Pharaoh has a people, and the LORD has a people.
These may dwell together and seem to fare alike, but there is a division between them, and the LORD will make it apparent.
Not forever shall one event happen alike to all, but there shall be great difference between the men of the world and the people of Jehovah's choice.
This may happen in the time of judgments, when the LORD becomes the sanctuary of His saints.
It is very conspicuous in the conversion of believers when their sin is put away, while unbelievers remain under condemnation.
From that moment they become a distinct race, come under a new discipline, and enjoy new blessings.
Their homes, henceforth, are free from the grievous swarms of evils which defile and torment the Egyptians.
They are kept from the pollution of lust, the bite of care, the corruption of falsehood, and the cruel torment of hatred, which devour many families.
Rest assured, tried believer, that though you have your troubles you are saved from swarms of worse ones, which infest the homes and hearts of the servants of the world's prince.
The LORD has put a division; see to it that you keep up the division in Spirit, aim, character, and company.
Mat 24:22 And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect's sake those days shall be shortened.
For the sake of His elect the LORD withholds many judgments and shortens others.
In great tribulations the fire would devour all were it not that Out of regard to His elect the LORD damps the flame.
Thus, while He saves His elect for the sake of Jesus, He also preserves the race for the sake of His chosen.
What an honor is thus put upon saints!
How diligently they ought to use their influence with their LORD!
He will hear their prayers for sinners and bless their efforts for their salvation.
He blesses believers that they may be a blessing to those who are in unbelief.
Many a sinner lives because of the prayers of a mother, or wife, or daughter to whom the LORD has respect.
Have we used aright the singular power with which the LORD entrusts us?
Do we pray for our country, for other lands, and for the age?
Do we, in times of war, famine, pestilence, stand out as intercessors, pleading that the days may be shortened?
Do we lament before God the outbursts of infidelity, error, and licentiousness?
Do we beseech our LORD Jesus to shorten the reign of sin by hastening His own glorious appearing?
Let us get to our knees and never rest till Christ appeareth.
It is strange that people will not get over the idea that a consecrated life is a difficult one.
A simple illustration will answer this foolish impression.
Suppose a street car driver were to say, "It is much easier to run with one wheel on the track and the other off," his line would soon be dropped by the public, and they would prefer to walk.
Of course, it is ever so much easier to run with both wheels on the track, and always on the track, and it is much easier to follow Christ fully than to follow with a half heart and halting step.
The prophet was right in his pungent question, "How long halt ye between two opinions?"
The undecided man is a halting man.
The halting man is a lame man and a miserable man, and the out-and-out Christian is the admiration of men and angels, and a continual joy to himself.
Say, is it all for Jesus, As you so often sing; Is He your Royal Master, Is He your heart's true King?
~A. B. Simpson~
But now, let us come to the very heart of it.
There is the wide circle of the world, of mankind and of human nature; and, within that, the smaller circle of religion, whatever the religion may be.
These are realms of conflict when God's full mind is present.
But right at the heart of both of those, there is something else, something that is easily discernible right through the Bible:
There is the Satanic.
Now, if Satan is alive to anything, sensitive to anything, touchy about anything, it is on this matter of the place that the Lord Jesus is to have...
And to have, not formally, but vitally; not just historically, but spiritually:
So that the Lord Jesus becomes not merely a name in history, not merely a figure in history, not merely a teacher in history, not merely a historic factor, but a vital, potent force in this universe, right up to date.
That is the point upon which Satan and his kingdom are most sensitive.
They are alive to any little thing that points in that direction, and they recognize immediately a potential menace to their kingdom.
Human nature is a good playground for that.
Hence the story of missionary martyrs: those who have touched the raw material of human nature with the testimony of Jesus, with all the terrible conflict, suffering and cost.
The natural man, the natural mind, the natural will;
That which is merely the soul of man - in moving and working, exercising itself, asserting itself and drawing to itself, in the realm of the things of God, is a splendid playground for the evil forces.
You assert any little bit of your soul life, and see what the Devil will do with it!
You uncover any little bit of your soul life, and see what a wreck Satan will make of you!
It is the whole story of the devastation that results when self-occupation, introspection and self-pity - all the forms of self-life assert themselves and become accentuated.
Does not the evil one just play havoc with people like that!
They have opened the door, and he is not slow to present himself there for access.
Now, set over against all that...the natural man brought into the spiritual world (if that is a possibility), or into the realm of God's things - is that which is purely and truly spiritual, that which is of the Spirit.
And when those two things come into collision, there is trouble...
For they are both great systems simply because, in the realm which is truly of the Spirit, Satan has no place at all!
The prince of this world cometh, said Jesus, 'and hath nothing in Me' - the Man who lived in and walked by the Spirit.
In all things, in ALL things, He referred and deferred to the Spirit of the Anointing which was upon Him.
The prince of this world had NOTHING in Him.
Poor Peter was just at the mercy of the Devil, because, with all his sincerity, with all his well-meaning enthusiasm, he moved in his own soul.
His relationship to Christ was one purely of the soul.
When Peter came to be a man under the government of the Holy Spirit, that matter underwent immediate adjustment...
And you can almost watch the process of that soul-life of his being brought more and more under control.
Perhaps I should pause to safeguard this, by saying very emphatically that it is not wrong to have a soul.
No, God has given us a soul, and it is our soul which has got to be saved.
But the point is - what is the base upon which and from which we operate, the instrument that we are using, the ground of our living?
Either it is the soul, which is the seat of our SELF-life, in every sense;
Or it is the spirit, which is the seat of the DIVINE life.
Here, then, is the explanation of the conflict.
Satan works hard to get hold of 'soul'.
He can lead everything out on to a false stream in that way.
A thing that may start in the Spirit, can at some point, without sufficient watchfulness and prayerfulness, be led right out on to a false trail, and end up as something altogether different from what it was at the beginning.
But, to return to this eighteenth chapter of First Kings - Baal and all the rest of it - the heart of the thing is this.
It is not Baal, it is not Ahab, it is not Jezebel: it is the evil powers; and THEY are after this man Elijah.
Behind Jezebel, there are evil forces set upon the destruction of this man, because his very presence means a breach in their kingdom.
He is the man in touch with God, in touch with the Throne.
In him and by him, THAT throne becomes imminent...that throne is present.
And these two thrones, these two kingdoms, are against one another.
~T. Austin Sparks~
Since I last wrote, I have preached in Abingdon Great Church, on Christmas evening.
I preached the truth, I trust, to a very crowded congregation, supposed to be (sitting and standing, who were able to get in) about 5,000 people.
I pleased the believers; but very much displeased the carnally-minded, who were never before so puzzled and confounded in all their lives!
I spoke the truth faithfully, and so as all could hear; but I had no idea that the gospel would have given so much offense!
It is the truth that offends and disturbs Satan's kingdom!
The neighboring clergymen, who are in darkness, say of me, Away with such a fellow from the earth; it is not fit that he should live!
My mind is not moved by the persecution.
I believe if God has a work for me to do, I shall do it, in spite of the devil and all his children!
Nature is not changed, the gospel is not changed, and Christ is not changed.
What reason is there why they should not hate the truth now, as much as in the time of the apostles?
I never saw any fruits of my labors until I roused and disturbed the 'roaring lion'.
When, through the grace of God, I began to disturb his kingdom, I soon found that his children began to hiss!
The World And Satan Hate Believers!
The Pharisees hate me the most. I cut off all their rotten props, and all their fleshly devotion!
It is not coming near to the truth, it is not the mere letter of the gospel, that will convert men; but the Holy Spirit.
Make the Word of God your study.
Pin your faith to no man's views! I scarcely read any other book.
Beware of those who want to exalt man in any manner.
Psa 90:2 Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever thou hadst formed the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting, thou art God.
O My Soul! Seek to fill yourself with thoughts of the Almighty. Lose yourself in the impenetrable tracts of His Glory!
Can you by searching find out God?"
Can the insect fathom the ocean, or the worm scale the skies?
Can the finite comprehend the Infinite?
Can the mortal grasp Immortality?
We can do no more than stand on the brink of the shoreless sea, and cry, "Oh the depth!"
From everlasting! Shrouded in the great and amazing mystery of eternity!
Before one star revolved in its sphere, before one angel moved his wing - God was!
His own infinite presence filling all space. All time, to Him, is but as the heaving of a breath-the beat of a pulse-the twinkling of an eye!
The Eternity of bliss, which is the noblest heritage of the creature, is in its nature progressive.
It admits of advance in degrees of happiness and glory.
Not so the Eternity of the Great Creator; He was as perfect before the birth of time as He will be when "time shall be no longer!"
He was as infinitely glorious when He inhabited the solitudes of immensity alone as He is now with the songs of angel and archangel sounding in His ear!
But "who can show forth all His praise?"
We can at best but lisp the alphabet of His glory.
Moses, who saw more of God than most, makes it still his prayer, "I beseech You, show me Your glory!"
Paul, who knew more of God than other men, prays still, "that I may know Him."
Our safest eloquence concerning Him, says Hooker, is our silence, when we confess that His glory is inexplicable.
And is this the Being to whom I can look up with sweetest confidence and call "My Father"?
Is it this Infinite One, whom "the Heaven of Heavens cannot contain," I can call "My God"?
Believer, contemplate the medium through which it is you can see the glory of God, and yet live.
No man has seen God at any time, the only-begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, He has revealed Him.
He who dwells in inaccessible light, comes forth from the pavilion of His glory in the person of "Immanuel, God with us."
In Christ, "the Image of the invisible God," the creature...yes, sinners can gaze unconsumed on the lusters of Deity!
Be it yours to glorify Him. Seek thus to fulfill the great design of your being.
Let all your words and ways, your actions and purposes, your crosses and losses, redound to His praise.
The highest seraph can have no higher or nobler end than this the glory of the God before whom he casts his crown.
But He has a claim on you, which He has not on the unredeemed angels.
He gave Himself for you!
This mightiest of all boons which Omnipotence could give, is the guarantee for the bestowment of all lesser necessary blessings, and for the withholding of all unnecessary trials.
While you are called to behold "His glory, the glory as of the only-begotten of the Father," remember its characteristic;
It is not a glory to appall you by its splendors but to win and captivate you by its beauties...it is "full of grace and truth."
He is your God in covenant. "Underneath are the everlasting arms."
Psa 4:8 I will both lay me down in peace, and sleep: for thou, LORD, only makest me dwell in safety.
1Pe 2:21 For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps:
1Jn 2:5 But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in him.
1Jn 2:6 He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked.
But, says one, "are we not to have amusements?"
Yes, such amusements as you can practice in the fear of God.
You may do whatever Jesus would have done.
I have nothing to say against recreation in its proper place. Certain forms of recreation are needful and useful - but it is a wretched thing when amusement becomes a lifestyle!
Amusement should be used to do us good like a medicine - it must never be used as the Christian's food.
From early morning till late at night, some spend their time in a round of frivolities - or else their very work is simply carried on to furnish them funds for their pleasures.
This is wicked.
Many have had all holy thoughts and gracious resolutions stamped out by perpetual trifling.
Pleasure, so called, is the murderer of thought!
This is the age of excessive amusement...everybody craves for it, like a babe for its rattle!