AUSTRALIAN BIBLE CHURCH July 24, 2011
A Presbyterian Church following the Bible without Qualification
and the Lord Jesus Christ without Compromise by Faith
The CONSUMMATION from The CALAMITOUS TRIUMPH
IN THE PSALMS Part III
with Genesis 15:16, Psalm 14, 24, Isaiah 53, 62, 66
and passages in Deuteronomy, Genesis, Ezekiel and Micah
I THE SETTING
The deep and penetrating meaning of the end of Psalm 22 is perfectly arresting.
Following the divine prodigy of Psalm 22:1-25,
coming from heaven as in Psalm 40, Micah 5:1-34,
mangled as a worm before the sickle,
marred as a beautiful pasture by a busy tarmac of cursing
exposed as truth to a fickle society, intemperate with their own concerns,
bought the way home for man, ready to be travelled by faith, there is a magnificent resultant section.
Glorious causes can have glorious results and this was no exception.
In this, He was bringing humanity to the face of deity,
for indeed the glory of God was thus revealed in the face of
who though in the very form of the eternal God before all time
(Isaiah 48:16, Psalm 45, Colossians 1:15, Micah 5:1-3),
yet came into time in time to triumph over death on behalf of man (Titus 2-3),
in a vast act towards the entire human race (I John 2:1-2, John 3:15-18).
He came NOT to judge but to save the world. This is His testimony, and anyone who would alter it needs to have a mind above the mind of his God, Creator and the manufacturer of His life, impossible as that is, or else a bloc in his perception of God's testimony.
He did not save the world, any more than World War II saved it or for that matter, World War I, despite mighty acts of warring nations sometimes seeking to deliver from the mangling of man by mere power and political impudence. Ideals were strewn about by such as Woodrow Wilson, Chamberlain, the authors of the Atlantic Charter, and mighty plans were laid for a peace never to be fractured, a justice to be imposed and a life more worthy of its wonder than the current scene then allowed, or so it was felt or even believed by many.
That man might fail in such a domain and task, is not surprising. Ever tending to worship himself or his advocatees, appointees, idols or leaders, their thoughts or empires - and Rome was perfectly explicit about this requirement of worship! - he manufactures folly like wood chips from cut down trees. The sun he does not see, since even the clearing of the shade trees to expose the heavens is dimmed by the dust of invention and the diseases of radioactive minds.
Man cannot rest; for how could he rest, except where his prodigious strengths find meaning and his unerring power to err finds correction! OH that you had heeded, says Isaiah from the mind of the Lord, in Isaiah 48, then
"your peace would have been like a river
and your righteousness
like the waves of the sea."
But it was not so. Instead, blundering blindly not because of the disfigurement of the lens, but because the eyes are shut (cf. Matthew 15:13) to the spiritual light, and in this wicked before else like someone insisting he can see perfectly well while the sun virtually visually ignites the windscreen because of the glittering layer of dust, unwiped, left on it: man finds another end in multitudes, amid nations and peoples.
"But the wicked are like the troubled sea,
When it cannot rest,
Whose waters cast up mire and dirt,"
II THE STRUCTURE
Nor is this all. There is a limit to the manufactured, or better, created cast of man, who is now set in a sinful world which from the first he managed to stress by marvellously messing it where it matters most, in spirit (Genesis 3, Romans 5:1-12), yes in his own spirit. This had vast results (Romans 8:17ff.). God will NOT ALWAYS strive with a race not so diffident, and feebly daring with feckless enterprise to establish itself. Instead of thankfully engaging in glorious, morally blessed enterprise and prized imagination within the bounds of truth, it fecklessly seeks to outwit God with folly (cf. Psalm 50:16-23), typified in the prince of this world (Ezekiel 28:11-17, John 14:30) and his inglorious enterprises of passion.
Thus in Isaiah 57:16, we read:
":For I will not contend forever,
Nor will I always be angry,
For the spirit would fail before Me,
And the souls which I have made."
There is a limit, for good or ill, and an end to trial and exhortation, whether in death and judgment, or in life and hope.
Before judgment in Isaiah 57, we see the appeal of the offer:
"For thus says the High and Lofty One,
'Who inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy,
I dwell in the high and holy place,
With him who has a contrite and humble spirit,
To revive the spirit of the humble,
And to revive the heart of the contrite ones."
In all of this offer and rebuff, entreaty and rejection, provision for peace and the roar of war, has come the Messiah. Like an injection of hydro-cortisone in a sore place, but in this case, into the heart and life and spirit of man, nay a regeneration altogether is the result, he comes where the shoulder is exposed, where the flesh is subject and the soul is found. He never errs or fails. Known before time, action and spiritual differentiation, or the sin of man became actual in history (Ephesians 1:4), the souls that are His are secured from the first, never to be lost; and it is in the domain of spirit that it is so found. The conditions - I WOULD and YOU WOULD NOT (as in Matthew 23:37, Luke 19:42ff., John 3:19, and repetitively in Ezekiel 20, Isaiah 48, Jeremiah 48, 51:9, Hosea 7:13-16) are sprinkled like a beauty carpet of Autumn leaves in the shade of the forest floor.
III THE GENERATION:
THE FAMILY OF GOD - Part I
Let us now specialise a little on the generation of Psalm 22:30. It is HIS POSTERITY, we read, that will come. It will serve Him. How much better is His than those often witless and woeful residues of a great family, who fail to live up to its morals, its passions for work, its contribution to mankind, and instead dissipate to their dissolution. THIS POSTERITY will serve Him! Success now is turning into a broader triumph!
He DID have a posterity, but this one is special, indeed, a special people, a royal priesthood, who directly themselves deal with deity in the name of this Messiah, the Lord Jesus Christ (cf. Psalm 110). We move to further data on it from the Bible.
Thus, in Isaiah 53 we are asked this: "Who shall declare His generation ?" Many are those whether from Abraham or Adam from Noah or from David who might have their generations declared as so often found in the Bible. But of this One ? Who will declare it ? Who COULD, since "He was cut off from the land of the living," Isaiah 53:8.
How will you declare a generation that is not there! Where is it ? Surely on this earth ,the greatest of all (cf. Psalm 45) will have some representation resulting from works of such a prodigious character as His ? But His generation, WHERE IS IT!
Fear not, there IS a generation indeed. It is THE generation (Psalm 22:30), the one missing, the lordly link that is NOT missing, since it is put there by God, as each kind was in the beginning. This one, this generation, it has a character of its own. It is designated and designed. It is not a roll-in. It is a roll-out. If you are a Christian, you are in it! Thus with each reception of Christ as sacrifice, Saviour, He sees His seed, His children bought by death but produced by life, His (John 14:19), even as each by faith makes of HIS soul a sacrifice for sin. . As one has said, The soul of His suffering was the suffering of His soul.
Its method of creation is shown clearly in Isaiah 53:10. It is interesting to note that in the surrounding Chapters of Isaiah here, from 52-55, there are over 50 references to 'you' and 'your' or 'yourself', referring to sinners, to Israel, or their concerns, and there is only one referrable to God. Even this, however, is as a sudden variant from 'His', as found in Isaiah 52:14, where even the one sentence was not finished with the second person, without reverting twice to the third; and indeed, at that, it is to the Son the "you" refers!
"Just as many
were astonished at You,
so was His visage marred more than any man,
and His form more than the sons of men:
"SO shall He sprinkle many nations...." (So capitalised for clarity).
In this way, the extravagant offering of Himself in Person, astounding as it is, becomes the spring-board for an astonishing splash as He hits the waters. Drops are everywhere, as if it were blood, sprinkling many nations gathered about. Indeed, missionaries TOOK the news of it where it had not reached and many were they who responded to the splendour of His dive, from the heights to the depths, to rescue many.
Who shall declare HIS generation, those from Him, HIS LINE, as in a genealogy, this time a spiritual genealogy ? WE shall declare it, and praise God for His preparing it and procuring it, paying for it, for it is a generation by adoption (Ephesians 1), and we will exalt His name who has intruded into a failing earth with unfailing love to make for Himself a people who not only are the very children of God in this world. When their day is past, they will rise again, as He did. This is because of Him who has gone to prepare a place, and has prepared that holy temple for each of His children, a new body incorruptible (II Corinthians 5:1ff.), that at His coming we with Him, one family of His favour, may live for ever. Psalm 16 specialises on the resurrection power underlying this. What He has used to arise, He grants in grace.
For Him, who came from heaven, it is natural so to prevail; but in dying He has paved the way for entry of those who as in Isaiah 26:19, He will raise His body, each one with a place, an individuality and a life undying. Death then has no more dominion, and then man sees defined in the world, that God's dominion is not harsh or oppressive or delusive like the endless seeming Empires of Man (Matthew 20:25-27), but He is gentle and meek, lowly in heart (Psalm 22:16, 72:6,13,17 Zechariah 9:9), and gives rest for the restless, and peace in the soul, joy in the heart and knowledge of our very own Father, One made so by adoption, for ever. In this, let us rest who know Him, and to this, let those who have not yet found Him, enter by faith in His triumphant sacrifice and resurrection, faith in HIM who lives, and imparts life (John 14:19, Revelation 1:18).
# Next Sunday, DV , we shall proceed to consider more precisely the wonders of what He has done, and the nature of His family as we complete our study of Psalm 22 and its subject surrounds, its vigour and staggering pre-coverage of issues in the heartland of faith, in that enduring perspective which from the first has known the last, even in the mind of God..