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THE SECULAR, THE SACRED,
THE PURE AND THE PROFANE
Living the Difference
In Deference to Deity ...
THE NATURE OF THE CASE
" ' IF you return,
Then I will bring you back;
IF you take out the precious from the vile,
You shall be as My mouth.
"Let them return to you,
But you must not return to them,
And I will make you to this people a fortified bronze wall,
And they will fight against you,
But they shall not prevail against you;
For I am with you to save you and deliver you,' says the Lord."
No one could say that this is unclear. Jeremiah had been undergoing a fit of the dumps, or better a time of saddened longing, a strong, long concern at his isolation, evacuation from normal acceptance, condemnations (Jeremiah 15:10), from a people who, so acting, were merely repudiating the Lord and bringing from the wing to the ground, that element of doom into their national destiny which would desolate the loving prophet.
The basis is that it seemed to him as if God were abandoning His people, for they WOULD NOT hear, and nothing happens to wake them up as they move like careening behemoths, to the edge of the cliff of national ruin.
"Why ?" he asks, "should You be like a man astonished,
Like a mighty one who cannot save ?
Yet You, O Lord, are in our midst,
And we are called by Your name;
Do not leave us!" (from Jeremiah 14:8-9).
In other words, the alienation FROM the Lord on the part of this people is so great that there is no saving action, as formerly there was in Egypt for example; and they go to degradation and futile and deadly falls, as those sleepwalking without rescue! Can this be ? Is there no relief ? Is there then no remedy ? Will not the Lord this time, this time also, act ?
But the Lord does not capture their hearts by force, or manipulate their minds. He appeals, orders, directs and brings enlightenment to those who seek Him with all the heart; but His ways do not change (Habakkuk 3:6, Malachi 3:6, Psalm 90, 102); and He is ever the same. As Christ, Himself the Redeemer, wept for the devastation to come to Jerusalem (Luke 19:42ff.), even if thousands of years later, it was to be brought back to Israel, that is, when the time was ripe and Christ's return near - Luke 21:24, thus in preparation for His return, so Jeremiah wept for the doomed city, though its time then was for a mere 70 years of devastation and exile for its people.
The spiritually incandescent desire of the Lord to recover the lost, at any cost short of godlessness and impurity, is not only shown by the HEIGHT of the Redeemer (Eternal Word of God - John 1, 5:19ff., 89:48, Micah 5:1ff., Psalm 46, Zechariah 12:10), but by the depth of His lament. Not really WANT them ? many of whom go to hell, in contempt for their disdain for truth and despising of redemption: what an absurdity. He wanted them in tears, in laments, in exhortations, in demonstrations, in words, in witness of His heart continually. But He would not give in to sin as a condition for their acceptance (John 15:22ff.).
If a modern airline refuses to negotiate further with engineers because of rising petrol prices, to give them more salary than already offered, and considers it has a sophisticated salary and award procedure in place, and is determined so to act EVEN IF it has to move operations on air-craft in some ways out of the land, how much MORE does God not move from the conditions of purity, the ingredients requisite for heaven, the purging of sin and the repentance of heart in His people, to accept a spiritual sop. He is categorically not willing to move from sanctity, holiness, purity and purification of heart, in order to save any: for what is that ? It would be as if to consign all to hell to save some with a salvation which would then not even be operative for them! COME UP HERE! is the call in Revelation 11 to His people, and as to coming down, He has DONE THAT, but not to lower His beauty of holiness, but to enable others to find it through Him, in Jesus Christ.
In the day of the prophet Jeremiah, then, the same God by His Spirit so worked that the laments of the prophet were deep, as seen in Jeremiah 9, and so were his laments (later famed when the desolation actually came, in Lamentations). As to the 70 year exile of that day, Jeremiah 25 so prophesied, and history so did. As to the long exile in our Gentile era, that second great and much larger exile, it was predicted to proceed till the day of the Lord's return drew near and now that they are back, it IS near; but the love of God remains the same, and WAS the same when foreknowing all, He predestined all, ensuring that it lost none who would come, whose eyes He therefore enlightened.
What then do we find ? It is this. If man misdirects his paths NOT ONLY from the laws of God, the will of God, the paths of his own well-being as revealed by his Maker, that is sad; but if he further defies the remedy PROVIDED, and will not EVEN repent and return to the Lord, to find His salvation, then there is no more path for him (as in Hebrews 6, 10, 12). Indeed, says the Lord to Jeremiah, in this the prophet's extremity of grief for his people, and their wilful and wanton ways (Jeremiah 15:1):
"Even if Moses and Samuel stood before Me,
My mind would not be favorable
toward this people.
Cast them out of My sight, and let them go forth."
Desolatory as is this resultant, for the prophet who had been declaring this with his grief (14:17):
"Let my eyes flow with tears night and day,
And let them not cease:
"For the virgin daughter of my people
Has been broken with a mighty stroke..."
there could be no change; for he saw what was then to come. He saw it with all the graphic vividness of what had already occurred, such being repeatedly the experience of the prophets, drawn into the aweful wonder of the divine perspective as they see judgment as if it had already smitten the people. There is no hardness, but the reality of truth; and indeed, in the very midst of such seething horror, the Lord is still seeking to provide mercy. Even so late as in Jeremiah 17, the Lord was still willing to instil this, but He still was not heard ... The same holy and hallowed beauty of longing is seen in Proverbs 1, where the invitation is presented to the heart, and the result is found in desolation, because of refusal. How beautifully the positive point is put in Proverbs 8:34-36, for the one who is not above God, and is not above repentance and reality in finding the Lord of life, AS LORD.
There is no way out of it. The name of God must be hallowed, the purity of God recognised, the principles of peace must be adopted: there is simply no other way. History is the secretary of learning in this field, continually attesting what was known and shown from the first, while the Lord underlines it all by forecasting history with deadly or beautiful accuracy, both for good and for evil, that is for deliverance and for doom as the case required.
The PRECIOUS must be taken from the VILE and a complete separation made, between the word of God and other words (as in Jeremiah 23), the will and ways of God and other ways. It is as indeed in Ezekiel 22:26ff.:
" 'Her priests have violated My law and profaned My holy things;
'they have not distinguished between the holy and unholy,
nor have they made known the difference between the unclean and the clean;
and they have hidden their eyes from My Sabbaths,
so that I am profaned among them.
'Her princes in her midst are like wolves tearing the prey,
to shed blood, to destroy people, and to get dishonest gain.
Her prophets plastered them with untempered mortar,
seeing false visions, and divining lies for them,
saying, ‘Thus says the Lord God,’ when the Lord had not spoken.
'The people of the land have used oppressions, committed robbery,
and mistreated the poor and needy; and they wrongfully oppress the stranger.
'So I sought for a man among them who would make a wall,
and stand in the gap before Me on behalf of the land,
that I should not destroy it; but I found no one.
'Therefore I have poured out My indignation on them;
I have consumed them with the fire of My wrath;
and I have recompensed their deeds on their own heads,' says the Lord God."
Let us focus especially on 22:26:
'they have not distinguished between the holy and unholy, nor have they made known the difference between the unclean and the clean; and they have hidden their eyes from My Sabbaths, so that I am profaned among them."
It is in a setting of unethical, dishonest, oppressive, self-willed, misadministrative, socially insensitive and racially undiscerning waywardness, to be sure; but WHAT is ? It is this.
It is a people who with their various identities
and authorities, are characterised as
|1) not making the distinction between the holy
and the unholy
|2) failing to separate the clean and the unclean
|3) wilfully failing to honour God on the day of
the covenant, set aside
for personal inter-communion and deep devotion, and rest in Him, the Sabbath.
This was a clear-cut signal of the covenant, like a signature,
and was so depicted by the Lord (Ezekiel 20:19).
As to that, He had declared this:
"I am the LORD your God:
Walk in My statues, keep My judgments, and do them:
hallow My Sabbaths, and they will be a sign between Me and you,
that you may know that I am the LORD your God."
In Ch. 20. He was REMINDING them of this, and of the fact that they had rebelled against this engagement ring if you will, this contract, this covenant, this deposition, this way of life with the Lord.
Thus the basic fact was one: HE and not another
was, as He is and remains, GOD, and
further than that, as to relevance to them: it is HE who is the LORD their God, revealed in systematic clarity over the centuries, in the midst of multiplied miracles of deliverance, making them a name for a nation (cf. Psalm 106), so that their enemies recognised the supernatural wonders of their deliverances and directions, from time to time, as the pure munificence of it was brought notably to their attention.
This indeed was a phenomenon from Joshua's day and before, as might well be when the prime army of the most significant imperial nation of the day, Egypt, had been killed not by arrow or sword, but by the apparent backwash of a sea which had parted to allow the escape of Israel from its Egyptian slave-drivers, and resumed its place to drown their persecutory pursuers. The power of God was manifest whether in the flood or the creation before it, in the redemptive actions concerning Israel and Egypt, or the discipline needed to those who merely rebelled, as in the transforming events of the entry at last into the Promised Land as in Joshua.
The reality was clear enough to Moses as to Joshua (Exodus 3, 6, Joshua 5:14ff.), the presence, power and provision of the living and only God.
The results were likewise eloquent to their opponents (Joshua 4:21-24, 9:3-6, 10:1-14), as they are to this day in the Lord's covenanted and continuing deliverances for Israel, though now this is tempered exceedingly by their continuing rebellion from their own Messiah (as all foretold in Zechariah 12-13 cf. SMR Ch. 9). Thus on the one hand, they have had epochal and staggering military successes against all odds, and yet have been harrowed and harassed just as foretold in Zechariah, prior to their return to the Lord, as is to come in great measure.
Total deliverance, however, this awaits their restoration in large and nationally significant numbers to the Lord whom, in the flesh, they crucified as Zechariah showed some 500 years before they even crucified Him in the first place (12:10) and Paul likewise, nearly 2000 years ago (Romans 11). As with so much in this world, what happens in the first place can remain significant till the last place, or until it is covered and remedied in the purchased pardon of the Lord (as in Isaiah 53, which needs not merely to be read, but recogjnised and acted on (as I Peter 2 show us).
THE NATURE OF THE RACE
The case was clear in history as in principle, for HE was their LORD, their revealed, covenantally calling GOD, the ONLY ONE (Isaiah 43-46), and in serving Him they were performing a vital function before the entire world, which post-flood, was being invited to find the Lord and avoid the disasters of multiplied, impenitent, recurrent, ruinous rebellion from their own Maker, in purely wilful enormities. Thus, we ponder Genesis 6 and its characterisation of mankind at that time, and compare with Ephesians 4:17-19, for our own time, and consider this - Selah! as the Psalmists say!
THUS, HIS ways are firstly,
no different, for Himself, for He does not change,
but very different from those of others, since He and He alone is God.
His ways, being different from all those of the creation, are THEREFORE to be differentiated from the ways of autonomous man, of rebellion on the hope, of people dancing to a secular tune, despising deity, alleviating their thirst for truth with pleasures unspeakable, setting up their own presumptuous spiritual stores, from romances of the mind and adventures of the body and spirit.
These make mockery of life, and turn disenchantment with the beauty that life has in store from its Maker, into disaster, like spiritual Hiroshimas, which cannot stand before such destruction as they call in BY THEIR OWN WILFULNESS. Alas, the reward of unrealism, of secularism, of pseudo-spirituality, of godlessness even if and when it copies godliness without hallowing His name, it is profound. You see something of the EXTENT of it, when it becomes visible, in Isaiah 24:1ff. (NASB), and this, it is but a prelude to the work of Matthew 24:35, when the entirety of space becomes, with this world in it, a thing of the past.
"Lo, the LORD empties the land and lays it waste;
he turns it upside down,
Layman and priest alike,
servant and master,
The maid as her mistress,
the buyer as the seller,
The lender as the borrower,
the creditor as the debtor.
The earth is utterly laid waste, utterly stripped,
for the LORD has decreed this thing.
"The earth mourns and fades,
the world languishes and fades;
both heaven and earth languish."
If the physical at last, in what does not hallow His name, hide in His reality (Hebrews 6:19, Colossians 3:1ff), is extensively exposed, how much worse intensively is the ruin of the spirit of rebellious man, for as lungs need air, to function, so does man's spirit need God to live.
But let us consider for a moment that scene of destruction on a relatively small scale, in Hiroshima.
There is a parable in that city. If in that case, one race suffered in it, for the errors of that race, yet all races are now following the example, in the case of some, seeking not only to destroy bastions of freedom so that people still MAY openly worship the God of creation and redemption, the God of power and control over history, not only to overthrow nations and impose dictatorial devilries, but to do worse. They seek deliverance from the Lord, not only for themselves in their alienation, but proceed further, actively involved in destroying the very knowledge of God, and spiritual living on the BASIS of these goodnesses of God, by their goofing, their seductions, their violence, being aloof from holiness, severed from sanctity, removed from knowledge of the Lord and LOVING TO HAVE IT SO! This last you see in Romans 1:28-32 which gives the end of this line, for those who follow on from the suppression of God, as their motif - Romans 1:17ff..
The unsacred, the unsanctified, the unhallowed, these things they explore, exploit, depict, to these entice by mass media propaganda, through corruption of churches, by denying freedom, by inculcating folly in the hearts of school-children, enforcing fallen theories in universities which become in this field, travesties of truth and opponents of light: they do it by law and by licence alike.
It is as in Hosea 4:6-7:
"My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge:
because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee,
that you will be no priest to me:
seeing you hast forgotten the law of thy God,
I will also forget thy children.
"As they were increased, so they sinned against me:
therefore will I change their glory into shame."
The knowledge of God is probably in this land becoming less in the minds of multitudes of slowly slain children, becoming less even than that of the wryly alienated Simpsons from their TV performances, or the gross South Park colours and images. Survival becomes the ludicrous assertion and motif, as if the DESIRE for folly were a protection from its results.
THEREFORE: with departure from the BASIS of knowledge of things spiritual, things sacred, things different and not merely differentiated, from things divine, things true, things covenantal and provided by the Lord with no less certainty than He has supplied the code and meta-code in DNA, inscribed at the dawn of life, what is to be found ? It is as in Isaiah 59: truth is left to die on the streets, as if assassinated, and equity cannot enter. With this imparted continually to the souls of man, what follows ?
This: no basis means no building. No knowledge of God means no knowledge of the DIFFERENCE between the holy and the profane, the secular and the spiritual, the ground and the buildings upon it, the heavens and the earth, truth and reaction, divine law and human preference, divine salvation and human effort.
Hence desolation is to be found in what ?
Why, it is in this, our friend of this volume:
IT IS FOUND IN A FAILURE TO HALLOW THE NAME OF GOD.
|HOW can you hallow
what you do not know ?
|or how would you
express in word, in deed and indeed in life, the divergence
|between the source
and the result,
|the love of life
and the enslavement of it,
authority of life from the Prince of
Life (Acts 3), the spiritual King,
and the claims of the countrymen:
if you do not even know His Majesty,
are vague about His very nature and place,
are wandering with passion,
as if destined to parallel the years in the desert of wandering,
on the part of Israel
when it REFUSED even to enter the Promised Land in the day of Moses,
their leader under the Lord:
will you then follow Him!
Will you take a path not recorded on your partially obliterated map ?
THE NATURE OF THE REMEDY
THE REMEDY IS NOT REMOVED, BUT THE WORLD WILL BE
Let us return to Ezekiel 22:26ff., as considered above, and in particular to 22:30 as below.
"So I sought for a man among them who would make a wall,
and stand in the gap before Me on behalf of the land,
that I should not destroy it; but I found no one."
It is not heard to see the intensive parallel between this and the following in Isaiah 41:28ff.:
"For I looked, and there was no man;
I looked among them, but there was no counselor,
Who, when I asked of them, could answer a word.
"Indeed they are all worthless;
Their works are nothing;
Their molded images are wind and confusion.
"Behold! My Servant whom I uphold,
My Elect One in whom My soul delights!
I have put My Spirit upon Him;
He will bring forth justice to the Gentiles.
He will not cry out, nor raise His voice,
Nor cause His voice to be heard in the street.
"A bruised reed He will not break,
And smoking flax He will not quench;
He will bring forth justice for truth."
As we have often seen before in expositing Isaiah (q.v. indexes), this passage, like that in Isaiah 49, 7, 11, 50, 51-53 and so on, is dealing with what GOD supplies where man CANNOT, because he does not have what it takes to satisfy for sin, cover the gap between the secularities of unspirituality and the realities of spiritual obligation, vitality and orientation, for which and in which man is made.
THAT REMEDY is shown in some detail in Isaiah 52:13 - 53:12 for example. In Zechariah 12:10 for example, as in Psalm 45 and Psalm 2. We find that this which DOES fill the gap, answer the case, gross and grave though it is: it is God Himself. How ? It is because He, AS MAN in His ambassadorship to earth, would make up this imposing gap, one like that of a thousand foot wide precipice beneath which is the aerial path to hell. It is one which a person on this earth has to cross, that of sin's debt in terms of heaven's credit, where alone was the store of righteousness for this to be found (cf. II Corinthians 5:17-21). Only this bridge could cover the gap. Moreover, it is not a bridging loan, but a capital gift, and the capital is everlasting life (John 6:40, 5:24, John 10:9,27-28, 6:50ff.).
NO ONE among mere men could do this, they were all in vain, incapable of doing what man required, as desolate by his own follies and ruined by his own spiritual unrealism: but GOD ? Yes, He could, would and did do it. This point is made directly in Psalm 49:7,15, where it is stressed that not one of us could so much as redeem his own brother, linked by closest intimacies of birth; but God would redeem, and in Hosea 13:14 we read of His declared intention, just as in Isaiah 53 of the precise character of the cost to Him, in the performance, and in Jeremiah so often, of the love which is so great that He whose it is, would not let cost deter Him.
He would pay, as He has paid, for those who receive what He has to offer, Himself and what He has done: not what ANYONE else has done or could do, but what HE ALONE has done (as in Galatians 1, 3, 5, Isaiah 53:1,10).
It is the same in Isaiah 51:19-20, where we find a prelude of incompetence and inadequacy on the part of man, before Isaiah 52-55, which presents the grace, power, authority, holiness, of God alone who has this competence, power, desire, mercy and plan, that of salvation*1. It is provided in impact, available to faith, where this is to be found (cf. Isaiah 53:1, 10), and the remedy therefore APPLIED.
Does a man then believe it will rain with tempest, and leave his coat or jacket or umbrella ? What after all is the point of having a liniment in your medical drawer, if you do not APPLY it in need! The point, it is scarcely difficult to comprehend.
The sacred, so because of the design in which man is made, and that because of the Deity whose it is, this is one thing; and the secular, the profane, the concern of this world, what to do with it to satisfy whatever the self, the so 'sacred' but so arrogant self may determine: here is the cleavage. Here is the way to say, NO, I WILL not hallow the name of God. Follow the former and omit the latter; for they cannot be combined, any more than infinity and more. There is no room.
But what then of the case where this cleavage is seen, and this hallowing is realised for what it is, when God and man are not mixed in mind, but the incarnate God is seen as man, in the foretold and faithful Jesus Christ, that man might know the way home ? Movement from the WORD of the God who made man to the reception of the same, and to the dealings of the Lord of creation away from the reelings and remedies for man: this is one step. It is of infinite importance that it be taken.
HALLOWED BE THY NAME! Consider its character.
This is implemented by first of all HAVING the knowledge of God, gone as Hosea lamented, and then finding the will of God from the word of the living God (and not the words of interfering, careering man - cf. Jeremiah 23), and then focussing on the Saviour, Jesus Christ who is the One sent who makes up the gap, and through faith. He is found by receiving in repentance of life HIMSELF, who was dead and lives forevermore (Revelation 1:19), with His word as your directorate and prize of impartation, for the product of His mouth is not diverse from Him whose mouth has so spoken (cf. Acts 4:25). Thus does not follow the Bible which is the Book of the Lord, in hallowing the name of the Lord. You do not think and attribute it to the doctrine of God; or act and decide that this is the way of the Lord, for all.
You find this treasure, the Christ, and this directory and directorate, His word, and belonging now to Him, follow His words. What sort of a Lord is such that you do not ? Only a fallible, or fallen, or ignorant one. HE is not such, and his curriculum vitae could not be further from this!
Some forsook the Book; they sought new gods, new arrivals. It happened before (Deuteronomy 32:17ff.), and it happens yet.
Others, however, found the Book; they sought the living God: they insisting therefore on separating the holy from the profane, the spiritual from the unspiritual, the aspiringly spiritual which is mere quasi-life from crazed sources (Hosea 9:7) from that which is spiritual because it is FROM THE LIVING GOD. It is His word alone which is validated, verified and applied in power and truth (The Meaning of Liberty and the Message of Remedy, Reason, Revelation and the Redeemer, Light Dwells with the Lord's Christ, who Answers Riddles and where He is, Darkness Departs).
It is there, in Him and following His word by the power of His Spirit, that the secular yields to the sacred, the profane to the spiritual, the rebellious to the redeemed; and it is by His blood of sacrifice, that this airlift (cf. Colossians 1:13) of conveyance is accomplished. The tickets, though available, cannot be seen except by faith, and they are already written out for ALL who call on Him by faith, in sincerity of heart and not lightly, in truth and not in contrivance; for these are foreknown by the Lord, who opens their eyes, instructs their hearts, so that THIS sacred Lord becomes the centre of the spiritual, the basis of the godly, the prize for which all else must be sold off, the field for purchase at any cost, the grantor of regeneration and appellant for conformity to Christ.
What then for the Christian ? Hallow His name, present His fame, hold fast to His truth, live in His spirituality, go with His godliness, revere His covenant in His own blood, remember that light is sown for the righteous (Psalm 97:11) and gladness for the upright in heart. When HE has put you right way up, and put a new heart in you and a fresh Spirit, why then gladness is part of your new native land, the kingdom of heaven.
From No Thanks for Angst, Ch. 8, we have this expression concerning the repeated exposures of the total inability of man to provide what was the solution to his sin, in salvation. The excerpt below is dealing with the replacement of Israel, as the announcer of these things, in the Old Testament, with Christ, as the performer of them, predicted in the Old, described in the New, where His actions are recorded. At the point below, we are moving in terms of the prophecy concerning these things, in Isaiah, as the Saviour for mankind (49:6). It is exposed centuries before He came to do the work required.
It is very slightly adapted for our present purpose.
It was to be done in that substitute for those to be saved, offered to all, received by many, in Him enabling salvation through His own labour, in Him, that provision for it in love, that other Israel (Isaiah 49:3), statedly hidden in the shadow of the Father’s hand, of whom He said, ‘You are My servant, an Israel in whom I will be glorified.’ Yes, He said more, for again we read, ‘that You should be My salvation to the end of the earth’; and this, ‘I will give you as a covenant to the people’; yes and for that matter, ‘as a light to the Gentiles.’
Is this, could this be the one of whom it is said, “Who is blind but My servant!” (Isaiah 42:19) ? Is this the people of whom God said this (Isaiah 30): in the exasperation of the kindness of God in the depravities of the nation ? Is THIS the prodigy of perfection, is it then the nation ?
Is it that this the is people ? After all, is not the nation spoken of in this manner:
Ø “Now go, write it before them on a tablet,
And note it on a scroll,
That it may be for time to come,
Forever and ever:
That this is a rebellious people,
Children who will not hear the law of the Lord;
Who say to the seers,
“Do not see,”
And to the prophets,
“Do not prophesy to us right things;
Speak to us smooth things, prophesy deceits.
Get out of the way,
Turn aside from the path,
Cause the Holy One of Israel
To cease from before us.”
“Therefore thus says the Holy One of Israel:
‘Because you despise this word,
And trust in oppression and perversity,
And rely on them,
Therefore this iniquity shall be to you
Like a breach ready to fall,
A bulge in a high wall,
Whose breaking comes suddenly, in an instant.
And He shall break it like the breaking of the potter’s vessel,
Which is broken in pieces;
He shall not spare.
So there shall not be found among its fragments
A shard to take fire from the hearth,
Or to take water from the cistern.’
“For thus says the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel:
“In returning and rest you shall be saved;
In quietness and confidence shall be your strength.”
But you would not,
And you said, ‘No, for we will flee on horses’—
Therefore you shall flee!
And, ‘We will ride on swift horses’—
Therefore those who pursue you shall be swift!”
Is this that people ? Of course not: it is the very nadir of shame, the very criterion of repulsion. Nothing could be further from the Messiah than this.
On the other hand, as to the Messiah, shown in such glorious contrast to ANYTHING and ANYONE that Israel as a mere nation could offer (Isaiah 41:27ff. moving to 42:1ff.!, as also Isaiah 51:19ff. moving to 52:12ff.), HE is not merely sighted, but constitutes the LIGHT for Israel and Gentile alike!
HE ? It is He (42:1) who is the One “in whom My soul delights!” though statedly none of Israel’s own sons of the flesh could approach this height, this efficacy and this role! (cf. Psalm 49:7,15, Hosea 13:14!).
v Israel the nation or any part of it, and the Messiah ?
v No greater contrast
Ø of light and darkness is conceivable,
Ø of abhorrence and ravishment,
Ø of effectuality and dereliction of duty,
Ø of divine strength and human weakness,
Ø of God’s own prerogatives of salvation (Isaiah 43:10-11) found in this Messiah (Isaiah 53), and man’s detachment, needing amendment,
Ø of sin and purity,
Ø of correlation with culture on earth and radiance with the very light of heaven, unfiltered, untouched, inaccessible to sin, impervious to pollution, in principle, in practice, in performance, in divinity.
THIS is the Israel, the Saviour, constitutive of the covenant (42:6), empathetic with Israel, consolidated with it but not with its sin, indeed declaring salvation from His substitutionary atonement for all who come to Him by faith (Isaiah 53:1,4-6,10), of whom the LORD speaks when He tells us of the sharp sword hidden ready, that is the Messiah’s mouth, in Isaiah 49:3, and in 51:16 of something even more amazing.
It is this. Without this to be incarnated WORD, eternal fellow of God Himself (Zech. 13:7), there would have been no creation. How make what is to be marred, and in what way begin what is but evilly ended, when you know the end from the beginning (cf. Isaiah 46:10, SMR Ch. 1) what is to be done in the end (Isaiah 46:10)!