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Friday, July 4, 2014

The Persistent Purpose of God #10

God's End Is Always Present In His Beginnings (continued)

The Word Came Expressly to Ezekiel (continued)

Now the things that I have just said are the things which make up the kind of servants God needs. I would like for you to go back over them again. Remember that Ezekiel is a man whose whole life has been revolutionized by the purpose of God. God's Need has changed the whole course of his life! God's need has disappointed  him so far as his natural life is concerned! Something of the disappointment and dissatisfaction of the heart of God has entered into this man's life!

And so on that very thing God moved all the way along through history. I suppose Abraham was, or most of his life was, very satisfied with "Ur of the Chaldees." He had all that he wanted there, but then there began to come into his heart a great dissatisfaction with that life; and his heart was reaching out for something that he did not know. All he could say was, "This is not what I was made for. I am sure there is something more in life than this. There must be some greater purpose and meaning than this. This does not satisfy me." It was on that ground that God moved in his life. It was God working into Abraham His Own dissatisfaction! And when that dissatisfaction was there, God could give the positive side of what really was His purpose.

And that was true of all the great servants of God. I believe it was true of Moses. I am quite sure it was true of Ezekiel. It was true of Paul: I believe that we can detect even in Paul (Saul) of Tarsus, something of dissatisfaction. God prepares His Way like that. We must have this in us before God can do anything else. In order to bring His Great Positive Purpose in, He must write the negative in our hearts. This is the way of service - on the one side, it is disappointment; on the other side, it is God's appointment - and then the consciousness of having no natural ability, and all the ability having to come from God Himself. A work that no man could do, and certainly a work that no man would take on himself - that was Ezekiel. But God had taken hold of this man, and everything that happened to him was because "the hand of the Lord came upon him."

It is a matter of the hand of the Lord being on us; if the hand of the Lord is upon us, then we cannot help ourselves. While it may be difficult, the disappointment may be great, the demands may be beyond our ability, nevertheless, we just cannot help it. We have got to go on!

You remember what Jeremiah and other prophets said about this?! Because the people would not listen, and because his ministry meant so much suffering, Jeremiah said that he decided never to speak again. He was going to give up the work of God. But then he said: "While I kept silent, the fire burned. The Word of the Lord was as a fire in my bones, and then I broke all my resolutions. I began to speak again. I just could not do otherwise" (Jeremiah 20:9; paraphrased). That is what Ezekiel meant by: "The hand of the Lord was upon me." You see what that meant afterwards, how that "the hand of the Lord' moved Ezekiel everywhere?! He was a man under "the hand of the Lord." Do pray that you may be like that. That it will not e your choice one way or the other, but that your lives will just be because "the hand of the Lord" is upon you. The Lord needs men and women like that. Pray that you may be like that. You are not in the thing because you like it, because you choose it, because you have any qualifications for it. You are in it because 'the hand of the Lord" is upon you. And to take yourself out of this work, would be to take yourself out of "The hand of the Lord."

Now, if it is like that, something is going to happen. You will have a message for the time. You will have a message for the situation. You will feel the urgency of this message. "The word will be like a fire in your bones." The Lord make us all messengers like that!

Now you can see what I meant at the beginning. It is spiritual value that matters. It is not the intellectual knowledge, but that we are men and women like this - that is spiritual effectiveness. Do ask the Lord to make you like that: that everybody is able to recognize that you have a heart that is burdened by the Lord - that, on the one side, you have seen what is wrong, and that, on the other side, you have seen what God wants, and that you feel that He has laid His Hand on you in relation to that!

~T. Austin-Sparks~

(continued with # 11 The Persistent Energies of God Toward His End)

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