15 FEB – The Power of Dying (3)
In Isaiah 53 we see the Redeeming Servant of God going into desolation. The whole picture is one of desolation. He is alone, despised and rejected; terrible aloneness, His Cross has cost Him everything. His own brethren do not believe in Him, His nearest disciples do not understand Him, and yet how did that wonderful chapter close? “He shall see His seed, He shall prolong His days; …He shall see of the travail of His soul, and shall be satisfied.” From that point of the losses of the Cross and its promise of “seed,” we move on to the ultimate vindication. “Behold a Lamb as it had been slain, in the midst of the Throne,” and around Him “great multitudes which no man could number, out of all nations, and tribes and peoples and tongues.” There is the gain which is the result of His travail.
The practical application is this: Very often it does seem that God requires a lot of us; that this Cross makes tremendous inroads, tremendous demands, and sometimes forces the demand to the point of pain, when we have to hand over to Him something very dear. We seem all the time to be giving, giving. It seems that the law of sacrifice is tremendously at work. But this is the road and the law by which, and by which alone, the infinite and transcendent gain can come.
There is the Devil spreading out before the Lord, “all the Kingdoms of the world and the glory thereof,” and saying, “all these will I give Thee, if -” and this is the subtle significance of it “if you will only keep off that Cross.” Satan knew what the Cross was going to mean, namely, that he would lose the world kingdoms and that Christ would have them by that Cross. So in effect his words meant, “Keep off that Cross, and I will give you everything.” But said the Master, in effect, I am going to the Cross and I can afford to reject your offer for the time being. So He went by the way that led to the Cross, rejecting the world, denying Himself, and there, according to His own words: “The prince of this world was cast out”, and He gained more than the Devil could have given Him.
Are you prepared to let go in order to obtain? Let go the temporal for the eternal, the transient for the abiding, the earthly for the heavenly, the present glamour for the ultimate glory? This is the way to possess all things. Some of us have proved that the things that we were most loath to let go, but which at length we gladly yielded up, have come back to us with a greater fullness, or have been the way of an enrichment transcending anything we before knew.
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