Bible vignettes
What we thought about...



13th September, 2010

Seeing God articles
Faith & Reason articles
Bible Teachings articles

Jesus' causes

Believers feel inexpressible joy contemplating the resurrection from the dead and being received into Jesus' presence. After all, direct and intimate communion with Jesus Christ and, ultimately, the Father, is what eternal life is all about. In His presence is "fullness of joy. and pleasures forevermore" (Ps. 16:11). It goes without saying that only those who embrace everything Jesus Christ stands for can hope to number among His friends. Jesus' disciples will, logically, actively support and love the same causes Jesus is committed to. What be they? The Beatitudes are, of course, a great starting point. But here I'd like to take a look at a Psalm - Psalm 45 - which also gives us a remarkable insight into some virtues that Jesus Christ particularly treasures. Indeed, the values espoused in that Psalm probably are all expanded in the Beatitudes; problems of semantics, however, can obscure the similarities. The Psalm ends with a spectacular promise for those who embrace Jesus' favorite causes:

I will make Your name to be remembered in all generations; therefore the people shall praise You forever and ever (vs. 17).

You probably know people who crave fame and glory. Little do they realize that true, lasting glory belongs to those whom Jesus Christ loves, whom He will raise up, prosper, and honor at His coming and whom He will "marry" (Eph. 5:25-27). This Psalm tells us about those who will attain to the glory that He alone has to give by marriage to Him. That "the King" spoken of in verse 1 can be identified with Jesus Christ is made clear in Hebrews 1:8-9. Now for the pertinent part:

Gird Your sword upon Your thigh, O Mighty One, with Your glory and Your majesty. And in Your majesty ride prosperously because of truth, humility, and righteousness (vss 3-4).

King Jesus will conquer all those who resist His cherished values, identified here as "truth ('emet), humility ('enavah), and righteousness (tsedeq)". (Obviously, these three do not constitute an exhaustive list of Jesus' cherished values, but they must be of critical significance.) Words are merely symbols of ideas. The question of precisely what ideas each of these words stands for is not as easy to establish as one might think. We will not launch into a major word study (actually, it should be called "idea study") and expound all the nuances of each word. But for our purpose here, an elementary exposition will suffice. Readers are urged to conduct their own serious study of the concepts touched on.

"Truth" is the most difficult concept to summarize. The Hebrew word 'emet appears about 125 times in the Old Testament, while its cognate 'emunah another fifty or so times. Both words appear to overlap extensively with two related yet different concepts best expressed by the English words "truth" and "faithfulness". However, contextual

studies suggest that 'emet' s centre of gravity is found in the idea of truth as distinct from error. This truth/error couplet comes in two flavors. Psalm 15:2 describes a man of God as, among other things, one who "speaks the truth in his heart". In this case, truth connotes honesty and trustworthiness; what comes out of such a man can be believed. He is not a liar trying to mislead his hearers. But the word carries more weight than merely suggesting a passion for honesty. Psalm 23:23 says,

Buy the truth ('emet), and do not sell it, also wisdom and instruction and understanding.

Leaving aside the question of why it should be bought but not sold, truth here is evidently something a person should seek to absorb from "outside", like wisdom and understanding, attributes that do not have their origin within us.

A common denominator of both versions is a passion for logical, sound, clear thinking. A godly person desires to be able to distinguish truth from error in what he hears and also to speak truth rather than error. He hates both being misled and misleading others, and thus exerts considerable effort to distinguish truth from error, to properly process and analyze facts. Such a person is not opinionated, he is informed and thoughtful.

Humility ('enavah) appears to stand for our concept of meekness or modesty. Jesus Christ will conquer arrogance, egomania, self-importance. A humble person recognizes that he is nothing by comparison with God and that any special abilities and talents he has come from God, who "makes you differ from another" (1 Cor. 4:7). This world puts a premium on utterly absurd things - good looks, business acumen, singing ability. All of these things God has made and has given. Being puffed up because of them is as silly as taking credit for one's birth. Jesus Christ will, in His time, exalt those who are "poor and of a contrite spirit, and who tremble at My word." (Is. 66:2).

As for tsedeq, or "righteousness", the reader is urged to read "The difference a word makes" about the meaning of this word. In sum, it refers to justice. A godly person will compass land and sea in an effort to deal justly with his fellow man. He will seek to be scrupulously impartial in all his dealings, even recognizing that his friends and loved ones, not to mention the political party of his persuasion, are not always in the right in any dispute! He will always love his nearest and dearest but not automatically take their side. He will avoid horns and haloes thinking like the plague.

Such people are "pure in heart" (Matt. 5:8) and will, in the next instant after their death, be raised from their graves and revel in the joy of "seeing God". Superman, sadly, fought a never-ending battle for only two out of the three, so I guess the pure in heart won't be seeing him there.

Psalm 45

1 My heart is overflowing with a good theme; I recite my composition concerning the King; My tongue is the pen of a ready writer. 2 You are fairer than the sons of men; Grace is poured upon Your lips; Therefore God has blessed You forever. 3 Gird Your sword upon Your thigh, O Mighty One, With Your glory and Your majesty. 4 And in Your majesty ride prosperously because of truth, humility, and righteousness; And Your right hand shall teach You awesome things. 5 Your arrows are sharp in the heart of the King's enemies; The peoples fall under You. 6 Your throne, O God, is forever and ever; A scepter of righteousness is the scepter of Your kingdom. 7 You love righteousness and hate wickedness; Therefore God, Your God, has anointed You With the oil of gladness more than Your companions. 8 All Your garments are scented with myrrh and aloes and cassia, Out of the ivory palaces, by which they have made You glad. 9 Kings' daughters are among Your honorable women; At Your right hand stands the queen in gold from Ophir. 10 Listen, O daughter, Consider and incline your ear; Forget your own people also, and your father's house; 11 So the King will greatly desire your beauty; Because He is your Lord, worship Him. 12 And the daughter of Tyre will come with a gift; The rich among the people will seek your favor. 13 The royal daughter is all glorious within the palace; Her clothing is woven with gold. 14 She shall be brought to the King in robes of many colors; The virgins, her companions who follow her, shall be brought to You. 15 With gladness and rejoicing they shall be brought; They shall enter the King's palace. 16 Instead of Your fathers shall be Your sons, Whom You shall make princes in all the earth.17 I will make Your name to be remembered in all generations; therefore the people shall praise You forever and ever.


Bible teachings articles

What readers say

See related blog "Death to egomania"


Believe it or not, we aren't the only ones to have opinions and hold convictions. If you want to know what others think, then click away to the left and you will be transported to the entertaining, thought-provoking world of public opinion.


Home Blog Archive

Navigation Bar