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“Oh, the unspeakable greatness of that exchange,—the Sinless One is condemned, and he who is guilty goes free; the Blessing bears the curse, and the cursed is brought into blessing; the Life dies, and the dead live; the Glory is whelmed in darkness, and he who knew nothing but confusion of face is clothed with glory.” Trailady

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A person God turned around many times.

Friday, October 26, 2007

The pure in heart

“Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.”

The word “blessed” comes from the word, “bliss.” In other words, Christ was saying, “Oh, the bliss of the pure in heart!” Purity is the goal for the Spirit of God in His work for us, and we won’t know real blissful happiness until we have that condition, and a right standing with God. We can have it today—if we surrender to the claims of God’s law and grace on us.

“Now the end of the commandment is charity out of a pure heart, and of a good conscience, and of faith unfeigned.” “Holding the mystery of the faith in a pure conscience.” (1Tim. 1:5; 3:9).

But how do we obtain this purity of heart?

“Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered. Blessed is the man unto whom the Lord imputeth not iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no guile.” (Ps. 32:1,2). When Christ sees our brokenness and sorrow for sin, He forgives and forgets. Through this forgiving and overlooking act of justification God, through Christ, reveals His forgiving and overlooking nature. And when we see the infinite goodness of God in Christ’s nature, that He is always good to all of His creation, we turn away from sin and serve the holy God, the God of self-forgetfulness and purity.

We are reconciled with Christ, and with His righteousness; and thus we are reconciled with the Father. We serve the Son, and seek to please Him; we wait upon Him, we look to Him. He sees us in perfect trust, as the young daughter or son looks up into the face of their towering and momentarily angry father, searching for signs of love; and God says, “This is My beloved child, in whom I am well pleased.”

We continue to set aside obstacles in our character which prevent our savoring of the things of God. We seek a clearer view of His character and love; we strive to understand Him better. And the promise is that when we seek Him with all our heart, we will find Him. Our mind is cleared of all the misunderstandings we had of God, which the sinister sophistries of Satan ingeniously implanted in our thinking. We see God now in a way we never could before. He is just and lowly, despite all the trouble He has sent our way.

We are surrendered to Him and submissive. Our hearts are satisfied. Satan is ousted from our hearts and minds, and cannot enter. “He walketh through dry places, seeking rest, and findeth none.” (Matt. 12:43). But let us continue in thankfulness and service to God, lest the ever tenacious devil find us sleeping and make his way through an unguarded avenue to the soul. He is unflinchingly determined to win in the end, if possible. We have a foe, who except for the mercy of God, would, with amazing rapidity, wrap us in his chains of confusion, and possess us.

But, those who are learning purity of heart, against all odds in a world controlled by Satan, unshakably resolve to know God better. Like the salmon making their way past dangers on every side, God’s people slowly make their way into a closer, more intimate relationship with God through Christ. Their hearts get purer and purer as the relations get increasingly deeper and more intimate with the God who says, “Ye shall be holy; for I am holy.” (Lev. 11:44).

“He shall pray unto God, and He will be favourable unto him: and he shall see His face with joy: for He will render unto man His righteousness.” (Job 33:26).

“And there shall be no more curse: but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it; and His servants shall serve Him: and they shall see His face; and His name shall be in their foreheads.” (Rev. 22:3,4).

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Blessed are the merciful

“Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.” (Matt. 5: 7).

This principle of Christ’s can be misunderstood. It can be inferred that my acts of mercy are the motivator of God’s grace toward me. Thus, the falsehood that salvation comes by faith and works.

This verse used to really bother me. I desperately wanted a friend, especially in God. I wanted a friend who would accept me and love me just as I was—no prerequisites. I had seen this kind of love from a human once or twice in my life and could imagine nothing better of a friend; therefore, surely God must also do that for me, and infinitely so!

But then I ran into the above part of the Sermon on the Mount and it created a stone wall that guarded and prevented the way to Jesus. Jesus’ mercy toward me depended on my mercy toward others? How could that be? Shouldn’t God be the initiator of mercy and righteousness? Shouldn’t the creature be the responder? Isn’t this what makes heaven so much the center of joy and praise to God in the universe?

It deeply troubled me. Why should my salvation be dependent on me? Knowing my own faultiness as I did, I was doomed to hell because I could never measure up to this requirement. And the thing that made it worst of all, which I couldn’t get around, was that it came from the highest authority, Christ Himself.

But it drove me to study further, like only scripture can do. I found other verses that acted as counterbalances.

“We love Him, because He first loved us.” (1Jn. 4: 19).

“For the gifts and calling of God are without repentance.” (Rom. 11:29).

Ye have not chosen Me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain.” (Jn. 15:16).

Now I was back to seeing the goodness of God. Jesus was going to allow me to be the dependent creature, and I could praise Him again for being my God and Savior.

But then came the question: Why did Jesus say it like He did in the Sermon on the Mount? He even reiterated it. “If ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.” (Matt. 6:15). And there was the parable about the man who wouldn’t have mercy on someone who owed him a hundred dollars, while he had been forgiven $1 Million. And he reaped vengeance from the king who had forgiven him his huge debt, but now revoked his forgiveness of the debt.

For sure, the devil hates grace. It is the one thing that destroys the kingdom he’s trying to establish on earth. Grace and unmerited kindness completely dismantle his hard-fought work. Grace is the essence of perfect love; grace is the power of God that uplifts and restores fallen, suffering humanity. Thus, Satan’s undying effort to destroy grace in the hearts and minds of the children of Adam. His deepest desire has been to bring ruin upon humanity, and his favorite tools for this have always been religion, religion without grace, religion that hides God’s grace.

“Through heathenism, Satan had for ages turned men away from God; but he won his great triumph in perverting the faith of Israel. By contemplating and worshiping their own conceptions, the heathen had lost a knowledge of God, and had become more and more corrupt. So it was with Israel. The principle that man can save himself by his own works lay at the foundation of every heathen religion; it had now become the principle of the Jewish religion. Satan had implanted this principle. Wherever it is held, men have no barrier against sin.” Desire of Ages, p. 35.

There is no rest if we are the initiators of salvation. We become God, and that’s too big of a job for us to handle, even the most purpose-driven of us, with the strongest willpower and iron determination. Initiating salvation might allow the pride to spring up and flourish, but it’s a very empty existence.

So, then why did the Master Teacher preach an apparently backward gospel in His teachings? Because, He knew what Satan planned to do with the great gospel dispensation. He foresaw the great apostasy of the church.

“Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God.” (2 Thess. 2:3, 4).

Presenting a substitute for the grace of God, especially through obedience to God, has ever been the great deceiver’s work from the beginning, a veiled work of destruction with which the Son of God was very familiar. It was the deceptive product of the fallen arch angel’s genius in making a counterfeit appear so close to the true requirements of God.

But, while the good works have acted as a substitute initially, the end product has always been the greatest atrocities to plague this world. Without a voice of dissent against the insidious errors of the devil, and without the word of truth to uplift the standard, Satan would have the whole race as his captives.

Therefore, to preempt His adversary, Christ never failed to keep the standard high. “Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.” (Matt. 7:20). “I had not known sin, but by the law,” says Paul. (Rom. 7:7). The Law of God would be the only sure exposer of error, distinguishing the children of God from the children of the evil one.

“And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works. And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works.” (Rev. 20:12,13).

We are saved by God’s grace through our faith in His love. Out of His salvation comes the natural fruit of righteousness. In the end, we are judged by whether or not His righteousness in the life evidenced His grace received into the soul.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Hungering and thirsting after Jesus

“Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.” (Matt. 5:6).

Prior to conversion pride prevents learning of meekness and submission and obedience. Pride and self-sufficiency comprehend little, especially spiritual things. But once we have been humbled and converted, we are like little children, like formatted CDs, ready to soak up and retain everything, especially the big lessons in life. Life has a new luster and we find a new excitement in everything.

When a new heart and mind is implanted by the Lord, the new babe becomes ravenous for righteousness. Always hungry for truth, now a new appetite for wholesome, sober wisdom replaces the old perverted appetite for self-indulgence and self-exaltation in all its forms. The devil is not welcome anymore and has become helpless in tempting the soul into sin.

New tastes have taken control and the goodness of God, as revealed in Jesus, has become the new cuisine. “Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to Me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on Me shall never thirst.” (Jn. 6:35). He is the living water and the living bread, which if we eat and drink we will never thirst or hunger again.

If we are famished for something better than the empty chaff this world offers, righteousness and truth are what we need. And the only place we find the best picture of righteousness and truth is in the LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS, (Jer. 23:6) who said, “I Am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by Me.” (Jn. 14:6). Better than the Law for sinners, such as we are—better than rules and regulations, as important as they are—Christ shows righteousness with love built into it, and He does this without destroying the righteousness or authority in His Father’s Law.

“Thou art fairer than the children of men: grace is poured into Thy lips: therefore God hath blessed Thee for ever. Gird Thy sword upon Thy thigh, O Most Mighty, with Thy glory and Thy majesty.” “My heart is inditing a good matter: I speak of the things which I have made touching the King: my tongue is the pen of a ready writer.” (Ps. 45:2,3,1).

Happy are they who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be filled. This statement indicates that righteousness begins in the heart, not the life. Christ’s religion is not a paste-on garment. Rather it is an outgrowth from within; it is more like skin than clothes. Just as our epidermis is supplied by what we eat, so is character of Christ that He gives us through a diet of His own life and death. “Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.” (Prov. 4:23). Jesus’ promise is that we will be filled to overflowing. “My cup runneth over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life.” (Ps. 23:5).

Those who hunger and thirst for righteousness won’t be filled all at once. But patiently as they pore over God’s special Book, little by little they comprehend this promise and that commandment, they see the nuance here and discover the hidden manna there. And thus they will grow up into the fullness of stature in Jesus, because no one can grow unless they are fed. As it is written, “Thy words were found, and I did eat them; and Thy word was unto me the joy and rejoicing of mine heart: for I am called by Thy name, O Lord God of hosts.” (Jer. 15:16).

“In these days much is said concerning the nature and importance of ‘higher education.’ The true ‘higher education’ is that imparted by Him with whom ‘is wisdom and strength’ (Job 12:13), out of whose mouth ‘cometh knowledge and understanding.’ Proverbs 2:6.

“In a knowledge of God all true knowledge and real development have their source. Wherever we turn, in the physical, the mental, or the spiritual realm; in whatever we behold, apart from the blight of sin, this knowledge is revealed. Whatever line of investigation we pursue, with a sincere purpose to arrive at truth, we are brought in touch with the unseen, mighty Intelligence that is working in and through all. The mind of man is brought into communion with the mind of God, the finite with the Infinite. The effect of such communion on body and mind and soul is beyond estimate. In this communion is found the highest education. It is God’s own method of development. ‘Acquaint now thyself with Him’ (Job 22:21), is His message to mankind.” Education, p. 14.

“[Jesus] answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.” (Matt. 4:4).

Do we really know what Christ was like? Do we know how He thought? How joyfully did He contemplate the Holy Scriptures? How deep was His communion with His Father through the word? How could He endure a 40 day fast because of the love He had for communion with His Father and meditation on words inspired by His Father God? How deep is Your love? Jesus, how deep is Your love for the Bible? How deeply did You crave righteousness so that no temptation of craving, even for food, could win You over to the devil’s side?

“As the hart panteth after the water brooks, so panteth my soul after thee, O God.
My soul thirsteth for God, for the living God: when shall I come and appear before God?
My tears have been my meat day and night, while they continually say unto me, Where is thy God?
When I remember these things, I pour out my soul in me: for I had gone with the multitude, I went with them to the house of God, with the voice of joy and praise, with a multitude that kept holyday.
Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted in me? hope thou in God: for I shall yet praise him for the help of his countenance.” (Ps. 42:1-5).

“As for me, I will behold Thy face in righteousness: I shall be satisfied, when I awake, with Thy likeness.”(Ps. 17:15).

“The meek shall eat and be satisfied: they shall praise the Lord that seek Him: your heart shall live for ever.” (Ps. 22:26).

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Blessed are the meek

“He opened His mouth, …saying, …Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.” (Matt. 5:2,5).

If we have known the poverty of soul that Jesus speaks of and accepted His promise of heaven, and if we have mourned for the lack of relationship with a God of love and we have gone to Him and known the comfort of His Spirit, then He makes us meek.

No one can escape the experience of trusting in the acceptance from a God of love without having pride laid in the dust and a new man raised up in his place, in complete humility and renunciation of the natural born tendency of rebellion. Self has been set aside; there is no more strife with men. Self can now joy in being last; peace pervades the heart and mind. Self-seeking no longer plagues the will because love to God has satisfied the deepest needs of the soul. In one touch, through one convicting view of the loving righteousness of Christ, the Holy Spirit has done for us what was impossible for us to do for ourselves. “If any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” (2Cor. 5:17).

“Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into His death? Therefore we are buried with Him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. For if we have been planted together in the likeness of His death, we shall be also in the likeness of His resurrection: knowing this, that our old man is crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin. For he that is dead is freed from sin.” (Rom. 6:3-7).

This supernatural condition of the death and burial of our pride comes only through trusting in the grace of God. Utter trust, desperate need, clinging to Him in the full knowledge of our hopeless condition. Only a thorough heart-searching leads to a sound conversion. Peter having disowned his beloved Master and hearing the cock crow three times, fled from life, wanting to die. And die he did, grinding his face into the dew-moistened dirt of Gethsemane and begging God to change him, once and for all.

The only reason Peter didn’t go out and hang himself like Judas had done was because he knew Jesus loved him; albeit his response had been marginal. Now, with near blind desperation, he reached out and made connection with God, and together they cast out the devil of pride from Peter and forged resolution such as he had never known. For the first time, he learned how to hate sin with a perfect hatred. That night, the once-proud Peter became a new creature in Christ, the new man for which Jesus had been looking for 3 years.

Peter had wrestled with God like Jacob had, and God laid His ax to the main root of Peter’s pride like He had with Jacob when He touched Jacob’s hip and knocked it out of joint. And after spending a few more weeks with his dearest friend Jesus, humble and listening intently now, Peter stood forth as the true leader of the church. When he spoke at Pentecost, he did so with boldness; and when he and John later spoke to the Sanhedrin with such fearless conviction, the people “marvelled; and they took knowledge of them, that they had been with Jesus.” (Acts 4:13).

No one will have the privilege to walk on the earth made new who haven’t known the trauma involved in the second birth. The invitation of love that leads to the removal of pride is the rite of passage to a life of meekness that inherits wonderful blessings here and now, and also to a life in the great hereafter where we will walk with Jesus in white because He says we are worthy.

They that mourn

“And He opened His mouth, and taught them, saying, …Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted.” (Matt. 5:2,4).

We have already spoken of God’s willingness to comfort those who mourn. And what are they mourning? The death of a loved one? That can happen and God is present to comfort the grieving ones. But there is a much greater grief than for the loss of a human companion or even a beloved pet.

The grieving Jesus speaks of is the loss of our Father in heaven. No one more than He can so infinitely remain captivated to a relationship. It is the loss of His infinite grace that leaves so many humans despairing and abandoned. When our first parents deserted Him by heeding the lying serpent, He partially separated Himself from us. Since that day, the fullness of grace—infinite love—has been lost to us.

Humans were originally designed to be loved—to be loved with infinite love, eternal love, never-ending love and patience. How can we attain the heights of accomplishment possible to us without infinite love? How can man understand the deepest secrets of life without accessing never-ending grace? Technology and the computer claim the sole ownership of learning. Yet, they are an abacus compared to the knowledge and wisdom that comes to the soul that is bathed in compassion and loyalty to the moral code, and connected with the Creator of the universe. Technology will only succeed if allied to God’s infinite grace. Otherwise, the exclusive search for information is doomed for eventual failure.

Adam and Eve lived in the pure atmosphere of God’s acceptance until the day they gave it all up. Since then their race has suffered under the governance of a hate-filled tyrant. He has filled this world with selfishness and bitterness in revenge toward the Creator and His beloved Son.

Do you sorrow for what you know not? Is something missing in your anxious heart? Does your heart carry a heavy load without relief? Does your stress lead to heart disease despite all your efforts to live healthfully? Do you sorrow for sin and the alienation sin has caused? Do you long for a friendship with your heavenly Father and Friend?

Jesus offers hope. “Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted.” In His words, the Final Authority has given us all that we need to receive the comfort and quietude He speaks of. You may take His promise and go to Him now. He hears your deepest heart yearnings. You can trust Him to respond.

The cure is so simple; the youngest can understand. The solution is so free; the poorest may take full advantage of it. It is so completely a gift; it requires no willpower or good behavior on our part to accept it. To ask God for forgiveness and acceptance is native to us all. And He loves to receive us just as we are—sinful, helpless, dependent.

If you have tasted of the bitterness this world has to offer and it has left you weeping and crying out for a better place, God is waiting in the shadows for you. If sin has left you full of anxiety despite all the fun it advertised, your heavenly Father is calling to you. He only calls those who are ready to end the separation sin has caused.

“Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered. Blessed is the man unto whom the Lord imputeth not iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no guile.” (Ps. 32:1,2).

“Comfort ye, comfort ye My people, saith your God. Speak ye comfortably to Jerusalem, and cry unto her, that her warfare is accomplished, that her iniquity is pardoned.” (Is. 40:1,2).

Blessed are they that mourn.

Monday, October 15, 2007

The poor in spirit

“And He opened His mouth, and taught them, saying, Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” (Matt. 5: 2,3).

I’m happy to know that Jesus began His introductory discourse for His ministry with subject of the poor in spirit. Obviously, He was one to uplift and encourage the downtrodden. “A bruised reed shall He not break, and the smoking flax shall He not quench: He shall bring forth judgment unto truth.” (Is. 42:3). “Thou hast also given me the shield of Thy salvation: and Thy right hand hath holden me up, and Thy gentleness hath made me great.” (Ps. 18:35).

Delicate beyond measure, He worked tirelessly to comfort all who were oppressed by Satan. “The Lord God hath given Me the tongue of the learned, that I should know how to speak a word in season to him that is weary: He wakeneth morning by morning, He wakeneth Mine ear to hear as the learned.” (Is. 50:4). “The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on Me, because the Lord has anointed Me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent Me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” (Is. 61:1,2) NIV.

How can the Lord possibly run a kingdom of people who are poor in spirit? What great things can He ever accomplish with the weak and heavy laden? What can you do with those who are poor in spirit? These are questions Satan loves to argue. “Let Him gather them around Him! They will get Him nowhere! Ha!” The devil is the one spoken of, “How hath the oppressor ceased!... The Lord hath broken the staff of the wicked, and the sceptre of the rulers. He who smote the people in wrath with a continual stroke, he that ruled the nations in anger....” (Is. 14:4-6).

Satan, the adversary, is the one described by Daniel as a voracious, ravenous beast. “After this I saw in the night visions, and behold a fourth beast, dreadful and terrible, and strong exceedingly; and it had great iron teeth: it devoured and brake in pieces, and stamped the residue with the feet of it.” (Dan. 7:7). “The accuser of our brethren…, which accused them before our God day and night.” (Rev. 12:10).

This perfectly describes the old dragon, Satan, although Daniel’s dream spoke of an organization that models Satan’s personality extremely well. The dream speaks of his organized group of people who love to tear down and not build up. It is their purpose to destroy and discredit. They are miserable because of service to Satan, and they become his medium to make all around them servants of Satan and equally miserable as themselves.

The seven sins that God hates are found in this kind of people. “These six things doth the Lord hate: yea, seven are an abomination unto Him: A proud look, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, an heart that deviseth wicked imaginations, feet that be swift in running to mischief, a false witness that speaketh lies, and he that soweth discord among brethren.” (Prov. 6:16-19).

Their worst enemies are those who don’t want to live like the rest of the world, and the devil inspires his followers to make these peculiar people the subject of their fiercest attacks, and these servants of sin involve as many around them as possible to make Christ’s children the object of the world’s hatred, with Satan at the helm. Often, new, inexperienced babes in Christ are not yet learned in the full wrath of the devil and they know not the art of war he trains his followers so deftly to use. They are ignorant of his devices and machinations. The new creature in Jesus struggles under a heavy weight of criticism, suspicion, and alienation from human companionship.

The burden of the poor in spirit also comes from consequences to sin or of mistakes foolishly made or of wrong choices that have apparently permanent results. Feeling lost and alone from God saps their life and hope.

“There are many whose hearts are aching under a load of care because they seek to reach the world’s standard. They have chosen its service, accepted its perplexities, adopted its customs. Thus their character is marred, and their life made a weariness. In order to gratify ambition and worldly desires, they wound the conscience, and bring upon themselves an additional burden of remorse. The continual worry is wearing out the life forces. Our Lord desires them to lay aside this yoke of bondage. He invites them to accept His yoke; He says, ‘My yoke is easy, and My burden is light.’ He bids them seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and His promise is that all things needful to them for this life shall be added.” Desire of Ages, p. 330.

Jesus invited the lost and forlorn into His house. “Theirs is the kingdom of heaven!” He proclaimed. Not to the well-established in the synagogue, or to the well off in life; not to the talented and intellectual, not the beautifully complexioned or adorned or dressed did Christ make the first thought in His sermon on the mount. Rather, He reached out to those who apparently had none of these. Really, they had it all, but everything lay buried in self-reproach. He would uncover their beauty and dust it off, and allow their true luster, made in God’s image, to shine forth.

“Many who have been overcome by temptation are humiliated by their failures, and they feel that it is in vain for them to approach unto God; but this thought is of the enemy’s suggestion.” Ministry of Healing, p. 181.

When many who came to Him had sinned, and felt that they could not pray, Jesus told them that it was then the time to pray. Ashamed they may have been, and deeply humbled; but as they confessed their sins, He told them that God was faithful and just to forgive their sins and cleanse them from all unrighteousness.

He let them know that nothing is apparently more helpless, yet really more invincible, than the soul that feels its nothingness and relies wholly on the merits of the Saviour. By prayer, by the study of His word, by faith in His abiding presence, the weakest of human beings could live in contact with the living God, and He would hold them by a hand that would never let go.

“Angels of glory that do always behold the face of the Father in heaven, joy in ministering to His little ones. Angels are ever present where they are most needed, with those who have the hardest battles with self to fight, and whose surroundings are the most discouraging. Weak and trembling souls who have many objectionable traits of character are their special charge.” Ministry of Healing, p. 105.

What can the Master do with the poor in spirit? “Thus saith the Lord, The heaven is My throne, and the earth is My footstool: where is the house that ye build unto Me? and where is the place of My rest? For all those things hath Mine hand made, and all those things have been, saith the Lord: but to this man will I look, even to him that is poor and of a contrite spirit, and trembleth at My word.” (Is. 66:1,2).

He will clean us up and make us a fit habitation for Him to dwell in and for Him to find in us His place of rest. He wants to rest in us, but He cannot rest until we rest. When we finally trust in Him and lose our tense focus on this world, then He can finally relax in the assurance that we are responding to His wooing.

“He hath put down the mighty from their seats, and exalted them of low degree. He hath filled the hungry with good things; and the rich He hath sent empty away.” (Lk. 1:52,53). “They shall be Mine, saith the Lord of hosts, in that day when I make up My jewels.” (Mal 3:17).

“Praise ye the Lord. Blessed is the man that feareth the Lord, that delighteth greatly in His commandments.
“His seed shall be mighty upon earth: the generation of the upright shall be blessed.
“Wealth and riches shall be in his house: and his righteousness endureth for ever.
“Unto the upright there ariseth light in the darkness: he is gracious, and full of compassion, and righteous.
“A good man sheweth favour, and lendeth: he will guide his affairs with discretion.
“Surely he shall not be moved for ever: the righteous shall be in everlasting remembrance.
“He shall not be afraid of evil tidings: his heart is fixed, trusting in the Lord.
“His heart is established, he shall not be afraid, until he see his desire upon his enemies.
“He hath dispersed, he hath given to the poor; his righteousness endureth for ever; his horn shall be exalted with honour.
“The wicked shall see it, and be grieved; he shall gnash with his teeth, and melt away: the desire of the wicked shall perish.” Ps. 112.

Unto us a Son

“And Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all manner of sickness and all manner of disease among the people. And His fame went throughout all Syria: and they brought unto Him all sick people that were taken with divers diseases and torments, and those which were possessed with devils, and those which were lunatick, and those that had the palsy; and He healed them. And there followed Him great multitudes of people from Galilee, and from Decapolis, and from Jerusalem, and from Judaea, and from beyond Jordan. And seeing the multitudes, He went up into a mountain: and when He was set, His disciples came unto Him: And He opened His mouth, and taught them, saying….” (Matt. 4:23-5:2).

Imagine the excitement. A rabbi like they had never heard before. One so simple, unobtrusive and unostentatious. One who taught by means of object lessons—things of nature and experiences in His life. He even taught truths through the actual experiences by the people, as He healed them of their maladies and drove the devil away from them.

Here was a teacher on the order of Solomon. It was written of him, “God gave Solomon wisdom and understanding exceeding much, and largeness of heart, even as the sand that is on the sea shore. And Solomon’s wisdom excelled the wisdom of all the children of the east country, and all the wisdom of Egypt. For he was wiser than all men; than Ethan the Ezrahite, and Heman, and Chalcol, and Darda, the sons of Mahol: and his fame was in all nations round about. And he spake three thousand proverbs: and his songs were a thousand and five. And he spake of trees, from the cedar tree that is in Lebanon even unto the hyssop that springeth out of the wall: he spake also of beasts, and of fowl, and of creeping things, and of fishes. And there came of all people to hear the wisdom of Solomon, from all kings of the earth, which had heard of his wisdom.” (1Kings 4:29-34).

Here was One who was much greater than Solomon, of whom Solomon was only a type. “For He whom God hath sent speaketh the words of God: for God giveth not the Spirit by measure unto Him.” (Jn. 3:34). “For in Him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily.” (Col. 2:9).

“And He opened His mouth….” The Bible is so very wonderful in the way it zooms in as it paints its pictures. We can actually see Jesus—at least we can make out His mouth, His beautiful mouth. No tobacco stained those lips. No alcohol or other self-indulgence fouled that breath. No self-importance wiped away His smile’s up-turned corners. Bright, educated by His Father, intelligent, lively, serious and sometimes humorous was the communication that poured from His heart to the multitudes. He had inspired the words, “The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life; and he that winneth souls is wise.” (Prov. 11:30). Now, in every winning way He met the hearts and minds of the people.

His voice had a volume and tempo that made it easy for the most remote person in the crowds to hear Him. His voice was musical and easy to listen to. There was nothing harsh about His tone or delivery. He had not studied in the schools of the monotone and sanctimonious rabbis; He had been taught by God. Thus, “He taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes.” (Matt. 7:29). “And all bare Him witness, and wondered at the gracious words which proceeded out of His mouth.” (Lk. 4:22).

Like it hadn’t been since those wonder-filled days of Solomon, it could be said again with Him out in nature’s hills and plains, “Happy are Thy men, happy are these Thy servants, which stand continually before Thee, and that hear Thy wisdom.” (1Kings 10:8).

Isaiah’s prophecy was being fulfilled, “They joy before Thee according to the joy in harvest, and as men rejoice when they divide the spoil. For Thou hast broken the yoke of his burden, and the staff of his shoulder, the rod of his oppressor, as in the day of Midian. For every battle of the warrior is with confused noise, and garments rolled in blood; but this shall be with burning and fuel of fire. For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given: and the government shall be upon His shoulder: and His name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.” (Is. 9:3-6).

“And He opened His mouth, and taught them, saying, Blessed…Blessed…Blessed….” No condemnation did the multitudes hear. Only hope and cheer and the beauty of holiness. They had been through the worst. The nation and the world at large had suffered under the wrath of God for the previous 500 years of continuously increasing oppression of sin by pagan empires because of a millennium of their fathers’ rebellion against the holy covenant. Now they were ready to receive the good word that God had wanted to give them all along, but which the nation hadn’t been able to accept with the whole heart.

“Comfort ye, comfort ye My people, saith your God. Speak ye comfortably to Jerusalem, and cry unto her, that her warfare is accomplished, that her iniquity is pardoned: for she hath received of the Lord’s hand double for all her sins.” (Is. 40:1,2). “Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort.” (2Cor. 1:3).

“This shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the Lord, I will put My law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be My people. And they shall teach no more every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord: for they shall all know Me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the Lord: for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.” (Jer. 31:33,34).

“A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh. And I will put My spirit within you, and cause you to walk in My statutes, and ye shall keep My judgments, and do them. And ye shall dwell in the land that I gave to your fathers; and ye shall be My people, and I will be your God…. Then shall ye remember your own evil ways, and your doings that were not good, and shall lothe yourselves in your own sight for your iniquities and for your abominations.” (Ez. 36:26-28, 31).

Certainly, the Son of God was dispensing rich blessings as He had wanted to give all along, and as He had promised that He would give.

For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever would believe Him would not perish, but have life, everlasting life. Unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given.