Saturday, October 29, 2016

Think on These Things

Martha Wainright

Gladstone, Missouri

“Whither shall I go from thy spirit? Or whiter shall I flee from thy presence?” Psalm 139:7.

It is impossible to go away from God. As Christians we know, by faith, and often with emotions conviction, that God will not leave us. But it is another matter to realize that we cannot leave Him. We may even have times of being out of complete harmony with Him, but we cannot leave His Spirit or His presence once the Spirit of Christ has been given to us by the new birth. Let’s think About times in our lives when we may have tried to escape the presence of God. Now we don’t usually verbalize it this way nor do we even form those words in our subconsciousness, but if we are to be purely honest, there are times when the humanity in us wants God to leave us alone. Not leave us, just leave us alone. There’s a difference.

Davis said, “If I say, Surely the darkness shall cover me; even the night shall be slight about me” – Ps. 139:11. In practical experience, when we surrender ourselves and our will to Jesus Christ as the Head of our life, there is no escaping His handiwork. There are parts of the Lord’s natural handiwork in creation that are breathtakingly beautiful, but that is temporary and the beauty of nature pales in comparison to the working of God in our own individual life.

“For it is God who worketh in you both to will and to do of His good pleasure” – Phil. 2:13. We need a vision of this truth. When the Lord, through the guidance of the Holy Spirit, corrects us and chastens us as Sons of God, it is because He loves us – Heb. 12:6. And through these times of testing and training we are glorifying God, We are a delight unto Him (Prov. 29:17). But we need a vision of this truth, a divine vision, because “where there is no vision, the people perish.” This is not speaking of losing our eternal life in Christ, that’s impossible. But we can perish in the sense of losing the spiritual sight of our calling and perish in hope. Instead we need “The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints. And what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power” – Eph. 1:18-19.

Jonah could not escape from God. We don’t know exactly why Jonah did not want to go to Nineveh to cry against it. But Nineveh speaks to us of this whole wicked world, and we, especially who now have a vision of the truth of an overcoming walk, rebel against being in the world. We are not citizens of this world; we are pilgrims and strangers and we feel out of place. There are times we want to escape. But we learn over and over again that our only refuge and hiding place is God Himself.

“But Jonah rose up to flee unto Tarshish from the presence of the Lord, and went down to Joppa; and he found a ship going to Tarshish: so he paid the fare thereof, and went down into it, to go with them unto Tarshish from the presence of the Lord” – Jonah 1:3. Verse 4 begins, “But the Lord…”. There He is. He is there – through our ups and downs and even knows what our reaction will be to these times before we experience them (Ps. 139:2). He may not “prepare a fish” for us, but He will do what it takes to keep us in His will. The message of the grace of God is that we do God’s will by His enabling. “For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s” – I Cor. 6:20.

We are not of the world, but we are in it and as Jonah was called by God to cry out against the wickedness of Nineveh so our very presence and witness in the world cries out against the wickedness of this present evil age. This testimony is expelled in many ways – verbal, yes, but also in a tactile (touching) way. Those we rub shoulders with daily are touched by the presence of God through us.

In summary of these thoughts, as comfort, assurance, and instruction, Jesus said, “I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee” Heb. 13:5. And he meant it. Selah.