The Man of God's Right Hand
We have in this psalm Israel’s wail of sorrow because of the awful condition into which their sin and folly had plunged them, and we find in the detail of it the nature of the distress which had come upon them.
The vine brought out of Egypt and planted in the most favourable circumstances, that it might bear fruit for God, was wasted and ruined. The hedges which had protected it were broken down. It was plucked and devoured. In themselves they were hopelessly helpless. Thus they cry in their distress that God, the Shepherd of Israel, may shine forth for their recovery.
Then we may remark how the Spirit of God turns their eyes away from all that they are in themselves and from all that which they have to bemoan because of their sin, and seeing how He alone can succour them, the prayer goes up, “Let Thy hand be upon the Man of Thy right hand, upon the Son of Man whom Thou madest strong for Thyself” (v. 17).
And that prayer will be answered in their blessing in a coming day.
Now in common with Israel we have all to learn the bitter lesson of what we are in ourselves, and we all know the breakdown by which we are surrounded, for the Church of God to which we belong is in a thousand pieces outwardly and in its responsibility a faithless witness for God.
Not one of us can throw a stone at another for we have to prove the truth which was expressed many years ago concerning our fallen condition,
“Who knows thee well
Will loathe thee with disgust
Degraded mass of animated dust.”
Have you not found it so, beloved friends? Most of us have I doubt not; but some may be proving it now and discovering that all that they are in themselves, as belonging to the fallen stock from which we all come, is utterly fruitless for God. What misery of soul is known during the proof. It has been expressed in verse (somewhat altered), as follows
“Under the law with its ten-fold lash,
Learning, alas, how true;
That from sin in me, I can not shake free,
While the law says You! You!! You!!!
“Hopelessly still did the battle rage—
‘O wretched man’ my cry,
While deliverance I sought, by some penance bought,
And my soul cried I! I!! I!!!”
Blessed indeed is the believer who is led by the Spirit of God to see that the flesh in him has been judged and brought to an end before God in the death of Christ, and that he lives before God in the life of Christ risen. With joy he then can go on to exclaim,
“Then came the day when my struggles ceased,
I saw though my eyes were dim;
I was dead and risen again with Christ,
And I joyed in Him! Him!! Him!!”
Thus it is we are brought to turn from our earnest but ineffectual efforts to extract good from evil and to rejoice that in Christ is all that is needed for power for a walk for His glory and for a future in His own blest company and likeness. And now we sing,
“Oh! glorious Saviour, Son of God,
God’s Man, the Man for me;
In Him I live, to Him I’d live,
With Him, like Him I’ll be.”
Delivered through Him we are free to be devoted to Him and to dwell with Him eternally.
He who is God’s delight becomes our delight too, we are in liberty now to study Him who is the Man made strong by God for Himself.
In Psalm 40:8 He is heard saying, “I delight to do Thy will, O my God.” He came to accomplish all that was in God’s mind, and let us remember that only One who is Himself God could carry out all God’s will, whatever that will might be.
It is interesting to learn that the word translated will, in the sentence just referred to, might be translated better by good pleasure. That particular word occurs in the Psalms three times only. Once, as we have seen, in Psalm 40:8, with regard to our Lord’s mission here; again in Psalm 103:21, concerning angels, “Ye ministers of His that do His [good] pleasure,” and yet again in Psalm 143:10, where the prayer is heard from a sinful one like ourselves, “Teach me to do Thy will [good pleasure] for Thou art my God.” How wonderful, beloved friends, that you and I, through God’s grace, may be brought to desire to do in measure that which Christ came to do in all its fullness.
He is the Man of God’s right hand, the Man of God’s power, the Man of God’s resource, the Man of His counsel, who was ever in His mind before Adam’s creation or fall. It is He in whom all God’s delight is found, and God would have us find all our delight in Him as well.
Still in connection with His being the One made strong for God—for His glory, I would turn you to Malachi 3:1-14. Here we are shown that Christ the Messenger of the Covenant will come for the recovery of Israel for God, and that He will purify the sons of Levi so that they may offer unto the Lord an offering in righteousness, and so that the offering of Judah and Jerusalem may be pleasant unto the Lord as in the days of old.
Have we not here the answer—in part at least—to the heartbroken supplication of Psalm 80 already referred to? The Man of God’s right hand, the Son of Man made strong for Himself, will bring this to pass.
Do we not find joy in considering Him in His wonderful pathway here as He trod that path of life? In every footfall of His blessed journey it was the good pleasure of Jehovah which was prospering in His hand. It was the fulfilment of the purpose of His Father for which He had come. And in Him was all perfection manifested.
As born into the world we see in Him holy humanity. He was the “holy thing” born of the Virgin. In this He was unique. In Adam unfallen there was innocent humanity, in you and me there is sinful humanity; in Him alone holy humanity. God was manifest in flesh. There in the manger cradle the angels saw for the first time their Maker, and they saw Him stooping low that He might perform all that was in the mind of God. And we love to dwell upon that stoop of lowly devotedness. We know it was in grace for us He came, but let us not forget that it was the glory of God, which was before Him. It was for Him, He had come. Our blessing was included in it, doubtless; but it was for the Father’s good pleasure He was here.
Still following Him in our thoughts we view Him in the privacy of the Nazareth life growing up before Jehovah as a tender plant, until the Spirit of God is pleased to draw back the veil for a moment, and we behold Him in His blessed holy boyhood. In the Temple in Jerusalem He hears and asks questions of the doctors, and when discovered there by His mother, He enquires, “How is it that ye sought Me? Wist ye not that I must be about My Father’s business?” Should we not lay emphasis upon the word sought? I think we should do so. He asks, as it were, “Did you not know where to look for Me? Should I not be in My Father’s interests?” But though momentarily His glory shines forth thus, we see Him retrace the way to Nazareth, and behold Him in His perfection there, subject to Joseph and to His mother.
For another eighteen years the veil closes upon Him there, until He began to be about thirty years of age, and He comes forth to be dispensationally according to the mind of God and to be baptized of John Baptist in Jordan, taking His place, though sinless in Himself, with the excellent of the earth in their first right step in repentance. No longer, then, can the witness of the heavens be withheld; they are opened upon Him and the Father’s delight in Him is declared as His voice is heard saying, “This is My beloved Son in whom I am well pleased.”
Following Him now in His blessed ministry among men we hear Him say of His journeyings, “He that sent Me is with Me, the Father hath not left Me alone; for I do always those things that please Him” (John 8:29). His goings are full of moral excellence in every detail. His steps are the steps of the good man, ordered by Jehovah, who delighted in His way. His meat was to do the will of Him who had sent Him, and to finish His work. In all we see perfect devotedness, perfect subjection and perfect obedience unto death, “even the death of the Cross,” as we hear Him cry in view of that hour of sorrow untold, “O My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from Me: nevertheless not as I will but as Thou wilt.”
Then when His glorious work of atonement is done we see Him strong for God still. Anticipating this time, He had prayed, “Father, the hour is come; glorify Thy Son, that Thy Son also may glorify Thee: as Thou hast given Him power over all flesh that He should give eternal life to as many as Thou hast given Him” (John 17:1-2).
Here He is heard claiming to be glorified by the Father in order that He may give eternal life to as many as the Father had given Him. For the Father’s pleasure He would bring them into the joys of eternal life—that eternal life which is only expressed in Himself. This was made good at Pentecost in part, but may we not say that it is made good in you and me today, in bringing us to share with Him all that His love can share with us. He acts for the Father’s pleasure still.
How beautifully in accord with this were His previous words, “All that the Father giveth Me shall come to Me; and him that cometh to Me I will in no wise cast out” (John 6:37). He is the Receiver here of all who are brought to Him by the Father. We use this word in the Gospel message, but the truth stands in association with this thought—He is the One who welcomes all whom the Father brings to Him, and never will He cast out one thus brought.
Is there one here who has not yet come to Him? I would say to such, “Come to Him even now in this meeting, He will receive you as He has received us. Many of us have known Him through decades of years, and oftentimes have we failed Him. But He has never failed us and He will never fail one who comes to Him. “For the Father’s glory He receives all who come, and gives to them eternal life—for their good is it? Of course it is, but God has made Him strong for HIMSELF, and for the fulfilment of His blessed counsels of grace, and the Son receives all the Father brings to Him and gives them eternal life that there may be many sons before the Father’s face, and that the Father may have that which He seeks, even the worship of hearts that know Him, and, knowing Him, love Him and, loving Him, adore Him. For this it was He suffered all the darkness and distance and distress unutterable of Calvary.
It has often been said that our Lord went through Samaria that He might bless a poor lone sinner there. And this is a true saying, and our hearts are drawn out to Him who has been designated “The Man of Sychar’s well.” We rejoice in the grace that was told out there, but may we not say that He went through Samaria to find a worshipper for the Father—one into whose ear He, who ever dwelt in that hiding-place of love, the bosom of the Father, might tell the story of the One He knew so well?
And did He not go through our Samaria to find us for His Father’s glory, beloved? Who shall utter all the desolation He knew when He passed through that outside place. “It was to save me from judgment,” perhaps you say. Yes, that is true, but let me add to it a little. It was to save you so that you might be for the Father’s pleasure, that you might be near now to the Father’s heart and soon be in the joys of the Father’s house.
Can you not turn away from yourself and all that you are in yourself and let the Father’s delight in His Son be your delight? You are called to this.
The church so dear to Christ’s heart is being gathered out from the world and brought to know the Father as “many sons” before Him for His pleasure. That church Christ loved and loves and will love eternally. For it He gave Himself at Calvary. For it He serves today on high, cleansing it by the washing of water by the word. For it He will come and present it to Himself, a glorious church, a fit companion for Him in His day of glory so soon to dawn. All this is the carrying out of the Father’s pleasure for Him. The Man made strong by God for Himself will not fail in any particular but will accomplish all.
And in the coming Kingdom and glory it will be the same. He will glorify His God and Father throughout that period of blessing for men. He will bring into order everything for His Father’s pleasure until every enemy is subdued under His feet. Then when there is not a discordant note on the great harp of Creation, not one string that has not been tuned by His pierced hand, “Then shall the Son also Himself be subject unto Him that put all things under Him, that God may be all in all” (1 Cor. 15:28).
The Man of God’s right hand will have fulfilled all that He set out to do for the glory of God.
What a charm there is for our hearts to consider Him thus and what rest in knowing that His life is ours.
Now as I close may I say a few practical words? It is always a pleasure to me to link Hebrews 10:7, 9, where the words are quoted from Psalm 40, “Lo, I come to do Thy will, O God,” with Hebrew 13:20-21, where the prayer is heard to the God of peace that He may make us “perfect in every good work to do His will, working in us that which is well pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ.”
Think of this, beloved friends. We may be set free from all that in which we were once, from every chain that bound us, from every burden which oppressed us that we may be brought by His grace to tread in His blessed steps and to accomplish God’s good pleasure.
Shall we not put ourselves into His hand that He who is made strong for God’s glory may mould and form and fashion us so that we may be for God’s delight now, worshippers within the veil and witnesses outside in the world which knows neither the Father nor the Son.
But you may ask, “What can I accomplish for God’s good pleasure?” There comes to my mind a simple illustration. A gentleman was passing a humble home when he heard the sounds of most exquisite music being played upon a piano. He stood some time and listened, charmed by the harmonies that fell upon his ear.
The next day, when again passing in the same direction he made bold to call at the house and to ask if he might be allowed to see the lovely piano which he had heard played upon the evening before. The mistress of the house, with some surprise, answered, “I don’t understand you, we have no lovely piano here.” He replied “But madam, I listened to the most beautiful music yesterday, and stood outside the house enraptured.” “Oh” she remarked, “we had Herr Mendelssohn here last evening and he was playing on our piano. The piano itself is a poor affair, but certainly it was Herr Mendelssohn who was playing upon it.”
That was the secret. It was the master-touch that brought such music from the instrument.
Now, beloved friends, you and I may be the instrument for the Master to touch to bring out life-music for God. He has all power to maintain us here through all that which may come upon us (and we might have to die martyr deaths yet, who shall say?) and He has power to produce from you and from me, as from strings on the great harp which He will bring fully into accord with the divine mind, music delightsome to the ear of God even now.
“O glorious Saviour, Son of God,
God’s Man, the Man for me.”
Extracted from “Ministry of the Word”