Psalm 75:6-7, "For promotion
cometh neither from the
east, nor from the west, nor from the south. But God
is the judge: he putteth down one, and setteth up another."
This morning, people always desire credit for things. When they perceive that people "do not appreciate them," they become put out and heated. As disciples of Christ, we need to avoid this tendency and overcome this temptation, for our Lord has commanded us to be selfless not selfish. (Mark 8:34-35) One of the things that ministers should pray for is that the message outlive the messenger. As my late father once said, "If when I am dead and gone all you can remember is the doctrines of Christ that I preached, that is fine with me. Maybe in years to come folks will say, 'Who was that old preacher that taught us about election, predestination, total depravity, eternal security, and the noble sacrifice of Christ for His people? I don't know, but we sure learned about the goodness of the Lord.' That is just fine with me." May we all desire the accolades be given to the cause we serve and not to we ourselves.
The Psalmist tells us much in telling us what things are not. Promotion does not come from three places. So, we learn where it does come from as the three places mentioned (south, east, and west) comprise three parts of a known four-part group (quadrant directionality)
Our Lord is the giver of all the good gifts and perfect gifts in this world. (James 1:17) There is no other place where they can be found. When one looks to give others what only God can put in (such as regeneration)
What is the significance of the northward position being the source of promotion? There is an abundance
of Scripture to show that this position is where God sits and dwells. While we many times point up to reference heaven, the thought is that God is above us. Likewise, the northward position is typically shown
above the other directional points on a map or compass. The Great King sits in His mountain of Zion on the sides of the north. (Psalm 48:1-2) Lucifer, king of Babylon, aspired to sit upon the mount of the congregation in the sides of the north. (Isaiah 14:12-13) North is where the King dwells, and it is where the enemies of the King desire to rule. While I believe that the devil knows that He is no match for God (Revelation 12:12), he still desires to sit in God's place with that power and rule.
There are others today that desire that glory that rightfully is God's. The greatest blasphemies ever perpetrated by man (in my opinion) are these: 1. We must save what God did/could not, 2. God is responsible for my shortcomings. In both instances, the ultimate promotion that God gives is lessened. In the first instance, God is robbed from the glory of promotion in the saving of His people from their sins. (Matthew 1:21) In the second instance, God's salvation is not really that matchless since He is responsible for putting us in that shape to begin with. Such blasphemies should be spurned from the slightest consideration.
The preacher cannot save anyone to heaven. Parents, grandparents, uncles, aunts, brothers, sisters, and cousins are incapable of placing someone within the love of God. Promotion from depravity and ruin to
grace and glory alone cometh from the north where the Great King dwells. The forms of promotion that we
experience in the kingdom when the sense of glory seems to enshroud us while in service can only come from the blowing of the Holy Spirit from the north upon the garden of the Lord. (Song of Solomon 4:16) While the north wind blows upon the garden in conjunction with our efforts of service and labours of love (planting and watering) the promotion comes when the Spirit is in attendance (God giving the increase). He has promised us that by exalting ourselves (self-promoting) we will be abased, but by abasing ourselves, we will be exalted (true promotion). (Luke 14:11)
We must state here that all perceived forms of promotion cannot be attributed to the Great King. As the two blasphemies we touched on above bear out, some attribute wicked things to God. While we have Scripture that shows us the exaltation of a wicked man for the glory of God (Romans 9:17), we cannot conclusively declare that all forms of "earthly" promotion come from the Lord. When people are promoted to offices above us (perhaps at work) that gain that position by shady deals and underhanded ethics, we ought not say that God is in the matter.
We need to take great care to specifically identify (with plain speeches) what area of consideration we are dealing with as the same applied principles do not always go across the board identically. For example, the Lord promotes His people in a redemptive way with all the work being on His end, and His people completely passive in the equation. The Lord promotes His people in the kingdom (specifically in the church service) when we actively engage ourselves. Indeed, the promotion still comes from above (north), but He requires us to walk humbly with our God to see and experience it.