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Light and Truth: The Old Testament: Chapter 62 - The Meeting Between the Sinner and God

By Horatius Bonar

      "Thou meetest him that rejoiceth and worketh righteousness; those that remember thee in thy ways: behold, thou art wroth; for we have sinned; in those is continuance, and we shall be saved." -- Isaiah 64:5

      THE verse preceding is quoted by Paul (1 Corinthians 2:9), in reference to "the hidden wisdom which God ordained before the world unto our glory," so that we may take it and our text, as indicating God's thoughts of wisdom as coming out in his dealings with us in Christ; his dealings with Israel, his dealings with the church; as seen both at the first and the second comings of Christ; his dealings with man in grace, that is, according to his own free love. "My thoughts are not your thoughts; neither are your ways my ways." In our text we have a specimen of God's thoughts and ways.

      I. God meets man. "Thou meetest." Distance is our natural condition; sin produced it; Adam shewed it; man loves it. As far from God as possible. Depart from us, men say. So the prodigal went into the far country. Man wants no meeting with God. He would rather that the distance were preserved forever. The thought of meeting God is unpleasant. Hence the irksomeness of religion, the weariness of Sabbaths, even though the meeting be of the vaguest and most formal shadowy kind. He must meet Him at the judgment day, but he tries not to think of this, and hopes that he may be ready when it comes. But though man will not draw nigh to God, God draws nigh to man. He does not love the distance and separation. He comes nigh. He did so in the person of the prophets and such like messengers. He did so specially in the Angel of the Covenant, and in the Word made flesh. But his object is not merely to visit earth, but to come up to, to draw near to each of his creatures. He is desirous of a meeting, a loving friendly meeting, not of judgment, or reproof, or vengeance, but of grace. Isaiah speaks as one who knew this. "Thou meetest," he says; that is, thou art in the habit of doing so. It is thy practice, thy wont to meet the sinner. This is our message in the gospel, God wants to meet you,--to meet each of you. He proposes a meeting. He tells you that there is no coldness nor unwillingness on his part; that all things are ready. Come, meet with me, I wish to meet with you.

      II. How does he meet man. In love. As the Lord God merciful and gracious. He meets him as Jesus met the Galilean fishermen, and said, follow me; as Jesus met the woman of Sychar, Zaccheus, Mary Magdalene. He meets him with pardon and reconciliation. He meets him as Melchizedek met Abraham, to bless him. Man dislikes the meeting, either for blessing or cursing; God desires it, that he may bless.

      III. Where does he meet man. At the cross. That is the meeting-place. There is no other. It is a safe one, and a blessed one. There there is no wrath, no condemnation, no darkness. God stands at the cross and cries aloud, Meet me here. Not on a spot of your own choosing, but here on the spot which I have chosen; here where the blood was shed, and Christ's sacrifice offered up. This is the meeting-place. Two meeting-places; one the cross, now; the other the judgment-seat, hereafter. Which do you choose? One you must have.

      IV. What men are they whom he meets. Now in what follows we are not to understand that the class is narrowed or restricted; that he shuts out the worst, and will have none of them. The description given refers simply to the footing on which he receives them,--on that footing he is willing to receive any, all. On that footing all may place themselves, and so be sure of a welcome. Our text, however, evidently does not refer exclusively to the first meeting, but to the whole subsequent intercourse, and describes the footing on which that fellowship is to go on and be maintained. There are three things declared as to those with whom God meets; and these three things follow each other in a certain order.

      (1.) The rejoicing man. He is one who has found in the gospel glad tidings of great joy; one of those described by David in the 32nd Psalm, a man of blessedness. He has found the rejoicing of the hope; and he holds it to the end. He has accepted the good news, and as such he is accepted of God. God meets him.

      (2). The man that worketh righteousness. (1.) He works,--he is not slothful; (2.) he works righteousness,--good works; (3.) he works righteousness, because he rejoiceth. He does not rejoice because he works, but he works because he rejoices. His joy makes him a worker,-- a doer of the will of God; able for suffering or labouring. His life is a doing of righteousness.

      (3.) Those that remember thee in thy ways. This corresponds with the apostolic "looking unto Jesus." We remember God,-- we remember him in his ways, his footsteps, his doings, as recorded in Scripture. When we call him to remembrance we do so in connection with some of his many ways recorded there.

      This meeting is a life-long one. Not yesterday, nor today, nor tomorrow, but continual; begun at conversion, carried on through life, consummated in the kingdom. It is a meeting for pardon; a meeting for fellowship; a meeting for the bestowal of all love and blessing; prelude of the more glorious meeting when Jesus comes the second time to begin his endless reign.

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See Also:
   Chapter 1 - The Old and New Creation
   Chapter 2 - The Link Between Being and Non-Being
   Chapter 3 - A Happy World
   Chapter 4 - The Sin, the Sinner, and the Sentence
   Chapter 5 - Man's Fig-Leaves
   Chapter 6 - Expulsion and Re-Entrance
   Chapter 7 - The Blood of Sprinkling and the Blood of Abel
   Chapter 8 - The Way of Cain
   Chapter 9 - The Man of Rest
   Chapter 10 - Going Out and Keeping Out
   Chapter 11 - The Shield and the Recompense
   Chapter 12 - Liberty and Service
   Chapter 13 - The Day of Despair
   Chapter 14 - The Blood of Deliverance
   Chapter 15 - How God Deals with Sin and the Sinner
   Chapter 16 - The Fire Quenched
   Chapter 17 - The Vision from the Rocks
   Chapter 18 - The Doom of the Double-Hearted
   Chapter 19 - Be Not Borderers
   Chapter 20 - The Outlines of a Saved Sinner's History
   Chapter 21 - Divine Longings Over the Foolish
   Chapter 22 - What a Believing Man Can Do
   Chapter 23 - Song of the Putting Off of the Armour
   Chapter 24 - The Kiss of the Backslider
   Chapter 25 - The Priestly Word of Peace
   Chapter 26 - Human Anodynes
   Chapter 27 - Spiritual and Carnal Weapons
   Chapter 28 - Divine Silence and Human Despair
   Chapter 29 - Jewish Unbelief and Gentile Blessing
   Chapter 30 - The Restoration of the Banished
   Chapter 31 - The Farewell Gift
   Chapter 32 - God's Dealing with Sin and the Sinner
   Chapter 33 - God Finding a Resting-Place
   Chapter 34 - The Moriah Group
   Chapter 35 - Diverse Kinds of Conscience
   Chapter 36 - The Soul Turning from Man to God
   Chapter 37 - Man's Dislike of a Present God
   Chapter 38 - True and False Consolation
   Chapter 39 - Gain and Loss for Eternity
   Chapter 40 - Man's Misconstruction of the Works of God
   Chapter 41 - The Two Cries and the Two Answers
   Chapter 42 - The Knowledge of God's Name
   Chapter 43 - Deliverance from Deep Waters
   Chapter 44 - The Excellency of the Divine Loving-Kindness
   Chapter 45 - The Sickness, the Healer, and the Healing
   Chapter 46 - The Consecration of Earth's Gold and Silver
   Chapter 47 - The Gifts of the Ascended One
   Chapter 48 - The Speaker, the Listener, the Peace
   Chapter 49 - The Believing Man's Confident Appeal
   Chapter 50 - The Love and the Deliverance
   Chapter 51 - The Sin and Folly of Being Unhappy
   Chapter 52 - The Book of Books
   Chapter 53 - The Secret of Deliverance from Evil
   Chapter 54 - The Voice of the Heavenly Bridegroom
   Chapter 55 - The Love that Passeth Knowledge
   Chapter 56 - The Vision of the Glory
   Chapter 57 - Man's Extremity and Satan's Opportunity
   Chapter 58 - The Day of Clear Vision to the Dim Eyes
   Chapter 59 - The Unfainting Creator and the Fainting Creature
   Chapter 60 - The Knowledge that Justifies
   Chapter 61 - The Heritage and its Title-Deeds
   Chapter 62 - The Meeting Between the Sinner and God
   Chapter 63 - God's Love and God's Way of Blessing
   Chapter 64 - Divine Jealousy for the Truth
   Chapter 65 - Divine Love and Human Rejection of it
   Chapter 66 - God's Desire to Bless the Sinner
   Chapter 67 - The Resting-Place Forgotten
   Chapter 68 - The Day that Will Right all Wrongs
   Chapter 69 - The Glory and the Love
   Chapter 70 - False Religion and its Doom
   Chapter 71 - No Breath No Life
   Chapter 72 - Every Christian a Teacher
   Chapter 73 - Work, Rest, and Recompence
   Chapter 74 - Human Heedlessness and Divine Remembrance
   Chapter 75 - Lies the Food of Man
   Chapter 76 - The Love and the Calling
   Chapter 77 - The Anger and the Goodness
   Chapter 78 - Darkness Pursuing the Sinner
   Chapter 79 - Jerusalem the Centre of the World's Peace
   Chapter 80 - Jerusalem and Her King
   Chapter 81 - Looking to the Pierced One
   Chapter 82 - The Holiness of Common Things
   Chapter 83 - Wearying Jehovah with our Words
   Chapter 84 - Dies Irae


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