The sands of time are sinking,
the dawn of heaven breaks,
the summer morn I’ve sighed for,
the fair sweet morn awakes;
dark, dark hath been the midnight,
but dayspring is at hand,
and glory, glory dwelleth
in Emmanuel’s land. -Samuel Rutherford
Those words are verse one in a wonderful Christian hymn entitled “The Sands of Time are Sinking”. My favorite version of this song is the one by Indelible Grace. You can listen to it here. My first exposure to this hymn was through the ministry of Dr. Matthew McAffee during Wednesday evening campus church services at Welch College.
I have been reflecting on and longing for Immanuel’s land a lot lately. The brokenness and depravity of our world have been on full display for everyone to see. Whether its the COVID-19 pandemic, the events unfolding in our nation, or the trials you face in your own life, you cannot help but sense that things are not as they should be.
Things are not as they should be.
It is difficult for us to envision a world that God created and pronounced good. The first book of the Torah or Pentateuch is Genesis, the book of the beginning. Something drastic happened between Genesis 1:31 and Genesis 3: 17-18. Whereas the creation functioned in tranquility in the beginning, by the end of chapter three the creation has become chaotic. Did God make a mistake? Is the bible lying to us when it mentions that God called his creation very good?
Christians understand the calamity in the world against the background of the Fall of Man. The doctrine of the Fall explains how God’s good creation went wrong-through the sinfulness of humanity. In fact, all of reality fits within a story or metanarrative. The story of the Bible has been historically organized around four elements which are Creation, The Fall, Redemption, and Christ’s Return or Consumation. It is important for us to regularly remind ourselves of the essentials of the Christian worldview.
All of you have a worldview whether you have ever thought about it or not. I suspect that many are assessing their worldviews with the prevalence of the problem of evil. We as humans have a collective sense that things are not at all as they should be. Things are not as they should be due human sin nature.
And yet we cannot accept that this life with all its joys and trials is all there is. There must be something more than the brokneness we see daily on our social media feed, in the news, and in our own hearts.
We long for another world. We long for a world of peace, love, and justice. Our longing for another world, a better world, is one of the strong apologetic claims of the Christian faith. C. S. Lewis reminds us that our longing points to the existence of a greater reality. In Mere Christianity, Lewis describes this longing as one that all humans across all ethnicities and backgrounds long for. F. Leroy Forlines would categorize this longing for a better world in his list of the “inescapable questions of life”. (See Quest for Truth: Theology for a Postmodern World.)
In truth, we are longing for Immanuel’s Land.
The prophet Isaiah describes the Messiah’s Kingdom in this way.
6 “The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb,
The leopard shall lie down with the young goat,
The calf and the young lion and the fatling together;
And a little child shall lead them.
7 The cow and the bear shall graze;
Their young ones shall lie down together;
And the lion shall eat straw like the ox.
8 The nursing child shall play by the cobra’s hole,
And the weaned child shall put his hand in the viper’s den.
9 They shall not hurt nor destroy in all My holy mountain,
For the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord
As the waters cover the sea.
10 “And in that day there shall be a Root of Jesse,
Who shall stand as a banner to the people;
For the Gentiles shall seek Him,
And His resting place shall be glorious.”
Pastor John, who was exiled to Patmos, described Immanuel’s land this way in Revelation.
3 And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God. 4 And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.”
You can only enter the kingdom if your name is written in the Lamb’s book of life. Your name is written in that book of life upon your profession of faith in Jesus. (Romans 10:9-10) If you want to know more about a personal relationship with Jesus, contact me here. Part of my longing for Immanuel’s land includes a deep desire to share Christ with so many who do not have a relationship with Christ. While I long for Jesus to return, I am also burdened for my lost friends and neighbors. I want all of you to join me in the Messiah’s good land!
We may feel like we are in the dark of midnight, but take heart brothers and sisters. Dayspring is at hand! Glory, glory dwells in Immanuel’s land.
I long for Immanuel’s land. What about you?