Faithful To The End
Richard Barnfield once remarked, “Words are easy, like the wind; faithful friends are hard to find.”1 It is of great comfort, therefore, to come to know One who is ever faithful, God himself. As Thomas Kelly wrote in his well-known hymn,
Trust in Him, ye saints, forever,’
He is faithful, changing never;
neither force nor guile can sever
those He loves from Him.2
Faithfulness is one element in God’s attribute of truth (Isa. 65:16), for the Lord himself declared that he is One who abounds in faithfulness (Exod. 34:6).3 In what follows we shall examine the scriptural teaching concerning God’s faithfulness and the resultant need for a similar character quality in believers, with particular emphasis on the Psalms.
The Faithfulness Of God
The Inspired Scriptures reveal that faithfulness is a basic quality of the Lord’s character. It is of interest to note that the meaning of the Hebrew word translated faithfulness (’emûnāh) carries with it an emphasis on an “inner attitude and the conduct it produces.”4 The Lord is not only a God of faithfulness, truthfulness, and trustworthiness, but also acts in accordance with his basic character. As Moses declared,
The Rock, His work is perfect,
for all His ways are just;
a God of faithfulness and without wrongdoing,
He is righteous and upright (Deut. 32:4; MT).
Such is repeatedly expressed in the Psalms. Thus in the well-known Old One Hundred, in giving thanks the psalmists proclaims:
For the LORD is good.
His loyal love endures
and he is faithful through all generations (Ps. 100:5).
David affirms that, “the Lord’s decrees are just and everything he does is fair (Ps 33:4; lit., “is in faithfulness”; see NET text note). David goes on to illustrate by describing the manifold works of God in both the natural world and the world of mankind (vv. 5-17). David points out that the Lord has a special concern for those who are faithful to him (vv. 18-19). He then closes his psalm of praise and dependence on the Lord (vv. 20-21) and by praying (v. 22),
May we experience your faithfulness, O LORD,
for we wait on you.
As Schaefer observes, David’s words are noteworthy for all believers: “Psalm 33 teaches that God is trustworthy and encourages us to a life based on hope in God.”5 Indeed, this whole psalm testifies to the fact that the Lord is a God who is not only just and fair, but all his acts are in accordance with faithfulness to his being and character.
David adds in Psalm 36 that there is simply no limit to his faithfulness. He declares,
O LORD, your loyal love reaches to the sky,
your faithfulness to the clouds (v. 5).
For David, who experienced so much suffering and outright persecution, to acknowledge God’s overriding faithfulness through it all, was truly a testimony to his knowledge and appreciation of the Lord’s grace and love. He understood that somehow the Lord had a purpose for and was in control of the situation, and ultimately intends everything for man’s good (vv. 6-9). Accordingly, he could pray for God’s loyal love and vindication not only for himself, but for all who are faithful and just in their dealings:
Extend your loyal love to your faithful followers
and vindicate the morally upright (v. 10).
David closes his thoughts by not only praying for his own protection and deliverance from his enemies and all wicked men, but with assurance and foresight that they will surely be defeated (vv. 11-12). David’s assurance that the Lord’s ways are always just and fair is echoed elsewhere in the Psalms. In Psalm 96:13b we read that the Lord, “judges the world fairly, and the nations in accordance with his justice” (cf. Pss. 98:9; 119:70, 37-38). This is true not only in the present course of world events, but in the future when the Lord Jesus Christ returns to bring divine judgment on the earth. Thus by revelation the Apostle John saw, “heaven opened and here came a white horse! The one riding it was called, ‘Faithful and True,’ and with justice he judges and goes to war” Rev. 19:11).
One of the outstanding examples of God’s faithfulness is in his covenant relation to Israel. Accordingly, the psalmist can declare,
The Lord demonstrates his power to deliver;
in the sight of the nations he reveals his justice.
He remains loyal and faithful to the family of Israel.
All the ends of the earth see our God deliver us (Ps. 98:2-3; cf. Deut. 7:9).
In Psalm 89 the Lord’s loyalty to his covenant with Israel is particularly seen to be realized in relation to his covenant with David. Having praised the Lord for the general nature of his faithfulness (vv. 1-2), the psalmist cites the lord as saying,
I have made a covenant with my chosen one;
I have made a promise on oath to David, my servant:
“I will give you an eternal dynasty
and establish your throne throughout future generations” (vv. 3-4).
Indeed, God’s faithfulness is not only exhibited among the angels and praised by them (vv. 5-7), but also in the creation and sustenance of the earth and its governance (vv. 8-13) It is simply the case that,
Equity and justice are the foundation of your throne.
Loyal love and faithfulness characterize your rule (v. 14).
How blessed, then, is Israel to be God’s covenant people who as his faithful followers experience God’s justice and know him as their king, “the Holy One of Israel”( vv. 15-18). But there is more; as noted above in the psalm, God’s faithfulness is ever to be channeled through his servant David (vv. 19-27). For the Lord declared,
I will always extend my loyal love to him,
and my covenant with him is secure (v. 28).
This covenant is an everlasting one (v. 29; cf. vv. 35-37) and will remain in effect for his heirs. Even though some of David’s heirs may prove to be unfaithful, with the result that God must punish them for their sins (vv. 30-32), the Lord reinforced his promise with regard to his covenant with David that,
I will not remove my loyal love from him,
nor be unfaithful to my promise.
I will not break my covenant
or go back on what I promised (vv. 33-34).
As VanGemeren observes, “The relationship between David and the Lord was guaranteed by
‘covenant’… made by oath. Even when the party with whom the Lord makes the covenant breaks its terms, its binding nature obligates the Lord to fulfill the terms.”6
This divinely instituted covenantal grant to David is thus an everlasting one (cf. 2 Samuel 7: 16-19). It also augments and serves as a link between the ancient Abrahamic Covenant Gen 17: 1-8) and the New Covenant (Jer. 31:31-35; 32:36-41; 33:6-9; Ezek. 34:11-14, 22-24; 37:22-28). The entire covenantal chain, of course, finds its culmination and ultimate fulfillment in David’s heir, the Lord Jesus Christ (cf. Matt 26:27-28; Heb. 8:1-12).7 It is not surprising, therefore, that (as noted above) in connection with his second coming Christ is described as “Faithful” and “True” (Rev. 19:11). Like the Father, then, the Lord Jesus Christ, the second person of the Trinity, is faithful in his person and his mission to provide the fruits of eternal salvation for a lost and needy mankind. Indeed, Jesus himself, declared, “I have come so that they may have life, and have it abundantly” (John 10:10; cf. vv. 28-30). As Kӧstenberger points out, “Jesus’ ‘sheep’ listen to his voice; he knows them, and they follow him (10:3, 4, 8, 14, 16). Jesus gives them (present tense) eternal life (cf. 10:10) and they will never, ever perish (emphatic negative). Together with the repeated assertion that no one can snatch his sheep out of his (or the Father’s) hands, this conveys the image of utter security for Jesus’ followers.” 8
Faithfulness And The Believer
Faithfulness to the Lord and his standards is a prime necessity for believers. Therefore, David admonishes his hearers, “Trust in the Lord and do what is right!” Settle in the land and maintain your integrity! (Ps. 37:3). As noted in the NET text note, the word “integrity” is a common word for faithfulness. Thus a belief in the Lord that involves total trust will result in faithfulness to him and the principles of God’s Word. It is of further interest to note that verses 3-5 in this psalm describe what constitutes genuine faith: a whole soul committal to God—intellect (v. 3), emotions (v. 4), and will (v. 5). The believer who has a firm, unreserved belief in the Lord, one which involves absolute trust, will find his “delight” in the Lord, and devote himself to God’s will and purposes for his life. This kind of faith begins and ends in a total trust, which finds such complete confidence in the Lord that the believer can rest his entire life and future in the Lord. He understands that they are in the caring hands of him who is ever faithful (Ps 100:5). 9 This also includes complete faithfulness both to the Lord and the high spiritual, moral, and ethical standards of his Word. Thus the psalmist testifies,
I choose the path of faithfulness;
I am committed to your regulations (Ps. 119:30).
Nothing could be more clear. This is simply a basic principle for godly living. Yet conformity to certain of God’s standards without regard to their intended purpose and to the more basic deeds of godly living is to miss their function altogether. Thus Jesus pointed out to the Pharisees that rather than an outward show of righteousness they should pay attention to the more fundamental issues of righteous living: “Justice, mercy, and faithfulness! You should have done these things without neglecting the others” (Matt. 23:23). Moreover, as Paul told Timothy, genuine faithfulness is incumbent upon the believer, especially those who have the privilege and responsibilities of being spiritual leadership (1 Tim. 3:1-13; 2 Tim. 2:2).
In addition, believers can and should praise the Lord for his boundless faithfulness. The Lord’s faithfulness is a prominent theme for David in Psalm 40. Having expressed his thankfulness to God for all of his deeds (vv. 1-5), he gives testimony to his one desire to live a life that is pleasing to the Lord (vv. 6-10). In so doing David bears witness to God’s many acts of faithfulness:
I have told the great assembly about your justice.
Look! I spare no words.
O LORD, you know this is true.
I have not failed to tell about your justice.
I spoke about your reliability and deliverance;
I have not neglected to tell the great assembly
about your loyal love and faithfulness (Ps. 40:9-10).
As VanGemeren remarks, “The psalmist must speak by inner compulsion. He cannot be quiet….His commitment is correlative to the perfections of Yahweh’s rule: ‘righteousness …faithfulness…salvation…love…truth.’”10 David goes on to pray to God for his continued faithfulness, for he is in constant danger:
O LORD, do not withhold your compassion from me.
May your loyal love and faithfulness continually protect me!
For innumerable dangers surround me (v. 11; cf. v. 17b).
David expresses similar sentiments in Psalm 143. In addition to his concerns about the dangers he is facing, David has other concerns:
O Lord, hear my prayer!
Pay attention to my plea for help!
Because of your faithfulness and justice, answer me! (v. 1).
O LORD, for the sake of your reputation, revive me!
Because of your justice, rescue me! (v. 11).
It may well have been the case that David’s enemies were also God’s, so that David is worried about God’s name and holy reputation in all of this. Such would account not only for David’s repeated requests for deliverance (vv. 3-7, 9), but his strong closing words:
As a demonstration of your loyal love,
destroy my enemies!
Annihilate all who threaten my life,
for I am your servant (v. 11).
A concern that as the Lord’s servant God’s reputation could be compromised should likewise mark the character and conduct of all believers, as well as the nature of their prayers. When this is the case, God assures the faithful, committed believer,
Because he is devoted to me, I will deliver him;
I will protect him because he is loyal to me.
When he calls out to me, I will answer him,
I will be with him when he is in trouble;
I will rescue him and bring him honor.
I will satisfy him with long life,
and will let him see my salvation (Ps. 91:14-16).
It is small wonder, therefore, that believers can echo in song the words of Thomas Chisholm:
Great is Thy faithfulness, O God my Father!
There is no shadow of turning with Thee’
Thou changest not, Thy compassions, they fail not:
as Thou hast been Thou forever wilt be.
All I have needed Thy hand hath provided—
great is Thy faithfulness.11
The words of this hymn are all the more forceful when one understands that Chisholm suffered many long years in poor health. Despite his condition, he was faithful to the Lord and penned more that 1200 poems, many of which have appeared in hymn texts. Through all of this Chisholm could say, “I must not fail to record here the unfailing faithfulness of a covenant-keeping God and that he has given me many wonderful displays of his providing care, for which I am filled with astonishing gratefulness.”12
Chisholm’s remarks coincide with many examples of suffering believers who found God’s faithfulness toward them to be real notwithstanding their difficulties. The Psalmist also cautions that believers should understand that even during times of suffering or personal difficulties God remains faithful, for sometimes hard times or personal testing may be the Lord’s means of correction in order to bring increased spiritual maturity. In times of difficulty, therefore, the believer should seek God’s face for consolation and understanding his concerns:
I know, Lord, that your regulations are just.
You disciplined me because of your faithful devotion to me.
May your loyal love console me
as you promised your servant (Ps 119:75-76). 13
David often faced opposition and suffering at the hands of his enemies. Yet he had the assurance that God could protect those who suffer for righteousness sake and deal justly with their persecutors:
Love the LORD, all you faithful followers of his!
The Lord protects those who have integrity,
but he pays back in full the one who acts arrogantly.
Be strong and confident,
all you who wait on the Lord (Ps. 31:23-24).
Thus Schaeffer remarks concerning these verses, “The psalmist records the experience as a teaching for others. Hope is the invigorating force, a guarantee for assuring other worshipers of the divine goodness. … An innocent, unjustly accused and – to complicate matters—sick person, seeks refuge in God, receives divine help, gives thanks, and encourages the assembly of the faithful.”14
In some instances David’s words appear at first sight to be too harsh. Thus in Psalm 54 he cries out,
May those who wait to ambush me be repaid for their evil!
As a demonstration of your faithfulness, destroy them! (v. 5).
But, as Leupold remarks, “Since His faithfulness leads God to be faithful to those who have proved faithful to Him, It is but just to ask Him to ‘put an end to them,’ for they were and are wicked, and wickedness deserves an overthrow.”15 David’s words in Psalm 139:19-22 seem even more severe:
If only you would kill the wicked, O God!
Get away from me, you violent men!
They rebel against you and act deceitfully,
your enemies lie.
O Lord, do I not hate those who hate you,
and despise those who oppose you?
I absolutely hate them,
they have become my enemies!
Such an attitude would at first sight appear to be in contradiction to Jesus’ teaching: “You have heard that it is said “Love your neighbor’ and ‘hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, love your enemy and pray for those who persecute you” (Matt. 5:43-44; cf. Matt. 19:19; Luke 6:29). Although Jesus is alluding to Leviticus 19:18, it is important to note that Moses’ words do not contain a message concerning hating one’s enemies. Jesus may be reflecting a current feeling in some circles in his time or an attitude such as that found in a document found at Qumran (1 QS 1:10) that those suitable for membership shall “love all the sons of light, each according to his lot in God’s design, and hate all the sons of darkness, each according to his guilt in God’s vengeance.” Furthermore, the Old Testament texts, which contain the word “hate,” must be judged in accordance with their context.
At times “hate” is merely hyperbolic, portraying a contrast with love. Thus Malachi remarks, “The LORD explains, ‘Yet I chose Jacob and rejected (MT, “hated”) Esau’” (Mal. 1:3-4).16 The emphasis here is not on some emotional attitude or dislike toward Esau. Rather, it concerns God’s faithfulness to his covenant promise to Isaac’s wife, Rebekah, concerning the twins she would bear that, “The older will serve the younger” Gen. 25:23). Moreover, Jacob would one day become “Israel” through whom God would channel the Abrahamic Covenant. Subsequently, the Lord would often be known as the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob (e.g., Exod. 3:15, 16). Likewise, “hate” sometimes can express displeasure with someone because of their actions (e.g. Exod. 18:21). God is reported to have viewed the Northern Kingdom’s (Israel’s) later insincere or even pagan worship practices:
Because of all of their evil in Gilgal,
I hate them there (Hos. 9:15).
I absolutely despise your festivals!
I get no pleasure from your religious assemblies (Amos 5:21)17
Certainly many texts do record the fact that there are some who do hate other people, particularly believers or even God. Nevertheless, nowhere does the Bible commend an emotionally based or willful hatred of others. Where the concept of a believer’s hatred is involved, it is a matter of a reasoned resolve to honor the Lord and uphold his standards. The Bible does not sanction a personal selfishness, envy, or a revengeful attitude that seeks harm for one’s enemies. Psalm 139:19-22 must be seen in this light. Moreover, David’s enemies also happen to also be God’s enemies. Therefore, any judgment against them was to be left to God.
Psalm 35 is another case where David beseeches God to judge his enemies severely. The destruction of David’s foes is seen throughout the psalm. Psalm 35 is one of several so-called imprecatory psalms.18 Imprecatory Psalms contain such seemingly negative elements as imprecations—a desire for the enemy’s judgment and the psalmist’s justification for his position. But it is important to note that these psalms also feature several more positive elements. In addition to the palmist’s pleas for deliverance they usually contain praise of God for doing so. In so doing, the psalmist often expresses a concern for God’s name to be honored and his righteousness to be upheld (e.g., Pss.36:9-10; 19 Accordingly, although David affirms in Psalm 35 that he was being persecuted even though he had done nothing to deserve such treatment (Ps. 35:7, 19), he ends his Psalm 35 not only on a note of judgment against his persecutors, but on a theme of hope and praise:
May those who desire my vindication shout for joy and rejoice!
May they continually say,
“May the LORD be praised,
for he wants his servant to be secure.”
Then I will tell others about your justice,
and praise you all day long (vv. 27-28).
It can be seen, therefore, that a believer can and should praise God for his faithfulness at all times:
It is fitting to thank the LORD,
and to sing praises to your name, O sovereign One!
It is fitting to proclaim your loyal love in the morning,
and your faithfulness during the night (Ps 92:1-2).
Times of testing and great difficulty may well come, but even in such times he knows that God is always available to help:
O LORD, hear my prayer!
Pay attention to my plea for help!
Because of your faithfulness and justice, answer me! (Ps 143:1).
Regardless of the attitudes and actions of others, believers are to remain faithful to God’s standards and attempt to reproduce his character in their lives (Ps 143:10). This should be the rule even in times of great opposition or suffering that accompanies persecution. Believers may well “hate” the sin or sinful actions of others and ask the Lord for help or deliverance from their situation, but should always bear in mind Jesus’ admonition to “love your enemy and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be like your Father in heaven” (Matt 5:44-45). This is sometimes very difficult to do, especially in situations where we are being undeservedly assailed. As Futato observes in connection with the fulfillment of Ps. 35:19 in John 15:25, “This Scripture is also fulfilled when believers become the object of the world’s hatred (John 15:18). As painful as that may be, it does not compare to the pain of being ’hated’ by those within the covenant community itself. Whether we experience hatred from the world or the church, however, we can bless those who persecute us, and love our enemies, because Jesus has overcome through his life, his death, and his resurrection (John 16:33).”20
Concluding Thoughts And Applications
In the above discussion drawn largely from the Psalms we have seen not only God’s holy character of faithfulness and his actions that flow from it, but the necessity of believers to pursue faithfulness in their lives. This includes such things as a basic faithfulness to God and his holy standards, and a desire to praise the Lord and testify as to his abiding faithfulness. The believer should remain faithful at all times. Even in times of hardship, suffering, and persecution believers may remain confident that a faithful God is available for protection and help.
In addition to the passages found in the Psalms, many texts in both the Old Testament and the New Testament emphasize the high value and need for believers to be consistently faithful. One particularly noteworthy text is Habakkuk 2:4:
Look, the one whose desires are not upright will faint from exhaustion,
but the person of integrity will live because of his faithfulness.
The word translated “faithfulness” can also be rendered “faith.” So understood this indicates that a person of genuine faith is someone who exemplifies God’s character by living faithfully before God and in all circumstances.21 Faithfulness is not only a spiritual virtue, but it has practical consequences. As Wallace Fridy remarks, “Nothing in life can take the place of faithfulness and dependability. It is one of the greatest virtues. Brilliance, genius, competence—all are subservient to the quality of faithfulness.”22
The Bible includes many examples of believers who remained steadfastly faithful to the Lord and his commands. We learn from its pages of Abraham who “believed the LORD, and the LORD considered his response of faith as proof of genuine loyalty” (Gen. 15:6). So great was his faith that centuries later Nehemiah could point to Abraham’s example of faith and faithfulness. So genuine were they that the Lord established his covenant with him and his descendants to give them the land of Canaan (Neh. 9:8). The author of Hebrews likewise could cite many instances of the outworking of Abraham’s faith in a consistent faithfulness to the Lord (Heb. 11: 8-12).
David was also noted for his faithfulness. This was true even in the days when King Saul was attempting to kill him. Thus a priest named Abimelech of Nob could testify to Saul concerning David, “Who among all your servants is faithful like David?” (I Sam. 22:14). Abimelech could also be mentioned as a faithful man, for it was a testimony, which would cost him his life I Sam. 22:16-18). Despite Saul’s repeated attempts to kill him, David spared Saul’s life on two occasions when he could have slain him as reported in I Samuel 24 and 26. In so doing David was not only faithful to his king, but to the Lord, saying to his men, “May the LORD keep me far away from doing such a thing to my lord, who is the LORD’s chosen one by extending my hand against him. After all, he is the LORD’s chosen one” (I Sam. 24: 6; cf. I Sam. 24:10; 26:9-11, 23). Concerning the latter occurrence Youngblood remarks, “Instead, he places in God’s hands whatever worth his life might have …. Likewise, deliverance from all ‘trouble’… will come from God, not from Saul.”23
Even those engaged in daily routine service are recognized as faithful. Thus when King Jehoash of Judah gave orders for the repair of the Temple, the funds collected for the work were entrusted to capable and honest treasurers, who distributed them to the workmen . So faithful were they to their appointment that they were not audited, “for they dealt faithfully” (2 Kings 12:15, KJV; MT, 2 Kings 12:16). Likewise in the days of Nehemiah when the work of rebuilding the walls around Jerusalem was completed, Nehemiah placed men of integrity over the affairs of the city. One of these was a certain Hananiah, who was, “a faithful man and feared God more than many do” (Neh. 7:2). Not to be forgotten is the Apostle Paul, who remained faithful to the ministry to which he was called throughout his life (cf. 2 Tim. 4:6-8).
The greatest example, of course, is that of Jesus Christ. Already as a child on one occasion (Luke 2:49) he asked his parents, “Didn’t you know that I must be” in the [things] of my Father? (or “about my Father’s business,” KJV, NKJV; NET: “in my Father’s house”). During his earthly ministry he taught the need for faithfulness (cf. Matt. 25:21-23; Luke 16:10), a faithfulness that he himself exemplified (cf. Heb. 3:1-6). Therefore, as the time for him to crown his faithful ministry by the laying down of his life drew near, he could testify to the Heavenly Father, “I glorified you on earth by completing the work you gave me to do” (John 17:4). It is not surprising, then, that (as we noted above) that in his return to judge the earth John foresees that he will be called, “Faithful and True” (Rev 19:11).
As Christ’s followers believers should likewise be faithful in all things, even in such matters as the course of their daily tasks, and contacts. This should be their constant, consistent goal and desire throughout their lives. Billy Graham challenges believers concerning one of “the Bible’s central truths: each day--without exception—is a gift from God, entrusted to us to use for His glory. This is true for your working years, and it is equally true for your retirement.”24 Such becomes all the more realizable when the believer allows himself to be led by the indwelling Holy Spirit, for faithfulness is one of the fruits of the Spirit (Gal. 5:22). Moreover, faithfulness to God should be a burning desire in the believer’s heart. As the hymn writer Sylvanus Phelps wrote,
Give me a faithful heart, likeness to Thee,
that each departing day henceforth may see
some work of love begun, some deed of kindness done,
some wand’rer sought and won, something for Thee.25
As he or she strives “toward the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus” (Phil. 3:14) may each believer be ever faithful to the end, mindful of the resurrected, risen Christ’s charge to the church in Smyrna: “Remain faithful even to the point of death, and I will give you the crown of life itself” (Rev. 2:10). May Ralph Hudson’s resolve be echoed in all of our hearts:
My life, my love I give to Thee,
Thou Lamb of God who died for me;
O may I ever faithful be,
my Savior and my God.26
1 Richard Barnfield, “Poems: In Divers Humours,” in Bartlett’s Familiar Quotations, “eds. John Bartlett and Justin Kaplan (Boston: Little, Brown and Company, 16th ed., 1992), 233.
2 Thomas Kelly, “Praise the Savior, Ye who know Him.”
3 See the excellent discussion in the NET. Unless otherwise noted, all scriptural citations are taken from the NET. It is not surprising that the divine Christ could declare that he is, “The way, and the truth, and the life” (John 14:6) as well as “The Amen, the faithful and true witness” (Rev. 3:14).
4 A. Jepsen, in Theological Dictionary of the Old Testament, eds. G. Johannes Botterweck and Helmer Ringren; trans. John T. Wallis (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1974 ) 1: 317.
5 Konrad Schaefer, Psalms, Berit Olam, ed. David W. Cotter (Collegeville, MN: The Liturgical Press, 2001), 84.
6 Willem A. VanGemeren, “Psalms,” in The Expositor’s Bible Commentary, eds. Tremper Longman III and David E. Garland, 13 vols. (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, revised edition, 2008) 5:669.
7 For full details, see Andreas J. Kӧstenberger and Richard D. Patterson, Invitation to Biblical Interpretation (Grand Rapids: Kregel, 2011), 174-97.
8 Andreas J. Kӧstenberger, John (Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2004), 311. See further, the discussion in the following note.
9 As a sidelight, it is interesting to note that Psalm 100:3 speaks of believers as “the sheep of his (God’s) pasture.” In contrast, in Psalm 37:3 (see NET text note) the believer is viewed as shepherding (watching over) his faithfulness for the Lord. .For further imagery associated with shepherding, see “Sheep, Shepherd,” in Dictionary of Biblical Imagery, eds. Leland Ryken, James C. Wilhoit, and Tremper Longman III (Downers Grove, 1998), 782-85. See also, Richard D. Patterson, “Special Visitors in Bethlehem,” (Biblical Studies Press, 2009).
10 VanGemeren, “Psalms,” 5:369. VanGemeren goes on to explain, “The faithfulness of God is a corollary to his love in that the Lord’s love (ḥesed , ‘covenantal love’; cf. 13:5; 18:50; 25:10; 31:7; 32:10) is constant.”
11 Thomas O. Chisholm, “Great is Thy Faithfulness.”
12 Thomas O. Chisholm as cited in Kenneth W. Osbeck, 101 Hymn Stories (Grand Rapids: Kregel, 1982), 84.
13 For helpful observations on God’s purposes in suffering and ways for instructing his people as well as the believers proper response, see M. D. Futato, “The Book of Palms,” in Cornerstone Biblical Commentary, ed. Philip W. Comfort (Carol Stream, IL, 2009) 7:372-74.
14 Schaeffer , Psalms, 78-79.
15 H.C. Leupold, The Psalms (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1969), 419.
16 Note also the contrast in Jesus’ teaching that, “No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money” (Matt 6:24).
17 It is interesting to note that in citing God’s condemnation of the Northern Kingdom Amos often uses the name Jacob rather than Israel (Amos 3:13; 6:8; 7:2, 5; 9:8). This perhaps is an allusion to the familiar scriptural portrayal of Jacob as a trickster before his spiritual encounter resulting in a change of name to Israel. See Richard D. Patterson, “The Old Testament Use of an Archetype,” Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society, 42 (1999), 385-94.
18 For other psalms containing imprecator y elements, see Psalms 36, 55, 58, 59, 69, 70, 83, 109, and 140.
19 The imprecatory psalms are often overlooked because of their harsh tone, but it should be remembered that some of them even contain messianic elements. Thus John sees an allusion to Psalm 69:4 in connection with Jesus’ suffering (John 15:25) and an allusion to Ps. 69: 9 in Jesus’ zeal for the Lord in his cleansing of the Temple (John 2:17). Many see an allusion to Ps 69: 21 in Christ’s being offered wine mixed with gall as he suffered on the Cross (Matt. 27:34) and in the case of those who mocked Jesus as he hung there (cf. Ps.109:25 with Matt.
20 Futato, “Psalms,” 139.
21 See, Richard D. Patterson, “Fruit of the Spirit,” Biblical Studies Press (2010), 7-8.
22 Wallace Fridy as cited in Quotable Quotations, ed. Lloyd Cory (Wheaton: Victor Books, 1989), 131.
23 Ronald F. Youngblood, “1 and 2 Samuel,” in The Expositor’ Bible Commentary, eds. Tremper Longman III and David E. Garland, 13 vols. (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, revised edition, 2009) 3: 259.
24 Billy Graham, Nearing Home (Nashville: Nelson, 2011), 43.
25 Sylvanus Phelps, “Something for Thee.”
26 Ralph E. Hudson, “I’ll Live for Him.”