The cry of all
godly hearts is that of the Psalmist: "Teach me thy way,
O Lord" (Psalm 86:11) ... "Shew me thy
ways, O Lord" (Psalm 25:4).
We who know the
Lord know that He has answered that cry in fulness in His Son.
Christ is the answer to that cry. He Himself said: "I am
the way" (John 14:6). Christianity very early became
known by the name of 'The Way', and, as we know, it was because
the substance of all the preaching was Christ.
Now here is this
comprehensive fact that right from the beginning God has marked
out a way, a particular way, a specific way. If we could draw a
map of all the ways of men, of nations, of things, through
history, how many lines there would be on it indicating the
various and numerous ways which make up this world's history! But
if we looked on that map with God's eyes we should see a straight
red line, undeviating, running right from the creation to the
consummation of this world's history, and, following that line to
its end, we should find that it is Christ, it ends in Christ. God
has drawn that line, that red line, straight, direct, through all
the deviations of this world's life, experience and happenings -
the line of Christ.
If we want to find
God we have to get on to that line. It is the touchstone of human
blessing, the life-line of men.
That is a key both
to the Bible and to our experience in our relationship with God.
God put Adam on that line when He created him. He put his feet,
so to speak, immediately on the line of Christ, in order to take
a course which would bring him eventually to all the meaning of
God's Son, conformity to His Son: conformity to His image. Adam
went off the line of Christ, with all the disastrous consequences
which we know.
The next move was
to bring man, who in Adam had deviated from that line, back on to
the line of Christ. God laid hold of Abraham and brought him
right on to the line. Watch carefully all his movements under the
hand of God, and you will see that every divine step in that life
related in some way to Christ. The great culminating point of
these activities, the offering of Isaac and receiving him again
as from the dead, as you know, speaks as loudly as anything in
all the Bible of the Lord Jesus. God put Abraham on the line of
Christ. Abraham deviated from that line once or twice, and
immediately he lost the Lord, and the Lord was not with him until
he got back to the point from which he had departed, the line of
God put Israel on
to that line. When He brought them out of Egypt by the Passover,
the sprinkled blood, the shared lamb, He put them as a people on
to the line of Christ, initially. They got off that line and
trouble followed. They lost the Lord. Later, as you know, when
they went out of the land into exile and captivity, they were off
the line of Christ. There was no blessing, no Lord. The glory had
departed, and not until they came back on to that line did they
find the Lord and come back into blessing.
tragedy of Israel is that of the Cross; nay, today we have to
speak, as far as they are concerned, of the crucifixion of the
Lord Jesus. It was their most disastrous departure from God's
line, Jesus Christ. They went off that line with the result that
there have been two thousand years of the most awful consequences
that people have known. They will not find God until they get
back on to the line of Christ.
God has put the
Church on that line. He put the feet of the Church on to the line
of Christ right from its birth on the Day of Pentecost, and while
it has remained on that line He has been with it. Every deviation
from Christ to something other has resulted in tragedy.
It is instructive
and impressive to note how selective God has been in His
activities. He has been undeviating in the matter of His
selectiveness. He selected a land, a little land, the size of the
Principality of Wales or the County of York, and no bigger. He
selected that land, out of all the countries of the world, in
relation to His Son. His Son was to come from heaven into this
world through that land. He brought His people into that land.
Now note the
battle! It is the story of Ruth over again - the battle to force
out, to draw away, to rob of, and in some way to get them off,
that ground, that they should lose that ground. Oh, the history
of that circles round that little country! God selected that
land, and when His people went out of it they lost the Lord. They
lost the purpose of their being chosen of God. It is impressive!
Abraham had to fight that battle, and he went down to
Egypt under pressure.
So we could put
our finger upon this selective activity of God. As He said:
"In every place where I record my name I will come unto thee
and I will bless thee" (Exodus 20:24). There, just
there, and only there!
Now that, of
course, is Old Testament. What has it to say to us?
Well, this is a
governing matter in the Christian life. It is the thing which
governs the very purpose and meaning of our being the Lord's
people. He has chosen us from the foundation of the world in
Christ. He has selected One in whom we shall find Him, and in
whom alone we shall find Him. All the forces of hell will be at
work, in the first place, to keep us out of Christ. They rage to
prevent people coming into Christ, and when once they have come
in, these forces are unceasing and relentless in their efforts to
get them off the ground of Christ, on to things, possibly, or on
to any other ground. There is an immense meaning in Christ's
word: "Abide in me... except ye abide in me..."
(John 15:4). It is a warning, governing word. Where and how shall
we find the Lord? Only on the line of Christ, where Christ's interests
are the object of our being here, where it is true "For
me to live is Christ" (Philippians 1:21). You
find the Lord there. Get off that ground, be driven off, be
allured off, and you lose the Lord. It is there, on that ground,
that the explanation of the Christian life is found. It is on
that line that the very purpose for which we are created will
have its out-working. It is on that line that we shall find
This Divine law of
God's way has many practical applications in the life of the
Christian. How many spiritual tragedies we have known brought
about by human selectiveness apart from the first and supreme
interest of Christ. It might be the choice of residence,
location, for instance, for reasons of convenience, pleasure,
escape, or seeming necessity, as in the case of Abraham
to which we have referred. No less a question than having the
Lord with us is bound up with such choices and decisions. We
cannot move off the Lord's ground without the consequence of
spiritual disaster. How costly it was in the case of Elimelech!
If Christ is the
Way, the Directive; then He is the Example. How meticulously
careful He was not to move, or be moved, by any consideration but
the directive of the Father!
Many motives were
put to Him for action and movement, but He abided in the Father,
and, often at great cost, refused other considerations.
We must seek to
know that we are where we are because God has put us there in the
interests of His Son, and then it must be God who just as
definitely moves us when the time to move has come.