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Free Books » Bonar, Horatius » Light & Truth: Acts and the Larger Epistles

Chapter 21 - Acts 7:49 - The Throne, the Footstool and the House Light & Truth: Acts and the Larger Epistles by Bonar, Horatius


His is one of a great cluster of passages, a constellation of bright texts, that declare the infinite glory of that God with whom we have to do; the God who spared not His own Son; the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. (See 1 Kings 8:27; Isaiah 57:15, 66:1, 2; John 4:21-24; Acts 17:24.) In these we find such things as these: (1.) the infinite greatness of God; His greatness is unsearchable and boundless. (2.) The glorious majesty of God; His is the throne of heaven, the royalty of the universe; King of kings and Lord of lords. (3.) The exceeding power of God; He created the heavens and the earth; and yet these are but particles of dust; "the Lord God Almighty is His name." (4.) The eternity of God; He "only hath immortality," the "King eternal, immortal, and invisible," "from everlasting to everlasting God." (5.) The nearness of God; He is not far from any of us; "in Him we live, and move, and have our being"; He is the nearest of all near beings, nothing can come between us and Him. (6.) The condescension of God; He looks to man, thinks on man, stoops to man, longs to make man His dwelling, as if a human heart were a nobler temple and throne than the heaven of heavens. (7.) The love of God; it is not mere condescension, it is love, true, pure, and pitying love; His desire is to revive the spirit of the humble, to revive the heart of the contrite ones, for He will not contend for ever, neither will He be always wroth, lest the spirit should fail before Him, and the souls which He has made.

With what power and pregnancy of meaning, after reading such texts, do the Lord's words come to us, "Woman, believe me the hour cometh when ye shall neither in this mountain, nor yet at Jerusalem, worship the Father. The hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship Him. God is a Spirit: and they that worship Him must worship Him in spirit and in truth."

I. Does God want a throne? If so, He must provide it himself. Man cannot. No throne that man ever built or conceived is glorious enough for the infinite Jehovah. He has provided it. He has built the heavens with all their glory and splendor; both these heavens above us, and the heaven of heavens beyond; all are His erection, His adornment, His upholding. "All these things have my hands built, saith the Lord." On that "glorious high throne" He sits; from that He rules the universe. It is the throne of thrones, as He is the King of kings. "Let us worship and bow down; let us kneel before the Lord our maker" (Psalm 95:6). "Justice and judgment are the habitation of his throne" (Psalm 89:14). Let us cherish reverence and godly fear towards such a God; and put away all levity, all vanity, all pride in approaching such a throne! It is, we know, a throne of grace; yet it is a throne of majesty and glory. Let us stand in awe. Let us be solemn. Let us be earnest. Whilst we draw near with a true heart, in the full assurance of faith, let us also approach with reverence and godly fear. It is a mercy-seat; but it is the mercy-seat of the Holy One.

II. Does God want a footstool? Then He must make it Himself. Even a footstool for so glorious a God is beyond man's power to create. But He has built a footstool for Himself with his own hands—a place for the soles of his feet; a place under which his enemies shall be thrust, and around which his subjects shall gather in loving adoration, in happy praise and prayer. Earth is his footstool; and here are we living upon that footstool of God. Do we remember this? Do we avail ourselves of this? Do we use it as He wishes us to do, and as our need requires? Is it not an honour for this globe of ours to be called the footstool of God? And does not this make us feel His nearness, and awaken in us the reverence which such a nearness ought to produce? "We will go into his tabernacles, we will worship at his footstool" (Psalm 132:7).

III. Does God want a house? He must build it for Himself. Man cannot. His own hands must build His dwelling. That dwelling must correspond in glory and greatness with the throne and the footstool. God wants a temple, a habitation—not merely a tabernacle like that of Moses, or a marble edifice like that of Solomon,—but a habitation which will last, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. This temple is the Church of God, which is the "temple of the Holy Ghost"; nay, we ourselves individually are the temple: "Know ye not that your bodies are the temples of the Holy Ghost" (1 Corinthians 3:16, 6:19). Thus he spoke of old by his prophet (Isaiah 57:15), "I dwell in the high and holy place" (yes, He "inhabiteth eternity"), but it is the spirit of the contrite and humble that He specially makes His abode. As if looking all around through the universe for a habitation, He finds none so suitable, none so glorious as time broken heart of one of time creatures which He has made. Give Him then a house, O man, the house which He wants. Let Him dwell in you. Let Him make a temple of you. Let Him manifest His presence and 'His glory in you.

IV. Does God want a rest? If so, who can provide it? Not man. He cannot give himself rest. Only God Himself. He found rest on the seventh day in the new creation which He had pronounced very good. That rest was disturbed by man's sin; and not till the coming new creation will God's full rest be obtained, in a world ransomed by blood and restored by His power. But meanwhile He is seeking a rest. And where sin is, there can be no rest for a holy being. Only where the blood is that cleanseth sin can He rest. Hence the altar, from the beginning, was his place of rest; and afterwards the tabernacle and temple where that altar stood. That altar is represented by the cross of Christ. So that we may say the cross is the resting-place. There God has found rest; and in the soul of every one who is gathered to that cross and sprinkled with that blood. The soul on which the blood of sprinkling rests is one of God's resting places. All this He has provided for Himself. All these His hands have made. There "He rests in his love." Thus we find rest in God, and God finds rest in us. We are his resting place and He is ours. We joy in Him, and He in us. He is our temple (Revelation 21:22), and we are His (Ephesians 2:22); we dwell in Him, and He in us.