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“The DESIRE of the Nations”
It is in Haggai that this phrase occurs. The surrounding text is impressive and dramatic. The point of the utterance is one of great depth, delight and inspiration. Like the most inspiring things, it is its reality which is crucial. As a dream, it would be uplifting; as reality it is ravishing.
It is like a swim on the splendid surf on a very hot day. The waves are numerous and inviting; they surge upon one, allowing an assisted entry into the water. They curl, they leap, they combine, they come gently, then as on an impulse with a momentary vehemence, only to subside and rest a little, while one surveys a scene already beautiful, only to be enhanced by the reality of the cold, the refreshing depths, which invite, appeal and are satisfied.
In a dream, it would be most pleasant; in reality, it takes a sturdy appreciation even to relate to it, and its ways are both varied and stirring to the heart, combining beauty of composition, force and splendour of action, intimacy of involvement, wonders of depth and continuance of diversity.
So here in the words of the
prophet Haggai, the case has something of similarity. Let us look at some of
The case is one of urgency. There is to be a replacement temple completed, and though the labours are many, the efforts great, yet the end is to have a splendour all but unimaginable. So in the end, it came to be, after many vicissitudes.
Later, a danger to the elite, a seeming threat to the land because of their growing numbers, the people of Israel were made slaves in their host nation, Egypt, and far worse, their young male infants were as surely subjected to death as are those more recently subjected to abortion!
In this situation, then,
they were not inundated, but delivered, only to come to
Hence, though warned over
centuries, and despite various revivals, according to the initial conditions
(cf. Joshua 24:14-23, Leviticus 26),
Yet even in this, it was not to be forever; and the devastation was not to be final.
Destroyed was their temple,
many of its sacred and costly items taken to
Of these things we can read in Ezra and Nehemiah; but in the day of Haggai there is a strong divine counsel to continue. This they were doing, and in the midst of the exhortation to work at the restoration, we find address from the prophet that has deep and strong dimensions. it is to this in Haggai that we now look.
God, just as in the days of
their escape from
It is in the end going to be not just a matter of thrashing one nation for its folly and pride, whether
(from Haggai 2:6-7).
is however, as we learn from Haggai and an array of Old Testament
testimony, to be an intervening event, often spoken of by the prophets.
It is, then, in this context of vigour in rebuilding the temple, that symbol of spiritual things to come, and principles that stay (cf. Hebrews 7-10), that we come to the predicted peril of a global shaking, like that of a teacher of old, addressing a dreaming lad with a 'good shaking', in the annunciation of divine action to remove all complacency, and it is seen rising to a wave of judgment. At this very point, however, in Haggai (2:6-7), we come to a more mellow note, a more pleasant scene, like that of the ocean, temporarily resting from its wavy labours, and allowing a little time of quieter contemplation for the surfer.
It is best here to read the transition in actual text:
" '... and I will shake all nations, and they shall come to the Desire of All Nations, and I will fill this temple with glory," says the Lord of hosts.' "
What is this Desire of all nations, to which they are to come in the very midst of such divine action, such reproofs and such perils ?
It is apparent that this is what is common to Jew and Gentile alike, in glory and desirability, in essential meeting of need, and in wonder. Just as ALL NATIONS are to be SHAKEN, so this is the DESIRE of ALL NATIONS! What then in all the word of God is there which has this double function, glory and desire and universality of application, for Jew and Gentile alike ?
It is not hard to recall that almost without ceasing, the Bible stresses, focusses, features and divulges data concerning the Messiah, of whom it is said, that it is too small a thing for Him to restore the preserved of Israel, but that indeed, He is to be a light to the Gentiles (Isaiah 49, see v. 6). In Isaiah 66 you see further how the Gentile and Jew are to interweave to the uttermost in their joint service of this King, revealed*1 alike in Isaiah 11 and 32, 42 and 9.
It is in Him that there is found authority and gentleness mixed, statuesque sovereignty and a Shepherd's grace. Of Him on the one hand, He will destroy the wicked with His lips (Isaiah 11), and on the other hand, so exposed is He to the winds that it is necessary to note that just as He will not break the bruised reed, so He too will not be broken till He bring judgment to the earth, and His blessing is complete (Isaiah 42:1-4).
But what is this DESIRE ? Do the nations REALLY desire any such thing ?
It is necessary here to realise that 'the nations' are not just royal or governmentally unified creations. They are people. They contain people. People are what, aside from God, they are all about. If they have rulers, or governments, well; these too are but people. It is what the people desire which is in view here. Some of those people will be kings, to be sure (as in Isaiah 52:15), who will as Isaiah foretold, be astonished at the very concept of service from majesty, service in sacrifice, even to death, even to ransoming death (as in Isaiah 53). At this, they will "shut their mouths".
WHO, asks Isaiah in 53:1 has believed our report ? and to whom is the arm of the LORD revealed ?
It is interesting, that. Believing and having the arm of the Lord revealed to you are indeed parallel events. As Christ told Peter, Flesh and blood did not reveal His deity to the apostle to be, but the Father in heaven. It is at His good pleasure that babes are shown the truth, while learned savants, filled with themselves and empty of wisdom, see nothing! (cf. Matthew 11:25-27). Revelation is the key to appreciation. Just as reason attests it, so revelation provides it.
But man has needs, yearnings and desires. Often hidden, often frustrated, sometimes souring into irrational cynicisms, and wry pathological scepticisms, these yet are part of his frame.
There IS a desire, and it tends to express itself at dramatic turning points, such as in Word War II when some features were given attention, in a desire for expression in the Atlantic Charter.
Often such desires are all but polluted into invisibility in pompous phrasings; or rebellious surges of cant; but they are there. They remain in quest for meaning, true majesty, due authority, actual identification, employe-employer relationships, marriage, friendship. They are there.
There is for the government of man, a desire for humility, not boasting; truth not manipulation - and how often do elections reveal this fact! It is for grace not dictatorship; for kindliness not the whip; for co-operation in peace, not submergence in drivelling, merely impersonal laws; for clarity and charity, not legalistic sputterings of words, words and words, to which clever fiends seem to bring even more words, words and words, and where is the result ? Without God, man is quite destitute.
While therefore the world goes its woeful way, seeking false glory, but finding nothing glorious*2 but God; spurning God and finding vainglory; seeking God again, and then turning even the religion into idolatries such as Rome has as a specialty, the Mosque as a routine, the sects as their sallow substitute for the DESIRE OF ALL NATIONS, even Christ the eternal and living word of God, who was dead and is alive for evermore (Revelation 1:18-19, 2:8): what is the end of the matter ?
It is this. While this is happening, the time of the SHAKING OF ALL NATIONS is coming ever more present, obvious and perilous. The DESIRE OF ALL NATIONS likewise is coming. It is all coming....
A huge wave is seen forming, and it is undoubtedly a tsunami!
There is little pleasure in this; for it is not the waves, but their Maker who is to be worshipped; it is not the ocean, but its Former who is in the end, grand. These, they are pictures of loveliness; but it is He and He alone who is wonderful. David has it in Psalm 72:
Ø "Blessed by the LORD God, the God of Israel,
Who only does wondrous things!
And blessed be His glorious name forever,
And let the whole earth be filled with His glory.
Amen and Amen."
The God of Israel is He who came incarnate as Christ; and Christ is He who declared, "He who has seen Me has seen the Father" (John 14). It is He who is "a light to the Gentiles", and whose New Covenant, foretold so often and especially in Jeremiah 31:31ff., is indeed in His own blood (cf. Isaiah 52-53). As God is the ONLY Saviour (Isaiah 43:10-11), and Christ is the ONLY Saviour (Acts -1), Redeemer as shown in Isaiah, He is God in the flesh. There is no other God; there is no other divine WORD from eternity, no other way, no other living word who is the express and definitive image of God (Hebrews 1:1-3, Philippians 2). It is He who was with God and He was God (John 1:1): and of Gods there is but one. Indeed, there is ONLY ONE as we have be shown from the 10 Commandments and on, and indeed before.
It is He and He is it. The Father expressed in the Son, on earth, His word forever, with living face and utter confirmation of the written word of the prophets which were a prelude to His coming (Matthew 5:17-19*3), has shown Himself at His will. There is no other God. This is the truth, the only way to the Father (John 14:6), from eternity to eternity, the Lamb of God and His Redeemer (Isaiah 48:16, 44:6, Micah 5:1-3, Revelation 5, 2:8, Isaiah 41:4). It is not an episode; but a divulgement. It is not a comet, spectacular for a moment, but a conversation, enduring forever, a King, elevated as Judge of all mankind, the Key, made to open the door to eternity, the stream from the lake of eternity which like the Father, has it proceed from it into the water-falls of salvation. There is no other God; no other Redeemer; no other Christ, no other word but that of the prophets and in consummation that is confirmation, that of the Christ.
There is no other God to find; no other Redeemer to have, nor will there be*4 (Ephesians , Galatians 1), no other Gospel to discover. Others are cursed, are presumption to the uttermost, Paul indicates; additions are subtractions. God has spoken in revelation, fulfilled it in the consummation of Christ, will judge by this man whom He sent (Acts ). It is in Him that the Desire of all Nations is to be found; and this whether individuals or regimes ignore or detest, despise Him as Israel the nation (but by NO means all of its nationals, some of whom were the apostles!), or dismiss Him: as if God could be removed, and man not thus and then become a mirage of horror, a gutting of fire, a larva of eruption or a dim dream of despair.
All this either has come to
be, or is on the way, its fiery tresses streaming in the winds of time.
Judgment approaches; but the DESIRE OF THE NATIONS IS ALREADY HERE, and is shortly
to return, in this, that the return is DEFINABLY NEAR (Luke -28 cf. Answers to Questions Ch. 5). The exact moment, it is a delight of God to
cover, so that hypocrites can be caught the more openly, so that all may realise that this is no joke, but as sombrely
sober as the commencement of World War II. It ends in judgment, not by the
United Nations, this time, but by God Himself; not in
turn now to Psalms 45 and 72 for some more data on His entire desirability for
THE VERY ACME OF DESIRE,
THE VERY BREATH OF DELIGHT
1) PSALM 72
Who would enjoy being on the butt end of a dictatorship! Many enjoy BEING dictators, or being in the regime or realm where their unjust power may thrive, their arrogant disdain may find ready expression or their imagined superiorities abound to their sated satisfaction. That is not the present point. This is not an exercise in pathology, but an enquiry into the Desire.
Who does not relish, when NOT ruling in power with panache, not pushing with pride and dominion, to find the ruler, the ruling body, to be gentle, and yet not dithery; to be humble, and yet not using this as an excuse for non-attainment; to be thoughtful and profound, and yet not bumbling away about things recherché and odd, abstruse and philosophic, like the Emperor's famous invisible clothes, which in fact left him ... naked.
Who does not value, in the end, the refreshing of reality above the concepts of delusion ? Who finds more to be desired in the bumbling pseudo-sophistication of sociologies and psychologies which come from and minister to the diseased, for all men are sinners, when TRUTH and KNOWLEDGE from a pure source is available ? For a time, this may be suppressed, shunted, perverted or converted into meaningless and high-sounding muddle; but like the waves of the sea, it is not lost, continues and its sound is still heard.
Who does not delight in courage, commitment and a love which is neither sloppy nor slippery, slithery nor quackery ? and this the more, when wisdom and an innate splendour are attached; and all that even yet further, when there is no mere leverage for a career, through seeming goodness, but rather an inherent understanding and sacrificial service, wrought in competence, kindliness and without intrusive parading.
It is all this and more which is in Christ, therefore the Desire of All Nations.
It is nearly time now to look at the two Psalms mentioned.
Before we do this, however, consider Christ: wise enough at 12 to astound the pedants; at 30 to call His disciples, cure all diseases in answer to seeking hearts, putting their trust in Him, and manage His messianic campaign which sought not office and splendour, but sacrifice, service and the end of all sacrifice in His own dedicated, delighted and devoted provision of infinite cover for the many who come to Him, together with the institution of immediate and unmediated access to God in Himself: sent as a servant, though in the form of God from eternity (Philippians 2).
Look at Him
Who but He, God, to turn the wrath of man so to make the service of man, and the service of man, at His own divine and forecast plan, not for those who proud, despisers of all good, but selectively for His own people, who see and enter His kingdom, freely and without cost, charge or exaction (Isaiah 55, Matthew 20:28, Romans 3:23ff. Galatians 3 and 5), but this, that they love and desire Him, the Desire of all Nations! Who else was pre-announced by millenia, in detail by 1000 years, and fulfilled such prescriptions as might make angels marvel at the mere requirement, and far more at their necessary performance in the due exhibition of authenticity! The world is barren of comparison.
Often have we considered His wonders (cf. Repent or Perish Ch. 2, Biblical Blessings Appendix IV), but now let us turn to the predicted splendour of His coming reign as well. This will show His nature, just as His time on this earth has already shown it in character; and indeed, the relationship between what we have been told and what is to come is like that of two hands - on the same person! Such is the extraordinary and reliable nature of Biblical prophecy.
ONE GOD, in two utterly diverse functions, to save as victim and to rule as victor, exhibits on the one hand in history, and on the other in prophecy, both of what was to be and what is to be, ONE CHARACTER in His human format, for either role. What you find in Isaiah 52-53, 42 for what is now PAST, is the same person who is found in the many references to His place in power, to come, when the world is to receive its true Ruler, and the prince of this World, is made to appear as dismal, as defeated and indeed appallingly futile a scrounger of sovereignty as one could well imagine (cf. John 14:30).
Let us first take Psalm 72 for this purpose. Quotations are in like blue colour.
A) He will judge your people with righteousness.
This He does, not for personal advantage, popularity, to prove some absurd theory, to keep his post or to push some party forward at the expense of truth.
B) and your poor with justice.
The poor lack economic clout, and often social thrust as well, being despised by many.
Their interests may be subjected to special lobbying groups to the contrary - as in the monstrous case of forwarding the sale of tobacco to poor nations, or the removal of unwanted babies at mere whim of will, the exploitation of environment without regard to those whose common property it is, but who must live there.
Not only so, but He will bring justice to the poor of the people.
Beyond doubt, the concern He has for those without power to push and shove, is intense. Thus in judgments, in cases of trial and so on, the poor will get justice, not some clouded version, dependent on low income, firstly; but in addition, what it is just to bring to them, not the remnant sale of what is not much wanted elsewhere, He will bring to them.
v D) He will save the children of the needy, and will break in pieces the oppressor (cf. Psalm 2).
v So far from supinely watching the merciless exploitations of those with favour, or the casual disregard of the next generation of those who lack, His eye will rest on the one, to tear misused power from them, and on the other, to endue them with the needs of their lives.
E) They shall fear You as long as the sun and moon endure.
With this solicitude, comes a rigour not to be disregarded: we must bear in mind that as this is God on earth as man, Christ the King who died to ransom sinners, upon His return, the "fear" of Him is the fear of God, clean and relished (Psalm 19), and here most manifest. No sloppy reign, is this: for it is not at all the puny and pretentious pomposity of the merely wordy, or the grossly preoccupied.
F) He shall come down like
the rain upon the green grass before mowing, like showers that water the earth
is one translation. Lush and waving, it receives the moisture to become a rich verdure, a soft and clinging cover to the earth. It is this sort of fulness and splendour of care that develops to the uttermost, that is His.
v Again, it is not a skimpy regime, but one of rich provisions, like showers from the heavens, not sprinklings from a measured spout. God lacks nothing, and discipline is not that of deficits from irrecoverable loss, but assault on and exposure of sin.
v G) Yes, all kings shall fall down before Him: all nations shall serve Him.
v It is reminiscent of the contortionist when one watches how those who want to remove Christ's often predicted reign on earth from the concert of history, to find how all kings shall fall down before Him, while He is busy protecting the poor, when in heaven there is NO lack, and on earth not yet have anything like all kings fallen down before Him, nor is the approach of Christ, now verified as near, a time of plenty of good, but plenty of evil, the Gospel of grace proceeding molested but immovable, many churches falling, the people of the Lord giving their lives as needed in the ruinous melee! (Cf. SMR Ch. 8.)
As in Isaiah 65, however, with Ch. 2, Micah 4 and 7, Habakkuk 3 with Joel 3, and Revelation 20, it is to come, this reign of Christ on earth; and it is a rule that is neither heaven, not at all in that sinless dimension, nor one to be found in the time of His sufferings, or those of His people prior to His return (John 14:30, II Timothy 3:13, II Peter 3), but only in His glorious and divinely regal and regally divine return to this earth as in Zechariah 14:5, Acts 1:7, II Thessalonians 2, Revelation 19. (Cf. Sparkling Life in Christ Ch. 10., SMR pp. 502ff..)
However, to the point: His
rule is not partial, selective, a competing system amongst systems, but more
than fulfils the greatest of human hopes for a unity among the peoples.
deliver the needy when he cries, the poor also, and him who has no helper.
He will spare the poor and needy, and will save the souls of the needy.
He will redeem their life from oppression and violence;
and precious shall be their blood in His sight.
There is not merely a program for all, a provision for all, but far more. It is rather like that special alarm fitting which the disabled sometimes wear, allowing specialised help to come to the very site, without even needing a telephone, but just the depression of the button. So here: when he calls, there is a service. Poor he may be; but served he is, when he calls.
Not only so, but as in Isaiah 61, there is the Gospel preached to the poor; not just to those who pay large salaries because they serve rich congregations. Violence will be without licence, and those who gobble up their victims will be the victims of sure and steadfast justice. Indeed, the payment for such a provision is vast; since the sin of man requires atonement as you see in Leviticus 16-17:11, 4 and continually in the Old Testament, as in II Peter 3:18, 2:22ff., Galatians 3; and it is the blood in which is the life, we read, which atones by its life for the sins of life. That was the picture; the Messiah was the living portrait, not in oils, but in flesh.
Whose life, then, we may
ask, though by this time it has become pellucid, has long made these types of
redemption redundant ? Whose ? It is that of the Messiah, the Prince of
Peace, the King now in dominion over the lives of His people, and in charge of
the movement of this world to its judgment, after the full and complete
exposure of sin and its own versions. It is He, as in Isaiah 52-53, whose
salvation is payment in HIS OWN BLOOD. Relatively easy, in the millenium at His royal return, therefore, is this
redemption, since it is simply an APPLICATION of
the ATTAINMENT made at
But note this: PRECIOUS SHALL BE THEIR BLOOD IN HIS SIGHT.
Whether in their protection from imposition, or from their own sins, His is the provision; the scope of government is thus ultra-personal, non-intrusive (as is the case in redemption - cf. Isaiah 48:18ff.) and ever-adequate at every level. It is not 'cradle to grave' social security, since there is NO security whatever for sin, exploitation of the system, misuse of it, intrusion by it, superficial substitutes for spiritual need, wearisome bureaucracy or tyrannical mother-knows-best clutching types of rule, any more than paternalistic, father forces the pace types of presumption.
Precious is their blood, great in the sight of God is the whole scope of the life He has made and given to man, now seen in many as redeemed and so treated. Just as His restraint was shown for millenia, before His rule became most manifest, so now in the day of His power as King, it is shown for the millenium, whatever the actual duration of this phase of the divine symphony (cf. II Peter 3:9, News 87). Everywhere, and at all times, there is patience, grace, beauty of holiness, majesty express or implicit and regaled by His elect, power for the work assigned to any melody of history and availability for the works of the same, as for the persons who know Him (John 17:1-3, 15:7).
v I) And He shall live.
This is most important. When a good king dies (as with Jehoshaphat), what a horrendous son may follow in the throne (as happened in that case, the young man slaughtering his brothers and dragging the throne to himself). This King, however, the Messiah, will not die. Not only so: there is an expectation that He would die, for is not Isaiah 52-53, as Psalm 22 and 16, an index of the most horrific holocaust of all, the murder of that man whose stature and status was divine, so that in Him was far more murdered than occurs when millions of men are slain!
Now that He HAS died (precisely as in Revelation ), HE IS ALIVE FOR EVERMORE, as there written. In the hearts of His people, He is the object of their delight, and
v J) their prayers are upon Him as the waters are on the streams of the snow-clad mountains, as they fall to the valleys (Psalm 72:15).
Thus prayer also shall be made for Him continually, and daily shall He be praised.
Not the servile substitution of courtly praise here, but heartfelt rapture at His rule is found in the innermost sanctuary of the heart.
This is one major example of the fact that "the God of Israel", the Lord who became Messiah as Jesus the Christ (as in Daniel 9 cf. SMR pp. 886), at the prescribed time, or "in the fulness of times" (Galatians 4:4), ALONE DOES WONDERS.
He has done is earnest of what He is going to do: and this which we here
examine from the word of the Lord, it is one of those things (cf.
Sparkling Life in Christ Ch. 10).
2) PSALM 45
Thus far we have seen the lovingkindnesses of God when His rule is express, majestic
and explicit. Old Testament Kings like Hezekiah, Jehoshaphat,
like David and Josiah have given a foretaste; but the full scope awaits
discovery on this earth which will indeed be one in which "the earth shall
be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord, as the waters cover the
2:14). It will not be merely extensive, as the lakes appear even in
But let us ask a question here: In Psalm 45, are there further confirmations in quality and character, of the wonder of the character of Christ, exposed manifestly on this earth already, and written before He came, with respect to that part of the glory which would follow, as Christ expressed it in Luke 24 ?
First, in Psalm 45, notice that just as the denizens of the earth will in abundance bring forth tender praise for the ruling Lord, so the writer is already declaring, even in prospect, that "My heart is overflowing with a good theme."
"You are fairer than the sons of men", he declares, in the context that "grace is poured upon Your lips." So do we read in this prophetic Psalm that gives its portrait of the Desire of all nations.
Thus John 1
exhibited in the first coming of Christ, that He was FULL of grace and truth as
would relate to the only begotten of God the Father! Again, in John 7, we find
the guards declaring, "No man ever spoke like this man."
Here it is the same.
His sword is girded upon His thigh,
and thus equipped,
He is to ride
“prosperously because of truth,
humility and righteousness.
And your right hand shall teach you awesome things.
Your arrows are sharp in the heart of the King's enemies.”
This is almost like a re-run of the incarnate Christ in the midst of those who were to slay Him; but here the case has changed, and He who took judgment most willingly, that we who have deserved it might by this, His mercy, live, is now the source of actual judgment.
But notice the wonderful nature of His weapons, which by no means lacking power, by no means also lack its righteous use, and consider the humility which great power requires, to preclude tyranny! He has it all in the millenium, as He held it on earth; but as on earth He always exposed the sin of His detractors, so here He judges the sin of the wicked, while retaining righteousness, not carried away as was the French Revolution, and no less the Russian one, each with its idiocies of philosophy and with its rage at actual injustice combined, making a burden brutal almost beyond words.
NO, it is with TRUTH that He now acts, as well as with humility, not with the loud self-proclaiming mouths of those who seizing power from corrupt forces, readily become so set in their presumptuous proclamations, that they become even worse themselves (cf. Solzhenitsyn's words about Soviet Russia - SMR 971 -972, 841, 927 cf. 925ff.). Consider the Cambodian 'revolution' if that massif of wickedness and volcano of corruption could be called one.
Such things make the goon show look serious, and they are not of the Lord. His ways are inimitable, but they CAN be followed once given, through the power of grace (II Corinthians 12:9, 1:3-11, John 5:4-5, Romans Chs., 6 and 8). Yet in the end, He Himself is their triumph and their giver, who having come, is yet to come, and coming will not hesitate to destroy the wicked.
Here then, depicted in these Psalms, is government that gives glory to the process (cf. Questions and Answers Ch. 7); and here incidentally, is doubtless exposed positively, the reason why even in democracies, for much of the time, people seem to treat government with tolerance rather than relish! They gain, routinely an unspiritual substitute for man's need: better than dictators, but far, far worse than the true wisdom of God.
What is needed in the end, is utter godliness, and while some cases have been known which were an adornment to government, even these had their weaknesses; and they are not helped by the multitudes of bad kings and governments, such as so severely exposed by Dickens in his Children's History of England.
The need for man will be met by the power, the challenge by the wisdom, the complexity by the wit: His right hand which is also His wright hand, will indeed teach Him awesome things (45:4). His words will expose as to the bone, the sinewy arm of false pretension, and sharp will His arrows be. Delight will accompany His stabilisation of sanctity, His ruin for the reckless.
Your throne O God is for ever and ever. We find ourselves now in 45:6.
He who rules is God; and His is an eternal rule (cf. the Messianic rule as in Daniel , over a kingdom that knows NO END! cf. Revelation , , 22:3-4, Ephesians , -21, Galatians 1).
The parallel shows us that His very sceptre is one of righteousness: the rule, the Ruler and the regime are alight with the burning sapphire fire of the throne of God (cf. Ezekiel 1).
This is God-the-Sent, or God the word as in John 1:1 (cf. Isaiah 48:16). Here is the Son of man, incarnate in time, the Word of God in eternity, as Jesus the Christ, risen and now ruling on this once so parched earth, filling it with the glory of the Lord with magnificent consistency and intensity.
Not only so, He has a LOVE for righteousness, and a hatred for wickedness so intense, that God His God (cf. Psalm 22:1), the sending Father, has anointed You with the oil of gladness above your fellows. All your garments are scented with myrrh and aloes and cassia. Here purity has her lair, her song and her source.
His Person is suffused with the relish of righteousness, wonder of a divine reality. There is no lack of royalty of this earth's kind, by His side, and His attraction is for all.
In view of this vision transmitted in Psalm 45 from the Lord, there is a present application. The hearer is exhorted not to stay in the cultural clime, the educational redoubts of humanism or false idolatrous religions, but to seek the LORD FIRST AND FOREMOST, for the first and the greatest commandment is this, to love the Lord your God with all your heart, and soul and mind and strength!
"Consider and incline your ear;
forget your own people also, and your father's house:
So the King will greatly desire your beauty;
Because He is your Lord, worship Him..."
(from Psalm 45:10-11).
It is necessary to be willing to 'hate' the very family one loves: that is, IN COMPARISON with the love for the Lord, so that there is never any contest (cf. Luke ). It is then, when the soul is regaled with the wonder and splendour of that keen beauty which is the Lord's, in all loveliness and holiness of character, personable grace and kindliness of heart, acuity of mind and wisdom, that there is a parade of delight, and many follow His ways devotedly, like virgins in a palace, so single-hearted is their spiritual loyalty.
Those who do so, shall find that even though they seem to lose their lives, they shall keep them; for losing for His sake, and the Gospel's, is to gain in the end what life is for, the purposes of its construction, the glory of acceptance in the beloved (Ephesians 1:5-6,11), an eternal status from His redemption. Those losing their precious relationships because of Christ, shall find many more in the Kingdom that is His. They lose one or two, to gain many! (Matthew 19:29).
Such a family, such a kingdom, such a liberality, such a grand life without grandeur, such hopes and joys, has this to ponder: "instead of Your fathers shall be Your sons, whom You shall make princes in all the earth."
How long is His praise to endure ? As is fitting for God, who humbled Himself to human form (Philippians 2), it is forever and ever.
Here then is the exuberance, the spontaneity, the modesty, humility, holiness, courage, conviction, power, presence, profundity, wit, indomitable power, ineradicable peace of Christ, taken from the cross and put on the throne; and what a throne is that! This all done, as in Revelation 20, heaven proceeds without more illustration, evidencing or occasion. The task is done to the uttermost, the redemption and the realisation, the suffering and the strength. The earth has poured with blood, and now pulsed with grace of government; and the result is a righteousness which, in the very occasions of this earth, leaves a proverbial wonder and awe for ever.
This earth, yes this one, not some other clime or terrain, IS GOING TO SEE RULE WITH SPLENDOUR THAT IS PRIMARILY SPIRITUAL, before it goes, thunderous in its destruction, with much incandescence in its demise (II Peter 3). Spiritual tacticians may not relish it; but God declares it repeatedly, with reasons attached. It is part of the abounding simplicity of the faith, that God who MADE this earth, and its horrendous history, as it has often been, is not going to sing its anti-lullabies into the anguished hearts of suffering till the end. Quite on the contrary, this earth will endure long enough to find the might of right, the kindness of heart, the compassion of Spirit, the grace of loveliness and the loveliness of grace, on parade as really as any ANZAC or other military remembrance program; but this, it is no mere parade, but a presentation of arms, spiritual arms, in the very midst of mankind, that forever its glow and glory may be seen.
Nor is it any mere exhibition of power; for it is in a people for whom ransom sufficient for any and for all, has been paid; and though as in Revelation 20:8-11, by no means all will partake of it, its place will abound as does the river in the lakeland, or the majestic mountain in the Alps.
v Yes “the earth will be FILLED with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord as the mountains cover the sea.”
The earth ?
Indeed, before its departure (II Peter 3, Isaiah 51:6, Matthew 24:35), it will so become an exhibit.
To foreshorten the word of God is not wise.
To our present point however: this combination of qualities is precisely that which the incarnate Christ has already exhibited, in His suffering and work of redemption. This is the way of the Lord; it is this which was forecast before Christ ever demonstrated it when coming as a humble 'root out of a dry ground' (Isaiah 53:2) to this earth, demonstrating without worldly privilege or personal pomp, the glory of God in apparent weakness, which actually contained a strength, the spiritual strength of God personally, able to operate to perfection even in the utmost of tests (Matthew 4, Hebrews 5), trials and forecast woes (Psalm 22:1 cf. Joyful Jottings 25). .
Such is the Lord, and such are His ways; and so was it predicted: so did He show His character, and so will He. Psalm 2 remains a warning. Psalm 45 a choice jewel, Psalm 72 an extensive exhibition; and the Lord will not finish till it is over, complete and consummated in every particle of His plan, precisely as announced.
He who in the first place was coming, and came as forecast;
is in the other, now looming, and indeed the DESIRE OF THE NATIONS.
Nothing else will suffice, touch or change the heart, and nothing less will
fail to mar in this way or that, as ruler, this earth of ours. It is only when
God is our sufficiency (II Corinthians 3:5), that there is ultimate
proficiency. It is only when the King is received, that peace can be known on
this earth. That ? It is to come when He returns (Acts ).
*1 For coverage of Isaiah, you may conveniently consult either the Biblical Index for SMR as also for The Rest; or simply turn to the volume, With Heart and Soul, Mind and Strength, Chs. 4, 5, 6, and 7.
*3 On this passage of Matthew, and revelation more generally, see SMR Appendix D.