Bill W Lovie
1 Samuel 30: 11-15
I have a simple impression, dear brethren, as to what would sustain us. Our brother has asked what would sustain us. And in the first word our brother brought before us the greatness of what the assembly is, which is very wonderful to contemplate; what food that is for us. It is not simply to be a lovely-looking picture on the wall, as we are often reminded, but it is to mean something; there is to be some practical result. This Egyptian found in the field is an example. He is often used in the gospel, related to someone that is in their sins and away from God, without hope in the world. He is found; David finds him: typically, Christ finds him. But there are those that are with David: “they found an Egyptian in the field”. I wondered if there may be some suggestion that those that are with David know where there is resource. The true David has resource, and is marked by grace. We find in the first book of Samuel that Abigail comes to light; she is one that suggests the assembly to us, and she has tremendous resource. What wonderful resource the assembly has! It is available practically at the present time. It is not merely going to a reading in Revelation and looking forward to the millennium and what it will be, and all that will flow out in the way of wonderful 'blest administration', as hymn 221 says, but there is something of that to be known now, and it is for our blessing and for our benefit.
So here is one, you may say, who had been entangled in sin. Scripture speaks of “laying aside every weight, and sin which so easily entangles us”, Heb 12: 1. Well, have we got entangled in the world? Maybe we all know something of that. What an opportunity there is in being brought to David; thus the local assembly is a place of resource. So that they “gave him bread” - that is something staple that is needed.- “and they gave him water to drink”, which is needed as well. What refreshment you find in the local meetings. “And they gave him water to drink, and gave him a piece of fig-cake and two raisin-cakes, and he ate”. You see, there is a bit more there. These cakes relate to formation, do they not? The fig speaks of sweetness. It is not human sentimentality, but think of the sweetness that there is, and you get some taste of what Christ has done for you - suggested in David’s victory in Ziklag here.
Ziklag relates to Romans, does it not? It refers to the beginning of the believer's pathway, coming to know Christ. Romans is foundational. How important it is that we have right foundations. We need to have right foundations in ourselves. We need to be founded securely on the work of Christ; how vital that is. What a foundation it is! And then building and progress take place from there. These persons were with David; and so this Egyptian came to know David in this way. You might say, the brethren brought him to David. How wonderful that is! So we would want to stay near persons who bring Christ before us, would we not? What blessing and salvation is involved in that. So it is important to have right foundations, and it is important to be building with right things. In Leviticus 14, God puts a plague in the house, v 34-53. There is that which has to be scraped out and that which has to be taken away. Other stones are put in. Stones that are marked by leprosy are taken away and other stones are put in. Well, if we are constitutionally right, if the priest comes back and looks, there is no sign of the leprosy. Right principles have been established. If the principles are not rightly applied the leprosy comes out. These are important things; they are vital things. (As was said, the assembly is the library of the universe. Think of all it contains.) All these vital things are here; in principle they are all here, because they are going on a journey. David is going on to Jerusalem. Here is Ziklag; it teaches us that all that was lost by man has been recovered by Christ. How wonderful that is! That is an initial appreciation. Christ has recovered all: that is Romans.
But then they are going on to Hebron. David is made king in Hebron. I suppose that refers to what has been said as to Colossians. How wonderful that is; you are growing in your appreciation of Christ and what He is personally. What a moment that is! You find that God had Christ before Him, before the foundation of the world. How wonderful that is to contemplate these things. Everything is beginning anew here for this Egyptian that has been found in the field. How healthy he is made, and he continues with David and goes right on into what suggests the truth in Ephesians, because David comes into Jerusalem and takes the city, does he not?
Well, what a place the local assembly is. May we be helped in our appreciation as we look at the assembly, the greatness of the assembly, the greatness of Christ, but also the assembly as it is seen in its local setting. May we be helped and encouraged in these things. For His Name's sake.
3rd June 2014