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Sunday, November 29, 2015

Faith Unto Enlargement Through Adversity # 3

From Limitation to Enlargement

So "the Lord answered me and set me in a large place" (v. 5). From death to life, from bondage to liberty, from limitation to enlargement - into a "large place" - and this represented a very great thing on the Lord's part. Consider all that the Lord had to cope with - though of course it is putting it in a wrong way to say the Lord ever has to "cope with" anything, for He is so supremely superior to every situation. Yet what was against His people was no small thing. To bring them out into this enlargement meant the overcoming of tremendous difficulties. "The Lord answered me and set me in a large place." We are reminded of another word, so familiar to us: "Thou broughtest us into the net ... Thou didst cause men to ride over our heads. We went through fire and through water; but Thou broughtest us out into a wealthy place" (Psalm 66:11-12). It is a Psalm of triumph over limitation, bringing into enlargement.

God's Faithfulness Over His People's Unfaithfulness

The version from which I have quoted uses the word "lovingkindness." The version which is perhaps more familiar has the word "mercy" - "His mercy endureth for ever." I think there is a note about "lovingkindness" - God's lovingkindness' - that touches the heart, when you think of the failure and the unfaithfulness of His own people. What a story it is all the way along, right through the lives of the major and the minor prophets. It would seem that if ever the mercy of God, the lovingkindness of God, could have been exhausted, it would have been so with these people, so terrible were their reactions to the mercy of God;. How far they went against the Lord! But here in the end - and with Nehemiah we are in the last Book of the Old Testament in historical order, we are at the end of a dispensation - the great note is: "His lovingkindness endureth for ever." When they used that language, these people knew what they were talking about. It was not just poetry or sentiment.

It is therefore, a Psalm of tremendous consolation. We know our weakness, we know our unfaithfulness, we know how we have failed and do fail. The end of the story is - "His lovingkindness endureth for ever." You see, this is the experience - and, out of the experience, the testimony - of a people who have proved the Lord to be faithful over against all that men could do against them. It is a Psalm worth having. No wonder Luther said, "That is my Psalm!"

~T. Austin-Sparks~

(continued with # 4 - (Sung By the Lord Before Gethsemane)

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