THE KING OF GLORY
"Who is this King of Glory? The Lord of Hosts, He is the King of Glory." Psalm 24: 10.
It is not difficult to notice a connection between this psalm and the one preceding it. There David contemplates with joy the assurance that he will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever. Here the assurance of that psalm is expressed in a deep sense of responsibility, a deeper and more profound sense of need and consequent hunger and thirst, and as ever in the unveiling of Divine revelation, a dynamic perception of Him Who is the King of Glory.
Neither is it difficult to see that the King of Glory for David is the Messiah. The promises of God to David are too clear to be mistaken; the Messiah is destined to sit upon the Throne, David's throne, in Jerusalem. In fact three tremendous realities of human thought, experience, emotion, fear, hope and assurance are here, closely, organically related, indicative, progressive and not to be separated. Each is of supreme importance, vastly more important than even Christians realise and the most serious thought should be given to them. The first is concerned with the House the Lord as it is concerned with
Any church is weak or strong according to its attitude to worship. Our views on worship vary, they differ but not always are what seem to be differing views necessarily opposed. This arises from the fact that we do not make the serious effort of reaching to the heart of our difficulties. As the psalmist sets forth the matter, this ascent to the hill of the Lord, the holy place, is a serious and solemn responsibility. This fact in itself has been lost by some. Churches have members who never attend worship at all. The neglect of some in this respect is ignored, sometimes for personal and prudential reasons. But in actual fact there is to be no exception.
It must be the unequivocal desire of every person on the Roll of a Church to ascend the hill of the Lord on the Sunday morning and evening. Why this does not happen especially if a church roll is examined, may yield a number of reasons but if the child of God is preparing for church, then his conscience will be disturbed by the Spirit of God. God wants the man whose hands are clean, whose heart is pure in His purity, whose desires are being divorced from vanity and who has not sworn deceitfully. The supreme factor that makes the feet so heavy in the trek to the hill of the Lord on Sunday is the zeal with which those feet speed after vanity!
Coming to the hill of the Lord for worship is therefore a serious business. Every worshipper should have been concerned with the clean heart and a vain soul with all its lustings. If he is not then the service of worship will harden all the processes of grace, the life will be torn out of worship and an external observance by way of custom and habit will have become a chain and a soul destroying experience. Notice then that such a person concerned in verse 4 and so ascending the hill of the Lord shall receive the blessing of the Lord etc. What is the blessing of the Lord? It is threefold
1)Deliverance from all the impurities and lusts of the soul that war against it.
2)Righteousness that belongs to the Lord Himself. What is imputed in our salvation will become by the grace of God a perpetual imparting and
3)There will be such a hunger in the worshipper desiring some unveiling of the Lord in His Glory that shall bring energy, desire, faith, love, assurance, faith and confidence for the week ahead.
This in my view is an issue of the greatest importance to every Church. What kind of worship have we? Is it of the clean hands, the pure heart and the soul hungering after God? Are there any members who so long? Submit yourselves to the Lord to feel this burden for your fellow professing Christians, who so seldom come yet who would be offended if their names were removed from the Church Roll. But burden there must be as the prelude to blessing. This is the commencement of revival; when church members are supremely concerned with the clean heart as they go up to the hill of the Lord.
ISSUE OF PARADISE.
You will have noticed that the Old Testament is not disposed to speak in very much detail of the world to come, certainly in relation to individuals. The Old Testament saints were often perplexed as we may all be, about the world to come. The house of the Lord in which David hoped to dwell for ever was not a temple to be seen with hands but in the view of the faithful Israelite there was some connection, and he was right in my view. In any event there can be no greater fallacy than to add to our neglect of God's house our neglect of all interest in the house not made with hands eternal in the heavens.
Who shall "'RISE" into the hill of the Lord, who shall stand in His holy place? Is this a matter that can be left since the question is of no importance? It was David who clarified the revelation of grace to him. "The sure mercies of David." Isaiah 53:3 interpreted by Acts 13:34. The far-reaching influential death of our Lord liberated within the redeemed by resurrection, is of the essence of the faith and experience of the redeemed. Indeed there is no possibility of a person being a vital Christian without faith for resurrection; for if Christ be not risen one's faith is vain.
But the 0ld Testament saints were in a different category. Hence the question: "If a man die, shall he live?" Sheol was a forbidding destiny. It was left to Our Lord to pierce the gloom: "God is not the God of the dead but of the living!" Who shall ascend, who shall reach up into the eternal Paradise? The answer is explained to our limited minds by the conversation of the thief with our Lord. "Today shalt thou be with ME in Paradise." The thief must have wondered what his prospects were.
What Paul makes clear is that our Lord went into Hades, fought with the powers of darkness, shook them off Him, triumphed over them by the Cross and to their horror and amazement engaging the power of His obedience broke the bars of death and rose from the dead. Then Paul tells us that he was caught up to the 3rd heaven, to Paradise, and found himself engaged with eternal realities too great for him. The effect therefore of our Lord's triumph was to take Paradise out of the stygian realm of death and to place it in the 3rd heaven.
This was the answer of' redeeming power to the question of Old Testament saints. On the day He arose from the dead they were translated to the 3rd heaven. We owe quite a lot to the thief on the Cross. Not only so, there is that complicated passage in Matthew 27: 52 / 53. There will be no present attempt to expound this assertion but at least it shows that the resurrection of our Lord is not some airy-fairy idea that we can or cannot dispose of as we consider suitable. The resurrection of Christ is the most far reaching intervention of God so far but all that will be trivial compared to the far reaching extent of His Coming again.
Every Israelite who believed in Great David's Greater Son, knew the assurance of the sure merits of David, who asked himself in his simple faith: "Who shall ascend out of Sheol into Paradise?" They had the answer, "He that hath a clean heart". And if you dear friend are asking this question concerning your eternal destiny then remember the need of a clean heart delivered from the follies and vanities of time that clog the soul. Your intense conviction concerning this when you come to die will not be fortified by the rites of holy church but by your gathering in solemn convocation with the saints, seeking the supreme blessing of clean hands and a pure heart so that as you cross the threshold Sunday by Sunday, it will be to you as if you entering Paradise. What a transformation in our churches!
THE HILL OF ZION
There is a sense where in every child of God, he will reach and attain that which is the fruit of his faith, as in Divine evidence shall be indicated by his preparation for it. You will remember that the two sons of Zebedee desired to sit on two thrones beside our Lord in His glory. The answer was profoundly simple. Mark 10:40. These two were sure that in His hands was the kingdom, in all its magnificence and glory. How right they were! They did not follow so far as Paul takes us in l Corinthians 15 but they saw the glory even before they saw the shedding of His blood. No doubt they had mixed motives in desiring to sit on His left and right hand in His Glory. The other disciples were angry with them but that was because they were the first to make the request. One of the vital questions for every true believer and every one who is a member of this church is whether you see by faith the transcendent majesty and glory, not merely of His coming again but of the far reaching global, universal and spatial effects of it all. The Holy Spirit through the Word discloses an ordered community of life, a kingdom, a shattering of all the forces of evil, the establishment of Great David's greater Son on His throne and what does it now mean to you and to me? And the conditions? A clean heart, divinely cleansed wherein Sunday by Sunday and during the week, you have given earnest and unremitting attention to the need of a pure heart and pray to the Lord for it. You shall receive the blessing every time you come to the Lord's house and that means you will likewise become a blessing. The outlook on the future will be sweet and satisfying and there will be no dismal prospect of the ages: "Fear not your Father's good pleasure to give you the Kingdom.".
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