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Thursday, July 19, 2018

SPIRITUAL CONVICTION OF A SLAVE

SPIRITUAL CONVICTION OF A SLAVE 


"That they may adorn the doctrine of God our Savior in all things" Titus 2:10


Here are two ideas which flash with a surprising brilliance. The first is that the doctrine of God our Savior can be ADORNED; and the second is that those who are spoken of as able to do it are SLAVES. Perhaps we shall understand the first better, if we begin, with the second. The word SERVANTS here are distinctly the word for SLAVES and it may well be conceived that the conditions of SLAVES in Crete, where Titus was laboring, were of the worst. Paul had already said that the testimony of one of their own prophets was true that the Cretans were liars, evil beasts, and gluttons (Titus 1:12). SLAVERY in a society of such must have been a terrible thing. Among these SLAVES there were some who were saints, and these were declared able in the very life of slavery, to "adorn the doctrine." Moreover, the Apostle had declared how they would do it. It would be done by subjection to their masters; by seeking to be well-pleasing, by not contradicting; by honesty, by faithfulness; in short, by such action in difficult circumstances as to win from their very masters’ recognition of their goodness. Thus we see how "the doctrine of God our Savior" may "be adorned." It is ADORNED when its effects on life and character are expressed in CONDUCT. To be true and gentle and faithful in circumstances that are hard and unfair, and even unjust, is only possible in the power of some great Spiritual Conviction; and the value of such Spiritual Conviction is revealed in such Conduct.

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

RESTRAINING LAWLESSNESS

RESTRAINING LAWLESSNESS  


"The mystery of lawlessness doth already work; only there is One that restrains now" 2 Thess. 2:7


Many opinions have been held concerning what Paul meant here by "the mystery of lawlessness," and to whom he referred when he wrote of "One that restrains." The difficulty has been largely created by the view that he was thinking of something and someone peculiar to the times in which he wrote. The context shows that he was looking forward to the day of the Lord at the consummation of the present age, to the Parousia, or Presence of Christ, and especially to the Apocalypse aspect of it, in which the "Man of sin" having been also revealed, should be slain. With that in view, he wrote these words, and they naturally apply to the whole age to be so consummated. During that age—this age in which we live, "the mystery of lawlessness," the principle of evil, which at last will be unveiled in the person of the Man of Sin, is already working. But it is also true that, during the same age, there is One Who restrains that working, holds it in check, prevents its final development, and He will continue to do so, until He is taken out of the way when He raptures the Church when she is taken away also. The reference unquestionably is to the Holy Spirit, Who by His work of convincing the world of sin, of righteousness, of judgment, MAKES IMPOSSIBLE THE OUTWORKING OF LAWLESSNESS TO ITS FINAL ISSUES. The time will come when the RESTRAINING INFLUENCE will be removed, so that the mystery of lawlessness may be wrought out to its final expression, and that, in order that it may be destroyed by the unveiling of the Lord.

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

ADVANCED THOUGHT – STRONG MEAT


 ADVANCED THOUGHT – STRONG MEAT


"Whosoever goeth onward and abid­eth not in the teaching of Christ, hath not God" 2 John 9



The major theologians have pointed out that both the second and the third letters of John have to do with the subject of Christian hospitality. In this one, addressed to "the elect lady," perhaps a church, and perhaps a person, the people to whom no Christian hospitality is to be extended are dealt with. These are described as "deceivers . . . even they that confess not that Jesus Christ cometh in the flesh." It is with reference to such that this declaration is made. They were persons who CLAIMED TO BE the leaders (there is One Leader according to Christ) (Matt. 23:10 NASB); they were advanced thinkers, they were progressive. The Gnostic teachers of the time were claiming that while the Gospel of the historic Jesus might be all very well for unenlightened people, they had a profounder knowledge. Such were to receive no hospitality. In this warning, we find a principle of perpetual application. There is always room for advanced thinking, for progressive interpretation, for the things of Christ are as profound as God and life and that advanced thinking should come from the Holy Spirit using the words of Christ. We never ought to be content to remain with the first principles of truth going on to the MEAT OF THE WORDS OF CHRIST (Heb. 5:12-14). We should in knowledge go on unto perfection as we are being led daily by Christ and His Spirit. But there is one infallible test for such advanced thinking, for such progressive interpretation. It is that the advanced thinking does not contradict the first principles, or deny the fundamental facts of our faith—those of the historic Jesus, that of the fact that He came in the flesh, again led by His Spirit Whom He and the Father sent to guide us in our thinking (John 14:26). Such advanced thinking as denies these things, is not progress but retrogression and apostasy.

Monday, July 16, 2018

OLD FEAR VS NEW FEAR

OLD FEAR VS NEW FEAR 


"Grieve not the Holy Spirit of God" Eph. 4:30


Two ideas are brought prominently before the mind in this command, and their interrelationship is very suggestive. The first is that of THE CHARACTER OF THE SPIRIT, in that Paul here, with evident intention, employed the full and solemn description, "the Holy Spirit of God," every word of which is full of meaning, while laying the utmost emphasis upon the HOLINESS OF THE SPIRIT. The other is that of THE DEEP LOVE-NATURE OF THE SPIRIT, in that Paul speaks of Him as being capable of SORROW, for the simple meaning of the injunction is, "Cause not sorrow to the Holy Spirit of God." The interrelation of the ideas reveals to us the effect which sin produces on the Spirit of God. It causes SORROW. Perhaps no Apostolic injunction, if its force be rightly apprehended, constitutes a more prevailing incentive to a walk which is in HOLINESS AND TRUTH. Thus is created that NEW FEAR which is of the very essence of safety. The OLD slavish FEAR of God, which was fear of His anger, and of suffering which such anger might bring to us, is completely done away by the manifestation of His love in Christ; but now a NEW FEAR takes possession of us; and that is a fear lest anything we do or say should cause sorrow to Him. The OLD FEAR produces no high spiritual or moral results. This NEW FEAR keeps the soul in living touch with the loving Lord, and so ensures its growth in strength and purity and beauty.

Sunday, July 15, 2018

WALKING THE PURE MODE

WALKING THE PURE MODE 


"To the pure all things are pure; but to them that are defiled and unbelieving nothing is pure" Titus 1: 15


These words closely follow a reference to "Jewish fables, and commandments of men," and this fact helps us to understand them. The whole system of living by tradition was unutterably evil; and our Lord Himself and His Apostles protested against it. Such traditions constantly led men to a burdensome life, in that they made actions to be sins which were no sins, and left the truly sinful things of the inner life untouched. It is so even today. Man made regulations as to what men may do or not do are the greatest enemies to real spiritual life that it is possible to conceive. These words, then, touch the true deep note about life. The "all things" refers to everything which is non-moral; such as appetite and food, desire and marriage, exchange and commerce, weariness and recreation, and so on through all the varied realm of life. To the pure all these things are pure, and they will be maintained in purity. And A man walking towards perfection of his life is unseen and denied by the man walking in impurity. To the impure, every one of them may be made the vehicle and occasion of impurity. No traditions, no commandments of men, no rules and regulations, can save the ordinary things of human life from positive ob­scenity, if the man handling them is himself as impure man. On the other hand, the man who is pure may enter into them all; and not only will he not be defiled by them, but will not defile them; he will hold them in pureness. To all of which the words of Jesus testify, that not what goes into a man defiles, but that which cometh out of him.

Saturday, July 14, 2018

NON-FADING GLORY

NON-FADING GLORY 


"This . . . veil . . . is done away in Christ" 2 Cor. 3:14


This is a superlative statement of the perfection and permanence of the glory of Christ. The illustration is taken from the story of how Moses veiled his face when speaking to the people, after he descended from the Mount. The reason for that veiling was not that they should not see the shining of his face, but that they should not see that it was PASSING AWAY. They saw the shining and it was so glorious that they were filled with fear, and Moses did not put the veil on until he "had done speaking with them" (Exod. 34:33). Paul distinctly says that the veil was worn by Moses, "that the children of Israel should not look steadfastly on the end of that which was passing away." They looked on the glory, and then it was veiled, and the sense of the glory REMAINED. Had they seen it pass, that sense would have been lost. This interprets these words: "This . . . veil . . . is done away in Christ." It is DONE AWAY because His glory has no diminishing; it does not pass away. The assistance of Moses, that is, of the law, is that of CONDEMNATION. The assistance of Christ, that is, of grace, is that of RIGHTEOUSNESS. The former has a glory, and it is inspiring, but there is no hope in it for sinning men; and so it passes, for it leaves them SINNERS. The latter has a glory, more moving, for there is hope in it for sinning men; and so it never passes, for it makes them RIGHTEOUS. Because of the finality of the glory of Christ, He lifts an unveiled face upon men.


Friday, July 13, 2018

COMING TO FINAL PERFECTION

COMING TO FINAL PERFECTION 


"The love of Christ ... the fullness of God" Eph. 3:19


Here are two great phrases. They occur in one of the apostolic prayers for the saints. In that prayer the ULTIMATE DESIRE is that they should "know the love of Christ," in order that they "may be filled unto all the fullness of God." The idea, then, is that the knowledge of "the love of Christ" brings to the soul the experience of "the fullness of God." To be "filled unto all the fullness of God" is to find the ultimate experience of life. Where this is so, there is no true desire of the soul unsatisfied, no power of the soul undeveloped or idle. The true meaning of life is discovered, and that not as an ideal seen but unrealized, but as an actual experience. It is eternal life; it is PERFECTION; it is satisfaction. How then can it be attained? By KNOWING THE LOVE OF CHRIST, for in that there is the very FULLNESS OF GOD; and so wonderful is it, not only as a VISION, but in its POWER, that to know it is TO BE TRANSFORMED by it into the likeness of itself. To the finality of this knowledge and experience we have not yet attained; but if we know anything of the love of Christ, we know something of the FILLING OF THIS FULLNESS of God. That is the story of the beginning, the, process, and the consummation of true Christian experience. The love of Christ captures our hearts, and the life of God produces rest and quietness. The love of Christ is PROGRESSIVELY INTERPRETED to us by the Spirit, and the FULLNESS OF GOD BRINGS US MORE AND MORE INTO THE JOY OF LIFE. At last we shall come to FULL APPREHENSION. Then we shall come to a FINAL PERFECTION in the FINAL FULLNESS of God.

Thursday, July 12, 2018

GRACE TO SUFFER

GRACE TO SUFFER  


"To you it hath been granted ... to suffer" Phil. 1:29


This is Paul's great singing letter. It was at Philippi that he had sung in prison at midnight, in the company of Peter. Now he was again in prison, this time in Rome, and writing to "the saints in Christ Jesus that are at Philippi." This letter thrills to the tireless music of a psalm. It is a glorious revelation of how life in fellowship with Christ triumphs over all adverse circumstances. The triumph, moreover, is not that of stoical indifference. It is rather that of recognition of the fact that all apparently adverse conditions are made allies of the soul and ministers of victory, under the domain of the Lord. "The things which happened unto me have fallen out rather unto the progress of the Gospel" exclaimed the Apostle. His very bonds opened the door of opportunity throughout the Praetorian Guard. It was this sense of the power of life in Christ which inspired the particular word which arrests us. In them, suffering it the behalf of Christ is referred to as at honor conferred, rather than a burden to be endured. It is something granted to the saint, as a privilege, the very granting of which is a favor, a gift of grace. To this conception all will agree who have ever really known what it is actually to suffer on behalf of Christ. They are not callous; the suffering is very real, very acute; but it brings a sense of joy, and gladness which finds no equal in human experience.

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

ARRESTED AND CALLED AND UNITED TO WORSHIP


 ARRESTED AND CALLED AND UNITED TO WORSHIP

"Bless Jehovah, O my soul; and all that is within me, bless His holy Name" Psa. 103:1


This great Psalm of perfect praise is one of the most familiar in the Psalter. It is a glad outpouring of gratitude to Jehovah; for His ways with men; for what He is in Himself; for His great mercy; for His faithfulness therein; for the order and perfection of His government. For our present help we stress these introductory words, revealing as they do the responsibility of the soul in the matter of rendering PRAISE to such a God. The singer addresses himself. He realizes that he has power over himself that he is able to give or to withhold that which is due to God. He realizes also the complexity of personality. In order to perfect praise, all its powers need to be ARRESTED, SUMMONED TO ACTION, UNITED in order to completeness. Whether intentionally or not, is there not here a recognition of the spiritual nature as ultimate, and all mental powers as possessions thereof? The method harmonizes with that of Paul in Rom. 12:1, where he called upon believers to present their bodies, to seek the renewing of their mind, and thus to render reasonable (or, more accurately, spiritual) service. The one value of these opening words is that they show us that worship is not involuntary and automatic. It calls for the co-ordination of all our powers, if it is to be perfect. This truth should arrest us whenever we enter the place of worship. The sanctuary is not a lounge, a place of relaxation. We should enter it with all the powers of personality arrested, arranged, dedicated. Then we may render a service of praise that is worthy and acceptable.

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

RECORDED HISTORY FOR THE CHILDREN


RECORDED HISTORY FOR THE CHILDREN

"That they might set their hope in God, and not forget the works of God, but keep His commandments" Psa. 78:7


This Psalm may be described as a poem of history. From vs. 9, the singer reviews the history of the people of God, dwelling upon their persistent dis loyalties, and the unfailing goodness of God to them both in chastisement and deliverance. All this is a poetical illustration of the principle laid down in the first eight verses. In that first movement, the singer declares that it is the will of God that the story of His dealings with the nation should be taught systematically to the children of each succeeding generation. In these words the reason of this is set forth, as they reveal the effects which such teaching, adequately given, is bound to produce. Under its influence they will set their hope in God, will remember His works, and will keep His commandments. Observe the idea carefully. The immediate is stated last. It is that of OBEDIENCE TO THE LAW OF GOD. In order to that obedience, two inspiring activities are referred to: First, HOPE, which has to do with the future; and second, MEMORY, which has to do with the past. By such teaching of history as sets, it in relation to God, hope for the days to come will be centered in Him, and memory will be instructed by His works. This is a wonderful revelation of our duty concerning the young. It is also a key to the true WRITING OF HISTORY. History, written as it should be, will always show that all true prosperity comes from God, and that man has no hope except that which is centered in Him. History should always be the record of the works of God. Godless men distort history. That is to emphasize the important factor. History thus written, and thus taught, will so affect hope and memory in youth, as to constrain it to obedience to the God revealed; and this is the way of life for man and nation. Satan knows his pathway with history as God does.

Monday, July 9, 2018

SCHOOLING KIDS PROPERLY

SCHOOLING KIDS PROPERLY


"Train up a child in the way he should go, and even when he is old he will not depart from it" Prov. 22:6


Perhaps there is no Proverb in all the collection which has been more frequently quoted than this; and perhaps also none has been more persistently misunderstood and misrepresented. It is a brief and complete revelation of the TRUE METHOD WITH A CHILD. In order to a correct apprehension, everything depends upon the real meaning of the words "in the way he should go." That is by no means an inaccurate rendering, but the question arising is: What is the way in which a child should go? A more literal rendering of the Hebrew at once answers this question. Such translation would be: “Train up a child according to his way." In every child there are special and peculiar powers. The true business of training a child, therefore, is that of DISCOVERING what those powers are, and DEVELOPING them. It is a disaster to prepare a program for a child without consulting the particular and peculiar life of that child, and then to endeavor to compel the child to conform to that ideal, to live by that program. In all training of children the first business of those responsible must be that of considering the children themselves. Herein is revealed the need for individual work. No two children are alike. They cannot be trained in groups, in standards, in grades, in classes. They may thus be dealt with for the impartation of general information, but when the real work of training them according to their ways is undertaken, they must be taken one by one. This is one reason why the school which approximates to the family ideal is most successful. Our methods of training children have hardly begun to reach the Divine ideal. The schools today have become politicized and are destroying kids in great numbers.

Sunday, July 8, 2018

FREEDOM AND ITS LIMITATIONS

FREEDOM AND ITS LIMITATIONS


"A man's heart devised his way; but Jehovah directs his steps" Prov. 16:9


This is a very profound word. The more carefully it is considered, the more challenging does it become. It recognizes the FREEDOM OF THE HUMAN WILL; and then sharply defines the LIMITATIONS OF THAT FREEDOM. "A man's heart devises his way." That is a recognition of the truth of which we are constantly reminded in these sacred writings, namely that the heart, the realm of desire, is the most potent factor in personality. It is also a clear declaration that conduct is directed by the heart, by desire. That is the measure of human freedom. A man can and does devise his own way under the direction of his heart. If desire be evil and sinful, the way devised is evil. If desire be good, the way devised is good. But that is not all the truth about life. This also is true: "Jehovah directs his steps." Every action of a man, whether in answer to the inward desire of good or evil, is an action in a realm of law from which there is no escape. The steps of evil and the steps of good are directed by Jehovah. THAT IS TO SAY THAT NO MAN CAN STEP OUTSIDE THE GOVERNMENT OF GOD, NO MAN CAN DEVISE A WAY THAT ENABLES HIM TO ESCAPE FROM GOD. The warmth of the fire which blesses is God's action. The heat of the fire which blasts is God's action. I can devise my way with regard to the fire, but the steps I take are directed, governed, by God. I can, if I will, answer the lusts of the flesh, devising my way accordingly; but God will di­rect my steps, and the destruction which comes is the result. I can, if I will, yield myself to the lure of the spirit, devising my way accordingly; but still God directs my steps, and the realization of life which follows is the effect of that directing which arrives at perfection (Jude 24).

Saturday, July 7, 2018

MANS VAIN AND FOOLISH THOUGHTS


MANS VAIN AND FOOLISH THOUGHTS  

"Jehovah knows the thoughts of man, that they are vanity" Psa. 94:11


This Psalm also is one of praise, but its note is entirely different to the previous two. In Psa. 93 the singer is looking above and beyond the conditions of the hour, and offers praise because Jehovah reigns. In this he is looking at these conditions and they are such as to seem to contradict the declaration that Jehovah reigns. The people are oppressed by tyrants who declare that God is not concerned with the affairs of man. He does not see, nor consider. The singer knows the falseness of these declarations, and his song is the argument for his conviction that GOD DOES HEAR, AND SEE, AND CORRECT. He summarizes all in this statement, that "Jehovah knows the thoughts of man, that they are vanity." In this song we see how the very things which assault faith, and threaten to produce despair, may be made the opportunity for praise, in the place and act of worship. In the long history of the travail and conflict of faith, how constantly have faithful souls been strengthened to bear and endure, by this very exercise of praise! In catacombs, in dungeons, in places of the uttermost desolation—when it has seemed to sense that the way of God was blocked, that His rule was overcome, that all evil things had gained the victory—these songs have arisen, proclaiming Him King, mocking all the VAIN AND FOOLISH THOUGHTS OF MEN, and declaring His ultimate victory. Thus God has been to such souls a high tower, their rock of refuge, and they have found the strength and courage which have enabled them to endure, in this activity of worship by faith. Read the last of His book and believe those words of grace He has shared through John.

Friday, July 6, 2018

LET GOD DO THE CHOOSING


LET GOD DO THE CHOOSING

"Lift up now thine eyes, and look from the place where thou art" Gen. 13:14


These words were spoken to Abram when he was in a place of peculiar difficulty. He was now in the land to which he had been sent by God. Moreover he was there after a deflection from the pathway of faith, in which deflection he had gone down into Egypt. An hour had come when domestic difficulties had arisen between him and his kinsman, Lot. It had become necessary for them to separate from each other. With the magnanimity of a great soul, Abram had given to Lot the right to choose the place where he would dwell in the land, and Lot had chosen. The result was that Abram, on that level of human arrangement, was excluded from the best of the country. It was at this juncture that God Communed with him, and gave him this command. The words are seen in their true suggestiveness when they are put into contrast with those found in the 10th verse, “Lot lifted up his eyes." In doing so Lot had chosen upon the ground of personal advantage. When he had gone, God said to the man who had chosen not to choose, "Lift up now thine eyes," and directed him to look "northward and southward and eastward and westward"; that was to every point of the compass and consequently over all the land; including that which Lot had chosen for himself. All he thus looked upon was then secured to him by the covenant of God. The teaching of the account is obvious. Man has no final rights in any possessions other than those which are his by the gift of God. The man who, by faith, leaves the choices of his life to God, is the man who finds his way into possessions of which he cannot be robbed. God makes His choices on complete and absolute Truth and Knowledge based on the past, present and the future He has in store for all mankind.

Thursday, July 5, 2018

GOOD MEN AND BACKSLIDERS


GOOD MEN AND BACKSLIDERS  

"The backslider in heart shall be filled with his own ways: and a good man shall be satisfied from himself" Prov. 14:14


Which simply means that whatever may be within a man, in the deepest region of his personality will sooner or later be wrought out into actual experience and visibility. The BACKSLIDER in heart is the man who, knowing the way of wisdom, does not desire to conform to it, but rather desires the ways of foolishness. The GOOD MAN is the man who, whatever his consciousness of weakness may be, does in the deepest of him desire the ways of wisdom. In either case, that underlying desire is the most potent factor, and sooner or later will gain its victory, and produce its result in the life. It is possible for a man for a long time to conform to the rules and regulations of wisdom and the fear of Jehovah, while yet in secret he desires the forbidden things. Such a man is backsliding in heart, and at last that backsliding will become obvious. It is equally true that a man may falter and blunder, and fail, again and again, while all the time he hates his own shortcomings, and earnestly aspires after the highest things. Such a man is a good man, and ultimately that quest after the highest will be successful; he will be satisfied from himself. The revelation of Scripture, both in the Old and New Testaments, is constantly urging this truth. We do well to take heed to it. To do so is to be brought to a realization of our personal helplessness, and our need of a Savior. We may say with a great deal of reason that we cannot control our desires. Hence the need for the SURRENDER of ourselves to Him Who can create the clean heart, and renew the right spirit within us (Psa. 51:10).

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

GOD HATES WAR


GOD HATES WAR 

"He hath scattered the peoples that delight in war" Psa. 68:30


The historic relations of this Psalm are obscure, and definite. They are obscure as to the actual, time of the composition, and as to the particular events in history which are celebrated. They are definite as to the use which has been made of it by men of faith; in the process of the centuries. Kirkpatrick finely says, of it: "To the Crusaders, setting out for the recovery of the Holy Land; to Savonarola and his monks, as they marched to the 'Trial of Fire' in the Piazza at Florence; to the Huguenots, who called it 'The song of battles'; to Cromwell, at Dunbar, as the sun rose on the mists of the morning and he charged Leslie's army—it has supplied words for the expression of their heartfelt convictions." To all of this we may add that, during the years of the First World War, perhaps no Psalm, with the single exception of the 46th, was more constantly used. It is preeminently the Psalm which celebrates the march of God with His people, against their foes and His, to assured and complete victory. The words we have stressed describe that victory in one application, and in a very remarkable way. The whole song is of war; one is conscious all through of the clash of conflict. Yet it is not a song in glorification of war. God is manifested as the GOD OF BATTLES, but His victory is that He scatters the people that delight in war. He does not delight in it; His purpose is to end it and He will with the greatest of battles. Here is the true test of the relation of men of faith to war. If the heart delights in war, God will make war the instrument for the discomfiture and defeat of that unholy passion. If the heart hates war, then He will give victory in war to those who thus fight. Whether that end has been reached, it is not for us to say. Certainly the principle had remarkable illustration in both the first and second world war and with a final one to follow and then war no more. They arm up now for the greatest of all with all nations against the nation that was created for the blessings of all nations as revealed in the previous article (Israel's Purpose for Existence). The nations reveal their hatred of God and His plan (Psa. 2).

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

ISRAEL’S PURPOSE FOR EXISTENCE


ISRAEL’S PURPOSE FOR EXISTENCE 

"Thy salvation" Psa. 67:2


This phrase constitutes a poetic interpretation of the thought of the one word of which it is a translation. The Hebrew word is one, and signifies quite literally, salvation. It is salvation in the sense of deliverance, aid, and so nationally of victory. The conception in its national significance is very beautifully expressed in the phrase, "saving health," of the Authorized Version. The Psalm is a very brief one, but it breathes the very spirit of a clear understanding of the real meaning of the Hebrew nation, according to Divine purpose. Its opening prayer is that God will bless and cause His face to shine upon His own people, in order that His "salvation may be known among all nations." It’s closing, affirmation is that God will bless His own people, and that as a result, "all the ends of the earth shall fear Him." This is the true interpretation of privilege. THE PEOPLE OF GOD EXIST FOR THE SAKE OF ALL THE NATIONS. (Gen. 12:3) They constitute the illustration of His saving health. Their prosperity is due to His aid, His deliverance, His salvation. The nations, seeing that prosperity, are taught the advantage of His rule. That rule, discovered and obeyed, always produces national health, in all the spacious values of that great word. Health is wholeness, completeness, and full realization of possibility, as it is freedom from all diseases, materially, mentally, morally. God alone is able to rule men so as to insure this state of health. His people, then, are called upon to reveal this fact to men, by the health in which they live. What disaster, if by disobedience to the will of God they reveal to men anything less than health Thus the name of God is blasphemed among the heathen. The privilege is great; the responsibility is grave; the resources in God are sufficient. (Again see Gen. 12:2-3).

Monday, July 2, 2018

DISABILITIES AND ROYALTY


DISABILITIES AND ROYALTY

"Thy name shall be called no more Jacob, but Israel" Gen. 32:28



  The centrality of this chapter to the account of Jacob is recognized. In these words we have a revelation of the real meaning and issue of the night, of struggle through which he had passed. Everything depends upon a right understanding of the contrast between these names. Jacob literally meant heel-catcher, and so supplanter. Israel is a compound of two words, Isra, which means ruled, and El, the name of God, and so means Ruled-by-God. This was the discovery made to him that night, and that discovery constituted God's victory. Jacob had contended with men and had prevailed. That had been the account all through, and the effect of his successes upon his character had been that of making him self-reliant, and in that measure forgetful that these very successes had resulted from the fact that all his life was arranged and ruled by God. That was the lesson he had to learn in order that he might be delivered from a self-sufficiency which must inevitably have ruined him. That explains all the account of that night. God crippled him to crown him, revealed his weakness to teach him the secret of strength, and defeated him that he might find victory. His cry, "I will not let Thee go except Thou bless me," was not the strident cry of a man compelling a reluctant God to yield to him; it was the sobbing wail of a man casting himself at last at the feet of a God seeking to heal him (see Hosea 12:4). From that day he halted in his walk, and that halt was the obvious of his NOBILITY. Whatever others thought of it, he knew it was the abiding sign of God's victory, and that he was a man ruled by God. How often apparent DISABILITIES are the signs of ROYALTY, and so of ability!

Friday, June 15, 2018

JUDGMENTS OF FIRE AND WATER

JUDGMENTS OF FIRE AND WATER


"While the earth remains, seed-time and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night shall not cease" Gen. 8:22



These words are part of the new covenant which God made with man after the Flood, in that judgment of a corrupt race the order of Nature had been set aside. One whole lunar year had been a year of judgment (compare Gen. 7:11 with Gen. 8:13, 14), and during that time there had been neither seed time nor harvest, nor cold nor heat, nor summer nor winter, nor day nor night, so far as the experience of man and the condition of the earth were concerned. The purpose of that particular judgment being accomplished, God reinstated man in his relationship to the earth, putting him under a new order of life, that of the government of man by man (see Gen. 9:1-6). In doing so He restored, and abidingly confirmed, the natural order. The next judgment of the earth will be its final fire-cleansing (See 2 Peter 3:7 and 12; Psa. 148:8). Until then this order abides. It is important that we remember that this covenant has never failed, and that the continuity and regularity of the seasons is due to the faithfulness of God. Through the ages man has lived by seed time and harvest, by cold and heat, by summer and winter, by day and night; and this because God has been faithful and patient. The sorrows of humanity are all due to man's misuse of these things. If they were properly used under the Divine government, there would be neither pain nor poverty, but perfect human conditions. All earthly blessings flow from these Divine arrangements. All earthly curses result from human misuse of them.

Thursday, June 14, 2018

INSTRUMENTS OF JUDGMENT


INSTRUMENTS OF JUDGMENT

"Jehovah saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually" Gen. 6:5



These words give the reason for the Flood. We come at this point in the record of human history, to the first activity of the PUNITIVE JUDGMENT of God. A crisis was reached, which made it necessary, in order to the carrying on of the Divine purpose for humanity, that there should be such action; and in these words the nature of the crisis is revealed. They are very emphatic, and show the utter MORAL DEPRAVITY which prevailed. To read them carefully is to discover that fact. When evil choices and courses have thus wrought themselves out, God always acts in judgment in this way. Over and over again has He done so. We have lived through a period of such Divine activity because of His curse. And so it will continue until the final victory is gained; and evil is completely banished from the earth. Two matters are revealed which are of the greatest importance. 
1st, God never acts in such judgment until it is necessary in order to the fulfilling of His highest purposes for humanity. 
2nd, God always does so act, when it is necessary. 
They are the facts of His PATIENCE and His PERSISTENCE. Evil never escapes Him. He presses upon it, and compels it to go on to the uttermost expression; and that, in order that He may destroy it. The flood, the blood and fire and vapor of smoke, all are the INSTRUMENTS OF HIS JUDGMENT, and are employed in order to the realization of His high ideals for humanity. Nature is under His direction (Psa. 148:8) and reveals constantly that He is still on the throne using what is termed secondary causes.

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

ALPHA AND OMEGA`

THE ALPHA AND OMEGA


"Blessed be Jehovah, the God of Israel, from everlasting and to everlasting. Amen, and Amen" Psa. 41:13



The English reader has gained much in the study of the Psalms from the fact that the Revisers have restored the Hebrew divisions of the selection into five Books. There is no doubt that the editing, by whom so always done, was carefully done, and that in each of the five books there is a dominant idea. In each case this idea is revealed in the Doxology with which the Book ends. The editor—possibly and even probably Hezekiah—may have written this Doxology himself. The verse we have taken is the Doxology with which the first Book ends. Kirkpatrick is certainly right when he says: "This doxology is, of course, no part of the Psalm, but stands here to mark the close of Book I." The prevailing Name of God found in this collection is Jehovah. The songs have set forth in varied ways all that this Name meant to the men of faith. Thus the Doxology utters the praise of Jehovah, Who is the God of Israel. It recognizes the all-encompassing sweep of the Divine government and grace in the words: “From everlasting to everlasting." It declares the assent of man to this fact, in the concluding double: "Amen and Amen." The word everlasting in the Hebrew means the vanishing point. The idea is that the God of Israel is Jehovah from the past which is beyond human knowledge, to the future which is equally so. Rotherham's rendering is very fine; "Blessed be Jehovah, God of Israel, from antiquity unto antiquity. Amen and Amen.” To us the great truth is made clearer in the words of Jesus: "I am the ALPHA and the OMEGA." (Rev. 1:8, 11; 21:6; 22:13) In that sense of the eternity of our God, and of the eternity of the things concerning Him unveiled in His Son, is the secret of our songs.

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

ABOVE AND UNDER THE SUN


THIS IS THE BOOK OF THINGS ABOVE AND UNDER THE SUN

"Vanity of vanities, saith the Preacher; vanity of vanities, all is vanity" Eccles. 1:2


The subtitle of this book found in our translations, "or the Preacher," we owe to Luther, and it is misleading. As Dr. Plumptre has argued at length, and proved conclusively, the more correct rendering of the Hebrew word Koheleth would be "The Debater." This is important, for it at once reminds us that here we have Discussion, rather than Teaching. In these words we have the general proposition of the Debater. Everything he says from here on to 11:8 is in defense of this statement. Then in a paragraph, brief but pregnant (11:9-12), he gives an entirely different view of life, which is a correction of this. Let us, then, at once face this opening declaration. It is an absolutely accurate statement of life when it is lived under certain conditions; but it is not true as a statement of what life must necessarily be. There are thousands of men and women today who cannot, and do not, accept this to be true of life as they find it; it is not vanity, vapor, emptiness, nothingness. To them life in every way is real, rich, full, glorious. It is best, then, that at the beginning we should understand the viewpoint of the Debater. His declaration is that THINGS IN THEMSELVES BRING NO SATISFACTION TO THE SOUL OF MAN. To live on the earth without recognition of the supreme wisdom which begins and continues in the fear of Jehovah, to deal only with that hemisphere which is "under the sun," is indeed to find things of exceeding wonder and beauty and power; but it is to find nothing that satisfies, and to be left at last without any reality, to find only vanity, vapor, emptiness and many end up there.

Monday, June 11, 2018

TRUE AUTHORITY

TRUE AUTHORITY


"I will" Psa. 101:1



The song is attributed to David, and there is no valid reason for questioning that suggestion as to authorship. It is evidently the song of a Ruler, a Prince, a King. In its first movement (vs. 1-4), it records the ruler's decisions concerning himself; in its second (vs. 5-8), it declares his decisions concerning the administration of his Kingdom. It is a Psalm of VOLITION. That is why we have emphasized its first two words. They run through all its stanzas. Trace them. Here is no appeal to others. All the way the singer is exercising HIS WILL. His decisions prove that he is doing so under the inspiration of TRUE INTELLECTUAL APPREHENSION, and pure EMOTIONAL IMPULSE. The important thing is that he is RESPONDING. This is always the matter of principal importance. Moreover, the nature of his decisions and the order of them are INSTRUCTIVE. This king is evidently seeking to act in every way in harmony with the CHARACTER and PURPOSE of the One and only King. He begins with himself. He will bring his own CHARACTER and CONDUCT into conformity with the way and will of Jehovah to Whom he offers his praise. Then he will govern according to the same standards. The persons and things which are unlike God he will not tolerate within his realm. Those persons and things which are in accordance with the will of God, he will cultivate and preserve. This is the true way of authority. THE FLOW BEGINS AT THE TOP WITH TRUE AUTHORITY.

Sunday, June 10, 2018

CITY HOUSE AND TEMPLE

CITY HOUSE AND TEMPLE


"I was glad when they said unto me, Let us go unto the House of Jehovah" Psa. 122:1


This is the song of the singer, no longer distanced from the CITY and TEMPLE, but having arrived therein. It is the song of first impressions. These were concerned with the CITY as the place of the TEMPLE. Observe that in this opening stanza, and also in the last, the reference is to the HOUSE of Jehovah. First there is the record of the gladness which came when the invitation, and so the opportunity, came to go to the HOUSE of Jehovah. Finally there is the expression of determination to seek the good of the CITY for the sake of this HOUSE. Approaching the HOUSE, the singer was impressed with the CITY; in its compactness, as the center for the gathering of the tribes; and as the seat of the GOVERNMENT. He then prayed for, and spoke of, the peace and prosperity of the CITY. The song reveals the singer's understanding of the true facts of national life. That CITY was to him the center of that life. The HOUSE of God was the center of that CITY. That HOUSE was highest in importance because it was the HOUSE of Jehovah. Jehovah, the God of Grace, is the One around Whom the people gather. The TEMPLE is the means of grace, the Tent of meeting between man and God. The CITY is the embodiment of the ideals of God for His people, the realization on their part of the order of peace and prosperity which is His Will for them. Whenever the song was written, it was idealistic, for never yet in its history has the CITY of God realized this conception. But that is the glory of the life of faith. Spiritually it enters into the experience of the high purposes of God, even when actual conditions fall far short of those purposes. Moreover, it is by such high confidence that men move forward towards realization actually and materially of what they already apprehend spiritually.

Saturday, June 9, 2018

WORSHIP AND WITNESS


WORSHIP AND WITNESS

"Make a joyful noise unto Jehovah, all ye lands" Psa. 100:1



This is the wonderful song which, in metrical version, composed by William Kethe in days of Marian persecution, is known as the Old Hundredth. It is jubilant with confidence for the whole earth, as it contemplates the glory of that earth, when its entire people are submitted to the reign of Jehovah. What a pity, by the way, that so many of our hymn-books render the phrase, "Him serve with mirth," as "Him serve with fear," and thus rob the song of one of its chief notes! The relation of this song to the eight preceding ones is unmistakable, and whenever it was composed, its placing here by the guided editor was surely intentional. The eight Psalms have been those of the City of God, of the Sanctuary within that City, of the people who are its citizens, and the worshipers. Their worship is concluded, and now their witness begins. It is as though the gates of the City, the courts of the Sanctuary, were suddenly thrown open, and all lands are called to serve Jehovah Who in Revelation is revealed to be none other than Jesus Chris, to know that He is God, to enter into relationship with Him. Observe that I have italicized the words which mark the movement of this world-wide ap­peal, serve, know, and enter. The relation between these things is very suggestive. Worship is for God. Witness is for men. The strength of witness is cre­ated in worship. IT IS THOSE WHO KNOW COMMUNION IN THE SANCTUARY WHO ARE ABLE TO CALL MEN TO GOD PREVAILINGLY. It is equally true that THE ULTIMATE VALUE OF WORSHIP IS WITNESS. To praise God for all the wonders of His reign, and to fail to proclaim those wonders to such as dwell in darkness, is almost to blaspheme. The Songs of the Sabbath sung with face lifted toward the throne, and catching the light therefrom, must be sung on all the other days in the highways and byways of human life, with faces irradiated, and so shining upon men. Let us all be His reflectors.

Friday, June 8, 2018

THE LIE OF SATAN

THE LIE OF SATAN


"This is the book of the generations of Adam" Gen. 5:1



Only twice in the Bible do we find this exact formula here, and in the first verse of the New Testament in the one case the reference is to the first man, the first Adam; in the other it is to the second Man, the last Adam (1 Cor. 15:45). This in itself is a suggestive fact. Here in Genesis the words constitute the title of the scroll which immediately follows, on which the posterity of Adam, through Seth, is given, up to Noah and his three sons. It covers the history of the first period, or age of human history after the fall; that is the period from the fall to the Flood. In the previous chapter the history of the posterity of Adam through Cain is given, up to Lamech, who was contemporary with Enoch. The period covered lasted for fifteen hundred years; and this chapter is of importance because it is the only Biblical history of those centuries. That history is arresting in its brevity and boldness. In the main it is the account of the continuity of the race under the penalty of death resulting from the fall. Man had distrusted God, and rebelled against His government, because he had believed the word of the enemy, who had said, "Ye shall not surely die." Through these centuries the tolling of the bell of death is persistent; we read it again and again, eight times: "and he died." Thus history was proving the word of the ENEMY to be a LIE, and that of God to be the TRUTH. This is what history always does. Yet the principle of triumph over sin and death is illustrated in the account, once the death toll is not heard. Of one man's passing from the earth, the description is different. Of Enoch it is written: "He was not, for God took him." And the explanation is found in the fact that in life he found his way into FELLOWSHIP WITH GOD.

Thursday, June 7, 2018

JUDGMENT DOES NOT NECESSARILY MEAN PUNISHMENT

JUDGMENT DOES NOT NECESSARILY MEAN PUNISHMENT


"This is the end of the matter; all hath been heard; fear. God, and keep His commandments; for this is the whole duty of man" Eccles. 12:13


With verse nine of the previous chapter the final division of this book begins. It stands in direct and intended contrast to all that has preceded it. That contrast is immediately seen when verses eight and nine in chapter eleven are compared. Both call upon man to rejoice, but the motive is entirely different. The voice of worldly wisdom says: rejoice because all the future is dark and vanity. Now the higher wisdom speaks, and it says: rejoice, by remembering, that God brings men into judgment as to the exercise of all their natural powers. Let it be remembered that JUDGMENT DOES NOT MEAN PUNISHMENT, unless and until men abuse those natural powers. Remember we have been living under the judgment of God placed on this earth at Babel. Wisdom says: life is to be full of joy, and the way to find joy is to order it under the judgment, that is under the government of God. This is urged in all that follows, until in these words everything is summarized. I cannot refrain from saying that this statement has suffered incalculably from the introduction by translators of the word duty. The word does not occur in the Hebrew text. Leave it out, and the statement is: "This is the whole of man." This at once emphasizes the outlook of all that has gone before. The outlook of the Debater has not been the whole of man. Life in its wholeness takes in the things ABOVE THE SUN, the spiritual facts and forces; it begins with the fear of God, and brings that fear to bear upon all the lower facts and forces; by walking in His commandments. No man who lives a whole life forever says that "all is vanity." He, first finding God, finds also the joy and fullness of life in every aspect. To him life becomes a song and gladness; it is full and glorious.

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

NATIONAL NOT GLOBAL

COMMON WEALTH OF THE WORLD


"These are the families of the sons of Noah, after their generations, in their nations; and of these were the nations divided in the earth after the flood" Gen. 10:32



The reader will observe that in this 10th chapter we have an account of how the nations were “divided in the earth." It precedes the account of the occasion of this division, which is found in the next chapter. It is here that the NATIONAL idea emerges in the Bible account and not the present GLOBAL which this undoes. Up to now there had been one race. There would still be one race, but henceforth in its growth and development, it would consist of different branches, families, nations, each having peculiar characteristics, which in the Divine economy are intended to be held in trust for the COMMON-WEALTH, that so the race, being communal, might be the richer. Babel was an attempt to evade this wider purpose of God. Thus the writer describes the division, which followed Babel first, because it was the first Divine purpose. All this should be very carefully pondered. The national idea is Divine, but its principle is cooperation, and its purpose communion. Man has made its principle competition, and its experience has become conflict. When the nations are last seen in the Biblical Revelation, they are walking in the light of the City of God (Rev. 21:24); and then the COMMON-WEALTH of man will be realized in the Kingdom of God, and all conflict will have ended forever. The last glory of the race will not be monotony, but HARMONY, the cultivation by every nation of its own peculiar powers and resources, in the interest of all the other nations. That is the far-off Divine event, to which the whole creation moves; and that the glory of the vision which inspires to all sacrifice and service till it be realized.

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

CONSCIENCE

CONSCIENCE


The spirit of man is the lamp of Jehovah, searching all his innermost parts" Prov. 20:27



In this great word of Hebrew Wisdom, we have incidentally what we may reverently describe as a revelation of Biblical psychology. The Hebrew word here rendered spirit, is the word rendered breath in the passage in Genesis, which says that “God . . . breathed into his nostrils the breath of life." (Gen. 2:7) The rendering spirit, therefore, is unquestionably accurate, and refers to that in man which constitutes him man and differentiates between him and all animals. By that breath or spirit he is separated from the animal world, as surely as the sentient life of the animal is separated from the vegetable life beneath it—and to greater distance. Man is not an animal. That breath or spirit—says this word of Wisdom—is the lamp of Jehovah, searching all the deepest things in the personality of man. Here is the Biblical conception of CONSCIENCE. Within the mystery of the spirit-nature of every man there is light. It is the instrument of God. It illuminates life. It is that by which man is constantly kept face to face with truth. Let us make no mistake about it: the most evil men know that their works are evil. No specious arguments can prove to the spirit-life of a man that wrong is right, that impurity is pure. The day may come when a man becomes content with wrong, satisfied with impurity. Perhaps the day comes to some when they are unable to make the distinction. I doubt it. But if so, then it is because that lamp of Jeho­vah is put out, that deep essential spirit-life is atrophied—perished. But that is not the end. That spirit-life cannot cease to be. There is a resurrection to condemnation. There will be a new lighting of that lamp, and therein is the awful mystery of retribution. "In Hades, he lifted up his eyes, being in torments." (Luke 16:23)

Monday, June 4, 2018

FEAST OF PURIM

FEAST OF PURIM


"Esther confirmed these matters of Purim" Esther 9:32



In this chapter we have a full account of the arrival of the fateful thirteenth day of the twelfth month, and of all that happened thereupon. It was the day on which the changed conditions in the cases of Haman and Mordecai were revealed throughout the whole of the provinces. Men who had persecuted the Jews, and were looking for the opportunity of wreaking their vengeance by royal decree, found themselves filling the places which they had intended their foes to occupy. It was in remembrance of this great deliverance that the feast of Purim was established. The thirteenth day was the day when the lot, according to Haman's devices, was to fall out to the destruction of the Jews. God overruled the lot, and they were delivered. Therefore the fourteenth and fifteenth days were henceforth to be observed as Purim, or lots, a time of festal celebration. This decision was confirmed by the royal consent through Esther. According, to a Jewish tradition, "all the feasts shall cease in the days of Messiah, except the feast of Purim." It is a remarkable fact that while there have been breaks in the observance of the other great feasts, and some of them have been practically discontinued, this has been maintained. Whatever view men may hold of the value of this Book of Esther, it is certain that Jewish leaders have always treated it as an exposition of the method by which God wrought deliverance for His people in a time of peril, even while they were in exile, and so of His unceasing care for them. It has been the inspiration of hope for them in many dark and desolate days to come for Israel.

Sunday, June 3, 2018

VOWS AND PRAYERS

VOWS AND PRAYERS


"I will pay Thee my vows" Psa. 66:13



This is another song of praise, in two movements. The first is national (vs. 1-12), and celebrates a Divine deliverance from trouble, while recognizing that the trouble itself was a part of the Divine method, a chastisement through which the nation was brought into a wealthy place. The second is personal (vs. 13-20), and perhaps in it the king, who in the earlier part had spoken of and for his people, spoke of and for himself. The singer had been heard; God had attended to the voice of the prayers he had uttered in the day of his distress. In that day of distress he had made vows to the Lord, and now in the day of prosperity he remembers them and comes into the House of his God with burnt-offerings to fulfill his vows. There is an important principle in these words. The soul of man in hours of distress constantly makes promises to God as to what it will do if He will deliver out of that distress. Such vows are entirely voluntary, and they are not necessary. They do not affect the action of God in the least. PRAYER DOES THAT, BUT NOT VOWS. But when the voluntary vow is made, it becomes an obligation from which the one making it must not attempt to escape. This was explicitly enacted in the Law. The provision will be found in Lev. 27. There it is clearly laid down that vows in respect of persons, beasts, houses, fields, are entirely optional; but when made, are COMPULSORY. The life of fellowship with God into which we are admitted through Christ, makes vows more than always unnecessary. They; however, are not forbidden. Only let us never forget that when made, they must be fulfilled. The reason is not in God, but in us. To fail to keep faith with God is to suffer deterioration of character.

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

MY SOVEREIGN LORD

MY SOVEREIGN LORD


"Jehovah says unto my Lord" Psa. 110:1


The full Messianic intention of this Psalm is completely settled by our Lord's use of it, and by the New Testament references to it. Moreover, by His use of it, the Lord inferentially claimed Messiahship, and so its fulfillment in Himself. In these five opening words we have the key to the Psalm. Everything which follows constitutes a disclosure made by Jehovah to another whom the singer speaks of as "my Lord." Observe carefully the three persons appearing here. First, Jehovah, the speaker; secondly, the recorder of the speech, King David (according to the title and the words of Jesus), who emerges in the pronoun "My"; finally One of Whom the singer speaks as "My Sovereign Lord," the One to whom Jehovah speaks. I like to connect this Psalm with the second. There we have Jehovah's decree concerning His Anointed Who is spoken of as His Son. Here we have the disclosure made to His anointed One, concerning His Mission. Here He is not called the Son of God, but David's reference to Him as "My Sovereign Lord," involved it, as the question of Jesus proves, when He said: "Whose Son is He?" In this song David had reached the highest point of his outlook. Let us content ourselves by noting simply the disclosure of Jehovah to the SOVEREIGN LORD. First, that there would be a time of waiting for the overthrow of His foes, and that during that time He would occupy the place of supreme authority, sitting at the right hand of Jehovah. Secondly, that in due season, Jehovah would establish Him in Zion, and that, on that day of His power, His people would offer themselves willingly, an army, like the dew born in the morning out of the womb of the night. Thirdly, that in His reign He should be a priest like Melchizedek. Then finally, slightly changing the method, while still following a sequence, the Psalm no longer speaks of what Jehovah will do, but of what this Sovereign Lord at His right hand will do. He will completely overcome all His foes. All this is Messianic in the fullest sense.

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

GATHERING FOR PRAYER


GATHERING FOR PRAYER


"Daniel went to his house, and made the thing known to Hananiah, Mishael, and Alzariah, his companions" Dan. 2:17


In this chapter we have the account of the first activity of Daniel in fulfillment of his divinely appointed work. All that he did in the three world-kingdoms with which he was associated was of secondary importance. He was chosen of God to live among those kingdoms in order to see them in their rela­tion to the Kingdom of God, and to interpret that relation to those to whom he spoke, and to men for all time through the writing of this book. The method of God was that of causing kings to dream dreams, see visions, be arrested by supernatural manifestations, all of which Daniel was to interpret. Nebuchadnezzar saw in his dreams a colossal image, and was troubled. None of his magicians or astrologers could reconstruct the dream, much less interpret it. Daniel was enabled to do both not as he said by his own wisdom but by the revelation given to him by God. One can imagine the occasion, and the most natural sense of its difficulty in the mind of Daniel. He was utterly unable to do in his own wisdom any more than the king's magicians could do. Yet quite evidently he was conscious of a Divine calling and relationship. Very beautiful is the account of his first action. He called together the little group of his friends, like-minded with himself in loyalty to the God of their fathers, and he sought their cooperation in prayer. That prayer was heard, and answered: the secret was revealed to Daniel in a vision of the night. If the first secret of life be that of a purpose of heart, there is no force equal to keeping life not only safe, but serviceable, like that of prayer, and prayer gains in power when it is reinforced by fellowship with those mastered by the same purpose. Let every man called to Divine service cultivate a comradeship with loyal souls, not so much for discussion, as for prayer. “Where two or three are gathered in My name, there am I in the midst of them.” (Matt. 18:20) Matthew saw that in the OT.

Monday, May 28, 2018

STATUE AND IMAGE WORSHIP VS TRUE WORSHIP


STATUE AND IMAGE WORSHIP VS TRUE WORSHIP

"But if not . . ." Dan. 3:18


That is a very incomplete quotation, but it introduces us to faith in its finest expression. The chapter tells the story of Nebuchadnezzar's pride. In the dream which Daniel had interpreted to him he had been described as the head of gold in the colossus of world-power. He now set up an image of gold. We are not told that it was intended to represent a god; and the probability is that it was rather intended to represent his own power. All were commanded to prostrate themselves before it and worship. Daniel does not appear in this story, but his three comrades, with whom he had sought fellowship in prayer, are here. Here was a test for their loyalty to the God of their fathers, and to His law, which strictly FORBADE THE YIELDING OF WORSHIP TO ANY IMAGE WHATSOEVER (STATUES) 2nd Commandment. You shall not make for yourself an idol in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below. You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing love to a thousand [generations] of those who love me and keep my commandments. They are definitely not aids for worship although many think they do for they misrepresent. There was no hesitation on their part. They refused, and were brought before the king. To him, in language full of respect for him, but inspired by complete loyalty to God, they declared that there was no need to answer; their position was known. They declared further to the proud monarch that God was able to deliver them, and affirmed their confidence that He would do so. That was a splendid faith. But it went further as they said: "But if not, be it known unto thee, O king, that we will not serve thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou have set up." That is faith at its highest. Deliverance is to be desired, and expected; but if it comes not, still there can be no abandonment of the One true God. Death, as the result of loyalty to Him, is preferable to deliver­ance, at the price of denying Him. This is the faith which overcomes the world. But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshippers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him. God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth (John 4:23-24)

Sunday, May 27, 2018

GOD IS IN THE JOB OF PERFECTION

GOD IS IN THE JOB OF PERFECTION


"Jehovah will perfect that which concerns me" Psa. 138:8


That is the language of the utmost confidence. The hope is that of the COMPLETE REALIZATION OF PERSONALITY, BOTH AS TO ITS BEING, AND ITS PURPOSE. The hope is based, not upon the determination or effort of the singer, but upon Jehovah. It is so unequivocal, and withal so daring, that we ask as to its reason. How was it that this man was so sure about the matter? The Psalm is attributed to David. We are familiar at once with his excellence's, and his persistent defects. In the deepest of his being, the realm of desire, he was surely a man after God's own heart. But how gravely, yea even grossly, HE FAILED. In spite of all this failure, in this song he declared thus his complete confidence that Jehovah would perfect that which concerned him. Again we ask what made him sure. The answer is found in the whole song. Therein are celebrated those facts in God which inspired this confidence. Let us briefly note them. He is a GOD OF LOVING KINDNESS AND OF TRUTH. He is a GOD OF GREAT GLORY. He is a GOD WHO HAS RESPECT UNTO THE LOWLY. These things demand a response on the part of man. He must WORSHIP this God. He must CALL UPON HIM. God being what He is, when the soul of man, in its feebleness, and notwithstanding his often times failure, worships Him, and calls upon Him, there can be no question as to the issue. HE WILL PERFECT THAT WHICH CONCERNS THAT SOUL. Here is the only place where man can be sure about himself. But here he may be absolutely sure. However dark the day and way; yes, and however great the failure; LET THE HEART BE LOYAL; then, at last, even though it be through the discipline of tears and of suffering, GOD WILL PERFECT THE LIFE.