'Thou shall also be a crown of glory in the hand of the Lord.' -- ISAIAH lxii 3.
Connection of first prophecy -- destruction of Samaria. Its situation, crowning the hill with its walls and towers, its fertile 'fat valley,' the flagrant immorality and drunkenness of its inhabitants, and its final ruin, are all presented in the highly imaginative picture of its fall as being like the trampling under foot of a garland on a reveller's head, the roses of which fade and droop amid the fumes of the banqueting hall, and are then flung out on the highway. The contrast presented is very striking and beautiful. When all that gross and tumultuous beauty has faded and died, then God Himself will be a crown of beauty to His people.
The second text comes into remarkable line with this. The verbal resemblance is not quite so strong in the original. The words for diadem and crown are not the same; the word rendered glory in the second text is rendered beauty in the first, but the two texts are entirely one in meaning. The same metaphor, then, is used with reference to what God is to the Church and what the Church is to God. He is its crown, it is His.
I. The Possession of God is the Coronation of Man.
(a) Crowns were worn by guests at feasts. They who possess God sit at a table perpetually spread with all which the soul can wish or want. Contrast the perishable delights of sense and godless life with the calm and immortal joys of communion with God; 'a crown that fadeth not away' beside withered garlands.
(b) Crowns were worn by kings. They who serve God are thereby invested with rule over selves, over circumstances, over all externals. He alone gives completeness to self-control.
(c) Crowns were worn by priests. The highest honour and dignity of man's nature is thereby reached. To have God is like a beam of sunshine on a garden, which brings out the colours of all the flowers; contrast with the same garden in the grey monotony of a cloudy twilight.
II. The Coronation of Man in God is the Coronation of God in Man.
That includes the following thoughts.
The true glory of God is in the communication of Himself. What a wonderful light that throws on divine character! It is equivalent to 'God is Love.'
He who is glorified by God glorifies God, as showing the most wonderful working of His power in making such a man out of such material, by an alchemy that can convert base metal into fine gold; as showing the most wonderful condescension of His love in taking to His heart man, into whose flesh the rotting leprosy of sin has eaten.
Such a man will glorify God by becoming a conscious herald of His praise. He who has God in his heart will magnify Him by lip and life. Redeemed men are 'secretaries of His praise' to men, and 'to principalities and powers in heavenly places is made known by the Church the manifold wisdom of God.'
He who thus glorifies God is held in God's hand.
'None shall pluck them out of My Father's hand.'
All this will be perfected in heaven. Redeemed men lead the universal chorus that thunders forth 'glory to Him that sitteth on the throne.'
'He shall come to be glorified in His saints.'
'Glorify Thy Son, that Thy Son also may glorify Thee.'