GODS COMMANDMENTS AS PLEDGES.
It was a welcome discovery to me, a few years ago, to find that I might learn very much about God from His commandments. Of course we know dogmatically about Him by what He plainly tells us concerning Himself; but it has won my admiration to perceive His attributes as these are reflected in His precepts.
We are told to be holy, because He is holy (1 Pet. 1: 15, 16); and to be meek and lowly, because the Lord Jesus is this (Matt. 11: 29). In short we are to be imitators of God as dear children (Eph. 5: 1). But, what I find especially precious to my spirit in this is that I can count on Gods being, and on Gods doing, what He insists on my being, and doing.
Anyone who will read his Bible with this thought in mind will learn much about God. My object now is just to direct attention to this as a means of illumination, and to give a few illustrations of its practical value.
Some twelve years ago, in subjection to God and His Word, I renounced the profession that I had wholly depended upon for material support. Having not a cent laid up, I and my family were altogether cast upon Gods providence. There were days, and weeks, and months, of stern soul exercise; and there were many fiery darts that made it absolutely essential to wield the shield of faith (Eph. 6: 16).
One of the most fiery of these darts was a reminder of the principle laid down, 1 Timothy 5: 8, that, if any provide not for his own, and especially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel. Probably none but a father and husband who has had similar experience could realize how fiery that dart was.
But imagine the joy that flooded my soul when I became aware of the fact that this very verse established for me a claim upon God. For I am one of His own, and one of those of His own house. I could therefore, with holy boldness, remind my Heavenly Father that if it was a denial of the faith for me to fail to provide for my family, how much greater a denial of that faith it would be if He did not provide for me, one of His own, and one of those of His Own House (Eph. 2: 19)!
It would be wholly unlike God to tell me to do that which He neglected to do Himself. If I had to imitate Him, then He must go before and give me His example. Needless to say He did this; and in faithfulness and justice. He has given me no room to complain of His denial of the faith which He Himself delivered unto the saints (Jude 3). And thus I learned by experience that He wanted me to act up to the faith, because He did. In view of this principle, who can wonder that God loveth a cheerful giver (2 Cor. 9: 7)? and for the simplest of reasons, viz. because He Himself is a cheerful giver. So this verse teaches us that God gives not grudgingly, or of necessity, but cheerfully.
He giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not (James 1: 5). Fellow believer, have you begun to find out how great God is? The next time you feel disposed to give grudgingly, just remember how unlike your Father you are.
If thou see the ass of him that hateth thee lying under his burden, and wouldest forbear to help him, thou shalt surely help him (Ex. 23: 5). How touching! how beautiful! He cares for an ass, that belongs to one that hates Him; and, therefore, He wants us to do the same.
He commands, Mind not high things, but condescend to men of low estate. J. N. Darby translates it, - Go along with the lowly (Rom 12: 16). God enjoins this because it is just what He does Himself. Let any one read the Sermon on the Mount, and well consider that the commandments thereof reflect the attributes of God:- Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in Heaven is perfect, (Matt. 5: 48).
Do you know what it is to come to God with a great and urgent need? If so, let me remind you of a verse that you can use as a plea to Him: Say not unto thy neighbour, Go, and come again, and tomorrow I will give; when thou hast it by thee (Prov. 3: 28). Yes, I know this is His command to me; but He does not bid me do what He does not do Himself. And even if the Lord Jesus had not told us plainly that Every one that asketh receiveth (Matt. 7: 8), I would know that it must be so, for His command to His disciples is: Give to every man that asketh of thee (Luke 6: 30).
Unbelief is wont to count Gods commandments too severe; but let each child implicitly obey, and at the same time translate the command into a pledge, or promise, and he will find good reason for thanking God for His commandments. When he is told That which is gone out of thy lips, thou shalt keep and perform (Deut. 23: 23), he may thereby be perfectly assured that what has gone out of Gods lips He will unfailingly keep and perform.
- DAVID TREMARNE in The Last Hour.
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Not with my life-work, finishd past,
Shall I be satisfied at last:
Not with the gifts I brought my Lord,
Not with my knowledge of His Word:
Not with the witness these lips gave
Unto the One who died to save:
Not with my service, or my love,
Shall I be satisfied above.
Faulty and weak is my poor best,
Needing cleansing with all the rest.
Only from Christ come grace and power,
Sure suffiency every hour.
He is my glory and my song,
He, Who has led me all along;
And in the Light no cloud can dim
I shall be satisfied with Him.