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February 22

22 FEB – David’s Hatred for the Uncrucified Flesh

David stands out as the man after God’s own heart. It is that which is to be noted in the first public action of David in the valley of Elah. We refer, of course, to his contest with Goliath. This first public action of David was a representative and inclusive one, just as the conquest of Jericho was with Israel. God intended that what was true of Jericho should be true of every other conquest, that the basis should be one of sheer faith; victory through faith, possession through faith.

David’s contest with Goliath was like that. It gathered up in a full way everything that David’s life was to express. It was the comprehensive disclosure or unveiling of the heart of David. He was a man after God’s own heart. In the case of David, the heart that God had seen is disclosed in the contest with Goliath, and it was that heart which made David the man after God’s own heart all the rest of his life.

What is Goliath? Who is he? He is a gigantic figure behind whom all the Philistines hide. He is a comprehensive one, an inclusive one; in effect, the whole Philistine force; for when they saw that their champion was dead, they fled. Typically what are the Philistines? They represent that which is very near to what is of God, always in close proximity, always seeking to impinge upon the things of God; to get a grip, to look into, to pry, to discover the secret things of God. They were ever seeking to pry into the secrets of God, but always in a natural way. They are called “uncircumcised.” That is what David said about Goliath: “this uncircumcised Philistine.” We know from Paul’s interpretation that typically that means this uncrucified natural life, this natural life which is always seeking to get a grip on the things of God apart from the work of the Cross; which does not recognize the Cross; which sets the Cross aside, and thinks that it can proceed without the Cross into the things of God; which ignores the fact that there is no way into the things of the Spirit of God except through the Cross as an experienced thing, as a power breaking down the natural life and opening a way for the Spirit.

To be a man after God’s own heart we must be those who have an utter hatred for the uncrucified natural life.

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February 21

21 FEB – The Man Who is Spread Across the Bible

The Bible abounds with men. It abounds with many other things; with doctrine, with principles; but more than anything else it abounds with men. That is God’s method, His chosen method, His primary method of making Himself known. These men who were in relationship with God, with whom God was associated, bring distinctive features into view. Not in any one man is the whole man acceptable, every feature to be praised, but in every man there are one or more features that stand out and distinguish him from all others, and abide as the conspicuous features of that man’s life. Those outstanding distinctive features represent God’s thought, the features which God Himself has taken pains to develop, for which God laid His hand upon such men, that throughout history they should be the expression of certain particular traits.

Thus we speak of Abraham’s faith, of Moses’ meekness. Every man is representative of some feature wrought into him, developed in him, and when you think of the man the feature is always uppermost in your mind. Our attention is drawn not to the man as a whole, but to that which marks him in particular. So by one Apostle we are called to recollect the faith of Abraham, while another will bid us remember the patience of Job. These features are God’s thoughts, and when all the features of all the men are gathered up and combined, they represent Christ. It is as though God had scattered one Man over the generations, and in a multitude of men under His hand had shown some aspect, some feature, some facet of that one Man, and that one Man is able to say, “Ye search the scriptures, because ye think that in them ye have eternal life; and these are they which bear witness of Me…” (John 5:39).

There is a Man spread over the Bible, and all who have come under God’s hand have been apprehended for the purpose of showing something of His thought, which in its fullness is expressed in His Son, the Lord Jesus.

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February 20

20 FEB – The Distinctiveness of God’s Purpose

The Hebrews were a distinct race separated and hedged around for a distinct purpose. The time came in the days of the Prophets when they removed or destroyed their ‘hedges’, their spiritual boundaries, and the line of demarcation was obliterated so that all kinds of wild things grew around the ‘choice vine’. This gave rise to the denunciations and warnings of the Prophets. The whole work of the Hebrew Prophets related to this one thing.

Each prophet had some distinctive feature of God’s holiness for which he was fighting and suffering. The four called ‘Major’ represented four major characteristics of God. The twelve called ‘Minor’ (only because of the smaller size of the books bearing their names) had each some particular feature of the testimony of God. Mixture is an abomination to God. The Prophets were a challenge and a call to recover distinctiveness of testimony through distinctiveness of life.

In the New Testament, Christians were known as the People of the Way. This was a distinguishing designation. Distinctiveness of testimony is not some testimony distinct from the whole purpose of God. Nor is it a special part of that whole. It only arises when the general state has lost its true character, its characteristic distinctiveness. It is not a system of teaching, a form of practice and procedure, an exclusiveness of fellowship. It is the life and lordship of the Spirit; it is the pure and powerful river of God vitalizing everything.

The whole battle rages around this distinctiveness of life and testimony. The Old Testament and the New are alike in this particular battle. The wall of Jerusalem was a symbolic representation of the Divine line of demarcation. Hence the sieges and battles. Hence the deeper spiritual meaning of ‘Nehemiah’. The first three chapters of the book of ‘Revelation’ are a return movement of the Lord on this line in relation to New Testament churches.

The feature of the Fall and the mark of Satanic interference with what is of God is loss of distinctiveness, purity, transparency. Hence, when Satan is finally cast down, as in the last chapters of the ‘Revelation’, “that which maketh a lie” has no place, and everything is “clear as crystal”.

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February 19

19 FEB – The Three Essentials of the Christian Life

There are three things which are essential to an adequate life with God, to a fullness of the Christian life. Firstly, the realization that God is concerned with the accomplishment of something worthy of Himself. We shall not get very far toward a full Christian life, or a life with God, until it breaks upon us and takes hold of us that God is really concerned with the accomplishment of something worthy of Himself.

The second thing is that people shall become aware of what that great something in the heart of God is, what it is that God is so concerned with, and then that they shall be moved to co-operate with Him in it. That is an essential to a life of fullness with God, that we His people shall come to see what it is that He is really set upon, what it is that will really be worthy of Himself, and, more than that, that we shall become so deeply moved about this matter as to co-operate with Him in it.

And then, in the third place, that we recognize that this object in the heart of God and this co-operation with Him by His people involves very real conflict and cost, and that His people must face that and be ready to accept it.

These three things comprise the elements and features of a full life with God, and not one of them can be lacking. The very conflict and cost will themselves be the evidences of the value of the thing into which the people of God have been brought, and the thing which is so dear to God’s heart. Where there is no conflict and no cost, there may be reason to feel that the outcome is not worthwhile. I think that the view of the Apostles, at any rate, was that the conflict was the complement of the calling – so great and so high.

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February 18

18 FEB – The Separation of Two Kingdoms

The very beginning of the Christian life rests upon this one historic law of God right through the ages which He cannot overlook. The beginning of the Christian life is called being born anew, or more correctly, born from above. What does it mean? It means all that Isaac’s birth and resurrection meant in figure; it means this, that by our very new birth we are translated out of the authority of darkness into the kingdom of the Son of God’s love. By our very new birth, our conversion ― call it what you will ― the very beginning of the Christian life is an absolute separation of two kingdoms; a transference from one into another. One is an unholy realm into which we are born and to which we belong by nature. The other is a holy realm, “You are a holy nation”, a nation separated from this world unto God. New birth means that; oh, that that was made clear to all right there at the beginning how utter this thing is.

The Lord Jesus left people in no doubt about this; a cleavage utter and absolute. Ah, He was taking all the risks necessary about this because the reality, the awful reality of this: you CANNOT ― you cannot inherit the kingdom of heaven while you cling to this kingdom inimical to God in any way. The two things cannot go together. One is unholy. The other is holy. And by new birth we cross a line which is a very broad line, as broad as the Red Sea and as the Jordan, as broad as the cross of the Lord Jesus. New birth… it’s a life of holiness that we have taken up or entered into; a life of holiness, separation unto God. Complete separation unto God. It’s to be a walk in holiness. How much the New Testament has to say about this, a walk in holiness that is separate unto God in heart, in spirit, in life, from this world. And if we knew it, a very large degree of our education, our spiritual education and our discipline in the Christian life under the hand of the Holy Spirit, has to do with those things in us which are mixed up. We are trying to make the best of two worlds, trying to keep together in compromise things which do not belong before God and which are going to spell disaster for us as truly as they ever spelt disaster for Israel. We are going to lose the kingdom. It is a tremendous thing!

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February 17

17 FEB – An Inward Knowledge of the Lord

There is an appalling state of things amongst the Lord’s people today. So many of them have their life almost entirely in that which is external to themselves ― in their counsel and guidance, their sustenance and support, their knowledge, and their means of grace. Personal, inward and spiritual intelligence is a very rare thing. No wonder that the enemy has such a successful line in delusions, counterfeits, and false representations! Our greatest safeguard against such will be a deep knowledge of the Lord through discipline.

Immediately it is things for which we reach out; e.g. experiences, sensations, “proofs”, manifestations, and so on, and we become exposed in a perilous realm where Satan can give a false conversion, a false ‘baptism of the Spirit’, a false evidence and guidance such as is found in spiritism. Then, with the withdrawing of those, he immediately suggests the unpardonable sin. If this suggestion be accepted, the value of the Scriptures and of the Blood is annulled, and the assurance of those involved is lost, and it may, after all, be all a lie.

To know the Lord in a real way means steadfastness when others are being carried away ― steadfastness through times of fiery trial. Those who know the Lord do not put forth their own hand and try to bring things about. Such are full of love and patience, and do not lose their poise when everything seems to be going to pieces. Confidence is an essential and inevitable fruit of this knowledge, and in those who know Him, there is a quiet restful strength which speaks of a great depth of life.

Every fresh uprising of an abnormal condition has disclosed the appalling weakness amongst Christian people because of this lack. Waves of error; the swing of the pendulum to some fresh popular acceptance; a great war with its horrors and many-sided tests of faith; all these have swept away multitudes and left them in spiritual ruin.

These things are ever near at hand, and we have written this message to urge upon the Lord’s people to have very definite dealings with Him that He will take every measure with them in order that they might know Him.

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February 22

22 FEB – David’s Hatred for the Uncrucified Flesh

David stands out as the man after God’s own heart. It is that which is to be noted in the first public action of David in the valley of Elah. We refer, of course, to his contest with Goliath. This first public action of David was a representative and inclusive one, just as the conquest of Jericho was with Israel. God intended that what was true of Jericho should be true of every other conquest, that the basis should be one of sheer faith; victory through faith, possession through faith.

David’s contest with Goliath was like that. It gathered up in a full way everything that David’s life was to express. It was the comprehensive disclosure or unveiling of the heart of David. He was a man after God’s own heart. In the case of David, the heart that God had seen is disclosed in the contest with Goliath, and it was that heart which made David the man after God’s own heart all the rest of his life.

What is Goliath? Who is he? He is a gigantic figure behind whom all the Philistines hide. He is a comprehensive one, an inclusive one; in effect, the whole Philistine force; for when they saw that their champion was dead, they fled. Typically what are the Philistines? They represent that which is very near to what is of God, always in close proximity, always seeking to impinge upon the things of God; to get a grip, to look into, to pry, to discover the secret things of God. They were ever seeking to pry into the secrets of God, but always in a natural way. They are called “uncircumcised.” That is what David said about Goliath: “this uncircumcised Philistine.” We know from Paul’s interpretation that typically that means this uncrucified natural life, this natural life which is always seeking to get a grip on the things of God apart from the work of the Cross; which does not recognize the Cross; which sets the Cross aside, and thinks that it can proceed without the Cross into the things of God; which ignores the fact that there is no way into the things of the Spirit of God except through the Cross as an experienced thing, as a power breaking down the natural life and opening a way for the Spirit.

To be a man after God’s own heart we must be those who have an utter hatred for the uncrucified natural life.

Book Ministry Website

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