“HE shall drink of the brook in the way: therefore shall he lift up the head.”
We can hardly write intelligibly on this portion of this one hundred and tenth Psalm, without noticing that which is embraced in the whole Psalm. The kingdom, the priesthood, the conquest, the judgment and the passion of our Lord Jesus Christ are all embraced in this wonderful Psalm, and indeed we cannot separate any one of these from the others when we contemplate the work which Christ came into the world to do. He was born King, and inasmuch as one cannot be a king unless he has subjects over which to reign, so when by faith we view the birth and the life of our gracious King in his incarnation, we are not surprised to hear John the Baptist say: “The kingdom of heaven is at hand,” nor to remember the gracious prophetic words of the psalmist found in this Psalm, (the first three verses) which say: “The Lord said unto my Lord, Sit thou at my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool. The Lord shall send the rod of thy strength out of Zion, rule thou in the midst of thine enemies. Thy people shall be willing in the day of thy power, in the beauties of holiness from the womb of the morning: thou hast the dew of thy youth.” This presents his glorious kingdom, as it is set up in the hearts of his people, and the source of his mighty power and love. Jesus was also made the High Priest of our profession, and so he is heralded in the fourth verse of this one hundred and tenth Psalm on this wise: “The Lord hath sworn, and will not repent. Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchizedek.” As his kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, so also his priesthood is forever and ever. He has entered into the holiest of all, and now sitteth at the right hand of the Father, to make intercession for us. Again, he is set forth as the Captain of our salvation, bringing unto us victory over death, hell and the grave. “The Lord at thy right hand shall strike through kings in the day of his wrath.” And again, he is presented as our righteous Judge, causing equity and justice and truth to shine in Zion. “He shall judge among the heathen, he shall fill the places with the dead bodies; he shall wound the heads over many countries.” Having therefore a faith’s view (which is spiritual knowledge) of the object of his coming into the world, can we not reecho his own words while he was here in the flesh: “Ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter into his glory? No man has ever chosen to suffer of his own natural will. Jesus, in his humanity, did not choose to suffer, (of which his own words do testify while he suffered in the garden, “O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me.”) but he came in the fullness of grace, choosing in the spirit of grace, determined to do the will of his Father, and into whatsoever straits the Father’s will led him he was willing to pass through them all. Thus we have now come to the words of which I have been requested to write: “He shall drink of the brook in the way: therefore shall he lift up the head.” Mr. Donald McKay, of Scotsville, N. S., desires to know whether this drinking was for the joy or the sorrow he met in the world. I will say in the beginning, that it was for both, for both were included in the great work which he came to do.
“He shall drink of the brook in the way.” As God formed every stream of water which flows through the earth, from the smallest rivulet to the mighty ocean, of the water which he himself created, so he formed also the living stream (brook) out of which his darling Son must drink in the way. The contents of the brook were decreed of the Father before ever the earth was formed or the mountains brought forth. All along the way he must travel the brook was very bitter; the contents of the brook were blackness, darkness, sorrow, tribulation and death. The first draught of this bitter stream which he partook was when he must needs leave the glory he had with the Father before the world was, and come into a sin-cursed world to find his bride; he took upon himself the flesh of her whom he came to save. “But when the fullness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, to redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons.” Now he is in the way, and must drink of the brook in the way. The next draught of which he must partake was the opposition to his coming, his own whom he came to save denied him. “He came unto his own, and his own received him not.” He must tread the wine-press alone, and “drink of the brook in the way.” While there was ineffable joy in the accomplishment and fulfillment of his great mission, yet mixed with every draught from the brook were the vile and poisonous effects of sin. All the days of his incarnation were spent in silent suffering; love, humility and patience marked all the way he took, and by these he drank of the brook in the way.
The original definition of a brook, is water springing up out of, or through marshy ground; that kind of ground where the foul and poisonous slime of the earth is gathered in low places. So the brook from which our dear Savior drank in the way was fetid with the vile odors of sin and iniquity. When he assumed the relationship of our Savior and Elder Brother he went down into the low places of Edom, he partook of our humanity, in consequence of which he was “a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief,” he had knowledge of every evil under the sun, he knew all our heart and the deceitfulness thereof, he took all of the sins of all his people and bore them in his own body. What bitter draughts, yet he must drink to the very dregs. Yet in this very agony of soul he rejoiced with exceeding joy in his great and mighty work, rejoiced in bringing redemption to his beloved, rejoiced in the strength which enabled him to do the will of the Father.
“Therefore shall he lift up the head.” In the completion of the great work which he came to do, after death, hell and the grave had been overcome, he not only arose from the grave, taking up the life he had laid down, in all its beauty, and majesty, and fullness of love, but he also brought up with him out from the bowels of the earth his beloved bride, and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel. Therefore doth he lift up the everlasting gates, becoming head over all things to his church, he “is the head of all principality and power,” exalted and lifted up in his own power and glory, which his Father gave unto him. As the Captain of our salvation he conquered all worlds, and brought to naught all the powers that be; then could he lay down the sword and lift up the head, and then with all his precious train enter into that rest that remaineth to the people of God, making intercession (at the right hand of the Father) continually for the church in its travel through these low grounds of sorrow.
To take a retrospective view of the bitter draughts of which he partook “of the brook in the way,” and of his sufferings in his love for his chosen that “therefore shall he lift up the head,” let us call to mind the words of prophecy (Isaiah liii. 7-12:) “He was oppressed, and he was afflicted; yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth. He was taken from prison and from judgment: and who shall declare his generation! for he was cut off out of the land of the living: for the transgression of my people was he stricken. And he made his grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death; because he had done no violence, neither was any deceit in his mouth. Yet it pleased the Lord to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in his hand. He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied: by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities. Therefore will I divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong; because he hath poured out his soul unto death: and he was numbered with the transgressors; and he bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.” Thus “he shall drink of the brook in the way: therefore shall he lift up the head.”
B. F. COULTER.
Signs Of The Times
Volume 74., No. 22.
NOVEMBER 15, 1906.