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Saturday, February 22, 2014

Standing Firm In The Lord # 3

God's Call to Us (continued)

It is quite true that in the normal experience of the Tabernacle boards they were all joined together by the supporting crossbars. There bars gave solidity and strength to the structure, and it is generally thought that they typify the spiritual facts which bind God's children together in their life of faith. We need these divinely given helps, and we do well to make full use of them as we are able. Nevertheless, although it is essential that we learn to stand together, it must equally be true that in the Lord we can stand alone. Fellowship life is a divine provision, and it is almost impossible to exaggerate its importance in our spiritual life. We need one another, and the Lord needs that we recognize and maintain the unity which He has provided. But every spiritual blessing carries with it a corresponding spiritual peril, and it is a great peril of fellowship that we may misuse it and lean on one another instead of standing in the Lord. There is no substitute for a personal life with the Lord.

The truth is that fellowship life is only strong when the individual components are themselves rooted and grounded in God. It would not be difficult to find in both Old and New Testament examples of those who made a great contribution to the corporate life of God's people just because they could stand alone. Israel was saved because at the critical moment Gideon and his men stood firmly in their places, undaunted by the great odds against them. The spiritual life of God's people was maintained by the faithful few who in the night watches stood before the Lord in the intercessory work of the sanctuary. What importance is attached to this simple fact that the individual boards contribute so much to the whole because they have been made to stand!

Standing in Redemption

A further look at the Tabernacle boards will show us that although they have been cut off from their previous natural roots, they are not rootless - far from it. The boards would not have stood up for long if they had just been balanced, especially as they would have been balanced in sand. No, they were not taken from their natural roots to be left in a precarious and unstable condition but were each given two sockets of solid silver. Silver reminds us of redemption, and none of us can ever stand in the purposes of God unless we are firmly upheld by the redeeming power of Christ. The boards were shaped in such a way that each of them had its own means of penetrating into the sockets, and so, as it were, appropriating their strength. Each board had its own sockets. There was not a long bar of silver with holes for each board but a separate block for each of the two "hands" or tenons of the board. Here, then, was the secret of the stability of each board, it had its own solid foundation and it had an individual rooting in that foundation.

Redemption means that we do not belong to ourselves, we are purchased ones. Let the hands of our faith reach down well into this glorious truth and let us know for ourselves the reality of being bought by God for Himself, and we shall find stability even in the midst of the desert sand. Let a group of Christians stand in the good of this same glorious truth and at the same time stand together, and God will have a dwelling place among them.

~T. Austin-Sparks~

(The End)

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