God gave David his word,
he won’t back out on this promise:
“One of your sons
I will set on your throne;
If your sons stay true to my Covenant
and learn to live the way I teach them,
Their sons will continue the line—
always a son to sit on your throne.
Yes—I, God, chose Zion,
the place I wanted for my shrine;
This will always be my home;
this is what I want, and I’m here for good.
I’ll shower blessings on the pilgrims who come here,
and give supper to those who arrive hungry;
I’ll dress my priests in salvation clothes;
the holy people will sing their hearts out!
Oh, I’ll make the place radiant for David!
I’ll fill it with light for my anointed!
I’ll dress his enemies in dirty rags,
but I’ll make his crown sparkle with splendor.” (Psalm 132:11-18)
Treaties and other contracts are simple things: they lay out the expectations that two parties have for one another. Assuming that both parties are honest, everything will go smoothly. In a treaty with God, there should be great confidence that he’ll do exactly what he says he’ll do. His promise regarding Zion—another name for Jerusalem—should have put the people at ease. All they had to do was love God—and how hard was that when all he offered them was prosperity and happiness?
And yet, human beings are perverse creatures. We love ourselves, but we’re afraid no one else does and so we devote ourselves to looking out for our best interests, or what we think are our best interests. God’s people only trusted themselves, and so they went off on their own, forgetting what God had promised.
He had not promised them only happiness, no matter what. He had promised them happiness in exchange for their loyalty. If they betrayed him—well, he had made a promise about that, too: the opposite of happiness. And God keeps all his promises, both good and bad.
No matter how far the people strayed from him, he guaranteed them that he would bring them back and fulfill every good thing he had ever promised. Ultimately, no matter how far they ran, no matter how hard they tried to get away, God would hunt them down and bless them.