“For who knoweth what is good for man in this life”
Can we see Him in the dreary paths of life; in the mundane and the seemingly insignificant matters of every day? Or do we, like the potter’s vessel, feel the hand of God molding and shaping the inner man into a vessel which honours and serves Him? The circular rote of daily life with its unspectacular events seems to come and go endlessly, yet within our walk with God there are unseen opportunities to please Him.
Do the seemingly small things pass our eyes without us seeing the hidden wisdom and purposes of God?
“And he saw also a certain poor widow casting in thither two mites. And he said, of a truth I say unto you, that this poor widow hath cast in more than they all: For all these have of their abundance cast in unto the offerings of God: but she of her penury hath cast in all the living that she had”
That poor widow had no idea that her small act of giving would be used for centuries to explain a great truth of the Kingdom of God!
In view of such things we are to be instructed to be diligent and faithful in every aspect of our life. Who knows what God may see and use for His Glory? It is crucial in the unguarded and trivial things of life that we remain true to our God.
“And Asa did that which was good and right in the eyes of the Lord his God”
2 Chronicles 14:2
“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”
“O God, you are my God; I will seek you diligently. My soul thirsts for you…”
The true pursuit of God is a proportional response to our seeing of Him. The diligent seeking of God in the life of David was a consequence of him seeing God in the sanctuary.
“Thus I have seen you in the sanctuary, beholding your strength and glory”
The land wherein David dwelt became a howling wilderness in comparison to the beauty and the glory he beheld in the Holy Place of God.
“…My soul thirsts for you; my flesh longs for you as in a dry and weary land without water”
It is the seeing of the wonder of God that transforms one from being at home in this world into a pilgrim of faith; a sojourner with purpose and a captive of the hope which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. In beholding the Pearl of Great Price men and women are freed from the gravity and pull of this world. His beauty mesmerizes the beholder; it causes an abandonment of all other loves and creates its own quest and inertia. There can be no settling for the artificial and trite for the deep of God beckons His own with the simple cords of Love and Desire.
“Deep is calling to deep at the thunder of your waterfalls…”
The depths of His being calls out to the Christ within. The tendrils of His love grip the soul in the embrace of God Himself. Only the Love of God in Christ Jesus can ignite our hearts into such a pursuit.
“Who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had, and bought it”
“Jesus answered and said to him, Truly, truly, I say to you, if one is not generated from above, he is not able to see the kingdom of God”
The divine enablement to see the Kingdom of God is a consequence of regeneration in the human heart by the Holy Spirit. The depth of the work of God determines the “seeing” and perspective one has of the Kingdom of God. The Jews in their day expected the coming Messiah to lead them to victory over their Roman bondage. Their expectations were wrong as were their hearts. Within Christendom there are vast differences of what the Kingdom of God implies and what its implications are in personal lives. For most it is a concept that has relatively little influence upon their daily lives; it is some vague heavenly location where all who name the Name of Jesus go when they die. To others it may be an actual political kingdom to be set up on earth in some future dispensation. The teachings and concepts of the Kingdom of God vary according to the discordant voices echoing through the landscape of the Church.
Jesus in His earthly ministration of truth spoke more about the Kingdom of God than He did of any other topic. The Parables centered mainly upon this one pervading subject yet how little it is apprehended in our day.
The initial introduction into the Kingdom of God requires a transformative work of God within the human heart. It takes Grace; without a change in the nature of an individual’s life it is impossible to even be aware of its existence. This paradigm alone should shake us at the core of our hearts concerning its nature and its jurisdiction within our lives. Transformation is necessary to perceive it.
“God’s Kingdom doesn’t come with observation; neither will they say, ‘Look, here!’ or, ‘Look, there!’ for behold, God’s Kingdom is within you.”
There came a day when the sighing and words of Job ended. The vain and empty chatter of his “friends” had not dissuaded the man of God. His true mettle showed; though broken and alone he had stood in integrity. It is here, when the words of men fail, and the clash of religious arguments have proven futile to dissuade, that God appears to silence all. Job, whose life God held in high regard, was brought to new places of wonder. Through the vehicle of repentance, he found access to the higher ways of a priesthood in which his own condition was healed as he prayed for his friends.
“And the Lord turned the captivity of Job, when he prayed for his friends”
His friends who were rebuked for not speaking rightly of God were forgiven by the new found grace imparted into Job’s life. Through the fire the heart of Job had arisen to new places in God. The bitter contention accomplished the work and wisdom of God. The dross was consumed and his eyes opened; Job had crossed over from a life of hearingGod to the place of seeing God.
“I have heard of thee by the hearing of the ear: but now mine eye seeth thee”
“Pursue… holiness, without which no one will see the Lord””
Holiness is never an end in itself; rather it is the seeing of God. Knowing God is the chief purpose of all life. Holiness is simply the condition of heart whereby the individual is able to see Him. Nature determines relationship, not teaching.
The things of God are never a resting place in themselves, for those who desire the Pearl of Great Price. Justification is a precious truth yet not the goal of a true heart. It is but the doorway into the knowing of Him as He is. Functioning in the gifts of the Spirit is not an end but simply an embellishment of the graces and mercies of our God. Salvation by grace is the gateway not the end of the pure in heart. Heaven is never the goal of the true child of God; HE is. Christ Himself, the Pearl, is the end and purpose of all creation. There is no relationship with the Father apart from being hid in Christ. It is in Christ alone the heart is at peace and filled with the wonder and Glory of God. There is no other call or purpose.
The pursuit of personal holiness is the means and the lens by which the individual believer may behold, touch and know Him. If the lens is dirty, clouded over with the filth, the stain and the impurities of this world our seeing of Him is partial, obscured and even tainted by our own condition. Purity of heart is the result of holy living.
“Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God”
It is the horror of religion that makes holiness the end rather than the means. Self-righteousness is the bane and folly of the short sighted; the selfish desire of a wicked heart. The Pharisee in Jesus’ day was the corruption of the selfish pursuit of ungodly men. Pharisee in the original language means “called out ones”. They may at one time have been people whose sole purpose was right and true but with the passage of time (as is often the case) their eyes grew dim and the pursuit for the knowing of God became a selfish pretext to flaunt themselves.
The pure in heart pursue holiness in order to behold Him. It is in seeing the Pearl of Great Price that the pure in heart sell all that they have to acquire this one thing. True holiness is simply forsaking all other things in order to know this One Thing.
“Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord…”
“The seed dies into a new life,
and so does man”
All true life is that which arises from death. The receiving of the eternal is known by the forsaking of the temporal. All creation is but the textbook for the true follower of Christ (Romans 1:20). In our yielding to the will of Him who is eternal life we find the withering of the passions and desires for the shadows and illusions of this world. Clarity comes to the pure in heart.
“Blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see God”
Wherever and whenever the heart of a wandering soul, a lost soul or a dying soul meets the wonder of Him, resurrection and life are the immediate result. He is not only the Resurrected One, He is the ever resurrecting one. Regardless of age, status in life or circumstances, He is our resurrection. Newness of life, joy, worship and praise are the on-going expressions of any life beholding Him. Death, sorrow, fear, discouragement and despair flee from His presence as shadows disappear from radiant light.
Linger not in the shadows of human reasoning or the stains of sin or unbelief. Come to the fountain which will never fail; whose waters are filled with the abundance of His Life, cleansing, refreshing and replenishing us with the vigor of His eternal life.
“Come ye saints, look here and wonder, See the place where Jesus lay; He has burst His bands asunder; He has borne our sins away; Joyful tidings, Yes, the Lord has risen to-day”
“And Simon answering said unto him, Master, we have toiled all the night, and have taken nothing: nevertheless at thy word I will let down the net”
True living faith will never be conditioned by experience. Faith, to be faith, must always find its dependence in God not ourselves. Though experience says one thing the cry and purpose of faith must remain undaunted. “Nevertheless” is the word of a man who sets aside his own resources, strengths and abilities and believes God in the moment. This faith must birth a doing in the now. “Nevertheless” is a word that gives way to the doing of a thing regardless of our past experience. It is a word that comes to those who believe, and by that believing there is a response in the now of our life. It is not the “faith” of Mary who said Lord I know “… in that day…” something will happen, for the Christ stands in our midst speaking “I AM the resurrection and the life…”
Let this word “nevertheless” speak to us of better things than what our experience would teach us; for those who listen and regard their experience cease to walk and live by faith. “Today if ye will hear HIS voice…” is the creed by which we must live. Men who don’t do won’t hear. The Word is to those who “have ears to hear” for with every hearing there must be a corresponding act of doing and obeying HIS WORD.
The Spirit of God is HERE to press us beyond our circumstances, our former experiences, and our own resources into the glorious provisions of a God who is constantly calling us to deeper waters, a higher vision and a greater dependency upon HIM. How good is our God! How gracious are HIS ways; the thing we are confronted with is HIS doorway into greater things in HIM!
Faith, to be faith, must always be fresh, living and beating within our hearts. Faith IN a teaching or an idea will eventually become stagnant and dead; the faith of the living Son is active and real! It is never static for it is always moving from one faith unto a greater faith (Romans 1:17). Every living thing grows and everything static and stagnant remains the same. Obedience is the evidence of faith.
“So David went on his way, and Saul returned to his place”
1 SAMUEL 26:25
Two men; one ever moving on in the WAY of God the other returning to “his place” of stagnation and disobedience.
“Belief is truth held in the mind; faith is fire in the heart”
J. Newton (1880–1950)