exercised like yourself? 1 Peter 5:9 [3]
  1.2 teach others what to expect. You may possibly for a little while think yourselves well in all points – but whether believers or not, you will find a cross. Pray that trials may be sanctified. Escape them you cannot.
2. My house
David was prosperous in many respects, but afflicted in his family. One son slain by another, and he that murdered his brother proved a rebel and traitor to his father. He had many children, but few that he could hope were the Lord’s children. His sorrow on his account found a place even in his last words. Observe hence:
  2.1 A good man longs for the spiritual welfare of his children and family. Indeed those who have tasted that the Lord is gracious, wish that all around them were partakers of the same mercy, but charity will in this sense at least begin at home. I think those of you who have dear relatives may try yourselves by this test. Do you travel[travail] as it were in birth for those who are dear to you?  It is a good sign, and if your desires prompt to the use of every probable and appointed means, and if a failing of success with them gives you a deep and sensible concern, and excites your prayers to God for them yet more earnestly, be not discouraged, you may yet have the desire of your hearts. But remember:
  2.2 that grace does not run in the blood. David had Ammon and Absolem. Manasseh, who was brought up under good Hezekiah, was wicked beyond all that were before him. Nothing but the power of God can change the heart. Therefore:
    2.2.1 Beware of trusting to outward privileges. Matthew 3:9 [4]
    2.2.2 Be not discouraged if you have not had them in early life. They could not have saved you of themselves, and if you seek to the Lord Jesus, he can save you without them.
3. Not so with God
David’s children were something in the sight of men: king’s sons and honourable. But alas, says he, what will this avail, unless they are precious in the Lord’s sight?
  3.1 We are all just so and no otherwise than as we are with God. His judgment is right. Those whom he favours are happy in a cottage. All others are and will be miserable though they may [be] rich and honourable in the sight of the world. Examine, my dear friends, do you truly think so?  Do you regard his loving kindness as better than life, and account all things but loss and dung in comparison with Christ?  If not, unless the Lord change your mind, how miserably will you be disappointed, when the things you love must leave you and you be constrained to appear before God?
  3.2 Here is a rule for parents. Do you wish your children well?  Then remember to seek for them the kingdom of God and his righteousness in the first place. Endeavour to impress them with a sense of the importance of eternal things. Pray for their souls. If you neglect this, and only put them in a way and set them an example of heaping up wealth, you are not their friends but their enemies.
4. Yet he hath made
As every believer has an Although, so likewise a Yet to balance it. Many are the comforts provided for the children of God, but none like the consideration of this covenant. Observed, the parts:
  4.1 A covenant
An engagement in which the Great God condescends to bind himself to performance.
  4.2 Everlasting
From everlasting in its glorious contrivance, to everlasting in its blessed effects.
  4.3 Ordered
Prepared, disposed. The Lord foresaw whatever would be wanted and has provided according. A fullness of grace, a supply for every want, is treasured up in this blessed covenant, and in a way wonderfully suited for the encouragement and consolation of unworthy sinners.
  4.4 Sure
Not suspended upon uncertain conditions, but established with and in Christ, confirmed by promises, by oath and by blood.
5. When David calls this covenant his own, he adds an experimental reason: It is all my salvation and all my desire. These great truths deserve a more large consideration, but at present I shall conclude with recommending you to try yourselves by this last clause.
  5.1 Is it all your salvation
That is, do you see your need and value of it, and see it so sure and suitable that you are determined by the help of God to venture your souls in this way and to seek no other?  Surely all who are taught of God agree here – whatever else they doubt or differ about, they are satisfied that Jesus is the sufficient and only Saviour.
  5.2 Is it all your desire? 
Does nothing appear valuable in comparison of this?  Can you with respect to disappointment in every other thing, see a sufficient compensation if you could be able to say upon good grounds, He hath made with me, etc.
  If you have not this view of salvation by grace, and this desire towards it, you are nothing in the sight of God. Whatever you may think of yourself, or others think of you, you are not so with him as his people are. The Lord help you to consider this. He once more sets these things before you. Take heed that you not slight his goodness.
But if your conscience bears you witness that your desire is to heaven and holiness and Christ is the way in which you choose to walk, if you admire this everlasting [covenant], and long above all things to know that your name is in it, I may venture to tell you from God’s word that your name is indeed surely there. Without his grace you could not have made this choice. The Lord help you to take the comfort and give him the glory of what he has done for your souls. Press on, read, pray, attend diligently on his means, and you shall know more and more of this covenant while you live, and ere long shall be put in possession of all its blessings in a better world.

[Note: themes above are contained in Glorious things of thee are spoken, Zion, city of our God!]

1. ms ‘eminently’
2. Acts 13:22 And when he had removed him, he raised up unto them David to be their king; to whom also he gave their testimony, and said, I have found David the son of Jesse, a man after mine own heart, which shall fulfil all my will.
3 1 Peter 5:9 Whom resist stedfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world.
4. Matthew 3:9 And think not to say within yourselves, We have Abraham to our father: for I say unto you, that God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham.

Cowper & Newton Museum, ms 714(1), N2

Marylynn Rouse, 30/04/2019