The Heirs of Promise

Notes of an Address on Psalm 16; Hebrews 2:10-18; 6:11-20; 10:19-22; 12:1-2

In Psalm 14 the Lord takes account of the most favoured nation upon the earth. He looks down from heaven upon the children of men to see if there were any that did understand, and who had been left to grow wild, without cultivation in the open field. But Israel had been taken up and placed in relationship with God as His people, and upon them He had bestowed much labour. It is to this people He comes seeking some reward for all His toil, But He has to say, “They are all gone aside, they are together become filthy; there is none that does good, no, not one.” He had no fruit for His labour from those to whom He had given the law. But though the people were ostensibly under Law, grace had always been active, and what pure law could not effect, had been effected by grace; and in the midst of a nation of rebellious sinners there was found through grace “the generation of the righteous” (v. 5). The characteristics of this generation are pointed out in Psalm 15, where the question is raised as to who is to abide in Jehovah’s tabernacle, and dwell in His holy hill. Then in Psalm 16 we find the blessed Lord Himself entering upon the path of faith; the spirit in which He trod that path, and the goal which for one moment He never lost sight of. He enters upon the path lifting up holy hands, and for the joy that was set before Him He endures the cross, despising the shame. In grace He associates Himself with this generation of the righteous. They were the heirs of promise, who were to abide in His tabernacle and dwell in His holy hill, when God would rest in His love. They were not of much account in this world, but in the mind of heaven they were. The distinction was not what they were after the fleshly order, but what they were as born of God. These receive Christ, and He identifies Himself with them.

His soul speaks to Jehovah. It is a divine Person who speaks here, but a divine Person who had taken the form of a servant, that He might accomplish the counsels of the Godhead, and because of this His soul says to Jehovah, “My goodness extendeth not unto Thee.” This is His attitude with reference to Jehovah; He is a servant upon earth to accomplish the will of God. But as to these “excellent,” He says, “in whom is all My delight.” Men might esteem of no account at all those few followers of His, but His delight was in them. They were the Father’s gift to Him, the heirs of promise, the sons whom God had counselled to bring to glory, and He was come to bring them out of this world into the purpose of God. But it was impossible for them to move one step in this direction while death lay upon them as the wages of sin, and while it was a terror to them, and therefore because the children were partakers of flesh and blood He took part of the same, that He might give Himself a sacrifice for their sins, break the power of death, annul the oppressor, who on account of the fear of death held them in bondage, and through death open up a way right from where they were lying into glory. He has borne the judgment, declared to us the love of God, the Father’s name, and has from sin, and has gone into heaven itself and secured for us the place that was given us in divine counsel before the world began. For us He took flesh and blood, for us He died, for us He rose again, for us He has been tempted, and suffered being tempted, for us He has gone into heaven, and for us He appears in the presence of God, a merciful and faithful High Priest. Not one of these things He needed to do for Himself, He has done all for us.

And now we can take our journey. He shows us the path of life. He has gone before us, like a shepherd before His sheep, and we may follow without the least fear.

 “For the path which my Saviour has gone
    Has led up to His Father and God,
  To the place where He’s now on the throne,
    And His strength shall be mine on the road.”

We only need to keep our ear open to His voice, and patiently follow where He leads, and in this way prove ourselves His true sheep, of whom He says, “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me, and I give unto them eternal life, and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of My hand” (John 10:27-28). The place into which our Forerunner has gone is ours now as much as ever it will be when we have reached it. As to this, we have the word and oath of God to the heirs of promise, and Christ gone in to secure the place, so we may have strong consolation who have fled for refuge to the hope set before us. Everything for God, and for the heirs of promise, is secured in Christ risen, who has gone within the veil, and our hope lays hold of what is established in Him. Nothing that has its origin outside the veil abides, and our trust is not in any visible thing.

The great thing for us is to draw near, that we may get better acquainted with the things which are established in Christ, where He is inside the veil, for it is there that the eternal things are, and if we get a taste of them we are not likely to allow ourselves to be detained by anything around us in this perishing world. The place into which our great Forerunner has gone will be the attraction for us, and we will be the more ready to lay aside every weight, and sin which doth so easily beset us, and run with endurance the race set before us, looking off unto Jesus. We need constantly to have our ears open to His voice, our eye fixed upon the goal, and our hands lifted up in dependence upon God. The possibility is that our ears might become dull of hearing, our eyes fall with covetous desire upon the well-watered plains of this world, and our hands hang down, and our knees become enfeebled, and a grave in the wilderness might become our portion, instead of the rest of God, to which He who speaks from heaven calls us, and which is our hope. If we have faith and endurance we will prove ourselves to be of the generation of the righteous, and the tabernacle and holy hill of God will be our eternal dwelling place.