Monday, April 6, 2009

You said

You said, “Ask and you will receive, whatever you need.”
You said, “Pray and I’ll hear from heaven, and I’ll heal your land.”
You said, “Lift up your eyes, the harvest is here, the kingdom is near.”
You said, “Ask and I’ll give the nations to you.” Oh Lord, that’s the cry of my heart.
Distant shores and the islands will see your light as it rises on us.

Has anyone heard this song before? It really was a great missions song. I remember hearing it for the first time as I was prepping for a mission trip to Peru. As our team of about twenty people trained, practicing a skit, we were also learning new songs and bonding through our interactions. One such song that really brought us together, singing our lungs out for the Lord, was this one, You said.

I don’t really know whether or not the title of the song is “You said,” so you can look up the lyrics on Google if it really interests you. One thing I do know is that the lyrics have bothered me ever since I heard it. Why? Is it the part about receiving whatever we need? No. Those who adhere to the name-it-and-claim-it tend to either get over that belief quickly or are constantly living with disappointment. Most people I associate with in the Church don’t follow that belief (name-it, claim-it) and know it to be false. What bothers me is that some of us may be claiming a different promise for ourselves that was never meant for us. I refer to the phrase, Ask and I’ll give the nations to you. Oh Lord, that’s the cry of my heart.

Anyone who’s read the second Psalm has read those words before. Here they are in the English Standard Version:

Psa 2:8 Ask of me, and I will make the nations your heritage, and the ends of the earth your possession.

The NIV is much closer to the wording of the song, but you get the point. Just by looking at the verse, nothing stands out as being odd or out of place. Perhaps there may be some question as to whether the nations and the earth is figurative or literal, referring to people, places, or things. I’m not going to argue that point. My question isn’t What? but rather Who? Who is this promise for? If it is for believers in Christ, or even Israel, a correlation can be made and we can sing the song from the perspective that God is promising us the nations and the earth, as a sort of possession for Christ. But, if the promise is for someone else, and not for us, we out to sing with a passion that God would fulfill His promise in the other individual, not in the Church. The best way to answer the Who? question is to look at the context of Psalm Two.

Psa 2:1-12 Why do the nations rage and the peoples plot in vain? (2) The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the LORD and against his Anointed, saying, (3) "Let us burst their bonds apart and cast away their cords from us." (4) He who sits in the heavens laughs; the Lord holds them in derision. (5) Then he will speak to them in his wrath, and terrify them in his fury, saying, (6) "As for me, I have set my King on Zion, my holy hill." (7) I will tell of the decree: The LORD said to me, "You are my Son; today I have begotten you. (8) Ask of me, and I will make the nations your heritage, and the ends of the earth your possession. (9) You shall break them with a rod of iron and dash them in pieces like a potter's vessel." (10) Now therefore, O kings, be wise; be warned, O rulers of the earth. (11) Serve the LORD with fear, and rejoice with trembling. (12) Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and you perish in the way, for his wrath is quickly kindled. Blessed are all who take refuge in him.

From this passage, the Who is made clear most by verses six and seven. The Lord says, “I have set my King on Zion,” and “You are my Son; today I have begotten you.” Most scholars would agree that this is a messianic prophecy. Who is God’s Son? Jesus the Christ. From verse six we see that God says, “I have se my King on Zion.” This prophecy is referring to the second coming of Christ, which we as believers eagerly anticipate, daily wondering, could it be today?

When we say that it is the cry of our heart for God to give the messiah the nations as His inheritance, we are crying out for a number of things.

First, we cry out for the second coming of Christ. We eagerly await and anticipate His coming. With the coming of Christ we find the end of the world and the final dominion of God taking place.

Second, we cry out for Christ’s inheritance to become effectual. That is, we want the elect, the chosen, those who are to believe, to be revealed. Romans 8:19 says, “For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God.” When are the sons revealed? In part, it’s when they come to faith in Him. In the whole, and this is exciting, they are revealed at the end of the age, namely when Christ returns. Paul continues his thought four verses later in Romans 8:23 and says, “And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies.” Do we not long for the return of our Lord, when He will right every wrong and show His authority and dominion over all things? Which brings me to the last point, the culmination of the prior two.

Third, we cry out for God to subject the world to Christ’s dominion. Philippians 2:9-11 speaks of this, “that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow.” And also, in Hebrews 2:8 it says, “At present, we do not yet see everything in subjection to him.” Oh how we should long for the day when everything is in subjection to our savior and the King receives the honor that He’s due. At that point, when the whole world, that is, the universe (κοσμος  cosmos), is subjected to Christ (see Revelation 11:15), we will be with Him in His Kingdom, in the New Jerusalem, where death is no more.

If and when you sing the song, You said, sing it out passionately, invoking our great God to fulfill His promise that was made to our messiah, that He would come soon, take His inheritance, and all things would be made subject to Him. What a glorious day that will be.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Andrew, I agree with your conclusion that the verses (and the song) are referring to Jesus and not to anyone else who may try to claim this verse as a promise to them. I have this song on one of my CD's, and had looked up the context of the verses when I heard the song. (The song's title is "You Said" by Reuben Morgan- the version I have is sung by Darlene Zschech. It is on the Voices of the Faithful CD.)
Tu madre