To whom he said, This is the rest wherewith ye may cause the weary to rest; and this is the refreshing: yet they would not hear. ~Isaiah 28:12
The Elim-palms only environed Israel's temporary resting-place—marked one of the many wilderness camping-grounds on the way to Canaan. In the very next words after the recorded tent-pitching by the twelve wells, we read, "Then they left Elim" (Ex. 16:1).
If "Get up, go away! For this is not your resting place," be the watchword for all God's pilgrims still, what, it may be asked, of the untrodden journey? What of tomorrow's march? What of the unknown future?
"The Lord will provide!" That future is in the keeping of the God of the pillar-cloud, and we may well leave it there. These refreshing palm-groves at one encampment may well be taken as pledges of His faithfulness and loving care, until the last stage of the wilderness journey be reached, and 'the fields of living green' appear in view.
How beautiful the impress of the Divine hand in the works of outer nature. Every blade of grass, every forest leaf, how perfect, in symmetry of form, and in tenderness of color! With what exquisite elegance He has pencilled every flower, delicately poised it on its stalk, or spread a pillow for its head on the tender sod! The God who has "so clothed the grass of the field," will not be forgetful of the lowliest of His covenant family.
It is for us to say, as we lie passive in His hands, "O Lord, come to my aid!" He, portioning out for us as He sees fit, and having His own infinite reasons for what may appear perplexing to us—we, with an unquestioning and unreasoning faith, fully trusting His power, tenderness, vigilance, love. He does not consult our short-sighted wisdom in what He does. The clouds do not consult the earth as to when they shall visit its fruits and flowers—its cornfields and forests, with their watery treasures. The pining plant does not dictate to the cloud-reservoirs as to when they shall unseal their hidden stores. These give a kindly and needful supply "in due season," and the earth has never yet (for six thousand years) had to complain of them as miserly distributors of their Creator's bounty.
So it is with the soul. He who makes the clouds His chariot—who opens and shuts at will the windows of heaven—locking and unlocking the springs of the great deep—says to all His people, 'Trust Me; I will give you all needed present blessings; I will come to you like the winter rains, like the spring rains that water the earth. I do not pledge myself as to how or when the rain shall fall—but I will send down showers in season; there will be showers of blessing.'
Happy for us, if we are able to respond with a declaration of entire confidence in a present, personal God, in whom we live, and move, and have our being! Behold the sun of the natural heavens, the great central luminary—a dumb unfeeling mass of matter—holding its dependent planets in their orbits, controlling their unerring movements; they, in calm, silent submission, yielding obedience to the will of this sovereign lord! How much more may we hold on our way in the orbit of undeviating obedience, exulting in Jehovah's ever-present power and love; so that in the most remote solitude, as well as the most dense crowd, we can say, 'Alone, yet not alone, for my Father is with me!'
And if we thus confide in God, He will confide in us. Beautiful are the words of the prophet, "You meet him who rejoices and works righteousness; those that remember You in Your ways." Those that remember You and confide in You, "You meet them!" The Lord comes out halfway to meet the confiding heart.
Let us listen to the words of Him who spoke as never man spoke, "Take no thought" (that is to say, Do not be over-anxious or over-careful) "for tomorrow." That 'tomorrow' is in the hands of One boundless in His resources, infinite in His compassion. He not only distributes the destiny of His people, but He molds and adapts them for their lots and positions in life. Just as in outer nature He adapts the varied classes in the vegetable world for different climates. As the palm was the tree of the desert, the olive that of Palestine, the cedar, of Lebanon—so is it with every tree of righteousness. They too are "the planting of the Lord;" and wherever planted, there, in their varied ways, they may 'glorify' Him.
Do not charge God with insincerity, when He declares, through His inspired Apostle, that all things work together for good to those who love Him. "No good thing will He withhold from those who walk uprightly." If He leads you along a rough and thorny road, hear His loving voice thus reassuring your faith and lulling your misgivings, 'Your heavenly Father knows that you have need of all these things.' He foresees and anticipates every emergency that can overtake you. He can ward off every danger, and disarm every foe. As you may be now surveying the yet-untrodden road, leading 'uphill and downhill, to the city of habitation,' remember the words of Him who has said, "I will never leave you, nor forsake you."
"Leave, oh leave your fond aspirings, Bid your restless heart be still; Cease, oh cease your vain desirings, Only seek your Father's will. Leave behind your faithless sorrow, And your every anxious care; He who only knows the morrow Can for you its burden bear. Leave the darkness gathering o'er thee, Leave the shadow land behind; Realms of glory lie before thee, Enter in, and welcome find."
"Commit your way to the Lord; trust also in Him, and He shall bring it to pass."
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