Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Highly Exalted Kingdom (part 2 of 2)

Further instruction is given to “Sing to the Lord, all the earth!”  (16:23a)  This singing is not restricted to Israel alone, but is appointed to be sung by all the earth, as if David was saying that God’s kingdom was meant to be worldwide.  This would follow naturally from his mentioning of the Abrahamic covenant, by which God promised to bless all the families of the earth through him.  It had been designed to be a worldwide kingdom, but Israel had consistently and would consistently fail in this respect, evidenced by their constant subjection to foreign powers, both inside and outside of their land.  The Messiah to come, however, would not fail to fulfill this covenant, and we know this to be true. 

Furthermore, it is insisted that God’s people “Tell of His salvation from day to day.  Declare His glory among the nations, His marvelous works among the peoples.  For great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised, and He is to be held in awe above all gods” (16:23b-25).  Not only is this a call to duty for the people of God, declaring the message of His Gospel for all time, but in the day that Messiah would break forth into history, the man that presumed to rule the world, that being Caesar, was held to be a god, and even the son of god.  It would be said of Caesar, in the time of Jesus, that “Splendor and majesty are before him; strength and joy are in his place” (16:27), but the ruler of the world was nothing but a poor imitation of the true Ruler of the world.  All of his supposed splendor and majesty and strength and joy paled in comparison to that which was due to Jesus.

In this song, and in the establishment of his kingdom as a precursor to the kingdom to come, David and the people of Israel did not merely look forward to the establishment of God’s rule over all nations and exaltation over all gods.  They looked to a renewal of God’s good creation as well.  They were not looking for an escape from this world, but for the proper re-establishment of the dominion of the creature made in God’s image over a creation that the Creator God of Israel had originally declared to be very good, which had been brought into corruption through man’s rebellion, but would one day be restored and renewed.  That is why, in this song, after being reminded to “Worship the Lord” (16:29c), which people do as they “bring an offering and come before Him” (16:29b), as in so doing  “Ascribe to the Lord the glory due His Name” (16:29a), we hear the words “tremble before Him, all the earth; yes, the world is established; it shall never be moved” (16:29). 

In the setting up of the kingdom of God’s people, we find it proper to “Let the heavens be glad, and let the earth rejoice, and let them say among the nations, ‘The Lord reigns!’  Let the sea roar, and all that fills it; let the field exult, and everything in it!  Then shall the trees of the forest sing for joy before the Lord, for He comes to judge the earth” (16:31-33).  Yes, He comes to judge the earth, for that is in the area of His dominion, and in addition to that, through the final consummation of His kingdom, the Lord will once again judge His creation to be “very good.” 

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