In Genesis 13. 14, the Lord said to Abram, “Lift up now thine eyes, and look from the place where thou art northward, and southward, and eastward, and westward”. These four looks would help us to think of four looks occurring in four Epistles; these should be precious to every true believer.
The First Look, which would turn our eyes heavenward, appears in Jude 21. After being told what would mark the last days, v. 18, we are to be building up ourselves on our most holy faith, v. 20. Then follows the exhortation to “keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life”. In Luke 1. 72, we read of mercy promised to the fathers in Israel; in Ephesians 2. 4, it is God “who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us”. This is mercy at the beginning. In Hebrews 4. 16, we are to come “boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need”; this is mercy to help us on our present way. Thus in Jude 21, we have mercy looked for at the end, in the same way as the Lord was merciful unto Lot before He destroyed the city of Sodom, Gen. 19. 16.
How shall I meet those eyes?
Mine on Himself I cast,
And own myself the Saviour’s prize –
Mercy from first to last.
The Second Look appears in Titus 2. 11-13, “For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world; looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ”. When the Lord granted us salvation, He forgave us our sins and removed our guilt for ever; we were made children of God, John 1. 12, and we received a hope which would lead us to our home being prepared by the Lord. Having turned to God, we serve Him as we wait for His Son from heaven, 1 Thess. 1. 9-10. This hope of glory is Christ in us, Col. 1. 27. It is good to be looking for that blessed Hope – to know that the Lord who humbled Himself even to the death of the cross, Phil. 2. 8, who now appears in the presence of God for us, Heb. 9. 24, is yet to come again for us. The Lord Himself shall descend “from heaven with a shout” to receive us unto Himself, 1 Thess. 4. 16.
The Third Look is recorded in Philippians 3. 20-21, “our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ: who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself”. This recalls the voice of Rebekah, “I will go”, Gen. 24. 58. She had to leave home to meet a man she had never seen; “whom having not seen, ye love … ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory”, 1 Pet. 1. 8. As she was brought on her way by the servant, Isaac “lifted up his eyes, and saw, and, behold, the camels were coming. And Rebekah lifted up her eyes, and when she saw Isaac, she lighted off the camel”, Gen. 24. 63-64. In verse 67 we find three simple statements relating to Isaac: he brought her; he loved her; he was comforted. This will also be so with the Lord; “He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied”, Isa. 53. 11. Thus we shall soon meet the Lord that bought us with His precious blood; then we shall enter into the mystery which the Holy Spirit would show us in 1 Corinthians 15. 51-52, “we shall all be changed, in a moment … the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed”.
The Fourth Look is found in 2 Peter 3. 13, “Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness … seeing that ye look for such things, be diligent”. When we see Him, there will be perfect likeness; there will be perfect joy with no sorrow; there will be perfect peace without pain for the former things will have passed away; there will be perfect comfort for ever.
May the Holy Spirit help us to meditate on these four looks as we journey homeward, so that we remember the words of the Lord in Luke 12. 35, “Let your loins be girded about, and your lights burning; and ye yourselves like unto men that wait for their lord”. Since the coming of the Lord draws nigh, James 5. 8, may this hope purify every believer, even as He is pure, 1 John 3. 3.