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PURITY AND POWER WITHOUT PRESUMPTION
There is, in relationship with the Lord, a need to avoid presumption, just as there is to avoid little faith and of course, no faith and no saving faith.
What is the difference between all these things ? We shall consider them as we survey the magnificent outburst of beauty n PSALM 19.
To commence, let us freely paraphrase it, simply with a view to capturing the sense, the perspective and the awe.
PARAPHRASE and Amplification
in the light of other scriptures:
The heavens declare the glory of God;
And the firmament shows His handiwork.
2 Day unto day utters speech,
And night unto night reveals knowledge.
3 There is no speech nor language
Their voice is not heard.
4 Their line has gone out through all the earth,
And their words to the end of the world.
In them He has set a tabernacle for the sun,
5 Which is like a bridegroom coming out of his chamber,
And rejoices like a strong man to run its race.
6 Its rising is from one end of heaven,
And its circuit to the other end;
And there is nothing hidden from its heat.
7 The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul;
The testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple;
8 The statutes of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart;
The commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes;
9 The fear of the Lord is clean, enduring forever;
The judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether.
10 More to be desired are they than gold,
Yea, than much fine gold;
Sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb.
11 Moreover by them Your servant is warned,
And in keeping them there is great reward.
12 Who can understand errors?
Cleanse me from secret faults.
13 Keep back Your servant also from presumptuous sins;
Let them not have dominion over me.
Then I shall be blameless,
And I shall be innocent of great transgression.
14 Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart
Be acceptable in Your sight,
O Lord, my strength and my Redeemer.
For simplicity's sake, the indent (minus the numbers) may be regarded as if in quotation marks. As indicated below, two added words not in the biblical text, but often found in translation (vv. 3 and 12), are omitted. For the basic point of impact here, see Translation Short List as marked, soon DV to be available.
Verse 1: The universe in its majestic splendour, so vast that as it observed and pondered, it speaks of a magnitude of operations beyond all contemplation, is so ordered that its silent courses of multitudes of vast and distant entities, impress the heart. In their intricacy of motion and lights, the variety of their actions and the unity of their grandeur, they stir the soul. Not merely is it a consideration of distances that make our own usages on earth seem like a mouse hole, but there is a covering, a canopy, a stretched out expanse in which clouds freely move and amid which birds may move, from the days of Genesis (1:20).
Verse 2: There is in all this magnificent magnitude and diversified splendour a virtual declaration. It is as if God is speaking to us, indeed, rather as if we were just newly introduced to someone's mansion by the ocean, overlooking its tempests and storms, participating in its playful moods and intensities. The very existence of such things in such a setting speaks volumes of the industry, the architecture, the choice of site, the intensity and appreciation of the ocean's intensity, if not on the part of the owner, who may be in display mode, then of the architect who constructed the dwelling.
The heavens themselves, in architectural magnificence and splendour of light, are displaying for the soul of man the existence, the occupation, the power and the wonder of God: they declare this, and the heavens too in our immediate vicinity, reaching up by giving us our atmospheric blessings, these show it more nearly and dearly.
Every day, this vast demonstration is uttering its voice to the imagination, its solace to the soul, its challenge to the intellect. It did not grow order by its absence, find glory by nothingness or invent the sublime by the negation of system. System is from systematics, space from outreach, order from ordering, form from information. Things need to be done, in order to be. There is no exception. Nothing causes nothing, and everything caused finds its place from a relevant function. It is only God who is not invented, always there so that anything at all might ever become, and thus have its more or less transient being, except of course it participate in God Himself.
The heavens are declaring HIS GLORY, and the nearby heavens the work of His fashioning.
Day to day, they utter. Who hears ? Night after night, as the luminosities work out their intricate splendour, they inform the mind, instruct the spirit, woo the soul to worship.
Verse 3: Note the translation: there is no word 'where' in the text. It is inappropriate to add to the text. Check the text as it is given to us.
As they speak, it is not in language. There is no Arabic, Hebrew or English (anachronisms are purposeful as we are seeking the intent, and it is sometimes stimulating to consider aspects in the light of our own day). There is no voice to be heard. No one is articulating phonetic sounds. Like the directed sound from a megaphone, or from cupping the hands, however, there is a line which reaches the soul of man; their mute but eloquent speech is directed very clearly to us.
Verse 4: To be sure, there is this difference from mere sonic phenomena: the talk is in this case, the speech from the heavens is to the mind direct, without the intervention of actual sound; it moves to our very spirits, knocking, knocking with intent, and knows no blocking. It never grows dim. Nowhere in the world is this speech to the heart, this talk to the mind of man stifled or subdued. Shouting cannot subdue it, nor indifference cover its mouth!
Verses 5-6: In these heavens that show themselves to us, to our race, God has set up a distinct area and arena which is the sun's place. In this place, it knows no bounds. Indeed, from the earth we see it like a bridegroom coming to a wedding, surging along in its fiery resolve, its ordered measure, its power and determination alike imprinted with its sheer regularity. There is no sense of labour, of effort, of solar sweat, if you want to be figurative! There is an astral exuberance about its diurnal coursing, day by day without alleviation, procrastination or meddlesome variabilities. In our heavens its moves about with disdain for limitation, and it pours heat with abundance upon this earth.
What is it like and of what does it remind us ?
Verse 7: The law of the Lord likewise is to all the earth; and likewise also, it speaks to the heart of man, both the law of God and the spirit of man being designed for such communication.
This divine law which God has articulated in actual words, by contrast with the testimony of the heavens themselves, it also is strong, measured and shows no sense of dimming. It is of the Lord that the astronomical universe reminds us, that expansive majesty and solar platform alike, and the expressions without words, speak of Him who also provides a speech which is quite directly understood and comprehensible in detail. Let us then address ourselves to this MORE VERBAL speech, just as we have been considering the speech without words, the direct intimation of divine majesty to the mind, to the spirit of man on which we have been dwelling.
As for the actual words of God, then, when instead of a mute but eloquent testimony, He uses these, consider them likewise! His law is perfect, turning the straying soul back to Him, and His intimations with power and precept are reliable, steadfast and true, so that even if you should be somewhat dim by natural inheritance, naive and raw in mind, callow in character, from this law, from this testimony comes wisdom. Here it is, lay hold of it.
Verse 8: Where organised
living is required, the empire of man is nothing compared with the
We skip for joy because it is a lovely thing to see justice, equity and truth laid down like the vast concrete foundation to a massive skyscraper. It is so sound, so just, so apt, so well-ordered, so thoughtfully RIGHT!
8b: Nor is there anything selfish, to speak of human defects and deficiencies by contrast, about the commandments of God (cf. SMR pp. 580ff.). HE does not ask for things in order to gratify self-will or carnal ambition. Not for Him the desire for a glory which the very heavens have attested as already His. He has nothing to gain, only much to give. Hence one's very eyes find light in His commands, the melding of majesty and truth, justice and goodness. Thus to fear God, that is, to have an enormous love and the deepest respect and worship towards Him, it is a clean thing. There is no seductive strategy, beguiling charm or ambitious pretence about it. It is not as if He is a ruler to be corrupted or is duped by corruption from man, for that matter.
Verse 9: Knowing all, in His universe's creation, having a comprehensive and felicitous understanding of every component, spirit and aspect, He gives to His own what is right in His sight. Regard for Him, coming from the human eye of delight and worship, from the human mind thirsting for loving obedience and sensitive occupation with His work: this is a clean, a savoury, a spiritual thing worthy of the heart work of mankind.
Indeed, when He actually makes a judgment, have no fear: it is right! Truth inhabits His words and rightness is the reality of His speech. He has no need of orthopaedic surgeons to straighten the thoughts of His being, psychiatrists to untwist His errors. HE HAS NONE of these!
Righteous altogether, and true are His judgments.
Verse 10: Yes, these words of His, which assert, assess and determine what is what, and where to go and why, they are so desirable that gold, as a comparison for a value source, is a mockery. Have your gold, and make it as fine, as pure as may be, and have lots of it; but it cannot compare with the value in the words of God, the ways of God for the heart, the wisdom for the soul, the embrace of the understanding and the direction to the feet of a man, to his hand and the invitations to his heart.
10b: There is about His expressive words, a sweetness, an endearment, a solace to the spirit, a tenderness to the whole being of man. Furthermore, as we men are apt to stray, at times finding it altogether too easy because of our sinfulness, inbuilt since Adam (Psalm 51, Genesis 3), it is wonderful to notice this, that the words of God are not some mere display of philosophy.
Verse 11: They speak truth with justice, solace with wisdom, reality for living in a real world with all its flurries and potential worries which would like to lay siege to the soul of man. Hence in giving the way of life and the words for life of man, the very express creation of God, the Lord gives warning. It is not for fun; it is not a mere exercise in increasing skills. There is life and there is death; and there is sickness in between. It is well therefore to heed His words, they warn life, for the purposes of living well with the Lord.
That is not all. Since God is personal, He is able not only to warn, but to reward. SO great is His wisdom, so gracious His being, so wonderful His mercy, that He actually brings reward to the soul that keeps His word: indeed it conveys reward in terms of the truth that it is. It enables man to find, like Abraham, God as his shield and exceedingly great reward. You actually can draw so near to God through His word that you find the ultimates of reward, in His presence as did the saints of old (cf. Psalm 73:25), and His fruitions are worth more than any human one, being incomparable in truth and reality, sent from majesty, invoked by the splendour of His Creator's mind.
In reading this, note that there is no personal pronoun in front of 'errors'.
is as given above. The topic in view has for some time been the perfection of
the law of God, and the issue arising is simply that of errors, inadequacies.
In this context, the very thought of such becomes a signal of sin; and
indicates the need of a personal cleansing; for God is without iniquity (cf.
Deuteronomy 32:4 cf. SMR
Errors! None of these are to be found in His word. There is nothing of this kind; this category and class of things has no entry when God Himself is speaking! As to His word, it is to warn you, to reward you: it is a source, not a butt for your survey, as if you could examine God. It is a gift of realisation to the living, just as it is a testimony to the delinquencies of the asseverations of the doomed.
Remember His word to Job in rebuke if you ever think this way:
Again in 40:1ff.:
"Moreover the LORD answered Job and said: 'Shall the one who contends with the Almighty correct Him ?
He who rebukes God, let him answer it.'
"Then Job answered the LORD and said:
'Behold I am vile,
What shall I answer You?
I lay my hand over my mouth.
Once I have spoken, but I will not answer,
Yes, twice, but I will proceed no further.' "
There then you find exactly the sense which may be found in Psalm 19:12*1.
Verses 1-13: The word of God has just been shown to be perfect in wisdom, in truth, in reality, sweet and secure, stable and authentic, trustworthy and incomparably past all the relevant productions which man can make, does make. It has been shown as the direct diction of God in His purity, and it is addressed to man in his sin and defectiveness. Through this word, there is a path for man in his limitation and in his created estate, where by and in himself, he is incomplete always. This word of God is directed to man who, without God, is necessarily without reference to his registry in heaven, to his parameters in truth, to his origin, organiser and founder, to his reference points. Yes, without God, man is without referral from the very birth and meaning, the obligations and nature of his being.
12-13: Who then is
this who would dare to darken counsel with human words,
contesting the very righteousness of God as shown in His words, with
words of his own! Oh God, keep ME back from secret faults, from a false
lordliness which acts as if regality over the universe! It is not in Your word but in my heart that trouble brews, so let it be
cooled at once, and never pursue or overtake me. Let me ALWAYS know and
reverence YOUR word, never seeking to impress on it the feeble ignorance of my
When it comes to the TOPIC OF ERROR, oh God, let me quick to acknowledge that this, it is to me and not to you, to my thoughts and not your words, that it applies. Let me never be foxed into believing that ERROR is yours and not mine! If that happened, I would labour in the turmoils of gigantic presumption. Then a mere captive to pride and arrogance, I would be inviting judgment, guilty of really great transgression. Hear me, that I remain innocent before you, a rescued sinner, not a daring devil.
Has not God already rebuked the righteous Job, when under enormous and express test, he cracked a little, and at times went beyond what was right, leaning too much to his own wisdom!
Is man perennially then to be reminded that
How would you, mere sinful mortal, arise to determine the truth or otherwise of Truth itself! Who can understand errors in the topic: the word of God! which has just been our occupation and pre-occupation indeed, in verse 7-11.
If such a trend should arise in anyone's soul, it is sin. Sin not majesty of intellect, sin not rationality of speech, for the speech which preceded God's speech to man, is already there in the heavens, declaring itself without words; and now the very words of this same sovereign majesty, they are here.
Will a man, whose breath is in his nostrils (Isaiah 2;22), dare to talk of errors in terms of what God has given ? Let me be cleansed from any such vagaries and vagrancies!
What ? be subjected to secret lurkings in the soul of man, turmoils of pride and strutting seeking, like Sennacherib to adjudicate God! Such secrets will be shouted from the housetops, and such presumption, for this is its very kernel and marrow, must at all costs be avoided. Look at what the Lord said to Sennacherib through Isaiah (anachronism throughout is deliberate to assist application to the present by diverse means) - in Isaiah 37:22ff.. Consider the case of that king, who like Pharaoh, was USED by God for a purpose. Ponder sadly the folly of trying in the meantime, as he works and God works through him, to assert his own arrogant authority, when he is but dust in the balance! (Isaiah 40:14-15).
What hideous pseudo-majesty the devastatingly peremptory and renegade spirit of man can embrace!
Keep me back from this, let me never waver from your word (and here the entirety of Psalm 119 shows the sense and spirit of such an approach: the word of God is pure, and just as it is the desire of the heart, so it restores to righteousness, hence let me never wander from it, for it has brought me back from wandering ...). You see something of this in Psalm 119:57-88.
ERROR! How presumptuous would any ascription of error to God be, and how unthinkable such a lapse from the precious truth of our meditation! Never let me be the butt, never let my heart be the host of such guests, the field of such riot against the Lord, of such rebellion from His purity, such arrant error and erratic wandering from the wonder of His word!
It is then that I shall avoid really vast transgression, as high as the heavens above, so this below! It is in this way that I shall gain innocency, by abiding in Your word (cf. John 15:7). How great would be the transgression if the way of presumption should ever seize me contrary to your word!
In Psalm 119:101-104, for example, you see flaming fire of abhorrence and warmth of desire, the one from aborting His words and the other toward them,
"I have restrained my feet from every evil way,
That I may keep Your word.
I have not departed from Your judgments,
For You Yourself have taught me.
How sweet are Your words to my taste,
Sweeter than honey to my mouth!
Through Your precepts I get understanding:
Therefore I hate every false way."
Yes, by allowing no thought of contest with your word, or the unutterable folly of seeking to act as an arbiter, attributing error to it, I gain liberty from presumption. Yes in the end, I am made free from massive diseases of the heart, vast sin. Let no such thing ever have dominion over me!
Verse 14, with meditation on its meaning in the whole scope of scripture:
Now O LORD, I know that you are far more than Creator, though your creation attests the wonders of your wisdom and control, the majesty of your power and the splendour of your personal Being. Help me even in my utterance, to depart from nothing that is right, indeed to find blessing and to be well-pleasing in your very personal sight (cf. Colossians ). It is after all, Yourself who gives me the strength for utterance and knowledge, wisdom and understanding; and it has been in you that I have sought to speak.
Strength is indeed yours and understanding! Yes, you are even my REDEEMER!
As Proverbs 8 has it of Wisdom, the ever-attendant being about you, your own personal expression, brought up with You, ever rejoicing with You and before You (cf. Barbs, Arrows and Balms 27),
"Counsel is mine, and sound wisdom,
I am understanding, I have strength ...
I love those who love Me,
And those who seek Me diligently will find Me.
Riches and honour are with Me,
Durable riches and righteousness...
"I traverse the way of righteousness,
In the midst of the paths of justice,
That I may cause those who love Me to inherit wealth ...
"The LORD possessed Me in the beginning of the way,
Before His works of old.
I have been established from everlasting,
From the beginning before there was even an earth...
There was I beside Him, like One brought up before Him ..."
You find Him sent from the Sender: God the sent presenting God the sender; God as Speaker sending God as spoken, God as Father sending God as Son, and hence born of a virgin (cf. SMR pp. 770ff., With Heart and Soul, Mind and Strength Ch. 4, Matthew 1:23). In Isaiah 48:16, we find the Speaker is God, and the One advising us of being sent, is Himself the LORD!*1A Much the same is found in Zechariah 2:8, 12:10, where the fruit of this sending is revealed in terms of one pierced by sinful men (cf. Zech. 3:9), who repent at the end, of this, their deed!
Yes, this is then the REDEEMER, as expressly foretold by Isaiah 50-55, in great depth and detail, His work being shown in terms of facial mutilation, a near pulping by the artful pressures and devilish devices of man, so that as sacrifice, on Him is laid the sin of us all. US ? Yes, those who are healed (v. 5), for there is not one who is healed who is not healed by this method, the laying upon HIM of their sin.
Sacrifice had for centuries been so, even then, and the blood by its life make the atonement (Leviticus 16:3,6,10,14,16,28,19,30, ). Indeed, as we see in Leviticus 16 also, there is a scape goat, a living creature as well as a slain sacrifice, and the former is to escape with the sins, symbolically placed upon it, as a cursed thing into the wilderness. So the Redeemer is portrayed in the Bible, in the testaments Old and New, and His payment is precise (cf. Galatians 3, 5).
Hence it is in the sight of this REDEEMER that the Psalmist is seeking to be found acceptable in his speech before God.
It is in Him that his strength is to be found. Here is the POWER of God for the presentation of truth in His name, and here is the WISDOM of God to be used for His glory. May my words be found acceptable in Your sight, O LORD, says David, my Strength and my Redeemer.
is the end of our meditative, contemporarily oriented, large and free,
expository and applicative paraphrase. In fact, it is multi-purpose speech, but
the paraphrase is there.
THE PRACTICAL OUTCOMES
We have seen many of the practical results as we proceeded, but more is needed. From earliest times, right back to the protevangelium of Genesis (cf. Barbs, Arrows and Balms 17), through man God was on record that He Himself would present redemption from sin. The precise method awaited more development, and this progressively was revealed, as one tells children the 2 times, the ten times, the seven and the twelve times tables, decimals, logarithms, calculus as they grow. The one complements the other, and the mind is prepared by order for order, in ever new doses and implements!
Job, way back in early times indeed, spoke of his Redeemer appearing on this earth (Job 19), so that he would see God; and redemption itself carries the concepts of liberation and due payment, painstakingly set forth in the data of Leviticus; and indeed it was seen in the sacrifices of the Patriarchs, especially in Abraham's ram caught in the thicket (Genesis 21:12ff.). Abraham, tested dramatically and to the very heart, was about to sacrifice his son; and that being established as to WILLINGNESS, there was immediate divine intervention.
The willingness to sacrifice our dearest desire to God (through Isaac, so long delayed in coming as a child, and so necessary for the promises of God to Abraham to be fulfilled) is one thing. The actual immolation is another. In this case, it would be horrendous, but in preventing it, God also showed WITH WHAT such a thing was replaced, its futility by the efficacy of His gift. That ? a ram. Caught in the thicket, it was not a gift dependent on man's prowess in the least degree, in the obtaining of it . Indeed, God even had to draw Abraham's attention to the fact that it was there!
Thus provided, through no work of his own, freely with sin's sacrifice, and delivered from the awful thought of sacrificing his son, the willingness alone being required, the patriarch was shown clearly that divine intervention would deliver without the aid of merely human flesh, such as Isaac. There would come from outside the whole system of sin, the One who would be the sin bearer. It was as in Genesis 3:15, through man without being OF man, that deliverance would come.
Redemption ? Isaiah put it with a precision on which even the New Testament happily draws (I Peter for example). It is his words which the deacon Philip expounded to the Ethiopian eunuch in bringing him to salvation (Acts 8:31ff.) in the name of the Redeemer, Jesus Christ. David dwelt on this divine sacrifice in abundance (cf. Joyful Jottings - JJ - 22-25).
It was in CHRIST, or the MESSIAH*2 that was to be found, as it yet is, the source of the humanly available grace, wisdom and strength for life.
Like the cleavage in a rock (cf. Exodus 33:19ff.), is this Redeemer, without whom one cannot approach to God, but through whom one can come with safety, and indeed even INVITATION! (cf. I Timothy 6:16, John 1:14, 18, Hebrews 4:14-16). In ROCK, one can hide from the crushing power of rock, and through Rock be safe in the Rock! God has thus made a harbour within Himself (Ephesians 1:6).
There is ONE GOD as the Bible never ceases to proclaim, and there is ONE Creator and ONE Saviour, and the Messiah is both Creator and Saviour (Isaiah 43-45, Philippians 2, Colossians 1); and hence God. It is, and here is the 'mystery', only when you are willing to find God implanted in flesh, virgin born, as a babe who grows, who becomes informed as He grows till maturity allows the presentation of the very picture and portrait in spirit of God, He the word of God from everlasting: it is only then do you in fact find Him.
HE has chosen His revelation in words and as Redeemer. Woe to those who reject Him in either depiction. Philip asked Christ to show the Father, so that the result would be this, that once for all they would know the ultimate, find the uttermost and perceive the splendour past all sublimities of conception, as it really is.
remonstrated the Christ.
As, then, David in his epic life and epoch of worship, found recourse and resource, strength and wisdom in his Redeemer (Psalm ), whom he had himself depicted pierced in deadly agony and anguish, suffering for sin (Psalm 22 cf. JJ 25), so in His name does he speak in Psalm 19. Indeed, he also depicts Him in reigning glory after challenge overcome in the resurrection (Psalm 2, 16 - JJ 22, 25). No other Rock but He is to be found (II Samuel -33), and that Rock of strength into which a man may come and abide, it is the very Redeemer. Accordingly, we find David, as in Psalm 69:18, asking God to draw near to his soul and redeem it.
It is in fact precisely there (JJ 25) that David gives one of his numerous Messianic references. The national king who died quietly in his bed is giving us in Psalm 22, an account of his illustrious, indeed divine descendant (via Mary in fact), promised (II Samuel 7, Psalm 72, 89) as one who would be ALMIGHTY GOD (Psalm 45, cf. Isaiah 9:7), yes the redeemer pierced and for all that victorious (Psalm 2, 72, 22). This was that PRINCE OF PEACE in celestial power, at the same time as being born into mankind. He whose government would INCREASE and proceed without cease (Isaiah 9:7), was the One who was, and is, almighty God!
Stunning news was thus prepared for the people; for in this, and only in this way COULD the Messiah BE THE SAVIOUR, and also man, since only God is this. Here lay the desolation of sin, and the dereliction of death (cf. Hosea ), God Himself the deliverer most personally. Hence could Paul with Hosea delight,
Death, where is your sting ? Grave, where is your victory! (I Cor. 15).
Faith in this Saviour, God as man, brought back from the dead with a life eternal and unbroachable, just as it was pure to be competent to bear sin: this brings man into the salvation which brings redemption, justification and acceptance all in one; for the justification being vicarious (53:6-10), the Messiah BEARING the sins of those who come in faith and repentance to Him as He is (53:3-6,10*3), it provides by that very act, redemption; and the redemption being procurement, provides acceptance. Seeing those who so come to Him, God is able to count the children which in Jesus Christís life on this earth, were not to come, since murder instead came! (Isaiah 53:10, 61:1-3, 62:1-2, 55:6-7, 54:9-14).
then is saving faith, as in David seen in Psalm 32, as so often portrayed in
Isaiah (as in Isaiah 25:8 with 26:1-4, 19, 28:16,28, 32:1-8, 33:5-6, 35,
40:9ff. with 52:12ff., esp. 53:1,6, 10, in 44:1-3,55:1-4, 61:1-3 and so on.
Equally, it is as in Romans 3:23ff., 4:25ff.,
Galatians 1, 3, 5, in I Corinthians 1, II Cor.
5:19-21 and on, and on. The many are married; they are diverse and yet one:
there message is one, their testimony is one and their effect is one (cf.
Isaiah 32:17, 27:5, 26:1-4, Galatians 5:22, Philippians 4:4-6, Ephesians
THE WONDER IN THE ONE
All the Bible is as one, just as the trinity is One. All the words are one, all cohere; all are like the works of One, with one mind in control, one history in depiction, as surely seen and far more so, than any educational route for a child, designated in advance by planning parents, or school committees!
That One is high in majesty, sublime in splendour, the source of Truth, the One who distinguishes reality from the foul dreams with which much of mankind so routinely pollutes the atmosphere of their spirits*4, and find blood on their hands. And how is that ? This they do as with slender wisdom, a very unlucky 'dip' into hell, they try to force one another to find the same idol! Woe to man indeed in his desolation when he acts to defile the very word of the Creator of the heavens, the redeemer and the only one: given to man, attested in time, by date, by works, by predicted career, by predicted gospel, by predicted power (SMR Ch. 9, Highway of Holiness Ch. 4), and by predictions from His own lips in His own sojourn on this earth (SMR Ch. 8).
Not at all abandoned is man, except that those who abandon Him, abandon their own hope! the wisdom and the power of God. In that there is no end of abandon, but the culprit is man himself, for whom as man, God came.
In the form of a man ? But of course, past all philosophy
and the rudiments of men's religions (I Corinthians -25), coming with revelation before
and manifestation in the event, He stands alone, like the
world is red with shame and blood alike, at His dismissal, and only on His
acceptance will peace reign. How on earth would anyone ever expect peace
without truth! It cannot be, and when for a proud moment (as in I Thess. 5), they think they have it by their endless schemings, it is but that its instability and arrogantly
imperious persecutions will the more aptly be mown down, like sour sobs, when
in flower - a good time to destroy them, at their height (II Thessalonians 2).
On the assumption that the Psalm 19 is at this point, that is in verse 12, changing to a new topic, namely man and his sin, it is then conceivable to trace out man in his involuntary and then voluntary sins in the following verses, the emphasis then flowing to the heinous character of planned sin. However, though this approach is also thoroughly biblical in content, and this second meaning in the text of the Psalm should not be dismissed, yet the treatment here given makes no assumptions, continues in the topic which is before us and has been minutely examined for much of the psalm, and accordingly is preferred. We continue in theme until alerted that we are diverted by indications in the text, which do not appear.
Further, the movement to presumptuous sins (19:11-12), and being preserved from GREAT transgression (19:13), because of deliverance from that kind of sin, becomes meaningful in a way denied to any interpretation merely following general human sin, a switch from the topic of God's word (19:7-11), at length preceding.
The heinous character of transgressing the doctrine of Christ, altering the word of God (Isaiah 8:20), the categorical and sharp horror of such a performance as you see in both Isaiah 8 and Jeremiah 23, not to mention Ezekiel 14 and Romans 16, Galatians 1 and Revelation 22, this and this only accommodates itself in context to the movement away from specificallly presumptuous sins, on the one hand, and deliverance from great transgression thereby, on the other.
Presumption is merely ONE
form of evil and sin; there are plenty more like pride and rebellion.
If however the issue remains in the court of the word of God, its cleanness and
beauty, holiness and efficacy, as just described in Psalm 19, preceding, then
the concept of ERROR in this domain, that of the word of God, ascription
of error to it, this becomes the very pith of presumption and the paragon of
impropriety, and avoidance of this, so that one abides in the word of God, does
INDEED deliver from great transgression (John 15:1-7).
44:6, Zechariah 3:9, 2:8ff.,
the trinitarian God, and the Remnant is as always, revealed.
See Red Heart ...
It is fascinating to find that in Isaiah 48:16 God the Sender is despatching God the Sent, who is also the Redeemer. Actually, the Sent One declares that He has been sent by the LORD and His Spirit, and then the declaration proceeds to the effect that this is He who teaches them so that they might profit, who leads them in the way they should go. He then laments in a way so similar to that of Christ in Luke 19:42ff., Matthew 23:37, that it is more than striking, for it resembles two poems or indeed three poems in the one book of poetry! The degree of inter-related intimacy between these statements in the Bible is like that of one lover, with one beloved, speaking at one episode. Alas, the episode is repeated ... often, over the millenia, and the results, in the end, are cumulative (cf. Isaiah 24, Matthew 23-24, especially -36 and 24:21-22) !
In this lament, "Oh, that you had heeded My commandments, then your peace would have been like a river ..." , you have just that combination of tenderness, sadness at its rupture through rebellion on the part of the intended recipient, gravity in the face of assuredly coming judgment, extension in the wonderful results that would have come, and a certain inimitable sovereign sadness that is yet so personal and unrelenting that nothing else is even relevant.
This however is only the beginning of the beauty of these passages in Isaiah. Thus we notice that the One who has been speaking in this way in 48:16, God the Sent, is also named in 48:17, the Redeemer, the One who solicitude and spiritual oversight and care is so intimate and intense. That of course is precisely what comes in 50, 52-53, a suffering in anguish and horror all but unspeakable when He actually comes to the point of PAYING for the sins over which He has seemed almost inconsolable before; but as always, for those of the remnant, those who will be healed - 53:5, for it is of this 'we' that He speaks in 53:6. It is this 'we' whose sins are statedly laid on Him.
So again and again in Isaiah we see the remnant decisively depicted in complete separation from those who are impelled to judgment, without stay, without relenting, immune to the impingements of conscience and truth alike (cf. Isaiah 10:20-21, which gives the keynote, 11:10-16, 37:4, 37:31-32). It comes with the same sense of solicitous tenderness in 46:3-4, and it is close in concept to 54, 66:19-20 and . In 55:1-6 it is a specified spiritual set of responding people who are in view, while in 57:15ff. we find it approached through the emphasis on select repentance.
It was this repentance which seemed not forthcoming from Cain (Genesis 3:7) though the Lord spoke not without solicitude, at his initial error of works and not grace. After the murder of Abel, when Seth came, this left this son as the viable spiritual remnant to be noted. It was one of Seth's descendants, Enoch, who seems to have been so godly that as with Elijah - though here in a precise manner unstated - the "Lord took him". One of his descendants before this occurred, was Methusaleh, harbinger of the flood, from which Noah and his relations noted, were the remnant.
In Isaiah 61 we find the remnant again, in those who are healed by His ministration as Messiah, quite specifically. Like the flashing, iridescent gleams and sparkles of diamond, so the light plays on the whole orb of divine magnificence, in revealing now this colour, now that, but it is markedly one diamond with such piercing lustre, softening beauty, and incorruptible occasions.
God the Sent, the Redeemer, the solicitous sovereign, the sacrificial substitute for the remnant of faith is seen in this way. But when we turn to 44:6, we find that this is so parallel, that train lines might envy it.
"Thus says the LORD, the King of Israel,
And his Redeemer, the LORD of hosts:
I am the First and I am the Last:
Besides Me there is no God, and who can procalim as I do."
Here the Redeemer already considered in its large scope in Ch. 48 above, is invoked together with the LORD, the King. The Redeemer however is Himself the LORD of hosts. God, speaking, is "I", one Being. Zechariah 3:8-9, like Isaiah 52-53 shows His sacrificial sentence, freely accepted (Psalm 40 cf. Joyful Jottings 22), and Zech. 2:8-10 once more, His sending, though He be God, from the form of God to the work among mankind. Thus "I will dwell in your midst". On the way, as in Zech. , once again, there is that vast payment that only love would pay, seen in its simplicity of mercy and profundity of sacrifice. It is the Lord who judges, but not finally before He has judged in Himself, the sin of the remnant who believe.
It is this which makes His
being rejected a work of art of very devilry, and the assurance if unrepented of, of hell, that condign consignment to the
rebellious heart's desire, if not its intended end (John 3:19, 36).
See Psalm 2 where again David reflects on His coming RULE, rather than as here, His redemption, at that time still future. While, however, the precise and aweful payment had at that epoch still to be made, its benefits from the God who made time and for all time, executed in time, in the execution of His Son, the plan of salvation, were freely available as you see so readily from Psalm 32, 51.
When one considers the alleged arithmetic of 'belief' in so many billion Romanists, and a not far different number of Moslems, to say no more about sects and the like, of which these two can in one sense be deemed members, both approaching Christ in terms of acceptance and mutation at their hands, on the one hand to bread, on the other to an otherwise manipulable invention using His name! (cf. SMR 1032-1088H, More Marvels Ch. 4), there is a sense of appalled horror. How does this race of mankind of which we are all members, suffer, and how is it misled!
The centuries change, the millenia are put into their moulds, but the situation does not radically change! God is the same, the call is the same, and the consequences continue ... (Malachi 3:6, Psalm 102:23-28, Zephaniah 3:5, Matthew 5:17-20, Amos 3:7).
How readily now can we understand the anguished grief of Jeremiah, moved in the spirit of the LORD as he grieves, set forth in Jeremiah 4:14-20 (cf. Matthew 24:14-21, 25:1-30, II Peter 2, II Timothy 3, I Timothy 4) for his misled people! Did Jeremiah despise them even when they persecuted them ? No, alas, he loved them, wept for them as a physician for a suffering patient, pursuing death by his own weakness.
Now it is the whole race which is affected; but now as then, at least there is a remnant of believers and may the Lord in His mercy greatly add to it (cf. Revelation 7, Jeremiah 15:11, 19-21, Isaiah 6:13, 11:10-11)!
Alpha and Omega - Jesus Christ
With Heart and Soul, Mind and Strength Ch. 3,
The Kingdom of Heaven Ch. 9, Section 14,
Joyful Jottings 25,
Stepping out for Christ Ch. 5,
Things Old and New
LIGHT of Dawn 3;†