“O our dear Heavenly Father, enable us to believe in Your glorious presence with us and in Your merciful disposition toward us. Enable us to rejoice in redemption accomplished. Evoke from our hearts genuine emotional rejoicing and excitement in the contemplation of all that You have given us in Christ. Amen”
COME, YE THANKFUL PEOPLE, COME
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Come, ye thankful people, come, raise the song of harvest home;
All is safely gathered in, ere the winter storms begin.
God our Maker doth provide for our wants to be supplied;
Come to God’s own temple, come, raise the song of harvest home.
All the world is God’s own field, fruit unto His praise to yield;
Wheat and tares together sown unto joy or sorrow grown.
First the blade and then the ear, then the full corn shall appear;
Lord of harvest, grant that we wholesome grain and pure may be.
For the Lord our God shall come, and shall take His harvest home;
From His field shall in that day all offenses purge away,
Giving angels charge at last in the fire the tares to cast;
But the fruitful ears to store in His garner evermore.
Even so, Lord, quickly come, bring Thy final harvest home;
Gather Thou Thy people in, free from sorrow, free from sin,
There, forever purified, in Thy garner to abide;
Come, with all Thine angels come, raise the glorious harvest home.
The circumstances of our public worship have changed considerably from those represented in this passage. We no longer have one designated location or building where we must go in order to find the special presence of God. Our Mediator promised that wherever His church gathers His special presence will be in the midst of them, however few be their number (Matt. 18:20). The glory of God is not restricted to appointed symbols as was the case with the temple; neither, is access to that glory limited to one special class of the Lord’s people. All who believe in the Lord Jesus Christ are priests unto God and may enter His presence personally and directly by prayer (Heb. 4:14-16). Yet, though there are important differences in our worship to that described in 1Kings 8, there are at least six realities which we continue to hold in common with those who worshipped at the temple. Can you name them?
Those realities are as follows:
1) The nature of God is forever the same. He is the only God Who keeps His covenant promises to His servants. And not only does He keep covenant, He does more than promised for He is the God of all mercy.
2) The demand for reverence before God remains the same. King Solomon bowed before Jehovah and we must do the same, at least in our hearts.
3) The necessity of propitiation as represented in the mercy seat of the ark continues. We have no hope with God apart from the satisfaction of Divine Justice by the blood of Christ.
4) Sin disrupts fellowship with God and may bring Providential chastisements.
5) God is willing to forgive and restore His people when they turn to Him in sincere repentance and humility of soul.
6) True worship brings joy and exhilaration to hearts that truly love God.
In the study and application of this passage few elements are more imperative than understanding how the symbols of the temple, especially the Holy of Holies, have been everlastingly fulfilled and removed in Christ. Hebrews 9 provides much light and help in this understanding. Christ, as the High Priest of His people for all eternity, entered the Most Holy Place once for all time with His own precious blood, having obtained eternal redemption (Heb. 9:12). Now, we who believe on Him have the privilege of bringing our worship and petition directly to God, trusting His merits as our credentials.
We must recognize that even though our worship, both publicly and privately, lacks the impressive outward displays of the temple and its ceremonies it is far superior. Redemption is accomplished. God’s presence is ours directly, not through representatives and mediators. The glorious presence of God by His Spirit dwells within our souls as individuals and even more powerfully within the gathered church. The excitement experienced by the Israelites at the dedication of the temple and at special solemn feasts should be experienced by us daily and weekly.
Click here for Matthew Henry’s Commentary.
Truth in Practice
Being one of God’s covenant people does not shelter us from the harmful temporal consequences of sin, as indicated by Solomon’s prayer. When we sin and are brought under the rebuke of God’s Fatherly rod, there is hope for restoration and healing. Yet, the enjoyment of that restoration and healing requires that we have personal dealings with Him in repentance.
Q. What is justification?
A. Justification is an act of God’s free grace, wherein he pardons all our sins (Rom. 3:24; Eph. 1:7), and accepts us as righteous in his sight (2 Cor. 5:21) only for the righteousness of Christ imputed to us (Rom. 5:19), and received by faith alone (Gal. 2:16; Php. 3:9).