WAITING UPON GOD
“But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles;
they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk and not faint.”
The promises of God are all ‘yea’ and ‘amen’ in a precious Jesus; and revealed to the new-born soul by the Spirit of all truth, who takes up His ‘abode’ in that new creature for the very purpose of making manifest Christ formed in that heart, the hope of glory. And the first evidence is a cry unto the Lord for mercy, under the conviction of sin. And, however long or short a time it may be that the soul is in that condition – according to the sovereign pleasure of an all-wise Father – yet, sooner or later, that cry will be answered by the ‘Word which is spirit and life,’ in drawing it to a glorious Mediator, and also opening the sensible sinner’s ears to hear that all is accomplished by that ever-precious Redeemer; and begetting an earnest longing to know if his sins were laid upon Him, who hath blotted out the transgressions of His people with His own most precious blood; having first fulfilled God’s most holy and righteous law; yea, magnified it and made it honourable!
The next work of God the Holy Ghost is to open the eyes to behold glorious things in that ‘law of loving-kindness,’ grace and truth by Jesus Christ. The ‘eyes of the understanding’ being enlightened, this (new) creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God – ‘because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God’ (Rom. 8:19, 21). The heart is also opened to receive Him as the whole of salvation; this being the work of faith with power – faith which worketh by love (or Christ), because the love of God is shed abroad in the heart by the power of the Holy Ghost. Now, then, to come to the gracious declaration: ‘But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength’ (or change, margin). From hearing, by the ear of faith, and seeing, by the eye of faith, they are now enabled to receive (or believe) with their whole (or new) heart, unto righteousness; according to another sweet promise: ‘They shall go from strength to strength.’ And that is not all: ‘everyone shall appear in Zion’; by living faith shall know that they are in the ‘city’ of the living God; and shall come with everlasting songs. One of these is, ‘In the Lord have I righteousness and strength.’ Another, ‘Behold, God is my salvation; I will trust, and not be afraid: for the Lord Jehovah is my strength, and my song; He also is become my salvation.’
And the dear Lord, who is so gracious to make known His delight in listening to the voice of His spouse, further strengthens her by saying (and ‘where the word of a King is, there is power’) – ‘Cry out and shout, thou inhabitant of Zion: for great is the Holy One of Israel in the midst of thee” (Isa. 12:6). ‘They shall mount up with wings as eagles.’ Who is there that could frustrate the purpose of God, and say this cannot be? It would be presumption, when the Almighty Jehovah hath declared that they shall do so, under the constraining influence of His omnipotent power! Their faith shall follow Christ at the right hand of the Majesty of Heaven, in His resurrection glory, as the God-man Mediator, and that, as ‘He is, so are we in this present evil world.’ ‘And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places (mark) in Christ Jesus’ (Eph:2:6). ‘Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen’ (Heb. 11:1). ‘Let the peace of God rule in your hearts unto which ye are called in one hope of your calling.’ And this hope is ‘as an anchor to the soul, both sure and steadfast, and entereth into that within the vail, whither our Forerunner is for us entered.’ Blessed mounting up this with the strength of eagles’ wings, soaring in the beams of the ‘Sun of Righteousness’!
‘They shall run, and not be weary.’ This enlargement of heart will cause them, as the Psalmist expresseth it, ‘to run in the way of His commandments.’ And what are His commandments? ‘That we should believe on the Name of His Son Jesus Christ, and love one another’ (1 John 3:23). Souls brought into this position are enabled to run from everything pertaining to the old state and standing in Adam into that ‘strong tower,’ the ‘name of the Lord,’ and are safe – because no man-slayer can enter there:
‘Shelter’d in love’s eternal arms
He dreads no threatening foe,
Beyond the reach of sin’s alarms,
The source of mortal woe.’ (Kent)
The last sentence of this most gracious cluster of promises is, ‘They shall walk, and not faint,’ which is, indeed, a crowning point to all. Walking implies continued progression, not running and stopping; no, but they run into Him and then they walk with Him; follow the Lamb whithersoever He goeth – walk with God as their reconciled Father in Him. It is related of Enoch that he walked with God; and had this testimony – that he pleased Him, because he walked in faith with a precious Saviour. He saw the day afar off, like Abraham, and rejoiced in it. No fainting here; oh no! ‘The righteous shall hold on his way,’ and he that hath clean hands (of faith) shall wax stronger and stronger. ‘Let the weak say I am strong.’ The weak shall be as David, and the house of David as God. And in this day of Gospel grace, it shall be said to Jerusalem, ‘Fear thou not: and to Zion, Let not thine hands be slack’ (Zeph. 3:16). Truly all that hath been stated and quoted is all carried on in the New Jerusalem, which is from above, and the mother of us all; and in Mount Zion, where deliverance alone can be – and is – obtained; and a revelation of the mind and will of God in Christ Jesus to all the chosen family, who are quickened into life union with their glorious Head and Husband.
The question may now be put, seeing these things are so, how is it that comparatively few of the Lord’s people live under an abiding sense of these blessed privileges? A passage at this juncture strikes the mind of the writer, ‘Your sins and iniquities have separated between you and your God’ (i.e. in communion). There is so much conformity to the world in all things, which brings the soul into darkness; and then a listening to an evil heart of unbelief, aided by carnal reasoning, and mightily increased by the suggestions of the great enemy to godliness. All these, as a cloud of locust, conceal the ‘Sun of Righteousness’ from view; and then no wonder doubts and fears prevail. But, oh! the tender compassion of our God; though we believe not, yet He abideth faithful. He correcteth in love and infinite wisdom and, when He hath brought down our ‘hearts with labour’ into the dust of self-abasement, He causes us to hear His voice and says: ‘Return unto me, O ye backsliding children, for I am married unto you.’
Also, there are many kept in a state of bondage, through sitting under a ministry that does not tend to lead them out of it. As in the days of the Apostles, so now, there are many instructors, but not many ‘fathers in Christ.’ Yet will the Lord hold up His people by His word; but they lose much of the comfort of being established upon the Rock of Ages, and come short of glorifying a Triune Jehovah by their life, walk and conversation, crucifying the flesh with all its affections and lusts; and nothing doth this so effectually as having an experimental understanding of the love of God in our hearts. The dear Apostle Paul saith, under the power of the Holy Ghost, that this one thing he did, ‘forgetting those things that are behind’ (his state by nature), he reached ‘forth unto those things that are before; pressing toward the mark for the prize’ of his high calling of God in Christ.
‘He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh (by faith) will I give to eat of the hidden manna, and will give him a white stone, and in the stone a new name written’ (Rev. 2:17). ‘Blessed is the man that heareth me, watching daily at my gates, waiting at the posts of my doors’ (Prov. 8:34). ‘My soul, wait thou only upon God; for my expectation is from Him’ (Psa. 62:5). ‘The hand of the diligent shall bear rule: but the slothful shall be under tribute’ (Prov. 12:24).
May these few lines, in the hand of God the Holy Ghost, be blessed to the stirring up of the pure minds of His own to a greater diligence in suing out by faith their inheritance; and not rest as the two tribes and halt short of the promised land, but enter in by faith, and sing victory through the blood of the Lamb! And, when the spirit returns to God, who gave it, and the body descends to the dust, from thence to be raised in incorruption, then shall both take up the song throughout the countless ages of eternity.
A Brand Plucked out of the Fire