To Him Shall Men Come
Isaiah 45:20-24; Psalm 2:6-8; Matthew 17:1-8; Joshua 5:13-15.
I desire to convey some impression of the God with whom we have to do, and of the Man whom He has appointed as Saviour.
The first passage, addressed to "ye that are escaped of the nations", reminds me of how the Thessalonians "turned to God from idols to serve a living and true God, and to await his Son from the heavens, ... Jesus, our deliverer from the coming wrath." Isaiah is the evangelical prophet and he has a very wide outlook; his prophecy reminds us of Joseph, "a fruitful bough by a well" whose "branches shoot over the wall" (Genesis 49:22). And Isaiah was impressed with the glory and greatness of the God unto whom all men must look for salvation: "There is no God else beside me; a just God and a Saviour, there is none besides me. Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth." Sadly, in the history of mankind, this truth has been greatly neglected.
Consider even Peter, who says, "Let us make three tabernacles, for thee one, and for Moses one, and one for Elias" (Matthew 17), and Joshua, who asks, "Art thou for us or for our enemies?" (Joshua 5). In both cases, the divine answer shows that Peter and Joshua were on a tangent. They were on lines that would glorify men, without due regard for God and His appointed Man.
In Peter's case, just days earlier, Jesus had asked, "Who do men say that I, the Son of man, am?" And the disciples had replied, "Some, John the baptist; and others, Elias; and others again, Jeremias or one of the prophets." Then Simon Peter had said to Jesus, "Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God." And Jesus had replied, "Blessed art thou, Simon Bar-jona, for flesh and blood has not revealed it to thee, but my Father who is in the heavens." But now Peter wants to put Jesus on the same level as other men: "For thee one, and for Moses one, and one for Elias." Well, the divine voice comes while Peter was yet speaking: "This is my beloved Son, in whom I have found my delight", no doubt reminding Peter of what he had earlier said to Jesus: "Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God."
Well, we may have heard the great truths of scripture unfolded, and we may have been favored with divine light, but our thoughts may be turned aside, so that we're deflected from the glory and greatness of the Son of God, to looking at men, alongside Jesus.
This great man, Joshua, had proceeded with such power in leading God's people into the land through the Jordan, and earlier on while the children of Israel were in the wilderness. He had been one of the two spies who brought back a favorable report of the land; he had been faithful when Moses pitched the tent outside the camp; and he had overcome the Amalekites with the edge of the sword, through God's power. But what happens here? The people are about to deal with Jericho: "And it came to pass that when Joshua was by Jericho, that he lifted up his eyes and looked, and behold there stood a man before him with his sword drawn in his hand." Joshua immediately goes to him and says, "Art thou for us, or for our enemies?" How natural, how like each one of us, that is! We may have been helped of the Lord in an exercise, and then we may quickly descend to partisan thinking: "Art thou for us, or for our enemies?" But let us remember that the Lord Jesus, when He was here, said, "I, if I be lifted up out of the earth, will draw all unto me." He is the point of gathering; He is the point of attraction. The point is not us or our enemies. The gathering is not to us or to our enemies. He said, "No, for as captain of the army of Jehovah am I now come." And Joshua fell upon his face to the earth and worshipped.
Well, the Captain of the army of Jehovah represents the Lord Jesus, and Joshua worships him. He is the Man whom God has chosen as Captain of His army. And now Joshua says, "What saith my Lord unto His servant?" Now Joshua is not thinking of himself or of his enemies, and who this man might be supporting; he is not thinking of this man as a subordinate — he now looks at him as Lord: "What saith my Lord unto His servant?" Joshua's thoughts are adjusted. "And the captain of Jehovah's army said to Joshua, Loose thy sandal from off thy foot, for the place whereon thou standest is holy. And Joshua did so."
Moses had a similar experience in the wilderness when he saw the fire in the midst of the burning bush that was not consumed. God told Moses to "loose thy sandals from off thy feet, for the place whereon thou standest is holy ground." As we go through exercises in our lives, our blessed God comes in at critical moments to recall us to the holiness of the ground whereon we stand: "the place whereon thou standest is holy." God has chosen a place to set His name there, and it's marked by God's holiness, dear brethren, not by partisan thinking. And we are to be in accord with that: "What saith my Lord unto his servant?"
So, these passages set our thoughts in order as to the holiness of God and the Man of His choice. We speak with sorrow of the sectarianism and the ruin that has come in, but God would recall us to these wonderful impressions: "This is my beloved Son, in whom I have found my delight." "Loose thy sandal from off thy foot, for the place whereon thou standest is holy ground." "No, for as captain of the army of Jehovah of hosts am I now come."
Psalm 2, verses 6 and 7 bring together Joshua 5 and Matthew 17. Verse 6 — "I have anointed my king upon Zion, the hill of my holiness — corresponds to Joshua 5; verse 7 — "I will declare the decree: Jehovah hath said unto me, Thou art my Son; I this day have begotten thee" — corresponds to Matthew 17. These two impressions go together so beautifully in this Psalm. They are prefigured in 1 Samuel 16, where David was anointed with oil in the midst of his brethren. May we be in accord with God's thoughts as to His beloved Son in whom He has found His delight — as to the King whom He has anointed upon Zion, the hill of His holiness. He is the point of attraction for us in a day of breakdown and scattering when there is so much partisan thinking. May we be attracted to the One who said, "I, if I be lifted up out of the earth, will draw all unto me." He is our Saviour and the One to whom we gather; there is no other.
So we read here (Isaiah 45), "That unto me every knee shall bow, every tongue shall swear. Only in Jehovah, shall one say, have I righteousness and strength. To him shall men come." Jesus has been given a name above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to God the Father's glory. There is salvation in no other: "there is no other name under heaven given among men, by which we must be saved" (Acts 4:12). May we be drawn to Jesus as our Saviour and Lord! For His name's sake.
S. E. Hesterman
To Him Shall Men Come