For there the thrones of judgment stand, the thrones of the house of David.
I. THE CIVIL AND RELIGIOUS ARE THE TWO SIDES OF MAN'S RELATIONS. There is no conceivable antagonism between them ideally, whatever there may be actually. Man is a being who is set in relations with God and with his fellow-man. And one set of relations is as right and as necessary as the other. A man's relations with God are the concern of religion. A man's relations with his fellow-man are the business of civil governments. No man can meet his natural obligations by exaggerating the importance of either one of those relations and neglecting the other. No man can be truly religious and neglect his civil duties. And this the apostles clearly taught the early Christians.
II. THE CIVIL AND THE RELIGIOUS CAN BE HARMONIOUSLY BLENDED. They always have been in the most manly and most Christian man. They have been in the representative nation of Israel. They have been in the healthiest and best periods of modern nations. They can be when the sense of God dominates both. - R.T.
For there are set thrones of judgment.
1. True worship leads to just valuation and correct thinking. In the hurry of life God becomes a shadow, and in the controversies of thought He becomes a symbol; but when we bow our heads with adoration and awe, we place ourselves in an attitude to see the King in His beauty; and all the time we are engaged in worship, God is quietly reasserting His supremacy over our lives. In industry and commerce we are daily tempted to consider our fellow-men as means towards an end, bound to us by the cold relationship of a cash nexus or a business transaction. As we move in the social life around us we are tempted to group our fellows according to caste and class, to clique and circle, but when we escape to the sanctuary and turn to the great sacrifice of Christ for forgiveness, we see our fellow-man as he is, a fellow-sinner for whom Jesus died, a brother saint, heir of God and joint-heir of Jesus Christ. The sanctuary corrects the estimates of the world, and the thrones of judgment modify the rules and maxims of men. Outside the sanctuary property assumes vast dimensions, inside it dwindles into an incident of life. Outside sin is an inevitable trifle, inside it is the one tragedy of the world, crucifying Christ and wounding God. Outside, eternity is a guess and a chance, a dream and a shadow, but inside it is the great reality, the place of adjustment, reunion, and satisfaction. As men in a mist see every object disfigured and exaggerated, so in the atmosphere of worldliness we see everything out of its true shape and perspective, but in the sanctuary there are thrones of judgment. In worship we unconsciously escape from the dominion of maxims and thoughts that are merely worldly and material.
2. The reasons for this beneficent effect are not far to seek.(1) Worship brings a man to the right standpoint. Vision is so often a matter of position. To learn how to see is to learn where to stand. The attitude of worship is a vantage ground which commands spiritual prospects and unseen landscapes, the land that is very far off, the world in its need, and the King in His beauty.(2) Worship removes the disturbing element. Inaccurate judgments are due to passion and prejudice, to interest and greed, and all these are forms and modifications of selfishness. It is self that spoils the vision and upsets the balances. But worship is the surrender of the self, the renunciation of the great obstacle and the solemn repetition of our Saviour's words — "Not My will but Thine be done." Self is displaced and God is enthroned, and as the result the worshipper thinks as his Lord thinks, and his judgment is just and his valuation accurate.(3) Worship quickens all the faculties of a man's life. We often see amiss because we do not see with the whole soul. Our judgments are wrong because they are partially made. It takes a man in the full totality of his gifts to see God and to understand God's world. But there are many influences which rob us of this full-orbed activity. First of all there is sin. The man that has sinned away his purity has not only spoiled his character, he has mutilated his soul and robbed himself of the power of seeing God; and it is the same with the man who has become material, cynical, pessimistic, or self-sufficient. Then there is specialism. The age is more and more an age of specialization. Men are simply compelled to throw their whole energy into certain lines and to neglect certain parts of their nature altogether. You all remember the lament of Charles Darwin that he had lost the taste which once he had for music and poetry, and had become a mere machine for observing facts and grinding laws out of them. It is an undisputed fact that many men are in a parallel condition to-day, and to be in this state is to look at God and the world with half an eye and half a soul. The corrective for all this is worship, for reverence is the highest activity of the soul. Like the fly-wheel in a factory, it calls into movement all the multitudinous wheels of man's complex personality. Worship steadies the reason, chastens the emotions, vivifies the imagination, braces the will, spurs the spirit of inquiry, and gives unto man the full and free possession of all his faculties vitalized and alert.(4) Worship gives to the soul that hospitality which saves it from being deluded by dogmatism and self-sufficiency. There is more light to break forth from God's world and God's Word, and our hardest task is to keep our eyes open and our hearts hospitable towards the dawn. But this is the attitude of worship, for, as the shell on the shore is open to the waves of the sea, as the bud on the tree is open to the rays of the light, so is the soul of the worshipper open to the mysterious influences that perennially stream from the unseen and the unknown.
(T. Phillips, B. A.)
TopicsDavid, David's, Judges, Judgment, Line, Placed, Rulers, Sat, Seats, Stand, Thrones
Outline1. David professes his joy for the church
6. And prays for the peace thereof
Dictionary of Bible ThemesPsalm 122:5
LibraryAugust the Eighteenth the Church of the Firstborn
"Pray for the peace of Jerusalem." --PSALM cxxii. And my Jerusalem is "the church of the living God." Do I carry her on my heart? Do I praise God for her heritage, and for her endowment of spiritual glory? And do I remember her perils, especially those parts of her walls where the defences are very thin, and can be easily broken through? Yes, has my Church any place in my prayer, or am I robbing her of part of her intended possessions? And is the entire Jerusalem the subject of my supplication? …
John Henry Jowett—My Daily Meditation for the Circling Year
For the Peace and Prosperity of the Church. --Ps. cxxii.
Ps. cxxii. 7-9.
O 'twas a Joyful Sound to Hear
Of Four Things which Bring Great Peace
Beginning at Jerusalem
There is a Blessedness in Reversion
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