The Impoverished King of Kings

J. D. Conley
March 8, 2015

One hundred years ago, Henry Barraclough, penned some of the most exquisite words ever set to music, when he wrote the beautiful hymn, "Ivory Palaces." The chorus states, "Out of the ivory palaces, Into a world of woe; Only His great eternal love, Made my Savior go."

One wonders if the lyricist had the words of 2Corinthians 8:9 in mind where Paul says: "For ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, that ye through his poverty might be rich." It is plainly taught here, and elsewhere in Scripture, that the poverty the Lord experienced was self induced. Poverty did not come to the King of kings by means of circumstances beyond His control. Rather, His destituteness and neediness was chosen by Him. Furthermore, the Bible tells us why Jesus chose a life of deprivation and want. Paul informed the Corinthians it was in order that they/we, "know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ." Jesus, even though He was rich, surrendered His wealth that we might be rich. He showed great favor toward us when He left the ivory places to come to this world of woe. As the song correctly states, "Only His great eternal love, Made my Savior go."

Prior to His donning human flesh and dwelling among us, (Jn.l:14), Jesus strode within the gleaming palaces of ivoiy above. While there, He was on an equality with God the Father, yet He even gave that up reputing Himself as nothing. In place of His equality with God, He became a humble, obedient, human servant, who suffered death on a cross, (Phi.2:6-8). From the moment of His birth in the obscure hamlet of Bethlehem, (the house of bread), laid in a manger (a feeding trough), wrapped in swaddling clothes, (rags), the Son of God lived a materially meager life. And what did He gain by it? Nothing. He once told a scribe who said he would follow Him anywhere, "The foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head" (Mt.8:20). One gets the idea from the context of Mt.8, that after Jesus revealed the truth about His impoverished life, the scribe had a change of mind. How sad that most refuse to see Christ's sacrifice of heavenly riches, being replaced with earthly poverty, as an attraction to follow "the King of kings and the Lord of lords." (1Tim.6:15).

Jesus left the ivory palaces, departed from behind the jasper walls on behalf of others. Its because of this supreme sacrifice, this "unspeakable gift" (2Cor.9:15), we are blessed with the greatest wealth imaginable and can confidently say, "I shall enter my heavenly home, To dwell forever more."