W W Fereday
From the Bible Treasury Vol. 20, page 371.
The Psalms, as is generally known, are divided into five parts (though not so marked in our A.V. English Bible), each book having its own particular character stamped upon it. The fourth book, in which Psalm 93 is found, has, as its central theme, the bringing in of the First-begotten into the world, to hush the groaning of His tried faithful ones, to put down iniquity, dealing particularly with the great adversaries of the last days, and to set up His kingdom in the midst of the tribes of Israel, extending thence over all the earth.
"Jehovah reigns." This will be true when Christ appears, and not till then. Psalm 102 establishes the immense fact that the once humbled One and Jehovah are one. In the day of His sorrow He said, "He weakened my strength in the way; He shortened my days. I said O my God, take me not away in the midst of my days: thy years are throughout all generations." The answer was, "In the beginning thou, Jehovah, hast laid the foundation of the earth, and the heavens are the work of thy hands" etc. (Compare Hebrews 1, Psalm 102). Thus in His humiliation and distress was His title owned, and in the day when He builds up Zion He shall appear as Jehovah in His glory. His kingdom will be introduced by terrible judgments, all scripture being witness. Babylon must be dealt with and removed (though this rather by the agency of the Beast and his ten kings before Christ actually comes out of the heavens), the tribes must be purged of their rebels, the Assyrian laid low, and the Beast and the man of sin consigned to the lake of fire. The thought is quite erroneous that the reign of peace will be brought about by quiet means, such as the propagation of the present gospel of God's grace. God's purpose by the gospel is to gather out a people for His name, to be co-heirs with Christ, members of His body by the Spirit while He is yet on high. It is not denied that the gospel is efficacious for all the world. Blessed be God, it is; but scripture nowhere states that the whole world will receive it: everywhere the contrary is taught. But in spite of man's unbelief and rejection of His truth, God is silently carrying out His purposes for the honour of His Son. He sits at the Father's right hand, expecting till His enemies be made His footstool; then will He come forth, not only appearing for the destruction of some foes but sending the rod of His strength out of Zion, ruling in the midst of His enemies, and striking through kings in the day of His wrath.
It is equally wrong to suppose that the reigning time is now. God overrules no doubt, at all times restraining, if not judging iniquity, and causing man's evil to subserve His will; but it cannot yet be said in the language of our Psalm, "Jehovah reigns." The times of the Gentiles are still running their course, the Beasts have not yet had their dominion taken away, nor has the Son of man been invested with His royal power. To suppose that the reigning time has come is to fall into the disastrous error of the Corinthians to whom the apostle said, "already ye are full, already ye are rich, ye have reigned as kings without us and I would to God ye did reign, that we also might reign with you." Reigning time had not come for the apostle, whatever the carnal Corinthians might think. He faithfully bore the stigma of the cross, and was content to be as the filth of the world, and as the off-scouring of all things, quite unwilling to be in honour and comfort where his Lord had only a cross and a tomb. It is Babylon who glorifies herself, and lives deliciously, and says in her heart "I sit a queen and am no widow" (Rev. 18:7). The kingdom during the present is connected with tribulation and patience (Rev. 1:9; Acts 14:22); presently it will be displayed in power and glory. Now Christ is hidden, then He will be manifested; now the righteous suffer and the wicked are exalted, then the righteous will be exalted, and the wicked be as ashes beneath the soles of their feet. Now creation groans and travails, then it will be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the liberty of the glory of the children of God. How complete the contrast!
Then will be the time of Jehovah's intervention. "He is clothed with majesty; Jehovah is clothed with strength, wherewith He has girded Himself," the result being that "the world also is established that it cannot be moved": a moral expression I doubt not, for the foundations of the earth will not then as now be out of course, but all settled and sure under Christ. It is no new power, for we read, "Thy throne is established of old; thou art from everlasting," but it is power put forth. God has permitted iniquity to have its way — has allowed the floods ("of ungodly men" Ps. 18:4) to lift up their voice; but in the day of which we speak, He comes forth in His strength to put evil down. Lawlessness shall no longer rear its audacious head: "Jehovah alone shall be exalted in that day." Still it is a comfort to the soul in the midst of the turmoil of the ungodly, that "Jehovah on high is mightier than the noise of many waters yea, than the mighty waves of the sea." The Jewish remnant in the sorrows of the last days will prove the sweetness of this; our hearts know it in our measure too and rest there.
Two important principles come out in the last verse: the sureness of the word of God, and the holiness that becomes His house for ever. "Thy testimonies are very sure." What a resting place for the true heart in the midst of the rising tide of ungodliness and confusion, when iniquity is triumphant, and the power of God is not put forth! We are here on distinctly Jewish ground, as elsewhere in the Psalms, but we get the word of God brought forward in the same way in the Second Epistle to Timothy, where the evil of Christendom is set forth in dark colours by the Spirit through the apostle. The scriptures in all their perfection are set before us as our only resource; they are given by inspiration of God. They are able to make wise to salvation, and are profitable for doctrine, for reproof. etc. And Timothy was to be careful to preach the word, even when the mass have itching ears, and turn from the truth to fables. The word of God His testimonies furnish a solid ground for faith, when all else bids fair to give way. Do we really believe this?
But further, however deep and widespread the evil, faith ever maintains what is due to God; hence we read, "Holiness becomes thine house, O Jehovah, for ever." God's nature and character never change, and His claims are never lowered, whatever the day may be. Faith refuses to go with the stream, however smoothly flowing, but contends for holiness, and that of a collective as well an individual character. We are never free to walk with evil — better far to walk alone than do so. The truth of God must be maintained apart from evil at all cost, if we would earn His approval. It seems to be an axiom with many in our time that God's way is to continue in the midst of evil, groaning over it, and protesting against it. Yet such is not the path marked out in scripture, but separation from it all to the Lord's name. The world will tolerate a protestant, not a holy separatist. What can be plainer than the injunctions of 2 Tim. 2? "Let every one that names the name of the Lord depart from iniquity." "If a man therefore purge himself from these (i.e., the vessels to dishonour), he shall be a vessel to honour, sanctified, and meet for the Master's use, prepared to every good work." This is God's path and the best for our souls if we would do His will. In the "great house" holiness is not the characteristic, but a form of godliness without the power, and the very features of heathenism under the cover of the Lord's name (compare Rom. 1; 2 Tim. 3). Separation from evil is God's principle, though a costly one oftentimes to those who carry it out. But our God always will have His 7000: may it be our honour to be numbered by Him among them. W. W. F.