A King Will Reign in Righteousness
This first section can be read as a description of Christ’s eternal reign, with Jesus providing shelter, protection, refreshment, and shade. No more judicial blindness or rash decisions. The coming of Christ will reveal people in their truest selves — fools as fools, noble ones as noble ones.
–from William MacDonald
Behold, a king will reign in righteousness,
and princes will rule in justice.
2 Each will be like a hiding place from the wind,
a shelter from the storm,
like streams of water in a dry place,
like the shade of a great rock in a weary land.
Elizabeth Clephane was born in Edinburgh, Scotland in 1830. Her parents both died while she was young, and she was never very healthy herself; she died at age 39. After her death her poetry was published, including a hymn which contained an allusion to the verse above. Click HERE to hear the Hasting College Choir (Hastings, Nebraska) sing one of my favorite (one of my many favorite!) hymns, “Beneath the Cross of Jesus.”
Beneath the cross of Jesus I fain would take my stand,
The shadow of a mighty rock within a weary land;
A home within the wilderness, a rest upon the way,
From the burning of the noontide heat, and the burden of the day.
Upon that cross of Jesus mine eye at times can see
The very dying form of One Who suffered there for me;
And from my stricken heart with tears two wonders I confess;
The wonders of redeeming love and my unworthiness.
I take, O cross, thy shadow for my abiding place;
I ask no other sunshine than the sunshine of His face;
Content to let the world go by, to know no gain or loss,
My sinful self my only shame, my glory all the cross.
3 Then the eyes of those who see will not be closed,
and the ears of those who hear will give attention.
4 The heart of the hasty will understand and know,
and the tongue of the stammerers will hasten to speak distinctly.
5 The fool will no more be called noble,
nor the scoundrel said to be honorable.
6 For the fool speaks folly,
and his heart is busy with iniquity,
to practice ungodliness,
to utter error concerning the Lord,
to leave the craving of the hungry unsatisfied,
and to deprive the thirsty of drink.
7 As for the scoundrel—his devices are evil;
he plans wicked schemes
to ruin the poor with lying words,
even when the plea of the needy is right.
Complacent Women Warned of Disaster
But the kingdom hasn’t come yet. Judgment will come on the people who valued luxury and ease above social justice and righteousness.
–from William MacDonald
9 Rise up, you women who are at ease, hear my voice;
you complacent daughters, give ear to my speech.
10 In little more than a year
you will shudder, you complacent women;
for the grape harvest fails,
the fruit harvest will not come.
11 Tremble, you women who are at ease,
shudder, you complacent ones;
strip, and make yourselves bare,
and tie sackcloth around your waist.
12 Beat your breasts for the pleasant fields,
for the fruitful vine,
13 for the soil of my people
growing up in thorns and briers,
yes, for all the joyous houses
in the exultant city.
14 For the palace is forsaken,
the populous city deserted;
the hill and the watchtower
will become dens forever,
a joy of wild donkeys,
a pasture of flocks;
15 until the Spirit is poured upon us from on high,
and the wilderness becomes a fruitful field,
and the fruitful field is deemed a forest.
16 Then justice will dwell in the wilderness,
and righteousness abide in the fruitful field.
17 And the effect of righteousness will be peace,
and the result of righteousness, quietness and trust forever.
Justice . . . righteousness . . . peace . . . quietness and assurance forever:
When God’s Spirit is poured out among His people, this is what it is like. We shouldn’t be satisfied with what claims to be of the Spirit, but isn’t marked by the fruit of the Spirit. If we lack these things, we can ask the Lord to pour out His Spirit upon us.
18 My people will abide in a peaceful habitation,
in secure dwellings, and in quiet resting places.
19 And it will hail when the forest falls down,
and the city will be utterly laid low.
20 Happy are you who sow beside all waters,
who let the feet of the ox and the donkey range free.