The woman of my fantasies whispered in my ear. I had spent the night at the college infirmary and she woke me with the most seductive voice. “It’s time to wake up, Honey.” But when I opened my eyes, all my adolescent hopes were dashed. I’m pretty sure that old lady knew what she was doing to us. She could have sold alarm clocks with that voice… But when you only hear a voice and can’t see the face, it’s easy to get the wrong idea.
That’s why so many people have screwy ideas about God – even people written about in the Old Testament. Because they could not see God, they imagined all sorts of distorted things about Him. But David – King David – had the right idea. God said he was a man “after His own heart.” David knew God.
Question is, was David’s God the same God portrayed in the New Testament? You know how the 23rd Psalm starts out: “The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want…” But take a closer look at how David ended that Psalm:
“Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.” (Psalm 23:6)
David’s God was the God of goodness and love, the God Who kept track of His people (He followed them… probably not yet on Twitter) and cared for them faithfully. This concept of God is nothing like how pagan gods were imagined to be. It sounds right to us because it is a New Testament idea, but in David’s day it was fairly radical stuff. Jesus reaffirmed the goodness and faithfulness of God in all His teachings.
But David’s final thought, the hope of living “in the house of the Lord forever,” is inconsistent with what the Bible teaches for those whose souls are dead, disconnected from God’s Spirit. Without the redeeming work of Jesus, without being forgiven by God and reborn by His Spirit, no one can “live in the house of the Lord forever.” Jesus made this clear when He spoke with Nicodemus:
“In reply Jesus declared, “I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again.” (John 3:3)
“Jesus answered, “I tell you the truth, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit. Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit.” (John 3:5-6)
Without being brought to life by God’s Spirit, our souls are dead and cannot “live in the house of the Lord forever.” God had given David a peek under the tent to glimpse a mystery that would not be revealed until the coming of Jesus. It was the mystery of how dead souls are brought to eternal life. Here’s the third verse of Psalm 23:
“He restores my soul. He guides me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.” (Psalm 23:3)
Here’s how Jesus said it:
“And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor to be with you forever— the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you.” (John 14:16-17)
“But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all truth…” (John 16:13a)
Maybe you have wondered if the Old Testament God is the same as the God described in the New Testament. He is. Scroll down through the previous posts. Adam knew Him; Job knew Him 3500 years or more ago; Abraham knew Him; David knew Him; Isaiah knew Him and Jesus knew Him. He is the same, yesterday, today and forever.