An Application of Bunyan – Emmanuel’s Land

February 26, 2020 | by James M. Harrison

His promises are true.  Christian and Hopeful have known this, but now they are learning this. The One who began a good work in them is bringing that work to perfection, and though that perfection often be accomplished through suffering, their Lord also knows when rest is necessary. The One who is the goal of their pilgrimage knows when those who are traveling on His highway need to be encouraged with a glimpse of what is to come.

And so, having escaped Doubting-castle, and the Giant Despair, Christian and Hopeful found themselves back on the King’s Highway, and before long arrived at the Delectable Mountains.  Here they found a place of refreshment. There were gardens, orchards, and vineyards from which to eat, and there were fountains from which to drink and wash. 

At the top of the mountains were Shepherds tending their flocks, with whom the pilgrim’s entered into conversation, and from whom they received generous and pleasant hospitality.

“Whose Delectable Mountains are these?  And whose be the sheep that feed upon them?”, asked the travelers.  The shepherds responded, “These mountains are Emmanuel’s land, and they are within sight of His city; and the sheep also are His, and He laid down His life for them.”

“These mountains are Emmanuel’s Land, and they are within sight of His city.”  How the hearts of the pilgrims must have leapt at the sound of such words!  After so long a journey.  After so many difficulties and dangers.  After so much suffering.  After so many foolish departures from the right way.  Finally, they are within sight of the city.

How could this news have failed to fill them with renewed determination to finish the course which they had begun?  Surely, such news would strengthen both their bodies and their resolve.  Surely, this is a means by which the Lord of that city encourages pilgrims to endure to the end.

Are you weary of the journey?  The Lord says, “Look!  My city is in sight!  Just a little further.  Don’t give up. Persevere. One more step, and then another. And when you arrive, we shall be together, and you shall find rest and joy, forever.” 

It is for this reason that God’s word is sprinkled with encouragement to finish the race, looking ahead to the finish line and what is to come.

“He who overcomes, I will grant to him to sit down with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne.”  Revelation 3:21

“Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life.”  Revelation 2:10

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to obtain an inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, who are protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.”  1 Peter 1:3-5

On and on we could go.  These great and precious promises are the means by which we keep our destination ever before us.  And though we cannot yet see that great city with our physical eyes, it is no less real than that which we can see.  And the Lord of that place bids us, as he bid Christian and Hopeful, “Come. Do not tarry. I have prepared a place for you. Persevere in the journey, and when you have emerged victorious, you will enter into the fullness of that which you have only tasted…My joy and My rest.”

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