Tell the Glorious Deeds of the Great Bridegroom
by Matthew O'Hearn
O God, we have heard with our ears, our fathers have told us, what deeds You performed in their days, in the days of old: You with Your own hand drove out the nations, but them You planted; You afflicted the peoples, but them You set free; for not by their own sword did they win the land, nor did their own arm save them, but Your right hand and Your arm, and the light of Your face, for You delighted in them... Things that we have heard and known, that our fathers have told us. We will not hide them from their children, but tell to the coming generation the glorious deeds of the LORD, and His might, and the wonders that He has done… When the LORD restored the fortunes of Zion, we were like those who dream. Then our mouth was filled with laughter, and our tongue with shouts of joy; then they said among the nations, ‘The LORD has done great things for them.’ The LORD has done great things for us; we are glad.
Psalm 44:1-3; 78:3-4; 126:1-3
I have spent the last two weeks at Covenant College on Lookout Mountain, a place very dear to my heart, visiting cherished friends and faculty before standing by the side of one of my best friends as he said “I do” to the woman whom the Lord has called him to love as Christ loves His church. While there, countless memories from the three splendid years I was given the gift of spending there have flooded my thoughts as I have reminisced with friends and professors. The Lord’s extravagant grace and faithfulness in bringing me to Covenant have shined forth: It was there that the Lord confirmed His calling on my life to pursue vocational ministry, and called me to write my senior thesis on the theology of disability (through which He has called me to the New Day Sunday Morning Community at PCPC). And there He blessed me with the Christ–centered friendships of five young men who have become the brothers I never had!
Five years ago I sat in Mark Davis’s office, having applied to Covenant the previous day to learn only hours later that I needed a third open-heart surgery, despairing that I could not see what the Lord was doing in the events of the prior day. Mark prayed with me and remarked that while he did not know with certainty what the Lord’s will was, he could see the Lord placing me at Covenant as a “promised land” to which the upcoming surgery would be the “Jordan river” along the way. In His extravagant grace, the Lord did indeed carry me through and, through the gracious generosity of the PCPC family, gave me the gift of attending Covenant. Now, as I look back over the last five years, I am at a loss for words at how the Lord has worked in my life through my time here! As the old hymn says, “For why? The Lord our God is good, His mercy is forever sure; His truth at all times firmly stood, and shall from age to age endure.”
The theme of retelling the glorious deeds of our God permeates the pages of Scripture as God’s people are called to “sing to the LORD, bless His name; tell of His salvation from day to day. Declare His glory among the nations, His marvelous works among all the peoples!” (Psalm 96:2-3) We are called to “Bless the LORD… and forget not all His benefits” (Psalm 103:2), for He calls us those who “have been borne by Me from before your birth, carried from the womb; even to your old age I am He, and to gray hairs I will carry you. I have made, and I will bear; I will carry and will save.” (Isaiah 46:3-4) His faithfulness is centered in the immutability of His character as revealed in the Person of His Son. “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.” (Hebrews 13:8) He has done great things for us, calling us “out of darkness into His marvelous light.” (1 Peter 2:9) And so “to Him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by His blood and made us a kingdom, priests to His God and Father, to Him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.” (Revelation 1:5-6)
Jesus is the true and faithful Bridegroom who came to this earth to get us, His Bride, and take us unto Himself for all eternity!
However, unlike my friend’s stunningly beautiful bride, we were not beautiful at all, but were ugly in our sinful nature and dressed in the rags of our sin, having rebelled against our loving Husband’s rule. Yet, the Gospel tells us, “God shows His love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8) He took the just judgment of His Father on our broken wedding vows, and He who is eternally faithful to His spouse bore the penalty for our spiritual adultery in order that we might receive the eternal honeymoon of His fellowship in the new creation when He returns to make all things new. On that day, we will cry with all creation, “Hallelujah! For the Lord our God the Almighty reigns. Let us rejoice and exult and give Him the glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and His Bride has made herself ready; it was granted her to clothe herself with fine linen, bright and pure” (Revelation 19:6-8), and we will for all eternity rejoice in the goodness of Him whose steadfast love, mercy, and faithfulness never come to an end! Oh, for that day to come! To Him alone be the glory!