Bernard Hall – Strathmore Special Meetings – December 21, 2003, 4 pm

There are four individuals in the scriptures who had a Godly purpose, but to that purpose God said, “No.” Adam and Eve were in a paradise, not a straight jacket. God’s people live in a paradise because of being found in the presence of God. They were given opportunity to choose, but ONE thing they were not to do. They did it and condemnation came.


When the little maid came with the message for Naaman, it displeased him. He was led to the prophet of Israel but because of lack of humility, he stormed out, didn’t humble himself, didn’t submit and almost missed it all. A nice little definition for submission is willing obedience.


The Lord touched Jonah’s life, “You go and preach the gospel.” He paid the price; had a miserable trip, and was made to turn back. He missed the joy of obeying the message of God.


There is so much blessing for people who don’t deserve it.


Moses was one who had a Godly purpose, but to that purpose God said, “No.” Deuteronomy 1:37, “The Lord was angry with me for your sakes, saying, ‘Thou also shalt not go in thither, but Joshua the son of Nun, which standeth before thee, he shall go in thither. Encourage him, for he shall cause Israel to inherit it.’” Moses, with all his heart, wanted to go into the Promised Land. He had been with the children of Israel from the beginning; he crossed the Red Sea with them; he saw the manna fall; for forty years he had known the provision of God, saw God faithfully caring for His people. Moses struck the rock and he saw the water flowing out; he saw the pillar and cloud, a type of God’s spirit. There was always a presence of God with His people. But, at the end of his journey, the Lord told Moses he wouldn’t go into the Promised Land. Deuteronomy 3:25–28, “I pray thee, let me go over, and see the good land that is beyond Jordan, that goodly mountain, and Lebanon. But the Lord was wroth with me for your sakes, and would not hear me and the Lord said unto me, ‘Let it suffice thee; speak no more unto me of this matter. Get thee up into the top of Pisgah and lift up thine eyes westward, and northward, and southward, and eastward, and behold it with thine eyes, for thou shalt not go over this Jordan.'”


Then Moses wrote a song; he didn’t “sing the blues,” he sang a song to encourage Joshua.


Deuteronomy 31:22-23, “Moses therefore wrote this song the same day, and taught it the children of Israel, and he gave Joshua the son of Nun a charge, and said, ‘Be strong and of good courage: for thou shalt bring the children of Israel into the land which I sware unto them, and I will be with thee.’” In other words, “Be strong and of good courage; the best is yet ahead as we are willing and submissive.”


David also had a Godly purpose but to that purpose God said, “No.” I Chronicles 22:7-10, “And David said to Solomon, ‘My son, as for me, it was in my mind to build an house unto the name of the lord my God, but the word of the Lord came to me saying, “Thou hast shed blood abundantly, and hast made great wars. Thou shalt not build an house unto My Name because thou hast shed much blood upon the earth in my sight. Behold a son shall be born to thee, who shall be a man of rest; and I will give him rest from all his enemies round about, for his name shall be Solomon and I will give peace and quietness unto Israel in his days. He shall build an house for my name.”'”


David saw the Ark of the Covenant housed in a tent and he desired to build a temple for the presence of the Lord. God said, “No.” David didn’t go around pouting and sulking; he prepared. I Chronicles 29:2-5, “I have prepared with all my might for the house of my God…..” David prepared abundantly before his death, and prepared with all his heart. “And the house, when it was in building, was built of stone made ready before it was brought thither so that there was neither hammer nor axe nor any tool of iron heard in the house, while it was in building,” I Kings 6:7.


I’m thankful for those who are elders amongst us. Lots of folks are not elders, but they play a significant part in visiting in nursing homes, taking time to read and pray and meditate, having bread and water to share with their brethren in the meeting. These are noble acts and noble souls that prepare with all their heart.


Another individual I was thinking about was Paul. II Corinthians 12:7, “…and lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure. For this thing I besought the Lord thrice that it might depart from me. And He said unto me, ‘My grace is sufficient for thee, for my strength is made perfect in weakness.’ Most gladly therefore, will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.”


I don’t know what Paul’s thorn was. Our thorn could be something in our nature, or something physical, a disability, or it could be in our thoughts, and it can’t be taken away because God’s grace is sufficient. Anyway, the thorn in his flesh bothered Paul so much that he prayed three times the Lord would take it, but God said, “No, keep the thorn because My grace is sufficient for thee.” Suffering is part of the portion. Just feel our need to ask God for His grace and help.


Verse 10, “Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake, for when I am weak, then am I strong.” All of us have some thorn or disability, but for Christ’s sake, look on our thorn and look at it as a little gift from God that we, through His grace, get help and prove for ourselves His love and His power being sufficient for us.


Lastly, we think of Jesus. Luke 22:42, “Father, if Thou be willing, remove this cup from Me. Nevertheless, not My will, but Thine, be done.” What is in the cup, the cup of Calvary? Maybe, it was the thought of being parted from God, or being placed upon the cross. Or maybe, it was the thought of leaving His disciples and that little band of people. The apostles had only been in the work 2 ½ years; one had sold Him, another had doubted, one betrayed Him. He could have thought if God would give Him two or three more years, he would be able to teach and lead those 12 to better prepare them when He would leave. “Father, if it be possible, give Me a few more years.” But God said, “No.” Jesus said, “Nevertheless, not My will, but Thine be done,” and there appeared an angel unto Him from Heaven, strengthening Him. Jesus was willingly obedient.


Ten years ago in Brazil, I knew the time would come when I would have to step aside from this work. Before going to Rochester for my back surgery, I made a little trip to Saskatchewan and had a visit with Uncle Dale and Merlin telling them of my decision. I decided that after Calgary Special Meetings would be the time to step aside. It wasn’t an easy decision. I want to stay in this Work; I want to finish my days in the harvest field, but God is saying, “No.” These old legs won’t take me where my heart is.


I am thankful that in the last four years since leaving Brazil that 13 more young men and women have risen up to carry forth the Gospel. Even since being in Alberta, young ones have risen up, and perhaps others also will go forth. I’ll never lose the heart of a servant, the heart of a worker.


May we have grace sufficient from the presence of God to help us be faithful.


Hymn 33, “Give of Your Best to the Master”


* Last message Bernard spoke from the platform