“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.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

The will

“These have power to shut heaven, that it rain not in the days of their prophecy: and have power over waters to turn them to blood, and to smite the earth with all plagues, as often as they will.” (Rev. 11:6). These two figures closely describe Moses and Elijah. We will look at Elijah in particular. Elijah seemed to appear out of nowhere when he walked past the royal guard and stood before the king of Israel.  “And Elijah the Tishbite, who was of the inhabitants of Gilead, said unto Ahab, As the LORD God of Israel liveth, before whom I stand, there shall not be dew nor rain these years, but according to my word.” (1Ki. 17:1).

So struck was Ahab that Elijah could disappear as suddenly as he had showed up. And his prophecy happened just as he said it would. He had spoken at will and the Creator honored his desire. Elijah could smite the earth with plagues as often as he willed.

In heathen lands this would have given him god-like status. There was power in his word—“It will not rain until I give the word!” But who really did the works of stopping the rain? It was his Creator Jesus. Of Him the Bible says, “For by Him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by Him, and for Him,” “who being the brightness of His glory, and the express image of His person, and upholding all things by the word of His power, when He had by Himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high.” (Col. 1:16;Heb. 1:3).

Without faith, the heathen would naturally award Elijah with the power to do what he spoke of; it was from lack of faith in the God of heaven that Nebuchadnezzar fell on his face before Daniel and worshipped him for telling the king his dream, even though Daniel had prefaced his exposition with giving praise to the God of heaven. And without faith the Jews did the same as the king of Babylon when they later deified Abraham, Moses, David, and Elijah as great champions for the Hebrew cause, but never accepted conviction of sin from the examples of those great men of faith and prayer and friendship with Adonai.  But without faith no one can have the truth, and the miraculous life of Elijah and Moses became mythical in the minds of the Jews and opened the door to acceptance of the fictitious and corrupt Old Testament Apocrypha.

It was the power of Christ and His Spirit that launched Elijah’s faith into heaven and sanctified his heart. Once the heart and soul were in line with God’s law, then He could speak through His sanctified servants. “For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.” (2Pet. 1:21).

All true obedience comes from the heart. It was heart work with Christ. And if we consent, He will so identify Himself with our thoughts and aims, so blend our hearts and minds into conformity to His will, that when obeying Him we shall be but carrying out our own impulses. The will, refined and sanctified, will find its highest delight in doing His service. When we know God as it is our privilege to know Him, our life will be a life of continual obedience. Through an appreciation of the character of Christ, through communion with God, sin will become hateful to us.  Desire Ages, p. 668.

In the work of redemption there is no compulsion. No external force is employed. Under the influence of the Spirit of God, man is left free to choose whom he will serve. In the change that takes place when the soul surrenders to Christ, there is the highest sense of freedom. The expulsion of sin is the act of the soul itself. True, we have no power to free ourselves from Satan’s control; but when we desire to be set free from sin, and in our great need cry out for a power out of and above ourselves, the powers of the soul are imbued with the divine energy of the Holy Spirit, and they obey the dictates of the will in fulfilling the will of God.  Desire Ages, p. 466.

This is righteousness by faith. It is succinctly expressed in the words of Zechariah, “Not by might, nor by power, but by My Spirit, saith the LORD of hosts.” (Zech. 4:6).

The servant of Christ imitates its Master through the Spirit of Christ.  “But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of His.
And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness.
But if the Spirit of Him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, He that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by His Spirit that dwelleth in you.… For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.” (Rom. 8:9-11,14). “As many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His name.” (Jn. 1:12).

The works of their life are their own, but are backed by the power of God, “the power of the Highest.” (Luk. 1:35). The power of the Highest does the works, so that “he that is entered into His rest, he also hath ceased from his own works, as God did from His.
Let us labour therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief.
For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.” (Heb. 4:10-12).

The experience of righteousness by faith is how David could be swept up in the boldness to do battle with Goliath. This conflict was no fairy tale, as many want to make it. But it was very out of the ordinary; it was supernatural. It was a rare event that makes any sober, sensible spectator become electrified with the conviction that there is a God. “But without faith it is impossible to please Him: for he that cometh to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him.” (Heb. 11:6). And such a privileged one with faith is gladly escorted directly into God’s condemnatory presence in humility and hope. Otherwise, without faith he hears the condemnation of God with stubborn rebellion, accosting God (or His messenger) with, “How dare You wake up my conscience without my permission!”

King Saul responded with that kind of acrimony and eventually the Lord turned away from him. Can you blame God after years of that kind of response to your love? David responded in humility and saw in the condemnation of the all-powerful One much added warmth and acceptance. Because he submitted to the justice of God, he could surrender to His mercy, and thus he saw in God a Father. This combination of justice and mercy, received into David’s soul, turned him into a giant that made Goliath look puny to him, to say the least about Saul, who also outwardly appeared kingly and intimidating.

Yet, because Saul would not surrender to his Father in heaven, his intimidating frame cowed to Goliath. David, on the other hand, under the power of heaven, ran to the battlefield anxious to silence “this uncircumcised Philistine…seeing he hath defied the armies of the living God.” (1Sam. 17:36). “Then said David to the Philistine, Thou comest to me with a sword, and with a spear, and with a shield: but I come to thee in the name of the LORD of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom thou hast defied.
This day will the LORD deliver thee into mine hand; and I will smite thee, and take thine head from thee; and I will give the carcases of the host of the Philistines this day unto the fowls of the air, and to the wild beasts of the earth; that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel.
And all this assembly shall know that the LORD saveth not with sword and spear: for the battle is the LORD'S, and He will give you into our hands.
And it came to pass, when the Philistine arose, and came and drew nigh to meet David, that David hasted, and ran toward the army to meet the Philistine.
And David put his hand in his bag, and took thence a stone, and slang it, and smote the Philistine in his forehead, that the stone sunk into his forehead; and he fell upon his face to the earth.” (1Sam. 17:45-49).

This was righteousness by faith demonstrated for the world to see. David moved at will. He harnessed the things of God, the power of the holy One, and he made miracles happen. This was the secret to the success of his active life. This took him from the sheepcoate and put him on the throne. And it will do the same for all who come to Jesus as David did, and learn of Him.

“Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts.” (Jas. 4:2,3). We will see more of the providential power of God in our lives as we allow the molding influence of the Spirit of Christ and of His angelic hosts to cleanse our character. He must turn our selfish lusts into unselfish love.

David revealed the secret of his ability to harness God’s power.  “Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful.
But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in His law doth he meditate day and night.
And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.” (Psa. 1:1-3).

“I have rejoiced in the way of Thy testimonies, as much as in all riches.
I will meditate in Thy precepts, and have respect unto Thy ways.
I will delight myself in Thy statutes: I will not forget Thy word.” (Psa 119:14-16).

David tried to teach his people how to have all the special privileges that he had received for God. He wanted to share his gifts, knowing that growing an army of Davids would not lessen the gift of God for him, or his authority, as it hadn’t to Moses (Num. 11:16,17). What God gave David came from an inexhaustible supply. “Hast thou not known? hast thou not heard, that the everlasting God, the LORD, the Creator of the ends of the earth, fainteth not, neither is weary? there is no searching of His understanding.
He giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no might He increaseth strength.
Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall:
But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.” (Isa. 40:28-31).

All who come to the Bible and allow it to cleanse and sanctify them, “with the washing of water by the word,” will find that rest that yet remains for the people of God. (Eph. 5:26). For, when the mind is filled with the word of God, then “when deep sleep falleth upon men, in slumberings upon the bed; then He openeth the ears of men, and sealeth their instruction.” (Job 33:15-16).

God, through His vivifying word, inserts His jealousy toward the blasphemy of the Goliaths and Satans, and the will acts in God’s stead, putting to flight the enemies of righteousness from the mind that has become like an impregnable fortress. “And what shall I more say? for the time would fail me to tell of Gedeon, and of Barak, and of Samson, and of Jephthae; of David also, and Samuel, and of the prophets:
Who through faith subdued kingdoms, wrought righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions,
Quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, waxed valiant in fight, turned to flight the armies of the aliens.
Women received their dead raised to life again: and others were tortured, not accepting deliverance; that they might obtain a better resurrection:
And others had trial of cruel mockings and scourgings, yea, moreover of bonds and imprisonment:
They were stoned, they were sawn asunder, were tempted, were slain with the sword: they wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins; being destitute, afflicted, tormented;
(Of whom the world was not worthy:) they wandered in deserts, and in mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth.” (Heb. 11:32-38).

“For we through the Spirit wait for the hope of righteousness by faith.” (Gal. 5:5).  “Not by might, nor by power, but by My Spirit, saith the LORD of hosts.” (Zech. 4:6).


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