God's Methods and Means of Recovery
The Reinforcement of Spirituality
In the life of the people of God, whether individually or corporately, there constantly occur times of crisis, or turning-points. The Old Testament describes many such times of particular and peculiar peril in the life of the Lord's people, and shows how God has moved to meet the situation at such times. This has been true also in the history of the Church, again and again, ever since New Testament times; and it is true in the life of any local company of the Lord's people. When, for some reason, conditions are critical, and a turning point has been reached, at such a time it is very important to know how the Lord would meet the situation and the need.
The Corner Boards of the Tabernacle
May I remind you of a provision which the Lord made in the construction of the Tabernacle in the wilderness? The Lord gave instructions that, in the erection of the boards of the Tabernacle, at the corners there should be an extra board, reinforcing the turning-points. Of course, corners are always delicate things, perilous things; turning-points are always fraught with great possibilities. You come up to a point where a turn is going to be made, a new course is going to be followed, and that turning-point needs to be negotiated with much wisdom and care. Something extra must come in there to cover it. And in that infinite wisdom of God - the recognition not only of the weakness of a corner in natural things, but of the perils connected with turning-points in spiritual life - the Lord made and makes a provision; He covers it, prescribes for it. As in the boards of the Tabernacle, there must be some real reinforcement at that delicate and dangerous point of crisis.
Let us just dwell for a moment or two upon the Tabernacle; we shall come back to it again presently. You know that it was, in type, the shrine of God's testimony. It is called the "Tabernacle of testimony", or "The Testimony." In type it was what Paul, in his letter to the Colossians, calls "the mystery of Christ" - the shrine of the mystery of Christ into which no natural eyes may peer. And in this shrine of the testimony of God concerning His Son, Jesus Christ, there are these turning-points; and because this testimony is involved, they are, as we have said, always precarious places and times. If something goes wrong here, if something goes wrong at this juncture, it is going to have very serious effects in the future. The next phase of things is going to be affected by what happens as we turn this corner, by just how far we negotiate this present difficult situation - whether in our lives, or in the work of God, or in the history of the Lord's people, locally or generally. The future is involved.
We have come up to this point: here are the boards all leading up to it, and from this point onwards a new course has to be taken; but oh, this new course has got to be very, very carefully safeguarded. All that has been in the past, all the labor, the work, the suffering and the cost, may be hazarded at a point of crisis by any weakness of lack of care, when we come to this issue. All the future may be made unsafe, weak, clouded by regrets, if this turning-point is unguarded.
(continued with # 36 - (Paul's Letters to Timothy: A Critical Point)