“For God will bring every work into judgment, with every hidden thing, whether it is good, or whether it is evil.”
The Light of God penetrates all things. His life is His Light. The Words He speaks, the Works He works and the Nature of all that He is, is Light and Life.
“In him was life, and the life was the light of men”
The Life of God within the heart of an individual is one of His Light shining to uncover, pierce and transform. It is the nature of Light to illuminate and expose; it cannot be otherwise. Religion attempts to cover, conceal and overlook our sins and blemishes; God illuminates our wrongness with the intent of changing and transforming our lives into pure and simple expressions of the One who is Truth.
“And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons”
Man’s initial response to the “voice of the Lord walking” (Genesis 3:8) in their midst was to hide and cover their nakedness. It was a spontaneous reaction to the Light of God. The fig leaves are a picture of man’s futility; a temporary solution to an eternal issue. In the fall Adam and Eve stepped out of eternity into the realm of time; in that moment the need to be covered was paramount and pressing. It was their consciousness of “now” that caused them to turn to a temporary solution. In the urgency of the moment their nakedness had to be covered; man’s response to the Light of God. The journey into truth begins with truth. In our acknowledgment of who we are, we are afforded the provisions of all that He is. “Come unto Me” is an invitation for change and rest. The stress and labor of “keeping up appearances” is burdensome and the accompanying fear of exposure is a torment to the soul.
Peace and rest are the result of being right with God.
“Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest”
“So I have looked upon you in the sanctuary, beholding your power and glory”
Vision is the foundation of an individual’s walk. What a person sees determines what he pursues. True spiritual perspective can only be gained by the seeing of Him, to see His Glory with the eye of faith is the continuous need of the true disciple. It is the touching, tasting and beholding that brings tenacity and hope to all who walk the path of discipleship. In the “seeing” of Him we are afforded a clear estimation of this present world. Without this vital perspective we become entangled and compromised in our walk in this world. David knew well the susceptibility to temptation and the resulting sorrow of beholding other things. It is this perspective which brings peace and clarity to our walk. In Psalm 73, David found himself envying the ungodly their prosperity and ease in life. His perspective was causing his “steps” to falter and his heart to become bitter.
“But as for me, my feet were almost gone; my steps had well-nigh slipped. For I was envious at the foolish, when I saw the prosperity of the wicked”
Had he remained in this deadly place of perspective his spiritual life in God would have been in grave danger. In subsequent verses (Psalm 73:4-16) we read of David’s conjectures, his fretting and his complaints to God. His perspective determined his thought life. His immediate cure was found in seeing God in His sanctuary!
“Until I went into the sanctuary of God; then understood I their end. Surely thou didst set them in slippery places”
We are no different. How vital it is for us to live and abide within the Sanctuary of His Glory. It is here that the faltering steps of the weary pilgrim are refreshed. It is here we see things as they truly are and the contagion of jealously and envy are purged from our wayward hearts. How good and merciful is our God.
The Sanctuary of God is the very anchor of our soul, the strong tower in which we may find refuge in every storm. His presence is our salvation; in the seeing of Him we are changed and empowered to perceive things clearly. May we ever find mercy and grace in our time of need.
“Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need”
“He saved others; He is not able to save Himself”
The truth in Christ is they who would would save their own life will have nothing to give to others. They who lose their life for Him will have much to give. The disciple is to follow in the footsteps of their master; He who saved not Himself upon the cross bids us to follow in like manner.
In losing we find
In saving we lose
“For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it”
“And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient”
Humility is the precursor to obedience. Only a humble heart can obey God’s Word. True humility is expressed in a life of obedience. It is the stiff necked, self-willed, and obstinate who cannot obey God’s Word. Men may preach, teach and perform many overt signs and wonders but it is God who searches the heart (Matthew 7:21-23). Only those who are truly humbled in heart before God can obey, please and honor Him.
As the Son humbled Himself as a man He became obedient to the Father while clothed in mortal flesh. The book of Hebrews declares:
“Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered”
It is not that Jesus was ever disobedient but in His incarnation, as a Man, He had to learn obedience! He came from Glory into a whole new realm and manner of life. In becoming a man, He had to overcome the testings, the temptations and the frailties of all that we are. Why and to what end?
“And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him”
In His overcoming here, as a true man, He became the author of a salvation which is available to all who obey Him. The authenticity of the salvation of an individual must culminate in obedience unto Him. Salvation is revealed by our obedience. The depth to which we are saved is revealed in the depth of our submission unto His will.
Those who claim to be “saved” will show forth His salvation by living a life of obedience.
“And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?”
While many may say “Lord, Lord” it is in the crucible of obedience that His Lordship is revealed.
The humility of a life is not known by a timid demeanor, It is known by the submission of itself to the Word of God.
“And it shall come to pass at that time
That I will search Jerusalem with lamps, and punish the men who are settled* in complacency, who say in their heart,
‘The Lord will not do good, Nor will He do evil.”
In this time of silence preceding the conclusion of all that God began in Christ, there is a searching and a measuring of men’s hearts where eternal destinies are being determined. It is a subtle hour and a most critical time as the lamps of some begin to grow dim as the Bridegroom tarries. The Hebrew word used here for settled*(see below) means to become thick, slow and curdled. It speaks of people who start out well but who, as time passes, become set in their ways and are no longer flexible. They are no longer able to flow in the purposes of their God. Their waiting has turned into stagnation; the brightness of their hope has become dim. The vision has turned from a quest and a pursuit into a doctrinal concept that no longer energizes their hearts and minds. This is a slow and certain death; it is the enemy of us all! Slowly the obscurity falls like a veil over the heart and the whispers of the enemy speak with great cunning and craftiness, “what difference does it make, nothing seems to make a difference, I will just “settle” here and live comfortably…” In other words, “The Lord will not do good, nor evil” I will just pass the time here as other men. If calamity comes I will “then” be ok..
It is in this time throughout the history of God’s dealings with men that there is a marking and a sealing; a determining and a measuring of the hearts of His people. In the silence there are great things at work as God prepares for the unveiling of all that He has purposed. May we consider a couple of examples….
“And the LORD said unto him, Go through the midst of the city,
through the midst of Jerusalem, and set a mark upon the foreheads of the men that sigh and that cry for all the abominations that be done in the midst thereof. And to the others he said in mine hearing,
Go ye after him through the city, and smite: let not your eye spare,
neither have ye pity: Slay utterly old and young, both maids,
and little children, and women: but come not near any man upon
whom is the mark; and begin at my sanctuary…”
EZEKIEL 9:4 – 6
“And I saw another angel ascending from the east,
having the seal of the living God: and he cried with a loud voice
to the four angels, to whom it was given to hurt the earth and the sea,
Saying, Hurt not the earth, neither the sea, nor the trees,
till we have sealed the servants of our God in their foreheads”
REVELATION 7:2 – 3
It is a Day for seeking out those who “cry and sigh” over the state of His House; to dig deep and hide ourselves within the secret place of the Most High. It is a Day to speak, encourage and admonish the people of God to fight off the slumber of this hour, to pray and build up our lives on “our most Holy Faith”. It is a Day to seek out that fellowship that will challenge and provoke us unto the ardent pursuit of Christ Jesus our Lord. It is a Day to know in the reality of our hearts the setting aside of all that this world can offer to purchase that Pearl of great price. This is a costly thing, more than just a casual walk, more than just a religious concept; it is the Battle for Life…HIS LIFE.
“TO HIM THAT OVERCOMES…”
Can we not hear the Word to us, “TODAY”? May the Lord press upon our hearts that we are brothers and sisters of one great family, and BECAUSE of that we speak, we cry out and we plead with one another that we may assemble ourselves together in fear of the Lord and in the awareness of the hour in which we live!
*Note: קָפָא qāpāʼ: A verb meaning to curdle, to congeal; to become settled, stagnant. It refers to something standing still or slowing down its movement, becoming thick (Ex. 15:8). It is used figuratively of a person in great suffering being curdled, tossed about like hardening cream (Job 10:10). It depicts a dead or stagnant spirit in a person (Zeph. 1:12). It means, used with reference to the heavenly bodies, to shrink, to lose brightness (Zech. 14:6). (S. Zodhiates)
“And spared not the old world, but saved Noah the eighth person, a preacher of righteousness”
Peter, writing of Noah by the Holy Spirit, bore God’s Testimony of his life as “a preacher of righteousness”. It is a term that is seldom, if ever, used in our day. We hear many messages regarding salvation with the focus being on saving an individual from hell and judgement; but rarely is there an emphasis on righteousness. Salvation is much more than being saved from hell. It is the impartation of the Faith of God unto righteousness and life. This imputed righteousness changes an individual from a fallen son of Adam into a child of God. It is not a doctrinal concept but the transforming power of God unto a salvation which is verified by the revelation of a life bearing the fruit of its own repentance (change).
“Therefore, bring forth fruits worthy*(see note #2) of repentance”
They who preach Christ unto Righteousness bring forth glory to God and honour the sacrifice, death and resurrection of the Son. The New Testament begins with Jesus teaching “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness”. True disciples inherently know that this pursuit of God is a life of seeking, desiring and laying hold of His righteousness through the medium of faith and obedience.
“Being filled with the fruits of righteousness, which are by Jesus Christ, unto the glory and praise of God”
Preaching righteousness is the common privilege of every child of God and great is the reward of those who turn many to righteousness.
“And they that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament; and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars for ever and ever”
This is the eternal promise to those who through love seek to turn others to the righteousness of God.
“The nature of Christ’s salvation is woefully misrepresented by the present-day evangelist. He announces a Saviour from Hell rather than a Saviour from sin. And that is why so many are fatally deceived, for there are multitudes who wish to escape the Lake of fire who have no desire to be delivered from their carnality and worldliness”
1. weighing, having weight, having the weight of another thing of like value,
worth as much
2. befitting, congruous, corresponding to a thing
“To the chief musician. For the sons of Korah; A song. For the Virgins*. God is our refuge and our strength…”
Alamoth is a Hebrew Word that literally means virgins. Translated “virgin”* in Isaiah 7:14, it is also alluded to in the first chapter (verse 23) of Matthew’s gospel and 1Corithinians 11:2-3. This is a psalm referring to those who have set their hearts and affections aside for their future Husband. They resist the draw and enticement of this world. They have found grace to submit themselves to the discipline and breaking necessary to know that singleness of heart and purpose. People who give all, are given all; all of the resources and care of the great God of Jacob. This giving and yielding is the result of the mercy of God working in the hearts of HIS own.
“…by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice…”
This is a psalm of protection and refuge. It is a psalm of defense, help and strong confidence. It is a psalm upon which King Hezekiah drew strength and encouragement during a time of overwhelming circumstances when destruction and death seemed certain.
“He is a buckler to all those that put their trust in Him”
Faith and trust are the means by which all the resources of heaven are made available to the people of God. It is by these that we know that God is not only our “refuge and strength” on a doctrinal level but we know the reality of Him as our “present help in trouble”. The ability for us to see Him as our only source of refuge, strength and present help comes because we have learned through His gracious dealings that we do not trust in our own resources, the “strategies” nor the help of this world. We are enlarged in our God by the reducing of our trust in other things. Child-like trust in our God will cause the reality of this psalm to wrap us up in a hope and faith that will hold us secure in the DAY that is upon us.
“A dear friend of mine, who was quite a lover of the chase, told me the following story: ‘Rising early one morning,’ he said, ‘I heard the baying of a score of deerhounds in pursuit of their quarry. Looking away to a broad, open field in front of me, I saw a young fawn making its way across, and giving signs, moreover, that its race was well-nigh run. Reaching the rails of the enclosure, it leaped over and crouched within ten feet from where I stood. A moment later two of the hounds came over, when the fawn ran in my direction and pushed its head between my legs. I lifted the little thing to my breast, and, swinging round and round, fought off the dogs. I felt, just then, that all the dogs in the West could not, and should not capture that fawn after its weakness had appealed to my strength.’ So is it, when human helplessness appeals to Almighty God. A.C. Dixon
*NOTE: The most famous passage where this term is used is Isaiah 7:14, where it asserts an ʽalmāh will give birth to a son. The author of Matthew 1:23 understood this woman to be a virgin. (The Complete Word Study Dictionary: Old Testament – Warren Baker, D.R.E. Eugene Carpenter, Ph.D) (עֲלָמוֹת ʽalamoth is the plural form of עַלְמָה ʽalmâh)
“Let grace be shown to the wicked, Yet he will not learn righteousness; In the land of uprightness he will (still) deal unjustly, And will not behold the majesty of the Lord”
ISAIAH 26:10 (NKJV)
Righteousness is not the product of our environment nor is it the result of favor being shown to us. If everything was to go our way, and the blessings of all that this world has to offer were given to us, it would not help us to learn righteousness. For Righteousness is an issue of the heart not of our surroundings. The righteousness of God is known on the basis of Judgment, not favor. In the verse that precedes this one (which gives us the flow of God’s thought here) it states…
“…For when Your judgments are in the earth, The inhabitants of the world will learn righteousness”
The righteousness that is available to us in the New Covenant is because of the terrible Judgment that was poured out on our Blessed Savior. Men who fail to appreciate the reason for His sacrifice are never really impacted by the corresponding grace that flows from Him. Righteousness is not only a gift it is a life that we LEARN by walking with Him. Men who take sin lightly will never learn righteousness; the change of whom and what they are is temporary and ethereal. Our environment and how we are treated will not change what we are in heart. Righteousness must be learned by walking and interacting with our God.
The true child of God knows of His discipline and His chastening. It is of necessity that we know of this in our lives. For it is in these things that we LEARN and GROW in righteousness.
“My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of him: For whom the Lord loveth He chasteneth…”
“Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby”
How good and right are His ways with us. As a loving Father with a child HE deals with us according to His plan and purposes. Joseph did not know that the path laid out for him was the means by which he was made ready to rule and reign. God waited and watched carefully over Joseph until the “Iron entered into his soul” and his word came!
“He sent a man before them, even Joseph, who was sold for a servant: Whose feet they hurt with fetters: he was laid in iron: (Hebrew “Iron hath entered his soul”) Until the time that his word came: the word of the LORD tried him. The king sent and loosed him; even the ruler of the people, and let him go free. He made him lord of his house, and ruler of all his substance: To bind his princes at his pleasure; and teach his senators wisdom”
His judgments are always meant to be remedial and redemptive in purpose. Men who spurn His discipline and harden their hearts toward Him pay the bitterest of prices. For it is those who are “exercised” by His chastening that receive the peaceable fruits of righteousness. May we be a people who are quick to submit ourselves to His dealings that we may grow in His righteousness and love. He knows the things that lie before us and His preparation work is that we may become “vessels of honor” unto His Glory in the days ahead.
“…Or despisest thou the riches of his goodness and forbearance and longsuffering; not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance? But after thy hardness and impenitent heart treasurest up unto thyself wrath against the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God”
“The steady discipline of intimate friendship with Jesus results in men becoming like Him”
Harry Emerson Fosdick