“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.

Tuesday, April 07, 2015

The least expected

“For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called:
But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty;
And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are:
That no flesh should glory in His presence.” (1Cor. 1:26-29).
Does God humble?  Our pride needs to be permanently disabled; we need to be perfectly humbled. No flesh should ever glorify itself in the presence of the great Creator, should it? No, never. The Holy, and Just, and Good One alone should be praised.
“O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments, and His ways past finding out!
For who hath known the mind of the Lord? Or who hath been His counsellor?
Or who hath first given to Him, and it shall be recompensed unto Him again?
For of Him, and through Him, and to Him, are all things: to whom be glory for ever. Amen.” (Rom. 11:33-36).
“Who is the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings, and Lord of lords; who only hath immortality, dwelling in the light which no man can approach unto; whom no man hath seen, nor can see: to whom be honour and power everlasting. Amen.” (1Tim. 6:15, 16).
“To the only wise God our Saviour, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever. Amen.” (Jude 25).
To the tall, gallant, warrior type sons of Jesse the people had praise. And, surely they had demurred against the praise, but it had its effect. So, when teenager David began reviving trust in the Lord’s ability to defend His honor against Goliath, David’s brothers sought to put him in his place.
“Eliab his eldest brother heard when he spake unto the men; and Eliab’s anger was kindled against David, and he said, Why camest thou down hither? and with whom hast thou left those few sheep in the wilderness? I know thy pride, and the naughtiness of thine heart; for thou art come down that thou mightest see the battle.” (1Sam. 17:28). It’s true, battles don’t need any spectators. But, its also true that they didn’t believe David could really accomplish anything.
Even to the king, David was classed as a runt. “The king said, Enquire thou whose son the stripling is.” (1Sam. 17:56). Hebrew for “stripling” is “something to be kept out of sight”, “a lad”. In that culture, the adolescent was to stay silent in public. But, the Spirit of the Lord had filled David with inspiration, and he couldn’t keep quiet. God’s honor was at stake, and no one was doing anything about it.
Like Benjamin to Jacob, David had been the youngest and the dearest to his aging father, Jesse. With his rosy cheeks, David must have looked like a momma’s boy. A boy he was, in their society. And, even more so was he nothing but a kid to Goliath. But, in God’s estimation David was a man of valor because he had set his love on Jesus. And, God was right. David ran up to kill Goliath. (The perfect pre-play of the days of Christ when He would go undeterred to take out Satan. “And it came to pass, when the time was come that he should be received up, he stedfastly set his face to go to Jerusalem” (Luke 9:51). “And they were in the way going up to Jerusalem; and Jesus went before them: and they were amazed; and as they followed, they were afraid. (Mark 10:32).)
But, Goliath needed to be humbled into the dust. He had gone too far with his mouth. Like the little horn of Daniel 7, 8, and Revelation 13, Satan had inspired Goliath with “a mouth speaking great things.” (Dan. 7:8). “He [stood] up against the Prince of princes.” And he [spoke] great words against the most High” (Dan. 8:25; Dan. 7:25). “And he opened his mouth in blasphemy against God, to blaspheme His name, and His tabernacle, and them that dwell in heaven.” (Rev. 13:6).
If Goliath would be “willing and obedient [he could] eat the good of the land: but if [he would] refuse and rebel, [he would] be devoured with the sword: for the mouth of the LORD hath spoken it.” (Isa. 1:19, 20). But, he chose to remain proud and arrogant, especially toward the name of the Lord. Like Pharoah, who had been brought up in prejudice, elitism, and wanton power, Goliath had never known humiliation. He had been “a man of war from his youth.” (1Sam. 17:33). As with Goliath, Pharaoh had received the good things of God without ever feeling the least obligation or reciprocation toward his Creator, or his Creator’s enslaved people. His presumption crossed the line that ended his probation. “For the scripture saith unto Pharaoh, Even for this same purpose have I raised thee up, that I might shew My power in thee, and that My name might be declared throughout all the earth.” (Rom. 9:17). “What if God, willing to shew His wrath, and to make His power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction…” “Hath not the potter power over the clay, … to make one vessel…unto dishonour?” (Rom 9:22, 21).
Both the greatest of the great Goliath and Pharaoh went down by the meekest of the meek David and Moses. Neither should be heard in public. Moses could never speak well, and David was not old enough. Both felt his insufficiency.
“Moreover He said, I am the God of thy father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. And Moses hid his face; for he was afraid to look upon God.” (Ex. 3:6).
“And Moses said unto the LORD, O my Lord, I am not eloquent, neither heretofore, nor since Thou hast spoken unto Thy servant: but I am slow of speech, and of a slow tongue.” (Ex. 4:10).
“Now therefore go, and I will be with thy mouth, and teach thee what thou shalt say.” (Ex. 4:12).
Even if the Lord chooses His people from the unlearned and easily confounded, they are His best mouth pieces. They are the truest to what He wants spoken. The message might come out all muddled; but, at least it gets out free of the spirit of Satan. This is not to say that we should not improve our talents, or that the Lord doesn’t prefer to use a skilled speaker. The Son of God is the eloquent, articulate, perfectly dictioned, Word of God. But, the Son learned in infinite humility, and it is humility that God needs from the beginning to the end of our development. Yet, even as perfected in all respects as Jesus was, He retained the tenderness of His childhood  and there wasn’t any “beauty that we should desire Him.” (Isa. 53:2).

Gideon had the same answer. “And he said unto Him, Oh my Lord, wherewith shall I save Israel? behold, my family is poor in Manasseh, and I am the least in my father’s house.” (Jdg. 6:15). He also felt insufficient for the work the Lord gave him. “And he said unto Him, Oh my Lord, wherewith shall I save Israel? behold, my family is poor in Manasseh, and I am the least in my father’s house.” “Who is sufficient for these things?” (2Cor. 2:16).
An end of pride does not justify a means of dependence on inherent talent. God would dispense with every inherent gift if pride is mixed into the end product. Thus, the Lord has usually called upon messengers who doubt their speaking ability.
Jeremiah was recruited young.
“Then said I, Ah, Lord GOD! behold, I cannot speak: for I am a child.
But the LORD said unto me, Say not, I am a child: for thou shalt go to all that I shall send thee, and whatsoever I command thee thou shalt speak.
Be not afraid of their faces: for I am with thee to deliver thee, saith the LORD.
Then the LORD put forth His hand, and touched my mouth. And the LORD said unto me, Behold, I have put My words in thy mouth….
Thou therefore gird up thy loins, and arise, and speak unto them all that I command thee: be not dismayed at their faces, lest I confound thee before them.” (Jer. 1:6-9, 17).
Paul seems to have stronger letters than lectures. But, this didn’t deter the apostle from raising up church after church. Jesus was with him and that made up the difference.
“Now I Paul … who in presence am base among you, but being absent am bold toward you:… For his letters, say they, are weighty and powerful; but his bodily presence is weak, and his speech contemptible.” (2Cor. 10:1, 10).
Paul agreed,
“I, brethren, when I came to you, came not with excellency of speech or of wisdom, declaring unto you the testimony of God.
For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and Him crucified.
And I was with you in weakness, and in fear, and in much trembling.
And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man’s wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power:
That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God.” (1Cor. 2:1-5).
“For we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord; and ourselves your servants for Jesus’ sake…. But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us.” (2Cor. 4:5, 7).
Yet, it is with such imperfection that the Lord uses to hush the nay-saying rebels who expect the mouthpieces of God to meet their sophisticated expectations. It seems that the Korahs, Dathans, and Abirams aren’t pleased with a less than impeccable presentation of God’s will for them. And until they get that pleasing address, they put God’s will on hold until He can come up with someone suitable to pass their inspection. Nevertheless, God goes on with His program, with or without His enemies’ approval.
“Whom shall He teach knowledge? and whom shall He make to understand doctrine? them that are weaned from the milk, and drawn from the breasts…. For with stammering lips and another tongue will He speak to this people.” (Isa. 28:9, 11). It’s men whose hearts are youthful who are the Lord’s picks, no matter their profficiency in speech.
Peter, before his conversion had a disability. Not that he wasn’t a bold, eloquent speaker. He had a natural knack for all of that. But, his disability was in not thinking before speaking, and not having a deeper spirituality. Yet, because he set his love on Jesus, sticking with Him through thick and thin, Peter obtained the gift of the Spirit, the token of God’s acceptance.
“And Peter answered Him and said, Lord, if it be Thou, bid me come unto Thee on the water. And He said, Come. And when Peter was come down out of the ship, he walked on the water, to go to Jesus. But when he saw the wind boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink, he cried, saying, Lord, save me.” (Matt. 14:28-30).
“And when they were come to Capernaum, they that received tribute money came to Peter, and said, Doth not your master pay tribute? He saith, Yes. And when he was come into the house, Jesus prevented him….” (Matt. 17:24, 25).
“But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren.” (Luke 22:32). “Then began he to curse and to swear, saying, I know not the man. And immediately the cock crew.” (Matt. 26:74).
“But go your way, tell His disciples and Peter that He goeth before you into Galilee.” (Mark 16:7).
“He saith unto him the third time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou Me? Peter was grieved because He said unto him the third time, Lovest thou Me? And he said unto Him, Lord, Thou knowest all things; Thou knowest that I love thee. Jesus saith unto him, Feed My sheep.” (John 21:17).
“Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were unlearned and ignorant men, they marvelled; and they took knowledge of them, that they had been with Jesus.” (Acts 4:13).
The Lord has had many excellent spokespersons. The prophets had to be determined, strong, to the point, courageous. They were perfected and sealed, anointed with the Holy Spirit and full of a holy boldness so that in the middle of their message they would not waver and become confounded.
But, no doubt, like Jeremiah, they were also in training and facing difficulties that only on-the-job training could provide. Jeremiah almost folded up shop and went home. Elijah did. These weren’t foibles; but, the men were human. The prophets were “subject to like passions as we are.” (Jas. 5:17). And God dealt with them patiently, firmly, and with the strength that those holy men appreciated. They had all experienced surrender to the Law of the Most High. “Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He shall lift you up.” (Jas. 4:10). Their Schoolmaster brought them to His Son to be justified by faith. Ever afterwards, their one common denominator was that they had all “set [their] love upon [Jesus].” “Therefore will I deliver him: I will set him on high, because he hath known My name.” (Psa. 91:14).


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