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Friday, January 9, 2015

God's Reactions to Man's Defections # 31

"Gather My Saints Together"

Psalm 50:5; 2 Thess. 2:1; Hebrews 10:25

In all of the above passages there is one common factor: namely, that an end-time movement and feature is dominant. It must be remembered that the Psalms themselves represent what remains when a history of outward things, as to the general instrumentality, has ended in failure. The history of Israel in its first great phase closed with the Book of Kings in a calamitous and shameful way. Weakness, paralysis, declension, reproach, characterized the instrument in general. But out of that history now so concluded the Psalms are carried forward, as that which represents permanent spiritual gain.

This is preeminently a personal, inward spiritual knowledge of the Lord, gained through experience. That is why they always reach the heart and never fail to touch experience at every point. To them the saints have turned in times of deep experience. They are the ministry of experience to experience - the only ministry which is permanent. The end-time instrument will always be that which knows the Lord in a deep, inward, living way, through a history fraught with much experience of the heights and depths.

What David gave to the Chief Musician for the wind instruments and the stringed instruments touches the highest and deepest notes of a mortal's knowledge of God. Worship, salvation, sorrow, appeal, victory, battle, faith, hope, glory, instruction, are great themes interwoven with the mass of matters touched; but the point is that all came in real life - he passed through it all. It is this, and this alone, which can serve the Lord when what He first raised up has failed Him as a public instrument. So the Lord would take pains to secure this, and this may explain much of the suffering and sorrow through which He takes His chosen vessels.

The Psalms form only one of the four books born of the history of Israel, each of which has its on feature to contribute to that which represents the permanent work of God, but especially as relating to an instrument of Divine reaction. But the Psalms show clearly where God begins and what in principle is basic to the first and most abiding work of God.

It does not need pointing out that, in the other two passages with which we commenced, the end-time is in view; they definitely state it. There is a further common feature of the three, however, which is more particularly the subject before us. They all definitely refer to gathering together as something related to the end-time.

A history of a religious system, born out of something which the Lord raised up in the first place, has ended in weakness, chaos and shame. Therefore, there is to be a re-gathering to the Lord of His saints.

The Lord is coming, and there is a gathering to Him.

The Day is drawing nigh: therefore there is to be a "so much the more" assembling together.

The Participants In the Gathering

Before we deal with the nature of this end-time gathering, we must have clearly in view those that are concerned in it. The passage in the Psalm would embrace and include those referred to in the other two passages.

"My saints ... those that have made a covenant with Me by sacrifice."

It need hardly be remarked that, when all has been said and done through type, symbol and figure, the covenant means an entering into what the Lord Jesus has done by His shed Blood. It is an appreciation and apprehension of Him in His great work by the Cross. But we need to be reminded of what that involves as a covenant of God into which we enter. It is a theme which demands a book to itself. In order to reduce it to a few lines, let us consider a concrete instance. We find a conspicuous illustration of this matter in the life of Abram, as recorded in Genesis, chapters 15 and 22.

~T. Austin-Sparks~

(continued with # 32)

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