JUDE’S DOXOLOGY – PART 10
We have been looking at the four words Jude uses in his doxology to give glory or honour to God. Those four words are glory, majesty, dominion and power. We observed that the words are in essence two couplets, the first two being passive in the sense that they describe God’s appearance and the dignity of His Being. But the second couplet can be described as active in the sense that they describe what God has done or will do in the future.
With regard to this second couplet we observed that God has shared his dominion and power with other section of His creation with varying degrees of response. We looked at the ruling lights, which being inanimate objects obey the rules of the universe placed by God to keep order in the skies.
We looked at angels and noted that they are not weak infants but strong and in the case of the faithful angels obedient and loyal in the exercise of the power assigned to them
20. Praise the LORD, you strong and mighty angels, who obey his commands, who listen to what he says.
But we learned about other angels, Satan and those who followed him who abused the power assigned to them and wanted more. God choses to allow them to retain and to continue to abuse their assigned power. Satan is described as the prince of the power of the air and under him are various levels of evil and abusive powers described as principalities, powers and rulers
12. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.
So we have to also assign failure to angels because of these rebellious spiritual beings.
Jude, in his doxology is, in reality, longing for the day when God and Jesus take back the dominion and power that rightly belongs to Them. But more of that later.
But we said that we would look at what particular power was assigned to humans and how they used or abused it.
Here we are near the beginning of human history.
28. And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.
But we know of course that man’s power, his dominion was limited in one respect. God said this –
15. The LORD God put the man in the Garden of Eden to take care of it and to look after it.
16. But the LORD told him, “You may eat fruit from any tree in the garden,
17. except the one that has the power to let you know the difference between right and wrong. If you eat any fruit from that tree, you will die before the day is over!”
We read this in the Psalms about man.
5 You made us a little lower than you yourself, and you have crowned us with glory and honor.
6. You let us rule everything your hands have made. And you put all of it under our power—
But we know how the ultimate rebellious created being, Satan, the great deceiver, appeared in the garden and deceived humans into disobeying God’s command. Humans were persuaded to challenge God’s authority and take more power than they had been assigned.
But while Satan’s rebellion is allowed to continue, when it came to human beings God acted to protect His authority and he countered the rebellion by removing man from the garden and he cursed man’s activity and brought death, division and separation to the human world and to the animal kingdom.
But did humans go away and rethink their new situation. No they certainly didn’t. Their rebellion continued, in fact it grew much worse and by the time we get to Genesis 6 this is what we read.
5. When the LORD saw how wicked everyone on earth was and how evil their thoughts were all the time,
6. he was sorry that he had ever made them and put them on the earth. He was so filled with regret
7. that he said, “I will wipe out these people I have created, and also the animals and the birds, because I am sorry that I made any of them.”
I think that this passage is one of the most distressing in the Bible. Initially, God described His whole creation as being very good but look what man had done to it and to himself. How sad. And did you notice that the consequences of man’s rebellion had spread to the animal kingdom as well and they were described and treated in the same way as humans.
Again God steps in and exercises his superior authority. He destroys both humans and animals and starts over again, as it were, with one human family and limited numbers of animals
But humans did not learn their lesson about their responsibilities and it was not long before their hearts were again filled with pride, ambition and rebellion.
God had again ordered them to fill all parts of the earth.
1. God blessed Noah and his sons and said, “Have many children, so that your descendants will live all over the earth.
But instead they decided to build a city and a tower, a tower that in their eyes would reach up to heaven. They planned to live in one small part of the earth rather than to scatter.
4. Then they said, “Let’s build a city for ourselves and a tower with its top in the sk Let’s make a name for ourselves so that we won’t become scattered all over the face of the earth.”
5. The LORD came down to see the city and the tower that the descendants of Adam were building.
6. The LORD said, “They are one people with one language. This is only the beginning of what they will do! Now nothing they plan to do will be too difficult for them.
7. Let us go down there and mix up their language so that they won’t understand each other.”
8,.So the LORD scattered them all over the face of the earth, and they stopped building the city.
Notice that when God used His superior power his goal was achieved. His power prevailed.
9, This is why it was named Babel, because there the LORD turned the language of the whole earth into babble. From that place the LORD scattered them all over the face of the earth.
And God again declares that humans are to be given power over the animal kingdom.
2. All the animals, birds, and fish will live in fear of you. They are all placed under your power.
And do you know what humans did? They turned the animal kingdom that they were given power over into their gods, in the process rebelling against their one true God. How sad!
25. Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen.
But since the flood God has refrained from intervening against man’s quest to follow evil, in a way that causes mass destruction of life.
8. God said to Noah and his sons,
9. “I am now making my covenant with you and with your descendants,
10. and with all living beings—all birds and all animals—everything that came out of the boat with you.
11. With these words I make my covenant with you: I promise that never again will all living beings be destroyed by a flood; never again will a flood destroy the earth.
12. As a sign of this everlasting covenant which I am making with you and with all living beings,
13. I am putting my bow in the clouds. It will be the sign of my covenant with the world.
So what would be God’s solution? It would be to choose humans who had demonstrated obedience and loyalty to Himself and to His authority. He would form a special relationship with them, bless them and provide them with special knowledge, power and authority to achieve things for Him. Initially these were individuals such as Abraham, Jacob, Moses, and Joshua among others. At other times there were priests, prophets, judges and later kings.
Listen to what the Bible says.
23. This shows the full meaning of the Scripture that says: “Abraham believed God. And God accepted Abraham’s faith. That faith made Abraham right with God.” Abraham was called “God’s friend.”
5. and the LORD came down in a pillar of cloud, stood at the entrance of the Tent, and called out, “Aaron! Miriam!” The two of them stepped forward,
6. and the LORD said, “Now hear what I have to say! When there are prophets among you, I reveal myself to them in visions and speak to them in dreams.
7. It is different when I speak with my servant Moses; I have put him in charge of all my people Israel.
8. So I speak to him face-to-face, clearly and not in riddles; he has even seen my form! How dare you speak against my servant Moses!”
How many times do we read the phrase, “Thus saith the Lord”, spoken by these individuals? What a great acknowledgement of God’s authority that phrase is.
Here is one example.
1. Thus says the LORD, “By this you shall know that I am the LORD: behold, with the staff that is in my hand I will strike the water that is in the Nile, and it shall turn into blood.
Later in human history God decided to choose one nation, Israel to have a special relationship with Himself.
1. And the LORD spake unto Moses, Go unto Pharaoh, and say unto him, Thus saith the LORD, Let my people go, that they may serve me.
And again much later the same title is still being used.
16. “Tomorrow about this time I will send you a man from the tribe of Benjamin; anoint him as ruler of my people Israel, and he will rescue them from the Philistines. I have seen the suffering of my people and have heard their cries for help.”
17. When Samuel caught sight of Saul, the LORD said to him, “This is the man I told you about. He will rule my people.”
1. The LORD created Jacob and formed Israel. Now, this is what the LORD says: Do not be afraid, because I have reclaimed you. I have called you by name; you are mine.
And we still refer to the Jews as God’s chosen people even today.
He made a covenant with them and provided a law that outlined His expectations relating to their relationship with Him.
27..And the LORD said to Moses, “Write these words, for in accordance with these words I have made a covenant with you and with Israel.”
28. So he was there with the LORD forty days and forty nights. He neither ate bread nor drank water. And he wrote on the tablets the words of the covenant, the Ten Commandments.
The other nations were allowed to suffer the natural consequences of their evil actions but for God’s people it was to be different.
5. So now I tell you to obey my commands. Keep my Agreement. If you do this, then you will be my own special people. The whole world belongs to me. But I am choosing you to be my own special people.
They were to serve Him, and Him alone, to ascribe dominion and authority to Him, and Him alone and live by the principles of His kingdom.
3. “Worship no god but me.
4. “Do not make for yourselves images of anything in heaven or on earth or in the water under the earth.
5. Do not bow down to any idol or worship it, because I am the LORD your God and I tolerate no rivals. I bring punishment on those who hate me and on their descendants down to the third and fourth generation.
38. I am the LORD your God, which brought you forth out of the land of Egypt, to give you the land of Canaan, and to be your God.
In return for the many blessings He lavished on them He required obedience and a desire to serve Him. Those blessings were conditional on Israel obeying God’s law.
17. But if you turn away your heart, so that you will not hear, but shall be drawn away and worship other gods and serve them,
18. I declare to you today that you shall surely perish; you shall not prolong your days on the land where you pass over Jordan to go to possess it.
19. call Heaven and earth to record today against you. I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing. Therefore, choose life, so that both you and your seed may live,
So did they turn away? Unfortunately, yes, they did, and quite frequently.
15. “The LORD’s people grew rich, but rebellious; they were fat and stuffed with food. They abandoned God their Creator and rejected their mighty savior.
16, Their idolatry made the LORD jealous; the evil they did made him angry.
17. They sacrificed to gods that are not real, new gods their ancestors had never known, gods that Israel had never obeyed.
18. They forgot their God, their mighty savior, the one who had given them life.
19. “When the LORD saw this, he was angry and rejected his sons and daughters.
20. ‘I will no longer help them,’ he said; ‘then I will see what happens to them, those stubborn, unfaithful people.
God also provided them with a permanent home Canaan, also known as the Promised Land.
9. I will establish a homeland for my people Israel, planting them in a secure location where they will never be disturbed anymore. Wicked people will not oppress them as happened in the past,
In order to occupy this Promised Land God had to give them special skills and military power in order to remove the evil occupants, namely a number of Canaanite tribes
7. And ye shall chase your enemies, and they shall fall before you by the sword.
So we have seen that God ruled His chosen people through godly leaders, but He was their King
15. I am the LORD, your Holy One, the creator of Israel, your King.
Then came this day in the history of Israel.
4. One day the nation’s leaders came to Samuel at Ramah
5. and said, “You are an old man. You set a good example for your sons, but they haven’t followed it. Now we want a king to be our leader, just like all the other nations. Choose one for us!”
6. Samuel was upset to hear the leaders say they wanted a king, so he prayed about it.
7. The LORD answered: Samuel, do everything they want you to do. I am really the one they have rejected as their king.
8. Ever since the day I rescued my people from Egypt, they have turned from me to worship idols. Now they are turning away from you.
9. Do everything they ask, but warn them and tell them how a king will treat them.
And often in the Biblical books of Kings and Chronicles we frequently read words such as these.
26. And he did evil in the sight of the LORD, and walked in the way of his father, and in his sin wherewith he made Israel to sin.
14. And he did evil, because he prepared not his heart to seek the LORD.
But there were good kings as well, rulers such as David and Solomon, who while not perfect, in essence served not only the people but God as well. It is refreshing to read words such as the following
26. Everything else Josiah did while he was king, including how he faithfully obeyed the LORD,
27. is written in The History of the Kings of Israel and Judah.
And we need to remember that in spite of much evil that worship continued at the tabernacle and later at the temple. Those faithful to God brought untold animal sacrifices in order to recognise God’s dominion and power over His people.
Here in 2 Chronicles we have an extreme, but positive example, at the dedication of the temple.
4. Then the king and all the people offered sacrifices to the LORD.
5. King Solomon offered 22,000 cattle and 120,000 sheep as sacrifices to the LORD. So the king and all the people dedicated God’s temple.
6. The priests were standing at their posts. So were the Levites who had the LORD’S musical instruments which King David made for praising the LORD with “his mercy endures forever” and which he used to offer praise. The priests were opposite the Levites blowing trumpets while all Israel was standing there.
Can you begin to imagine the labour required to kill and then butcher so many animals and that was just the king’s offering? Can you imagine the blood?
At the other extreme we have the Babylonian captivity which lasted for seventy years.
Speaking near the end of this captivity, Hezekiah said this.
6. For our fathers have been unfaithful and have done what was evil in the sight of the LORD our God. They have forsaken him and have turned away their faces from the habitation of the LORD and turned their backs.
7. They also shut the doors of the vestibule and put out the lamps and have not burned incense or offered burnt offerings in the Holy Place to the God of Israel.
8. Therefore the wrath of the LORD came on Judah and Jerusalem, and he has made them an object of horror, of astonishment, and of hissing, as you see with your own eyes.
9. For behold, our fathers have fallen by the sword, and our sons and our daughters and our wives are in captivity for this.
So how can we sum up the ascription of dominion and authority to God in the Old Testament? On balance one would have to say it was lacking but there were good leaders and faithful worshippers at the tabernacle and the temple, so we would need to give them a plus for their devotion.
So God, at His own pace, and according to His own timing, was reclaiming the dominion and authority He deserves firstly because of creation. All humanity owe their lives to Him.
13. Did God get his power from someone else? Did someone put him in charge of the world?
14. If God took back the breath of life,
15. then everyone living would die and turn into dust again.
9. Does a clay pot dare argue with its maker, a pot that is like all the others? Does the clay ask the potter what he is doing? Does the pot complain that its maker has no skill?
And in addition, there is now a second reason. Sections of the human race, initially individuals, but now a nation, God’s own people Israel, also owed allegiance to Him because of a covenant relationship. Israel was now subject to the law of God.
And the rule of law prevailed even to New Testament times. Many in Israel disobeyed this law but there were many who remained faithful as well. These faithful ones recognised the dominion and the authority of God in their everyday lives.
What about us? Do we give the same acknowledgement by our actions and emotions to God’s rule in our journey of life?