#603: Ancient of Days
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Reflections by the Pond
May 13, 2013
It is especially when we reflect on the relation of the three persons to the divine essence that all analogies fail us and we become deeply conscious of the fact that the Trinity is a mystery far beyond our comprehension. It is the incomprehensible glory of the Godhead.
° ° °
We begin with God. That is the easy part. Then, after a while we realize God is rather more than that: Trinity. Three in One. But then, even deeper, we understand that it all distills down, once again, to God.
Among the names and titles of God the Father is one used by the prophet Daniel. The title speaks of His antiquity, His eternity.
"I kept looking
Until thrones were set up,
And the Ancient of Days took His seat;
His vesture was like white snow
And the hair of His head like pure wool.
His throne was ablaze with flames,
Its wheels were a burning fire."
It is the child in us that wants to keep things simple. We begin with that which is basic: the Ancient of Days. In the blood of Christ we push open the doors to His throne room and, bowed but confident, we press toward Him to kneel at His feet. And what is it we say to God? What are the words of our adoration?
Ancient of Days, who sittest throned in glory,
To Thee all knees are bent, all voices pray;
Thy love hast blest the wide world's wondrous story
With light and life since Eden's dawning day.
Mixing in praise with our worship (for pure worship is not informed by what God has done, but only by who He is) we recite a chapter from His historical majesty upon earth.
O Holy Father, who hast led Thy children,
In all the ages, with the fire and cloud,
Through seas dry-shod, through weary wastes bewildering;
To Thee, in reverent love, our hearts are bowed.
The love we express to God is multi-faceted, subdivided into worship (adoration of His inherent character), praise (adoration for what He has done), thanksgiving (gratitude for what He has done), and hope (the expectation of what He has promised). We love God for it all, and our love overflows, spilling effortlessly from one category into another, blurring the distinctions.
The ancients (as well as modern fools) worshipped their gods only for what they hoped the gods would do for them: a bountiful harvest, a child and heir, the cursing of a foe. Love was not part of the relationship: the god did not love the supplicant, nor did the supplicant love his god. But we love our God, first, because He is the one who both invented and initiated the love-relationship—
In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. We love, because He first loved us.
1 John 4:10,19
—but we also love Him for who He is, before He has done anything for us.
° ° °
There are, at minimum, two more facets to our adoration. For God is not simple, He is not basic.
O Holy Jesus, Prince of Peace and Saviour,
To Thee we owe the peace that still prevails,
Stilling the rude wills of men's wild behavior,
And calming passion's fierce and stormy gales.
After Christ saves us He begins the process, long and arduous, of changing us, of taming the beast that is our natural self.
I said to myself concerning the sons of men, "God has surely tested them in order for them to see that they are but beasts."
It is Christ's goal to shape and mold us into His likeness. It is He who gains us access to the throne room of His Father, and He who teaches us the manners and protocols of court.
° ° °
O Holy Ghost, the Lord and the Life-giver,
Thine is the quickening power that gives increase;
From Thee have flowed, as from a pleasant river,
Our plenty, wealth, prosperity and peace.
If the Son teaches us the ways of God, it is the Spirit who teaches us the vernacular. By Him we know the words with which to speak our praise, and thus comprehend the language of heaven. The "pleasant river" flows from the throne and into our lives, nourishing, teaching, sustaining, improving.
[The blessed] will be like a tree firmly planted by streams of water,
Which yields its fruit in its season
And its leaf does not wither;
And in whatever he does, he prospers.
° ° °
O Triune God, with heart and voice adoring,
Praise we the goodness that doth crown our days;
Pray we that Thou wilt hear us, still imploring
Thy love and favor, kept to us always. Amen.
William C. Doane
The soul knelt before the eternal Godhead understands that all good things come from that holy source. The reverent worshipper and penitent has established his need for God—not the simple God invented by a fallen world, but the wondrously complex God of His word. And before that throne the child of God finds love, love flowing in full measure from the heart of Father, Son and Spirit into his own.