The Coming of the Lord.
"Our God shall comp, and shall not keep silenoe; a fire shall devour before him, and it shall be very tempestuous round about him. He shall call to the heavens from above, and to the earth, that he may judge his people. Gather my saints together unto me; those that have made a covenant with me by sacrifice. And the heavens shall declare his righteousness; for God is judge himself. Selah." Ps. 50:3—8.
We stand on the eve of one of the greatest events the world has ever witnessed. Signs are multiplying on every side of us, compared with which there has been no parallel, either in the history of the church or the world. One of the greatest changes to both hangs upon this great event. It is the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ the second time in power and glory, to bring all things into subjection to himself, and to be "King of kings and Lord of lords." Let us see what the psalmist says of this event in the passage under consideration.
The first word is a striking one—"Our God." It is the family word. None but the child can use it. That child is one of the family. He is related to his Heavenly Father. He has been redeemed and brought nigh by the blood of Christ. He is in the bonds of the everlasting covenant. He is a joint heir with Christ. He can look up, and say, "My beloved is mine, and I am his." He will be able to say with joy, when the Lord shall descend from Heaven in flaming fire, "Lo this is our God; we have waited for him, and he will save us; this is page 2 the Lord; we have waited for him; we will be glad and rejoice in his salvation." Yes; it is the family word. He who now puts into our lips the sweet words, "Our father," enables us to look forward to that solemn hour, and say, "Our God."
We are about to meditate on a solemn scene—God coming down to this earth in human form, as a devouring fire, with storms and tempests raging around him. Oh ! how necessary to be able to say, before we gaze upon it, "Our God." What will it be if we cannot say, "Our God? " With what feelings of terror and alarm must it be viewed, unless we can say, in prospect, "Our God!" Make sure of this, reader, before you go one step farther. Only this can make you calm in the prospect, and in the reality when it comes, to be able to say, "Our God." Therefore it is that the Holy Spirit puts this little word first, on which we may dwell earnestly, soberly, searchingly, before we proceed to that which follows.
"Our God shall come, and shall not keep silence." In order clearly to understand what is meant here by God's "not keeping silence," we must refer to the closing part of the chapter, from the sixteenth verse to the twenty-first: "But unto the wicked God saith, What hast thou to do to declare my statutes, or that thou shouldest take my covenant in thy mouth? seeing thou hatest instruction, and casteth my words behind thee. When thou saw est a thief, then thou consentedst with him, and hast been partaker with adulterers. Thou givest thy mouth to evil, and thy tongue framest deceit. Thou sittest and speakest against thy brother; thou slan-derest thine own mother's son. These things hast thou done, and I kept silence; thou thoughtest that I was altogether such an one as thyself." Here God reviews the character of the wicked in this page 3 dispensation. It is exactly what has been going on in our world for the last six thousand years. Men have been taking God's covenant "in their mouth," in other words, making a profession of religion, while, all the time, the power of religion has been absent Underneath this profession, sin and iniquity of the worst form have been carried on. Men have really been "hating" God, and casting his words behind them.
"Theft," "adultery," "evil," "deceit," "false witness," "slander,"—have not all these things been going on in the world at a fearful speed? All this while God has "kept silence." He has not interfered to strike men down, in such acts, with his arm of judgment; so men begin to say, "Where is God? Tush ! doth God see? " "If there be a God, why does he not interfere? Either there is none, or else he is "altogether such an one as ourselves." Thus the world has gone on—the wicked "flourishing as a green bay tree," the righteous returning with a "full cup" of tears, and God keeping silence. But it shall not always be so. "Our God shall come, and shall not keep silence." He shall come and "reprove" men and "set" each act and deed "in order," "before the eyes" of the wicked. It is interesting to notice how nearly all the features of the wicked, described in this chapter, and which history has endorsed as the dominant principles in the world, are again reproduced by the Holy Spirit in the third chapter of St Paul's second epistle to Timothy, and which are to be more prominently developed—as the flower from the bud—in the last days.
And what are to be the heralds of the coming? "A fire shall devour before him; and it shall be very tempestuous round about him." Here, again, the Holy Spirit confirms this testimony by St. Paul: page 4 "And to you who are troubled, rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from Heaven with his mighty angels, in flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ; who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power." Yes; from one end of Christendom to the other, one piercing cry shall rend the heavens; "Ye rocks and hills fall on us, and hide us from the presence of the Lamb." The entreaty, earnest and loud, will then be heard from many a lip that now scorns the preaching of the cross: "Lord, Lord, open to us;" but "too late." It shall be "very tempestuous." The nations shall be at their wits' end. The ties of nature and of society shall be set at naught. Men's lusts and passions shall have unbridled course. They shall run to and fro. Knowledge shall increase. Men's hearts, on all sides, will be "failing them for fear and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth." A few will lift up their heads in that universal wreck, and run calmly and joyfully; for they know their redemption is nigh, their hour of triumph is at hand. Oh! to stand among that little band in that awful hour, and be able to say, "Our God!"
But what will the Lord do then? "He shall call to the heaven from above, and to the earth, that he may judge his people." . . . The Spirit of God confirms this testimony by St. Paul: "For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep. For the Lord himself shall descend from Heaven with a shout, with the voice of the Archangel, and with the trump of God; and the dead in Christ shall rise first; then we which are alive and remain shall be page 5 caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air; and so shall we ever be with the Lord." The word rendered "then," in this passage, may be more properly rendered, "after that," and shows us that some interval may elapse between the meeting of the dead saints and the living ones before they are taken up to meet the Lord in the air. The fond greeting, the loved embrace, the outburst of joy shall fill it up. Then all shall rise together at one and the same summons from on high, "and so shall we ever be with the Lord." "Ever with the Lord!" Oh! the joy of these words! Here thought fails. The lips falter. The mind shrinks. Eternity alone can tell their depth. We wait to sound their meaning. Who would not say, in such a world of sin, and sorrow, and death as this, "Come, Lord Jesus, come quickly!"
But mark the psalmist's words. Who are they that are called? "Gather my saints together unto me." What an expressive word—"my saints!" How the Lord appropriates them as his own! "They shall be mine in the day when I make up my jewels." What precious words—"my saints," "my jewels !" What sinful, erring creatures we are! How do we daily and hourly provoke the Lord who loves us! What naughty children the Lord has to manage! How he may say of us, as Moses said of Israel, "Ye have been rebellious against the Lord since the day that I knew you;" and yet, "my saints!" "my jewels!" Oh, what grace! what wondrous love!
But mark another word here. "Gather my saints." "He shall gather the lambs in his arms." He shall gather them as a shepherd his sheep in the hour of weakness and danger—the weak ones, the nervous ones, those who start at a shadow, and tremble at the fluttering of a leaf. They shall not page 6 be weak or nervous then. The frail body shall be dropped forever, and they shall be clasped in an embrace such as they have never known on the earth, to a bosom of infinite love.
But mark another word here. "Gather my saints together." It is the family meeting. It is the grand reunion. It is the glad assembly. We shall not rise to meet the Lord individually—in isolations. We shall be gathered together. So the apostle speaks of our "gathering together unto him." And again, "We which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them. No more separations! No more sects, or systems! All together I One mind, one heart, one joy, one glad meeting, without the shadow of a farewell greeting ever darkening its shores! What heart does not bound at the thought!
But mark yet one word more, the sweetest of all, "unto Me." Ah! what would all the others be without this? Nothing, nothing! The foam, the dust, the shadow, the air ! What would that meeting be without Jesus? What is any meeting without him? The very notes of Heaven would be discord; its jasper walls would be hideous; its very air would be oppressive. It would all be dreariness, and darkness, and death. With his name every song is sweet. In his smile, every countenance is bright. Every chord of the golden harps will vibrate with his praise. Every voice will be vocal with his name. Jesus, Jesus, Jesus!—through eternity. For this the Lord himself prays: "Father, I will that they also whom thou hast given me, be where I am, that they may behold my glory." Love can only be satisfied with the presence of its object. So with the Saviour. He longs for us. He waits for us. We must be with him. How can he be happy without us?page 7
"Other refuge have I none;
Hangs my helpless soul on thee."
Reader, have you done this? If you have not, then you are not in that covenant. And if you are not in that covenant now, can you think of that meeting? You may hide this sad picture from your conscience, or, worse than all, charge your sin on God by a series of excuses. But it will not avail then. Mark the next verse: "The heavens shall declare His righteousness, for God is judge himself." His righteous dealings will then be acknowledged by every lip, and be felt by every heart Even the wicked will be compelled to own it. And not only so, but righteousness shall be written on everything, as it never has been yet. And why? "For God is judge himself." He shall be judge in the earth, and the result will be righteous judgment. Misrule, injustice, oppression, will all end then. "Righteousness shall cover the earth as the waters cover the sea."
And what is the practical lesson from all this, for the world, as well as for God's people? There is a word for each one at the close of this chapter. "Ye that forget God, consider this." Unconverted reader, weigh it well, tast God "tear thee in pieces." The day is at hand. Consider. Fly to Jesus. He page 8 is your only hope. Out of him you are not safe for a moment. Be warned, and haste to the refuge.
Christian, "order your conversation," or citizenship, "aright." Aim to glorify Jesus. Let his praise fill your heart. Let his image be clearly, decidedly, unmistakably, written on every act of your life. Be whole-hearted for Christ. "Be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life."
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