Sunshowers of blessing the Danites cannot haul off
I was already encouraged by the beauty of the day, with its uniformly sky-blue sky and warming sun saturating the bright greens lilting and sparkling to the cadence of a gentle breeze. Adding to all of this, Heidi’s ministering spirit sent me this excerpt from Thomas Goodwin, wherein he observes that the final act of Christ in his incarnate state was to bless his disciples as he ascended:
And herein, first, there is not nothing in it to consider what he then did, and what was his last act when he was to take his rise, to fly up to heaven. He ‘blessed his disciples,’ and thereby left a blessing upon earth with them, for all his elect, to the end of the world. The true reason and mind of which blessing them was, that he being now to go to execute the eternal office of his priesthood in heaven, (of which God had sworn, ‘Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec’); as Melchisedec in the type blessed Abraham, and in him all the faithful as in his loins, — therefore the apostle said that ‘Levi paid tithes unto Melchisedec in Abraham’s loins, therefore he was blessed in his loins,’ — so did Christ begin this new and second part of his priesthood with blessing the apostles, and in them all the elect to the end of the world. This was the last thing that Christ did on earth, yea this he did whilst ascending, ‘he was taken up whilst he did it.’ So Luke xxiv. 50, 51. And thus solemnly he now did this, to shew that the curse was gone, and that sin was gone, and that action speaks thus much, as if Christ himself had said it; O my brethren, (for so he styled his disciples after his resurrection), I have been dead, and in dying made a curse for you; now that curse I have fully removed, and my Father hath acquitted me and you for it; and now I can be bold to bless you, and pronounce all your sins forgiven, and your persons justified. For that is the intendment and foundation of blessing. ‘Blessed is the man whose sins are forgiven him,’ and therefore that was the true meaning of his blessing them; which he reserved thus as his last act, to shew how by his death he had redeemed them from the curse of the law, and now going to heaven, was able to bless them with all the spiritual blessings that are there, and which heaven can afford, for heavenly they are called in that respect, Eph. i. 3. And as in Abraham (blessed by Melchisedec) all the faithful were blessed, so, in these apostles, all the elect to come are blessed. As when God individually blessed Adam and Eve at the first creation, yet he in them, blessed all that were for ever to come of them; so Christ in blessing them, blessed us, and ‘all that shall believe through their word,’ to the end of the world. And that they were thus then to be considered as common persons, receiving this blessing for us all, appeareth by Christ s words then uttered, I am with you to the end of the world (i. e., with you and all your successors, both ministers and other believers), Mat. xxviii. 20. And Christ herein did as God did before him. When God had done his work of creation, he ‘looked upon all he had done, and saw that it was good, and he blessed it.’ Thus did Jesus Christ; now that he had by that ‘one offering perfected for ever all the elect,’ he comfortably vieweth and pronounceth it perfect, and them blessed; and so goes to heaven, to keep and enjoy the Sabbath of all there. (Thomas Goodwin: Christ Set Forth)
In the days when every man did what was right in his own eyes, Micah believed that he had unlocked God’s goodness in securing a Levite priest who did his bidding, and in his foundry-forged idols (Judges 17:13). Indeed, these were very coveted things, which the covetous Danites seized by force. And my mind wanders much of the time, sometimes listlessly, sometimes boldly, through idol-occupied territory. In rueing how easily I can be deprived of these idols, I can easily forget that they are not true blessings at all. True blessings God intends for me cannot be carted away by Danites or in any way be redirected from me.
Yesterday I commended to my indolent memory Answer 36 of the Westminster Shorter Catechism: “The benefits which in this life do accompany or flow from justification, adoption, and sanctification, are assurance of God’s love, peace of conscience, joy in the Holy Ghost, increase of grace, and perseverance therein to the end.” And those are things that raiding idol-nappers always leave behind.