“Jehovah rewarded me according to my righteousness; according to the cleanness of my hands hath He recompensed me.”
Although it is the cornerstone of the foundation of the doctrine of man, Jehovah God cannot be bought, influenced or coerced in any way. He is not a respecter of persons and is not impressed by the actions of man. David speaks here, by the inspiration of the Spirit of God, in both a particular manner and in Messianic type. He presents the righteousness which he has together with the righteousness of the Beloved of God because they are one in the same.
In Adam, David, the son of Jessie, has no more righteousness than a pile of filthy, blood soaked menstruous rags and he can no more present these abominations before the throne of justice than a deaf man could hear, a blind man see or a lame man walk. In Adam he is dead in trespasses and sin, he loves the darkness for his deeds are evil, he delights in the desires of the flesh, is led about by the lust of the eye and is enticed by the pride of life. He does not have the mind of God, he knows not the ways of Jehovah God and he cannot receive the things of the Spirit of God, for he is of the earth, earthly. He knows, as did the apostle many years later, that in him, that is in his flesh, dwells no good thing and that when he would do good he found evil in his flesh. David had nothing to present to God that would commend him to the righteous judge.
The nature of man is to strive to accomplish something of worth and honour. Adam thought that his aprons of fig leaves would be acceptable before God as did Cain when he brought forth of the abundance of the land. God did not ask either of these to do anything but He has created in man the nature to try to please God and measure up to the standards of His Holiness. Because the Spirit of the most High God dwells in David, he has been taught that it is not of works of righteousness which he could do that he might find favour with God, but that it is by His grace.
David has won many great battles yet he ascribes the victories as well as the entire battle to Jehovah God; “He makes my feet like the stag deer and sets me upon my high places. He teaches my hands to war so that a bow of steel is broken by my arm. You have also given me the shield of deliverance and your gentleness has made me great. You enlarge my steps under me so that my feet do not slip. I have pursued my enemies and destroyed them and I did not return until I had consumed them. I have consumed them and wounded them that they could not arise, truly they are fallen under my feet because you have girded me with strength to battle and those that rose up against me, YOU have subdued under me”. He makes no claims of his righteous deeds as the man of war or as the chosen king of Israel. He refers to God as both his fortress and his deliverance. He is his shield of protection and the shinning radiance of his salvation, his sanctuary of an high tower and the One who delivered him from violence. And in all these David never infers that he has done anything that would warrant the gratitude of God and a reward for conduct above and beyond the call of duty.
The righteousness which David claims as acceptable to be presented before the throne of justice is the imputed righteousness of the Servant of God. He alone has been accounted worthy to be entrusted with the work of the Father and He has perfectly kept every jot and tittle of the Holy Law of God. Many are justified because of His righteousness as He bore their iniquity and poured out His soul unto death. Because He was numbered with the transgressors, bearing the sins of many thereby making intercession for the transgressors, He confirmed the oath with the sons of God and by His sacrifice for sin in the end of the world, they are delivered from the wrath of God which is against all unrighteousness. Therefore, being justified by His faith, His people have peace with God and the King of Peace reigns over them.
This righteousness is singular unto the Son of God who humbled Himself and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Man does not seek after true righteousness and in his fallen state he can never be made just, even by keeping the law. But this singularity is all inclusive to the whole body of Christ. When Moses gave the children of Israel the handwriting of ordinances, they were instructed that each and every one must bring forth a sacrifice for their sin, each house was to be represented in sacrifice and feasts, each tribe had a chief of the tribe that stood for his people and the high priest represented the entire nation before God. From the turtle dove to the scapegoat each individual of the house of Israel was specifically and particularly represented before the throne of justice. When the high priest stood before the nation on the day of atonement, he pronounced the sins of the people in a corporate sense and the blood was split yet it had personal application to the individual.
So when the Lamb of God came forth into this world to save His people from their sin, it was a corporate action that had particular application. When the Father laid on Him the sin of His people, it was not as a carrier or deliveryman but He who knew no sin became the sin of His people. So when He fulfilled all righteousness and satisfied the Just demands of the perfect law of God, His righteousness was laid upon His people. The head of the body, being righteous, completed all that was given Him to do of the Father and when the Father saw the travail of His soul, He was well pleased. He removed His filthy garments, His iniquity, and gave Him a change of raiment (Zech.3:3f) which is fine linen, pure and white. So also was His Bride granted to be arrayed in the same garments of salvation for the righteousness of the saints is the righteousness of the Son. Just as the sin of the people became the sin of the Servant by imputation so His righteousness became the righteousness of the saints corporately, but also, and most in particular, personally. Therefore David wrote that Jehovah God had paid the full amount according to his righteousness.
The same way that the full measure of the judgment of God is levied against all unrighteousness, “Jehovah shall reward (deal fully) the doer of evil according to his wickedness” (II Sam. 3:39), so, the grace of God is dealt fully to those who are righteous. This is the justice of Messiah (Is. 9:7), the righteous Branch and King (David) (Jer. 23:5) and the habitation of Zion (Jer. 31:23). The people of God delight to know His ways and do righteousness, they do not forsake His ordinances and take delight in approaching their God (IS. 58:2). They do these things not by the will of the flesh but because He has removed the heart of stone and put an heart of flesh in them. He has written His laws upon their hearts and His Spirit causes them to walk according to His statutes (Jer. 31:31f & Ezk. 36:26). The Holy Spirit cannot be contrary to the mind and will of the Godhead any more than the Father could deny the Son and since the children are one in Him neither can they deny Him for they delight after the perfect law of God after the inward man (Rms. 7:22).
David also stated that Jehovah God had caused to return unto him because of the cleanness of his hands. He was not asserting that the hands of flesh of Adam could be cleansed in any way. Job spoke to that when he said that if a wicked man wash his hands in snow water and make himself so clean, yet would he be unacceptable before the righteous God (Job 9:30). Yet for one who IS righteous and holds upon his way by the power of God, his clean hands are strengthened, not because he made his hands clean, but because he is righteous. Because he began righteous in the Father, God causes to return unto him the same righteousness he had in Him from the beginning. The Son became partaker of flesh and blood and when He had finished the work that the Father gave for Him to do, He was glorified with the same glory that He had in Him in the beginning (John 17:5). His people, His bride, is one in Him as He is one in the Father and she is glorified with Him as He is glorified with the Father. He removed the sin of His people as far as the east is from the west and He washed her garments in His blood, therefore she is clean.
When the Word of God dwells in His people, in the chosen vessels, they keep the law of God with their whole heart (Deut. 6:5) and their way is cleansed. Not that Adam is made Holy and perfect before God, for the body is dead because of sin, but they walk according to His ways, keeping His statutes and fulfilling the ‘good works’ that they have been created in Christ Jesus unto. Adam is a passive participant as the work is performed by Him who works all things after the counsel of His will yet he is affected by the presence of the Spirit within. The wood, hay and stubble is made dry as the refiners fire consumes them and reveals for the gold, silver and precious stones (I Cor. 3:12ff).
David also sets forth the fact that it is by the strength and will of God that His people return unto Him from where He has scattered them. The power of His will causes His Word not to return unto Him void but to accomplish all that He intended for it to do (Is. 55:11). His people return unto Him with their whole heart which He has given to them that they may know Him (Jer. 24:7). The remnant according to grace come to Him in their appointed hour (Is.10:21) the ransomed of Jehovah return unto Zion (35:10) and the redeemed of the Lord return with singing and eternal joy upon their head (51:11) which is Christ. This is the recompense because of the cleanness of their hands.
The head of every woman is the man, the head of every man is Christ and He is the head of the body, the church. She has been in Him from before time began, was one in Him in His incarnation and during His ministry and when He told the Pharisees that when they tore down His temple He would build it again in three days (John 2:19) He spoke of His body which is His Bride. She was in Him through the death burial and resurrection and He presented her before the Father, in her beautiful wedding garment when He called unto Her saying; “Awake, awake put on thy beautiful garments, O Jerusalem the Holy city, for henceforth there shall no more come into thee the uncircumcised and unclean. Shake off the dust (Adam), arise, sit down, O Jerusalem, loose thyself from the bands of thy neck, O captive daughter of Zion” (Is. 52:1f). She is His Beloved and He has delivered Her from the bondage of corruption because He has loved Her with an everlasting love. He draws Her unto Himself and She comes forth out of the sin and confusion (Rev. 18:4), for She hears His voice and follows Him (John 10:27).
David had many things in his life that he could speak of as being accomplishments and many more that he could call failures, but as a child born of incorruptible seed, he knew that the grace of God was bestowed upon him because of the love of the Father. He knew that the path he walked, though dangerous, difficult, humiliating and devastating at times, was the path assigned him by the King of the Universe for good. He knew that he was completely subject to the will of God and was thankful that he was made to delight in His ways. The same Spirit that dwelt in the Beloved of Jehovah, dwells in His people today. His love is the same and His ways have not changed. He has redeemed a people unto Himself zealous of good works that shall perform all that He has given them to do because He works in them both to will and do His good pleasure. While in the dwelling of this habitation, His people are made subject to the vanities of this world and the corruption of the body of this death, but thanks be unto God, that in all these things they are more than conquerors in Christ Jesus who loved them and gave Himself for them.
Your servant in Christ,
(Elder) Chet Dirkes
April 21, 2013