Unity and Praise

That which shall be established and publicly manifested by the power of the Lord in His coming earthly kingdom should be characteristic of those who own His Lordship now.

Salvation

"How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of Him that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth peace; that bringeth good tidings of good, that publisheth salvation; that saith unto Zion, Thy God reigneth!" (Isa. 52:7).

How beautiful to the eyes of the remnant of Israel, grown weary with weeping and watching, will be the advent of their Messiah's feet on the sacred crest of Olivet, for that will be the time of their salvation (see Zech. 14:4; Matt. 24:16). They will behold them "as if they burned in a furnace" strong to tread down their enemies and His; and the sight of them, as it greets the eyes of the watchers will make them "lift up the voice, with the voice together shall they sing."

We Christians have greater cause for singing than Israel will ever have, for we have heard better tidings of good than they will ever hear, and have seen those blessed feet in a more heart-moving path. We have seen them in the path of humiliation and suffering, for the Spirit of God has come to make all the ways of Jesus upon earth most beautiful in our eyes; and we know that He trod that downward and thorny path to reach us, and that He went into the depths of death to save us. We have seen those feet as the woman of the city saw them when she washed the dust of the way from them with penitential tears, and wiped them with the hairs of her head. How beautiful they were to her, bringing as they did the good tidings of salvation, and forgiveness, and peace! These same tidings they have brought to us; but at how great a cost!

We have seen them also as the disciples saw them when on the resurrection day the Lord said to them, "Behold My hands and My feet, that it is I Myself . . . And He showed them His hands and His feet." They were victorious feet that the disciples looked upon and handled, feet that had trodden down the enemy in His own stronghold, though wounded in that deadly fight, as had been announced on the earliest day of man's sin: "It [the Seed of the woman] shall bruise thy [the serpent's] head, and thou shalt bruise His heel" (Gen. 3:15). The disciples beheld those feet when back from the grave He brought a perfect peace to them; feet in which were the nail-prints, mute yet eloquent witnesses of the love that led Him unto death for them and for us.

Exultation

"Break forth into joy, sing together, ye waste places of Jerusalem: for the Lord hath comforted his people. He hath redeemed Jerusalem."

"Thy watchmen shall lift up the voice; with the voice together shall they sing: for they shall see eye to eye, when the Lord shall bring again Zion" (Isa. 52:8).

But there is more: the Lord likened Himself to a shepherd going after the sheep that was lose "until He find it" and He said, "Other sheep I have which are not of this [Jewish] fold: them also I must bring, they shall hear My voice; and there shall be ONE FLOCK, AND ONE SHEPHERD." And it is in this connection that He said, "Therefore doth My Father love Me because I lay down My life." He laid down His life to gather together in one the children of God that are scattered abroad. What tongue shall tell of the terrible way that His blessed feet travelled in the infinite yearnings of His love to gather His sheep!

"Across His path oceans impassable weltered;
He sank where the tempest-tossed billows did roll,
And where deep called to deep amid cataracts roaring
The waters of death found their way to His soul.

He sank in deep mire, lone, abandoned, forsaken;
Nor in earth nor in heaven compassion He found;
He drank to the dregs the deep chalice of judgment,
While the curse shook the caverns of chaos around.

He tasted death's waters, offensive and bitter,
Yet dared He to drink, for the lost He would save,
His great love upheld Him, strong infinite, quenchless,
And for His lost sheep He went down to the grave."

And shall He have travelled that road in vain? And if Israel will sing together when He gathers them in Zion, having delivered them from the paw of the lion, cannot those who have been gathered of the Gentiles, from uttermost distance and danger and death, into the one flock of God, break forth into joy, and in happy, holy unison lift up the voice —

"And sing of the Shepherd that died,
  That died for the sake of the flock.
Whose love to the utmost was tried,
  Yet firmly endured as a rock?"

Cannot they see "eye to eye," since He sets Himself before them as their gathering Centre, and the object worthy and able to fill their hearts?

Are there any waste places in the flock of God where the harp is mute and the music still? Are there places where "the love of Christ which passeth knowledge" is but a memory, or a doctrine, instead of a living and present reality; where the wolf has scattered; where pride and strife has caused the sheep to push with the side and shoulder, to push the diseased with the horns, till they are scattered abroad? (Ezek. 34:21) Alas! there are. Yet there is a remedy. It is to hear His voice afresh; to trace the way His feet have trodden and to turn in deep self-abasement to Him, and into the path in which He leads, and then shall we find true and practical unity, for seeing Him we shall see "eye to eye"; and then shall we render true praise, for Himself being the theme of it, we shall lift the voice together, with the voice together shall we sing.