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Wednesday, September 26, 2012

"I Will Be As the Dew unto Israel" # 3

Well, it is nice to know the Lord is the Lily, but it is wonderful when you realize something of your own shortcomings and sinfulness and failure and come by reconciling grace to the Lord to hear Him say about you: " ... he shall blossom as the lily, and he shall cast forth his roots of Lebanon," - as the trees of Lebanon. Lebanon was famous for its great cedars which could only stand erect and strong because of the profundity and firmness of their roots. And here the Lord does not even mention trees. The roots of the trees seem to have something of the mountain - the roots of Lebanon. I do not know what the roots say to you, but I know what they say to me. They speak of strength. They tell me of stability; and as I would long for the beauty of the Lily, so I would long for the strength and unchanging, faithful, persistent, immovable strength of the deep-rooted tree. Of course, it is the gales and the storms that discover how deep or how shallow the roots are. And there many gales and storms around us, dear brothers and sisters, and likely to be; but, thank God, we need not fear. We need not be moved ... "he shall cast forth His roots as Lebanon."

Those are the kind of people the Lord wants. And, mark you, these are not two classes of people, some who are beautiful and some who are strong. In the one life, the Lord seeks both beauty and humility; simplicity and yet majesty, dignity, and strength: "his branches shall spread, and his beauty shall be as the olive tree." This is a different kind of beauty, the beauty of fruitfulness! The olive is not merely a fruit in the more or less luxury sense in which we describe fruit, but it is more or less the essential, staple diet. In the very maintenance of life, the people depended on the olive harvest and the olive oil. There are people all around us who need their life nourished, they need that oil. We should not only be beautiful and strong, but we should be able to give to the needy of the oil of Christ's own life for their strengthening, for their nourishment in the Lord.

There is also in verse seven a mention of "the corn and the vine" - all this in the one life. Then you notice, still in verse six, this "smell as Lebanon," and in verse seven, "the scent thereof shall be as the wine of Lebanon." Here is  a further characteristic of the great fertility - vital freshness - of a life as God meant it to be, fragrant surely with the very fragrance of Christ! And finally his own confession, his own consciousness is expressed in verse eight: "I am like a green fir-tree, an evergreen," which means freshness through the seasons with all the changes of circumstance, passing through various phases. "I am like a green fir-tree, never changing, always fresh."

Now it is not for me to say whether I am like a lily or like a cedar, for like the olive tree or the scented flower, other people must give their verdict on my life. However, it is for me to say whether I am like a green fir-tree or not - I am to know that - for here is the confession borne out of inner experience: "I am like a green fir-tree. I know through all the changing chances of circumstance and time the freshness of Divine love in my own spirit." And I thank God, that in all humility, that I do know something of this, at least; and if there is anything in us of this variegated full-expression of life as God meant it to be, the secret is very simple. It is all caused by the dew, "the dew of Hermon." The flowers would be there with the essential beauty, consciously waiting for the dew that they should grow and blossom.

~T. Austin-Sparks~

(continued with # 4)

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