“Help us, God of our salvation; for the glory of Your name, deliver us and purge away our sins for Your name’s sake.”
The nation of Israel stands in type as the representation of the kingdom of God. This all-encompassing realm contains Cain and Abel, Isaac and Ishmael, Jacob and Esau and every wheat and tare. Every thought, word and deed has been ordained and created for the good pleasure of the Master and all is under the command of the sovereign ruler who works all things after the power of His will. He has set forth in His divinely inspired scripture, which is “profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness”, many examples of the life He has predestinated for the seed of Adam and the manifestation of His seed in their appointed time.
This is a ‘song of praise by the Gatherer’ (Psalm of Asaph). The scriptures give ample testimony that it is Yehovah God who has scattered His people throughout the nations of this world and in the time pleasing unto Him, He gathers them unto Himself as the Shepherd gathers His sheep. It is evident then unto whom this praise is presented.
This song is set forth by the Spirit of God for the sons of God as they, being made partakers of flesh and blood, experience the contradiction of sin against themselves. This testimony is “written for our learning that we, through patience and comfort of the scriptures, might have hope” (Rms. 15:4). It is not an accusation of impropriety against the nation of Israel for their inability to be obedient to God and keep His Law nor is it a license to judge another for their weaknesses and failures. Though it is the natural penchant of man to think more highly of himself than he ought and be oppressive unto his fellow man, any son of the flesh who thinks that the children of Israel failed because of anything other than the inability of Adam to ‘hit the mark’, is blind and has not the truth.
Adam performed exactly as ordained according to the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God as he took and did eat. Sin entered into the world and death by sin that no flesh should glory in His sight for He is a jealous God who will not share His glory with another. Since the Lamb stood as He had been slain from the foundation of the world, Adam could do nothing but confirm that for which the blood was shed; the inherent inability of man to approach and satisfy the standard of the perfection of the Holiness of God. His actions did not surprise God who foretold them saying, “In the day that you eat thereof ye shall surely die” (Gen. 2:17). Neither were the eternal plans of the immutable Sovereign impaired one iota as the status of man was made evident as being ‘dead in trespasses and sin’.
The experience of the nation of Israel is the experience of the children of hope as they walk in the habitation of this dwelling. They are shown, by the grace of God, that no matter how many ways or how often the long-suffering of God continues to shew forth His majesty and power, the natural man, though he observes these daily, yet he cannot see. Every moment of each day the earthen vessel is sustained and maintained by the Lord and giver of all things yet the arrogant nature and blindness of the creature attributes praise and glory to his own feeble hands and the skill of his flesh. The Father reveals to His children these attributes and characteristics of Adam as being the vanity unto which He has subjected each of them. Thus as they crow in the grace and knowledge of His will they see more and more the corruption, wretchedness and uncleanness of the body of this death.
“O God the nations are come into Your inheritance, they have defiled Your Holy Temple; they have laid Jerusalem on heaps” (79:1)
It is impossible for anything unclean to enter into the Jerusalem which is from above or to defile the inheritance of Yehovah, which is His people. As the Messenger of Yehovah stood at the entrance of the garden to protect the Tree of Life so the Salvation of Yehovah preserves and protects His Beloved from any that defile or love the lie; “and there shall in no wise enter into it any thing that defiles, neither works abomination or a lie: but they which are written in the Lamb’s book of life” (Rev. 21:27).
So when the writer here makes the historical reference to the nations of the world encroaching upon the Jerusalem in Palestine, he is not insinuating that the Kingdom of God, which is not of this world, stands under siege by the inhabitants of the world. Although the events of the day manifested the climax of the systemic condition of the nation of Israel, who in complete deference to the commandment of Yehovah God, have continually made confederacies and alliances with the people of the land desiring to be like other nations, they more accurately manifest the condition of Adam. His gregarious nature draws him to the congregation of his fellow man. Adam, being of the earth, is earthly. He desires the things of this world in his insatiable lust to satisfy the needs of this clay pot and, being temporal, he looks unto the aboriginal populous of the land; having no other plain of reference it is impossible for him to look elsewhere for sympathetic understanding.
The encroachment of the nations upon the land promised unto Abraham is an amazing concept since Abram came from afar to a land that was not his. He was a stranger in the land and when Joshua crossed the Jordan River, he drove off the inhabitants of the land. According to the law of man, Ishmael was the first born of Abram and so the land should have gone to him through inheritance, but rather, according to the will of God, “in Isaac shall your seed be blessed” (Rms. 9:7) and so the sons of Isaac cohabited with the people of the land whom God left to prove Israel (Jud. 3:4). And prove they did! The nation of Israel was shown to be of the seed of man flawed, weak and stubborn; a rebellious people from the beginning. The land of Palestine is a type just as the nation of Israel is a type of the warfare which every child of grace endures during this time of habitation.
The nations of this world are indeed the sons of Adam. He desired to present himself worthy in the garden in his fig leaf apron and his children have been doing the works of their father ever since. The attempt to cover guilt while appearing proper is the identifying trait of all men being; “lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents unthankful, unholy, without natural affection, truce breakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers if those that are good, traitors, heady, high-minded. Lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; having a form of godliness but denying the power thereof” (II Tim. 3:2ff).
Man will forever be enticed by the numerous objects, days and seasons which have been venerated by those who have gone before. These traditions become an essential part of the lifestyle and customs of the people and are thusly made holy. When over the course of time a Holy day becomes obsolete or irrelevant, the ingenuity of the species assigns the time to another day so that the generation to come may have a vibrant long-lasting participation in the family tradition. God instructed Moses to tell the house of Jacob not to become entangled with the people of the land lest they draw away their hearts from Yehovah and cause them to wander after the gods of this world. He gave this instruction because He is the creator who knows the frame of man and his inherent need for the association ‘after his kind’. The sons of Jacob were called out of the kingdoms of this world and commanded to be separate from that which is their way by nature and the nation of Israel acted accordingly. They gave their sons to be husbands to the common people of the land and took their daughters to be wives for their sons. The bloods were mingled and the lifestyles co-joined as the traditions of man became the doctrine of God. The hearts of the people, not wishing to offend their indigenous hosts, assimilated these customs, raising up altars in the groves and sacrificing upon the high places; “Our fathers worshipped in this mountain and you say that in Jerusalem is the place where men ought to worship. Jesus answered unto her, Woman, believe Me, the hour is come when you shall neither in this mountain nor yet in Jerusalem, worship the Father. You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know, salvation is of the Jews, but the hour come and now is when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in Spirit and truth for the Father demands such to worship Him” (John 4:20ff).
The children of the Kingdom of God have been made to dwell in an earthen vessel. They co-habit in a perceived harmony until such time as it pleases the Father to reveal Himself in them. Then the Spirit within makes the truth manifest in their lives as they see the inhabitants of this world in the Adamic nature of their natural environment. As the light of His glory illuminates their way they see the injustice of the world and their own hypocrisy as they experience the vanity of man in and around them. They may, according to the doctrine of Adam be exalted for a while as they perceive themselves to have renounced the hidden things of the flesh being sanctified unto God but soon the Spirit shows them the uncleanness of their ways and the invasion of the flesh upon the inheritance of Yehovah.
The impudent nature of the creature thrives on the idea that they have risen above the common people of the land and become a servant of the Most High. Adam is the paragon of God’s creation and he loves having the preeminence over all things yet as the inner man grows in the grace and knowledge of the will of the Father, the natural man is seen in a different light. Rather than being perceived as the champion for the truth he is revealed to be the invading army against the habitation of Jacob, The inveterate hatred of Esau towards Jacob is the motivation behind the people (heathen) as the will of God is made evident. He told Rebekah that there were two nations in her womb and two manner of people being separated from her bowels. They would both grow to be mighty nations but the elder was ordained to be the servant of the other. God loved one and the other He hated and He set enmity between the two so that they cannot agree. This type is magnified in this song of praise to the Gatherer and is the experience of the household of faith as they sojourn in this foreign land.
The hatred of Esau for Jacob is under the command and control of the Sovereignty of Yehovah. He has assigned the manifestation of the wrath of man, which is praise unto God, against the body of this death. Thus the outward man is perishing being devoured by the nations of the world and the needs of the flesh through the fire of affliction and the pressing down of the hand of God; “for they have devoured Jacob and laid waste his dwelling place”. The devices of the flesh cannot touch the inner man but they serve to cause him to groan awaiting the deliverance; herein does the child cry out to the Father for salvation.
“Do not remember against us our former iniquities. Let Your tender mercies confront us for we are brought very low”
The pride of the desperately wicked heart of man causes him to aspire to be like God. This is not only the deception of the lie given unto the sons of the dust but it is also the manifest evidence of his guilt. Adam never confessed his guilt before god yet everything in his life and in the nature around him, openly confessed that things were changed because of his actions. Notice that God made coverings for them to hide their nakedness but they never surrendered the works of their hands. The indwelling Spirit of the children of hope shows this guilt to His Beloved each and every day in every thought, word and deed of the creature. The children, seeking control and redress for the infirmities of the outer man, groan within as they endure this contradiction of inability against themselves.
As the sin and guilt of man is made white before the children they understand that in their flesh dwells no good thing. They have a deep appreciation for the intercession of Yehovah for His people and the preciousness of that shed blood. Though they never completely comprehend the height, depth, length or breadth of the love of God while in this habitation, yet they know that if He should regard any guilt, they have no place to stand before Him. It is this constant reminder of the pollution and guilt of the flesh which drives the children to the Father with a thankful heart to Him for He alone is worthy. He took upon Himself the sin of His people and becoming that sin He made the perfect sacrifice for sin in the shedding of His precious blood. Thus as the children are made aware of their guilt in Adam so they cry out for His continued mercy upon them confident in His immutability; “for I am Yehovah, I do not change, therefore the sons of Jacob are not consumed” (Mal. 3:6).
This confidence is the hope of the children. They are given by the Spirit the assurance of faith that they are safe and secure in the hands of the Father and that no man can remove them from this safe haven. The nature of Adam continues his assault against the high places of God and seeks out His sanctuary but no man knows, even the corporate understanding of all men throughout all the ages, where the Father dwells. Neither has he strength nor power to approach unto the Holiness of God to gain audience or to seek His favour.
The Refiner’s fire is consuming that which is unprofitable and thus the outer man is perishing. The inner man is renewed daily by the Spirit as he walks by faith. The eyes of Adam seek proof but the Spirit presents nothing for him to see, even though the salvation of Yehovah is in plain sight before all flesh. The nations of man thusly demand the proof of God and His work; “wherefore should the people say, Where is their God? Let Him be known among the nations in our sight as He revenges the shed blood of His servants”. To this the arrogant nature of man rises up in his attempt to prove God to the world. He espouses the theology of his senses and struts as proud as a Peacock thinking himself the emissary of Yehovah but as the servant Job was taught as Yehovah demanded of him, “I know that You do all and though cannot be hidden from You. Who is he that hides counsel without knowledge? Therefore have I spoken that which I do not understand; things too wonderful for me, which I cannot know” (Job 42:2).
This is not a one time lesson which one may master and then move on to the next level of divine consciousness. It is the daily application of the revelation of reality in the eyes of the children of light. They see their inability in Adam and are made thankful for the finished work of Messiah yet the whiter their sin is made to them the greater the anguish for they know that in Adam they have no right, nor portion nor memorial in Yehovah. The desire for the judgment of God against the evil doers is a righteous cry of the saints for the consummation of His love upon the habitation of this dwelling wherein it will be consumed. This prayer is not only for themselves for they earnestly desire that the Lord would be merciful unto the fellow inhabitants of the dust and bring the time of this subjugation unto vanity to a close for all His children.
This bitter experience can only be understood with open eyes and a sensitive heart, neither of which man has any power over. When his eyes were opened and he saw he was naked, his cognitive abilities prompted him to seek a solution in the fruit of the field by the works of his hands. And when Yehovah God revealed the insufficient nature of his actions and the corruption of his ways, for indeed the fig leaves removed from the vine would soon wither and die, man was not turned unto his Creator neither was he thankful. When Abel was led of the Spirit of God to do that which was right in the eyes of the Lord his reward was to be killed by his own flesh and blood, his dead body given to the fowls of the air and the beasts of the field; “You shall be hated of all MEN for My name’s sake”.
This is how those born from above are brought to the place where they feel like the pelican in the wilderness wherein there are no fish. This is why they are as isolated as the sparrow upon the rooftop without the fellowship and comradery of their fellow Aamites. They are strangers and sojourners in a foreign land where the water is bitter, the habitation formidable and the labours burdensome. The customs of the people of the land appeal to their natural instincts but they are bitterly unfulfilling to the inner man; yet they have been assigned of the Father to endure this contradiction for good. They cannot walk in the flesh for they are not agreed to the ways of Adam. They know that the ways of God are not the ways of man and while Adam walks, labours and functions after his natural ability, the children of the Israel of our God walk by the faith of the Son of God who loved them and gave Himself for them.
“So we Your people and sheep of Your pasture will give You thanks for ever: we will show forth Your praise to all generations”
The sacrifice of thanksgiving is offered up by the Lord’s people as he makes them acutely aware of who they are in Adam and what they have been delivered from. Only those who have this understanding know the preciousness of the shed blood of the Lamb. They have been taught that the eternal love of the Father for the children caused Him to make the atonement for them as He who knew no sin became the sin of His people. They are aware that he made Himself of no reputation by the power of His own will bringing salvation unto Himself by His right hand and His Holy arm.
These are the sheep of Yehovah who hear His voice and follow Him. They have the assurance of faith that He who laid down His life for the sheep will never leave them nor forsake them for He is the Good Shepherd. He leads them by still waters and causes them to lie down in green pastures: He restores the soul as the heathen rage and the earthen vessel returns to the dust.
These are made thankful as their nature in Adam is revealed and their nakedness discovered for the evidence is clear that ‘Without free grace they know they are lost’. They are given a testimony of hope and enabled of the Spirit to give an account of the hope that is within them. They cannot boast in their abilities for all works were completed in and by Messiah; thus they sing, “Worthy is the Lamb that was slain”. They know that they are His workmanship created in the Anointed Salvation of Yehovah unto good works yet they also know that he has worked all our works for us.
The good news of glad tidings of great joy is unto all men upon the face of the earth, who are born, neither of the flesh nor of the will of the flesh but by the Spirit. It is the same message from generation to generation; “and they sung a new song saying, You are worthy to take the book and to open the seals thereof, for You were slain ad have redeemed us to God by Your blood out of every kindred and tongue and people an nation and has made us unto our God kings and priests and we shall reign on earth” (Rev. 5:9ff).
The song of praise of the Gatherer is the all inclusive declaration of the finished work of the sower, the seed, the husbandman, the fruit and the harvest. Praise be unto his name that He reigns sovereign over all, even the minutest of details.
Your servant in Christ,
(Elder) Chet Dirkes
October 1, 2017