For thus said the LORD of hosts; Yet once, it is a little while, and I will shake the heavens, and the earth, and the sea…
Regard Christ as satisfying the craving of mankind for a perfect ideal of goodness.
I. SUCH A YEARNING UNIVERSAL. Man made to look upward. Distinguished from lower animals by capacity for indefinite advance.
1. For this advance an ideal is necessary, up toward which men may struggle. "Intense admiration is necessary to our highest perfection." Nothing is so ennobling as looking up.
2. The absence of this upward tendency is a sure precursor of moral ruin. Too common now, especially among young men. Thought "fine" to crush down all admiration; to carp and sneer at goodness. This lie against man's instincts terribly revenges itself.
II. THE POWER OF THIS INSTINCT PROVED. By the reverence felt by all nations for their legislators, philosophers, generals.
1. The abiding power over the human mind of Solon and Lycurgus, Confucius, Buddha, Mohammed, shows the preparedness of the human heart to welcome One whose moral standard is higher than its own. The secret of this influence is that each manifested some features of the desire of all nations, some rays of the "light that lighteneth every man," some fragments of the truth that all are yearning after.
2. Show in the passionate devotion of soldiers for their generals.
III. BUT ALL THESE COME SHORT OF THE TRUE DEVOTION TO THE ONE PERFECT IDEAL.
1. Napoleon's estimate of the superiority of the influence of Christ.
2. Secret of this universal power — the Incarnation. The "desire of all nations" must be at once man and God. Nothing short of perfection of sympathy and perfection of holiness will satisfy man's demand. In Jesus Christ, "the second Adam; the Lord from heaven," etc., we see One whom we can love, adore, and imitate. The faultless pattern is set before us that we may copy it. In Christ, our brother-man, we see what God is, and by His Spirit's help we may strive to copy Him.
(Edmund Venables, M. A.)
Parallel VersesKJV: For thus saith the LORD of hosts; Yet once, it is a little while, and I will shake the heavens, and the earth, and the sea, and the dry land;