The Ground of His Presence and Power
By way of linking up with what has already been before us, may I just bring very hurriedly and briefly into view what it is that we judge to be the Lord's object for our understanding and apprehension at this time. It is that the Lord is concerned about all things for the glory and honor of His Name. And we have been seeing how God's sovereignty and power are always brought into operation in the interests of His Name, for no other reason. The honor of His Name is in a people. He has bound up His Name and its glory with a people and that glory is found in a people in life and strength and wealth and food and oneness. These things spiritually interpreted are the things which display His glory in His people. Then in the third place we went on to see that there were certain factors for which God looks as a basis for His work in securing that state in His people. Last evening we gave our whole time to seeing the characteristics in Gideon. A typical instrument sovereignly chosen of God for that purpose of the glory of His Name in His people, and those of you who were here will remember the things which came to light as characteristic of Gideon in relation to God's purpose. This morning we were occupied with the fact that God calls instruments specifically according to His purpose, that is, with His glory as the end view.
Now this afternoon we shall look at that matter again from a different angle. Might I just remind you of the words addressed to Gideon, as in the sixth chapter, the Book of the Judges, verses twelve and fourteen (you know them so well by now you hardly need look them up). The angel of the Lord appeared unto him, that is, Gideon, and said to him, "The Lord is with thee thou mighty man of valour". Verse fourteen, "And the Lord looked upon (or turned towards) him and said, "Go in this thy might and save Israel." Now I want to read some words that are very familiar to you in the Letter to the Philippians, chapter two at verse five. "Have this mind in you which was also in Christ Jesus, Who existing in the form of God counted not the being on an equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bondslave, being made in the likeness of men, and being found in fashion as a man, He humbled Himself becoming obedient unto death, yea, the death of the Cross. Wherefore also God highly exalted Him and gave unto Him the Name which is above every name, that in the Name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven and things on earth and things under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father."
And our occupation this afternoon will be with the ground of the Presence and Power of God. If one thing is evident about Gideon, it is that he does set forth very strongly and forcefully the power of weakness. I have on the fly leaf of my Bible something that I wrote there many years ago, a time of perplexity and difficulty in the work of the Lord and seeking very much to know the way of strength, of power, of wisdom, I came upon this, it is in the life of Lillias Trotter, whose work in North Africa will be known to many of you. And it just met my need. I read it to you. "So many questions lie ahead concerning the work. A great comforting came to me this morning in reading the twenty-eighth chapter of the Book of Job about the way of wisdom and the place thereof. It tells how God finds the way for the wind and the water and the lightening, and it came with a blessed power what those ways are. The way for the wind is the region of the greatest emptiness. The place for the water is the place of the lowest depth, the way for the lightening, as science proves, is along the line of the greatest weakness. If any man lack, there is God's condition for the inflow of spiritual understanding. Praise be to His Name." The ground of the presence and power of God.
Of course, inclusively and preeminently the ground is His Name and His jealousy for His Name in the heart of any servant of His. But the way of the power is the way of the Cross. Words which we have read, which we are perhaps too familiar in that letter to the Philippians analyzed for us the meaning of the Cross, "let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus". In other words, let your mentality be the mentality of Christ, your mindedness, the mindedness of Christ.
(continued with # 16)