The Path of Faith Which God Selects: "That Good Part"

 •  5 min. read  •  grade level: 9
The more we have the sense of grace in our souls, the whole work of salvation being of God toward us, the more we shall seek to draw nigh to Him iii the deep sense of our need of being kept in an evil day. The time is short for learning practically what Christ's path was. But in a day of outward "toleration" and indifference, it is more than ever a matter of choice and God gives His blessing with it. "Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her." Ruth chose too; a parting kiss could not satisfy her as it did Orpha. She slave to Naomi in her sorrow, and a full reward was given to her. Caleb pursued a quiet, suffering path of faithfulness to God, walking by faith, and when the time came he used his privilege of choosing Hebron where the field of Machpelah was Faith works by love and avoids reasoning. The apostle pr ay s "that your love may abound yet more and more in full knowledge and all intelligence, that ye may judge of and approve the things that are more excellent." Phil. 1:9, 109And this I pray, that your love may abound yet more and more in knowledge and in all judgment; 10That ye may approve things that are excellent; that ye may be sincere and without offence till the day of Christ; (Philippians 1:9‑10); N. Trans.
In the ordinary matters of this life, as to our circumstances, etc., faith's path is not to choose, but to give oneself quietly over to God's ordering for us. Lot in self-confidence chose for himself,
pitched toward Sodom, and then went into it. The first warning God gave him had no effect upon him; he was delivered at that time by his uncle's intervention, but he had no mind to leave Sodom; and when the wicked city was at length destroyed, he lost everything, and the beautiful plains he h a d coveted became a burning fiery furnace. Abraham, through humiliating experience in Egypt, learned the first lesson of the wilderness—not to have confidence in himself. And so being consciously incompetent to choose, he was glad that God should choose for him, and he was blessed.
In spiritual things the contrary holds good; God expects us to choose what is most excellent in the path which He graciously opens up to us. We have not to seek anything dazzling, or out of the way, not to put forth any remarkable effort that would attract attention or make other people talk about us We have simply to walk heartily and joyfully in the Lord's path, and have our hearts set on things above, where He sits, and receive what He sets before us. Ruth had not to go out of her way to leave her country and cast in her lot with Naomi. The link had been formed quietly and naturally, and she held to it, minded not to leave or give up that which God had set before her. "Thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God." Nothing could be more unpretentious. There was no self-assertion, no brilliant resolution or vow as to the future, only a quiet settled purpose to cleave to what was already hers through grace, at a time when death seemed to have ruined all her prospects.
So with Caleb; he had been sent as one of the spies, had gone in obedience, and traversed the land from south to north, right up to Lebanon, and he clung to the promise, "Surely the land whereon thy feet have trodden shall be thine inheritance." He had then a right to pick and choose his inheritance in all the best of the land given to the fathers. A n d after forty-five years of patience he chose that city and suburbs where the sons of Anak lived, and where the spies felt with terror their own insignificance. It is the only city mentioned in Numb. 13 as being in the land, and was the home of the giants. During seven years' conflict Joshua and all Israel had left those giants alone, yet Caleb ventures to say that "If so be the LORD will be with me, then I shall be able to drive them out, as the LORD said." It was simple faith, persevering to the end in the humility and withal boldness which faith gives—no pretension, no boasting, but the quiet confidence of one who walked with God. And the "fields of the city" and the villages thereof were made his forever (Josh. 21:1212But the fields of the city, and the villages thereof, gave they to Caleb the son of Jephunneh for his possession. (Joshua 21:12)). The first "lot" given to the sons of Aaron was in the city itself. Such is the choice of faith, working by love; and love must have its object, known to the soul and enjoyed. Without such an object, holiness is not possible for us.
Elisha is another stirring example of the simplicity of faith's choice, showing the soul is held as by a chain of gold in the path of God's ordering and blessing. "As the LORD liveth, and as thy soul liveth, I will not leave thee," was the simple answer to the test -and no ordinary test—applied three times to him; and it ended in the expression of acknowledged communion, followed by the thrilling sight of the man who went up to heaven without dying, and the reception of special blessing as he gathered up the precious mantle which fell to him.
"Draw nigh to God," James says, "and He will draw nigh to you." May it be increasingly our portion, and the more so as the world is carried away by its talk and vain glory, that we may serve Christ in obscurity, and find our joy in that, content with His approval until He come.