M. J. Michaux is a new contributor to our magazine. He lives in Colorado Spring, and seeks to serve the Lord and His beloved people. We do appreciate the devotional tone in which our brother writes. Here is food for both mind and heart.
“For ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though he was rich — “ (2 Cor. 8:9)
How Rich Was He?
David said, “… all that is in the Heaven and in the Earth is thine… and in thine hand it is to make great, and to give strength unto all.”
David marked out God, first, as Infinitely Rich, when measured by Heaven and Earth. There are no riches, spiritual or material, outside of Heaven and Earth. There is nothing to compare to such vastness, such wealth. The stars, the planets, the galaxies, the universes beyond — all are His. He made them. By Him they “consist”, are held together, in their courses. Solomon, when he dedicated the temple, exclaimed, “Heaven of heavens cannot contain thee, bow much less this house that I have builded!”
David marked out God as Magnificently Rich, when measured by the riches and honor which men esteem. “Both riches and honor come of Thee,” he said. God sets up one and puts down another. There is not one He does not know by name, not one omitted from the book of remembrance, not one whose hairs are not numbered. Kings and rulers hold their power by His pleasure. There is no power but of God, said the Apostle, for the powers that be are ordained of God.
David marked out God as Powerfully Rich, when measured by greatness and strength. “Thine, O Lord, is the greatness and the power…in thine hand is greatness and power—” God is able to raise men to places of great power in the world, but willing to give strength to the weakest of men, to help those who call upon Him in their despair and failure, and to lift them up as if on eagle’s wings, to uphold them “with the right hand of His righteousness.”
Finally David marked out God as Gloriously Rich, when measured by His own name. “Now, therefore, our God we thank Thee, and praise Thy glorious name.” It is a name weighted with majesty and beauty, suffering and shame, but also with power and grace. It is a name that holds demonic powers in check, but speaks to the sinner with loving kindness. “Holy and reverend is His name.” All of these riches which David ascribed to God belonged to the Son, the only begotten of the Father. “I was set up from everlasting, from the beginning, or ever the earth was… Then I was by Him, as one brought up with Him: and I was daily His delight, rejoicing always before Him.” He was infinitely, magnificently, powerfully, gloriously rich. Far beyond measure and worth, glorified with the same glory as the Father “before the world was.” The riches of Christ are unsearchable, for God “created all things by Jesus Christ.” The Apostle confirms this when he says, “For by Him were all things created, that are in Heaven, and that are in earth visible and invisible … all things were created by Him, and for Him; and He is before all things, and by Him all things consist.”
“…yet for your sakes He became poor.”
How Poor Did He Become?
He gave up all that He had as a ransom to redeem us. The disciples remembered that He had said, “It is more blessed to give than to receive.” Were they thinking of all that He gave up for them when they remembered what He said? Did their hearts burn within them when they realized that all that vast wealth was counted as straw, as worthless, when measured by that one gift, Himself? And without which, death and darkness engulf the soul?
How poor did the Saviour became?
There was NO ROOM for Him to be born. Not even a place which was normal among men — a house or a home. No, not even a rented bed. He was treated as one of the poorest of the poor, the offspring of a poor and despised people, the child of a forgotten race. “Despised and rejected of men —” even in His birth. Though the Heaven of heavens was His home and His way was “where light dwelleth”; though He “laid the foundations of the earth… shut up the bounds of the sea … commanded the morning and the dayspring to know their place…who bound the sweet influences of Pleiades and loosed the bands of Orion…who sent lightning…and numbers the clouds in wisdom…” yet in all of His creation, He found no room to be born. “He became poor —” He who shut up the bounds of the sea, set no bounds on His love for us, no price, but willingly chose the way of humiliation.
During His life there was NO REST for His head. “The foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests,” He said, “but the Son of Man hath not where to lay His head.” He knew what it was to wander like a pelican in the wilderness, to thirst by a well without a cup to draw water, to eat the cold hard kernels of corn on the Sabbath, to have His feet covered with dust from going about doing good, and yet have none to care for them. His poverty was complete. He did not even have a coin for Caesar, but plucked one from a fish’s mouth. “The women ministered unto Him of their substance,” and no doubt provided what little rest He found, for He was often in prayer all night, and He fasted often. He was pursued, persecuted, and constantly plotted against, so there was no rest for Him.
In His death there was No Tomb for His body. It was a borrowed tomb, for He would not be there long. His rest was not yet complete. It would not be until the last sheep had been gathered into the fold and the long day was over. Not only was there no tomb, no preparation for the body, but there was no comforter in His death — no earthly comforter. He died alone, as poor as when He entered the world, even His coat was gambled away by the ignorant soldiers charged with His crucifixion.
“… that ye through His poverty might be rich.”
How Rich Are We?
Our riches in Christ are Unsearchable Riches. An Eternity will not exhaust the search, nor provide the time to count them over. These riches are like the ocean of His love which has neither bottom, nor brim, said a godly man. The full measure of them has never been taken, their depth never plumbed, their breadth never spanned. The more we receive of them, the more we take of them, the more there is remaining.
We give thanks to God for the source of these riches, His Unspeakable Gift, in whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins. We did not know what it meant to give until God taught us by His own Son. We did not know the love of God until He poured upon us His kindness through Christ Jesus.
We see in Christ Unmeasured Grace. He has lavished on us the riches of His grace in His kindness towards us, giving us in abundance all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. In the fulness of times He plans to “gather in one all things in Christ that we should be to the praise of His glory.” An unveling of such love and joy as is not known in this world, but it is stored up for us in the world to come.
We see in Christ Undarkened Glory. When we saw the light, His light, we turned to Him for life as naturally as a plant turns to the sun for life. We know now what is the “hope of His calling, and what the richness of the glory of His inheritance in the saints.” The prospect is glorious. Now we see through a glass darkly, but then face to face. Our eyes will be opened and we “shall see Him as He is” in all His glory, and power, and majesty. We shall see what mighty power worked in our behalf to claim our inheritance from the clutches of death and the grave.
We have in Christ Unlimited Strength, which is undreamed of by natural man. His Spirit dwells in our hearts by faith and opens up to us the wealth of the Kingdom. We are able to comprehend a little the extent of our riches — the breadth, the length, the depth, and the height of them. We have revealed to us the most precious of all our riches, all our inheritance, all our hope of glory, — the love of Christ, which surpasses knowledge. Here we see unfolded, age upon age, glory upon glory, the exceeding wonderful plan of God and His kindness towards us in Christ. Yes, even when we were without strength, even when we were dead in sins and trespasses, even when we were at enmity with such a God — He quickened us and the eyes of our understanding were opened and we caught a glimpse of these riches, poured out abundantly upon us in Christ.
Finally, our riches are an Unclouded Assurance, “the riches of the full assurance of understanding.” God desires that our hearts might be comforted and knit together in love, and that we might understand these things which were once a mystery, but are a mystery no longer. They were like buried treasure exceeding the imagination of men, which now in our time have been brought to light. God wants us to know about them, to revel in them, to count them over and over, and to look forward to the time when they will not only be ours in anticipation, but ours eternally. God wants us to know this and to see that these riches are the glorious mystery hid from ages and generations, but now made manifest to us. “Christ in you, the hope of glory!”
These, then, are the true riches that came to us through His poverty—a foretaste of things to come. It was the outworking of His plan and purpose, the revelation of His inheritance laid up in His saints, that we might be to His praise, His honor, and His glory, at His appearing.