God's Ways With His People

Psalm 107  •  6 min. read  •  grade level: 6
(THE state of soul in which a pilgrim nearing home would like to be found was first alluded to.) Were I to say to those amongst us who are moderately-instructed Christians, In what consists joy in the Holy Ghost? what is it? you would probably say that the peculiarity of our joy is based on faith; the mercy of God acting in His Son Jesus Christ, and bearing on each heart with divine power. Seeing this basis, our joy is not what is in self, but in what is in God. I would add, not only so, but there is a dispensational peculiarity in the joy which we ought to have, resulting from faith, flowing out from the Resurrection Man, borne up and seated at the right-hand of God. Not only are we saved by grace, but in the peculiar way of these dispensational privileges in the Son having come forth from the Father's presence, that we might be of heaven and not of earth.
Again, as to our joy, a great deal depends upon our walk. All the children of the Father are blessed, but those who are not walking as before Him, lose as to joying in God. These remarks, I repeat, are in connection with the joy in which we desire to be found when the Lord appears, or when He sees that we have been left here long enough, and takes us to be " absent from the body, present with the Lord."
Connected with this subject is the sovereignty of God in relation to the use to which He puts different vessels that He forms. Four examples will illustrate what I mean: Lot, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob. In these we have two classes first class, with respect to Lot. Lot's position was false; the position of Abraham was true. Lot was a righteous man; his righteous soul was vexed from day to day in Sodom. Why was he so troubled in circumstances-losing his property, his children, his liberty, everything swept away from him? Why, in the very place he had chosen, and where he looked for ease, did he find those from within to vex and trouble him? Because he was in a false position from the very beginning. He had a call, and starts with Abraham on the ground of that: he goes out, but all his after course had self for its center, and he did not keep before him what God had said, " The land that I will show thee." This his was not the walk of faith, though he had the call. He did not hold the call; it did not characterize him all along; hence his fallen position. This always leads into suffering of a peculiar kind. Still God's mercy is shown in it; he proves how the vessel may be thoroughly wrecked down here as to testimony; works all burnt up, and yet at last, though suffering loss, he is saved so as by fire.
This wonderfully explains as to Christians in the present clay. I believe there is often a mistake in calling in question whether a person is the Lord's or not, because they do not come up to the standard of our own minds But God did not question whether Lot was a "righteous man." We want first largeness of heart to judge as God judges, and then grace to see where the failure is. It is said, " Oh! they have not light." No; that is not it. I believe that the present state of Christendom originates in this-people have not learned to walk with God. Are you serving the living and true God in whom is your strength, and from whom your joy springs? If not, the truth will not, cannot, have its power.
The cases of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob are very different to Lot's, and they end in brightness. Abraham's is a course of steady faith all through. In him God showed out how a saint could walk with Him, as a son with his father. There is a remarkable repose about it; whenever trials came he was always outside of them. He walked in the light; and as to the details of his life, they are characterized by a happy, peaceful passing on. He sees Isaac happily settled, and then comfortably withdraws from the scene. In chap. 25 we have a few simple details which might have been given of any individual who was not the father of the faithful. He was just waiting to be removed. Thus one sees the servants of God who have served their generation. The Lord seems to say to them, " I know you; I remember your works." But old age has come-the faculties are weakened, and the Lord keeps them as it were in the hollow of His hand; but they seem generally to sink down without observation after a life, it may be, of much service. There is evidently sovereignty in that. We see it especially in connection with those living in times when the truth brought out is the truth God is dispensing specially for the time, as it was with Abraham. Abraham belonged to a set of idolaters; God lets a stream of heavenly light into his soul. He embraces the promises, and, becoming a pilgrim and a stranger, he sets out for the city of God; but he does not get it-there is the clue-but he is taken away from the scene, and he goes on spinning the thread in the glory.
Chapter 26 is the only chapter which gives any account of Isaac as the principal person in the scene. Before, Abraham has the prominent place, and afterward Jacob. Even in chap. 24 Isaac is not the chief person, though the servant (there is no evidence of its being Eliezer) is sent to fetch a wife for him But directly we find Isaac placed in the position of being the patriarch, a few simple details are mentioned. He gets the promise renewed; he plants, sows, digs again the wells. The reason of this is, that when the true Isaac, the joy of God, comes, none could sound His person. I know the Father as I do not know the Son: " No man knoweth the Son, but the Father; neither knoweth any man the Father, save the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son will reveal Him." The Son's life here below was a revelation of the Father. Every ray that beamed from Him told out about Him who was not seen, not about Him that was seen, whatever farther revelation there may be of Him in glory.