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THE SANDWICH OF PETITION AND PRAISE
WITH THE MEAT OF MERCY IN THE MESSIAH
What a pleasant relief it is to turn from the bad, the forsaken bacon of man's slaughter, as in the last Chapter, not here of pigs but imperiously of the word of God, though it remains after the last sword or scimitar of misled man has violently sought to slay outright (Ch. 4 above, *2, and The gods of naturalism have no go!). It is in the interests of irrational dreams that this warfare continues, unevidenced contentions, unvalidated inventions. The dreams dissipate, each according to its rate, but the word of God operates, explains and is verified continuously (cf. LIGHT DWELLS WITH THE LORD'S CHRIST...).
Indeed, the irrational dream of nature making itself before it is there to do it, or of imagining nothing doing the job, has merely renewed itself. It is used like other idols of old, to humble an increasingly arrogant set of many societies within this present world, to show its voidance of wisdom. It is shown especially through the written word of God Himself, the Bible, that uniquely authorised and functional word of life, which contrary to man's religious inventions, is always reasonable and always fulfilled, the creation itself starting without man's aid, from Him competent to do it, and then stopping, when He had finished. So did it start for a REASON and end for a REASON through Him who has invested it and our own minds in their settings, with the same REASON.
To study this word of God now, that written and unique word of His to mankind, is thus a relief. It brings back to reality. In this, it is a great change. Here we see predictions that are testable, results that do work, reasons that do stand, and capacities which only God possesses, demonstrated before our empirically testing eyes! Thus we move in this Chapter from considering such intellectual fraud as pithily exposed in Ch. 10, for however inadvertent that failure may seem, its results are the same: to READ now instead the word that acts and confirms itself with evidence, to digest it and swallow it with delight.
In Psalm 102 we see so much of what matters, now, instead of what spatters truth, deceives students and achieves disaster with aplomb for its victims, that forsaken, naturalistic fallacy, as depraved now as always in the past, and so rejoice at the movement upwards! Let us study this particular case of divine prediction, presentation and exposition in Psalm 102, for both its sweep and fulfilment is grand. .
The love of David for the Lord is like the sunshine on Alpine heights in mid- Summer. He is more than bliss however, being foundational to his whole life, his rock that does not move, a fortress for him when assailed. Here is the God who gives him place, support, power and even meaning. He is indeed his very salvation, the classic consideration which replaces man buffeted by a seemingly impersonal world with a different role, that of an associate by grace, with the very Maker of it all - AND of himself!
Here is a Psalm, like Psalm 18, Messianic to a marvel, filled with imagery and depiction of history to come, ebullient in mercy, gracious in provision, deep in delving into the very soul, starting with anguish, ending with rejoicing and triumph in, through, by and because of the imprint of mercy, the outgoing of divine love, in the precision of His perfected salvation in the Messiah, and the operation of faith.
It depicts the coming of the Messiah to Jerusalem, which He geographically did, instead of some poetic fancy such as some prefer; for God is a Being of Blessed faithfulness and does not twist the truth (Proverbs 8:8); for He IS it! Having been revealed in Jerusalem (Psalm 102:13,21), Himself the very door of salvation as in Psalm 118, it is His blessed work, to come with Him, which is specified as in Psalm 102:18ff.. Just before that, however, first we learn not only that the Lord will "come and have mercy on Zion", but that the "set time to favour her has come." But, as to time, this is prophetic vision.
Meanwhile, in Psalm 102:14-15, it speaks of those who "take pleasure in her stones," those of Zion, and in this city, and we learn that He will "show favour to her dust." Thus the presence of doom is to be replaced by the favour of God; and from what He does, the "nations will fear the name of the Lord."
The exciting thing is this, that after learning concerning this work of divine wonder, that "the set time has come," so that we nearly drool in spirit to see it, in Psalm 102:13, and that the "set time to favour Zion has come," this being as in Daniel 9:24-27, precisely when it happened in Jerusalem at around AD 30 (SMR), in our current dating notation, we find a sudden thing that nearly astounds. Just before this happening, however, with this magnificent work of the Lord in Zion just announced with the set time come, noting His servants taking pleasure in her stones, we learn more. In Psalm 102:13-15, we discover through this His coming and His divine work, the nations shall fear the name of the Lord. But then, we are brought to a halt. That is the picture.
THE MESSIAH AND THE GENERATION
Like a flash of lightning, in Psalm 102:18, we are then startled to find that "this will be written for the generation to come." It seemed so graphically present to the Psalmist, but the Lord constrains him to note that in history, this is not for then, in his day, but for the generation to come. It is future. It is distinct, it is to happen, it is all concrete, real, and it is to be released like a greyhound from his racing stall, when the generation assigned in history, is on site. It is only THEN that it will happen. Thus seen as in the present as the Psalm commences, now we find in fact that all this wonder is to come in the future.
It is, then, not at the time of writing the Psalm at all, but at that SET TIME pre-figured in verse 13, that the Lord will arise; it is THEN that He comes. Now this, "the generation to come," the one to whom He was to and did come, is a very precious concept. It is not only obviously future, but it incorporates a special feature. Not only is this wonder from the Lord reaching down to earth, to reach the nations, the mercy in this divine and coming action of the Messiah, which follows and resembles closely the prediction of Isaiah 61, from which Christ read at Nazareth concerning Himself, showing some of the individual detail there, of what He was to do, and has now done. Not only is this not for the present time of the Psalmist, but it is for the generation to come, one well known and held in sight, and through this a worldwide mercy is to be offered.
It is to this generation that He comes and in this time that His great work is to be done, so that "a people yet to be created may praise the Lord." So the Lord is going at the set time of Daniel 9, arithmetically precise as shown there, to have a generation not yet even put into history, as it were waiting behind the curtains of time for the time of entry.
Not only, moreover, is this a particular generation, but it includes a VERY particular generation, that of which Psalm 22:30 declares this, "a posterity will serve Him, it will be accounted of the Lord for the generation." It is not just a generation, but THE generation, the missing one indeed, never formed, because of His early death. Instead of the normal genealogy, there is a spiritual one throughout the world; it is this which is to serve Him as Lord and Saviour. Let us rejoice in the beauty of truth and the truth of beauty, the glory of duty even impressed into history by the divine Lord, who though God, yet became a willing servant in and for the salvation of man, as many as received Him (John 1:12).
And that in turn is as found in Isaiah 53, where the question is made, WHO will declare the generation, that is the posterity, of the Lord ? "for He is cut off from the land of the living." Here then is that generation in Psalm 22:30, a spiritual one, statedly to serve Him, and it is one instead of children, being spiritual offspring! Here is the answer to Isaiah 53 in its rhetorical question.
In Isaiah 53:10, this point is applied again, for "when you make His soul an offering for sin, He shall see HIS SEED," that is, His spiritual posterity. WHEN you do this, He has one more child, that is when you receive His redemption with repentance and faith, the latter so clearly needed as in Isaiah 53:1. It is not specifically at His death that this new seed is seen, but rather when the offering is RECEIVED. It is then is that grand design is fulfilled, and then does "the pleasure of the Lord PROSPER in His hand." In this sense, He prolongs His days, as written in Isaiah 53.
How beautifully it all ties together, with tones and overtones, in a house of wonder, in this, the word of the living God, which endures forever as in I Peter 1:24-25. There is the generation to come, that living in Jerusalem at the specified time in history, as per Daniel 9, one largely rejecting Him, and there is the SPIRITUAL generation to come, one utterly devoted to Him, this the one "to serve Him," as in Psalm 22:30, to be ACCOUNTED to the Lord for THE GENERATION. They are both there. But note the irony.
Although this time when Jerusalem is to receive its King, was at that time, something yet to come and very blessed, and although as to that city, "Your servants take pleasure in her stones," yet when the time DID COME (as in Galatians 4:4), then exactly as in Isaiah 49:7, the people as a city, as Jerusalem, abhorred and rejected the Lord. This was through the ecclesiastical powers of pretence and disbelief then in charge. They were determined to muzzle Him (John 11:45-51), have none of Him. It is actually predicted, written in prediction of this phase of Isaiah 49-55, at 49:7, that the nation "abhors Him." Thus this very reference in Psalm 102:14 to the pleasure the people of the city took in her stones, those of the Temple pre-eminently, is shattered by their repugnance to Him, whom those very stones symbolised. Thus while loving the stones, symbols of their misused religion, as a people, they hated the Rock of their Salvation, the Christ! (I Corinthians 10:1ff.). Formalism had for the city as one whole, replaced fact.
Thus BECAUSE when He came, they turned from Him (precisely as dramatically shown in Micah 5:1-3), therefore STONE FROM STONE the Temple would be taken down (Matthew 24:1ff.).Small wonder then that the very Lord Himself as in Luke 19:41-44 and Matthew 23:37 - 24:2, lamented and even wept for Jerusalem. They did not realise the day of opportunity; for in this the people deluded. So did they fall, except for those, the generation which would serve Him, including the apostles and many thousands at that time, a minority of the city, and in the world, but still an active and blessed one.
Divisions in the Psalm may help appreciate it, so they are presented as follows.
1-9 The ANGUISH Here is the soul searching, need and call on the Lord.
10-11 The AWESOME action of the Lord in rebuking sin and building appears.
12-17 Here arrives the AVAILABLE action the Lord takes to deal with such sorrows, and their cause, one to extend to all nations, the set time come.
i) The TIME ASSIGNED for His appearance in glory is suddenly revealed as future, and much of its content disclosed.
ii) DIRECT ACTION is disclosed, and here arrives the actual work of the Lord who undertakes to deal with such sorrows,
and their cause, not only anguish of heart for sin,
but tangles of trouble from its presence
in a woefully infected world.
iii) Indeed, The PREDICTED EVANGELICAL ACTION proceeds, when THE MESSIAH MEDIATES MERCY, so that the petition to avoid truncated life, from the Psalmist is magnificently met
23-28 PRAISE OF THE AGENCY of the EXALTED SAVIOUR.
Here, let us look at the last group of verses, shown above.
As implied in Hebrews 1:10-12, which cites from this Psalm, in this section of it, the Messiah, God Himself who came down, is in these verses now addressed, in continuity. He who is forever, this Messiah ("whose goings are from everlasting," as in Micah 5), He will not perish (as in Psalm 16): far from it. While all else changes, He does not.
While a moral soul finds the body growing very old, HE, the LORD, does not find Himself growing old, being the Eternal God as in Psalm 90:1-2, who had ruptured death. As to Him, He is not only strong and fresh for ever, but is able to make those who wait upon Him to share this wonder, for "they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint," as in Isaiah 40:31. How often have I found this very thing, praise be to Him!
Indeed, as in Psalm 102:26-28, the very heavens are to be changed like a garment (as in Isaiah 51:6), but GOD is THE SAME, this very Messiah, the Lord who looked down, being now seen in His set time and here addressed as Psalm 102 ends.
This address to Him in those verses, follows His manifestation in 102:18ff., where we find the Lord looking down from heaven, to declare the name of the Lord in Zion. That is the topic and His manifestation is sustained. It is not other than God that He is, who came, and not other than He who is now addressed in the Lord's own name in these verses. Thus "You are the same," as in Hebrews 13:8, "and Your years will have no end. The children of Your servants will continue, and their descendants will be established before You." That is the exaltation of the Lord (Philippians 2).
His wonder is precisely as in Hebrews 1, which so speaks of Christ, given glory like no mere angel, the unique and very blessed only begotten Son of God. It is He who was to come to Zion, and did so; and from His actions there and in the nation, He has generated THE GENERATION to serve Him. Indeed, He has gathered together from the nations, this multi-national generation to serve Him and declare His Gospel. Every time in any nation one more comes to the Messiah, the Lord Jesus Christ, THIS generation expands!
Thus THE GENERATION will grow, and what a glory as in Psalm 22:31, for them to "come and declare His righteousness to a people who will be born, that He has done this," for then He has paid the redeeming ransom, as depicted in that great Psalm with such detail, paying in such glorious longsuffering love, the price of sin for many. Let many therefore repent and come, many seeking delight and find this and far more in Him, and let His servants indeed as predicted, go and declare in the Gospel, the GIFT of righteousness (as in Romans 5:17), to replace the wages of sin, that there might be a peace past all understanding, in the midst of the mercy in the truth. So Psalm 22 yet works.
For any it is on offer; for many it is to be received, and it is these who are that generation called THE GENERATION; for He has both made them (Colossians 1:15ff.), and RE-GENERATED them, the thing done twice, the second time to last! (I Peter 1:1-8, Ephesians 1:11). Then mortality becomes immortality, corruption replaced by incorruption.
Finally, consider the beauty of this Psalm. The Psalmist by divine inspiration is seen surveying the flame that enlightens, heights and depths exposed , and in this he finds
method, message, marvel, mercy, might, ageless wonder
and imperishable life! No other life is worth having, for it merely demeans man, for whom and his salvation, Christ not only died, but rose, irresistible in vitality, blessed in free salvation held out to all as a free gift! (Romans 3:23-27, 5:17, Ephesians 2, Titus 3).