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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 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 12

12 FEB – The Power of Dying (1)

In spiritual education something like this happens: One day being in the spirit, something said, or something read, or by the voice of the Spirit within, you see some wonderful piece of truth and it breaks upon you with all the force of a new revelation. Something you knew in theory before now breaks upon you as a wonderful divine unveiling. You lay hold of it, perhaps go to prayer and thank the Lord for it and feel that you are possessed of a great treasure which is going to be of infinite value in your life. You do not want to lose it; it has brought you such joy. But after a time it goes! It seems to die and go from you entirely, all the power of it and the joy of it seems to depart, it has become a faded vision.

Unconsciously to yourself, it may be, your life begins to move out along strange lines, things in the nature of severe trial come upon you, a situation of great difficulty arises, and you feel that by sheer force of circumstances you are being carried to despair and to death.

At this point, the only thing that occupies your questioning mind is that “truth” which had apparently passed away. In your extremity it grips you, and you make one desperate appeal to it, whereupon it comes to life and proves its vitality in bringing you through, up, and out to victory. What really has happened?

You received a revelation of some vital phase of truth. Good! But that truth had to be wrought out in you so that it became you. It was only mentally apprehended before, and in order that it might become your very life, you had to be led into such a place of death that only this truth could save you.

So it has become part of your spiritual life and after that you never lose it. It is truth you know, and have proved, and whenever you are led to speak of it to others, it immediately gets home; it is a living thing, alive from the dead in your experience. This is the only basis of effectual testimony. The grain of wheat in which you could not see the life, although you believed in its possibility, goes down to the grave. Then the surrounding forces and elements of God’s providence begin to work upon it. It is quickened, it germinates, and nothing after that can resist its upward climb.

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February 11

11 FEB – What Is the Real Life of Christ?

The real life of Christ is not the life of the three and a half years in which He trod this earth, but it is the life which He has been living in all the world since Calvary. It is an open question whether the record of those three and a half years would have survived or would have taken the place in the history of the world which it has taken, were it not for the romance of His continued activities and triumphs world-wide since His crucifixion and resurrection.

It is this romance that has attracted so much attention to that brief span of His life and teaching on earth, and which has created the world’s literature relative to “The days of His Flesh.” The greatest truth about Him is that “He was dead but is alive again.”

That life through death has controlled the world ever since and has made the world realize that, in spite of most determined efforts to destroy it, here is something which is indestructible. Great world systems, cults, and even empires have exhausted all their resources to blot out the Name and the continued vitality of Christ. But it is they which have perished; He still lives on victoriously.

We never receive the real life of Christ until we too have been to the Cross. The real divine life – the life of Jesus Christ – is only known by what it does in men and women in making them live on a plane which infinitely transcends the human level.

If we are going to manifest that life of Christ, and if that vital indestructible something is going to bear its powerful testimony in the world, if that divine life ― that very life of God Himself ― indestructible, victorious, is going to bear its mighty witness and make itself felt in the world in the members of His Body, it is only through their oneness with Him in death and resurrection.

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