PICTURE OF PROMINENCE
God’s people are important to him and His cause. They are dear and near to him, and He loves them. In communicating this truth to us, the Holy Spirit framed beautiful pictures and displayed them in the gallery of scripture. Let’s go take a look!
“And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of waters which brings forth its fruit in due season” (Psalm 1:3). In the preceding passage, we see the picture of a tree standing for a godly man. But this is not a little twig with pale and tattered leaves that just happened to grow. It is not a vine hidden beneath dense foliage, struggling for the life-giving rays of the golden sunlight. This is a fat, green, well watered, cared for and fruitful tree. That is the picture of God’s people, who shun the counsel of the ungodly, and instead delight themselves in God’s law. Joseph, Daniel, and the three Hebrew boys all possessed that feature of prominence in their lives and ministry. Of Jesus, it was written that He “grew in favor with God and man” (Luke 2: 52). Not even persecuted Christians in the early centuries of the Christian era lost their vitality to God’s program. They always had the love, attention and the all important favor of God.
There is another picture of the high visibility of God’s people in the Old Testament that we should look at. This one is framed within the pages of Isaiah’s book. There he prophetically described God’s coming spiritual house in interesting terms. Hear him! “..The mountain of the Lord’s house shall be established in the top of the mountains and shall be exalted above the hills and all nations shall flow unto it” (Isaiah 2:2, 3). First notice how God’s house the church is described as a mountain. God’s house is neither small nor short. Just as a mountain is big and strong and immovable and visible, so also is the church of Christ in God’s scheme of things. Even though the world does not know it, the church is vital to its survival and prosperity. As if that is not enough, Isaiah adds to the conspicuous nature of God’s house by saying it will be “established in the top of the mountains and exalted above the hills”. So we have a mountain sitting in the top of the mountains and elevated over the hills. How do you like that for elevation? This means that no other institution, whether political, educational or recreational can compare with the importance of the church. Neither Oxford University nor the Republican Party can do what the church is supposed to do and be. The Boy Scouts organization and the Red Cross do good work but they are dwarfed when placed next to the work that the church has been called to do.
Jumping the dispensational chasm, we find no less attractive pictures in the New Testament, of the prominence of God’s people. Jesus photographed and developed the next one during His classic discourse on the Mount of Olives. There Jesus depicted His then, numerically small disciples as “a city set on a hill” (Matt 5: 14). The picture of a city is in itself clear; but when that city is placed on a hill its visibility is beyond question. Coming into God’s house is hence an upward move. One does not go down to the house of God even if he is leaving from a position of President of the United States of America. The prophet predicted that “many people would go and say come ye let us go UP to the mountain of the Lord to the house of the God of Jacob...” (Isaiah 2: 3) God’s house has certainly elevated our position from communal squatters within the prison camps of sin to dwellers within the city.
A final picture is taken and presented next to the preceding one. It is that of a lighted candle positioned on a candlestick. Jesus reasoned, “Neither do men light a candle and put it under a bushel but on a candlestick” (Matt 4:15). The importance of light is accentuated in darkness. Amidst the darkness of ignorance, greed, skepticism and certain death, Christians must offer the light of hope for a purposeful life now, and a resurrection to eternal life, not just in quantity, but equally in quality. Even here the picture of our prominence to God and the world is emphasized.
Written by: Thaddeus Bruno
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