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THE OPPORTUNITY for IMPORTUNITY is NOW
THE CORRIDORS OF TIME AND THE CHRIST
Daniel in Ch. 9 is seen fasting in sackcloth as he importunately entreats the Lord concerning the restoration of Israel to its land, way back in the 6th century B.C.. His prayer of confession is moving, humble and impassioned, not with the flurry of psychological extravanganzas, but with the fire of love and the chastened love of one who seeks the will of the Lord in mercy for his people.
In this, he is fortified by the fact that Jeremiah was known in telling Israel beforehand, what would become of it (cf. Jeremiah 1:5-10, 25), and in fact to have pointed to the divinely sanctioned return of Israel from its Babylonian exile after 70 years. Thus, for Daniel after the due expiration of such a period of years, there was a point of application, a destined date, a special time, and Daniel set himself to seek God, who is faithful. What would the Lord in profound mercy now do for this chastened, indeed chastised nation ? Daniel waited in humility because of their sin, in expectation because of God's fidelity, reliability and the truth of His word!
Notice the elements. The word of God says so, the saint prays in humble penitence, in his case not for gross sins but for a people who had committed them, his own part in which whole society he confesses with profound grief, and that not in superiority, but in empathetic longing and concern.
At that time, the Lord shows His control of history, its contours and planning scope, by an amazing arithmetic device. 70 were the years of exile of Israel in Babylon: so to this man of understanding, Daniel, the Lord shows a compass for expansion. There would now be 70 sevens, not 70 single years, and after 69 of these the Messiah would be cut off - signified death as in Isaiah 53, Psalm 22, and "there is nothing for Him." This saving Messiah is despised, rejected, by His nation, which assigns to Him instead of glory, shame, instead of passionate faith, complete disdain, as also seen in Isaiah 49:7 and 50-53.
being Saviour, in view of Isaiah 43:10-11 and 53,
He is God as man.
ONLY God is Saviour, and that, it is prophetically EMPHATIC.
HOW Christ did that work is spelled out in Isaiah
most definitively, declaratively and decisively.
It is HE who is the light to the Gentiles (42:6, 49:6), and it is on Him, correlatively that the burden of sin is laid (53:6), even for those who are healed (53:3-6).
As written, so it was to be in quality; as written, so it was to be in date. This latter point is shown in detail in Highway of Holiness Ch. 4. That is, the Messiah's death date was given centuries before it happened, declared through Daniel; and as it was declared, so Christ died at that time.
Our current concern however is the place of Daniel's importunity. In reply to his concern, he therefore was given the most amazing short, arithmetic summary of events over nearly half a millenium, that has ever been known to man. It was in addition, precise; it encompassed of necessity a knowledge of politics (for Israel could have been deleted itself, by then), of all the scope of history (for any unknown event for anyone making such a presentation of precision concerning coming events could inter hope of successful forecast, since each events affects every other in time, environmentally, in dynamics, in simple things like the death of any one leader, or the treachery of any one nation).
The point for us is that Daniel was allowed, if you will, to tap into this divine omniscience, or more accurately, to become party to it at the assigned point of interest, on the occasion of his impassioned importunity in the first year of the reign of Darius. The start of his 70 times 7 historic preview does not start there, but as seen in Highway of Holiness Ch. 4, at the time of the edict to rebuild Jerusalem.
What then happened to the yearning prophet at the time he declares ? He is allowed to see things of the utmost magnitude in clarity and simplicity, not only what HE ASKED FOR, the short term faithfulness of God to His freely given word, the Bible, concerning the looming, the impending return of Israel to its land; but more, much more. He sees at this time the long term scope of divine knowledge and plan for nearly half a millenium ahead. . Immersed in wonder, covered with comprehension, he was allowed to see that God is able to give us, in answer to prayer, beyond everything we ask or think, just as the apostle Paul declares in Ephesians 3:20-21:
"Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think,
according to the power that works in us,
to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations,
forever and ever. Amen."
The Church in the wilderness and the church in the day of Daniel and the Church of Jesus Christ are one in being called out from this world by God, in the sacrificial centrality epitomised and culminated in the Cross of Christ (cf. Galatians 6:14), in knowing God and in having the felicity of His power and grace provided (cf. the speech of Stephen in Acts 7:38). It is in fact the same Greek word that is used by Stephen in Acts 7 for the congregation under Moses, as was used in his own time so spectacularly of the New Testament Church, so that the assimilation of the two in his own mind is obvious.
Naturally there is the difference that by Stephen's time, the Church is the New Covenant one, not the Old Covenant one; but it is the same God with the same plan of salvation, now paid for, with the same Spirit giving the same wisdom. Naturally, again, the knowledge has grown, but God has not altered; for He is just the same from everlasting to everlasting (Psalm 90, 102, Hebrews 1). Principles, desires and perspective being His, who is the same, do not change. His understanding of families has not altered; His provisions for salvation have not altered, merely been more fully revealed. His procedures in spirit are not different and His wisdom has not moved.
It is necessary to realise this grand theme (cf. Biblical Blessings Ch. 3, Appendix I, II), and to see the close accord with and affinity for the saints of the Lord God in all ages, Old Testament or New Testament. It is good to realise to the full the holy grandeur of the scope of the blessed Lord's dealings and the wonder of His way, not truncating the truth, not making the body over the ages schizoid, but one which is amplified as the simple transition from Messiah-coming days (looking ahead with expectation to His arrival as Saviour) to Messiah-redemption time, when the work is DONE: from preliminary to culmination.
Good is it to feel the affinity for Daniel and David, in terms of precisely this same everlasting Gospel (Revelation 14:6). They tasted it; we are invested with it. There never has been another; never COULD be another, and even if Paul were to have preached another, he would have been accursed (Galatians 1:6-9), but at that, the GOSPEL would not change by one iota (cf. TMR Ch. 3). as well as Paul and Luke, from whom come quotations from both.
Let us then sense the awe and impact of glory on Daniel, as seen in his Ch. 10, and not regard it as foreign, alien, remote or removed. The Lord is near to those who call upon Him, who do so in sincerity and in truth where He is to be found, in that one redemption, that one Redeemer, that one crux of grace and exposure of goodness which is both critical for, and the crux of, His entire dealings with mankind. We move now to his second exercise of faith and discernment, importunity given opportunity, since doubtless in his high office in Babylon, he has some freedom.
In this case, Daniel avoids pleasant food and drink for three weeks, nor did he anoint himself in this period of self-abasement and seeking the Lord, free from the frill of office, the self-importance so easily arising in power and the assertions of flesh. Three weeks he set. Then by the inspiring Tigris with its vast expanse, he met a vision so intense that it reminds closely of that of Paul later (Acts 10), which he had on his way to Damascus.
In Daniel 10, we see that the vision of the glory of God (cf. Ezekiel 1, Revelation 1) is overpoweringly was presented to him; but it was not only vision. In fact, the impact of the divine exposition was so great that people near Daniel rushed off in terror, and Daniel was drained almost to extinction before this glorious exhibition of divine glory.
Then a hand TOUCHES him, and he is told to arise and stand, since he had been close to the earth in an abasement which very possibly was quite unconscious: simply a response to admiration, awe and marvelling in the presence of God! The owner of this hand on mission, the one that touched him, then appears; and Daniel is told in extreme detail of events to transpire for his people. This time the exposition of history is far more intimate in detail than before, for the period leading up to Christ, and it proceeds down through the Persian dynasty then in power, and onward.
This empire was the one which, during Daniel's own time in exile as a Jewish leader adopted for his wisdom by Babylon, followed that of that mighty nation. Captured by Babylon with others of his day, Daniel was now eminently honoured by the next imperial nation as well, the Medes and Persians. It was in one sense, a case of the conquered conquering!
The case of imperial change from Babylon to Medes, was indeed, as predicted by Isaiah as well as Daniel. How emphatically it was portrayed that Babylon the profoundly wealthy, and incontinently idolatrous, would become the butt of the Medes and Persians, and would be overthrown by them - (cf. Daniel 2:39, 8:20, relating to the pre-Darius reign of Belshazzar, and Ch. 5; with Isaiah 13-14 - esp. 13:17, Jeremiah 50-51).
Down the corridors of time, then, Daniel was allowed here to see the DETAILED actions affecting his nation, of this empire and what would follow it, in terms so very clearly set forth in Daniel 2,7,8,9. In fact, his predictions, selective for his people, took him not only to forthcoming interchanges readily verifiable in history shortly then to come, but to the very time of the end, as announced in Daniel 12, of the resurrection from the dead, for all ages. For this detail, fascinating as it is, you may care to see Highway of Holiness Ch. 10.
Thus the coverage of forthcoming history has all the detail and all the scope one could desire; and it is cast in ways intelligible to those to come, though for Daniel it meant kingdoms and episodes long beyond his contemporary vision, reaching like his Messiah death date prediction, into the most distant FUTURE! Daniel could be called the prophet of chronological survey.
FALSE GODS ? DO
THE JEWS FOR GENTILE HABITS -
IT IS NOT THEY ALONE
It is necessary for a moment to pause. When one is dealing with - more aptly, being dealt with by - the Lord of creation, who made us and our plane for history, our time and our constructed universe with its limitations and grand provisions, we find continual verification of just the power required for this work, which nothing limited is logically or chronologically capable of providing. What provided this overview for the prophet Daniel is He who is competent, rationally apt for it, with all the powers for mind, matter and spirit which are here, already resident in Himself from everlasting, antecedent to the day in which He created, since nothing can produce nothing.
When, then, you are dealing with Him, such is the felicity you find, the works of power in creation and in the Bible: these two constituting His word at work and His written word respectively. Without Him, you get into those gnarled and snarled traffic lanes and conveyances of thought which end in confusion, contradicting what they affirm, and affirming what contradicts them. Mutually, the 'schools' have to contradict each other, for example in the domain of evolutionism with its mythical bias. In that field, their faults are too glaring to be ignored, by their antagonists (cf. SMR pp. 149ff.), and their hopes are too dear to leave, for the protagonists of the warring theories of their colleagues, which pulse like stomach contents, without ever being digested.
Evolutionism is simply never digested because it is indigestible, requiring what is never evidenced, to do what only God can, without God. Fiasco becomes the function of the game, and duress its pall (cf. TMR Chs. 1, 8, 7, SMR Ch. 2, Secular Myth and Sacred Truth, Wake Up World! ... Ch. 5).
Let us cite from TMR Ch. 8 here, the original in detail being available here.
What is observed and in rationality confirms what is written in the Bible, in point of fact, a total estrangement of this current universe from any proclivity to self-create from what it is: this we have on the one hand. Logic as shown in SMR, observation and coalescence with other laws is the harmonious spread here before us.
What is not observed, never has been observed by mankind in any recorded form, it is this: sure increase of design complexity without intelligence at work and applied to the point. This is what is in fact in conformity with organic evolution - intrinsic integral development by transmutation of what is here, over the spectrum of natural things. The laws to compose it, the observations to exhibit it, the cohesion with thought used in the process, to validate it and the avoidance of self-contradictory antinomies to render it rational: this is what it needs scientifically. This is what it lacks in each dimension.
Which theory then is chosen?
The theory chosen is the latter, presumably, one might imagine, because it is entirely contrary to demonstrable fact. It is spree day when, as it were, the bankers throw their money bags about the Bank. What is not chosen in the Circular is the long-standing creation statement which is in accord with fact.
Here then is a marvellous thing, concerning creation (more precisely biblical creation) and evolution respectively:
that what, in its model, predicts the absence of what is not in fact observable
(contemporary design advance - CDA), being verified,
is rejected in its summary as to the participation of natural things;
and that what, in its model, makes natural the presence of what is not observable,
CDA, being unverified, is accepted.
Small wonder heady clashes in evolutionism are now conspicuous (see above re Denton, Kouznetsov, Stephen Jay Gould and a collection of clangour). Failure can readily be divisive. Result: Verification void is preferred above verification accord. Loser takes all... THAT! It is science. And this, it is but one of the areas of failure in this model noted in this Chapter.
Science ? No, this mythopoeic mysticism of evolutionism is
the cynosure of non-science and
the acme of astounding prejudice:
rashly conceived, believed and then foisted into the realm of science
in the most contradictory possible way, relative to scientific method.
Indeed, Stephen Jay Gould, famed exponent of evolutionism in Harvard, declared it literally incomprehensible how they could imagine that the massive and by their theories, early deposits in the Cambrian rock could attest anything even slightly approaching gradual advance through contesting designs in competition. The OPPOSITE to expectation is found; it is spectacular in its negativity, as Gould empirically shows from the Burgess deposits. Here he seems all but stunned by the overwhelming multitude, character, complexity and spread of designs of which he declares, some 90% have been lost, so that time is witness on this presentation not to overall progress in design but loss (cf. SMR pp. 114-151, 211).
The imaginary METHOD of progress upwards, he justly ridicules, since the empirical evidence is contrary to anything like such adjustments: varieties within designs being found in massive scope and scale, and contemporaneity. His own 'method'*1 is merely a lack of method, appealing to what happens, though it is never seen. You might as well tell a young man to make his fortune by what happens, or a doctor to operate by what happens. The patient would be dead. You need always and for all things, what it takes.
What it takes is the worker whose work this is.
Hence when Daniel meets this CREATOR, he gets light in extraordinary ways, for God is not merely extraordinary, He is unique. HE IS ONE; ALL IS HIS PRODUCT.
Daniel's importunate search for His face, was rewarded as we see both in Daniel 9 and Ch. 10. Having gone for wisdom, where it is to be found, he found it; for God is not niggardly, but surpassingly generous for those who seek Him with all their hearts, where HE IS TO BE FOUND.
Thus the prophet received this revelatory overview of whole spectra of history, as though they were current workings of the universe being investigated by our own scientists. This, however, by contrast, was not a survey in space, as of other worlds, but in time, and of this one! and that which is coming at its advent!
While investigation of natural procedures and processes find only what is going: Daniel was able to find what was coming. And it has come.
The Messiah HAS come; His death HAS
come; its predicted date HAS come (Highway of Holiness
Ch. 4), the empires to come, as he was shown by the Creator, HAVE come, and also gone as foretold; and in the ways foretold.
Our own Age has come, with its knowledge-travel emphasis, as foretold in Daniel 12; and its current lurchings into power, as a result of this predicted knowledge explosion, have led to the earth's history being under very real threat. This last is a fact first highlighted, it seems, by Einstein who was not quite sure what effect atomic power, unleashed, would have on the coverage of our atmosphere.
This situation of power and pollution, dynamic and stark and appalling danger, in turn is just as Christ foretold. From His lips we learned there would be, as there now is, a wickedness augmentation, a vileness proliferation, a torrent of evil in a world where Israel would be returned to its land (1948), and unless HE returned, "no flesh could be spared" (Matthew 24). He foretold the destruction of Jerusalem and its restoration under Jewish control as a pivotal part of the program for the end of our Age in the advent of His own rule. The vast failure of Gentiles with their many false prophets and false christs, and the price to be paid: all are as He said, as seen in Matthew 24, Luke 21.
As to that price for vice, it is
Fear and tension, trouble and
uncertainty, doubt and diffusion of catastrophes conflate;
So it was to be; and so it now is.
Without seeking the Lord, how do you expect to find Him ? Seek with all your heart, and seek where He is to be found, where alone He has attested Himself to be, in Jesus the Lord, focus of history, crux of the Bible, only Saviour on offer, only testable remedy for man verified in His word and His world: and then you find. Seek with importunity and then you may resemble some who, in the days of Ezra and Nehemiah, began to find their lost heritage. For many in this continent, as in the USA, for example and Canada, yes and South Africa and Europe, that heritage is Christ, the Son of the living God, unchanged, unalterable, crucified once, redeemer for eternity (Hebrews 9:12ff.). Israel rejected Him ?
Yes, as a nation, though many Jews were to initiate the Christian Church, based on Christ Himself. The Gentiles are moving in PRECISELY the same direction now! All the world is become guilty!
If He is to be lost, there is simply no other. Justice has provided no other atonement; mercy has gifted no other pardon; truth has given no other testimony in validity and verification (cf. SMR, TMR, It Bubbles ... Ch. 9, Repent or Perish Chs. 2, 7, Spiritual Refreshings Ch. 16).
Having come onto earth from eternity (Micah 5:1-3, John 1:1-14, Philippians 2, John 17, 8:58), He conducts man in the earth to eternal life. Having left his earth for eternity, to prepare a place for His people, chosen from this earth in which all are cordially invited (John 14), He has not left it inert. It is under test, it grows as flowers, as weeds do, to be snipped, or uprooted (Matthew 15:13, 24:30-31, 13:30).
SITE FOR PURITY IN CHRIST
This world is a platform, and imagining that this produces the music of eternity, the realm of truth or the wisdom of life is like imagining that because you have just taken a flight on some airline to Europe, that wisdom is here and power and glory. It is not so: like this earth itself, it is merely a means of transit.
Woe to those who worship their platform, or adore their transit station! (cf. Jeremiah 2:13,27-28, 3:14). Let us hear the second of these:
"Saying to a stock, You are my father;
and to a stone, You have brought me forth:
for they have turned their back on Me, and not their face:
but in the time of their trouble they will say,
Arise, and save us.
"But where are your gods that you have made for yourself ?
let them arise, if they can save you in the time of thy trouble:
for according to the number of your cities are your gods, O Judah.
Ignore what matters, and it does not matter what else you do, you are as the blind. To be physically blinded is tragic; to be spiritually blind in wilfulness is no less so, but far more culpable. Jesus' words to the people of His day are not incapable of reference more broadly to those who, like that generation in Israel, tended very largely to ignore the whole point of their heritage from God (Matthew 13:10ff.).
"And the disciples came, and said unto him, Why do You speak to them in parables?
"He answered and said unto them,
'Because it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven,
but to them it is not given.
'For whoever has, to him will be given, and he will have more abundance:
but whoever does not have, from him shall be taken away even what he has.
Therefore I speak to them in parables: because they seeing they do not see; and hearing they do not hear, neither do they understand. And in them is fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah, which says,
By hearing ye shall hear, and shall not understand; and seeing ye shall see,
and shall not perceive:
'For this people’s heart has become gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them.' "
This is the case, if you will, of anti-importunity missing ANY opportunity and so failing to find PURITY of heart, which is a creation of the Lord, sustainable only in and by and through Him.
Let us however not imagine that this is some gift which is a water-proof against any rain, since man is given to be TESTED; and as you see in Job (cf. Chs. 1-3 above), this is no mere casual business.
No, far from it; for as Peter declares it in I Peter 1:6-12):
"In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials, that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ, whom having not seen you love.
"Though now you do not see Him, yet believing, you rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, receiving the end of your faith - the salvation of your souls.
"Of this salvation the prophets have inquired and searched carefully, who prophesied of the grace that would come to you, searching what, or what manner of time, the Spirit of Christ who was in them was indicating when He testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ and the glories that would follow.
"To them it was revealed that, not to themselves, but to us they were ministering the things which now have been reported to you through those who have preached the gospel to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven—things which angels desire to look into."
There once more, this time in the strictly personal realm, you see that spiritual scope which contains the program and makes it readily recognisable. Purity is to be desired, in heart, in faith, in motivation, in consummation.
Purity of heart is found in seeking the Lord who has saved you from the dominion and rigour of sin, so that it is no more a threat, but merely a challenge, delivered you from the eternal penalties of sin, raised in you the heightened hope of glory and made its presence near in Himself (cf. John 14:21-23), as you abide in Him.
Prophets in former times had specialised gifts and functions, as indeed did Paul for example and all the apostles, to deliver the perfumes of the Father's beauty in the Gospel (Psalm 96, II Corinthians 2:15-17, Psalm 27:4 cf. Song of Songs), now closed and never to be re-opened (Galatians 1:6-9, Ephesians 1:10). Why is this so ? It is because it is based on One who loved and sent, on One who loved and came (Isaiah 48:16, Psalm 40 cf. Joyful Jottings 22), who did what was needed, on this earth seeking His Father with importunity and using the opportunity to provide redemption, dying for sin once, rising for life, granting eternal life, His own to those who lacked it (I John 1:1-4). This earth has known nothing like it, the visit of its Creator just as it will know nothing like it, the preliminaries to His return and the judgments in truth to come.
Mankind as a race is becoming increasingly listless in seeking Him. Blasted as if by whirls of locusts, grass-hoppers, cane toads, man as a desolation is increasing evident. It is seen in the mere appearance of things in some of China, of India, more of Africa (where in Johannesburg now one third of expectant mothers are credited - or debited, with HIV infection, and 10% of the population); and where it is not so, then the blighted and blighting race, alas, is making it so as in Iraq physically, Iran spiritually, in Israel by vying Islamic hatreds*2, not leaving Sri Lanka alone, nor yet even the Solomon Islands or Fiji, nor yet Haiti, while Russia is beginning to recover from its approach to slaughtering spirits as well as bodies, for what purpose we shall doubtless shortly see.
Thus in meaningless follies, man raises his pride to fall on his own sword, squalid in failure, rigorous in various angers, intent on suicide sometimes literally, as a form of battle as well as a way of living into death's hands, mistaking it for the Lord of life! It is rather like a Bach fugue, in which it is not enough to have some tune, but it must be intermarried, wedded into the arms of another, in a felicity of fulsomeness that grasps the spirit with a sense of beauty; except for one thing in the actual case before us. It is not now the beauty, but instead the grossness of insensitivity and the horror of spiritual plague which so acts; and it is not beauty but a monument to ugliness which is its epitaph.
To man in Christ however, the Word who came to preach, teach, to act, to save, to sentence sin in Himself on offer to all, their iniquity borne for those who receive this ministration from Him in whom the Father was reconciling the world to Himself, there is a different picture, not because of an artist alone, but through an artisan.
In Him, another kingdom is built. For the Christian, the person in Christ, then, the world is but a seed-bed for the growth in Him, a site to become a crop cultivated by God, wrought by His Spirit, kept for His haven, received with love. It is a site to become once more restored, as first made, in His image, but now prepared for greater things than mere material bliss, or environmental concord, for escape from danger or peril. In Christ, the consummate is perfected, the gift of grace is brought to culmination, the cleansing is not only from guilt but from guile, not alone from error but into purity, the light shining without intermission, into eternity.
Let us become horticultural in image once more. The seed is the word of God telling you. You are the bed, and your crop is to be harvested. Happy harvest where it is His! Beware of the weed! (Matthew 13).
On the way, finally, there is one aspect that needs emphasis, and it is in the realm of what you remember and what you forget.
In IMPORTUNATE seeking of the Lord, remember He is your Creator, the Redeemer, and hence seek Him in realistic terms, where pardon is to be processed on the basis of what He has already done and power provided for what He yet desires, where purity is derived in the light inextinguishable.
Yet if you are not yet a Christian, and His pardon has never applied to you, remember this. He knows all, and He is aware whether you are His, chosen from eternity: and if you are, He has paid already. This is HIS business. YOU merely need to receive Him. Indeed ANY who comes, is already known; and you have no need to remember concern, for whoever calls on His name in faith, IS HIS! He desires all, and is delighted in any, for He delights in mercy (Micah 7:18ff.): but He also knows all, and is deceived by none!
Indeed His offer is as free as air. Come and you cannot but please Him; stay and you can only dismember your integrity, for out of the light, is darkness; and out of God, is artificial light, which is a form of obscurity. It grows over time.
Also remember when you ARE His, and have received His offer, with Him central to your life and ruling it as God, to FORGET the things that are behind, not dwelling unduly on what does not contribute to good, but to REMEMBER the things that are ahead, dwelling intensively on Him, His kingdom and His will, which is as important to you as is the next flight destination to an airline Captain (Philippians 3).
Be thankful for all things good and study to increase them in His name, for it is precious to Him, and you will receive from the Lord's hand, what you do in His blessing and time. Remember to be watchful; forget to be anxious (Philippians 4, Matthew 26:41).
What is the life in Christ in some of its ingredients, what are things worthy of remebrance ?
Faith means patience; patience means work; work means clarity of vision and purpose; vision means victory in faith, and Christian living means growth in Him, in the knowledge of Him, in conformity to Him, growing more like Him, in the fulfilment of His personal constraint to your life, of the gifts He gives you, the office in the church, whether ministering brotherly love, one of the sweetest, or helping in the administration of affairs, in the seeking of those still without God in this world, or in lifting the curtain on oppression and seeking to remedy it (as in Isaiah 58, where the promises are wonderful - 58:10-12).
Remember also to keep the rules of righteousness, as an artist remembers perspective; for they minimise accidents on the way - such as that in 58:13-14, where the day of rest is featured.
God is quite express and explicit about this. He acted and rested, and expects you to do the same, giving to HIM one day per week for sacred emphasis and rest from your weekly toils. He has not changed, for He never changes (Psalm 102, Hebrews 1, Malachi 3:6); and man is still in the same image. There is no alteration except in WHICH day, since it would be patently ridiculous to keep the rest day as a memory of creation rest, after the Lord's six days, rather than Sunday, the resurrection day, which gave rest in practice to disciples who could not rest without Him, and from Him, worshipping, heard this: "Peace to you! As the Father has sent Me, so also I send you!" (John 20:21).
They COULD not well worship before, since they awaited His rising; and they could not worship later, since His arising evoked it; and so they met on the Lord's day, for Thomas to come ... into the light also; and so they took up their collection on the Lord's day, and so did Paul preach till midnight or so, on the Lord's day, and such was Pentecost.
This is the NEW Covenant and the NEW day is the NEW way in which to REST in the OLD way! It is ONE GOD and one program; but the maturity of the faith in Christ requires this consummation in rest. Rest has always been spiritual (rest in the Lord ... return to your rest); but now there is the Lord's own day for its implementation in grace and profusion of thanksgiving, while keeping to the same Lord in the same one in seven sequence. After all, the creation mandate has not finished, and the commandment to rest in terms of what the Lord Himself DID, in Exodus 20, is not susceptible to any fulfilment on earth, since it is the path of its Creator in creation, formally and in those terms, prescribed for man in His image!
Remember to rest*3. It makes work so precious a contrast. Then having rested, be relentlessly vigorous in His service.
What researches and seeking then are involved ? Consider some of these.
It is as you rest in the Lord, that matters can be resolved, not only in the normal restfulness of His presence, but in the wrestling which finds it mark in this word from Hebrews, “Labour to enter into your rest!” (Hebrews 4:11).
You are led to find:
v Purged motives,
v purified understanding,
v delighted sense of call rather than cold sense of duty,
performance out of love, not reward consciousness, for love
DOES NOT SEEK ITS OWN! (I Corinthians 13),
v worship of His majesty and holiness
v diligence in discerning the mind of Christ,
for His word
orders and arrangements,
promises and permissions, deletions and
Thus, being filled with faith like Joshua,
you are led to be willing when nearly all others may not be, or appear to be,
and rewarded at last:
yet without acting for reward but in faith in the first place.
What rest is this, which has TIME to be holy, and does not rush into a spin dive of drive and doing, as if spirituality and godliness were an afterthought!
Then ? then this done ? Then there is labour in His vineyard, picking grapes and making the dark grape juice that so stimulates energy and heart, so much more wonderful than that which is spilt at the end; for then, it not fruit and juice but blood and judgment which awards itself to the formalistic substitutes for faith.
HOW those five virgins noted in the pointed parable in Matthew 25, to change the imagery, how they must have felt it when with lamps out, forms without function, profession without confession, pointing in the right way but not traveling it, they were shut out!
How COULD they be let in who, not having the Spirit of God, since they were not His, are not to be found amongst His children (cf. Romans 8:9). As to that gift of the Spirit, remember also this: it is no extra condition for a Christian, but a birthright (I Corinthians 12:13, Romans 8:9, John 6:50ff..). HE lives IN EVERY CHRISTIAN! Whoever, submitting to Him in repentance and faith has received His sacrifice of Himself in full vicarious atonement for his sins, is a child of God. It is no mere formal fact; it is a living reality which He informs with His presence, governs as Lord and secures in regenerated heart. It is a life which being from Him, is lived in Him; and out of it, there flows, as He declared, a stream of living water (John 7:37). Remember the Lord IS Lord, not a suggestion box!
Submission is the prelude to commission! Then what ?
Being sent is delicious, for HE is with you, the mission is marvellous, being founded in love, on truth, and filled with mercy. Remember always Matthew 28:19-20, for the commission continues till He comes.
See Wake Up World! Your Creator is Coming Ch. 6, Spiritual Refreshings Ch. 13, TMR Ch. 1 in various places.
See It Bubbles, It Howls, He Calls
Ch. 1, Ch. 10,
Of the Earth, Earthy ... 10,
Beauty for Ashes Ch. 1.
Appendix News, Appendix II,
Barbs, Arrows and Balms 13,
Things Old and New Ch.