With the deepest of meaning yet with the simplest of phrasing, John wrote in 1 John 4:8 that “God is love”. We’re told in Psalm 89:13-14 that the foundation of God’s throne is righteousness and justice: You have a mighty arm; strong is your hand, high your right hand. 14 Righteousness and justice are the foundation of your throne; steadfast love and faithfulness go before you.
The core of His being is love. The loving nature of God should prompt us to ask, “How does God love His people?” The answer to this question is given in Psalm 89.
This is called the majestic Covenant Psalm, which, according to the Jewish arrangement closes the third book of the Psalms. It is the utterance of a believer, in presence of great national disaster, pleading with God, urging the grand argument of covenant engagements, and expecting deliverance and help, because of the faithfulness of Jehovah.
Psalm 89:1-8 (ESV)
1 I will sing of the steadfast love of the LORD, forever; with my mouth I will make known your faithfulness to all generations.
The Psalmist has a very sad complaint to make of the deplorable condition of the family of David at this time, and yet he begins the Psalm with songs of praise; for we must in everything, in every state, give thanks. We think when we are in trouble we get ease by complaining: but we do more, we get joy, by praising. Let our complaints therefore be turned into thanksgiving; and in these verses we find that which will be in matter of praise and thanksgiving for us in the worst of times, whether upon a personal or public account.
2 For I said, “Steadfast love will be built up forever; in the heavens you will establish your faithfulness.”
3 You have said, “I have made a covenant with my chosen one; I have sworn to David my servant:
4 ‘I will establish your offspring forever, and build your throne for all generations.’” Selah
5 Let the heavens praise your wonders, O LORD, your faithfulness in the assembly of the holy ones!
6 For who in the skies can be compared to the LORD? Who among the heavenly beings is like the LORD,
7 a God greatly to be feared in the council of the holy ones, and awesome above all who are around him?
8 O LORD God of hosts, who is mighty as you are, O LORD, with your faithfulness all around you?
First, His love is a covenant love.
All of His relationships with man have come out of the covenants He has established with him.
Psalm 89:28 My steadfast love I will keep for him forever, and my covenant will stand firm for him.
29 I will establish his offspring forever and his throne as the days of the heavens.
30 If his children forsake my law and do not walk according to my rules,
31 if they violate my statutes and do not keep my commandments,
32 then I will punish their transgression with the rod and their iniquity with stripes,
33 but I will not remove from him my steadfast love or be false to my faithfulness.
34 I will not violate my covenant or alter the word that went forth from my lips.
He has bound Himself—in the past and in the present—by the agreements He has made with His people. He will show His love by keeping His part of those promises.
The writer of Hebrews, quoting from Jeremiah 31:33, 34, wrote concerning the new covenant for the Christian Era.
Hebrews 8:8-13 (ESV) “Behold, the days are coming, declares the Lord, when I will establish a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah,
9 not like the covenant that I made with their fathers on the day when I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt. For they did not continue in my covenant, and so I showed no concern for them, declares the Lord.
10 For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, declares the Lord: I will put my laws into their minds, and write them on their hearts, and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.
11 And they shall not teach, each one his neighbor and each one his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest.
12 For I will be merciful toward their iniquities, and I will remember their sins no more.”
13 In speaking of a new covenant, he makes the first one obsolete. And what is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to vanish away.
Under this covenant, God would put His laws in His people’s minds and hearts. The cross is the heart of God’s covenant with us. It brought into being this special age that is governed by the new covenant. What is key for us is to realize that we must participate in this process: allowing time in our busy schedules to take in the knowledge (mind) of God from His Word and allow it time to reach our life (heart..emotions).
Hebrews 9:26 (ESV) … for then he would have had to suffer repeatedly since the foundation of the world. But as it is, he has appeared once for all at the end of the ages to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself.
“The end of the ages” refers to the end of the old covenant and the bringing about of the new age, the age of complete for- giveness from God. Indeed, God is the God of the new covenant, which is His agreement with us to save us through Christ’s blood.
Second, His love is a faithful love.
He will be true to those who trust in Him by keeping His word to them. Nothing on earth or in heaven is more reliable than God’s love.
34 I will not violate my covenant or alter the word that went forth from my lips.
11 The heavens are yours; the earth also is yours; the world and all that is in it, you have founded them.
12 The north and the south, you have created them; Tabor and Hermon joyously praise your name.
13 You have a mighty arm; strong is your hand, high your right hand.
14 Righteousness and justice are the foundation of your throne; steadfast love and faithfulness go before you.
15 Blessed are the people who know the festal shout, who walk, O LORD, in the light of your face,
16 who exult in your name all the day and in your righteousness are exalted.
17 For you are the glory of their strength; by your favor our horn is exalted.
18 For our shield belongs to the LORD, our king to the Holy One of Israel.
24 My faithfulness and my steadfast love shall be with him, and in my name shall his horn be exalted.
25 I will set his hand on the sea and his right hand on the rivers.
26 He shall cry to me, ‘You are my Father, my God, and the Rock of my salvation.’
27 And I will make him the firstborn, the highest of the kings of the earth.
As certainly as the sun shines and the moon rises, God will keep His eternal word.
35 Once for all I have sworn by my holiness; I will not lie to David.
36 His offspring shall endure forever, his throne as long as the sun before me.
37 Like the moon it shall be established forever, a faithful witness in the skies.” Selah
God wanted to show us that His promise to us will stand, so He guaranteed it by His word and an oath.
Hebrews 6:17-20 (ESV) So when God desired to show more convincingly to the heirs of the promise the unchangeable character of his purpose, he guaranteed it with an oath,
18 so that by two unchangeable things, in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have fled for refuge might have strong encouragement to hold fast to the hope set before us.
19 We have this as a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul, a hope that enters into the inner place behind the curtain,
20 where Jesus has gone as a forerunner on our behalf, having become a high priest forever after the order of Melchizedek.
This assurance of His faithfulness to us gives the strongest hope, which, in turn, provides an anchor for our souls.
Third, His love is a righteous love.
He is holy and cannot sin or be tempted to sin: James 1:13 (ESV) Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God,” for God cannot be tempted with evil, and he himself tempts no one.
He will see to it that His promises are kept, but He will keep them in harmony with His righteous character. If man violates the covenant he has entered into with God, man will be punished; even if God’s people transgress and do not keep His commandments, they will suffer the consequences.
Judgment is necessary because of the righteous character of His love. No child ultimately appreciates a parental love that contains no high or holy standards.
God’s righteousness demanded the cross. Those who abide in the justification provided by Jesus’ death are protected from the awful condemnation of sin. Our Savior’s sacrifice was a demonstration of God’s righteousness:
James 1:13 (ESV) Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God,” for God cannot be tempted with evil, and he himself tempts no one.
In Him we have God’s continual offer of His grace. John assured us, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9).
Fourth, His love has an eternal character.
He loves the world and His people with a deep, abiding, never-ending love. God said of His people, “I have loved you with an everlasting love” (Jeremiah 31:3b). God is the father in the story of the prodigal son (Luke 15), ever watching for the return of His children.
The cross of Jesus rises above time in reaching to those who have lived, who are living, and who will live. His death is the crux of the Bible. That which went before looked forward to it, and that which comes after looks backward to it. The cross is the eternal expression of the love of God for man.
No love could be more reassuring and comforting than the love that God has for His people. His eternal covenant love should inflame within us the desire and the determination to spend our entire lives in His love.
How does God want to be known? For His great power? For His complete knowledge? Psalm 89 says that He is building up the knowledge of His lovingkindness and faithfulness day by day. He wants this special structure of understanding to be known throughout the world and heaven.
“The Son of God became the Son of Man to change the sons of men into sons of God.”