Grace and Faithfulness

Philipp Ottenburg

In Psalm 117, all nations are exhorted to praise the Lord, and it is said of Him, “great is his love toward us, and the faithfulness of the Lord endures forever” (v. 2).

We read of two things here: grace and faithfulness. For one thing, the Savior’s grace is shown in His infinite mercy and tremendous love toward us sinners. In addition to that, he shows us His grace in the most varied facets of everyday life. We experience preservation, have food on the table, a bed, a shower, and a roof over our heads. We are allowed to attend Sunday services. Again and again He strengthens us through His Word. We encounter His kindness every day.

C. H. Spurgeon writes, “The mighty grace of God has prevailed even as the waters of the flood prevailed over the earth: breaking over all bounds, it has flowed towards all portions of the multiplied race of man. In Christ Jesus, God has shown mercy mixed with kindness, and that to the very highest degree. We can all join in this grateful acknowledgment, and in the praise which is therefore due.”

His loyalty is also exceedingly commendable. He always preserves you and me, even if we are unfaithful (2 Tim 2:13). The Scriptures are full of God’s faithfulness. Think of the rainbow: God’s sign that He will never extinguish humanity with a flood. Consider God’s patience with Gideon in the story of the fleece (Judges 6:36ff.). Remember Elijah, who was fed by ravens and who, when he was later broken and prostrate on the ground, was strengthened and cared for by God (1 Kings 17ff.).

Or look at Jeremiah 31. The sun is light for the day; the moon and the stars are set as lights for the night. God says that only when this system is abolished will the seed of Israel cease from Him. In other words, never. The Lord is so faithful to His people. He is the covenant God.

God bids the nations peace, fulfillment, eternal life and blessing, coming from Israel, through Jesus Christ. How happy we are when God approaches His purpose for Israel step by step. God has kept His covenant promise when He said that all the families of Abraham’s seed will be blessed—in and through grace personified, Jesus Christ (Gen 12:1-3). Likewise, God will fulfill every promise that is still pending. Here are just a few examples:

When Christ returns in glory, the remnant of His people will be converted, and He will accept them after they have mournfully recognized Him (Zech 12:10; Matt 24:30; Rev 1:7; cf. Zech 13:9). He will establish His kingdom in Jerusalem (Zech 14:9-11). And then, truly, all nations will praise and glorify the Messiah, who rules in Zion (Isa 60:3, 5, 10-11). This will be the complete fulfillment of Psalm 117:1, “Praise the Lord, all you nations; extol him, all you peoples.”

Because that’s so tremendous, it’s exactly why this psalm ends with, “Praise the Lord.” We see His grace and faithfulness, His care, and we realize that He will also complete what He has begun. His people Israel remains an impressive example of this. As He approaches His purpose with them, so He also does with you and with me!

Jesus Christ and His redemptive work is the culmination of the great works of God through Israel. Our salvation comes from the Jews. That is why His faithfulness and mercy toward His people are unspeakably precious to us. We can only praise the Lord in the face of all the promises He will fulfill. It’s like Dr. Arno Gaebelein writes:

“‘Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost.’ This is our most blessed inheritance! The Holy Spirit indwells the child of God, and in faith He manifests His power. The God of hope fills us with all joy and peace, so that we abound in hope, looking forward to that blessed day, the realization of our blessed Hope, when we shall be like Him and see Him as He is.”

Midnight Call - 11/2018

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