“Whoso loves instruction loves knowledge but he that hates reproof is brutish.”
The word of the King of Israel to his subjects was never to be questioned because God had endued him with great wisdom. The blessing of Yehovah God upon Solomon was the understanding of dark sayings, the ability to judge and appoint the proper course to settle any matter justly and the understanding of the vanity of everything of this existence. He saw the limitations of man coupled together with the inherent drive of the sons of Adam to prove themselves worthy before God. These things he called a sore vexation upon his soul for he knew that man could not change the characteristics of his nature or his station in life. He also was given to see the impeccable perfection of the holiness of God and the immutable nature of His will. This truth made the wisest and richest man upon the earth also the most depressed person who ever lived.
The truth is an axiom which has no variations. The sovereign rule of God over all His creation precludes any interference of influence from any other source than He who is the beginning and the end of all things. He is the truth from which everything emanates for His good pleasure. He is the source of power and existence and nothing is that has not been created by the power of His will and ordained for good; this especially includes the paragon of His creation, Adam.
The events in the garden did not alter the prescribed format of the creation of God. The inability of Adam and Eve to obey the Word of God stands as a testimony to all his children that they are bone of his bone and flesh of his flesh. Everything that is demonstrated in the garden in Adam is inherent in his seed ‘after its kind’. Although no one has ever repeated the transgression of incompetence that Eve portrayed in her deception by the serpent, yet that characteristic is part of all her children. And since no son of the dust has had to stand by and demonstrate the impotency of Adam, in that he could not stop what was coming to pass, and fallen after the similitude of his transgression, yet all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God; this is the way God intended it to be.
Many will object to this by questioning, ‘Why then does God still find fault for no one can resist His will’? The very nature of this question calls the integrity of God into doubt and raises the status of man above his creator. Every work that is done is done by the hand of Yehovah God and therefore is just and true and since there is nothing equal to Him, there is no one who can do contrary to what He has commanded; “I Yehovah have spoke, it shall come to pass and I will do, I will not go back, neither will I spare neither will I repent according to My ways and according to your doings, they shall judge you, said Yehovah God” (Ezek. 24:14). God has the right, the power and the privilege to do as He sees fit and there is none who can stop Him or even question what He has done, primarily because, all these things were finished before the foundation of the world. Before Adam was even formed from the dust of the earth, the inability to ‘hit the mark’ existed, by the will of He who created all things for Himself. Before the heavens were called forth or the earth hung in time and space the Almighty God had purposed in Himself the creation of man as the excellency of His work because He made him in His image. He breathed into the form of man and made him a living soul and set him over all the earth but He also decreed that no flesh should stand justified before Him. This was not an afterthought because Adam failed the test which God had set before him or because God looked ahead to see which way man might choose in this critical situation. These things were decreed of old and God called them forth at the appropriate time in demonstration of what He had predestined.
He also, before the initiation of time, set forth the propitiation for this natural inability in the earthen vessels that His children would inhabit when He appointed them to become partakers of flesh and blood. The shed blood of the Lamb of God was the preparation for the earthen vessels of honour that the Potter would form as the receptacles of the seed the Sower would plant. These vessels are assigned the times of the manifestation of their habitation. They came forth in the designated order of the seed of man so that, like Esau and Jacob, they came forth together, both the child of promise and the son shapened in guilt. These two seeds coexist throughout the time of the earthly habitation but in the time appointed of the Father, when it pleases the Father, He reveals Himself in His children. He manifests His love for His people, whom He loves with an eternal love, by the Spirit within who teaches them all things as they grow in the grace and knowledge of His will.
“The proverbs of Solomon. A wise son makes a glad father but a foolish son is heaviness of his mother” (Pro. 10:1).
These wise sayings of the ruling King of peace are directed to his children and no one else. They are not universally applicable because not all the sons of Adam are the sons of Solomon nor are all the sons of Solomon wise. The specific nature of these ‘ethical maxims’ are fashioned for those who have been born of the King and instructed in his ways, learned in his precepts and skilled in his administrations. They have no meaning to anyone else.
These sayings are set forth as a representation of the land of two rivers as they show a comparison between he who is taught, being born of the Spirit, and he who is stupid, being born of flesh and blood. The Spirit within communicates the things of God from faith to faith which is the life and health of the children. The natural man, being of the earth, desires and thrives upon those things which can be seen, felt and understood by his carnal point of reference. These two then exist, contrary one to the other, as the flesh, being temporal, wars against the Spirit, who is eternal, but God has established this existence, in complete harmony with His perfect will, to show forth His love for His people.
The instruction, discipline and correction of Almighty God toward His children, by the Spirit within, declares the standard of the perfection of His holiness in contrast to the worthlessness of the unprofitable flesh. This is the testimony of God to His people of his love, grace and mercy as a Father for His children and a testimony of His righteous judgment against all the ungodliness of man. Every one of His children has this testimony as they keep the commandments of the King of Peace and as they grow in the grace and knowledge of His will, as the light of His glory shines brighter in their hearts, then they see the corruption of the flesh and the wretchedness of the body of this death. These are they who love the discipline of the Lord.
The Spirit of the Most High also testifies to the finished work of the Anointed Salvation of Yehovah. Though the creature has been made subject to the vanity of this existence and the time which governs it yet the fullness of the Godhead dwelling in His people speak comfort and hope of deliverance because all these works were finished from before the foundation of the world (Heb. 4:3). This is the assurance of the faithfulness of Yehovah and the surety of His word, therefore the hope of the children is the anticipation of the imminent return to the Father’s house. The flesh has no such hope “for dust you are and unto the dust you shall return” (Gen. 3:19).
“My son, do not despise the chastening of Yehovah neither be weary of His correction” (Pro. 3:11).
The natural man cannot understand why or how Yehovah God demonstrates love by chastening. This is even contrary to the mind when dealing with his own children and grandchildren because the mind of Adam equates the demonstration of love with being placid and peaceful but the truth of the Spirit teaches that proper love includes correction and discipline. The philosophies of man strive to remove this proven axiom of life through laws and public opinion but unto whom there is no discipline there can be no love.
There is a great difference between the righteous judgment of God against sin and wickedness and the chastening of His children. The wrath of God is poured out against all in just retribution “for all have sinned and come short of the glory of God”. This wrath is equally poured out, in measure, against the Lamb of God for the sin of His people in Adam. The blood is commensurate to the sin of the people and that sin has been laid upon the head of the scapegoat, as He who knew no sin became the sin of His people, and is removed; “as far as the east is from the west” (Ps. 103:12). So, unto them which have been sealed by the blood of the sacrifice for sin, there is, “therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit” (Rms. 8:1). Since there is no more condemnation there can be no wrath of God for there is no more sin yet the nature of the body of this dwelling is of the world and the mind desires that things of the world; herein is the correction and teaching of the Spirit.
The manifestation of the chastisement of God is often equated with punishment but this is an incorrect practice. The Father demonstrates love for His children as He reveals to them, through the law and the prophets, the exceedingly sinfulness of sin. He opens their eyes to His glory which manifests the inabilities of man, the arrogance of his heart to think himself like unto God and the pride which dwells in him. This controlled discipline of God causes the child to hate himself in Adam and to despise his evil ways; “and you shall loathe yourselves in your own sight for your iniquities and for your abominations” (Ezek. 36:31). This causes the child to cry out to his Father as the child understands that he has no hope in this world of ever measuring up to the standard of the perfection of holiness. He is shown that in him, that is in his flesh, dwells no good thing; he daily sees his aspirations and expectations in Adam dashed and feels helpless and adrift in this present evil generation and he finds himself alone; “like a pelican of the wilderness: I am like an owl in the desert” (Ps. 102:6). The wilderness is not hospitable to the nature of the pelican for there are no fish to eat and the owl cannot hunt in the desert where there is no prey so is the child of grace in the waste barren wilderness of this world; the water is bitter, there is no bread and there is no meat.
This realization, which is an ongoing lesson that intensifies with experience, reminds the children of their Father’s house and the home, Jerusalem. Here the peace of the Father is seen without the confusion and obstructions of this limited and frail existence. The children long to return home to see Him in the beauty of His holiness and to speak His name with the pure tongue yet it pleases the Father that each seed be planted in the ground prepared for it, nurtured and trained as it grows by the pruning and care of the Husbandman unto the time of the harvest when each shall bring forth; “some an hundredfold, some sixtyfold and some thirtyfold” (Matt. 13:8). Each seed having a specific place to be planted in the exact conditions prepared of the Husbandman and cared for in a particular manner unto the time when the habitation of this dwelling be dissolved and the sons of God manifested. This loving care and meticulous attention is the chastisement of Yehovah God, not upon the Spirit but for the children for as He reveals the bondage of this corruption, the groaning in anticipation of deliverance deepens and the beauty of the peace is understood; “therefore always confident, knowing that, whilst we are at home in the body, we are absent from the Lord, for we walk by faith not by sight. We are confident and willing rather to be absent from the body and to be present with the Lord; wherefore we labour that, whether present or absent, we may be accepted of Him” (II Cor. 5:6f).
“I have surely heard Ephraim bemoaning himself saying, You have chastened me and I was chastened as a bullock unaccustomed. Turn me and I shall be turned for You are Yehovah my God” (Jer. 31:18).
The first-born of Israel, according to birthright (I Chron. 5:1) was brought to the point where he acknowledged that the hand of Yehovah God had been laid upon him in such a manner that he was unaccustomed to. This discipline was not intended for the wild animals of the field but for those dwelling in the pastures of the Lord. Ephraim could not turn himself for his Adamic nature did not understand the problem and would never act contrary to his nature. This is why the Apostle wrote that “we wrestle not against flesh and blood” for these are the ways of Adam who has various ways and methods of dealing with his fears and anxieties but who knows nothing of the wrestling “against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places” (Eph. 6:12). The natural man seeks natural remedies for natural problems; the children of the Israel of our God are taught of the Lord that their wound is incurable for there is no balm to soothe the pain. This bitterness is of the discipline of the Father.
Ephraim needed to be turned away from his natural ways, not that his natural man could divest himself from his natural needs but that he be brought away from, as Jesus taught the disciples, the labours of the flesh which are unprofitable. Adam could not cover his sin, Cain could not present a sacrifice acceptable before God and Esau could not have love for his birthright, though he sought it with tears. Neither can the works of righteousness which the sons of Adam attempt and find great comfort in satisfy the exacting standards of the perfection of God. The pride of the natural heart calls out that he has kept all the requirements from his youth upwards and arrogantly grabs his lapels thanking God that he is not a sinner as others. His mind assures him that he would never sink as low as the common man and that God would be unjust if He did not accept his gracious offer and worthy service.
The child of grace has a different experience as they have been chosen in the furnace of affliction. The fire of that furnace is a cleansing and purifying flame that burns off the dross of Edom. This fire burns slowly as the Refiner removes the wood, hay and stubble to reveal the gold, silver and precious stones within. This fire lasts all the days of the time of the habitation and is a testimony to the love and care of the craftsman who knows what He is doing and why He is doing it. Though the heat and sting of the fire cause the sons of Adam to call out for injustice yet the pot is in the Master's hand as He lovingly turns it and applies His fire where it is most needed. Thus the outward man is perishing daily as the inward man is renewed, day by day.
“For whom the Lord loves He chastens and scourges every son He receives” (Heb. 12:5)
The world wants a testimony and calls upon its children to stand and give an account. They gladly announce how their god has delivered them from many different things through the various groups and organizations of this world but “Salvation is of Yehovah”.
This salvation is finished in the Lamb who stood as He had been slain from the foundation of the world, it is the deliverance of His people from the wrath of God, it is the daily deliverance of His people from this present evil generation and it is the deliverance form the body of this death when they shall all be like Him. Those whom God knew before time, being His eternal seed, he also predestinated to be conformed to the image of His dear Son. These have become partakers of flesh and blood and have endured the contradiction of sin against themselves and when the time of this habitation is over; “Beloved, now are we the sons of God and it does not yet appear what we shall be but we know that when he shall appear we shall be like Him for we shall see Him as He is” (I John 3:2).
Now no chastening for the present seems to be joyous but rather it appears to be grievous. No one enjoys the stern discipline and constant correction of another whether it be of our natural father’s, our teachers or our fellow man. The first objection is what right have they to lord over us and to exact such demands of us? This is true of the natural man to his fellow natural man but is more-so when the child of Adam is buffeted of the Lord.
The chastisement of the Spirit yields the peaceable fruits of righteousness which the natural man cannot see, taste or comprehend, therefore Adam sees no ‘good’ in that which Yehovah has decreed. The natural man has not the mind of God and therefore cannot comprehend the purpose of the ways of God. The ways of God are as high above the intellect and understanding of man as the heavens are above the earth and God has filled the mind of man with the cares, curiosity and fears of this world so that he cannot find out the work which God has done form the beginning. Adam is an enemy of the punishment of the Refiner's fire laid upon him knowing that he is condemned, for, in him, that is in his flesh, dwells no good thing. He hates righteousness, he hates the just demands of the holiness of God, he despises the shed blood, trampling it under foot and calling it common and he has rejected the Stone which is the Anointed Salvation of Yehovah. He loves the things of this world and would live comfortably and peaceably if it were not that the Spirit within causes him to ‘kick against the pricks’ for he knows his days are few.
“Wherein you greatly rejoice though now for a season if need be you are in heaviness through manifold temptations; that the trying of your faith, being more precious than gold that perishes, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto the praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ” (I Pt. 1:6).
The affections of the children of the Kingdom Of God are fixed and sure upon the things from above. They are sustained by the bread of life, drink the living waters and have eternal life. They love the instruction of their heavenly Father because he first loved them. His care and attention is manifested in the constant nurture and admonitions of His Spirit. The natural man despises the things of the Spirit and is enmity against God therefore he objects and rebels against this demonstration of love. The wormwood and the gal are constant companions with the children of the Kingdom of God while they walk through this wilderness. Their soul calls these afflictions to mind and has hope therein.
The world calls for a testimony of complete assurance of salvation. The testimony is that the Lord God Omnipotent reigns sovereign over all. He sits in the heavens and rules over all His creation counting the inhabitants of the earth as nothing. The comfort of His people Jerusalem is that they “Behold your God” for He is the “King over all the earth; sing praises with understanding; God reigns over the heathen; God sits upon the throne of His holiness” (Ps. 47:7f).
The assurance is the immutability and faithfulness of God. His purpose, will and actions are all based upon His love for His Beloved. His desire is upon Her and He will never leave nor abandon Her. Nothing can separate the Beloved from the eternal love of Her Husband nor can anything come between what God has joined together.
“So that we ourselves glory in you in the churches of God for your patience and faith in all your persecution and tribulation which you endure; a manifest token of the righteous judgment of God, that you may be counted worthy of the Kingdom of God for which you suffer.” (II Thes. 1:4)
Your servant in Christ,
(Elder) Chet Dirkes
December 6, 2015