Marshall Cowan

Psalm 110: 1-7

Song of Songs 6: 11-12

I have a very simple impression, beloved.  I think a very fine feature to mark the saints is willingness, especially in days of darkness and breakdown and weakness.  I think the Lord would be very pleased to have willing people.  They would be willing in many ways, I suppose.  I am just trying to get an impression myself about it, and I was thinking about the Lord personally first of all as the Hebrew Bondman, “I love my master, my wife, and my children, I will not go free”, Ex 21: 5.  I think that is the greatest example we can have of One who was willing to that extent.  How testing that is: I feel tested by it.  Nothing else claimed Him, as we know, except the will of God.  Nothing else could divert Him, no matter what it was.  Despite all the efforts of the enemy, all that was around Him, and the sufferings He endured, there He was, the perfect Bondman: “I love my master, my wife, and my children”.  That is very fine, is it not?  And we are tested in that way too.  I suppose we should all be able to say that, “I love my master, my wife, and my children”.  Everything in its place; nothing is out of place.  The first thing is our love for Christ, our love for God, our love for the three divine Persons, and then other things of course fall into place, do they not? 

So we think of the saints, think of what is needed amongst the saints too, and the question would be whether I am committed to the needs of the testimony, the needs in our localities in a general sense.  There are many committed persons that we can use as examples.  I was thinking of Aquila and Priscilla, for instance, and how they were willing to be committed to Paul; they joined themselves to Paul, Rom 16: 3, 4.  They set themselves alongside Paul.  What a support it must have been to the beloved apostle.  How he took great delight in that couple and it would seem that Priscilla was equal to her husband, certainly in Paul’s appreciation; both were persons who were fully committed to the testimony at that time.  They were ready to link themselves on with Paul sacrificially, labouring in the work of the Lord supportively.  There are many others, of course.  I think Onesiphorus would be one.  He was one who was willing to suffer.  He was ready to suffer for the sake of the glad tidings, Paul’s glad tidings.  He was not ashamed of Paul’s chain.  Paul says, “The Lord grant mercy to the house of Onesiphorus, for he has often refreshed me, and has not been ashamed of my chain; but being in Rome sought me out very diligently, and found me”, 2 Tim 1: 16, 17.  How very beautiful, but I think that is also very testing, is it not?  And to commit ourselves today to Paul, and Paul’s ministry as to Christ and the assembly, involves reproach.  Then we have a person like Phœbe who was “a helper of many”, Rom 16: 1, 2. 

These are examples but there are many, many more in the Scriptures that I am sure would give us incentive to be here for the Lord.  That is the simplicity of it really, that we are here for Christ, and we are here for the testimony’s sake, not considering for ourselves.  Of course probably the greatest hindrance is myself, my own considerations, but I think we are challenged as to whether we put Christ first, give Christ the first place.  He is so worthy to have that place, the first place in our affections, as we think of the great sacrifice that has been His, to go into death, to die, to suffer, to go into the grave and indeed to be abandoned by God to meet the question of our lost condition and resolve the matter of sin and sins for ever.  These are things we cannot measure, beloved.  We cannot measure such sufferings and such committal and such willingness, shall we say, to fulfil the will of God.  How very wonderful!

I was impressed thinking of this psalm, a psalm of David, as it says, and there are some beautiful references to what would speak to us of Christ, particularly the first one.  It says prophetically, “Jehovah said unto my Lord, Sit at my right hand, until I put thine enemies as footstool of thy feet”.  How very restful!  God is carrying His thoughts through.  There is nothing the enemy can do to hinder that.  God is going to secure His end in Christ, and He has exalted Him and set Him down at His right hand and given Him the place that He is worthy of.  He has crowned Him with glory and honour, “until I put thine enemies as footstool of thy feet”.  It is going to happen one day.  You will be able to look around in the coming day and you will not see anything that is insubject to Christ.  How very wonderful that will be.  Have you ever thought about it?   If you look around today you will find very little if anything of this character, except in those who love Him, of course.  But what it is to be subject to Christ!  He is going to subdue all things under His feet.  What power is His!  He says, “All power has been given me in heaven and upon earth” (Matt 28: 18), and it will come into display in a coming day.  How very great that is.   We have the light of that, the secret of it, in our hearts.  I do not want to go into all that detail, but what I was thinking about was this sentence here, “Thy people shall be willing in the day of thy power, in holy splendour: from the womb of the morning shall come to thee the dew of thy youth”.  It is a question of what is youthful in character.  John says the young men are strong, 1 John 2: 14.  They are marked by energy, and I do feel the need of having much more energy spiritually, in spiritual things.  I think the Lord would be very pleased if we were acting in that way, showing that kind of energy.  In that way I suppose you could think of Achsah.  She sprang down from the ass and she sought these springs of water, receiving “the upper springs and the lower springs”, Josh 15: 18-19.  I suppose she would get plenty of energy from that.  It speaks to us of the great resource there is in the Spirit of God, and I am sure she must have added a great deal to that situation.  She was one with her husband, set as one, willing people, in relation to the needs at that time in the testimony of God for its prosperity and increase, and also to enjoy their inheritance together. 

And so, “Thy people shall be willing in the day of thy power”.  As I have said, at the moment the Lord is in reproach; He is absent and we are in the time of reproach.  Nevertheless He is crowned and He is given the place of supreme power which we recognise and, as being subject to Him, we would be ready to draw from Him also; because all things, the strength for the testimony, all the power, is coming from Christ from on high.  He is Head: God “gave him to be head over all things to the assembly, which is his body, the fulness of him who fills all in all”, Eph 1: 22-23.  How very beautiful!   “From the womb of the morning” - it is a very fine expression, is it not?  It is the beginning of the day and here is something that is coming up that is very fresh and beautiful, “the dew of thy youth”, the morning dew.  There is something special about the morning dew, I think.  Perhaps we have not seen it too often, but there is something very special about it.  I think it is something that keeps everything fresh.  I think we get that as we draw it from Christ and His word.  And so here He is, and He is “priest for ever after the order of Melchisedek”.  What a Person we have to depend upon, beloved, One who knows and feels our cause and the needs of the testimony too, “priest … after the order of Melchisedek”, something that can never break down.  It is a very wonderful thing to think about.  It can never break down.  It is after that order, the order of Melchisedek.  It says, “having neither beginning of days nor end of life”, Heb 7: 3.  It cannot be traced, in that sense; it alludes to Christ in the greatness of His Person and what belongs to Him in relation to deity. 

Well, then it goes on to this last verse, “He shall drink of the brook in the way; therefore shall he lift up the head”.  I think that is a very attractive expression and brings in the Lord’s needs, speaking reverently, in relation to the testimony, and what He finds amongst the saints; “He shall drink of the brook in the way; therefore shall he lift up the head”.  It is a fine thing to think that the saints, ourselves as believers in the Lord Jesus and lovers of Him, can further the testimony, the movements of the testimony at the present time.  I think this would relate to that.  The Lord finds things in localities as He did in Revelation as He visited these assemblies, and He was able to take account of them, and He had a very fair judgment of each one.  He brought to light what was needed which was lacking, and He brought to light the things that were pleasing to Himself, and I think we are in these days, beloved.  If we think about it, and think of His needs in that sense: “He shall drink of the brook in the way; therefore shall he lift up the head”.  How very good to have some sense of His satisfaction in what He finds in a responsive people.

Well, I read in this section in Song of Songs because here He is coming down, coming into His garden to see what there is -

           I went down into the garden of nuts,

           To see the verdure of the valley,

           To see whether the vine budded,

           Whether the pomegranates blossomed. 

It is a fruitful area where there is freshness, but also maturity.  The assembly is that; it is a fruitful area.  It is something that is yielding fruit for Him, and He is coming to look to see what He can find.  I think on Lord’s day morning we experience this, do we not?  The Lord comes to us, manifests Himself, and I think this is the answer He is looking for.  He is looking for this fruit and how fine the answer is here:

           Before I was aware,

           My soul set me upon

                the chariots of my willing people. 

So that we are carried forward “from glory to glory, even as by the Lord the Spirit” (2 Cor 3: 18) in the service of God to enter into our heavenly part!

May we be encouraged, beloved, to be in these things.  I speak very simply and feeling my own lack in them and feel the need that we need perhaps to think more of the Lord Jesus; think of the testimony and how things function in our localities too.  Very simply, we might think about how we start the meetings, for instance.  Are we willing to give a hymn out, willing to pray; or to end the meetings?  It is just a very simple thing, but how pleasurable that is to the Lord.  It is how things function together, is it not, as we are set together in love?  May we be helped in these things, beloved!  May our hearts be set forward in willingness at the present time to be for His pleasure!  For His Name’s sake.


5th June 2012