Monday, September 27, 2010

Tasting the Glory of God

“For the day of the Lord of hosts shall come upon everything proud and lofty, upon everything lifted up – and it shall be brought low – upon all the cedars of Lebanon that are high and lifted up…” (Is. 2:12-13)

On the Lord’s Day those things which are proud and lofty are brought low. In particular, Isaiah points to the cedars of Lebanon that are high and lifted up. Those cedars of Lebanon that are high and lifted up are the cedars that were used to build Solomon’s temple. In other words, God says that His people have a mistaken understanding of God’s glory. As Pastor Leithart has pointed out, Israel has filled their land with gold and silver, horses and chariots, and has been led into idolatry by her alliances with foreign wives. All of these sins were specific warnings given in Deuteronomy to kings in Israel. He was not to multiply gold, horses and chariots, or wives that would turn his heart away from the Lord. Of course Israel ended up asking for a king in a great act of treason. Rejecting God as their king, they wanted to be instead a nation like all of the other nations. Israel wanted a glory like the other nations, and here in Isaiah, they have even turned even the gift of the temple into the glory of other nations. But God says they have turned His glory into shame, and He will come on the Lord’s Day and shake it down. He will even shake down the temple, even those things they think they have right. And this is fulfilled in the New Covenant in at least a couple of ways. First, it isn’t an accident that grammatically, there is a connection between the “Lord’s Day” and the “Lord’s Supper.” In Revelation, John is in the Spirit on the Lord’s Day and sees heaven open. The only other place this form of “Lord’s” is used is in 1 Corinthians 11 where Paul warns against abuses of the Lord’s Supper. He says that the Corinthian abuses are significant enough to cancel out their practice. He says that they are not celebrating the Lord’s Supper whatever they may think they are doing, and this does not render the meal benign, it rather makes it all the more dangerous. Paul says that some of the Corinthians are dead because of their arrogant abuses. Putting this all together, we need to be reminded that this meal has no automatic blessings and neither does our liturgy for that matter. Pride and arrogance in having the right liturgy, celebrating the sacraments rightly, having the best theology, warmest fellowship, best preaching, whatever, is all a sure way to have God come and bring us low. God does bless, and He does bestow His glory on His people, but it is not the glory of other nations. It isn’t respectable academic pomp and circumstance. It isn’t reasonable economic principles. It isn’t a place at the table in the political sphere. This is not a “religious ceremony” as though it fits along side of a Jewish Seder or Muslim Prayers. The glory of God is a crucified man on a Roman cross for the salvation of the world. The glory of God is grace and mercy and forgiveness for the world in a shared meal of bread and wine. So come with thankful hearts. Come taste the glory of the Lord.

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