Lord’s Day 48: All in All

Catechism and Psalter

We turn to Lord’s Day 48 of the Heidelberg Catechism today, still in the midst of the Catechism’s exposition of the Lord’s Prayer.  Having considered the first request, “Hallowed be thy name,” in the previous question and answer, the Catechism now sets forth what it means when we pray, “Thy kingdom come.”

123 Q.  What does the second request mean?

A.  Thy kingdom come means,

Rule us by your Word and Spirit in such a way
that more and more we submit to you.

Keep your church strong, and add to it.

Destroy the devil’s work;
destroy every force which revolts against you
and every conspiracy against your Word.

Do this until your kingdom is so complete and perfect
that in it you are
all in all.

Suggested Songs

36, “The Ends of All the Earth Shall Hear” (Psalm 22)

(Sung by Cornerstone URC in Hudsonville, MI, and at Synod 2012)

“Rule us by your Word and Spirit in such a way that more and more we submit to you.”  After powerfully describing the Messiah’s suffering, death, and resurrection, Psalm 22 concludes by describing the kingship God and his glorified Son over all the nations.  In praying “Thy kingdom come,” we express our longing for the continued growth and ultimate consummation of Christ’s universal rule.  At the same time, we pray that our individual lives would more and more reflect the image and will of our Savior.  This calls to mind one of the blue Psalter Hymnal’s most beloved selections:

The ends of all the earth shall hear
And turn unto the Lord in fear;
All kindreds of the earth shall own
And worship Him as God alone.

Both rich and poor, both bond and free
Shall worship Him on bended knee,
And children’s children shall proclaim
The glorious honor of His Name.

The Lord’s unfailing righteousness
All generations shall confess,
From age to age shall men be taught
What wondrous works the Lord has wrought.

All earth to Him her homage brings,
The Lord of lords, the King of kings.

166, “Zion, Founded on the Mountains” (Psalm 87)

(Sung by Cornerstone URC in Hudsonville, MI)

“Keep your church strong, and add to it.”  The Church is the New Testament version of Mount Zion, the city of the Lord.  As Psalm 87 says, “On the holy mount stands the city he founded . . . Glorious things of you are spoken, O city of God” (vv. 1, 3).  By “Thy kingdom come,” we pray that God’s Church—the visible manifestation of his kingdom on earth—would be strengthened and increased.  Indeed, Psalm 87 relates how God brings into his kingdom not only Israelites but also foreigners from every corner of the world—even people from nations hostile toward Israel.  What a testimony to his abounding and unconditional grace!

Zion, founded on the mountains,
God, thy Maker, loves thee well;
He has chosen thee, most precious,
He delights in thee to dwell;
God’s own city,
Who can all thy glory tell?

Heathen lands and hostile peoples
Soon shall come the Lord to know;
Nations born again in Zion
Shall the Lord’s salvation show;
God Almighty
Shall on Zion strength bestow.

133, “O God, to Thine Anointed King” (Psalm 72)

“Destroy the devil’s work; destroy every force which revolts against you and every conspiracy against your Word.  Do this until your kingdom is so complete and perfect that in it you are all in all.”  We close our study of this portion of the Lord’s Prayer with an excerpt from another messianic psalm: Psalm 72.  Here the psalmist prays for God’s blessing on the reign of his anointed King, Jesus Christ.  As the Lord destroys every force of evil, crushing the oppressor (v. 4) and making his enemies lick the dust (v. 9), our prayer for the righteous to flourish and lasting peace to abound (v. 7) will come true.  In praying “Thy kingdom come,” then, we are effectively saying this: Come quickly, Lord Jesus!

O God, to Thine anointed King
Give truth and righteousness;
Thy people He will justly judge
And give the poor redress.
Then every fruitful mountainside
Shall yield its rich increase,
And righteousness in all the land
Shall bear the fruit of peace.

The poor man’s cause He will maintain,
The needy He will bless,
And He will break the strength of those
Who would the poor oppress.
So men shall fear Thee while the sun
In daily splendor glows,
And through all ages, while the moon
On earth its light bestows.

Like rain upon the newborn grass,
That falls refreshingly,
Like gentle showers that cheer the earth,
So shall His coming be.
The righteous in His glorious day
Shall flourish and increase;
The earth, until the moon shall fade,
Shall have abundant peace.

–MRK

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