365 days with Newton

27 JULY

The desire of all nations

‘And I will shake all nations, and the desire of all nations shall come: and I will fill this house with glory, saith the LORD of hosts.’ Haggai 2:7
SUGGESTED FURTHER READING: Micah 4:1–5

A character of the Messiah: the desire of all nations. He is called the desire of all nations because the rumour of the prophecies spread abroad had awakened the expectations and desires of many, in different nations, that some great deliverer and friend of mankind was at hand. The sense of many prophecies of the Messiah, though misapplied, is remarkably expressed in a short poem of Virgil written a few years before our Saviour’s birth, and of which we have a beautiful translation in the English language by Mr Pope. It affords a sufficient proof that the heathens had an idea of some great personage who would shortly appear and would restore peace, prosperity and the blessings of their fancied golden age to mankind. On this account he was the desire of nations.
But, the need all the nations had of such a Saviour is sufficient to establish his right to this title, though they had no knowledge of him. If a nation was involved in the darkness of night, though they had no previous notion of light, yet light might be said to be their desire—because the light, whenever they should enjoy it, would put an end to their calamity, would answer their wants, and therefore accomplish their wishes; for if they could not directly wish for light, they would naturally wish for relief. The heathens were miserably bewildered—they had desires after happiness which could not be satisfied—they had fears and forebodings of conscience, but knew no remedy. They paid a blind devotion to idols because they were ignorant of the true God. When the Messiah came, as he was the Glory of Israel, so he was a Light to the Gentiles. He, therefore, who came purposely to bless the nations and turn their darkness into light, might justly be called their desire, though before his appearance they could form no just conception of him. What a nation was ours at the time of his birth—how evil, how wretched! And what a change has his gospel wrought!

FOR MEDITATION: Is the desire of all nations the object of your desire?

SERMON SERIES: MESSIAH, NO. 3 [3/5], HAGGAI 2:6–7

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