Scripture Notes.


Psalm 67.

There are several most important principles in this brief and beautiful psalm. The first is, that the blessing of the nations is dependent upon the restoration of Israel to divine favour. The remnant cry, "God be merciful unto us, and bless us; and cause His face to shine upon us; that thy way may be known upon earth, thy saving health among all nations." (vv. 1, 2.) That this is God's order for the blessing of the world is clear from many scriptures. (See Rom. 11:11-15; Isa. 27:6, etc.) In this day of grace the gospel goes out to Jew and Gentile alike, and "whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved." (Rom. 10.) But there will be no such thing in the present dispensation, during the time of Israel's unbelief, as the conversion of nations. When, however, at the Lord's appearing, the Deliverer comes out of Zion and turns away ungodliness from Jacob, and all Israel shall be saved, blessing will flow out, according to our psalm, to the ends of the earth: Israel will blossom and bud, and fill the face of the world with fruit. Another thing may be observed in connection with this prayer. "God be merciful unto us," they say, "and bless us … that thy way may be known upon earth," etc. They desire blessing that their God may be glorified among all nations. This is a very high order of prayer, and cannot but remind the reader of that of the blessed Lord Himself, when He said, "Glorify thy Son, that thy Son also may glorify thee." We might well be instructed by these perfect models - both bearing the stamp of the same workmanship of the Holy Spirit, whether in the hearts of the remnant, or in the lips of our Lord. The second thing to be pointed out in the psalm is, that the happiness, both of Israel and the Gentiles, in the millennium, will depend upon Messiah's righteous government. "Let the people praise thee, O God; let all the people praise thee. O let the nations be glad, and sing for joy; for thou shalt judge the people righteously, and govern the nations upon earth." (vv. 3, 4.) This is in complete contrast with the present time. Now grace reigns through righteousness (Rom. 5:21), and grace is the source of our joy and blessedness (Eph. 2); but then, during the kingdom, while all proceeds from grace, inasmuch as all is based upon the death and resurrection of Christ, it is His righteous reign which will secure and maintain the blessing of the earthly saints, as well as be the theme of their thanksgiving and praise. (See Psalm 72.) Lastly, we learn that the fertility of the earth is bound up with the blessing of Israel and the nations. "Let the people praise thee, O God; let all the people praise thee. Then shall the earth yield her increase," etc. (See Isa. 55:12-13; Ezekiel 34:23, 27.) Thus the curse of the ground on account of Adam's sin (Gen. 3) will be abrogated when Christ, as the Son of man, has all things put under His feet. (Compare Haggai 2:15-19; Amos 9:11-15.) There is even more; for they add, "God, even our own God, shall bless us. God shall bless us; and all the ends of the earth shall fear Him." It will be a time of universal earthly blessing.


Isaiah 60:1.

At the end of the previous chapter the Redeemer, it is said, shall come to Zion; and it is as based upon that the exhortation is given, "Arise, shine; for thy light" (the Redeemer) "is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee." The light now possessed in the person of the Redeemer, dwelling in Zion, is to be displayed. Note, moreover, that this is in contrast to the state of the whole earth. "For, behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the people: but the Lord shall arise upon thee, and His glory shall be seen upon thee." Jerusalem, irradiated with the light of the glory of the Lord, shines in the midst of the dense moral darkness around. It was so with the Lord Himself at His first coming. "In Him was life; and the life was the light of men. And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not." (John 1:4-5.) So also with the believer, as the apostle writes: "For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, for the shining forth" (as it should be) "of the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ." (2 Cor. 4:6.)

Another thing may be observed. When the light shines, whether through Jerusalem or through the believer (as indeed it was also through our blessed Lord and Saviour), it is for a testimony - a powerful testimony - to Him who has enkindled it, yea, to Him whose glory is the light. We thus read in our chapter: "And the Gentiles shall come to thy light, and kings to the brightness of thy rising." (v. 3; compare Rev. 21:23-24.) The Gentiles behold, and are attracted to the glory that has dawned upon the earth; and "the city of the Lord, the Zion of the Holy One of Israel," becomes thus the centre of universal blessing, the source of all being indicated in the words, "The Lord shall be unto thee an everlasting light, and thy God thy glory." (v. 19.) In dwelling upon this blessed scene, it is well to remind ourselves that God, in His grace, has set believers, in anticipation of that day, as lights in the midst of the darkness; and if this treasure - the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ - is possessed in earthen vessels, it is that the excellency of the power which causes it to shine forth may be of God, and not of us. Christ in glory is ever the light in the New Testament; and when our light shines it is simply the exhibition of Christ in the life. E. D.

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Christ never makes a breach except to come in and connect the soul and heart more with Himself; and it is worth all the sorrow that ever was and more to learn the least atom more of His love, and of Himself, and there is nothing like that, like Him, and it lasts.

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Occupation with our state will never bring us one whit nearer the Lord; it will only distress, enfeeble, and enslave our souls. Occupation with Christ will produce every moment increasing conformity to His image. The true remedy therefore for a bad state is Christ so completely filling our vision - Christ in what He is and in what He has done - that self cannot be seen in the light of His glory. State is not everything; but Christ is everything; and in proportion as we learn this lesson will our state meet His mind.