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Embrace of Victory
From Joshua to Hosea, to Paul,
to Christ to the Children of God
The embrace of victory is a reciprocal thing, when the VICTOR is Christ. You see the embrace, that close, friendly certainty that is of the Lord to those whom He appoints for work or war, in the labours of peace (you FIGHT a disease in order to bring health), especially in the case of Joshua.
In Joshua 5, there is this man of faith, one of two leaders who were WILLING to ENTER the promised land which the Lord had APPOINTED to Israel, when the opportunity came.
At this stage, Joshua's long personal day of waiting is over. He has had to wait in the weary forty years in the wilderness, courtesy of the disbelief of the mass of the people. Now the time has come, and he is to lead them INTO the promised land.
The Lord appears to him so vividly, and in such concretely detailed fashion, that he wonders if it is an enemy or friend. It is obvious to him that he is being faced by someone equipped for battle. It is not yet clear that it is none other than "the Lord of hosts" in an epiphany. Are you for us or against us ? he asks. For us ? or for our adversary ? "No," says the visitor, "but as commander of the LORD's army I am now come!" Joshua was instructed to take off the sandals from his feet, having fallen down before the Commander, "for," said He, "the ground on which you stand is holy."
Here was the certainty and assurance of victory, that the LORD almighty had appeared in the role of Commander of HIS OWN army, which He had appointed. This was the embrace of victory.
He had told Joshua earlier, "shall be able to stand before
you all the days of your life; as I was with Moses, so I will be with you. I
will not leave you nor forsake you. Be strong and of good courage, for to this
people you shall divide as an inheritance the land which I swore to their
fathers to give them.
"Only be strong and very courageous that you may observe to do according to all the law which Moses My servant commanded you: do not turn from it to the right hand or to the left, that you may prosper wherever you go. This Book of the Law shall not depart form your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night... Have I not commanded you ? Be strong and of good courage, do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go."
Here was the VICTOR, the living God assuming pre-incarnation form, appearing as the Commander of the army, the LORD of HOSTS. Indeed, in Isaiah 55, we read of Him who has been exposed in Isaiah 52-53 in His travail to become the Saviour, in these terms:
"I have given Him
as a witness to the people,
as leader and
as commander for the people.
"Surely you shall
call a nation you do not know, and nations who do not know you shall run to
How truly and fully this has been wrought in the work of those such as the apostles who, being Jewish, in Christís name called many nations!
In Revelation 1, again, He appears again, in this role, for we find this: "Grace to you, and peace from Him who is and who was and who is to come... and from Jesus Christ,
the faithful witness,
the firstborn from the dead, and
the ruler over the kings of the earth.
"To Him who loved us and washed us form our sins in His own blood, and has made us kings and priest to His God and Father, to Him be glory and dominion forever and 4ever. Amen."
He then refers to Christ's return in glory as He had predicted, when under the duress of the murderous ministrations of the devious priesthood in Jerusalem (Mark 14:62).
The affair is dramatic when seen in the light of Revelation 5, where the spiral of history is about to unfold but is hampered for no one worthy is seen who could take the scroll on which the divine determinations were written, which alone, when opened, could unleash the events which would cascade forth to the end of the Age. "I wept much," says John, who eagerly awaited Christ's return, that glory for the One whom he had known so well. "Do not weep," said one of the elders in the vision. "Look, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David has prevailed to open the scroll, and to loose its seven seals." Then John sees this lion, for the VICTORY which He gained, appearing, standing, in amazing contrast with His real power as "a Lamb as though it had been slain... Then He came and took the scroll out of the right hand of Him who sat on the throne."
The air is then tumultuous with praise:
"You are worthy to take the roll, and to open its seals,
For You were slain and have redeemed us to God by Your blood,
Out of every tribe and tongue and people and nations,
Ana have made us kings and priests to our God,
And we shall reign on the earth."
VICTORY is the atmosphere, the breeze, the sun, the showers: it is everywhere, the Lion who as Lamb became the Victor and has transmitted what He has transmuted, sin and death into pardon and peace, life and love.
the Lamb who was slain to receive power and riches and wisdom, and strength,
Yes, and more for in 5:13, we hear these words:
"Blessing and honour and glory and power,
Be to Him who sits upon the throne,
And to the Lamb for ever and ever,"
the words familiar to very many, since in the Messiah of Handel they have swarmed into our hearts and minds, and those of fellow Christians, in innumerable Christmas broadcasts and concerts for hundreds of years.
Thus do we also find in Paul's inspired words, I Corinthians 15:55ff., starting with a quotation from Isaiah 25:8 and continuing with allusion to Hosea 13:14*1; for these vast matters and proceedings were exposed as so often, long before they ever happened in history, since to God, history is a book well written before it is permitted to come to life:
"Death is swallowed up in victory" - but let us hear it in more of its delightful context.
"So when this corruptible has put on incorruption,
and this mortal has put on immortality,
then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written:
'Death is swallowed up in victory.'
'O Death, where is your sting?
O Hell, where is your victory?'
"The sting of death is sin, and the strength of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
"Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord."
(Emphasis added for ease of recognition.)
So does the VICTOR make His own victorious presence felt throughout the ages, and provide both strength and security as the Victor, on whom the very unwinding of history depends (cf. also Isaiah 51:16),
whose arising from the grave is the testimony not only of grace but of power (cf. Isaiah 26:19, Psalm 16-17, 22), whose coming has not only been in epiphany as to Joshua, but in incarnation as Jesus (Luke 1:35), and whose power was apparent not only in the Exodus, not only in the Entry into the Promised Land, when at last faith was there to accept that victory, but in the miracles of Christ in word and deed, in His resurrection, and is apparent in Christian Life, where also, it should be received.
No more than the Commander over Joshua was 'really' a psychic twist, for it was God Almighty who had the sun pause in its going down, is this victory now a mere cheer-squad in verbal form. It is a GIFT as real as life from the dead. The power available in it is co-ordinate with that, for the purposes of the Lord (Ephesians 1:19). If it is needed for HIS purposes, it matters not at all how high or how vast are the mountains in the way, or how impossible the task may seem, faith removes mountains of THIS kind, by asking it in His name. Suffering ? Of course. Endurance ? Most probably: but action and results also.
After all, for what does one seek when a purpose dawns into the light of life ? Is it comfort, or pleasure, or prosperity ? Or do some at least still remember the concept of getting it done! When the King is Christ, and the commander Himself, getting it done is in itself a work of love, and a trysting of faith, a stimulus to performance and an undertaking fulfilled (cf. Mark 11:23-24, Matthew 7:21-23, 28:19-20).
His is the victory, and from Him it comes and is provided.
It needs to be EMBRACED, just as it embraced Joshua.
And how do you embrace it ? "This," says I John 5:4, "is the victory that has overcome the world, our faith." To whom then does it apply ? "For whoever is born of God overcomes the world..." THAT is the corps for whom it is applicable, and as to these, as the children of God, it is both natural and safe for them to EMBRACE the VICTORY, as a child embraces his or her father!
One of the intensely notable exponents of the VICTORY in and through the Lord is King David.
THE SALUTATION OF DAVID
I Chronicles 29:10-15 has one of the most remarkable public pronouncements of praise, from the lips of this same King David, when all was prepared for the building of the Temple. It is deep and pure, strong and true, and the winds of victory are upon it, as the zephyrs of Summer come from the cooling waters of oceanic depth and beauty.
"Therefore David blessed the Lord before all the assembly; and David said:
"Blessed are You, Lord God of Israel, our Father, forever and ever.
Yours, O Lord, is the greatness,
The power and the glory,
The victory and the majesty;
For all that is in heaven and in earth is Yours;
Yours is the kingdom, O Lord,
And You are exalted as head over all.
Both riches and honor come from You,
And You reign over all.
In Your hand is power and might;
In Your hand it is to make great
And to give
strength to all.
"Now therefore, our God,
We thank You
And praise Your glorious name.
But who am I, and who are my people,
That we should be able to offer so willingly as this?
For all things come from You,
And of Your own we have given You.
For we are aliens and pilgrims before You,
As were all our fathers;
Our days on earth are as a shadow,
And without hope.
"O Lord our God, all this abundance that we have prepared to build You a house for Your holy name is from Your hand, and is all Your own. I know also, my God, that You test the heart and have pleasure in uprightness.
"As for me, in the uprightness of my heart I have willingly offered all these things; and now with joy I have seen Your people, who are present here to offer willingly to You.
"O Lord God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, our fathers, keep this forever in the intent of the thoughts of the heart of Your people, and fix their heart toward You. And give my son Solomon a loyal heart to keep Your commandments and Your testimonies and Your statutes, to do all these things, and to build the temple for which I have made provision."
So did the king speak. He had learned to beware of ostentation or even self-congratulation, even in terms of the 'success' of the nation (I Chronicles 21), when Satan had tricked him; and for this they had suffered keenly. The power and the glory, the VICTORY and the majesty, belong to God. HE is the literal source of the victories that matter, the things that endure being pure, the things that are not clammy or the dummies of mere human dynamics, but aflame with His own majesty, lambent with His own peace and of happy destiny in His own purity; for indeed, it is the pure in heart who see God (Matthew 5).
When therefore Jesus Christ directed Christians (indeed ALL are under direction, for duty is not lost because the heart rebels!) to seek first the kingdom of God and HIS righteousness, He was not placing an ascetic cast on the rumbustiousness of normal living. Rather was He indicating the path of victory. It is NECESSARY in peace and purity, NOT to consider the way of profit as a criterion, not to allow this to DIRECT one's dynamics, LEAD one's steps or CONSTITUTE one's aims. Profit as an index of entrepreneurial performance in the market is merely a commercial gauge, like a petrol gauge. Interesting as it is, and useful in considering markets, it is not the same as the road map, the street directory, and certainly as the vision of program, the purpose of life.
THIS, HIS KINGDOM has to be actively sought as the REAL purpose in life, in that it is HIS, just as HE is sought as the Victor over death, disease and disaster, the Prince of peace and the God of life.
THERE lies victory. This is the spirit of it. Thus when persecution comes, which may have a financial component, as well as a physiological one, there is no conflict: merely loss. Accordingly, Christ made it clear that in that exercise of His Lordship in purity and truth in the spiritual life of someone which leads to the loss of family or friends or lands, this means in His own way to these things in this life, and eternal life to come. Thus, WHEN He as Lord, and His GOSPEL is the occasion of this, so that this is RULING motivation, and thus the giver is yielded to HIS WILL as His: then such is the confirmation of the gift already given, and its terrestrial resultant (Matthew 19:27-30, cf. 16:24-27).
To lose your life, the sure way is to keep it! Christ indicated, and to keep it the sure way is to lose it in the pursuit of His purposes.
The seed which refuses to germinate, rots (John 12), and the one that, dying to its preformatting, proceeds with life, lives. Sin is the encasing shroud which can act as a funereal pall for the recalcitrant seed; it loves its life and loses it. Life is the vital communion which thrusts down root and sends forth shoot into the sunshine, for the seed which having died, gains the life intended for it.
THE VICTORY IN CHRIST
The victory here is in following the prince of life (Acts 3:14-15), as Paul called Christ, in telling the priestly authorities of their murder of Christ, as 'judges' of the Just One (cf. Micah 5:1ff., where they 'strike the Judge of Israel with a rod upon the cheek'. That, it was a gross action foretold, and grossly fulfilled - Mark 15:18-19, with that precious precision which lies in the word of Him who spoke the DNA in its sophisticated miniaturised commands, into existence, to make the most gloriously brilliant design ever constructed on this earth: man. Part of that design was a very substantial freedom, the abuse of which, like hitting a lamp-post for a car, does not help its operation!
Thus is seen the folly, more, the confusion of imagining that Christianity has anything whatever to do with 'success' in this world, in the sense of power, position, riches by earthly means. It has to do with the purpose of life, the program of deity, the vision of God in its fulfilment, the kingdom of heaven and its ways, the things that endure, indeed the ENDURANCE OF THE BEST. Far removed is that from the 'survival of the fittest' which omits the consideration of what they are deemed to be fit FOR! It reminds one of the joke in Punch many years ago, where the casual and uncommitted nephew seeing his uncle, while on his own way to play tennis, makes the sociable remark that one has to keep fit!
Fit for what ? asks the penetrating uncle! Let us consider this craze on being 'fit'.
Fit to plunder ? fit to steal ? fit to kill, like Hamas. George W. Bush, this day was reported on News Radio, to have declared that there appear some whose desire is to KILL, not for peace, who do not desire a Palestinian State with Israel, but rather death without Israel, calling on 'the world' (which the announcer declared was surely intended for the 'Arab world') to withhold funds from terrorist organisations like Hamas. They train, groups of such a kind as these terrorists, as the news clip often enough depicts, in places like the Taliban premises, to be fast to thrust with bayonets, and just as the evidence from Afghanistan indicates, to blast with bombs.
Fit as human bombs ? Is this the victory ? Dead by means of murder as the purpose ? is this the victory ? Refusing peace because of murder, desiring the extermination of the Jewish State, already sufficiently harassed by the UN, is this the vision of purity and truth ? Racism, is this the reality ? Putting some one idea above all, without proof or even verification, is this the way of reason ?
No, it is not the fitness to survive in the sense of possessing a little more in the way of time on earth in the pursuit of grubby politics and red-stained greed for land, ambitions for the dust, of the dust, reducing life to fiasco and religion to virtual farce, man-made, with no authority but the force which it manipulates, that is victory. Such force as Muhammad used from the first, thus gaining access to Mecca and enforcing the thoughts of his visions, unprotected by verification, by antiquity, by millenia of confirmation, has no more authority than muscle and defiles the liberties God has granted. Indeed, some of the words which he spoke, gave princely rewards in paradise, for fighting.
Not in this way is life to be won. It is won with suffering: that of redemption, divinely wrought and attested in the endlessly verified and singularly validated Bible (SMR, TMR, Repent or Perish Ch. 7), just as it is shown in living in that manner, way, in the spirit of Christ. Thus, if you are a Christian, as you abide, inseparable from Him, you are seeking not to seize your desire, but to give rather, and to produce works suitable for righteousness, glorifying God with the fruits of your toil, the use of your gifts, the giving which this enables, ennobled not with blood, but with peaceable fruits of truth in love and grace (Galatians 5).
Did Christ murder ? No, He was killed. Did HE seize lands, no, He had no place to lay His head. Did He call for murder as the method of gaining the power to grasp more and more land ? No, He encouraged giving up lands if this would forward the Kingdom. The issue with the Jew in the Middle East is not least this, that GOD has declared what HE wants in land distribution, which He has long used as a sort of parable of His own will, and a witness to His own power and compassion, judgment and purposes (cf. Galloping Events Ch. 4, SMR Ch. 9, Appendix A).
Nor, for that matter, is little Israel seeking to aggrandise itself, rather having yielded what it gained, in no small measure, when the Arab hold on its vulnerable throat was intense, amid many nations, in 1973. Now they want this nation to release what it gained when the throttling was nautical, back in 1967, in the blockage in the Gulf of Aqaba, and to this to add, doubtless, some of its ONLY sacred city and capital, Jerusalem, then in part gained back from the molestation of synagogues, reported during the Jordanian occupation of this site. Such is the clamour against the deprived residue of Palestine committed to the Jew.
In fact, Israel is seeking a tiny remnant of the Palestine promised in 1917, for living at all; and it is entirely questionable to what extent that rump would, without explicitly divine aid (which will come in its time - Ezekiel 37ff.), be viable! No doubt this is part of the intention, to reduce its power by intensive exploitation of international agreements and the like, as a counterweight to the Jewish war gains when obliteration of the State was the aim, so that it will be manipulable and possibly (by human thought) extinguishable at convenience, like a mouse caught by a 'playful' cat, waiting until it feels like eating it!
Not in such ways is God glorified, justice shown, or peace obtained.
And what is true here, is true in business where empires of greed may be erected, rapacious and rampaging like Hamas in its territorial ambitions, and like bin Laden in his own declared desires for land for Islam; and it is true in personal life, where the desire to 'succeed' is mischievously confused with obtaining power over other people and vast amounts of land or dollars. This is acquisition of means; so that when life is prostituted for these, there is no chance at all that the life left is in the life of God, for then it becomes merely the residual format of its abuse. The smouldering pit of Gehenna is a place to devour rubbish; and when a man or a woman or child rubbishes life, what is left but a spent residue, being consumed... unless there be repentance and saving faith to come!
There is no victory in this, but a defeat so profound that it digs, if you will, below the ground, to find its level. For this reason, not least, it is referred to as having a worm which does not die (Mark 9, in that demonstrative discourse of Christ).
Contrary to all this, David declared, when working FOR THE LORD and HIS KINGDOM, with His love and mercy prominently set before him (cf. Psalm 16,21, 51):
"But who am I, and who are my people,
That we should be able to offer so willingly as this?
For all things come from You,
And of Your own we have given You."
THINE, he attested, thine is the VICTORY!
HOW he had found this out in victories with the Lord's explicit wisdom and grace conferred, in detail (II Samuel 5:19ff., 23:9ff.)! and was it not for him a simple, literal fact. The Commander of the host WAS the Lord, as with Joshua, so that obviously the VICTORY was HIS!
This applies in other facets of Christian life equally, and where it is something declined from, so is the reality marred. The victory over temptation, over lust, over spiritual pride, over self-trust, the fragile paper flowers of self-esteem, wilful ignorance, carelessness and casualness, obsession and laziness, as likewise workaholic practices to obliterate reality with toil: this triumph is found in and from Him, in His embrace with that power and purity which nothing can equal, and life in Him can but attest.
The title of this chapter is deliberately ambiguous, since BOTH arms of meaning are true. What did Christ say, and how did He put it ? In this way, in John 15:
"If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you. By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples."
There is this JOINT abiding, this MUTUAL embrace, this RECIPROCITY of action, this fruitful friendship which allows the desires of the heart to arise like incense, and the delights of the Lord to descend like rain, making fruitful the waiting soil (cf. Psalm 37:5, Proverbs 16:3).
The labours of victory will become more onerous, if this be possible, as the Devil's Messiah comes into his own realm (II Thessalonians 2 - the 'man of sin' with Revelation 16,19). Thus with what joy are received those overcoming saints who coming to heaven, are given this accolade (Revelation 15):
"And I saw something like a sea of glass mingled with fire, and those who have the victory
over the beast, over his image and over his mark and over the number of his name
standing on the sea of glass, having harps of God.
They sing the song of Moses,
the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying:
"Great and marvellous are Your works,
Lord God Almighty!
Just and true are Your ways,
O King of the saints!
Who shall not fear You, O Lord, and glorify Your name ?
For You alone are holy,
For all nations shall come and worship before You,
For your judgments have been manifested."
Here lies the reality of overcoming the devilish dynamic, the appeal of the flesh, the desires of life for itself and its fellow-creatures as criterion, for the inventions of the mind and the dabblings of the spirit of man. Thus in Revelation 12:11, we read: ďAnd they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony and they did not love their lives to the death. Therefore rejoice, O heavens, and you who dwell in them!Ē
Here is the victory, after the race! Here comes rest with the best, who is life and word Christ have confessed (Revelation 14:13).
*1 Hosea 13:14 is one of the most remarkable verses in the Old Testament, terse, pithy, precise, deep and acutely informative.
® "I will ransom them from the power of the grave (hell),
® I will redeem them from death.
O Death, I will be your plagues!
® "O Grave! I will be our destruction!
® "Pity will be hidden from My eyes! (or repentance)."
God has been evincing, and proceeds yet far more to evince (Hosea 14) a combination of compassionate care, passionate concern and expostulation. With this is a determination invincible ("repentance will be hidden from My eyes"), just such as Christ displayed in proceeding with acute determination to Jerusalem for His death as a sacrificial victim (Luke 9:51ff.), and satisfaction for justice in the pardon to be provided for sin.
Death is in the way of love. It cuts the loved one to shreds. What then will the Lord do ?
In view of the requirements of justice, that death should blight the life that follows sin (and there is no man who does not sin, and no man who approximates the standards of God, being one and all born in sin and needing to be borne out of it), what was to be done ?
God resolving in that incandescent love which stops at no good thing for its purposes, to cover the case found the butt in Himself, sending from eternity into time, His own word incarnate. In that way, it is GOD HIMSELF who is the the plagues of death, envisaged here as a sort of rapacious monster whose insatiable maw mauls man. Hell itself, that loss of any real measure of independence in the refuse dump of recalcitrance, is likewise to be abolished for those who receive what the Lord is to provide.
Alas, this will not be all! Hosea 13:15-16 makes this very clear! as does Hosea 7:14-16, where Ephraim is compared to a deceitful bow: drawn is the arrow, pointed the bow, but the target it does not reach!
Yet there is to be no lack in the divine provision. It is to be ample, liberal, generous, staggering in the very conception of its generosity, discipline and determination. Hell's destruction, He stands for those who fall on Him, God Himself! Does this mean that hell will no more exist ? Alas no, for as Jesus showed in Mark 9, its needless ramifications of ruin are very much alive; but they are no inheritance of necessity, nor rigour of a remorseless God.
Hell no more exists as the butt for mere sin; only for that extravanganza of folly that rejects the mercy which God so imaginatively and remorselessly has provided (cf. John 15:21-23, 3:19,36). Moreover His provisions are retrospective (Acts 17:30ff.), though now to all men everywhere comes the clear as crystal command: REPENT! (cf. II Corinthians 5:17ff.).
It is for those whom He RANSOMS that this destruct ion of both hell and death is to occur; it is for those whom He redeems. Not all will so come. So be it. HE however has gone there and done that and suffered the fall of man on His own shoulders.
One thing however He does not, will not and naturally could not suffer: that is the destruction of Himself, as if purity and truth were to go. If that were so, ONLY hell would be the lingering languishing left-over of creation: no light would be there, and nothing that could endure, except judgment. Moreover, God CANNOT die, for He has known all things from before any time, and has planned all that is to be, being Himself without limit or direction, what He wishes to be, and with time a mere invention, this IS what He IS, and being alive, He does not 'change' into death (Romans 8:35ff., Ephesians 1:11, Isaiah 44:6, 41:4, 46:8-10).
A being who is IMMORTAL (I Timothy 6:16) with the power of an endless life (Hebrews 7:16) is free of entanglement with death, His own device for sin; and even when in man's format and for man He dies IN THAT FORMAT, it is not His extinction, but His obliteration of the very format of death which results. Life does not resign to death! His Spirit was thus committed into His Father's hands at Calvary! Death, it COULD NOT HOLD HIM (Acts 2:24). It has no such power, being a function of life for judgment, not of life for lie, as if to condemn the unarraignable!
These realities led to victory so intense, so profound, far greater in the positive realm than the hydrogen bomb in the negative, that it is a GIFT (I Cor. 15:54), the summary donation of the One who has secured it utterly, absolutely, past all time which is merely His stage. It is a conferment. In faith, one then operates WITHIN this victory, FOR the Lord, with the current operations which reflect it in the milieu where sin is still operative, and man is to fish for man, to bring the news of this victory, its power and its peace, whether he will hear, or not!
Look at the victory in Hosea at the end. Those, he says after introducing the blessed beauty of restoration, repentance and regeneration in the presence of the Lord, in Ch. 14, who are wise will understand these things:
"For the ways of the LORD are right;
The righteous walk in them;
But trangressors stumble in them."
Indeed, you see this very thing in Hosea 7:1: "When I would have healed Israel, then the iniqutiy of Ephraim was uncovered..." Sedate, settled, sedimentary sin is inhabited by groping darkness which loves to hide in itself.
Even in the presence of right, wrong twists it, as the Jewish pundits twisted truth in their actions as if to torment Christ, the truth. THEIR path, alas remains; but those who receive the Lord, God as man, these find redemption, indeed have it, and live for ever. When GOD is the source of that life, this is infinitely delightful.
Does the Lord however yield to those who yield finally to darkness ? Not at all: HE has done HIS part and this is the whole work of salvation. He has OBTAINED THE VICTORY, and He still GIVES IT, as Paul shows in I Cor. 15, noted above. Those whom in His predestinative wisdom, in view of the principle that He would have all in heaven or on earth come to reconciliation, is marked, these savour it and love it and have it, all the victory He has achieved and that life in His presence which has its fragrance, its precision and its power; and with this, is the suffering which is the mark of love and patience, but not without reason, or bound, for it ministers in love to this hour.
Those, however, who in the end prefer darkness, they have this as their condemnation (John 3:19). It is not of the Lord that man suffers, He does not afflict needlessly the children of men (Lamentations 3:33). HE has suffered more than any could or would, in order to provide the ransom for those who are His own; and there is NONE who is neglected in the outreach (Colossians 1:19ff.), though many are not to be found in the inreach! Truth will not bend; love has bent and is straight. There is no other way, and in view of the passionate magnificence of the WORK that made the way (reminding one, in an almost bathetic splendour, of the fascinating and remarkable Rocky Mountain railway through so much granite), anything else would not merely be irrelevant, but a pathetic twiddling.