If being in the wilderness seems distasteful, why do so many seek it?
And if “God said” it in the bible, how are we to interpret his words and meaning in today’s culture? But that very question returns us to the question of man vs. God.
In seeking God’s truth we can feel as in a wilderness wandering alone. However for true and honest seekers we are never alone. Especially when we are reading, studying, ruminating on, asking question, listening for answers – inside the Bible; God’s own communication to and recorded for us. Inside is answered our questions of God’s nature, personality and His desire to have close relationship with us – and His desired response from us in coming to know Him; as His answers to our personal questions are unveiled, and knowledge, piece by piece, accumulates. Some call this being discipled by Christ, Himself, for we envision Him standing next to us reading each word along with us as we read, pause, ingest, question. And the Spirit of Jesus is communicating with our spirit, which in turn translates for our mind to interpret for our understanding.
Investing personal time and effort to practice this is worth more than many sermons and group bible studies, and for some the minimal hours a week spent in church complaining to ourselves how we are “not being fed.” For a complaint of “not being fed” rests foremost against ourselves, as Christ Himself is the Vine Who feeds the branches. And that so abundantly through our absorption in His Word. However, we should continue to do the one, of self study, and not forsake the other, of gathering together. It will prosper us greatly in gleaning treasures of knowing God. “-Come with Me by yourselves to a quiet place…” MK. 6:31
Self-study gleanings — It’s not magic. It’s not mysticism. It’s reality. It’s practical.
It takes work, but the strong DESIRE to KNOW removes the sweat from the labor. –g.w.
‘Thus saith the Lord’ — Charles H. Spurgeon
‘Thus saith the Lord.’ Ezekiel 11:5
Suggested Further Reading: Mark 7:1–13
True servants of God demand to see for all church ordinances and doctrines the express authority of the church’s only teacher and Lord. They remember that the Lord Jesus bade the apostles to teach believers to observe all things whatsoever he had commanded them. The Holy Spirit revealed much of precious truth and holy precept by the apostles, and to his teaching we would give earnest heed; but when men cite the authority of fathers, and councils, and bishops, we give place for subjection, no, not for an hour. They may quote Irenaeus or Cyprian, Augustine or Chrysostom; they may remind us of the dogmas of Luther or Calvin; they may find authority in Simeon, or Wesley, or Gill. We will listen to the opinions of these great men with the respect they deserve as men, but having so done, we deny that we have anything to do with these men as authorities in the church of God, for there nothing has authority, but ‘Thus saith the Lord of hosts.’ If you shall bring us the concurrent consent of all tradition, if you shall quote precedents, we burn the whole as so much worthless lumber, unless you put your finger upon the passage of Holy Scripture which warrants the matter to be of God. You may further plead, in addition to all this venerable authority, the beauty of the ceremony and its usefulness to those who partake therein, but this is all foreign to the point, for to the true church of God the only question is this, is there a ‘Thus saith the Lord’ for it? And if divine authority be not forthcoming, faithful men thrust forth the intruder as the cunning craftiness of men.
For meditation: Traditions can be good or bad. Are your doctrine and practice based upon the words of men or the Word of God (Mark 7:7–9; Colossians 2:8)? Having turned from the traditions of men to the revelation of Christ (Galatians 1:11–14), the apostle Paul handed down to others what he had received from the Lord (1 Corinthians 11:23; 15:3). God’s Word is the only acceptable authority for our doctrines and practices (2 Thessalonians 2:15; 3:6).
Sermon no. 591
25 September (1864)