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Their occupation is with that which is good: that they ought to discern. It is the duty of the angels to be occupied with the bad—to take them and put them apart for the judgment. The angels are occupied always with the bad: men with the good.
“ Kingdom of Heaven” is found but in Matthew. When the Lord is come, the kingdom must become the Kingdom of GOD; it was so in a sense, during His life on earth, but now that the Messiah is rejected,
the kingdom can only exist in mystery, therefore it is called Kingdom of Heaven.
The Kingdom of God gives the idea of the government of God in the hands of the Messiah.
The Kingdom of Heaven is the government of God in the hands of the Messiah whilst He is in heaven.
In the grand day, when all give honour, etc., to the Lamb, if a heart be true to the glory of Christ, what will be the intrinsic happiness of having all glory given to Him who has loved us.
We know Christ dishonoured here, and therefore long for the time when He shall be thoroughly honoured here.
In that coming day—others—all nations of the earth-will know, by the visible demonstration of the glory displayed in us, thé truth of the confession of the Church, which now seems fanatical to the world, that the Father hath loved us as He hath loved Him.
WORSHIP always supposes self-will to be broken.
In the preceding chapters we have seen Abraham in Egypt, and we have observed that while there, he built no altar; but Abraham left Egypt, and then, having given it up, he could build an altar to the Lord. When David saw the child he loved sick, he fasted and prayed, but he was wrestling with God-his will was not brought into subjection. When the child was dead, David changed his raiment, ate and drank, and then he could come into the house of the Lord and worship; because the struggle in his heart ceased, and his will was broken. Job, after those heavy afflictions described in the first chapter (the loss of goods and children), rent his mantle indeed (ver. 20), (in all this he sinned not we are told—his sorrow was legitimate-it was not wrong in him to grieve at the loss of his children); but he fell down before God and worshipped; he could worship, because in him self-will was broken, and he
“ The Lord gave and the Lord hath taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord !”
But, in the chapter we have just read, we find something beyond what we have seen in Job and in David. They indeed acquiesced in the will of God, but their submission was passive, requiring no act on their part. This is not the case in Genesis xxii. Abraham is not only called to accept the will of God, but to act against himself. He is obliged, so to speak, to offer himself up, for to offer up his son was nothing less. God says to him, "offer up thy son, thine only son.' The name of
person expresses to us all that concerns that person, and our relationships with him. Thy son! that word touched the tenderest feelings—and he was to offer up that son! that
name, moreover, recalled God's promises, and it was in this son that they were to be fulâlled, for God had said positively, “In Isaac shall thy seed be called.” But he whose will is subject to God, rests satisfied with two things, “God will provide,” and “I am with God.” All hope in the flesh, as to the accomplishment of the promises, must be given up, so that God may stand alone as the spring of life, blessings and promises; as the one whose resources can never be exhausted, even when those means He has Himself pointed out fail for the accoinplishment of His promises.
Thus God tries the heart, in order to destroy all confidence in the flesh; but at the same time, knowing that the heart needs support in the trial, He sustains it by a new revelation, which enables him to conquer. Thus we see (Heb. xi. 19), that Abraham had a revelation of resurrection (which was then understood), in connection with the sacrifice that was demanded of him. Thus God causes us, in His infinite mercy, to gain in in Him what we lose in the flesh.
It was apart from the servants, that is, alone with Isaac and God, that Abraham received this revelation, and learned to offer up the goat instead of his son, as he had himself said, “God will provide Himself a lamb.” And it is in the secret communion with God that we learn most of Him.
In Jesus, the true Worshipper of the Father, self-will was always broken: the cup was (we know), full of bitterness; but He, so to speak, forgets this bitterness in his desire to do the will of God, and exclaims, “The cup which my Father hath given me shall I not drink it?”
All the spiritual feelings which we now have will find their satisfactory answer in that day. Everything begun by the Spirit here will be perfected then. Our blessed Master shall see of the travail of his soul, and be satisfied; and then will our desires meet their end.
PSALM LXXXIV. The leading thought in this psalm is that of "the tabernacles of the Lord of hosts." We see that, from the beginning, God thought of, and desired to have a tabernacle. Therefore God shewed Moses a pattern of the tabernacle on the Mount. Moses says, in the song concerning the deliverance of Israel, and the miraculous passage of the Red Sea, “The Lord is my strength and song, and He is become my salvation; He is my God, and I will prepare him an habitation” (Ex. xv. 2). But God's thoughts were, that He would make an habitation for Himself to be with man. At the end of the ages, after the millennium, this desire of God's will be accomplished, as we see (Rev. xxi. 3), “Behold the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them.”
The word “ tabernacle” always implies the dwelling of God with man; thus David, after saying, “How amiable are Thy tabernacles,” adds, “my heart and my flesh cry out for the living God. Yea the sparrow hath found a house, and the swallow a nest for herself, where she may lay her young.” This it was that occupied David's soul, this providence of God, who prepares a place of rest for every creature; and he says by faith, "" Since Thou hast prepared a nest for the swallow and the sparrow, Thou hast prepared one for me too,” and he adds, “ Thine altars, O Lord of hosts!” Here was the nest, or resting-place he sought. " Thine altars, 0 Lord of hosts !” and truly worship is the rest of the soul.
There is but one man who had no place of rest, as Jesus said, “ The foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man hath not where to lay His head.” And if we have now a nest, a resting place in God, it is because Jesus has been on this earth for us, and without rest.
Ver 4. “Blessed are they that dwell in Thine house; they will still be praising Thee.” Blessed are they (not who visit, or who pass through, but) who dwell in Thine house. And it is impossible to dwell there without ever praising Thee.
But in another sense, we are not always in the house; we leave it for service as the swallow leaves her nest in search of food for her young; but there are ways (ver. 5) leading to the house; these ways are often stony, thorny, and irritating to the flesh; but they are the ways, and he whose heart is in the house, will prefer the rough road that leads thither to the easy path which leads away from it. For instance, the way for the early Christians was hunger, peril, persecution and death, or the valley of Baca (ver. 6); that is every thing sad, but they made it a well. It is thus that all difficulties are changed to him that is in the way; they become fountains. rain also filleth the pools.” Not only are the ordinary means of help given to him that is in the way, but rain, or the direct help of God comes in, in the midst of the desert.
Verse. 7. “ They go from strength to strength, every one of them in Zion appeareth before God." There are in the Christian's path (as resting places), trials, out of which flow fountains which lead him from strength to strength.
Verse 9. “Look upon the face of thine anointed.” We may always, in all confidence, present to God His anointed, or Christ, and thus comfort ourselves as to what we are in ourselves.
Verse 10. “A day in Thy courts is better than a thousand. I had rather be a door-keeper in the house of my God, than to dwell in the tents of wickedness." Many children of God rest satisfied to be at the threshold; indeed many
remain outside, while we are called to enter and dwell in the house. Yet if our unbelief, or the lusts of our heart, which seek something besides God, hinder our entrance, we have at least " the door," for Christ is the door, and the door alone is better than all that is in the world.