I was thinking of a saying that you have here which is a bit new to me. People ask sometimes, “How are you going?” I was wondering about that, and I was reading about some people that were not going so well. Like the watches at the watchmakers – some going too slow, and some going too fast, and some not going at all, but they were all in the right place to get adjusted. In Jeremiah 2, we read of those that were not going so well, but I like what God said to them, “I remember thee, the kindness of thy youth, the love of thine espousals, when thou wentest after Me in the wilderness, in a land that was not sown.” We are glad that God remembers. I thought about the book of remembrance that was written that we read of in Malachi. It is good for us to remember, too. “Sweet remembrance of the time when first I knew His peace and smile. Gives my heart true rest and comfort, drives away what would defile.” God remembers. He is not unrighteous to forget, and anything we would do for His name would be remembered.
These people, it mentions that they were wandering and they were going from mountain to hill and going after things that didn’t profit and they had committed two evils. They had forsaken the fountain of living waters and hewed out broken cisterns that can hold no water. They were not going so well. One of the things it mentions about them was that they had forgotten their resting place. Today we are in a resting place, and God has brought us here to a quiet place. It is good to study to be quiet while we are here. We are glad for the quiet resting places. We sang about the quiet strength again be strong.
God seemed a little bit disappointed as He looked on the Children of Israel and He said, “I had planted thee, a noble vine, wholly a right seed; how then art thou turned into the degenerate plant of a strange vine unto Me?” Degenerate means to fall away from qualities that had been there. God wanted to stir them up to bring back again. Peter said he wanted to stir up their pure minds by way of remembrance. He felt that as long as he was in this tabernacle that is what he should be doing. Good for us to get to understand how we are and where we are going.
Matthew 12 we read, “How think ye? If a man hath an hundred sheep, and one of them be gone astray, doth he not leave the ninety and nice, and goeth into the mountains, and seeketh that which is gone astray.” We sang in that hymn, “So use my life O Lord, I pray, in seeking those who’ve gone astray…” God’s people had gone astray in the mountains, and that seemed to be the place where they strayed in Jeremiah’s day, and forgotten their resting places. This sheep had gone astray and the shepherd went into the mountains to seek that sheep. I was thinking about the few mountains that we could go astray in. The first one is the mountain of prosperity. When I was born, we didn’t have much money, but we had enough to get through. These days are days of prosperity, and it would be easy to go astray in the mountain of prosperity. A man that can handle his money wisely is a great man.
Another mountain is the mountain of worldliness. That is another one that people could go astray in. John said, “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.” Those are things that are only for a little while, and we could go astray in the mountain of worldliness and many things in the world that would appeal to us, but it is best to leave the things that belong to the world, in the world, and take on the things that belong to God.
Another mountain is the mountain of fashion. There is quite a lot of that in the world. One of our visitors I was speaking to one time, I asked him how things are going in his country. He said he thought it was more like a fancy dress parade! I thought of the fashion of Heaven – an ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which in the sight of God is of great price. Modest apparel. That means that the women would hide themselves in their clothing and not display too much of the flesh.
Another mountain is the mountain of business. I thought about a hymn, “Room for business, room for pleasure, but for Christ the crucified, not a place where He can enter, in your heart for which He died.” Good to keep the business in the right place. We wanted to go to a funeral one time, and there didn’t seem to be any way to get there. So one man offered to take us, and we said, “What about your business?” This man said, “The business doesn’t run me – I run the business.” It is good when we can keep the business in its place. There was a man that was a farmer that was serving God, and it was going very well, and he got another farm, and later he got another farm, and then there was less time to pray and read and going to meetings. The time came when he was on his death bed, and he said, “I have been a fool. I have allowed the material things to get the place that God should have had.” Nothing matters but salvation, in this world and that to come.
Isaiah 48 says, “I am the Lord thy God that teaches thee to profit, which leadeth thee by the way that thou shouldest go. O that thou hadst hearkened to My commandments; that had thy peace been as a river, and thy righteousness as the waves of the sea.” God has brought us here these days and He wants to instruct us and teach us how to profit. Jesus said to His disciples, “Lay up for yourselves treasure in heaven, where moth and rust doth not corrupt nor thieves break in ….” One man was asked one time what is your business? He said, “My business is to serve God and I mend boots for expenses.” Solomon saw that everything was vanity and vexation and he got to the stage that he hated life, because he realized that one day he would have to go and leave it to another man, and he said, “Who knows whether it would be a wise man or a fool.” Solomon said, “Remember now thy Creator in the days of thy youth, while the evil days come not, nor the years draw nigh, when thou shalt say, ‘I have no pleasure in them…’” He found out that was the best thing to do, and he spoke about the whole duty of man, which was to fear God and keep His commandments. One sister gave her testimony, “I would like to have a reverence for God and a reverence for the life I live.” That was a good purpose. In Luke, it mentions about we being delivered from the hand of our enemies, that we might serve God in holiness and righteousness all the days of our life. Wasted years shall come again no more.
Another mountain could be computer games. We can spend a lot of time with the computer, and it needs to be kept in its place. I was in another country one time for special meetings, and I remember going to this home of a man and a woman and their son. Another woman and her son came for the visit. The son said, “Any new computer games?” The lady made some tea, but those young men were so busy with the computer games they hardly had time to come to tea. For me, it was a wasted visit. Keep these things in the right place.
Another mountain is the mountain of socializing. Sometimes folk have these pot luck dinners after the meeting. The best thing after a meeting is to sing a hymn, like Jesus and His disciples at the last supper. Think about the things that we hear in the meeting. Sometimes we could go out to visit some friends in the evening and come home and we are too tired to read and pray. Sad if we would just say, “Good morning Lord and Good night Lord,” and roll into bed. II Corinthians 2:8-9, we read of 17 works of the flesh. The first two in the list, adultery and fornication – very dangerous mountains to be on. Sometimes people climb mountains and they have to be rescued. That would be the responsibility of the watchman.
Jesus spent a lot of time on the mountain of prayer, and we can often read about Him going up the mountain to pray. When He was making serious decisions, He spent a lot of time on the mountain of prayer. Marriage is like making our choice to God forever. Read Psalm 119:110-111, “I have made my choice forever.” “Dear Lord, an offering I would bring, to thee my Saviour, priest and king…” There was a time when I couldn’t sing that hymn. It is safe to be on the mountain of prayer. Jesus and Daniel spent a lot of time in the mountain of prayer. Daniel’s window was towards Jerusalem and there was nothing between him and God. When he was cast into the lion’s den, the king couldn’t sleep that night, and he came the next morning and said, “O Daniel, thy God which delivered from the lion’s mouth….” If we are faithful in the place of prayer, God will stand by us. Daniel said to the king, “God sent an angel and closed the lions’ mouths.” When we are true in our place, God will be true to us. Prayer is a mighty source of power. We can trace back our failures to the lack of prayer.
Then there is the mountain of reading. Another good mountain to be on. We can easily neglect praying and reading. If we are too busy to pray and read, we are far too busy. Our meditation should be like David said, “My meditation shall be sweet.” We think about it, and some other thing comes along, and we think about it, and it turns it into bread, and that feeds the soul. If there were 12 people in our meeting, there should be 12 loaves of bread on the table. Our meditation is very important.