Six Things God Says He Will Do For Us
In this lesson the Lord is spoken of as a Shepherd, and we as the sheep of His pasture. There are six things which God has promised to do for us within these verses:
I. Ezek. 34:11: “For thus saith the Lord God, Behold, I, even I, will both search my sheep, and will seek them out.” A truth we forget, that Jesus Christ not only saved us, but also sought us out. We think we made up our minds to seek the Lord, and we say: So many years ago we sought the Lord; so many years ago we found the Lord, forgetting that years prior to that the Lord sought us.
A few references touching upon that truth:
Luke 19:10: “For the Son of Man is come to seek and to save that which is lost.” Not only to save, but to “seek and to save.”
John 15:16: “Ye have not chosen Me, but I have chosen you.” In this His love was manifested. When we were disinterested, wicked, rebellious, going away from God, He sought us out by His Spirit, by His Word, by His providences, by His mercies, by. His judgments, God sought us out, It is marvelous to note to what length God will go to save a soul; how He will single you out and follow you up by day, and by night; and follow you by the week and by the month and by the year; He will follow you across the high seas and across the plains, across the mountains, and on through the darkness, until He literally runs you down and corners you, and you can go no farther, and you say: My God, I surrender. To me it is truly amazing to think of the patience, and of the persistence, and long-suffering of our God. He does not simply come and knock, and then go away, but He entreats, and warns, and woos, and inclines, and draws, and calls, until you have been conquered, and surrender, — all because He loved us. He was under no obligations to us. O, how I bless Him that He sought me out, and gave me no rest, but followed me through the years until I surrendered.
The next thought in the lesson:
II. Ezek. 34:12: “As a shepherd seeketh out his flock in the day that he is among his sheep that are scattered, so will I seek out my sheep, and I will deliver them out of all places where they have been scattered in the cloudy and dark day.” “And will deliver them.” I will do this, He says: “I will deliver them out of all places where they have been scattered in the cloudy and dark day.”
You understand that, while this lesson has particular reference to the Israel of old, yet is has an individual application, and this is the thought I desire to emphasize; when God sought you out, and found you in your sinfulness and your wickedness, the next thing you needed was deliverance. Salvation means deliverance. A few references touching the subject of deliverance:
Matt. 1:21: “And she shall bring forth a Son, and thou shalt call His name JESUS, for He shall save His people from their sins.” Not in their sins, but “from their sins,” deliverance from their sins.
I Thes, 1:10 “And to wait for His Son from heaven, whom He raised from the dead, even Jesus, which delivered us from the wrath to come.” “Delivered us from the wrath to come.” Being saved, or delivered from our sins, we are delivered from the penalty of our sins, the wrath to come, Men will admit this, but say, there is so much of sin, and immorality and vice on every side, that they cannot live without committing sin. Now read,
Gal, 1:4: “Who gave Himself for our sins, that He might deliver us from this present evil world, according to the will of God and our Father.” There is deliverance from “this present evil world.” We are in the world, but not of the world. Paul testified to this deliverance in:
Gal, 6:14: “But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world.” A sort of a double crucifixion: “I am crucified to the world,” and “the world is crucified unto me” by the cross of Christ. I have no use for the world, and the world has no use for me, There is deliverance from “this present evil world.” The ship out in the ocean surrounded by water is just where it may he of use and service; and just because it is surrounded by water, is no reason why it should sink, But the ocean in the ship is quite another thing; when that vessel springs a leak, and the ocean gets into the ship, down she goes. So with Christians, when they are in the world they may be of service, being used of God to the saving of men; but if you spring a leak, by running onto some snag of disobedience and unbelief, and this world gets into you, down you go. Because sin is around us is no reason why we should sin. God means to deliver us from sin, God can do wonderful things. God can keep fish fresh in salt water, He can fix a water fowl so it can go under the water and not be wet.
I learned a lesson one time: my little boy wanted to go fishing; and, as I was home from an evangelistic tour, I was to go with him, The first thing to do was to get some bait, and so he went out to find some fishing worms; he went out to where the soil was dark, and black, and mucky, and he drew out some fishing worms, and their little jackets were as clean and shiny, — not a bit of that black earth sticking to them, And the Lord seemed to say to me: If I can fix these little fishing worms so they can crawl through this mire and mud and not become soiled, cannot I fix you up so you can go through the world and keep clean? I tell you what I have known the Lord to do: I have known Him to make some snow-white lilies to grow out of dark black dirt; and I have known Him to make some snow-white Christians in this sinful world, The Lord can deliver you from this present evil world, so you will have no trouble with the world. You say you cannot give up these things, — that your associates, your kin folks, and your friends are in your way. When you get struck with heaven’s lightning they will move over, and will give you up. Some people have trouble to give up all their wicked associates; I had trouble to find mine; they dropped me; they never invited me to another frolic, to another shindig, or anything of the kind. If you get God in to your heart, — get filled with God, they will let you alone.
Luke 1:73-75. “The oath which He sware to our father Abraham, that He would grant unto us, that we being delivered out of the hand of our enemies might serve Him without fear, in holiness and righteousness before Him all the days of our life.” The thought is, deliverance; delivered out of the hand of our enemies, to live a holy life. The ego, the self-life, is the greatest enemy to holiness, When people speak evil of you, you become offended, and you get “down in the mouth,” and then you have to be prayed up again; and then when people speak well of you, you become inflated, exalted, puffed-up, and then you have to be prayed down. The self-life is the greatest hindrance to a holy life. The man who hinders you the most in living a holy life is the man who walks under your hat. But God can deliver you from any enemy that hinders you from living a holy life; you may have deliverance from ‘sins, deliverance from the penalty of sins, — deliverance from “this present evil world,” the outward foes, and deliverance from the inward foes, the heart enemies, — a complete deliverance from any thing and everything that would prevent a holy life. “‘He is mighty to save and strong to deliver.” “He will deliver you out of all places where you have been scattered in the cloudy and dark day.”
III. The third thing He says He will do: — Ezek. 34:13: “And I will bring them out from the people, and gather them from the countries, and will bring them to their own land, and feed them upon the mountains of Israel by the rivers, and in all the inhabited places of the country.” “I will bring them out from the people.” What is that? “I will bring them out from the people?” That is separation. God calls for a separate people. His people in every age have been a separate people; and it is interesting to note how He speaks of them in that connection:
Lev. 20:26: “And ye shall be holy unto Me; for I the Lord am holy, and have severed you from other people, that ye should be Mine.” “Ye shall be holy unto Me;” and “I have severed you from other people, that ye should be Mine.”
Ex. 19:4, 5: “Ye have seen what I did unto the Egyptians, and how I bare you on eagles’ wings, and brought you unto Myself. Now, therefore, if ye will obey My voice indeed, and keep my covenant then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto Me above all people, for all the earth is Mine.” Is not that beautiful? “Shall be a peculiar treasure unto Me above all people, for all the earth is Mine.” Don’t be distressed.
Ex. 19:6: “And ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation.” “Have severed you from other people;” ye are “My peculiar treasure above all people;” “a kingdom of priests; an holy nation.” The same thought is found in:
Deut. 7:3: “Neither shalt thou make marriages with them; thy daughter thou shalt not give unto his son, nor his daughter shalt thou take unto thy son” Intermarrying with the world is contrary to the scripture, and accounts for much of the sorrow in this world, and many of the divorce suits in the courts. Well, but you must marry them to save them, some would say:
Deut, 7:4: “For they will turn away thy son from following Me, that they may serve other gods; so will the anger of the Lord be kindled against you, and destroy them suddenly.” If I were talking to young people here I would say, you cannot maintain a deep spiritual experience and court the world, much less marry them. You see a young man or young lady blessed of God, and receiving attention from the unsaved, it is not hard to tell what the outcome will be. O, how many hearts are made wretched, and homes miserable because of the failure to recognize this truth. I would not add a sorrow to a single heart, but O, how many homes, how many homes where there is no real happiness! The wife would rear the children for God, but the husband counteracts her influence largely by his ungodly example. She would have family worship, and ask the blessing at the table. But she will have to do it, for the husband has no sympathy with such matters. She would go to the prayer meeting, and to church; he would go to the lodge, to the theater, and some worldly doings. She wants Christian people in the home; he wants worldly people in the home. There is not much congeniality in that kind of life.
Deut, 7:6: “For thou art an holy people unto the Lord thy God: The Lord thy God hath chosen thee to be a special people unto Himself, above all people that are upon the face of the earth.” “A special people unto Himself.”
Deut, 7:7: “The Lord did not set His love upon you nor choose you because ye were more in number than any people; for ye were the fewest of all people.” Then why did He do it?
Deut, 7:8: “But because the Lord loved you, and because He would keep the oath which He had sworn unto your fathers, hath the Lord brought you out with a mighty hand, and redeemed you out of the house of bondmen, from the hand of Pharaoh, king of Egypt.” Is not that beautiful? He did not set His love upon you because ye were more in number than other people, but because the Lord loved you, and He says: “Ye are my peculiar treasure, a special people unto Me above all people.” “Severed you from other people,” — a separate people.
2 Cor. 6:14: “Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers; for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness, and what communion hath light with darkness?” “Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers.” Then how can you be yoked up with oath-bound secret orders? How can you be in unholy business alliances? How can you think of intermarrying with the world? God would have a separate people. And this thought of separation enters into every department of our life. Separate in your social life; separate in your business life. You cannot follow the tricks of the trade and yet be a Christian. Separate in your politics. I always did think that a Christian ought to have better politics than the saloon keeper. I should think that a Christian would feel very contemptible to come out of the voting booth and know the saloon keeper and brewer cast the same ballot which he had cast. Separate not only in these things, but in your very appearance.
2 Cor. 6:15, 16, 17: “And what concord hath Christ with Belial? Or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? For ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, and I will dwell in them and walk in them, and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. Wherefore come ye out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you.”
2. Cor. 6: 18: “And I will be a ‘Father unto you, and ye shall be My sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.” I wish I could tell you how that little word “a” blessed me one time. “A Father.” A real Father. Many men have that title who are not worthy of it. “Be a Father,” a true Father; and do for us, provide for us, love us, protect us, cherish us, as “a father,” if you will come out and be separate, and touch not the unclean thin g. O, the thing which paralyzes the church today more than anything else is this worldliness, — the church linked arm in arm with the world, And the world speaks the truth when it says that it can see no difference between you and the world, They say, “We go to the theater, play cards, dance, go to foot ball games, horse races, etc., etc., and so do your church members.” It is only too true! Sunday Christians, and week-day devils. God wants a separate people. And when they point their finger at you, that is saying they see some difference. You take it as persecution; you should take it as a compliment. If you were like them they would not say anything. When I ran with the devil’s gang, I lived, as the world did, and I was accepted of them; but the moment I had gone out and became separate, they said: O you’ve gone crazy on religion, have you? By their very taunts they testified that they could see a difference in me. A separate people, a peculiar people.
Romans 12:2: “And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect will of God.” It even enters into the question of dress.
I Peter 3: 1, 2,: “Likewise, ye wives, be in subjection to your own husbands; that, if any obey not the Word, they also may without the Word be won by the conversation of the wives; while they behold your chaste conversation, coupled with fear. Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel.” Now you need to distinguish between adornment and that which is for service. I am not going to lay down a pattern nor a fashion plate for you folks to dress by. I don’t believe the Bible teaches anywhere the uniformity of dress, the wearing of one color, one cut, and all that. And I am sure that the Bible is a thousand miles from encouraging slovenliness. What would be becoming to one would not be becoming to another. But this refers to that which is simply for show.
People who make no pretense of paying their honest debts are breaking their necks to keep up with the fashions. God wants you to be separate from the world. “Let it not he that outward adorning of plaiting the hair.” Now some get into bondage right there, and think that means platting the hair, but that is different from plaiting the hair. Plaiting the hair was taking a bright golden thread and weaving it into the hair, so that anyway the head was turned it would glisten; that was called plaiting the hair. Putting on of adornment just for the show, and because it is the fashion. It does not mean that we should not wear any apparel, but it is speaking of adornment. Some people go to the extremes, and simply dress up and dress down until they are a spectacle. You want to have common sense with your religion, But that which is just for show, and simply because it is the fashion, certainly that is not acceptable with God. When you follow the fashions of the world, you simply say: My religion don’t quite fill the bill; I want something else. Well, my religion fills the bill. I like to preach a religion that fries itself in its own fat.
IV. Ezek. 34:13: “And I will bring them out from the people and gather them from the countries, and will bring them to their own land, and feed them upon the mountains of Israel by the rivers, and in all the inhabited places of the country.” “And will bring them into their own land,” is the sentence I desire. That is the fourth thing:
1st — “I will seek them out;”
2nd — “I will deliver them;”
3rd — “I will bring them out from the people, and gather them from the countries;”
4th — “I will bring them into their own land.”
Have we any land coming to us?
If we have, we want to look it up; we must look up the records in this matter, If there is any land coming to me I want to know it; please read,
Gen. 17:1: 1: “And when Abraham was ninety years old and nine — ” (ninety years old and nine, — note his age,) “the Lord appeared to Abraham and said unto him, I am the Almighty God; walk before Me and be thou perfect.” He is speaking to Abraham.
Gen. 17:8: “And I will give unto thee, and to thy seed after thee, the land wherein thou art a stranger, all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession; and will be their God.” “All the land of Canaan.” “To thee and thy seed after thee.”
Gal. 3:29: “If ye be Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.” Is that so? “If ye be Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise?” What was the promise? All the land of Canaan; “to thee and to thy seed after thee.” But you have to be Christ’s first, and if Christ’s, then are you Abraham’s seed, and heirs of the promise; and the promise is, all the land of Canaan. The Holy Ghost’s interpretation of that promise is found in:
Luke 1:73-75: “The oath which He sware to our father Abraham, that He would grant unto us, that we being delivered out of the hand of our enemies, might serve Him without fear, in holiness and righteousness before Him all the days of our life.” “The oath which He sware to Abraham,” what is the original? The land of Canaan, But what does the Holy Ghost say about it in our dispensation? “That he would grant unto us.” It is a grant. I challenge you to find in the Old Testament where God said that to Abraham in those words. Luke 1:73-75 is what the Holy Ghost says that oath means to us. And you have to be Christians in order to be Abraham’s seed. Then you are heirs to his promise. Our Father has made a will, and His will is your sanctification; then you had better probate the will and obtain the inheritance.
The holiness people all concur when we say that Canaan is a type of the sanctified life. The promise to Abraham and to Israel is the promise He has given to us, — the promise of holiness. “I used to think that Canaan was somewhere up on high, Where I perhaps might go, whene’er I came to die. But when I came to Jesus and at His cross did bow I got salvation through the blood And I’m living in Canaan now.”
That promise: “I will bring them into their own land, is equivalent to the promise: I will sanctify them. It comes as a second blessing, a second experience, And if Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and only then can you claim the promise.
The next thing God says He will do in the lesson:
V. Ezek. 34:14: “I will feed them in a good pasture, and upon the high mountains of Israel shall their fold be; there shall they lie in a good fold, and in a fat pasture shall they feed upon the high mountains of Israel.” What does that signify? Give a sheep all it can eat and it is satisfied. The thought I get here is that He will satisfy us; He will satisfy the cravings of the soul. Good pasture; fat pasture; high mountains of Israel. Not down in the swamp which breeds malaria and mosquitoes, and frogs. Mosquitoes are backbiters, and frogs are croakers, you know, — they all live down there, but they are not up in the hill country.
Now you would like to know what the bill of fare is. We are all interested in this question of feeding, — of pasture; our eating is of interest to all of us. I have been so near to death’s door several times that if I had quit eating I would have died, We are all interested in this question, We will get this by contrast, We will find first what the bill of fare was in Egypt:
Ex, 11:5: “We remember the fish which we did eat in Egypt freely, the cucumbers, and the melons, and the leeks and the onions and the garlic.” Just imagine what a breath these folks must have had! fish, onions, and garlic all mixed up. That was the bill of fare in Egypt. You see it was the truck of their own raising. Some say they did not raise fish, but I should like to know how they ate them before they raised them.
Now the bill of fare in the wilderness:
Ex. 16:35: “And the children of Israel did eat manna forty years, until they came to a land inhabited; they did eat manna until they came unto the borders of the land of Canaan.” Forty years they had manna:
For breakfast they had manna;
For dinner they had manna;
For supper they had manna.
The next morning they had manna; and, for a change, for dinner they had manna; and then for supper they had manna. The following day they had manna for breakfast; likely to have some
guests and company, so for an extra dish for dinner they will have manna; and for supper they will have manna. It was manna, manna, manna, manna, manna, the same thing over and over again, until it became exceedingly monotonous, and they lusted for flesh and wished themselves back in Egypt.
God never intended that manna should be used for forty years. It was supposed that they should have made the journey in from eleven to fourteen or fifteen days, and manna was just a transient diet. And, though that manna came from heaven, and though it is said to be angels’ food, it spoiled:
Ex. 16:20: “Notwithstanding they hearkened not unto Moses, but some of them left of it until the morning, and it bred worms, and stank; and Moses was wroth with them.” A fellow who did not want to go out to the midweek prayer meeting, tried to get enough on Sunday to last through the week, and it got stale. Every time they get up to testify you know exactly what they are going to say: “I was converted forty years ago down there behind Pap’s red barn.” The same thing over and over; their prayer is stereotyped. If you are bound to live on that experience, I would try to get a fresh dish occasionally. If you can say nothing else for a change, I would turn it the other end to once in a while; I’d have a change somehow.
Now for the bill of fare in Canaan; — our own land; this will make your mouth water:
Num. 13:17: “And Moses sent them to spy out the land of Canaan, and said unto them: Get you up this way southward, and go up into the mountain.” To go down southward is to go up into the mountains; you see we are in Canaan, Now hear the description:
Num. 13:23: “And they came to the brook of Eshcol, and cut down from thence a branch with one cluster of grapes, and they bare it between two upon a staff; and they brought of the pomegranates and of the figs.” Grapes it takes two men to carry one bunch! I have seen folks come into Canaan half starved, and see a bunch of grapes and try to pick up one of those bunches and were unable to carry it; it takes two men to carry one bunch. Pomegranates, figs.
Num. 13:27: “And they told him and said, We came unto the land whither thou sentest us, and surely it floweth with milk and honey; and this is the fruit of it.” “Floweth with milk and honey.” Friends, when I got into Canaan the first thing I got was a dish of honey, and I have been feasting ever since.
Another description of “our own land.”
Deut, 8:7: “For the Lord thy God bringeth thee into a good land, a land of brooks of water, of fountains and depths that spring out of valleys and hills;” You know the wilderness had trouble about water. Here are brooks springing out of the valleys and hills.
Dent, 8:8, 9. “A land of wheat, and barley, and vines; and fig trees, and pomegranates; a land of oil olive, and honey; a land wherein thou shalt eat bread without scarceness, thou shalt not lack anything in it; a land whose stones are iron, and out of whose hills thou mayest dig brass.” “A land wherein thou shalt eat bread without scarceness,” — no famine in this land; a land wherein thou shalt not lack anything; a land where the stones are iron, — the very stones are good for use; and out of the hills you dig brass.
Dent. 8:10: “When thou hast eaten and art full, then thou shalt bless the Lord thy God for the good land which He hath given thee.” Then thou shalt bless the Lord.” Well, bless the Lord! “When thou hast eaten and art full thou shalt bless the Lord.” Well, bless the Lord.
Would you like to know more about it? I can’t tell you much more, you will have to come over and-see. There are still some good corner lots which have not been taken. Some folks say you get too good for this world and cannot live long here. Listen to what God says about it:
Dent. 11:21: “That your days may be multiplied, and the days of your children, in the land which the Lord sware unto your fathers to give them, as the days of heaven upon the earth.” “The days of heaven upon earth.” Do days multiply to them which live in sin? Do they have days of heaven upon the earth? You get into a little corner of heaven; a segment of earth annexed to heaven. A heaven to go to heaven in.
It is marvelous how sanctified people get over singing:
“I want to be an angel and with the angels stand,” and want to go to heaven, and singing about the “Sweet by and by.” There is so much of heaven down here they don’t have time to sing about the “Sweet by and by.” I used to hear people talk about having a heaven to go to heaven in, but did not know it was promised to them. Feed a sheep as much as it desires and it is satisfied. Let me give you a few references with that thought:
Jer. 31:14: “And I will satiate the soul of the priests with fatness, and my people shall be satisfied with my goodness, saith the Lord.”
Psalm 36:8: “They shall be abundantly satisfied with the fatness of thy house; and Thou shalt make them drink of the river of thy pleasures.” Not only satisfied, but abundantly satisfied, I was satisfied when the Lord first saved me, but I am getting more satisfied all the time.
Psalm 107:9: “For He satisfieth the longing soul, and filleth the hungry soul with goodness.” “He satisfieth the longing soul.” He has promised to do it. An experience that does not satisfy you never quite satisfies Him. God wants to satisfy you. Satisfaction guaranteed, or no pay, On the fat pastures, the good pastures, the high mountains of Israel. He wants to turn you out into a clover patch, where the clover is so tall that you have to tiptoe to bite off the heads. You have been nibbling around in that little corner of yours until you have about pulled the thing up by the roots. God wants to turn you out in some fresh clover patch. Amen!
VI. Ezek. 34:15: “I will feed My flock, I will cause them to lie down, saith the Lord God.” “I will cause them to lie down.” What does that suggest? “That is rest, Cause them to lie down; that is the crowning jewel of this grace, — soul rest. “I will cause them to lie down.” Instead of struggling, and fuming and fretting, having conflict, and warfare with carnality, you are reposing in God. Thank God for soul rest!
Matt. 11:28: “Come unto Me, all ye that labor and heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” A rest promised on the condition that you come. “I will give you rest.”
Matt. 11:29: “Take My yoke upon you, and learn of Me; for I am meek and lowly in heart; and ye shall find rest unto your souls.” “Rest unto your souls.” That comes after you have taken His yoke upon you and learned of Him, That is rest to your soul. First is rest from guilt and condemnation; second is soul rest. Multitudes affirm that they know nothing about soul rest; they fret and worry and stew and whine and pine and complain. Some people are such chronic complainers and fretters, that, if they have nothing to fret about they will fret because they have nothing to fret about; they will fret anyway. Faith will annihilate fret or fret will annihilate faith.
More people die from over-worry than from overwork, “I will cause you to lie down.” A lady once said to me: “I lie awake all night and worry, and I am all worn out.” I said: “What good does it do you to worry?” Worry simply unfits you for the duties of life. Thank God you can get this blessing! You can have your cares lifted by getting down by your bedside and giving them over to God, and then go to bed and shut your eyes and go to sleep and sleep soundly until the next morning. Brother, sister, there is a grace that will bring you soul rest.
Heb. 3:18-19: “And to whom sware He that they should not enter into His rest, but to them that believe not? So we see they could not enter in because of unbelief.” He is talking about entering into His rest in the land of Canaan.
Heb. 4:3: “We which have believed do enter into rest, as He said, As I have sworn in My wrath, if they shall enter into My rest: although the works were finished from the foundation of the world.” They DO enter into rest which have believed.
Heb. 4:4, 5, 6, 9, 10: “For He spake in a certain place of the seventh day on this wise, and God did rest the seventh day from all His works, And in this place again, if they shall enter into My rest. Seeing therefore it remaineth that some must enter therein, and they to whom it was first preached entered not in because of unbelief:… There remaineth, therefore, a rest to the people of God. For He that is entered into His rest, He also hath ceased from his own works, as God did from His.” It is a cessation from your own works. I wish I could explain it. Brother, that is th crowning jewel of this grace. When people get this blessing, how the lines in the countenance disappear, and anxious cares cease! How do you rest? When you retire at night after a hard day’s toil you don’t get into bed afraid that it will go down; you just relax; you let go of every weight,and just rest; glory! Thus you can relax in God.
A great many people are like the man who was on his way to the mill carrying a sack of grain; a neighbor, driving along with his spring wagon, overtook him and invited him to step into the wagon and ride. He got into the wagon, and took the seat back of the driver. They opened conversation, and after a little while the neighbor chanced to glance around, and he found that his friend was still hanging onto the sack of grain; and he said:
Friend, why don’t you put it down? He replied: “O, I thought it was asking too much to ask you to carry me and the grain too.” Many are like that today. God wants to bear you and your burdens too. We go to the Lord, and we kneel down and say: “Here, Lord, I lay my burden at thy feet, I lay it all on the altar, amen.” And we arise and again pick up the burden and go away with it. We come back with it again, and say: “Here, Lord, I give my burdens to thee, amen.” And still continue to cling to the burden.
Isa. 26:3: “Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on Thee: because he trusteth in Thee.” “Perfect peace.” The margin gives it: “Peace, peace.” A sort of double peace, “whose mind is stayed on Thee.” I learned a lesson one time; I found whenever I was distressed,and fretted, and worried, I was looking down, I was humping over; and when you are in a bent over, downcast position and condition, the devil will load you up; when you hump over that way he will stick the bundles on you. So I will not hump over for him any more. You look down, look at the people, look at your circumstances, have your eyes on the folks, and he will load you up every time. I have seen preachers packing whole churches on their backs, It is too much. O, thank God, you can keep your mind on Him! and He will keep you in perfect peace. It is a rest from inward conflict, trouble with anger, doubts, fear, pride. You don’t have to struggle and fret and worry; thank God! you can get beyond that; it is a settled thing, — soul rest; you do not worry and whine any more.
Brother Peter was apprehended and placed into the dungeon, with the death warrant on him; tomorrow they were going to cut his head off with Herod’s guillotine, and he lies down and cries and says: O, why does the Lord let this come to me! (imitating) what will the people say! what about Mrs. Peter! No, no! I know he had a wife, for the Bible ‘says: “Peter’s wife’s mother lay sick of a fever.” He had a mother-in-law, so if he had a mother-in-law he had a wife, But he did not whine and fret; he went to sleep. You remember, he thought he had a dream; he thought he dreamed; an angel said: “Arise quickly.” He got up. And the angel said: “Gird thyself, and bind on thy sandals.” He went up to the cell door and it opened, and the outer gate opened, and he walked through. Notice, he had to pass through two gates to get free. After he got outside the angel told him to go on. I can imagine I can see him look around. The fellow thought he had been dreaming. You know how it is sometimes when you have been dreaming. And then he said: “Now I know of a surety, that the Lord hath sent His angel, and hath delivered me out of the hand of Herod.”
Well, they were having a prayer-meeting over there in Lydia’s house, and they were praying for his deliverance. Peter knocked at the door, and the damsel named Rhoda came. She was so overjoyed to find that Peter was out there that she forgot to open the door, and she ran back and said: Peter’s out there. “O, it must be Peter’s ghost; he is down in jail.” But they found it was Peter, really Peter. My, what a time they had in the prayer-meeting that night! Deliverance, marvelous deliverance! Grace to lie down and go to sleep under those conditions? That is soul rest.
Paul and Silas when they, were apprehended were given “forty stripes save one.” They entertained them very “fast” in the inner prison; and there, with their backs bleeding and sore, at midnight they said: “O, why does the Lord allow this; what will the people think of us! what will the neighbors say! what will our folks say! what will become of our influence?” Did they say that? No! About midnight Brother Paul said: Silas, let’s sing something. I imagine Silas was the tune chorister. What shall we sing? Let’s sing that good old hymn: “Hark! from the tombs a doleful sound.”
Or perhaps it is that other old hymn:
“See how we grovel here below, Fond of these creature toys.”
May be it was that other hymn:
“Prone to wander, Lord I feel it; Prone to leave the God I love.”
No; it was some revival hymn. They had no machine to furnish the music, so the chains began to rattle; there was no one to keep time in the jail, so the jail begins to keep time. The jailer heard the noise, and became excited, He said there was too much excitement; but it was he that was excited. Brother Paul said: “Do thyself no harm, we are all here.” And you remember he went out and prayed with him, and got the jailer and his family converted, and took them into church that same night; and the jailer started in the restaurant business for preachers that same night and served a midnight lunch. Then, when it was all over, Paul said to Silas: “Let us skip now before daylight; better jump the fence now before it is daylight.” Multitudes of fellows would have done that. The way is opened up, and we had better skip out. But, after the jailer was converted, and after the midnight lunch, they went into their stalls, — I mean their cells. (Well I have heard of preachers being stalled, or installed.) They went back into their cells. The next morning the news got out; the jailer has taken it; things are getting worse. The chief of police heard about it, and sent word down to let those preachers go. But Paul said: They have placed us in here without being condemned, now let them come down and take us out, They had soul rest, That is what I am trying to get at.
How many persons come to the pastor and say: Mr. Preacher, I want my letter?
Why, what’s the trouble?
Why, haven’t you heard about it?
Well, I’ve got so much trouble I can’t stick. Mrs. Jones told me that Mrs. Smith told her that she had heard another woman say that she was acquainted with me and that I had done so-and-so, and I can’t stick; I am worried to death.
Like the man who said he had seen a man who told him that he was acquainted with a man who knew a man who was acquainted with a man that had seen a man that knew a man that had heard a man say that he had seen a man who knew a man that had heard another man say that he knew a man that heard another man say that he had seen the devil.
Well most of our troubles come that way. Thank God! you can get where you will not be disturbed, where your peace will flow as a river; without may be storm and conflict; within will be peace and calm. “I will cause you to lie down.” You will get younger; you will live longer; you will look better. I wish I could tell you about it.
A word about testimony: People say, O well, it’s all right; I’ll just live it and not say anything about it; I’ll just live it. I insist that life and testimony must go together.
Deut. 26:1: “And it shall be, when thou art come in unto the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee for an inheritance, and possessest it, and dwellest therein.” Notice, you have come in to possess it, and to dwell therein. You are not just speculating, experimenting, or visiting, you have moved over.
Deut. 26:2: “That thou shalt take of the first of all the fruit of the earth, which thou shalt bring of thy land that the Lord thy God giveth thee, and shalt put it in a basket, and shalt go unto the place which the Lord thy God shall choose to place His name there.” Up to the Quaker Church, the Methodist Church, the Presbyterian Church, or wherever the Lord puts His name. Go up with fruit in thy basket. They can tell by the fruit.
Deut. 26:3: “And thou shalt go unto the priest that shall be in those days and say unto him, I profess this day unto the Lord thy God, that I am come unto the country which the Lord sware unto our fathers for to give us.” What is the use of professing if you have the fruit? won’t they know it? Yes, but you are to go up and say that you have the blessing, and if he doubts it, just shake your basket of fruit at him. Go up with your basket filled up with the fruit of the Spirit: peace, joy, love, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, meekness, faith, and so on; and then you are to profess the blessing; and if they say anything about it, just shake your basket, — your fruit as well as your testimony, and testimony as well as the fruit. God wants you to tell it.
Another word as to how to keep the victory after you have gotten into Canaan, They suffered defeat at Ai; did that prove they were not in Canaan, and had to throw up the whole thing?
No sir! they were still in Canaan. Well, what must they do? They must ferret out the Achan, and kill and destroy everything pertaining to him, and go on to victory. We cannot cover it over; had
they covered or excused Achan they would have been driven out of the land; but we must ferret out anything that may cause defeat, and go on to victory. Defeat is possible, though not necessary; but multitudes, when they have suffered defeat, give up all and back down. If the devil should get the advantage, then what shall we do? Ferret out the whole thing, and get under the blood, and go on shouting the victory, I would not let the devil run me out of the land. How did they take Jericho? They had instructions, you remember, to march about the city:
Joshua 6:5: “And it shall come to pass that, when they make a long blast with the ram’s horn, and when ye hear the sound of the trumpet, all the people shall shout with a great shout; and the wall of the city shall fall down flat, and the people shall ascend up every man straight before him.” F-l-a-t, flat. You remember that the instructions in the second and third verses were to march about the city six times, — once each day for six days; and on the seventh day they were to march about it seven times. Well the first day they simply marched about the wall; the second morning they started off and marched around the wall; the third morning they marched around the wall, About the third day the thing got into the newspapers; and they said: Joshua is out here with his church, and they are marching around the wall, and he thinks the thing is going to tumble down there must be some lunatic asylum broke loose. The fourth day they marched around the wall. The fourth and fifth days the papers were full of the thing; who ever heard of such nonsense; they come and march around the wall and think the thing is going to fall down. The fifth and sixth days they started off and marched around the wall; and, as they marched around, the city folks came and sat on the wall and looked down and said: “See, there they go.” But they didn’t stop to argue. The sixth day they marched around the wall.
Now you will read in this same chapter:
Joshua 6:20: “So the people shouted when the priests blew the trumpets; and it came to pass when the people heard the sound of the trumpet, and the people shouted with a great shout, that the wall fell down flat, so that the people went up into the city, every map straight before him, and they took the city.” “The people shouted with a great shout, and the walls fell down f-l-a-t, flat.” What do you get out of this? They took the city by obeying God and shouting. They kept walking around and shouting, and God knocked the walls down. When I get into cold churches, I don’t go to scolding them; I just walk around and shout, and God knocks the walls down; hallelujah! There is such a thing as shouting before the walls are down. Some people pout before the walls are down and shout afterwards, but that is not the shout of faith.
Now I want you to see the difference between the crossings:
Ex. 14:16: “But lift thou up thy rod, and stretch out thine hand over the sea, and divide it; and the children of Israel shall go on dry ground through the midst of the sea.” You remember how the sea was divided. They could see their way through; all the faith they needed was to believe that the waters would not come together, and they went through on dry ground. There was a human agency, Moses and the rod opening up the way for them, But when they were crossing the Jordan — turn to:
Joshua: 5:8, 13, 14: “And Joshua said unto the people, Sanctify yourselves: for tomorrow the Lord will do wonders among you. And Joshua spake unto the priests, saying, Take up the ark of the covenant, and pass over before the people. And they took up the ark of the covenant, and went before the people. And the Lord said unto Joshua, This day will I begin to magnify thee in the sight of all Israel, that they may know that, as I was with Moses, so I will be with thee. And thou shalt command the priests that bear the ark of the covenant, saying, When ye are come to the brink of the water of Jordan, ye shall stand still in Jordan. And it shall come to pass, as soon as the soles of the feet of the priests that bear the ark of the Lord, the Lord of all the earth, shall rest in the waters of Jordan, that the waters of Jordan shall be cut off from the waters that come down from above; and they shall stand upon an heap. And it shall come to pass, when the people removed from their tents, to pass over Jordan, and the priests bearing the ark of the covenant before the people.” Notice they removed from their tents for a specific purpose; — not to go on a frolic, not to go off on a picnic, but to go over Jordan.
Joshua 3:15: “And as they that bare the ark were come unto Jordan, and the feet of the priests that bare the ark were dipped in the brim of the water, (for Jordan overfioweth all its banks all the time of harvest”) They were to cross that Jordan, and it was harvest time, and the Jordan was out of its banks.
There are a great many people that want to get sanctified just as they were converted, and they seldom do. I remember when I crossed the Jordan, it was harvest time, and the river was out of its banks; and the orders were that the soles of the feet must dip into the brim of the water. That looked pretty risky. Now suppose I stepped out on the bank and stepped into a muskrat hole, or something of that kind. Suppose I would claim it and then not have it. So I sang,
“On Jordan’s stormy banks I stand,
And cast a wistful eye,” etc.
Then I came up, and drew back; I came up again, but the Jordan was out of its banks, and it looked like risky business to jump into that turbulent stream. I looked up and down some time, to find if I could not see my way through as I did when I was first converted; but there was no Moses there to accompany me. Finally I got desperate, and I said good-bye to the folks, and I sold out all I had, — I realized I could not take anything with me; but I got desperate, and said good-bye (still on the river’s brink, imitating the undecided stand), and sink or swim, perish or survive, live or die, I ventured in, and O, the waters divided, I have been singing ever since,
“I’m living in Canaan now, I’m living in Canaan now;
I’m doing well, I’m glad to tell, I’m living in Canaan now.”