Thinkers and feelers dating
You see it again in Isaiah 46:9–10: Remember the former things long past, for I am God, and there is no other; I am God and there is no one like Me, declaring the end from the beginning and from ancient times things which have not been done, saying, “My purpose will be established, and I will accomplish all My good pleasure.” And so here they come together again. Why is it the cornerstone of my thought and my preaching and my life? The sovereignty of God is the cornerstone of life and preaching and education at Bethlehem, because God is the cornerstone of life and preaching and education at Bethlehem. We want our youth to be more entranced by God than by any musical group or any sporting event or any TV or movie hit.
Why do I love to talk about it and meditate on it in the morning and in the evening? We want to be a church where children and youth and adults — single, married, male, female, rich, poor, thinkers, feelers, doers — know God and love God and are filled with all the fullness of God — for who he really is. How do children and youth and adults inside and outside the church find out about the sovereignty of God and come to cherish it as the foundation of all their hope in God’s grace in Christ Jesus? Does it happen with mere reasonings about the world? And this bears directly on our vision of education for exultation. He is talking about those whom he had freely chosen from all the people of the earth to know him and to trust him and understand him.
Exultation adds that emotional element of joy in God that we believe is essential if God is going to be honored the way he should be. You see it again in Isaiah 45:5–7 where God predicts the coming of Cyrus centuries later.
Another word for exultation in God is “worship.” Our thought is that we began the last decade of the 20th century by building for worship — for exultation — and we are proposing that we begin the first decade of the 21st century by building for education. Education that aims at a life of God-exalting worship. He says, I am the Lord, and there is no other; besides Me there is no God.
All those issues have been on the minds of the elders at Bethlehem for over three years.
One other factor has made the matter more pressing than it would be otherwise, namely, that the building that we affectionately call the “old sanctuary” (where the “gym” and the library and Desiring God Ministries are) is in such a state of disrepair and dilapidation that we must either put lots of money into it to keep what we have or tear it down and build something larger and more useful.
Before Me there was no God formed, and there will be none after Me.” Notice the words at the beginning of verse 10: “You are my witnesses.” See these words again at the end of verse 12: “‘So you are My witnesses,’ declares the LORD, ‘and I am God.’” The way people will find out about the truth that God is God is not mainly by dreams, or by reasonings, but by a human testimony. And what is the content of our witness — whether telling colleagues at work or training our families during devotions or teaching children in Sunday School? On this side of the cross of Christ, we dare not leave out the message of how God saves through the death and resurrection of Jesus.
Witnesses — people who have seen and tasted now telling. But the fullness of that gospel, and the surety of that gospel, and indeed the intelligibility of the gospel will hang on the content of the witness commanded in Isaiah b-13. Before Me there was no God formed, and there will be none after Me.” Verse 12b–13: “‘There was no strange god among you; so you are My witnesses,’ declares the Lord, ‘and I am God.
“Even from eternity I am He, And there is none who can deliver out of My hand; I act and who can reverse it?(That’s e-x-u-l-tation with a “u,” not e-x-a-l-tation with an “a.”) The difference is that “exaltation” means making much of someone — like God — which is a great thing to do; but “exultation” says that and more.When you exult in God, you not only make much of him, you make much of him by rejoicing in him and delighting in him and being glad in him. To be God is to be sovereign; and to be sovereign is to be God.Bring out the people who are blind, even though they have eyes, and the deaf, even though they have ears.All the nations have gathered together so that the peoples may be assembled.