"THE LORD'S PEOPLE."
Intro. The Southern Kingdom of Judah had just gone through a terrible moral and spiritual decline. The wicked influence of the Northern kingdom of Israel had drifted south. Jehoram the king had married the daughter of Jezebel whose name is synonymous with evil. He killed all of his brothers to secure his position on the throne. Fortunately he reigned for only eight years before he was killed. His wicked wife Athiliah the daughter of Jezebel began to reign and the first thing she did was to try to kill all of the descendants of David so there could be none of the house of David that could claim the throne. There was a one-year old infant, a descendant of David that was hid and thus survived her slaughter. When this little child had reached the age of seven, a godly priest named Jehoiada felt it was time to depose Athaliah and place Joash the seven-year old descendant of David on the throne. Athaliah was slain, and with the new king under the influence of the godly priest, they initiated immediate
spiritual reforms. Here we read our text:
I. 2CH 23:16
: AND JEHOIADA MADE A COVENANT BETWEEN HIM, AND BETWEEN ALL THE PEOPLE, AND BETWEEN THE KING, THAT THEY SHOULD BE THE LORD'S PEOPLE.
A. This seems to be a common thing with the nation of Israel, the renewing of the covenant with God.
B. They had a vicious pattern, they would make a covenant with God and God would honor the covenant and bless and prosper them, and in their prosperity they would forsake God and hard times would come. Then in the hard times they would seek God, renew the covenant, and God would bless and prosper them. And this was a continuing pattern.
II. GOD ESTABLISHED MANY COVENANTS WITH MAN.
A. After the flood, God made a covenant with Noah that He would never again destroy the earth with a flood. God then gave a sign of that covenant.
And God said, This is the sign of the covenant which I make between Me and you and every living creature that is with you, for perpetual generations; I do set my rainbow in the cloud, and it shall be for a sign of a covenant between Me and the earth. And it shall come to pass, when I bring a cloud over the earth, that the bow shall be seen in the cloud: And I will remember my covenant, which [is] between me and you and every living creature of all flesh; and the waters shall no more become a flood to destroy all flesh. And the bow shall be in the cloud; and I will look upon it, that I may remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that [is] upon the earth. And God said unto Noah, This [is] the sign of the covenant, which I have established between me and all flesh that is upon the earth.
B. God made a covenant with Abraham.
And when Abram was ninety nine years old, the LORD appeared to Abram, and said unto him, I [am] the Almighty God; walk before Me, and be perfect. And I will make My covenant between Me and you, and will multiply you exceedingly. And Abram fell on his face: and God talked with him, saying, As for Me, behold, My covenant [is] with you, and you shall be a father of many nations. Neither shall your name be called Abram any more, but your name shall be Abraham; for a father of many nations have I made You. And I will make you exceeding fruitful, and I will make nations of you, and kings shall come forth from you. And I will establish My covenant between Me and you and your seed after you in their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be a God unto you, and to your seed after you. And I will give unto you, and to your seed after you, the land wherein you are a stranger, all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting
possession; and I will be their God. And God said unto Abraham, you shall keep my covenant therefore, you, and your seed after you in their generations. This is My covenant, which you shall keep, between Me and you and your seed after you; Every man child among you shall be circumcised.
C. God's covenant with the people under Moses. Moses said to the people:
Now listen, O Israel, unto the statutes and the judgments, which I teach you, do [them], that you may live, and go in and possess the land which the LORD God of your fathers gives to you. You shall not add to any word which I command you, neither shall you take any word from it, that you may keep the commandments of the LORD your God which I command you. Behold, I have taught you statutes and judgments, even as the LORD my God commanded me, that you should do so in the land you are going to possess. Keep them and do them for this [is] wisdom and understanding. The nations when they shall hear all these statutes shall say, Surely this great nation are a wise and understanding people. For what nation is there so great, whose God is so near to them as the LORD our God is to us? And what nation is there that has statutes and judgments as righteous as all this law, which I set before you this day? Take heed to yourself,
and keep your soul diligently, lest you forget the things which your eyes have seen, and lest they depart from your heart all the days of your life: but teach them to your children, and to your grandchildren; The Lord declared unto you His covenant, which He commanded you to perform, even the ten commandments; and He wrote them upon two tables of stone. Be careful that you do not forget the covenant of the Lord. Know therefore that the LORD your God, is a faithful God, who keeps His covenant and mercy with them that love him and keep his commandments.
III. NOW WE HAVE COME TO ANOTHER TIME IN THEIR HISTORY WHEN THEY ARE GOING TO MAKE A COVENANT WITH GOD. THIS IS THE COVENANT, "WE WILL BE THE LORD'S PEOPLE."
A. They will renounce the false gods that they had been worshipping and worship the Lord.
B. Notice how they went immediately to the temple of Baal and broke it down and broke the altar of Baal and all of the images of Baal.
C. The Lord wants us to be His people.
1. What an exciting thing it is when we determine that we are going to be the Lord's people.
IV. WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO BE THE LORD'S PEOPLE?
A. We are going to put Him first in our lives.
1. Does the Lord have top priority in your life?
2. Take an honest inventory of this past week.
a. How much of your time did you spend diligently seeking Him?
b. How does that compare with the amount of time you spent seeking your own pleasure? Watching TV, etc.
B. That we will seek His will for our lives.
1. I fear lest we have developed a very shallow commitment to serve the Lord. It is almost a commitment of convenience. If it's convenient I will go to His house to worship Him.
2. We are certainly living in the days of itching ears that Paul warned Timothy about.
3. Churches have sought to become social centers, the services are designed to entertain.
4. The lyrics of the choruses have become repetitive and often very shallow.
5. When I was in high school we used to sing songs that expressed a real commitment. "Not what I wish to be, or where I wish to go, for who am I that I should choose my way? The Lord shall choose for me, tis better far I know, so let Him bid me go or stay." "I'll go where you want me to go dear Lord, o're mountain or plain or sea, I'll say what you want me to say dear Lord, I'll be what you want me to be."
C. To covenant to be God's people means that we are to love Him with all of our heart, soul, and strength.
1. On a scale of one to ten, where would you say that your love for God would register?
2. Jesus asked Peter, "Lovest thou Me, more than these?" Who the "these" were we do not know, perhaps the flopping fish in the net, perhaps the other disciples. What is the these in your life? Is your love for Him preeminent? Or do you have loves or interests that exceed your love for Him?
D. To covenant to be the Lord's people means to obey His commandments.
1. Basically He has commanded us to live a holy life. To shun evil and do good.
2. To love rather than hate.
3. To forgive rather than seek revenge.
4. To give to those in need.
E. I can't speak for you, but for me, I know that I want to enter into a covenant to be the Lord's people.