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Puny Power, Delicious Humility and Happy Holiness
Highways and Byways
HOW IT AROSE
The disciples were not about good as they argued or at least discussed who was first, among them (Mark ).
This led to the lesson on the child. If anyone desires to be first, he shall be last and the servant of all. “Whoever,” He said taking a child, “receives one of these little children in My name receives Me, and whoever receives Me, receives not Me but Him who sent Me.” In Matthew, we read that the disciples actually came to Jesus, asking this: “Who then is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven ?”
Possibly after a little, they were overtaken in their undue interest, or misapplied zeal in this sphere so that, as in Mark, being met by Christ in His knowledge of their misplaced concern, and bursting with curiosity, they at length asked Him, WHO then is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven ? (Matthew 18:1). The case was perhaps as with Peter (Luke 22:61), where the first searching look or approach of Christ makes an impact, and then in a little, the scene, the mood changes. What supervenes ? It is weeping with Peter in his moment of shame, or here, perhaps seeking with now direct enquiry from hearts burning with desire, ready for anything, willing to ask.
Often you see this, people temporarily nonplussed or bewildered or ashamed; and then as the seconds proceed, one gains courage and asks the thing in question, pointedly. Calling a little child (Mark 9, Matthew 18), Jesus then proclaims the utter value of love, faith and effective direction to God in His name, so that it is no more a matter of spiritual competition, but of spiritual reality. Good orange trees have fine oranges; bad ones do not manage. A fine person has fine actions, and is not impressed with finery. A good surgeon is not trying to APPEAR great, but does great things, being indifferent to the reputation, since after all, his service is not to his pride but to the people.
Indeed, there was more that Christ said. It is necessary to be CONVERTED and so to become like little children (as John in fact calls them in I John), since then of course you KNOW your Father and have no problem with recognising Him. What child would!
Without that (Matthew 18:4), naturally you would not enter the supernatural kingdom. How could you have God as your Father when you are at enmity with Him (as in Ephesians 2:1-5)! But if you do humble yourself to find your Father and live by, in and with Him, there it is that greatness lies: in realism, in reality and in relish, yes in God Himself whom you simply serve in heart and spirit.
The highest place for man is the lowest denial of his own self-will, imaginary pretensions and vapid scenarios, and a finding of God as his highly personal Father, so that it is then from Him that wisdom and strength, adequacy and skill, knowledge and understanding all come, with the topping of peace and the beauty of holiness like roses on the table, their scent not so much sought for, as conspicuous throughout all.
HOW IT SHOWS ITSELF,
THIS HUMILITY THAT IS NOT PRIDE IN SHORT PANTS
Ø It is a spirit in grace, a way in living
That appreciates gifts
But loves the Giver,
Delights in the creation but finds ravishing the light of its Salient Source,
Ponders salvation but possesses it also,
Lives in wonder, adores because God IS adorable,
Does not practise His presence
But is open to His practice:
Free to be spent for Christ,
In a spirit which accumulates by loss.
Ø Liberated by His life,
The child of God becomes one
Not grasping for the anxious angst of self-propulsion and its means,
But divulging the goodness of God,
A spiritual shining inescapable, capable, capacious, endearing.
Ø Begotten by God, now wearing eternal life,
The life which is gift, delights in giving.
In its newly endued nature, possessing an inheritance that Christ is,
In the light of the Son that never sets,
Its humility is not a show, performance or formalistic disclaimer,
But an awareness quite simply, of what it is and how it has come to be such!
Ø It lives,
Not by a sun explosive with thermo-nuclear energy,
But through the Son who is the citadel for the pure in heart,
Who washes, makes clean and keeps clean continually,
With the certainty and security which searches out sin,
As the sun dissipates darkness
And by itself, destroys it:
Its lively presence, the absence of all dimness.
Ø Humility in this aspect, becomes a virtual entry point
To the highway of life,
A bar beneath which you stoop,
Or on which you impact.
It is for this reason, and on such grounds that one walks when the truth is found: even CHRIST gave His life as a ransom for many (Matthew ). What is the prestige, the social lift, the regal impulse in that ? If you WANT to be first, then you must be last. That species of want is a last sort of thing. You are then in kindergarten. Indeed, unless you start as little children, you cannot even ENTER the kingdom of heaven (Matthew 18:2).
What is the use of being very great then, in pompous or assertive dominance, when it is outside the kingdom altogether that you reside ? What is the good, indeed, of OWNING the bank, if its currency is foreign to your land, and there is no other bank able to cash your cheques! The sort of humility which a child who KNOWS that his father and mother and family are equipped as he is not, and who is willing to take from them what is to come, this is that! THIS Father however is God, before whom all men are as little children, though some in truancy disgrace truth with will.
Thus when Christ exposed the fact that the disciples had even reasoned as to who was the GREATEST, among them (Mark ), indeed WHO WOULD BE this, then the awareness becomes intense: What is the point of this ? Serving all is what you get to, if that is your place. The maid is the mistress. Captious headiness is a dress without a life beneath it, a walking death, surfeited with what is not there.
Thus when later (Mark 10), the request for place on the part of James and John is made, it is apparent that the question is not other than this: what you can lose, what you can sacrifice, and the spirit of truth and goodness in which you do it (10:43ff.). This is amply shown by the fact that Jesus Himself, the criterion, not only SEEKS TO SERVE, and this, not to impose His will but to enable wholeness of heart and cleanness before the truth on the part of those whose lostness He came to overcome. He even in such service, proceeds to DIE.
Death is not glamorous, has no hand-holds for self-elevation, and if it did, the hands now rest and are still! Gentile type dominion is OUT! It is neither direct nor indirect, neither patronizing nor devious: it is not there, quite simply, for it is foreign and alien to the kingdom of heaven (Mark 10:42ff. – and see What is Poverty in Spirit ? in Questions and Answers 12). Neither in the kingdoms of this world nor in the kingdom of heaven is vying emulation and aspirant pride, whether of place or any other kind, to find a place for the Christian. These are alien ways with alien fruits.
WHAT DO THEY WANT,
WHO WANT GREATNESS FOR THEMSELVES ?
What then do they desire, who desire to be first, to be great, to be remarkable and astounding, to be favoured with eminence for themselves ? Satan is a good example here, as Christ is the criterion for heaven. Let us see in Isaiah 14, the sort of lust that surges with the angst for attainment, the stirring that quests for the best for himself, at any cost, in any way, unprincipled, unbridled, self-centred and vain.
The spirit of it is seen in the prince of Babylon just as shown in the serpent with its devious self-exaltation in Eden, as if a fount of wisdom, an arbiter of destiny and a tutor for man (Genesis 3:4-5). He seeks to be back of God, to review the thoughts of his Creator and to instill wisdom and resource into the creation so that it may overturn the top, and be it, or near it and with it, on equal terms. Shall a doll marry ? or will a child educate! But Satan has all the presumptuous impertinence and gross impenitence of the arrogantly unruly, and in this like a dog in a tank of slime, he continues.
What then is the spirit of this thing ? In Isaiah 14:12ff., you find it:
v “How you are fallen from heaven,
· Lucifer, son of the morning!
How you are cut down to the ground,
You who weakened the nations!
v “For you have said in your heart:
‘I will ascend into heaven,
I will exalt my throne above the stars of God;
I will also sit on the mount of the congregation
On the farthest sides of the north;
I will ascend above the heights of the clouds,
I will be like the Most High.’
v “Yet you shall be brought down to Sheol,
To the lowest depths of the Pit.
Those who see you will gaze at you,
And consider you, saying:
‘Is this the man who made the earth tremble,
Who shook kingdoms,
Who made the world as a wilderness
And destroyed its cities,
Who did not open the house of his prisoners?’
v “All the kings of the nations,
All of them, sleep in glory,
Everyone in his own house;
But you are cast out of your grave
Like an abominable branch,
Like the garment of those who are slain,
Thrust through with a sword,
Who go down to the stones of the pit,
Like a corpse trodden underfoot.
You will not be joined with them in burial,
Because you have destroyed your land
And slain your people.”
Often does one have to reflect that there is a certain virulence, an infra-rational but scheming sortie into reality made in this delusive and ambitious plane, so that it is hard to realise how reason could invest itself at all in such desire. Sometimes as reportedly with Himmler, the passion is for some scheme and plan, some aura and marvel which witless but determined, he pursues; and he strikes as if the death adder could be the rose, and the odour of copious corpses stricken only for delusion, could be the way home to glory.
Often as with Stalin, it is with a delusion concerning Nature (SMR p. 883), which was to become subject to Communism, but forgot to do so; or evolutionism which seeks to flog from Nature the paths of creation, without ground, reason, gearing or potency, as if the book were forced to divulge the author from its pages, by some sort of distillation of its chemical content (cf. TMR Chs. 1, 8). It is not merely childish so to do, unscientific and logically unkempt, but ludicrous. It is this sort of intoxication of spirit which shows to man the godlike graces he could have, for in the art of such deception is such a forwardness and a frenzy, that the scheming that should be thought for good, at least attests its virgin power, though long playing the harlot in such unhallowed pastimes, dubious pursuits, deluded dynamics.
Some seek in this way, as if to displace God, some in that.
It is not always conscious, as is the case with desire for any other drug: the mind can rationalise itself into the thought that its evil is good, that its ambition is realistic and that is own control is preferable to the love of God, the work of Christ, the power of truth and the everlasting pillars of righteousness, as if all could pour forth once again from their soon to decease puniness of secular man, as if the creation could become the Creator, the finite the infinite, the temporary the everlasting and the dependence the assassin of truth and its new-formed sponsor. It is like looking into a snake pit, full of writhing and torment, evil and poison, that cannot rise, except to impart death, one that is fallen and gross.
What then is it that they want ? Power, glory, possessions, the structure for rule, the administrative machinery, the psychic fulfillment, the lordly lust, the control of man, eminence among men, the security of leadership, the intoxication of shame masquerading as glory, the fealty of the misled, the rankness of irrational rule, the determination of issues, the equipment of man in the heart of this world, to be prominent, dominant, judicial, official ? Yes all of this, in the last essence, though many do not realise the controls from which they suffer: all of this and far more. Such at least is this leaven, and though it works its ways differentially among men, yet they have but one spirit.
Do they want servitude, yes but for others, with freedom for themselves, to serve but … whom ? Is there not a prince as well as a price for this lordship ! (John 14:30-31). Are they not ruled, though they be rulers ? and is not their power mere putty in and for that spirit, despising flesh, except as a butt for ambition, and while hating God, daring even to regard Him with neither reverence nor respect ?
Back of their confusion is that profane and godless, that mercenary prince of polluted and relentless human merchandise, the soiled souls of spoiled man, the husks, the seeds mere memories, their vitality sucked out, their roots long withered, who pursue their future anywhere that the Lord of light and life is deemed absent. His realm, not for rule but for doom, casts is shadow beforehand, and is their eternal domain, its light darkness, all hope blighted, hanging itself on incorrigible unbelief, blighted. All within find hanging about them, an irremediable emptiness.
Has not the LORD, the Rock (Matthew 21:44), indeed crushed to powder that national rulership of the antagonised priests who in the flesh, actually killed Him by their wiles, the very temple of their power first destroyed, and this with a pitiless and relentless determination, much in the spirit of their own, whose city is their symbol of ruin, as the Cross was their matrix of power, a passing grimace of glory, as it destroyed death for its purposes, and its vicarious victim, now victorious, rose from their ruin, while they, they fell only to rise no more.
The cross ? Gaunt but glorious, it attested the illimitable magnitude of mercy, and its intractable truth in performance.
And the Temple in its destruction, was it not a conscientious addition to the ruin of the city of Jerusalem, its salting a commentary on the insidious and satanically manipulated Sanhedrin, whose expediency was a sentence of death (John 11:48ff.), and who thus suffered the expediency of others, such as Titus of Rome! The Sanhedrin are exposed in John as scheming the murder of the most intense source of spiritual power, physiological and anatomical healing, practical potency and goodness that this world has ever seen or could see, for without limit according to the prophetic word given once only and fulfilled uniquely, He wrought. Alas, what grief, their nation has experienced this absence ever since, now intensively, now with some relaxation. It cannot rest (though it might do so and might have done so – Matthew -30, Isaiah 63:14).
With what mercy God has acted to restore them to their land on target in the time of the end of the Age (cf. SMR Chs. 8, 9). He is the same. Not with slender means (though Christ’s personal appurtenances were few, a very ‘root out of a dry ground’, as in Isaiah 53:2, Matthew 2:23), but with unterminated power He could heal all in whom mere faith in Him to dispense it was present, yes and taking a whole multitude of the sick, He could not merely promote, but provide health on that same day, to them all who in faith so applied (Matthews 4:23-23, Mark 1:34, Matthew 8:16, Luke 4:31-44, John 11).
The Lord in service showed strength, and required that men serve (Matthew -26), despising emulousness and official pride of place, as worthless, execrable maladies of another kind.
With what emphasis, then, did the prophets describe the humble origins on earth, of that man who was the incarnate God! Was He not seen and to be seen as despised, scorned (Isaiah 53:3), rejected, a sprout from a stump (Isaiah with 11:1 and Zechariah 6:12*1), from the degraded line of David.
So with scorn, scoffing, utter disregard and cruelty indeed (Isaiah 50:5-6), social contempt (49:7), His gifts despised, His life disregarded, in lowly state, that little sprout on a fallen stump concept, came He in whom all these things were fulfilled: but HOW would this be done ? How better than in having the Christ, the Messiah live in a place the very name of which reflected His own conditions as sprout.
from an inscription on marble in recent years found in Caesarea, that the city
of Nazareth was spelled once, as Natzareth, with the
use of the letter tzade, like a tz
sound*2. The Hebrew word netzer meaning sprout, is the more clearly present in this
spelling, perhaps a former spelling of
Sprout city then as
What is it
like ? It is as if it was predicting that a lady would come from a big wash, and
that from this would her name be derived, and then finding her born in
noting secret about His earthly base, or His being scorned. It is the case of
the scorned sprout from the root of David, as predicted. The term ‘
To judge from Matthew 2:23, and the available evidence, including the town’s position on trade routes, with possible linguistic looseness in the mix of peoples, this NAME was allied not merely to the CONCEPT of the uncultured, or uncultivated, or even morally or religiously degraded or impure. It may perhaps even be allied to the very aspiration for the town to BE the city for the Sprout, the Shoot, the despised Messiah, as May points out.
It thus appears that the contemporary language in the time of Christ covered the prophecies in one, succinct, strident, competent, complete way. The ‘sprout’, the Messiah, was to be found in Sprout City, and was a Sproutian, a Nazarene, brought up in a city with little reputation, significance, refinement, name just as He was to receive little reputation (cf. Isaiah 53:4), and just as the junta would disown Him categorically, vehemently seeking to trap Him (Luke 11:53-54), rather than find in Him, as alone it could be found, the truth itself (Luke 11:52, John 14:6 cf. SMR).
Ø In the world of Christ’s day, then, the very name foretold in imagery, appears to be that found in this city, and the very meanings attributed in the prophecies to Him, as the ample arrogance of man despised its God, were well summed up with this epithet, Nazarene. In this was the pith of the prophecy fulfilled and expressed; and the stamp and tar of the littleness of it all was precisely what they would wish to confer upon Him, in historical action just as the name impacted with the same.
Indeed prophetically, it was to be in such terms, as Zechariah 6:12 shows, that He would even be NAMED; though the exact counterpart for the name is that indicated in Isaiah. Thus it is a fulfillment of what was SPOKEN THROUGH THE PROPHETS, not one but all*1 (Matthew ).
Similarly, and in precise parallel, what the term depicted, fulfilling the prediction, was what occurred. Not majesty but small outlandishness; not centrality but the periphery; not glory but contempt; not power on this earth’s terms but its distancing, with the glory of royalty set as far as might be imagined, from His place: these were the human clothes of the Christ on the one hand, and the greeting card which He received on the other. Nazarene said it all, and even as it appears, incorporated the very term used by Isaiah, just as the meaning was exemplified in His life. The word described what its portent delivered!
Isaiah 8:22-9:6, how COULD the learned scholars not realise
this, that out of Galilee (in which Nazareth found its place) the Messiah would
indeed arise, a vast light to dispel darkness, a vast wonder to incandesce with
joy, issued like fountains of grace. From
Thus the lowly sprout became the mighty tree (cf. Ezekiel -25), and the mighty machinery of politically corrupt and ecclesiastically derelict authority, became a name of dissavour, a prelude to ruin and an invitation to doom. It is only through the mercy of God that this reversal of roles, the majestic becoming minimal and the minimal being as it always was, majestic, is not final. The Saviour who was to come (Isaiah 53:2 does not stop there!), and ruin death’s investiture as penalty for sin, by bearing it and breaking it, it was He who cried, “Father, forgive them, they do not know what they are doing,” continuing this cry of the heart, even as His own heart was smitten.
Such is the glory of God in His ways (Habakkuk 3:6 – His ways are everlasting).
THE CRUCIAL CONTRAST AND THE CRUNCH OF THE CROSS
The Spirit of Christ is wholly contrary to
In fact, as Paul intimated by inspiration, He was in the very form of God, and while not even deeming it robbery to be equal with God, rather set Himself resolutely to become a servant to man! (Philippians 2 cf. Psalm 40 and Joyful Jottings 22). What a gulf, what a crevasse lies there!
Ø His is not a case of struggling minus morals for life (Acts ),
Ø but of struggling with triumph to impose morals into the muck of life,
Ø by making Himself the energy of evacuation,
Ø and the donor of accomplishment,
Ø with the relinquished but risen life that in Him shows
Ø the acme of ardour and the purity of eternity.
Even though He Himself was the One to suffer, the innocent for the involved, the just for the unjust (II Peter 3:18), and though in the intense agony of His rejection by those for whom in love He was so abundantly bent to provide He might have resented their wild frenzies of autonomy as a nation, a church and a body select wantonly deregistered through unbelief: yet His emotions were not eroded nor His pity dimmed. He wept for the city and its people (Luke 19:42ff.), just as on the Cross, He was patiently interceding for them (Luke ).
A grievous pang is it when justice finds mercy rejected, so that many would be dispossessed from peace and even life. Yet what He might have possessed, had He been of a different Spirit (cf. Luke 9:55), He yielded; and this, even though His desire was but for their deliverance, that they might be fitted like an arrow in His quiver, a river in its channel, an airplane in its flight path for which it was made.
Indeed, in Luke 19, you see that it is of the city itself quite directly, personified and bearing all of its people within it, that He speaks when in the utmost of grief: He laments that they did not know the time of their visitation. Because of this, NOW the things which belong to their peace are hidden from their eyes. Thus the Son of God utterly desired their peace and sought it, but when they rejected His protestations and prayers, then at this, that very thing to be avoided by love, yet one resolutely pursued by the people: the unrelished results were twofold.
FIRST, they would no longer SEE the path of peace; and SECONDLY, there would be devastation on a grand scale. The love of God is seen here in this graphic depiction: HE WOULD have delivered many who WOULD NOT; and because of this, they COULD not find the way, and MUST be devastated. It is just as in II Thessalonians 2, where it is BECAUSE they did not receive the love of the truth that an active delusion prevents its perception, and judgment sits, soon to reveal its awesome face! In Matthew it is the same (cf. SMR Appendix B). God knows His own and He takes them chastely, not in the heat that resembles lust for man, but in the holiness which nothing dupes and comprehending all, acts with an understanding so profound and a mercy so surging, that none can rightly bleat in hell of a lost that was not deployed.
Dire is dispossession when it is from God that the severance comes; yet man is apart already, and needs to KNOW the God of whom He stays in this way or that, ignorant (Romans 1, 5, Ephesians 2, 4). If he knew God, he would know his fellows, for they are all His; but man’s fellowship with man is more fellowship than love, hatred soiling the empty soil.
What then is left ?
It is only those of them whose spirits live in another realm, another kingdom, who remain undispossessed, for theirs is already and forever the unsearchable riches of Christ (Ephesians 3:8), alive for evermore. With death in ineradicable ruin in the face of Christ (Hebrews 2,9-10), and with Him deploying irrepressible rule, He actually lives In the hearts of His people, integral to their life (Colossians 3:1-4, ). He does not however invade; nor does He stand back in ignorant whimsy; but with eternal knowledge, He takes His own (John 6:37-40, 65), dispossessing them of triviality and evil, and in repossessing them, provides them with the liberty of truth, of knowing things as they are, and Him in whom they find their origin.
Who however has PAID for these, the undispossessed ?
It is Christ, covering their mortgage,
Giving them liberty with Him (Hebrews , Galatians ),
Through His liberties annulled in redemptive death, but evocatively victorious in resurrection.
Those however who possess this world,
Use its drab, shrunken and tawdry glory,
Glittering with all the mock glory of a gutted hell that looms like a smouldering ruin,
Casting out light among its gathering shadows:
These are the great dispossessed.
Grabbing, they are grabbed.
Lusting they fulfil the lust of the devil,
Only with him to be derelict
(Revelation 20, John , Matthew 25:41).
Their light is darkness
Their power that of failing batteries
That never did more
Than store what they obtained from another source,
Unacknowledged, unloved, but … USED!
Small wonder is it that there be an angst of the inglorious,
That mesmerised and jaundiced trusting in a light that obviously fails in life
As it has failed in reason (cf. TMR),
Using premisses that do not relate to their premises in this world,
Except as a theft from the glory of God.
Like stolen cars with new engine numbers, and new licence plates,
Theirs is a deadly glamour to be gutted when the glory of the Truth,
Jesus Christ the Righteous (Acts ), returns to rule (Acts 1:7ff.).
But thieves ? they take what is not theirs!
These however go further;
For they deny the very factory that make them
So that the cars coming from nowhere
Can be theirs without guilt,
And they themselves,
The ‘product of nothing’
Can kick their heels like braying asses,
Not mechanical but alive,
Deemed programmatic but merely erratic*3,
Wanton in those little midget fits
That seem to possess donkeys
When their wits take vacation
And their legs run off brashly with their lives.
Small wonder then, their hearts fail them for fear (Luke )
As the intoxicating beverages for the same
Sham glory and imaginary power to prevail wherever and whenever convenient,
Lose potency, and their lives
Glow with ever dimmer light,
The wonder of this world held to ransom by terrors aloft and below.
No thanks, angst!
Give God the glory.
Was it not the same with the case of the erring people of
To whom Jeremiah spoke in mingled love and exhortation,
Warning and pleading,
Judgment coming, but mercy offered in vain ?
The people would not heed,
But the words of hope were utterly sincere which they shot far from them;
Nor would the king give ear to words of life,
Divine advice feathered off into the distance,
Like an arrow of angst, antagonistic in lust.
Lost in his vagrancy
He followed his list, and was listed with the ungodly …
His strength was weakness, and his weakness was fatal
Listen to Jeremiah 13:
v “Hear and give ear:
Do not be proud,
For the Lord has spoken.
“Give glory to the Lord your God
Before He causes darkness,
And before your feet stumble
On the dark mountains,
And while you are looking for light,
He turns it into the shadow of death
And makes it dense darkness.
“But if you will not hear it,
My soul will weep in secret for your pride;
My eyes will weep bitterly
And run down with tears,
Because the Lord’s flock has been taken captive.
v Say to the king and to the queen mother,
v “Humble yourselves …”
ACTS OF GOD AND ACTS OF ANGST
Can a leopard change his spots ? dramatically asks the prophet (Jeremiah ).
Then may they do good who are accustomed to do evil.
It takes a new heart from the divine foundry for such a change,
A genuine work of creation, moulding the energies of emptiness
In the fullness of truth (Ezekiel , 36:26, Jeremiah 31:31ff., John 3, II Corinthians 5:17ff.),
The spots of the sullied spirit
Have not the groomed bloom of the leopard,
The presence of disease.
It is the life, not just the body,
That needs healing.
Life has its requirements,
And its head, the royalty of divine regality,
It is which must rule more really than any DNA,
Though the latter be but His product:
For the spirit of man requires the Spirit of God
For its consummation, as for its creation,
And the word of God must be in the intimacies of the heart,
Not merely in the incidences of the body, or
The resonances of reason.
Reason requires that we believe in God
But God is greater than reason, and must be one’s friend,
Not merely one’s creator.
He is indicated, but the indications must be followed
To the applications in His sight and presence.
As well marry by proxy as talk about God and not find Him (John 5:39ff.).
Thus unless you forsake all that you have, said Jesus,
You CANNOT be MY DISCIPLE (Luke 14:27ff.).
The first thing to forsake is your own autonomy,
And the last thing to cling to, it is your own desire;
And after all, is not He the desire of all nations (Haggai 2:7)!
Must the pathological spots be preferred to the lustre of light ?
“Would the angst but repent of its pomp and become asking,
The surging but cease from its voluminous sprays, and flow to Him,
Then the place of peaceful waters would be found, and its flow
Proceed in the beauties of holiness (cf. Isaiah 48:18, Psalm 1).
Without this return to sobriety, however,
To the source of this world
Of glory, wonder, to the Rock of truth,
The world like the people in it, will not be
Rocked like a baby on the face of the deep:
For the wrath of the Lamb (Rev. 6:16)
Is not lost to those who perjure the trust
And disdain the only God of glory,
Grinding to egregious and factitious power
Like dirty diesels, lost in their own smoke, till their heated hearts die.
Even now, you can hear the sound!
Spotted without repentance, not with natural beauty, but unnatural guilt.
Alas, it was to be so and is so (Luke 19:42ff., Matthew 23:37ff.).
This the occasion for that potent lament of Christ,
Not at His Father’s severity,
But at the obduracy of His countrymen,
Whose murder of Him was overcome in the resurrection on His part,
But whose murder of Him as their only Rock of mercy
(Psalm 62, Isaiah 26:4, 28:16, II Samuel 22:32, I Cor. 10:1ff.)
Was for them a suicide in lust,
A sentence in itself on both sham and shame.
Yet it is not one which cannot be undone, when and only when the truth is once more revered.
But are these alone who slew Him ?
Is it some novelty that
Is sin Jewish or is departure from the living God
Unknown where Gentile hearts beat ?
The evil of severance,
It is an attitude and has a spirit which masses of Gentiles
Have followed as if it were a paradigm and not a tragedy,
Staring at the consequences of forsaking Christ with the clarity of a Drama,
While repeating them for their own part, as if fascinated by the plot
And determined to share in its finale!
Even as many condemn
So they condemn themselves who follow the ways of them
Whose lot as lost they share,
Disregarding the only Deity there is, as those driven by winds,
Surging as surf,
In dereliction unspeakable, frothing and flighted in the air above,
In turmoil in the depths below.
If however all fall in the one way,
Not all are redeemed in any way; though but one way is to be found in the One God.
Not all will come,
As many are to come in
Though not all of
The omission of truth is unpardonable in the end, because likewise and therewith
The unbeliever in Christ, omits that part of the truth which is the divine mercy,
And the way of it, the say of it and the day of it.
God is not programmatic, though He makes programs as do we,
But personal, and as such, He must be found by Jew and Gentile alike.
There are no exemptions from the prerequisites
Of repentance and faith, Christ the Messiah its object (Ephesians ),
Redemption its verb (Titus -13, 3:5-7), and joy its complement
(John 16:20-23, I Thessalonians 5:16).
Whether one or other, all share the humbling before God’s holiness,
Who do not share the shaft to the rebellious
Of blighting light which does not permit darkness
Nor make exemption for what disdains it;
And all drink from that self-same fountain of mercy (Zechariah 13:1, I John 1)
Whether Samaritan or Jew, arrant Gentile or genteel worldling,
For there is no difference before the one God who is,
In His mode of mercy or His word of truth.
You take what is there, or you have nothing,
For there is nothing else (cf. Deuteronomy 32).
What was to be for healing, becomes for judgment,
And what is most blessed becomes
The exposure of sin, impelling judgment in truth (Romans 2).
The Light does not change (James ).
Here alone can end the angst, the awful lusts
And empty follies of man, sated with sin, sentenced in justice (John -19,36),
Evacuees from the
Desolate in their warring world,
Breathing in, in anguish,
Breathing out ever more amplified angst.
Each of these contexts as we see In the treatment in the Old Testament Commentary of Keil and Delitzsch, has a basic similarity in terms of shoot, sprout, layer shoot.
How beautiful the expressiveness given to David on this topic,
in Psalm 143:5-11 (colour added):
§ “I remember the days of old;
I meditate on all Your works;
I muse on the work of Your hands.
I spread out my hands to You;
My soul longs for You like a thirsty land. Selah
“Answer me speedily, O Lord;
My spirit fails!
Do not hide Your face from me,
Lest I be like those who go down into the pit.
“Cause me to hear Your lovingkindness in the morning,
For in You do I trust;
Cause me to know the way in which I should walk,
For I lift up my soul to You.
“Deliver me, O Lord, from my enemies;
In You I take shelter.
Teach me to do Your will,
For You are my God;
Your Spirit is good.
Lead me in the land of uprightness.
Revive me, O Lord, for Your name’s sake!
For Your righteousness’ sake bring my soul out of trouble.”