Deuteronomy 7:9 is one of my favorite verses in the Bible. Moses beautifully describes God’s immutable commitment to His people through His promises and covenants.
The Lord is the faithful God who keeps his covenant for a thousand generations and lavishes his unfailing love on those who love Him and obey His commands.
But wait… what about the conditional statement outlined in the second half of the verse? It’s there as plain as day. God will lavish His love on a very specific group of people: those who love Him and obey His commands. Does this mean that it’s only by our obedience that we become worthy of God’s faithfulness? How are we supposed to live up to such a tall task?
Let’s jump forward several hundreds of years. Generation after generation in Israel have repeatedly proven the impossibility of obeying all God’s commands in their own strength. That’s when God, in His great mercy, makes another promise through the prophet Jeremiah:
“But this is the new covenant I will make with the people of Israel,” says the Lord. “I will put my instructions deep within them, and I will write them on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people. [...] I will forgive their wickedness, and I will never again remember their sins.”
Despite Israel’s failure, God’s faithfulness to His people would continue and indeed be ultimately fulfilled in the person of Jesus Christ. God would prove, once and for all, that those who pursue Him are only able to do so because He first pursued them! It is only through Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit at work within us that we have the power to love God and obey Him.
In other words... no, we don’t earn God’s faithfulness because of what we are, but rather because of who He is. And who is He? He is the faithful God who keeps his covenant for a thousand generations and lavishes his unfailing love on those who love Him.
Thanks be to God!