Knowing that God is the sovereign owner of all things who will personally come to reign over his creation should motivate us now to live in submission to the King of kings.
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Israel’s Greatest Hits Volume II-Part 5
Citizens of the King
Pastor Mike Fabarez
As you’re grabbing your seat why don’t you grab your Bibles and turn to Psalm 24? Psalm 24. You’re all familiar with Psalm 23. Let’s get familiar with Psalm 24 today. It reminds me of the story I heard on the news this week about a community in Virginia that had kind of gotten a shock when one of their local institutions, they had published, and they didn’t mean to but it got out in the press, a list of the 1,000 names that they had banned from their property. Kind of a no trespassing list it was called. And the community was shocked at the fact that this community or this institution that seems so friendly had a list of a thousand people who were not allowed to step foot on the property. And even as the news story went on and people were interviewed and they thought, “Well how rude these people are not letting other people onto the property. They have a list of people who aren’t allowed,” the news story basically, I mean, revealed the fact that there’s nothing wrong with it. Right? I mean, you can ban people from your property if you’d like. You can put a No Trespassing sign up on your property, you can have a No Solicitor sign out in front of your house. I mean, it’s your property after all. You don’t want someone there they don’t have to be there.
Well, that picture of being on someone else’s property by permission is I think a helpful mindset as we go about our lives. I mean, if you think about how often you’ve been on someone else’s property this week. I mean, you walked around on a lot of places. I mean, you’ve been in places like this property, or you will go to lunch somewhere perhaps, or you’ll go to the mall or the store. None of that is your property. If they wanted to they could say, “Well, you’re not welcome here.” I thought about the pieces of property I’ve walked on this week that have been mine and that’s only been one piece of property and the more I thought about it my bank owns half of it so I don’t even really own that piece of property and my house. But it’s a good perspective.
And biblically, as we turn to Psalm 24, we have a hymn that God has instilled providentially in the songbook of Israel to remind you that really there’s no piece of property you can go on, no matter what your title insurance company may say about your real estate, where you really own the property. That property that you have, the property that we’re on, no matter where we go on this planet, no matter where we were to fly out in outer space, it doesn’t matter. Everything that is created, the Bible says here in Psalm 24, is God’s. That’s a real unsettling truth in many ways. On the other hand, it can be a real assuring truth. It’s something that I think can adjust our perspective. It is the foundation for understanding theism to say that God is a God who is in charge of all things, he owns everything and you don’t.
Now in Psalm 24 you’ll see this is a Psalm of David. Take a look at this. It’s a Psalm of David that speaks of a time when the Ark of the Covenant was brought into the temple grounds. Now it was before the temple was made but David had pitched a tent on the Araunah Threshing Floor known as Mount Moriah from back in Genesis 22. That building that would be built would house this box called the Ark of the Covenant where the symbolic presence of God would dwell. I mean that really is what this psalm is all about historically. It was sung throughout Israel’s history to remember the entrance of the Ark into Jerusalem. But that picture is started foundationally with the fact that everything in the world, not just that piece of real estate in Jerusalem, but everywhere in the world, God owns it.
Let’s take a look at this psalm. I’ll read it for you. And I think this perspective is so important, not only from God’s perspective for us to have but you’ll find it’s a very important perspective for you to have as you live your week, as you work through your agenda items, as you’d go about whatever business you have this week, to keep this in view will adjust everything. It will calibrate your life to the place that it ought to be. I think it’s an important truth for us to grab and live with and hold tightly to this week. Let me read it for you. It starts in verse 1 from the English Standard Version. “The earth is the Lord’s.” Now whenever you see the O-R-D in caps there you know we’re talking about God’s proper name, so let’s say it, God’s name, the earth is Yahweh’s. “The earth is Yahweh’s, and the fullness thereof.” Everything on the planet he owns it.
“The world,” let’s get more specific with some personal pronouns here, “and those who dwell therein.” Not just the place, not just the property, but the creatures on that planet. “For he hath founded upon the seas, and he’s established it upon the rivers.” That’s the picture, certainly, that we have in Genesis Chapter 1, of the Spirit of God moving on the face of the waters, even as Second Peter 3 talks about God creating the world out of water. That picture in the Bible, that is the poetic expression here in verse 1 of God creating the world. It was his creative act.
Then it speaks of the holy hill, this place where the Ark of the Covenant would rest under a tent and where David’s son, Solomon, would build a building called the Temple, and even Solomon, when he prayed at its dedication, knew very clearly you can’t contain God in a building, you can’t contain God in a box. But representative and symbolically there would be this reminder in Israel that this piece of property would give them that constant reminder that God was among them, that they lived in God’s neighborhood, that God was a God who owned all things. Now if you going to go up there to worship this God on that holy hill, here’s the poetic question: “who’s going to ascend up to that holy hill?” Well, the one “who’s going to stand in that holy place?” Well, here’s four things in verse 4. Clean hands. “He who has clean hands, who has a pure heart,” secondly, thirdly, “who does not lift up his soul to what is false,” and fourthly, “does not swear deceitfully.” That person, verse 5, “He will receive a blessing from Yahweh and righteousness from the God of his salvation.” God is a rewarder of those who seek him. “Such is the generation of those who seek him, who seek the face of the God of Jacob.”
Now speaking of that day when the Ark of the Covenant came there into the city of Jerusalem that had been a Jebusite city, now poetically there is this great statement poetically that you may remember lyrically from Handel’s Messiah. Do you recognize these words? “Lift up your heads, O gates; and be lifted up, O ancient doors, that the King of glory may come in. Who is the King of glory? Yahweh strong and mighty, Yahweh mighty in battle. Lift up your heads, O gates; lift them up O ancient doors; that the King of glory may come in. Who is the King of glory? Yahweh of hosts,” of the armies. That’s what host means. “The King of glory.”.
So seemingly three unrelated concepts that you’ll see, even as I read them, I’m trying to show you the connection between them, that God is the owner of all things, he’s the creator of all things. There’s something about your mindset as you then turn to say, “I recognize that, I’d like to have fellowship with this God, I should rightly be related to this God,” there is an ethical demand on our lives and then this strange section in verses 7 through 10, which we’ll camp on for a while here in just a moment to figure out what in the world is going on with this statement about the Ark of the Covenant coming in to Jerusalem?
Let’s start though just by underscoring verse 1 and making a very simple observation on your notes this morning. If you look at a passage like this: “The Earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof, the world and all who dwell therein” reminds us very clearly that we don’t own our world, we don’t own our real estate, we don’t own our stuff, and we certainly don’t own ourselves. Why? Number one on your outline. We need to realize that “God Owns Everything.” That’s what the Bible would teach. That’s what reality, I think, logically should lead you to conclude. You didn’t plan to be here, you didn’t create this place. You may rearrange the stuff that God made, but God is the God who has made all things. And when you make something there is, by virtue of you making it, a sense of ownership that you have over it. The biblical word is sovereignty, you have a sovereign authority over the things that you make. And though all of our making and creating is derived, if you know what I mean by that, and that means that we’re not creating something out of nothing as God did, we do need to recognize there’s a feeling that we have about creating things that makes me think I have a certain sovereignty over it.
I often talk about the time when I was a kid and tried to be creative with drawing things or modeling clay or when I went to the drugstore and I bought a, you know, a plastic model of an airplane. I’d put it together and I would feel this sense of sovereignty over it. I mean, I could do what I wanted to with the things that I made, those were mine, especially if I spent my allowance that I had earned the money to buy those models. Those were my things, they were my toys, they were my creation. And I had full exclusive sovereign rights over those things. Even though it’s all derived. Even though the strength to earn any money or the money to buy those things or the creativity to assemble those things, they’re all derived. God inherently is one who says I’m creating everything in this world and not only the things in this world but the people in the world.
Look at that next line: and those, “the world and those who dwell in it,” the people who dwell in it. And that’s helpful, even though there’s no good parallel, you might be tempted to think, because you build an ant farm that you kind of have sovereign rights over those ants, but you didn’t create the ants, or you get a hamster, you know, whatever they call it, environment with all the tubes in it, you may think you own those hamsters. I guess you have some kind of stewardship over those animals but you didn’t create the dog, you didn’t create the cat, you didn’t create the hamster, you didn’t create the ants. But from God’s perspective certainly he made everything, every creature, every animal on the planet, every person.
You look at yourself, you look at your hands, you look at your face in the mirror, all of that was something that was designed and created by God. The Bible says you ought to recognize there’s something that goes with that, a very fundamental implication. That is that you don’t own yourself. God owns everything. He retains the title right on everything in the universe. The cattle on a thousand hills are God’s. Everything that we have, as Paul said to the Corinthians, was given to us. Everything that we’ve received has been a gift to us in one way or another. You may have worked for more of it than the next guy who is sitting in your aisle there this morning. But all of it, even the power to earn wealth, the Bible says, comes as a gift from God and it should remind me that I am owned personally by God. That ownership is important.
A very simple observation, but let’s just state it again that God owns you by virtue of being Creator. And again I guess we could go back to Psalm 8 and just discussing that, we won’t spend time doing that, if you want to live in a world where you think an “unthinking nothing” creates everything, good luck with that. You can follow that philosophically or even scientifically as far as you want, but I’m going to defer to the fact that there’s a thinking creator and designer who creates everything that it is and I recognize that that’s going to demand an uncaused, unmoved “causer” someone who is going to set everything here in motion, not just as some kind of impersonal force, but a personal God who creates all things. I’m stuck then with a personal creator to whom I must answer and someone who has sovereign rights over me. It’s not my house, it’s not my body, it’s not my oceans, it’s not my lawn. It’s none of that. Ultimately, it’s God’s. There’s a stewardship, there’s a derivative sense of ownership. I’m all about property rights and I get all that. But in an ultimate sense this is a helpful perspective. So God owns you by virtue of being your creator.
But secondarily, and I’d like you to think this through, God is also your owner if you sit here this morning as a Christian. If you are someone who says I know I had a sin problem that was so bad it alienated me from God, as Isaiah 59:2 says, “My sins made a separation,” just like in the Garden, being cast out of God’s presence and my sin alienated me from that God but that God loved so much the helpless state of sinners that he sent his Son to pay the full penalty for my sin to bring me back into fellowship with him. That’s called the Doctrine of Reconciliation. I’ve been reconciled to God. And that picture of reconciliation was through the mechanism of something the Bible calls redemption and God has purchased me back and that then makes me doubly his. Not just by virtue of creation but by virtue of redemption.
And I just want to remind you of that by having you jot down a simple passage, a simple memory verse, you might have learned as a kid. It’s First Corinthians Chapter 6 verses 19 and 20. First Corinthians Chapter 6 verses 19 and 20, which reminds us that if you are a Christian, “You are not your own.” It is very specific about your physical body and the “Spirit that lives within you.” It says that, “You’ve been bought with a price.” You’ve been redeemed by God if you sit here as a Christian today and you are a Christian, if you are, as a child of God who is doubly owned by God. And if you remember that passage it starts, I didn’t quote the first part of it but I’ll quote it now, “That we are the temple of the Holy Spirit.”
Now let’s tie all that back to this picture of God dwelling symbolically over the top of the cover of this box called the Mercy Seat or the Atonement Cover on the top of this Ark of the Covenant. That picture of the presence of God made that room that it was in, called the Holy of Holies, which is nothing more than a, you know, I don’t know, a middle manager’s office, a 15-foot square, you know, building. That inner room called the inner sanctum or the inner sanctuary, the inner part of the temple, that was the place that symbolically housed the presence of God. The Bible says when it comes to you as a Christian it’s as though you’ve become that holy of holies and God now has pulled you close to himself and said I’m going to take your sin away and I’m going to make you my dwelling place, the abode of God, the person of man, of someone who is redeemed by God.
When I was a kid I grew up in a church that had very specific rules about the auditorium. They called it the sanctuary which was guarded by some very old men in suits and ties. And if you came into church you’d better be very careful about what you did in the sanctuary. There were lots of rules, you couldn’t bring donuts in or cookies in, you couldn’t bring coffee or water in, you couldn’t chew gum in there. You know, you couldn’t take your shoes off. You know, I got busted several times for running down the aisles, you couldn’t run down the aisles. This was the sanctuary. This was God’s house. And to my surprise as I became a Christian as a teenager growing up in that church, I realized that the ushers had been lying to me my entire childhood, because I learned in Scripture that the building we meet in on Sunday is not the sanctuary but in fact when I became a Christian, I became the sanctuary, that the holy place was my actual physical body. That God decided to dwell within me. And that building we meet in on Sundays is just an auditorium. So bring your coffee in if you’d like, just don’t spill it, would be nice. Because we’re not in a sacred space. Right? It may be set apart for preaching and a lot of other things we do here at the church, but the sacred place is not a building in Jerusalem, it’s not the center of an inner holy of holies. It’s you. And that makes you even MORE owned by God, if you can be more owned by God than being his creature. You’re doubly owned by God. It’s a perspective building thing to think in my own mind that I am owned by God.
Just another tie into this that may be often forgotten and that is that the Bible often refers to us in the New Testament by a word that we often soften in our English language, particularly because of our American history and the tragedy and abuses of American slavery, we don’t like the word anymore. But one of the major identifying words in the Scripture for who you are is the word “slave.” The Greek word “Doulos.” You are a slave of God. Which if there is anything to define in terms of the word slave it’s that you don’t own yourself. You’re not a free man. You’re a slave, you’re owned by someone else. You have an owner, a master, who is more than just the boss or an employer but you are physically owned by someone else. And the Scripture says you may think you’re free before you become a Christian but in fact you’re a slave to sin. But thankfully, when you become a Christian, as it says in Romans Chapter 6, you become now, rightfully in your own thinking, a slave of God. You become someone who says, “I am God’s property.”.
That does such an important perspective for us to have and we don’t think about it enough in a world where everyone’s claiming their own autonomy and exerting their own rights and trying to force you to believe that we should do whatever we want because we’re our own person. You’re God’s man, you’re God’s woman and you’re sent into the world, wherever God sends you tomorrow morning, to represent him there, but you are his personal possession. The Scripture continually reminds us of this. Remember that Psalm 100 we often quote it in verse 3, “Know that Yahweh is God! It is he who made us and we are his.” The book of Isaiah says, God has made us, you are mine. “You are my people.” God is a God who takes a personal ownership in his people and it’s important for us to realize that. He owns everything including us, including everything that you have. This is not a sermon on stewardship, it’s not a sermon on giving, but every single thing you have needs to be properly understood as belonging to God. Are you responsible to direct it? Sure. Are you a steward? Yes. A manager? Absolutely. But you are someone who needs to realize that God retains the title on everything in your life. Simple truth: God created the world, God redeemed the people in the world. That’s a New Testament layer that we can lay on top of verse 1.
Now it says, if you think about that ownership, look at our passage now, Psalm 24 verses 3 through 6, you ought to think about turning your attention to move in relationship toward this God. If I’m going to come and worship to God, if I’m going to “ascend that holy hill of Yahweh, who’s going to stand in this holy place?” Well, here’s the answer. There ought to be concerned about who you are. You think about being cast out of the Garden in Genesis 3, if you’re going to come back and have fellowship with this God, you can’t live the way you lived before. You ought to come with a penitence and a brokenness over the fact that we are not measuring up. The Bible makes it very clear, God is a holy God, he is morally and ethically pure. He is by definition who he is. He himself sets the standard by his very nature. If you’re going to have fellowship with him as fallen, broken people, you ought to come with hat in hand saying I’ve got to change who I am.
And these are not things, by the way, these four things in verse 4, that somehow are prerequisites for us having a relationship with God. This is a picture of going up to the worship mound and saying if I’m going to worship this God what kind of person should I be? And here are the four things. Right? It’s the four things that describe in verse 4 a person who lives like I’m owned by a perfect and holy God. Which by the way, before we look at them, why don’t you jot that down? Number 2, you need to “Live Like God Owns You.” A God who is pure, a God who is holy, a God who is righteous, a God who is truthful. I need to live like God owns me. I’m going to go into the world tomorrow, you need to go into the world tomorrow and say, “I’m God’s man, I’m God’s woman sent to do whatever it is I’m called to do, exercising dominion over my little corner of the world. But when it comes to who I am and how I live, when I think about even coming to him in prayer, singing a worship song to him on the drive to work, when I think about relating to the God of the universe who owns me, I got to think about my behavior. I got to think about my heart.”
Take a look at these four things. Let’s break them down real quickly. Verse 4, “He who has clean hands.” He who has clean hands. Now that, of course, is poetic language about someone who doesn’t have guilt on their life because of bad things they’ve done. The Bible talks about people having blood on their hands. People who have bribed the innocent and their hands are dirty from that polluted sense of doing something wrong. That idea of clean hands, if you want to kind of put a definition next to that, it just has to do with a moral or upright behavior. I need to have right behavior. If I’m going to come to God I need to recognize this: I don’t earn a relationship with him by being a good person, but if I’m going to come to God and worship, recognizing my need and dependence on him, I need to say I need to care about my behavior. I need right, holy, righteous behavior. Clean hands.
I’d like to get to the end of the week and be able to have clean hands, I’ve done the right thing. Are you going to fail at that? Absolutely. All of us stumble in many ways as James says. But I need to recognize it’s a demand upon my behavior to live as God’s man or God’s woman in this world. And it’s more than just my external conformity, because we can certainly do that with a kind of begrudging attitude of, “I guess if God doesn’t want me to do that, I won’t do it. If God wants me to do that, I guess I’ll do it.” But it’s more than that. Look at the next phrase in verse 4, “A pure heart.” There needs to be good motives. If you want to define these things, “clean hands” is right behavior, “pure heart” is godly motives, good motives. A kind of motive that says. “This is what I want to do. I want to please this God who has an ethical moral holy standard.”
You know that old adage about the kid who was told sit down in class over and over and over again. Finally, he sits down and he says, “I may be sitting on the outside but I’m standing on the inside,” is a kind of defiance that many of us grow up with when we grow up in a church like I did. A kind of conformity to an external standard for whatever your motive might be, to fit in, to get acceptance, to stay out of trouble. But a lot of us will say, “Well, I know God demands this, this and this, so I’m going to just kind of grit my teeth and do it.” But what God is looking for, as I often say, is not a change from the outside in, he’s looking for a change from the inside out. We’ve got to have a heart that is pure, a heart that is willing to openly come to God and say, “I want my heart to be new.”.
The pictures of regeneration or transformation in the Bible often speak of that internal part of us, having a heart like a stone, Ezekiel says, that is turned to a heart of flesh. A difference, a change from the inside. It’s not about the external signs of the covenant, like circumcision, although that was required. But he talked about a circumcision of the heart. Is my heart right with God? So this is more than just saying, “God, if I’m going to relate to you I need to change my behavior.” It’s about, “God I need a changed heart.”
Look at this next phrase, the third phrase in verse 4, “Does not lift up his soul to what is false.” That word false, you’ll see it if you look it up in a Hebrew dictionary, it has to do with the idea of something that is vain or empty, something that’s worthless. To “lift up,” if you study the Bible enough you don’t need language to figure this out, whenever you see that phrase, it’s often related to allegiance or worship or devotion to something. “To lift up my soul,” to something. Well, that idea here of something worthless, something false, something vain, is a picture of idolatry. That would be a good way to put it. I need right behavior, I need good motives and I need to make sure I’m not an idolater. And the idea of idolatry, though we often picture someone bowing down in a temple to some gilded statue, really has more to do with what’s going on in my heart. Is what I’m sold out to, is what I’m all about in my life, is what I go to do every single day really about something other than God? That’s what idolatry is. Anything other than God as my ultimate allegiance.
When Jesus was asked what the greatest commandment was, of course it was about my heart being full devotion and allegiance to God, “to love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, strength and mind,” to have that dedication and devotion to him. The challenge of the Christian life is to make sure, as First John 5 says, is to keep our hearts and our lives from idols. To make sure that when we go about drawing near to the God who says I own you, that we say, “God, I need to come with a pendant heart about my behavior, about my heart, my attitude and even about what I live for, what my allegiances are. And that’s kind of a thoroughness and it reflects the second part of verse 4.
The last part of verse 4 says, “does not swear deceitfully.” That there’s not a kind of duplicity or hypocrisy in my life. The Pharisees were constantly derided by Christ and castigated by Christ for being these hypocrites and having a heart that was duplicitous. Even Christians are warned not to have a double-minded kind of attitude toward God or anything in the Christian life. I need to have that kind of genuine, sincere, non-hypocritical heart. And all these things are high standards. Clean hands, pure heart, not an idolater, I’m truthful and sincere. But that the kinds of things that are not, let me just state it again, prerequisites for us being in relationship with God, but someone cannot be in relationship with God or even draw near to God and worship without being concerned about these things. These are the kinds of things that will, as it says in verse 5, “receive a blessing from the Lord.” These are the things that God loves and he encourages and he rewards. The blessing of God comes upon those who recognize what it is to live as one owned by God.
“The blessing of the Lord and righteousness,” look at the next phrase, verse 5, “from the God of his salvation.” “Sedaqah,” that Hebrew word here, righteousness, often translated vindication. It’s the sense of being vindicated at the end of whatever it is that people are accusing you of doing wrong or being stupid or being foolish. And for those in a world filled with people who are touting their own autonomy, to say “no, I am God’s man, I’m God’s woman, I live for God, I live in his world for his glory and for his purposes,” there’s a lot of derailing, there’s a lot of exclusion, a lot of mockery even, for those who live that way. And it’s a great thing in this passage, remember not only is that a rewarded perspective from the God of the universe, it’s something that will one day be vindicated. God will let our cause of living for him be justified in the eyes of the world. “Such is the generation of those who seek him, who seek the face of the God of Jacob.”.
This idea is something that I want to drive a little further into how you work throughout your week. So let me keep your finger here in Psalm 24 and I want to turn you real quickly to the end of Colossians 3, and remind you that if you’re going to come as a person in our world every day to your tasks, your job, your office, your responsibilities, and say, “I’m owned by God, I want to live like I’m owned by God,” I want to make sure that you see what that looks like in the workplace every day and whatever your Monday through Friday life is all about. Colossians Chapter 3. You may say, “Well, I don’t have much leeway to do anything other than what I do. I’m an employee or, you know, I’m just at the bottom of the food chain at work.” Well you couldn’t get any further down the food chain than to be a slave in the market place of the Greco-Roman world. I mean there were well-educated slaves, of course, and it wasn’t the kind of situation that you might envision in American history, but nevertheless you were not on your own. You don’t own yourself. You weren’t free, you were conscripted, at least at some level, by someone who owned you and had full sovereign rights over you.
And so he speaks to those people in verse 22. Look at this: Colossians 3:22. Slaves or “Bondservants, obey in everything those who are your earthly masters.” And that’s like a no duh statement because you’re not going to get very far as an owned slave unless you do what your boss tells you to do, what your leader tells you to do. But here’s the caveat, middle of verse 22, “Not by way of eye-service, as people-pleasers,” not like they really own you, not like they’re the ultimate evaluator, not like they are really the ultimate authority in your life. Now they are authority, authority that it says in the top of verse 22 should be obeyed and submitted to. But you have got to realize it doesn’t stop there. You’re God’s man or you’re God’s woman. Tomorrow morning, in your everyday world, you got to say, “I’m not pleasing them, ultimately, I’ve got a sincerity of heart which all goes back to not “lifting my soul up to what is false” or empty. I’m all about the God who created me. I live for the God that redeemed me. I am going to care about God. I’m going to actually see God as the ultimate authority.
I’m going to fear the Lord,” which is interesting because the word Lord is often used of masters in the Greco-Roman world. But we’re speaking of the real Lord, it’s a capital “L” in our passage, because we know who we’re talking about, that you and I are purchased by God. You and I are slaves of Christ. Because of that we ought to think when we go to our workplace, “I’m owned by God. I live for God. He’s told me to obey the earthly leaders and authorities in my life. But ultimately, I know who my real boss is. I look beyond my earthly bosses. So, I go to work tomorrow morning,” verse 23, “whatever I do, man, I’m going to work heartily, I’m going to work as though I’m working directly for THE Lord, not the lord with a small “l” who’s my boss or in that case my master in the Greco-Roman world. I’m not working for men, for people. Knowing this, that the ultimate evaluation, the ultimate payback, the ultimate blessing and vindication doesn’t come from my earthly bosses, “knowing that from the Lord you’ll receive the inheritance as your reward.”.
Which, by the way, and I guess I’ve got to say this if you’re new to the church and you haven’t spent much time studying what the Bible has to say about the afterlife, the afterlife is not a one-size-fits-all reality. Now there are two places, not three, two places. There are two places, either you’re going to pay for your sins yourself in a place of just retribution, or you’re going to be able to receive the grace and blessing of God that you didn’t earn because God himself has granted it to you in Christ. That’s true, two places.
But in both of those places there are varied experiences and the Bible is so clear about this. There is so much said in the New Testament and Jesus was camping on it all the time, that if you want to think about your inheritance just know your inheritance is going to be determined, not that you’re qualified for it, but what you experience there is based on how you live your Christian life. The Bible says that you have an opportunity, every single day, to store up for yourselves treasure in heaven. That you’ll be rewarded in terms of, I often put it in terms of riches and real estate because these are the words of Scripture, that we’re going to have property and then we’re going to have true riches and then we’re going to have reputation. There are going to be people seated at the top of the pecking order, they’re going to be names written on the walls of the New Jerusalem.
All of that, the Bible says, is derived and determined in my Christian life. There’s a foundation, that’s Christ, that qualifies me for the New Jerusalem. But when it comes to what I’m building on every single day I’ve got a chance to build with wood, hay and straw, or I got a chance to build with gold, silver and precious stones. And guess what? That pile of good things comes from a person who goes to work every day, who comes home every afternoon and recognizes, “I’m God’s man, I’m God’s woman. I live as though I’m owned by God. I live to serve him and that’s my purpose in life.” And the Bible says that’s going to make a difference. You ought to see your life, as this passage says, as serving the Lord, he is the boss, receiving my inheritance from him because you’re serving the Lord Christ.
When I think about the accountability of walking up to the Temple Mount and recognizing I’ve got to have a kind of life that reflects that, there is even that fear of discipline in the Christian life, it says in verse 25, “For the wrongdoer will be paid back for the wrong he has done and there is no partiality.” If you’re sitting there thinking, “Well, that’s good. I’m not an employee, I’m the employer, well then you should keep reading in Chapter 4 verse 1. Even if you have no earthly bosses, the Bible says, “Hey masters, treat your bondservants justly and fairly,” even as you manage and lead, “knowing that you also have a Master in heaven.” No one’s excluded from the ownership of God. No Christian is excluded from the accountability and evaluation that comes at the end of our lives.
There is a great challenge in that but there is also great comfort in that. That I am owned by God in this world and God expects me to care about how I live my life. And when I do, the Bible promises there’s reward, there’s vindication, there’s righteousness. So it is for those who seek the Lord. Is there any benefit in the here and now? Absolutely, plenty of it. Matter of fact, I don’t have time for this but let’s turn to Psalm 37 real quick. In Psalm 37, as we make our way back to Psalm 24, David spoke of the reality of people who see themselves as owned by God. God’s people. And he says, you know what? Even in the short term, though there may be twists and turns, there may be detours in the godly life, ultimately you’ll see that those who sow to the Spirit, they reap good things, not just eternal life. And if you avoid sowing to the flesh, as it’s put in Galatians, you’ll avoid all that reaping from the flesh, corruption.
Drop down to verse 23. Here’s the point I’m trying to make. “The steps of the man are established by the Lord, when he delights in his way.” Right? If you have clean hands, pure heart, not lifting up your soul to what’s vain or false, not swearing deceitfully, man, there is a great prosperity in that. Not the prosperity gospel that our neighbors talk about. I’m talking about the reality of a God who cares for his people, who walks them through everything, even the downfalls, the stumblingly, the difficulties, the detours, the diseases. Verse 24 says, “though he fall,” and certainly we’re not exempt from that, “he shall not be cast headlong,” look at this, “for Yahweh upholds his hand.” And then he looks at the big picture, even on this earth, even before we get to eternity, he says, David says, “I’ve been young, and now I’m old, yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken or his children begging for bread. He was ever lending generously, his children become a blessing. Turn away then,” here’s the moral application, “turn away then from evil and do good,” and God rewards that, “you shall dwell forever.”
Now, if you think about forever in the temporal sense, that may be a couple of decades for us, but in reality we know just like Psalm 23 says, “Surely goodness and mercy will follow me all the days of my life,” it will chase me, just like it says that the investment in righteousness, there is a blessing, a reward in that, but even if that ends in the midst of my own temporal life, and it will for all of us, the next line in Psalm 23 is, “And I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.” There’s eternal vindication and benefit. And so it is. “You’ll dwell forever,” verse 28, “for the Lord loves justice; he will not forsake his saints. They are preserved forever, but the children of the wicked are cut off.”.
Live like God owns you, it is definitely worth it. It’s a picture of us recognizing that we can’t just be whoever we are. People say God loves you just the way you are and that’s true. But when you come to Christ he wants to change who you are and he wants to change the reality of how you live. Just as they ascended those southern steps on the Temple Mount and the archaeologists will tell you there were basins for washing and ablutions and all these ritual cleansings that they did. It was a reminder to them symbolically, if you’re going to come here and fellowship with this God who owns you, you better make sure that you’re confessing your sins, that you’re getting the mercy and gracious washing of God and his merciful forgiveness, because we can’t live the way we used to. We’ve got to change our behavior.
Now, the real gist of this passage, look at it with me, verse 7 back in Psalm 24. After all of that, which I think the natural combination of God owns us, you ought to live like he owns us, is pretty simple. But then something very strange, verses 7 through 10. It’s strange because it seems hyperboles. It’s not only poetic about personifying the gates of the old Jebusite city, that’s weird enough, but it’s poetry, it’s song, I get that, it’s lyrical. But there’s something about this that seems so victorious. And in reality we know even in the heyday of David’s kingdom, I mean this really wasn’t totally fulfilled in that sense, was it? I mean, we didn’t have this kind of sense of victory just because we brought the box of the Covenant into the tent that sat up on the threshing floor on what would be the Temple Mount. And yet look at it: “Lift up your heads, O gates! Be lifted up, O ancient doors, that the King of glory may come in.” Are you really talking about that presence on the top of the box that’s coming into Jerusalem? Well, that, I mean, that was the historical scene and any commentator and any rabbi in the Old Testament looking back at this passage is going to say that’s what it’s depicting, the King of glories coming in, at least symbolically. “The Lord, strong and mighty, the Lord, mighty in battle!” Well, Yahweh certainly was the king in David’s heart and won a lot of battles and David was an amazing captain and warrior in terms of fighting God’s battles. But this seemed so big. “Lift up your heads, O Gates!” Verse 9. “Lift them up, O ancient doors, that the King of glory may come in.” Who is the King of glory? Yahweh of the armies, “Yahweh of host, for he is the King of glory!”.
If you study the passage of David bringing the Ark into Jerusalem, you’ll remember it didn’t go so well. When he finally was bringing it from where it had been for a long time into the city, because he took the Jebusite city, he made it his capital. He pitched a tent up on the top of the threshing floor and he was going to bring the Ark of the Covenant in. You might remember from Second Samuel 6 he’s coming in with this Ark and he’s bringing it on a cart with some oxen that are leading it and they go across a threshing floor on the way to the threshing floor they would put it on, and the ox stumbled and a guy named Uzzah was there and tried to steady it, one of David’s important men, and when he reached out to steady the Ark on that cart he was struck dead. You remember that story? And remember David’s response to that? He was angry. He was upset. He was so upset that he said I don’t even want this box coming into my city. Now that’s a strange thing for a guy who loved God. And it wasn’t that he said I’m mad at God and just, you know, I don’t want anything to do with God. It’s that I can’t be holy enough to deal with that box.
So he took it to a guy’s house named Obed-edom. I guess he had some RV parking out back or something and so they put the Ark of the Covenant back there, put it over some tarps or whatever and the Bible says that God blessed the household of Obed-edom. And David seeing that, that’s where God’s physical manifestation of his presence, spiritually, symbolically, was. And he said I want the box in Jerusalem. We need the Ark of the Covenant here. So because of that blessing he’s reminded, I just need that, that needs to be here in Jerusalem. So he goes and he gets it and he brings it back. And commentators and historians and rabbis of the ancient days are going to say that’s what this is commemorating. This is the picture of that triumphant day when the second time through, you might remember his wife, David’s wife, gets mad at him because he’s dancing before the Ark and there’s music and all that, because the second time he brings the Ark in he realizes he wasn’t paying very close attention to the Mosaic law, which is very clear that when you carry this box, the Ark of the Covenant, there were rings on the side that you put poles in and you carried it on shoulders. You didn’t put it on an ox cart. I don’t care if it was a new ox cart, which it was. And God struck out against Uzzah and made David a little upset, made him mad it says, because he recognized it really wasn’t God’s fault in this regard, God was trying to prove himself holy in the midst of the people saying you can’t cut on my rules, you can’t compromise my standards to do things the way you want it.
And David knew it. He repented and every six or seven steps they would stop and sacrifice an animal. And they sat there in a very celebratory time, a parade, bringing that Ark into Jerusalem and a lot of people say, well that’s all this is about. And it is about that. There’s no doubt, it is a Psalm of David and that’s the historical scene that makes perfect sense and it fits. But as often pointed out, this kind of victorious reality of a king coming in, maybe this goes beyond some symbolic presence sitting on the top of a cover of a box called the Ark of the Covenant where the law of Moses was and the jar of manna and the rod that chose Aaron and Levi’s tribe as the priestly tribe. Maybe it was more than that box in those items in that sense of his glory. Maybe this has to do with God actually coming to earth. I mean that’s the whole point of the New Testament Gospel, right? “God so love the world that he sent his Son,” that Son, the exact representation of God’s nature it says in Hebrews 1. I mean the fullness of deity, Colossians says, dwells in bodily form. Maybe this refers to that.
Now, some people would label this psalm a messianic psalm and that means this is looking forward to the coming of Christ. And certainly there is something about the providence of how this all meshes together. The rabbis, before the time of Christ, talked about the liturgy on the Temple Mount and the psalms that they had chosen, the seven psalms they had chosen to sing and recite on the Temple Mount for the worship every day on the temple. And they chose on Monday Psalm 48. And they chose by tradition on Tuesday Psalm 82. And on Wednesday Psalm 94. And on Thursday Psalm 81. On Friday Psalm 93. On the Sabbath Psalm 92. And on Sunday, it so happens that providentially Psalm 24 was the psalm that they sang within the temple compound by the priest in liturgy in the temple compound, behind the walls, on Sunday.
Well a thousand years after this was written and a thousand years after they commemorated the bringing in the Ark of the Covenant into the temple compound that was yet to be built, that tent was pitched there, Jesus comes riding on a donkey down the Mount of Olives across the Kidron Valley through the gates of Jerusalem. You might remember it as Palm Sunday. And we call it the Triumphal Entry because you might remember the people, a lot of common people, a lot of Jesus’ disciples were there, yelling in triumph “Hosanna, save us, save us. Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.” And what’s interesting about that is if the traditional rabbis talking about how the priest worshipped with Psalm 24 as their focalized text as they sang it on the Temple Mount, on the inside of the temple they’re singing about the gates being opened up for the King of glory to come in, while outside the temple gates as they are coming through the compound you’ve got the crowds singing, “here comes the one in the name of the Lord, God is saving us.”.
Now, clearly that was an expression of their belief that Jesus was the Messiah. And some people say, well there you go, Psalm 24 is a messianic psalm. It’s not just looking back to the bringing of the Ark into Jerusalem, but Jesus walking through the gates of Jerusalem to announce himself and present himself as the Messiah. And I’m saying, well that is great. I mean that’s a neat providential dovetailing of a biblical historical scene with this messianic fulfillment 1,000 years after it was written.
But if you look at this text and you think about how victorious it is, “The Lord, strong and mighty, mighty in battle.” You look at that in verse 11, He’s “the Lord of hosts, the King of glory.” You think well that’s not how that all seemed to work out on that Triumphal Entry. It was a triumphal entry, but as we know he didn’t ride in on a white horse, he rode in on a donkey with his feet dragging along the ground. I mean, it didn’t really look like a victor. As a matter of fact, when he got there though he showed his anger, tipped over those tables you might remember, all that did was start an amazing backlash of the political leaders and the religious leaders hating Jesus. We studied it in Luke. All week long they’re trying to trap him, they’re trying to send false witnesses before him and to get him crucified, which by Friday they end up doing. They arrest him on Thursday. They crucify him on Friday.
So the King of glory, this mighty and strong warrior, it doesn’t look like that. Well, there is a prophetic look down the corridor of time where the Bible talks about the king coming into Jerusalem, the King of glory, the Lord. I mean it’s exactly how it’s stated here. Coming into Jerusalem through the gates of Jerusalem from the Mount of Olives to bring the presentation of the King, not just to be rejected and crucified on a Roman execution rack, but to be hailed as king and to reign over the earth.
Number three on your outline, that’s the anticipation and arrival of Christ that we should think about. And because he is God, fully God, I’d like you to put it down that way. Number three, you need to “Anticipate God’s Arrival” because this passage is not just messianic in the sense of his first coming. This is prophetic in terms of the eschatological sense of his second coming. Jesus is coming back. And the idea of us seeing ourselves as owned by God and living as though we are owned by God then gets us to the place of realizing that becomes an urgent and necessary priority, because that King that you say owns you is coming back, and he’s coming back soon.
Let me show it to you. Zachariah Chapter 14. Zachariah 14. I don’t spend much time in that book generally but I’d like you to spend some time in that now. It’s very complicated in terms of its history. But the view in the last chapter is so clear. Zachariah is easy to find, if you’ve just got old fashioned Bible go to Matthew, turn back two books and you’ll find it. Second to the last book of the Old Testament, Zachariah Chapter 14, the last chapter. Now in this scene God is prophetically looking forward to a great battle that’s going to take place and the only way to solve this battle is for God himself to show up and be the warrior. That’s the picture. If that sounds familiar, like what’s going on in the book of Revelation, you got it. Matter of fact, the battle is named in the book of Revelation the Battle of Armageddon. And in that picture you see God swooping in to be the one who saves the day. He does it himself.
But look at how it’s depicted here. Let’s start in verse 3. Zachariah 14:3. “Then the Lord,” you see the capital O-R-D? Yahweh, the triune God, “will go out and fight against those nations as when he fights on a day of battle.” This is more than tipping over a few tables, making a whip out of a piece of leather and driving people out of the Temple Mount. Matter of fact, this is a victorious day of establishing a rule, as it says in the book of Revelation, when the kingdoms of the world become the kingdom of our Lord, God, Yahweh, and of his Christ. That’s the picture. What kind of day is this? God’s going to show up, he’s going to show up and look at verse 4, he’s got feet. “On that day his feet shall stand on the Mount of Olives that lies before Jerusalem.” Are you talking serious here, geographical? Yeah. Look at the geographical references: “on the east.” Right? “His feet shall stand on the Mount of Olives that lies before Jerusalem on the east.”.
Now, if you’ve been to Jerusalem you recognize that you look across the Temple Mount, where now sits the Shrine of the Dome of the Rock, which used to be the temple, which in the day of David was a tent where they put the Ark of the Covenant, and you look across the Kidron Valley, you see that mountain, that hill called the Mount of Olives. Jesus was coming down that on the Triumphal Entry on Sunday coming across and into Jerusalem. The Bible says he’s coming back now. If you might remember when Jesus left the planet after his resurrection, Acts Chapter 1 says he left his feet from the Mount of Olives and they said just as you saw him go, you saw his toenails leave this mountain, you’re going to see him come back just the same way. His feet will touch this planet.
To even think about God in these physical forms, usually they’re anthropomorphic terms. In other words, God doesn’t have feet, he doesn’t have eyelashes, he doesn’t have elbows or ear lobes. But the God-man does. And God, the fullness of deity, dwells in bodily form, the exact representation of the nature of God, is now here, the second person of the Godhead. He comes in his first coming in humility. He gets driven out of that Temple Mount outside the city gates, suffers the shame of an execution on a cross. And then he leaves and he said, “You get about your work of building my church and I’ll build it through you and then I’m going to come back.” And when he comes back, it says in this passage, the feet of God are going to “land on the Mount of Olives,” and that mountain “is going to be split in two.” Look at the seismic tectonic shifts here. “It is going to be split from east to west by a very wide valley, so that one half of the Mount shall move northward and the other half southward.”.
Picture that, verse 5. “And you,” dealing with the scene in the battle here, “you shall flee to the valley of my mountains, for the valley of the mountain shall reach Azal. And you shall flee as you flee from the earthquake.” This is historic during Isaiah’s day. “Flee from the earthquake during the days of Uzziah king of Judah. Then Yahweh my God will come,” listen to this phrase, “and all the holy ones with him.” Does that sound like a phrase you’ve heard before, like on the Olivet Discourse in Matthew 24 when Jesus talked about his return and he says the Son of Man is going to come in his glory with his holy ones. Here’s the picture of the return of Christ. I know it’s a series of events in the prophetic calendar but it culminates in the saving of God’s people on that mountain when God comes back in bodily form with feet on the Mount of Olives. “And he comes with his holy ones. And on that day,” it’s a strange day, verse 6, “there should be no light, cold, or frost. And there shall be a unique day, which is known to Yahweh, neither day or night, but at evening time there shall be light.” Verse 8. “And on that day living waters shall flow out of Jerusalem, half of them to the eastern sea and half of them to the western sea.” These are pictures that have been depicted throughout the Old Testament regarding the millennium kingdom, a kingdom on earth where Christ reigns and the ultimate son of David sits on a throne. That’s the picture here. “It will continue in summer as in winter.” This is going to be the same all year round.
Verse 9, “And Yahweh will be king over all the earth.” All the nations subjected him. “On that day Yahweh will be one and his name one.” Now, that’s a phrase that you might remember from Deuteronomy 6, “Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God is one.” The word “hear” in Hebrew is “Shama.” It was called the shama in Israel that they would recite this creed, the unity of God, there is one God, there’s not a bunch of gods controlling the sea over here and a few gods controlling the mountains over here. There’s one God. But that God was revealed from the very first chapter of the Bible as a plurality. And in that plurality even here we see that God coming in human form touching his feet upon the Mount of Olives.
But there will be, as it says in First Corinthians 15, a unity of all things under God, everything will be wrapped up in that triune, one singular monotheistic God that we have and all things will be under him. All things will be made right. The kingdom is going to be delivered over to the Father. Here is this picture of the culmination of everything. “And the whole land shall be turned into a plain from Geba to Rimmon south of Jerusalem. But Jerusalem shall remain aloft on its site from the Gate of Benjamin.” Does this sound literal to you? “To the place of the former gate, to the Corner Gate, from the Tower of Hananel to the king’s winepress.” Sounds very specific, sounds very literal, sounds geographical.
And you mean to tell me that all these valleys are going to be filled in? Speaking of Handel’s Messiah, does that sound familiar? Isaiah Chapter 40. Isaiah Chapter 40 talks about the coming of the Lord and the coming of the Lord and his glory being revealed to all flesh. And you know how it reads, I wrote it down. Here it is. “Every valley shall be lifted up, every mountain will made low, every uneven place will be made level, every rough place plain.” Remember that line from Handel’s Messiah? Well that comes out Isaiah 40. I know we speak of that often times in symbolic terms like when Christ comes back all the wrong stuff’s going to be made right and everything that’s wrong is going to be made right. That’s more than poetic. That, according to Zachariah 14, is a literal geographic topography that’s going to take place in Jerusalem and the only thing that’s going to be raised up is going to be one hill, the holy hill, the holy mountain.
People are going to come there to worship and they’re going to come there and who’s going to be enthroned there in the City of David? God himself, the God-man, Jesus Christ, the Messiah. He’s going to come through those gates and now the fulfillment of this great passage, the gates are going to lift up their eyes, their heads, their perception and the King of glory is going to come in. The king will be king over all the earth. Everything’s going to be settled and laid flat except for a remaining hill. This place of prominence over the whole earth. Look at verse 11, “And it shall be inhabited, and there shall,” here’s a big word, “never again be a decree of utter destruction.”.
This can’t be the first coming of Christ. There’s no way even poetically to stretch my mind and my imagination to think somehow that worked in Jerusalem from the gates and the wine press. No. This is a future time. “Jerusalem shall dwell in security.” I know we’re praying for the peace of Jerusalem, but the reality of this passage has yet to come. And you read Psalm 24, oh it’s a good passage to preach on Palm Sunday I suppose. And you think about God’s providential dovetailing of all those statements about David bringing the Ark into Jerusalem, but here’s the ultimate fulfillment. The day when Christ the God-man comes back and walks through the gates of Jerusalem. In that final day at the end of the consummation of what God is doing to save his people, that’s the anticipation and the arrival that should grip our hearts as Christians.
And the question for us is when is all this stuff, all these events, when does this all start? Jesus, when he was talking about the end times in Matthew 24, said this: “You don’t know and I’m not telling.” “Stay awake, for you do not know what hour your Lord is going to come. But know this, if the master the house would have known what hour the thief was going to come and break in he would have stayed awake and wouldn’t let his house be broken into. But you, you’re not going to know, so be ready, for you do not know what hour the Son of Man is coming.”.
That sounds like a threat and it is, and there are threatening parts of this passage. But here’s the encouraging part. The next verse says, “Who then is the faithful and wise servant, whom the master has set over his household, to give food to the people at the proper time? Blessed is that servant whose master finds him so doing when he comes. Truly I say to you he will,” the master, “will set him over all of his possessions.” The great news about the kingdom is that you will be ruling and reigning with Christ. And the Bible says that as you anticipate that coming, which by the way will affect your moral behavior, which by the way is predicated on you knowing that God owns you, is something the Bible says will be so richly rewarded in the kingdom. If you live with that anticipation, the doctrine of the imminent return of Christ, that he can come at any time, and that you are living with that perspective that the rest the world is never going to get. They don’t get it. Their autonomous, freedom-loving kind of perspective, it’s nothing but enslavement to sin, is something you’ve broken from. God has called you out of that. You’ve become a slave of Christ. You say, “I live as God’s man or God’s woman in my everyday life. Now I’m going to live in line with the kind of standard that he has. I’m going to strive to be penitent and confessional about the realities of my sin, seeking to be sanctified day by day conformed increasingly to the image of Christ.”.
And what fuels that? The perspective that Christ could come back at any time. That all of this is going to take place and that God is going to richly reward those who have that expectation. “Lift up your heads, O gates! Be lifted up, O ancient doors, the King of glory, that he may come in. Who’s the King of glory? Strong and mighty in battle.” Yahweh, the strong and mighty warrior, the king of hosts. That’s the King of glory. We serve Christ and you may be thinking as we so often do back to his first coming but the thing that should really grip our minds and imaginations, setting our minds on things above, is the returning of Christ, the blessed hope, the return of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ.
I was in a meeting last week with a guy who was really well dressed and it was an important meeting and he had this nice white press shirt on. And I noticed as he was sitting there talking to me that out from underneath his jacket that white cuff he had embroidered on there his initials. Which always seemed like a strange thing to me. If you do that I’m not knocking you I just don’t get it. But I thought to myself, you know, there are the guy’s initials, kind of fancy clothes this guy’s wearing. And not that I don’t pay attention in meetings like that, but my mind was drifting to other things, thinking about, you know, when would I put my name on something?
And I thought about all the times I put my name on something, when I don’t I want somebody to take something from me. I remember the first time I had my name etched on my Bible. Did you ever do that growing up? Or, you know, even my water bottle. If I’m with a lot of people and write my name on that little water bottle to make sure that, you know, that’s mine. I remember back early when we were married getting a label maker. Do you remember your first label maker? I put my name on everything. Right? We’re going to go to church and bring a potluck or something, bring a bowl, I want to make sure I get it back, so I put my name on it. Take a Frisbee to some church picnic, I’d make sure I put my name on it. I put my name on stuff that I honestly say, “That’s mine. That’s my stuff.”
In the Bible, if you want to start from God’s perspective, God is looking at his people. In a very interesting passage in the chaos of this time of Jacob’s trouble, this tribulational period, he looks at a group of people, there are 144,000 of them in the book of Revelation in Chapter 14. And he sees that group of people, and he says these are the folks who are my people. And here’s how it’s described. He says, “I have my name written on their foreheads.” Now, I don’t know that this is a literal depiction of people with tattoos on their forehead but the picture in God’s mind is these are my folks. I put my name on them. Reminds me of Isaiah 44, which is really the point of this sermon. That’s the reality from God’s perspective. What I like to see you and I do is to really reflect that and respond to that in my own conscious thinking, that I’m cognizant of the fact that I am God’s.
And there’s a great passage Isaiah 44 verse 5, that says “One will say, ‘I am the Lord’s,’ another will call on the name of Jacob and another will write on his hand,” I love this, “the Lord’s.” Like, I’m the Lord’s. There’s a great picture. God is already, if you’re his people, he knows those who are his. He writes his name, so to speak, on you. He says those are my people. God is our God. The Lord is God. He who made us, we’re his. But he’d like us to respond this morning by having that sense of, you know what, I need to think that way. It’s as though I’m writing his name on and saying I belong to him. I’m etching, I’m embroidering that on my life saying, “I am God’s.”
What gets me excited is the end of Zechariah 14 because that’s a great place to start. I am his. I’m going to live for him. I’m going to be etched in terms of his monogram. I am God’s man. But to think about what’s coming, Zechariah Chapter 14 ends with that millennial reign and it ends with these verses right here. It speaks of how thoroughly God’s reign will just infect and influence everything in the kingdom. Zechariah 14:20. “And there shall be,” this is down to the little details, “there shall be inscribed on the bells of the horses,” there will be written on the bells of the horses, “Holy to the Lord.” Holy means set apart. This is God’s bell on God’s bridle on God’s horse in God’s army for God’s people. It’s just a great picture of the smallest thing labeled. “And on that day there shall be inscribed on the bells of the horses, ‘Holy to the Lord.’ And the pots,” speaking of bowls, “the pots in the house of the Lord,” and then “as the bowls before the altar.” It doesn’t matter. It’s like everything is sacred to God. “And every pot in Jerusalem and Judea will be holy to the Lord of Hosts.”.
I’m not asking to go out, you know, and put labels on all your stuff that says “God’s.” But in your mind it ought to be there. I’m not asking you to tattoo across your forehead that says, “I belong to God,” but in your mind it ought to be there. God’s perspective – you belong to him. “The earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof.” God owns everything and one day he will take that possession, that power, that authority and he’ll bring everything in conformity under his leadership. The goal of the church in a world that is rebelling against God is to align ourselves under that authority right now. You say, “I’m God’s. I’m the Lord’s, I’m going to live like I’m his this week.
Let’s pray. God, give us a sense of anticipation of your returning, your coming. Our citizenship is not here on earth. We are expats here on this planet. And I don’t really work for my company, I don’t really live in my neighborhood, I don’t really belong to this county or this state or this nation or this world. We’re citizens of the Kingdom. Our citizenship is in heaven. And it’s from that heaven that we’re awaiting our king who is going to come and exert his power and change everything on this planet, take his great power and begin to reign. God, give us more excitement and palpable anticipation regarding that coming. Let us be more anxious and excited anticipating that day. And may we begin to think about our stuff the way everything will be thought about in that kingdom. Down to the smallest things that we own, inscribed on it is, “This is God’s, holy to the Lord.” And let it start with our own lives this morning. Let us see ourselves as your people, that we’ve been bought with a price, that you own everything about us. God, let that be the kind of motivation that is fuel as we look down the corridor of time through our imagination and think you’re coming back. Could be any day, could be any time, could be today. God, get us ready for that. Let us live in accordance with it.
In Jesus name. Amen.