Google+ Followers

Friday, December 7, 2012

The Lord's Need of a Fixed Heart

Of course, Elijah's great manifestation of this was at Carmel. How often Carmel has been taken as a basis of an appeal to the unsaved. The question which Elijah addressed to the people has been made a favorite text for such a purpose: "How long halt ye between two opinions? if the Lord be God, follow Him: but if Baal, then follow him." That word was never addressed to the unsaved. It was never intended for them. It is only rarely that the unsaved are in the position of two opinions. More often than not they are of no opinion. This is what the prophet really said to the people: How long limp ye from one side to another? He viewed them as lame, and lamed by uncertainty, lamed by indecision, paralyzed by an unsettled issue. Oh, how an unsettled issue does paralyze the life. Have a controversy with the Lord, an unsettled issue with the lord, and your whole life is lambed, is paralyzed; you are limping one way and then the other, there is no sense of stability about your way.

So the prophet called for the issue to be settled. How long limp ye from one side to the other? Settle this issue one way or the other. If Jehovah be God, let Him have His place, His full rights; settle it once and for all. If Baal is god, well then let us be settled. But until that is done you are crippled, you are paralyzed, and the whole secret of your being in that weak, indefinite, unstable, uncertain place is that God is not having His full rights; there is a dividedness in your life, a dividedness in your own soul, because other interests and considerations are in view. The dividedness may be in your home life, where you have power, authority and influence, and you are not standing one hundred percent for the Lord's interests there. It may be working in other directions, but wherever it is present the result is that deep down in your being you are not satisfied, you are not at rest. You may be busy, you may be occupied, you may be rushing hither and thither in the Lord's name, but you know that  deep down there is a lack, an uncertainty, an unsettled state; your spiritual life is limited and paralyzed. It will always be so until the issue is settled and God has His place in fullness in every part and relationship of your life. It is a question of  zeal for the Lord, jealousy for the Lord. So on Carmel that issue was settled. How gloriously it was settled! See the prophets of Baal, and over against them an altar of twelve stones according to the number of the tribes of Israel, of whom the Lord said, "Israel shall be thy name." Israel was the name of a prince with God, a man who came out in full spiritual stature, who triumphed on spiritual grounds, after the flesh was maimed, and lamed, and put aside. Now the twelve stones represented the twelve tribes of the children of Israel, all Israel in full spiritual stature, a spiritual people. That is the issue. Elijah does not even leave out the two and a half tribes. He brings all Israel into this. The issue is to be complete, perfect.

How bent upon such an issue Elijah was we see from his singular preparations in connection with the sacrifice. "And he put the wood in order, and cut the bullock in pieces, and laid it on the wood." And he said, "Fill four barrels with water, and pour it on the burnt offering, and on the wood." And he said, "Do it the second time." And they did it the second time. And he said, "Do it the third time." And they did it the third time" (1 Kings 18:33, 34). There is to be no doubt about this issue. He is going to leave no room for question as to the straightforwardness  of this thing. It is to be utter death, and utter resurrection, or it is to be nothing. That deluging of the sacrifice with water is bringing everything to death. Now if life can make itself manifest here it is indeed God Who is at work in resurrection power. The issue is fullness of life or nothing at all, because Elijah has seen to it that every other way out has been well quenched. There is no other way out. All prospect, all hope is quenched by those barrels of water being poured over everything.

Elijah called upon the Lord and the fire came and burned the sacrifice, consumed the wood and licked up the water. The issue is clear, is it not? The way to heavenly fullness is through God having His place, which means, on our part, an utter death to all that is other than God. When God gets that place, where it is all Himself or nothing at all, then, and only then, do we know Him in the power of His resurrection, do we know heavenly fullness.

We stop there for the time being, with but a re-emphasis of the application to our own hearts. What is zeal for the Lord? What is jealousy for God? Does it consist in the number of engagements, the much business? Is it a matter of our emotion? Is it the sum of those ways in which we express what we would call our devotion to the Lord? We have made answer. The Lord must have His place and His rights in us in an utter way, and in everything with which we are related, so far as it lies in our power, we must see to it that He is thus honored. That is  zeal for the Lord. That is what it is to be jealous for God. That was the spirit that consumed the Lord Jesus: "The zeal of Thine house hath eaten me up."

We must ask the Lord to show us exactly how and where His Word applies to us, and how this is the way to heavenly fullness. Elisha, whose life is typical of heavenly fullness, sprang out of a background, and, like Elijah, was rooted on this foundation. We too shall come into the heavenly fullness by no other way than that wherein God has unquestioned and undivided place, and all the fruit and all the interests of our life are unto Him.

~T. Austin-Sparks~

(the end)

No comments:

Post a Comment