Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Treasure of excellence

“We have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us.”
2 Cor. 4:7

Oh, what an amazing statement concerning what we have, where it has been placed and why God placed it (Him) there. What a treasure! How wonderful, that God would see fit to place within us such enriching value, far more than that which is deposited in our account. Therein seems a strong indication of divine enlightenment and enablement. When we are saved that Christ life light of the knowledge of the glory of God, has been caused to shine into our hearts and dwell within these earthen vessels.

The reason this heavenly treasure was placed in such weak crumbling dissolvable earthen containers is clearly stated, “That the excellency of the power be of God, and not of us.” To God forever be the glory. That value God has placed in us is real, an everlasting reality to be realized. This treasure is to be treasured and enjoyed. What absolute contrast! That which is to be dissolved or transformed and that which gives substance, purpose, usefulness and the merit determined by the Lord. When we are humbled by our sinful condition to see our great need, we are blessed to take by faith this glorious treasure into our being.

 We are otherwise in a darkened, spiritually ignorant condition, with no other way to escape. Satan blinds the minds of them that believe not (II Cor. 4:4). We read in Romans one, “Because that, when they knew God, they glorified Him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools” (Vs. 21,22). In Ephesians four we read of those “Having their understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them” (V. 18). In 2 Thess. 2:10 & 11, we read of those perishing because they receive not the love of the truth, that they may be saved. And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie. Let us always be thankful that He who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, has graciously illuminated our innermost being.

In this fragile vessel the source of our power and enlightenment, is not for the major part very well known. Paul prayed that we be filled with the knowledge of our Lord’s will, and strengthened with all might according to his glorious power (Col. 1:9, 11). See also Eph. 3:16-21 & 1:19-22. Let us consider, digest and rejoice, living by experience in the power of God our Father’s provisions! Most of Christendom is sadly ignorant of our God given resources.

 Thank God for the scriptural illustrations, and spiritual lessons as to where the believer’s glorious virtues abide. Jesus said, “without me ye can do nothing.” Paul wrote, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” The only course for us to take to enter into God’s best and greatest for us is covered by absolute dependence on Him.

In Judges 13, God promised that the son of Manoah and his wife would begin to deliver Israel out of the hands of the Philistines. He told them how to raise him and that he would be a Nazarite from birth. He was born and named Samson. He grew and the Lord blessed him, and the Spirit of the Lord began to move him at times. Like the time a young lion roared against Samson. Judges 14:5-6, “the Spirit of the Lord came mightily upon him, and he rent him as he would have rent a kid, and he had nothing in his hand.” V. 19, Again the Spirit of the Lord came upon him, and he slew thirty Philistines. Another time the Spirit of the Lord came mightily upon him and he slew a thousand Philistines with a new jawbone of an ass - Judges 15:15.

Afterward, he loved a woman named Delilah of the Philistines. Her people got her to entice him to tell her wherein his great strength lay. She tried time after time to find out so they could bind him and afflict him, for the source of his great strength was not known (16:9). Delilah finally got him to tell her. She got his hair cut off which was part of his Nazarite vowel, and he was weak. The Spirit of the Lord had come upon him again and again and he always overpowered the Philistines, but the last time he didn`t know that the Lord wasn`t with him, and he wasn`t as strong as before. He seemed to be too sure of His own ability and it cost him dearly, and eventually his life. We must learn that when we are weak in ourselves, then are we made strong in the Lord, as we cast ourselves trustingly upon Him. We are taught to be “strong in the Lord and the power of His might.”  

Knowing God: “My son, if thou wilt receive my words, and hide my commandments with thee; So that thou incline thine ear to wisdom, and apply thine heart to understanding; Yea, if thou criest after knowledge, and liftest up thy voice for understanding; If thou seekest for her as silver, and searchest for her as for hid treasures; Then shalt thou understand the fear of the Lord, and find the knowledge of God. For the Lord giveth wisdom: out of his mouth cometh knowledge and understanding” (Pr. 2:1-6). It is interesting to realize that our Father takes pleasure in hiding some of his richest treasures in plain sight, and deepest secrets in the simplest of hearts. How blessed are we to know of God’s willingness to make Himself fully known.

What a value system He has! “Thus saith the LORD, Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, neither let the mighty man glory in his might, let not the rich man glory in his riches: But let him that glorieth glory in this, that he understandeth and knoweth me, that I am the Lord which exercise lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness, in the earth: for in these things I delight, saith the LORD” (Jer. 9:23-24). Oh, how exceedingly blessed we are in knowing wherein our Father delights, especially when we put this knowledge to excellent use. He delights to make Himself fully known unto us through deeper and ever deeper revelations of our Lord Jesus Christ. What a premium privilege.

Hosea 6:3: “Then shall we know, if we follow on to know the Lord…” Oh, Glory to God! How kindly and gently He leads His people on and into heart and life realities of Himself. Line upon line and precept upon precept. He invites us and urges us on. “Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, saith the LORD...” (Zec. 4:6).

“Think on these things” – Phil. 4:8: The Apostle’s closing statements to the lovers of the race, emphasizes some very important essentials. These pre-eminent elements most worthy of note, to occupy heart and mind. He urges the closest attention with responsive heart. These things are worthy of praise.

Loves fullest development, in keen insight: “And this I pray, that your love may abound yet more and more in knowledge and all judgment; that ye may approve things that are excellent…” (Phil. 1:9-10). Paul’s concern was that their love would overflow, exceeding all bounds, that they be able to distinguish, discern, sense, appreciate, prize, that which is of greater value and higher degree of importance.

The excellency of the knowledge: Paul suggested experiencing a new and spiritual set of values (Phil. 3:7-10). “…What things were gain to me, I counted loss for Christ.” Saul knew of former selfish gains in human recognition, but now Paul realized and recognized it as one combined loss for Christ’s sake. He had compared it to the possession of the priceless privilege, overwhelming preciousness, the surpassing worth, the supreme advantage of knowing Christ Jesus as Lord; progressively becoming more deeply, intimately acquainted with Him. Every thing could be lost in order to be found in Him and know Him in the fellowship of His suffering and the power of His resurrection.

Pr. 31:10, “Who can find a virtuous woman? Her price is far above rubies.” During this Church Age of grace, there has been a marvelous work taking place. A miraculous work indeed in individual believers, being searched out and drawn by the Holy Spirit into deeper love relations, unto the only head of the Church. These have been learning to respect and honor His Lordship, and to lean on Him. They are being prepared to make up a special company of people, from every walk of life, tribe, tongue, people and nation. They are joined only and especially unto Him. Being found in Him from among many daughters whom have done virtuously, will have excelled them all. She has cherished to hear His “well done.”
by J. D.