"I have brought you unto myself."

Exodus 19:4.

1868 62 There are two subjects of special importance, between our souls and God: how God made us His — and the new associations into which He brings us, as suited to Himself.

Christ, in the efficacy of the work which He finished on the cross, is the answer to the first of these subjects: and a risen, ascended Lord, who lives in the presence of God for us, "crowned with glory and honour," is the ground of the last.

Another point of great moment to us individually, is how we enter into these; for unless we know that all which separated us from God once, when we were "dead in trespasses and sins," is put away for ever; and that we are brought nigh by the blood, which, though shed on earth, is sprinkled where God is — there can be neither confidence nor boldness for worship "in the holiest."

These two subjects may be further considered in the light of scripture: the book of Exodus, teaching how God makes a people His own; and the Chronicles, what are the associations which He forms for Himself and them.

A passing glance will show us the difference between a people coming out of the house of bondage, with their kneading-troughs and borrowed jewels of gold and silver, and the same people in the possession of all that Jehovah could bestow on Solomon and the nation, as the outward expression of God's delight in them. Another glance will tell us that the power of God in Egypt, when He was making this people His own, manifesting itself by plagues and judgments against Pharaoh, so that none escaped; whereas, in the brightest times of Solomon's reign, there was the unrestrained power of God in blessing, filling all hearts with rejoicing and praise.

Leaving these outward distinctions, let us bring into prominence the great fact, that deliverance from Egypt was by the overthrow of all enemies; and that relations with God are established in the peace, rest, and glory, which suit Himself, when there is no longer an enemy to overthrow! The triumphant song at the Red Sea was after Israel saw Pharaoh, his captains, chariots, and horses sink as lead into the depths.

It is thus God makes us His own. The power of the foe, from first to last, must be overthrown; so that we can look behind, and know there is nothing to pursue us; and we can look before, with the certainty that there is no power "to separate from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord."

The redemption song of Exodus 15 takes in these two extreme points in its compass, commencing with "the Lord hath triumphed gloriously," and concluding with "all the inhabitants of Canaan shall melt away, till thy people pass over, O Lord." Our deliverance from every adverse power is not to be confounded with our peaceful associations with God Himself.

The Red Sea was but a preliminary step to this blessed consummation, as was also the subsequent crossing of Jordan. What a grand inauguration of a people, as we see them led out from cruel bondage into Canaan's rest; and what an expression to us of a yet greater calling, when the heavens shall open to let in the new-born race, made one with Christ in life, righteousness, and glory!

God knows how, in faithful love, to record in His book the exodus of His Israel; and the night of their departure is to be as sacredly kept throughout their generations, as will be their entrance into the promised land under the Captain of the Lord's host in the time of Joshua. Who has not marvelled at the records which the loving care of God has so minutely preserved — their departures, journeyings, encampments! The cloud by day, and the pillar of fire by night; all tell of the faithful love that accompanied them every step of the way.

Still, this is the history of a migratory people in wilderness circumstances, as yet on their road to Canaan and the glory. The tabernacle, rich in its types and altars, with a mercy-seat surmounted by the cherubim which looked inward in rapt surprise, must yield to the temple, and to the Mount Zion, and the city of the great king, and the day when these same cherubim shall look outward with delight upon the grand result of accomplished redemption.

Moses and Joshua have served their day and generation, and are succeeded by Solomon, in whom will be displayed the associations which Jehovah had prepared for Himself and His people. Peace, prosperity, and blessing are to be the characteristics of these illustrious times. Foundations will now be laid; hewn stones and timber of Lebanon; castings from the plain of Jordan; Hyram the king of Tyre, and his cunning workmen; yea, all must become tributary to the erection of this magnificent temple of the Lord.

The dawn of that day is come, when the treasures entrusted to the Levites shall find their proper place of abode, according to these chronicles: "And the priests brought in the ark of the covenant into his place, to the oracle of the house into the most holy place, even under the wings of the cherubims, and they drew out the staves of the ark." Another character is to prevail in these new relations with Jehovah; like our anti-typical ark, the Lord Himself, no longer to be known after the flesh, a stranger upon the earth, in humiliation, or as completing a work given Him to do! Long ago He has said, "It is finished," and "they drew out the staves," though these staves unseen from without, will always be the wonder of those who are in heaven, as they were once viewed "from the ark, before the oracle."

That great mystery of "God manifest in the flesh," has given birth to another, even to Him that "was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father." So again, if we recall Him as the sacrificial Priest, we are taught, "this man after he had offered one sacrifice for sins, for ever sat down on the right-hand of God." What in antitype are "the staves drawn out," but a finished work below, and a Priest sat down in the heavens? This, as we have said, becomes the basis of our intercourse with God, founded on accomplished redemption, and a triumphant resurrection.

The first book of Chronicles opens to the reader its new genealogies, all tending to the subjects we are considering: how God makes a people His own, and how He brings them, finally, into association with what suits Himself. From the genealogies, we pass onward to 1 Chron. 10, the setting aside of Saul the first king, the man who "was higher than any of the people, from his shoulders and upward," in keeping with the original act of God. "He taketh away the first, that he may establish the second."

These Chronicles lead on to the anointing of David, the incoming one, "with his mighty men, who joined him with the bands of the children of Israel at Hebron, to turn the kingdom of Saul to him, according to the word of the Lord." Conflicts and victories mark their path, and clear the way of all obstructions; while the charge to Solomon, the numbering of the Levites, the courses of the priests and singers, the offerings for the temple, and David's prayer to God, culminate in Solomon "magnified," who demands, "What can the man do that cometh after the king?"

In the first part of this paper, we observe how prominent was the sin-offering, when the question had to be settled, how God made a people His own; but now we shall learn, that our associations with Him must be maintained, or our acceptance in "the sweet savour" of Christ. "And they sacrificed sacrifices unto the Lord, and offered burnt offerings … for all Israel, and did eat and drink before the Lord on that day with great gladness," and they made Solomon the son of David king the second time … and Zadok to be priest." God is thus establishing His own relations with this people, called out from the iron bondage of Pharaoh, and the flesh-pots of Egypt, to find in nearness to Himself and with Himself, the secret of all present joy and blessing.

Like every previous relation, in which God and man are first found, all promises fair. Let us give a backward glance at "the cool of the day" when the Creator and the creature were together in Eden, and again at Noah and his altar and the covenanted blessing with every living thing; or later, at the hosts of Israel and their triumphant song before the murmurs of the wilderness, in order to be on our guard at this new inauguration of the temple of Jehovah and its glory, brought into connection with the responsibilities of so great a king! Everything goes well and responds in tune with these new relations. Nothing remains but for Jehovah Himself to sanction the whole by His approval; nor will He hesitate to crown, as He alone can. "And the Lord magnified Solomon exceedingly in the sight of all Israel; and bestowed on him such royal majesty as had not been on any king before him."

The second hook of Chronicles will tell us of the actings of this king on "the throne of the Lord." All that could mark and distinguish royalty has been given him; but God will challenge him as a man and say, "Ask what I shall give thee," and bestow on him further the wisdom and knowledge that gave him the precedence as a man over his fellows. Thus God pours forth His resources upon this favoured king and nation, refreshing Himself and them in these rich associations.

The building times may now safely begin, and the great foundations must be laid upon that eventful Mount Moriah (so full of moral meaning), which had taught Abraham and David their respective lessons; the first by an Isaac "received back from the dead in a figure," and the last at "the threshing-floor of Ornan," where mercy rejoiced against judgment as the angel's sword was sheathed for ever by the command of the Lord. Nothing out of heaven could compare with these intimacies between the friend of God at this mystic mount in patriarchal times, nor between the man after God's own heart and this Moriah when the kingdom days were come.

What secure foundations of blessing and glory are here laid in figure! But what Christian, able rightly to divide the word of God, and taught no longer by type but in fact, does not see here the true foundation God has laid, which is Jesus Christ, and the shadow of that rock on which the Lord builds His Church, and against which the gates of hell shall not prevail? Who does not, moreover, discover in these types "the chief corner-stone in whom the whole building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord?" What new and precious associations are these between the risen Christ as Head, and His body on the earth, through the descended Spirit at Pentecost!

But to return. The building of the temple, the one object of every eye, heart, and hand, is finished, and the priests and Levites have brought into their place all that prefigured "God manifest in the flesh." "And it came to pass when the priests were come out of time holy place … and praised the Lord, saying, For he is good, for his mercy endureth for ever, that then the house was filled with a cloud."

The relations between Jehovah and His own are now at their height of blessing from the centre of God's dwelling place to the extremest bound of the habitable earth. The Queen of Sheba will come from its very ends to hear the wisdom of Solomon; and listen, look, and wonder, till, beholding the ascent by which he went up to the house of the Lord, there was no more spirit in her!

What shall we, who are children of another hope, and of another standing, say to these things? If Israel's God has shown His delights among the sons of men by coming down from the heavens, and forming these relations with Himself; how well may He challenge "eye, and ear, and heart of man to conceive what He has prepared for them that love Him" in these later times!

In brief, the Old Testament is the history of God come down to this world, and to men upon it, in the varying forms we have noticed; and the New Testament is the record of man (in the person of Christ) gone up into the heavens. We know Him who is there to prepare a place for us; and He has promised "I will come again, and receive you unto myself, that where I am, there ye may be also." Let us bear in mind, these two characteristic differences of the Old and New Testament, that we may discern "the manifold wisdom of God," opened out by the ministry of the prophets first, and fulfilled in the Messiah Son of David according to the flesh, when in the midst of Israel.

Observe, we must not confound this with the other ministry of the Holy Ghost by the apostles, which reveals to us a second man, first-begotten from the dead, and now Head of His body the Church. Incarnation brought Him into this world, and gave Him to the hopes of His earthly people; but resurrection was the point of His departure for the heavens, where He gives Himself to us — the birth-place of all our hopes and their fulfilments.

How well may we bid defiance to every fear, now that Christ is on the throne of the Majesty on high, and encourage one another in the largest expectations of our souls, as taught by His own words: "All that the Father hath is mine." May we increasingly find our repose and rest of heart, where God has found His, in the Son of His love.