BEING MAINTAINED IN LIFE

Kenneth J Walker

Isaiah 53: 2 (to “ground”)

Joshua 14: 10-12 (to “day”)

Psalm 92: 13, 14; 110: 7 (to “way”)

         I was thinking about the need of being maintained in spiritual life and spiritual vigour; freshness and life should mark us as Christians.  We all know what it is to be jaded and tired, and to know the pressures and exercises of the wilderness.  Sometimes, speaking for myself, you get into a routine and get jaded; so there is a need of being maintained in freshness and life.  The key to it is where we are drawing our resources from.  What is filling our hearts and our minds?  The woman in John 4, before the Lord spoke to her, had been to the well many times.  She had been to the well day after day, perhaps a few times a day.  She had gone back to the same source and had found no lasting satisfaction.  If you apply it to our day, she was just going on in the routine of her circumstances, day after day going back to the well; and she found no lasting satisfaction until that blessed day when the Lord Jesus came into her life.  The Lord Jesus came into her life; He came along and sat, waiting for her at Sychar’s well.  What does He say?  “The water which I shall give him shall become in him a fountain of water, springing up into eternal life”, v 14.  From that day onward she knew a different power and was drawing from a different source.  You can see that in the way she speaks thereafter: “Come, see a man who told me all things I had ever done: is not he the Christ?”, v 29.  She was drawing from another source, and after that she was not merely going on with the routine of her life.  She had come to find everything in the Lord Jesus and, as it applies to us, in the Holy Spirit, that “fountain of water, springing up into eternal life”.

         So, as we go on, there is a need of being constantly refreshed and drawing from another source.  I have thought about even this company who have come through the day; we have been to work and school, and all the things of life come in; but at a time like this we can come together and be refreshed.  We can get a touch from the Lord in such an occasion as coming together.  It is refreshing to see one another, refreshing to come together, whether it is for prayer or for ministry or to read the Scriptures; wherever we come together there is refreshment.  We are making room for the Lord Jesus and the Holy Spirit and are refreshed.

         I thought of the scripture in Isaiah 53 because it draws attention to the Lord Jesus, and it is wonderful to go back to Him, and just consider Him.  Think of Him growing up before the Father “as a tender sapling”!  He was drawing from another source.  Think of Him even in His young years, as it would apply, those years as a boy!  As it says in Luke’s gospel, “occupied in my Father’s business” (chap 2: 49); He was drawing from another source!  What motivated Him was His Father’s business.  The Father’s will was what motivated Him.  Every other man was doing his own will, doing as he pleased, but there was a blessed Man, the Lord Jesus, who was drawing from another source.  Think of Him growing up before the Father “as a tender sapling, and as a root out of dry ground”.  He was drawing from another source; His food was the Father’s will, John 4: 34.  He was drawing from heaven and from the Father day by day.  That is what sustained Him day by day, and He is a wonderful Model for us as we go through our lives here; we are to feed on Him and be like Him.  I think it is wonderful to consider Him, as the One, as has been said in ministry, who was not drawing from the traditionalism of Judaism; He was drawing from another source.  He was not drawing from the ritual of the day, the routine of the day, the law of the day.  He was drawing from another source.  What was in His heart and His mind was the Father’s will!  He is a wonderful example for us.  We go back to Him, and go back to Him, and realise that He is the One we can feed upon to be refreshed.

         I thought of Caleb where we read in the book of Joshua.  He is an old man, eighty-five years old, one who had wandered in the wilderness with the people.  He had been sustained by Jehovah in the wilderness as he says, “Jehovah has kept me alive”.  What kept him alive was his affection for the land.  God had given him an insight into the land, the freshness of the land and the richness of the land, and he moved through the wilderness and knew its rigours, but he had in his heart the inheritance in the land.  That is something we should keep before us.  We had that before us last weekend, as to the purpose of God, and what would sustain us would be to keep that before us, keep God’s purpose before us.  It says that he desired Hebron which “had been built seven years before Zoan in Egypt”, Num 13: 22.  It was what was in God’s thoughts before the foundation of the world.  That is what it suggests, that God had these rich things in mind before the foundation of the world which, as our brother brought before us, are stable and sure and certain.  As we get in other scriptures, the land is fresh and living and sustained by the Holy Spirit of God and, in one sense, that is what kept Caleb alive.  It was what was in his heart and, I think that is an essential thing, that we keep God’s things, keep the Lord Jesus, keep the great things of God, the inheritance, in our hearts. 

         Think of this man going through the wilderness.  He heard the moans and groans of the people but he knew the beauty of the land, and he knew something of the freshness of it, the goodness of it, the blessedness of it.  He comes to this point here, “I am this day eighty-five years old”.  Looking at things naturally, in a way what he wanted was impossible, but he says, “give me this mountain”.  ‘Give me it!  I want it!  It is mine to claim’.  That is what he had in his affections.  All of us are to claim it, go in for these things and enjoy something of the richness and the freshness of the land.  And he passes it on.  In the next chapter he passes it on to his family.  They had some sense of the blessedness of the land.  Achsah says, “Give me a blessing; for thou hast given me a southern land; give me also springs of water.  Then he gave her the upper springs and the lower springs”, chap 15: 19.  She had some sense of what was in God’s heart and she was sustained in freshness and life too.

         I read in Psalm 92.  I suppose it links on a little with Caleb: “Those that are planted in the house of Jehovah shall flourish in the courts of our God”.  There are those who are living in this area, “planted in the house of Jehovah”.  You might say, they are drawing from Jehovah.  They are not just there for a season; they are living their lives in relation to God and His things.  That is like “planted in the house of Jehovah”, drawing from another source.  For us it would be drawing from the heavenly Man, drawing from the heavenly realm, “the house of Jehovah”.  God’s dwelling-place would relate to it.  I suppose in our time we could say we are in an area where God dwells.  We are brought into the assembly, God’s dwelling-place, and we are living in relation to that.  We had that before us recently as to the local assembly, and the assembly and its preciousness to God, but it would be precious to ourselves if we were “planted” in that area and flourishing “in the courts of our God”: flourishing gives a sense of freshness and life.  “The courts of our God” - elsewhere it speaks of “palaces” - are a rich area, a royal area of things.  “They are still vigorous in old age”, like Caleb, I suppose, and like many whom we know and have known, “vigorous in old age, they are full of sap and green”.  There is a freshness that marks them; there is life that marks them; they are responsive, “vigorous in old age”; they are an example to us, and we are to learn from them and be like them.  Let us be like Caleb!  Let us be like those who are “vigorous in old age” “in the courts of our God”!

         I close with the reference in Psalm 110.  These things are to be maintained in us so that we are retained in freshness and life, but what is it in view of?  I was thinking of this recently, “He shall drink of the brook in the way”, as if there is something worked out.  We are to be maintained in life and in freshness and in vigour in our Christianity, but it says, “He shall drink of the brook in the way”.  I think there is something worked out which is for the refreshment of Christ, if I can put it that way: “He shall drink of the brook in the way”.  I think it is a suggestion as to our local meeting.  We spoke about local assemblies.  Is there something in our local meeting that is for the refreshment of the heart of Christ, drinking “of the brook in the way”?  It is not the full stream of things.  I am only making this suggestion, drinking “of the brook in the way”, there is something tributary, but it is coming from the same source as refreshment and life and is a place where Christ receives something. 

         I feel that we can be encouraged, we can be refreshed; we need to go on in life and vigour, and drawing on the Holy Spirit, but, dear brethren, there is to be something for the heart of Christ, something for Him.  Let us refresh Him more and more!  Let us respond to Him more and more!  Let Him be able to “drink of the brook in the way”!  Let us make more room for Him in our lives and in our gatherings! 

         May it be so for His Name’s sake!

Word in a Ministry Meeting, Dundee

15th March 2016