Hymn 372 May the Lord Depend on You?
II Corinthians 11:3, “But I fear, lest by any means….simplicity that is in Christ.” We have come to the last day and for many of us it is the last Convention this year. How do we feel? We have had very special times in the presence of God. Maybe we are like the little mouse we often heard about that ate the cheese. He then said, “Bring on the cats now!” Because of sitting in the atmosphere of the Spirit of God, we feel we could almost face anything. It won’t be very long until reality will dawn.
We have an enemy who is very subtle and as he beguiled Eve through his subtlety, he wants to destroy what has taken place at Convention. It won’t be very long after the Convention before you know that he is working. He is trying to hinder the work of God being completed in all our lives. He can come in such a subtle way that we can hardly realise it. His purpose is to upset us. We heard in testimony that someone on coming home from a previous Convention was bombarded with something they never expected. The subtlety of the enemy is to take away from us the wonderful atmosphere we enjoyed in this place. We are not going out to play. We are going out to fight a battle. This is a battle of our will and God’s will.
We sang in the hymn “What will give us hope …. daily strife.” It is not very long before we find that strife again. That struggle arising in our hearts and we wonder how we can face it. But we need to remember we have the power of Heaven behind us. All Heaven is behind every one of God’s true children. So often we limit the power of the Spirit of God because of reservations in our hearts. But we want to use the power of Heaven and we have something to do. The hymn says, “Is it not in praying”…. life.
A number of times, I have left Convention feeling enriched but in a very short time I was flat on my face. Every time, I traced it to a lack of true prayer. We may feel we can go along on what we have heard. A lack of prayer in the secret place leads to failure. When you leave, give time to God. That is where we get the power of Heaven to help us face the daily strife.
I have enjoyed the book of Nehemiah and I hope I can tell you some of the things that were dear to my heart. It is the story of a man in very difficult circumstances, away from his homeland and in captivity. But a little thought came into his heart, a concern for the needs of the Kingdom of God. It is wonderful when God can awaken in us a concern for the needs of the Kingdom. It is not just the Workers but those in the home life, those who have families, those in the little Churches. There are needs for every hand and there are many needs. The care of the elderly in your Church, the care of the sick, the care of the young. The needs are endless. We are glad that even at Convention, God can make us aware of these needs.
Nehemiah recognised the state of the wall at Jerusalem. He could have felt there was nothing he could do for he was far away but he prayed. It is always safe to pray and in prayer, God can awaken our hearts to paths of usefulness. Someone told us in our field this year that they prayed, “Lord help me to be used.” They were used in a very special way. Maybe in a way they didn’t expect but they were used. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to have a desire like that, to be used by God in the interests of His kingdom? Nehemiah may have felt this is a hopeless situation but he prayed and God deepened that desire in his heart. He saw there was something he could do, so he made that journey to Jerusalem and he saw that there was a need for every hand. I hope God has been able to awake in us the needs of the Kingdom for there is need for every hand.
He may have thought, “What can I do?” but he didn’t tell anyone what God had put in his heart. It was something between himself and God and these little convictions that we get from God are very precious. He thought of it a little more and then the time came when he had to share what was in his heart. We sometimes have these little convictions in our heart from God but they can just remain like that. I remember being like that for a few years and then I decided I would go in the Work if God really wanted me but I did not tell anyone and I had no peace. I remember struggling at the last Convention and I was afraid to leave that Convention without telling what was in my heart. I tried after the first day but I couldn’t do it. The last day of Convention is very special to me. Things can take place on the last day of Convention that can change our whole life. I thought after the first meeting I could get the opportunity to tell someone but it didn’t happen. Then came the second meeting and it still didn’t happen. I was afraid to leave for I knew that I had to share what was in my heart. I was afraid I might lose what God had put in my heart. I knew it had been put there by God and I wondered what would happen if God left me alone. I stayed to help at the clear-up and then I walked straight into our overseer. I told him what was in my heart. I was young and I expected him to tell me that I was too young. He just put his hand on my shoulder and said, “The need is great.” I knew that was my destiny but I left with a peace in my heart that I didn’t have for some years. I remember going home from that Convention with singing in my heart. I had shared with others what God had in my heart.
That is when there comes no turning back. I knew if I had kept it in my heart, I could have changed my mind. I knew what was ahead when the older brother said, “The need is great.” I remember that line of the hymn coming to me, “And prove to Thee my heart’s deep love.” That was my song as I left that Convention. Wouldn’t it be terrible if anyone left this convention the same way as we came? That is not how God wants us to leave. God wants us to leave with peace in our hearts. That’s what happened to Nehemiah.
It took courage and by him taking the stand he encouraged others to rise and fight. When you take a stand in the will of God, you don’t know how that can encourage someone else. You don’t know the influence it could have on someone watching your life. They started to build the wall and it wasn’t long until the enemy became busy. When the work of God is going on, the enemy won’t be far away. After Convention when God is trying to do a work, the enemy will be close by. The enemy tried to hinder that work in every way they could. First, they tried to mock it and despise it. They said even a little fox could destroy it. The enemy can use that ploy with us, despising the work God is doing in our hearts. If God is working in your soul, it is a work for eternity. Don’t let the enemy despise God’s work in your heart. It is priceless.
Then, they began to build. Each one in his place and it says, “Next unto him.” Each one was building against their own house. We all have a place to fill. We all have a part in this building of God. We all have different places and in a very short time we will be separated from Convention. You will be going back to your place on the wall, separated one from the other. Separation must come. We can’t stay here. You go back to the place God has for you and that is the right place.
After this meeting, the list will come out and we will be sent to our place. The last two years, I have been surprised at my companions, but they have been two of the best years for me. It is not what we choose or whom we choose to be with. It is the work of God’s Spirit. Next unto us may be our companions, our family or those in our little Church.
It says the breaches began to be stopped and the enemy was very wroth. The enemy loves to see little breaches. He longs to bring in breaches between companions, between husbands and wives, between members of the little church. Where there is a breach, there is a weakness that the enemy can work on. It can come in a most unexpected way. Maybe a little misunderstanding, then another misunderstanding and then before you know a breach has come. I have seen it happen and it is very serious. But it is wonderful when the Spirit can bridge those breaches and there is no weakness where the enemy can enter. We need to be very careful. Even in the family, little breaches can come. An unkind word can be spoken, leads to something else and suddenly there is a gap. What happens then? It affects the Church. We read in this chapter that they were fighting with one hand working and the other on a weapon. What is our weapon? “Being armed with the mind of Christ.” That is the armour of God. When we face the day that is the armour we need to take with us. The One who when He was reviled, reviled not again. When He was misunderstood, He didn’t retaliate. That is Jesus. That is the One we need to keep beside us and if something unsuspected arises from an area you never expected, you have the mind of Christ to deal with it. Nehemiah said
“Fight for your family, fight for your children, fight for your wives.” The battles we are fighting are not for us alone. The battles we win can have such an influence on the lives of those who are coming after. We need to be sure that we are in the place on the wall that God has for us. What happens if we are in the wrong place? It will spoil the peace in our heart.
We heard this year of an experience of a young couple. They were thinking of getting married. Before this, the girl had wondered if God had a place for her in the Work. She prayed but nothing happened. She wanted to be sure that she was in the right place. She said to her future husband, “If God gives me a sign right up to when I enter the Registry Office, I will have to turn back. For if God shows me I should be in the Work, it will make my life and your life miserable.” She went through and they are a happy, useful couple because she put God first. It is evident in their home that they are living like servants of God for they have such a care for those who are lost. I don’t want to lift them up but they were an inspiration to me. We need to be sure that we are in the place God wants us to be.
When the enemy saw the work going ahead, he wanted to talk with Nehemiah but Nehemiah recognised it as a ploy of the enemy. The enemy wants us to compromise and in compromising, we never win. There is a story of a man who went to hunt for a bear. He was about to shoot it when the bear asked him what he was doing. The man said that the he wanted a fur coat. The bear said he wanted his breakfast and they should discuss it. Then the bear ate the man. That is but the ploy of the enemy to get us to sit down and compromise. We always lose. Samson compromised and lost his eyesight. Samson thought he could play with the enemy. We can’t play with the enemy so be careful. We are going out to fight a battle so that the will of God gets uppermost place in our hearts.