A REIGNING SAVIOR
"This is the resting place, let the weary rest; and this
is the place of repose"—
"Hallelujah! For our Lord God Almighty reigns."
No Palm in all the grove (specially for the woe-worn
pilgrim) has a more gracious or inviting shadow than that whose leaves seem
to whisper, "Your God reigns." To change the simile, it forms the foundation
truth of all comfort. An old writer speaks of it as the first word spelled
in the afflicted man's primer.
Our motto-verse has an interest of its own, in connection
with what precedes in the chapter of which it is a part. On the announcement
of the destruction of the mystic Babylon in the immediate context, a voice
emanates from the celestial throne, "Praise our God, all you His servants,
and you who fear Him, both small and great;" and then is heard in response,
as it were, "what sounded like a great multitude, and like the roar of
rushing waters, and like loud peals of thunder, shouting: 'Hallelujah! For
our Lord God Almighty reigns.'"
It is striking to note the contrast between the way in
which the awful catastrophe, described in the previous chapter, is received
on earth and in heaven. On earth there is heard nothing but "weeping and
lamentation." The kings and the princes, the mighty men and the merchants,
are depicted as robing themselves in sackcloth and casting dust upon their
heads. In a bold figure of poetry, an ominous column of smoke is represented
catching the eye of the mariners on the distant ocean, as they are speeding
along in their vessels loaded with the produce and luxuries of the world.
(v. 17)—"Every sea captain, and all who travel by ship, the sailors, and all
who earn their living from the sea, will stand far off…and with weeping and
mourning cry out: 'Woe! Woe, O great city, where all who had ships on the
sea became rich through her wealth! In one hour she has been brought to
Such is the case with an awestruck world; but how is it
with the Church alike in heaven and upon earth? There the smoke of that
tremendous inferno is the signal for a song of jubilee. No tongue is silent.
It is taken up by small and great, redeemed and unredeemed; and the tide of
triumph increases as it rolls. Every fresh view of this divine judgment
affords matter for loftier exultation. At first, the rapt seer heard no more
than "a roar of a great multitude in heaven." But the music of the
celestial choirs is caught up by the dwellers in the lower sanctuary. It
seems "like the voice of a great multitude." Louder still, it becomes "as
the roar of rushing waters;" and then, with an ever augmenting volume, it is
like "loud peals of thunder"—"Hallelujah! for our Lord God Almighty reigns!"
It is a typical representation of the unfolding of the
wisdom and righteousness of all God's dispensations and purposes to His
Church—partly unfolded in this world, fully disclosed in the world to come.
The song of His people, often raised on earth in feeble, trembling,
faltering accents, will be an ever-deepening one, as the "why" and the
"wherefore" of these dealings become gradually more manifest.
It is hard and difficult often here, to recognize the
divine love and wisdom, and to own the rectitude of the dark dispensation.
But "what we know not now we shall know hereafter." In the
great day of disclosures—the cloudless, sinless, sorrowless morning of
immortality—the mysteries of Providence will be unraveled; every event will
be seen reflected as in a glorious mirror; all the now veiled purposes will
be fully revealed, perplexing dealings vindicated. "In Your light, O God, we
shall see light." Each lip will then be brought to confess that this
reigning Lord has been 'righteous in all His ways and loving toward all He
has made.' Each fresh retrospect will cause the hearts of the Redeemed to
bound with holier rapture, and their tongues to thrill with louder notes of
exultation. The gradual revelation of God's earthly plan will afford new
matter and new motive for praise. Not until the various component parts of
the divine dealings are brought together—not until we view them as a
whole—can we see their unity and admire their grandeur.
The present life, in its conflicting relations, its
discords and confusions, is the tuning of the musical instruments before the
great hallelujah chorus—the magnificent harmonies of Heaven. Then that
chorus, like the song of adoration of the exulting multitudes in the seer's
vision, will become a louder and yet louder ascription of praise, deepening
until its streaming waves of sound become like the noise of mighty
thunderings. And this verse at the head of our meditation will be the
Nor can we omit to add further, that that Sovereign Ruler
is the same "Lion of the tribe of Judah" into whose hands, in the beginning
of the Apocalyptic visions, was put the sealed roll of Providence (Rev.
5:1-6). It is Christ, the exalted King and Head of His Church, His brows
crowned with many crowns, who holds the reins of universal empire! We can
claim Him as a Brother, we can love Him as a Friend, we can
adore Him as a God! We repeat, that glorious Keystone which crowns
the arch is hidden at times behind the clouds. We see it not! Often we lose
the divine footsteps—often we look with straining eye for one fringe of
light in the darkened firmament. But He is there!—"that same
Jesus"—the might of deity slumbering in His arm, the tenderness of
humanity glowing at His heart. Jesus is "the Lord omnipotent," and He
"reigns"! Jesus reigns!
Then perish every desponding thought. Jesus reigns! Then,
though heart and flesh faint and fail, He will be the strength of our heart,
and our portion forever. Jesus reigns! He reigns to love, to pity, to plead,
to sympathize, to bless; He reigns to sustain the needy, to comfort the
brokenhearted, to reclaim the wandering, to save the lost; He reigns to
justify, to sanctify, and finally to glorify; and He will live and
reign over Zion triumphant as well as militant "through all
generations!"—the object of adoring praise and gratitude to His Church
through all eternity—their light, their life, their strength, their portion,
their all in all! Oh, can we say, with lowly, joyful confidence, seated
under the shelter of so glorious a palm—"Your throne, O God, will last
forever and ever; the scepter of justice will be the scepter of Your
"Hark! the song of jubilee,
Loud as mighty thunder's roar,
O'er the fullness of the sea
When it breaks upon the shore.
'Hallelujah! for the Lord
God omnipotent doth reign!
Hallelujah! let the word
Echo round the earth and main.
"He shall reign from pole to pole
With illimitable sway;
He shall reign when, like a scroll,
Yonder heavens have passed away.
Then the end: beneath His rod
Man's last enemy shall fall.
Hallelujah! Christ in God,
God in Christ, is all in all!"
"The Lord your God is with you, He is mighty to save. He
will take great delight in you, He will quiet you with His love, He will
rejoice over you with singing."