PSALM 85.OCTOBER 29.
"The Lord hath done great things for
us whereof we are glad."Psa. 126:3 .
WE ARE STILL in the night of weeping. Sickness, sorrow, sighing and dying continue, and will continue until the glorious morning of Messiah's Kingdom. How glad we are that we have learned that then the glorious change will come to earth! The Prophet David expresses this thought, saying, "Weeping may endure for the night, but joy cometh in the morning." (Psa. 30:5.) St. Paul breathed the same sentiment when he declared, "The whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now, waiting for the manifestation of the sons of God." (Romans 8:22.) The sons of God in glory will, with their Lord, constitute Emmanuel's Kingdom.
At present these sons of God are comparatively little known or recognized amongst men; frequently they are considered "peculiar people," because of their zeal for righteousness and truth and for God. "Beloved, now are we the sons of God; and it doth not yet appear what we shall be, but we know that when He shall appear we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is"; and we shall share His glory, honor and immortality and with Him scatter Divine blessings to all the families of the earth.
Our lesson, the 85th Psalm, may properly have several applications. The first of these would be to Israel's deliverance from the Babylonian captivity, when Cyrus gave permission that all who desired might return to Palestine. About fifty-three thousand availed themselves of this privilege and of his assistance. The people rejoiced in this manifestation of the turning away of Divine disfavor and the return to them of Divine favor and blessing. The pardon of their transgressions as a nation was here evidenced in this privilege of returning to God's favor.
A secondary application of the Song is just before us. Israel has been in a far greater captivity to Christendom during the past eighteen centuries. She has the promise, nevertheless, of a mighty deliverance. The Cyrus who gave them liberty to return from literal Babylon was a type of the great Messiah who is about to give full liberty for the return of God's ancient people to Divine favorto Palestine. St. Paul refers to this coming deliverance of Israel in Romans 11:25-29. The Deliverer will do more than merely regather them. He will do that which the 85th Psalm has predicted; as the Apostle says, "This is My Covenant with them when I shall take away their sins." See also Jer. 31:31-34; Heb. 8:8-11.
Israel's sins have not yet been taken away, even as the world's sins have not yet been taken away. The great Redeemer indeed has died for sin, and He is the sinner's friend, but as yet he has only appeared in the presence of God for usthe Churchnot for the world. He is the Church's Advocate only; He advocates for none except those who desire to approach to God, and these are the saintly onlysuch as love righteousness and hate iniquity.
The world is enslaved by Sin and Death, the twin monarchs which are now reigning and causing mankind to groan. We were born in this enslaved condition; as the Scriptures declare, "Behold, I was shapen in iniquity, in sin did my mother conceive me." Our race, groaning under the weaknesses and imperfections we have thus inheritedmental, moral and physicallongs for the promised deliverance from the bondage of sin and death. The majority of mankind undoubtedly feel the gall of their slavery, and will be glad to be free.
The great Deliverer is the antitypical Cyrus. Soon He will be victorious and will establish His kingdom under the whole heaven. Soon the Church class, the saintly, "the elect," will be glorified, and then the time will come for the blessing of the non-electfor their restitution to human perfection and to a world-wide Paradise, which Messiah's kingdom and power will produce. "He must reign until He hath put all enemies under His feet; the last enemy that shall be destroyed is death." Death will be destroyed; sheol, hades, the grave, will be destroyed, by the resurrection of the dead therefrom"Every one in his own order."
While the whole creation groans under its load of sin and sorrow, the saintly few may sing, may rejoice, even in the midst of all the sorrows of life, and even though they share the results of sin as fully or even more fully than do others. The secret of their joy is two-fold: (1) They have experienced reconciliation to God. (2) They have submitted their wills to His will. They obtained this new relationship by the way of faith in the Redeemerfaith in His blood of Atonement. They entered by the "strait gate" and "narrow way" of consecration to Godsurrendering their own wills and covenanting to do the Divine will to the best of their ability.
This submission of the will to God and the realization that all their life's affairs are in God's keeping and under His supervision gives rest to the heart. They have a rest and peace in this surrendered condition which they never knew when they sought to gratify self-will and ignored the right of their Creator to the homage of their hearts and the obedience of their lives.
Similarly, these have joy and peace and songs of thankfulness to God because to them He grants a knowledge of His Divine purposes, and shows them things to come. These see beyond the trials and tribulations of the present timethey see the glories that will follow the present time of suffering. These see that the Church, the saintly few of all denominations and of all nationalities, are prospective heirs of Godheirs of glory, honor and immortality and association with the Redeemer in His glorious Kingdom. This encourages them. They see also the outlines of the Divine Programme for the blessing of all the families of the earth. When they thus perceive that God is interested in their dear ones who are not saints, and interested in the whole human family, very few of whom are saints, it causes them rejoicing. When they perceive that God has arranged that through Christ and the glorified Church all the families of the earth shall be blessed, it makes them "joyful in the house of their pilgrimage"while waiting for their own change from human to divine nature.