Dec 11, 2023
Humanity stands divided over a particular issue.
On one side, some argue that history runs towards no particular end. The events occurring in time possess no particular goal. The world acts in chaos. Those who search for meaning in life’s events embark on a frustrating and empty search. The universe, the actions of men, the migrating of birds, the travels of galaxies, and the paths of hurricanes exist and go about aimlessly, the creations of mere chance, and the result of mere natural processes.
Some counter by persisting that “everything happens for a reason.” They insist that you and I were created for a purpose. That even bad, painful experiences serve a higher end. They contend that someone or something acts with intention towards a goal. In their minds, the good, the bad, and the ugly are woven together precisely so that in the end all things will work together for some good.
The Scriptures reject the first position and bring clarity to the second. They do so by revealing to us the God of the universe who created the heavens and the earth and all that is in them. Not only did He bring them into existence, but he acts in relation to them. He is a God who works. He sets kings in their positions. He causes the rain to fall, the planets to stay on course (Is 40:26), the honey and milk to flow, the grapes for wine to grow, and the trees for timber to stand.
He acts in the world which He created and He does so with a particular goal in mind - that the world may know Him.
6 Therefore my people shall know my name. Therefore in that day they shall know that it is I who speak; here I am.” (Isaiah 52:6 ESV)
He does not seek only for humanity to know the truth about him, mere awareness of His existence and His doings. He also desires that they worship him, enjoy him, delight in him, find their satisfaction in him - that they love him. Everything God does flows to this end.
This truth brings us to the fourth and final Servant Song in Isaiah, in which God once again calls us to look at and consider His Servant
13 Behold, my servant shall act wisely; he shall be high and lifted up, and shall be exalted.
In this one verse, the LORD offers a summation of how He will glorify Himself in all things. He will do so through the exaltation, the success, and the lifting up of the Servant. The Servant will be made to prosper. He will succeed in the world, and above all He will be elevated. The LORD will exalt the Servant, the nations will see Him and in seeing Him they will know and love the LORD. The Lord will glorify Himself by glorifying the Servant.
God Glorifies Himself by Glorifying Jesus, His Servant in All Things.
As we have seen already in past devotions, the Servant of the LORD is Jesus Christ, the Messiah, born of the virgin Mary. Jesus came as God’s servant just as God promised through Isaiah.
As Jesus approached his death, he got away to pray to the Father. We find this prayer in John 17. There Jesus spoke of this ultimate end of God and His own role in it.
1 ……“Father, the hour has come; glorify your Son that the Son may glorify you, 2 since you have given him authority over all flesh, to give eternal life to all whom you have given him. 3 And this is eternal life, that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent. 4 I glorified you on earth, having accomplished the work that you gave me to do. 5 And now, Father, glorify me in your own presence with the glory that I had with you before the world existed. (John 17:1-5 ESV)
Notice that Jesus asked God to fulfill His purpose, to glorify Him, the Son, so that in doing so the Father would be glorified. The glory of the Father seen and enjoyed by humanity comes through the Father’s work to “glorify [His] Son.” This is the great end of all God’s doing in the world, He seeks to glorify His Son so that He Himself is glorified (See Ep 1:3-14).
Give Yourself to the Highest End - to Glorify God by Glorifying Jesus.
For what purpose do you live your life? When you go to the cupboard in the morning and fetch a bowl of cereal, at what do your actions aim? Does your hand serve the mere desires of your stomach or do you seek something higher? Have you thought much about your purpose in life? Do you have a plan to accomplish it? Are you wandering aimlessly through career, parenting, marriage, dating, singleness, and education? Or, do you chase something? Does the reason for which you live shape how you spend your money?
If you do seek a purpose in your activity, what is it? In whatever your hand finds to do, do you aim at glorifying the LORD by glorifying Jesus? Do you eat and drink, play or work, remain abstinent or make love, read and teach, travel and sleep all so that God is known and enjoyed?
If the LORD who with full knowledge, perfect wisdom, infinite resources, and unblemished goodness chooses the exaltation of Himself through the exaltation of Jesus as His ultimate end, should not we give ourselves to the same? If such a superior Being to us finds this end to be worthy above all other alternatives of His pursuit, should not we also conclude that our time and energy and resources are best spent in pursuit of this end?
The Lord works in all things to glorify himself by glorifying Jesus. Let us, too, give ourselves in all we do to the same. May God work to align all of our lives towards this end, the end for which He created us.
5 "Fear not, for I am with you; I will bring your offspring from the east, and from the west I will gather you. 6 I will say to the north, Give up, and to the south, Do not withhold; bring my sons from afar and my daughters from the end of the earth, 7 everyone who is called by my name, whom I created for my glory, whom I formed and made.” (Isaiah 43:5-7 ESV)