On Both Sides of the Sea

"And when they had sung an hymn, they went out into the mount of Olives" (Matthew 26:30).

"In the midst of the church will I sing praise to thee" (Hebrews 2:12).

We Christians are called to be a triumphant people. Through the riches of the grace of God we can sing our songs of praise to Him, but in this we are like the Israelites when they saw their enemies dead upon the seashore; then in the gladness of their freedom from the cruel oppressor they could sound the loud timbrel and sing the high praise of Jehovah, for He had manifested the greatness of His excellency in their deliverance (Ex. 15). But they did not sing on the other side, when the waters rolled darkly before them, the fierce foe pressed hard behind, and the mountains reared their rugged heads on either side. But Jesus sang on bout sides of the sea.

He "divided the sea, whose waves roared," and "made the depths of it a way for the ransomed to pass over." He divided it by passing through it, while all its fury was spent upon Him, and now in resurrection He can celebrate His great triumph, surrounded by those whom He has set free; and so is fulfilled the word, "In the midst of the church will I sing praise to Thee." But He also sang on the other side. When deep called to deep, when the waters were gathered to compass Him about, when the waves and billows of judgment uprose to pass over Him: as the darkness of Gethsemane and the deeper darkness of Calvary, with all its shame and woe and ignominy and unspeakable sorrow, confronted Him, then He lifted up His voice and sang to God.

The disciples may have known the words and the tune, but we cannot suppose that they entered into the spirit and meaning of that praise-psalm; He was the singer in deed and in truth.

It is written, "Whoso offereth praise glorifieth Me," and herein was that passage fulfilled and God greatly glorified, even though no other heart appreciated or understood what Jesus then did.

When the last "Praise ye the Lord" of that song was reached, He spoke of Himself as the Shepherd — the Shepherd, who, for the sake of the flock, was to bear the smiting of Jehovah's. rod, and in view of this smiting He had to say, "My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even to death." But in the presence of that unspeakable sorrow He fully approved God's will concerning Him, and to its last drop He would drink the cup that His Father gave Him. In this holy determination, conscious of God's approval of His faithfulness, He sang forth His praise as He entered the conflict. Be assured the music of that singing will never pass away; it will sound for ever in the Father's ear as the melody of a trust that never faltered and a love that was stronger than death.

So He sang then and so He sings now. But now He has companions who can join in the singing that He leads: His brethren, who owe their every joy to His sorrow, who are placed, through His death, beyond the reach of judgement's wrathful sea; who are one with Him in nature and life, and to whom He has revealed His Father's name. These can share His joy, and so can sing in concert with Him, for they stand with Him in the unclouded light of His Father's love, and this is their place for ever. But how our hearts are moved in the midst of our joy, and for ever will be, as we remember that He sang on the other side of the sea.