Psalm 22: 1-3, 30, 31; 23: 1-6; 24: 7-10
Our brother spoke in his prayer about the Person, the knowledge of the Person of the Lord Jesus Christ. When Paul writes to the Ephesians, he speaks about their learning the Christ, how they had “heard him and been instructed in him according as the truth is in Jesus”, Eph 4: 21. In thinking about our dear sister and all that has entered into her Christian life and her assembly life, I was struck with that thought of how she had “learnt the Christ”, and these Psalms set that out for us, I believe. We may recall that when the Lord Jesus met two of his disciples and was instructing them, He spoke to them about two matters, that the Christ should suffer and that He should enter into His glory, Luke 24: 26. Dear brethren and dear friends, that enters into two of these Psalms: that the Christ should suffer - that is Psalm 22; and that He should enter into His glory - Psalm 24. I believe that in her Christian life here, her life as a believer, our sister had come to learn the Christ in these ways. Our brother has spoken about the example seen in our sister, and I would like to say how vital it is for your eternal future and happiness that you should come to learn the Christ in these ways.
We began with the suffering One. Our sister came to appreciate the Lord Jesus as the One who had suffered, the One who had gone to Calvary’s cross and suffered and died and borne the judgment of God in relation to sin in order that the whole question of her sinful history and her sinful state might be met. She had come to appreciate the Lord Jesus, the One who had gone that way, not counting the cost, but suffering and dying in order that her salvation might be secured. She had come to appreciate that, to learn the Christ in that way, and to love Him for all that He had done for her in going that suffering way; and at the end of Psalm 22, we find that those sufferings of the Lord Jesus and His death have accomplished something very great. They have secured another generation, “a seed”, a generation of persons who are to be here for the pleasure of God, who are to be secured for God. And that was our sister. She entered into that. Having put her faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and appreciated that that suffering work was essential for her, she came into this company of persons, a new generation, that were available for the service of God and for the Lord Jesus. And so, having come to love the One who had gone that way in love for her, she learned too that that blessed Man was out of death. He had gone into death but He had come out of it again. “Lift up your heads, ye gates, and be ye lifted up … Who is this King of glory? Jehovah strong and mighty, Jehovah mighty in battle”. She knew that the One who suffered and died for her was the One who had come out of death, triumphant over it, and entered into His glory, entered into His glory above, the Father raising Him out of death and acclaiming Him, the very heavens themselves acclaiming Christ, entering into glory. This was our sister’s blessed portion. Is it yours? Have you known Him as your Saviour, and do you know the Lord Jesus as the blessed Man who has come out of death and who lives above? And so we are to be brought into this appreciation of the Lord Jesus, the One who is so glorious and so great.
This Psalm 24 has a long association with the first day of the week (see eg CAC vol 31 p178). That was something that entered into our sister’s Christian experience. She knew what it was to individually trust the Lord, and then to be brought into a company, that company of persons that was the assembly; “in the midst of the assembly will I sing thy praises”, Heb 2: 12. She was brought into a company of praising persons, and that was her delight and her desire, to be there to remember the Lord Jesus on Lord’s day, and to enter into the service of God, and to be led by Christ Himself into the Father’s presence. What would she learn there? His glory; the glory of the Son of God.
Well, this is the blessed portion that our sister had. The Lord Jesus spoke about the sufferings and the glory, and I have often wondered: why this Psalm 23 comes in between them. Since He is out of death and gone into glory, why do we have Psalm 23? Well, dear brethren and dear friends, this is what our sister proved. She had learned the Christ as the One who had suffered and died for her; she had learned the Christ as the Man of God’s choice, the Man who had entered into glory; and she had learned that that same blessed Man was available to her in her life here. I do not think she could have known it in its fulness without these other two experiences. There are many persons who read Psalm 23 and find comfort in the words, but our sister would have experienced the blessed comfort in her life here in this town of Hamilton, and in her assembly life in Airdrie and then in Glasgow, and she would have proved what the Lord Jesus was to her.
Jehovah is my shepherd;
I shall not want.
He maketh me to lie down
in green pastures; he leadeth me ...
That was her experience, that that same blessed Man was available to her to comfort and to be a resource and to help her in all the circumstances of life. Through the loss of her husband, through the years of her widowhood, this is what she proved, that He was available to her to restore her soul, to lead her in paths of righteousness.
And then it says, “Thou preparest a table”. What our sister enjoyed most of all was the fellowship of the saints. Our brother spoke about her interest and desire to be here among the saints at the meetings. “Thou preparest a table”. That was a divine provision for our sister in her sojourn here, that there should be a company, a fellowship, where she was able to enjoy the truth and enjoy a shared appreciation of the Lord Jesus. And then in John 10, which corresponds with Psalm 23, the Lord Jesus says, “I know those that are mine” (v 14), and “he calls his own sheep by name”, v 3. And so He has done that. The Lord Jesus has called our sister by name, the One that loved her while she was here and proved a support and help; she is now with Him above in a scene of bliss. For her “it is very much better”, Phil 1: 23. May these words encourage us that we ourselves might know the Man that has suffered and died, and might know the Man that has been glorified, and that thus we might prove His present help, and that the family might prove it as we go forward, for His Name’s sake.
2nd August 2012
(At the meeting for the burial of Mrs Peggy Newberry