Some words in Psalm 36 seemed to take on a new meaning to me this week. In verse 10, it says, “Be still and know that I am God.” In verse 11 it says, “The Lord of Hosts is with us.”
There are certain sounds that we can only hear when it is quiet, still. There are certain voices that we can only hear when we are truly quiet. Our hearts are bombarded from so many angles, there is so much that is trying to seep in from the outside, worldly influences, and as was said, so much is rubbing off on us from outside. If we can truly get quiet within and if we can truly hear God’s voice within speaking to our own hearts, if we can feel His touch in our roots of sound, then the outward circumstances won’t matter so much.
This Psalm speaks about a river and the streams thereof make glad the city of God. There was no natural river running through Jerusalem and it was only by faith that the Psalmist could speak about a river. A river of water running through the midst of a town was a very great treasure in those days because it was during a siege when the enemy would usually cut off the water supply to the city and that was usually the end of it. No matter how strong the army or how well developed their weapons were but if the water supply could be cut off during a siege, that would be the end of it. We have a ruthless enemy, too, and with all the noise and all the other influences of life, it is so easy to get away from the fountain of living waters.
It says there in the 2nd chapter of Jeremiah that the Lord said, “You have committed two evils. You have turned away from Me, the fountain of living water and you have hewed out unto yourselves cisterns, broken cisterns, that can hold no water.” (You have done other ways to sustain yourselves, away from Me.) There are times that we can carry on in this way, being sustained by cisterns along the way but if we don’t know the living fountain within, there is going to come a day when we will be cut off from those cisterns and their waters will fail us and disappoint us. In faith, the Psalmist could speak of a river running through the city and the streams thereof making glad the city of God.
Uncle Arthur Roberts once pointed out that those little streams were not flowing into the river, adding to the water in the river but they were furrows running down to the low lying areas that needed irrigation. I remember Uncle Arthur saying that if we want the benefit of the water that is in that river, then we need to keep small, we need to be low, then that water can reach us. It is possible that where there is a strongly flowing river, that there could be higher ground that is not irrigated, ground that is parched right next to a strong flowing river but if we are small enough and lowly enough in ourselves then we can know of living streams coming from that river that can keep us alive even in the worst of times.
We know one thing, and that is that it is going to get a lot darker before daybreak. It is going to get a lot darker and it is going to get a lot more difficult to find quietness. To really hear the still small voice speaking to our hearts is going to get more difficult because the devil is trying to cut off that supply. If that is cut off, even if we still continue going to meetings, even if we are still going to carry on with the outward form, we have denied the secret of this power that has helped others in days gone by.
When the workers first came to this country and started preaching the Gospel, there were great odds against them. If this thing wasn’t of God, how else could we declare, that against those odds, this would have continued to this day? Now it is our day and the picture is different and the onslaught of the enemy is different. A different tactic of bringing noise into our lives, even into the areas where we should have a sanctuary where we could communicate with God in heaven above. With technology as it is today, you don’t have to sneak out to a drive-in theatre any more, you can have the latest and the greatest in your own homes, just by the flick of a switch. If we don’t understand that noise and worldly entertainment, all that is going on in this world that people seek after, if we can’t get beyond that then we are going to be cut off from that living stream of living water.
When we were up in Kenya recently, we had a little Bible reading very high up on a mountain, in the foothills of Mount Kenya. Just a few people gathered for the meeting and we read Matthew 13 that day. It speaks about the sower and then about the wheat and then about the tares. I just noticed that day that the Lord said that the good seed are the children of the Kingdom, planted by God. The tares are those that cause stumbling and offence in the Kingdom. He said to let them grow together till the harvest and then the angels will separate from the Kingdom all those who cause offence and stumbling. It is a very serious thought that there are tares and there are tares even in the Kingdom. No worker can separate the tares from the wheat and nothing that we can do in our efforts can accomplish that. Just this one thought, whether we are going to end up among the tares or among the wheat one day depends on what is germinating and what is growing in our own hearts.
The saying used to be, “We are what we eat,” but these days, the saying is, “We are what we digest.” It is what we digest today and what we digest every day that is going to make the difference between being among the tares or among the wheat at the end of the day. God has gathered us to help us but He is sending us out with a purpose and that is to help those outside.