ISAIAH 33
Enter subtitle here


2 O Yahweh, be gracious unto us; we have waited for thee: be thou their arm every morning, our salvation also in the time of trouble.

Exhortation

In a very true sense God is the truth.‭ ‬All the elements that constitute what we call the truth will be found to be rooted in Him.‭ ‬Why,‭ ‬for instance,‭ ‬is man mortal‭? ‬Because God,‭ ‬who made man,‭ ‬was disobeyed in the beginning.‭ ‬Why was Christ crucified‭? ‬Because God,‭ ‬though willing to show His kindness,‭ ‬will be kind only on the basis of His exaltation.‭ ‬Why is Christ coming‭? ‬That the will of God may be done,‭ ‬and that the purpose of God in the creation of the earth,‭ ‬may be realised.‭ ‬All these items of truth detached from God,‭ ‬are dry and dead.‭

Sometimes they are held in this detached form.‭ ‬Sometimes men are to be met with who are very much interested in what we may call the details of the truth,‭ ‬with no sympathy for the whole scheme of which they are the subordinate sections.‭ ‬They are much taken up with the signs of the times,‭ ‬say,‭ ‬but with no relish for that to which the signs of the times relate,‭ ‬for the signs are only signs of the coming glory of the Lord.

‭ ‬Or keenly interested,‭ ‬it may be,‭ ‬in questions scholastic involved in the system of the truth‭; ‬questions of the original tongue,‭ ‬and of lexicographical reference,‭ ‬but with no sympathy for the large and sublime ideas of which any or all words of any language are but the symbols.‭

Such men you may sometimes find eager to discuss the nature of Christ,‭ ‬with no real love for Christ,‭ ‬as shown by their total disregard of his commandments.‭ ‬All these belong to the category of spiritual abortions.‭

True growth in Christ,‭ ‬while not ignoring technical instruments as an indispensable means of access to the truth in our age,‭ ‬shoots up through and beyond it all,‭ ‬and lays hold of the actual things that constitute the truth,‭ ‬of which God is the kernel,‭ ‬yea,‭ ‬Alpha and Omega,‭ ‬beginning and end.‭ ‬While the breaking of bread is intended to bring Christ to remembrance,‭ ‬it is for that very reason also intended as a memorial of God‭; ‬for Christ and God are one:‭ ‬the one is but the manifestation of the other.

Spiritual success consists in having these things always in remembrance.‭ ‬To some it appears a barren form,‭ ‬this continual pumping-up from memory.‭ ‬No doubt it is easier to deal with things that we can see,‭ ‬and hear,‭ ‬and feel,‭ ‬but in the economy of things to which man stands related,‭ ‬it often happens that the things he can discern by understanding are of greater moment than the things he can handle.‭ ‬Things that are matters of memory may be inherently more real than things actually in hand...‭

[NOT USE...The men who recently defended Fort Chitral against the beleaguering force that out-numbered them,‭ ‬were distressed by the rigours of the moment‭; ‬but they knew and remembered from day to day that Colonel Kelly was on the march to their relief‭; ‬and by the power of this idea the inconveniences of the momemt were endured,‭ ‬and finally passed away.‭ ‬They could not see Colonel Kelly,‭ ‬but Colonel Kelly came and ended their troubles].

‭ ‬It is the function of intelligence to discern the difference between appearance and reality.‭ ‬An ignorant man cannot imagine there is anything else going on anywhere but the things that press upon his senses‭; ‬an intelligent person knows that the Queen lives in refinement at Windsor,‭ ‬though the tramp sleeps under the hedge,‭ ‬and sees nothing but what is dismal.‭

We have to learn that things out of our sight are very real,‭ ‬though unseen,‭ ‬if they are true in themselves.‭ ‬The sun at night for example,‭ ‬shines as brightly at the other side of the world as with us at noon-day,‭ ‬though the darkness would make us think there was no sun,‭ ‬or that it never would come back again.‭ ‬And so,‭ ‬in the depth and misery of winter there are spicy breezes,‭ ‬and balmy zephyrs,‭ ‬and glassy seas in the tropics.‭ ‬We may not be able to imagine that it is so,‭ ‬but such is the fact.

This is a parallel to these things in our position in the truth.‭ ‬We do not see God,‭ ‬but the reality of existence is not impaired by our want of perception.‭ ‬It is the part of wisdom to discern the fact of His existence‭; ‬we have never seen Him,‭ ‬though we are hoping to see Him.‭ ‬We could see Him at this moment if He chose to reveal Himself‭; ‬and if we saw Him,‭ ‬we should behold what Paul beheld a mile or two from Damascus,‭ ‬a dazzling figure,‭ ‬above the brightness of the sun.

‭ ‬Let us remember this in the darkness and squalor of our present state.‭ ‬We are like children living in cellar:‭ ‬we do not see the sun,‭ ‬but the fact is the blue sky and the sun are there for us to see,‭ ‬if we were so placed as to be able to see them.‭ ‬The fact that God and Christ exist carries that other fact,‭ ‬that the Kingdom of God will come,‭ ‬and that evil will vanish from the earth‭; ‬for the one springs out of the other.‭

Consequently,‭ ‬it is no vain thing to remember.‭ ‬It may sometimes be a painful effort‭; ‬so is education in all departments.‭ ‬People who refuse education because of the fatigues associated with it,‭ ‬refuse good and choose evil.‭ ‬And so those who weary in faith act the part of the foolish.‭ ‬The memory of truth discerned is faith,‭ ‬and is very powerful.‭ ‬The man who believes and remembers the truth feels himself able to wait for the developments connected with it,‭ ‬and to the duties that belong to it,‭ ‬even if distasteful,‭ ‬and to abstain from the things it proscribes,‭ ‬though they might be very agreeable.‭

This is where the advantage lies in our regular readings and meetings connected with the truth.‭ ‬The chapter read from Isaiah puts a prayer into our mouths appropriate to our position,‭

‭"‬O Lord,‭ ‬be gracious unto us‭; ‬we have waited for Thee.‭" [Isaiah 33:2]

This position of waiting is the position he enjoins.‭ "‬Wait ye for me,‭" ‬He says by the prophet Zephaniah,‭ "‬until the day that I rise up to the prey‭;" ‬and it is put on record that it shall be said in that day,‭ "‬Lo,‭ ‬this is our God,‭ ‬we have waited for Him.‭" ‬With what perfect satisfaction shall we be able to declare that fact,‭ ‬if it be the fact with us then,‭ ‬that we have waited.

SUNDAY MORNING AT THE BIRMINGHAM CHRISTADELPHIAN ECCLESIA-NO.‭ ‬277