John C Gray

Psalm 146: 1, 2, 5

Genesis 48: 14-16

         It is always sobering to be in the presence of death.  What our brother has said would be a comfort for our sister and the family, that the Lord Jesus has been there too and has conquered its power.  That is a triumphant matter; the great triumph that the Lord Jesus has is evidenced in His rising from among the dead.  God has given Him glory and honour and a place which, as man, He will occupy as the central point of the affections of God forever.  But alongside of Him will be the saints.  That is a wonderful matter. 

         Our brother read this scripture in the Psalm in the house where we were, on the morning that the Lord took him, and I thought that it was very appropriate as we look at this reference, “Blessed is he who hath the God of Jacob for his help”.  This psalm is a Hallelujah psalm, one of the psalms of praise, “As long as I live will I praise Jehovah”, and I hope that is true of everyone of us in relation to where we are as believers on the Lord Jesus, that not only do we trust in Him and find clearance morally, but that we are indeed in the service of praise as our brother certainly was.  That is a great comfort.

         I trust that we will get help to understand that a person who receives “the God of Jacob for his help” will be blessed.  To be blessed of God is to be made happy, to be rejoicing, in the sense in which we are set free.  It is a great matter that every one of us can have help.  Our brother experienced that throughout his lifetime with his wife.  They experienced the help of the Lord in day to day matters and in year to year matters, matters that our brother has already mentioned that affected his employment, that affected his family, and that affected his movements in the testimony.  He found “the God of Jacob for his help”.  Do we find the God of Jacob for our help?  That is a very good question for every one of us who believe at the present time.  Jacob was a man of experience, he was a man who was up and down, and I have been up and down, and very many here have been up and down, but the God of Jacob comes to our help.  Have we experienced it, beloved, every one of us?  Many have gone through various and grievous experiences.  Have we experienced “the God of Jacob” for our help?  It says at one point that God protected Jacob as he travelled through the land on his way to Canaan and the terror of God was on his enemies and the nations round about him to protect Jacob, Gen 35: 5.  Let us experience something of the God of Jacob for our help as our brother did undoubtedly.

         When we come to the passage Genesis we find that it is Israel - Jacob got his name changed to Israel, meaning ’prince of God’.  Think of the dignity that God would give every one who accepts experience with him and what has been said as to our brother’s substance bears on that.  The great character of stability and substance that has been spoken of bears on this matter of the prince of God.  How are we in the testimony, not only as we said, towards God in praise and worship, but how are we in the testimony?  Do we conduct ourselves as the prince of God, as Israel happily was?  He is working intelligently.  He accepted divine sovereignty.  He accepted that God was going to bring in the nations.  The firstborn would relate to His chosen earthly people.  Joseph had to learn that lesson, about sovereignty, because he placed these two sons so that Jacob would have the right hand for the firstborn on the left.  “But Israel stretched out his right hand, and laid it on Ephraim’s head - and his left hand on Manasseh’s head; guiding his hands intelligently, for Manasseh was the firstborn”.  Jacob used his hands intelligently because he knew what was in the mind of God for the gentiles. The prince of God knows the mind of God and knows how to act and how to proceed.  Then he gives this blessing, “he blessed Joseph and said, The God before whom my fathers Abraham and Isaac walked”, that was true of our brother as well: the ministry of the recovery, the great writings of the apostles including Paul - our brother was governed by them.  Are we? 

         Then he says, “the God that shepherded me all my life long to this day”.  I like that expression, “shepherded me” - that is, that there was care and attention, not only that he was taught by God, but that he was carefully handled by God.  Would that we would experience that.  Do you understand that God is shepherding, “the God that shepherded me all my life long”?  That is a great matter to take on and find out, that God is with us.  But in how much of our daily occupation is God with us?  How much do we understand the service of the Lord Jesus as One who is not only our High Priest, but Patron with the Father (1 John 2: 1) in relation to our lives?  How much do we understand the Spirit of God in relation to the power that He has available to help us in spiritual matters?  It is not just that we have our secular things to see to, but we have our spiritual history and spiritual relations with divine Persons to maintain.  The Spirit of God would help us in that.

         What a wonderful thing it is to come to know the Father, to know the fulness that is the divine intent for us all.  “The God that shepherded me all my life long to this day, the Angel that redeemed me from all evil” - that would be what was current down here - “the Angel that redeemed me from all evil, bless the lads”.  And then he is speaking about his name “and let my name be named upon them … and let them grow into a multitude in the midst of the land!”  Would that there would be an increase of spiritual development, an increase of spiritual numbers amongst those who walk the separate path, those who move as “vessels … to honour” (2 Tim 2: 20), separating themselves from everything that is dishonouring, everything that it iniquitous and evil religiously, that which is around us.  Let us continue in this pathway that we may understand that this name is “named upon them … and let them grow into a multitude in the midst of the land!”.  What a fine thing it is to have blessing in the land.  It is not just that our brother’s sons have come into the testimony as a living matter, but the next generation is coming in - how good that is.  These are the grandsons and they are coming into, and taking up, responsibility.  Are they going to be blessed?  Will they be happy in it?  Are they going to rejoice in it?  May the Lord help us, and may we be comforted, and our beloved sister especially, in our link with God who has something far greater for us than what we have down here.

         For His Name’s sake.


26th November 2010