Archive for July 2, 2011

Naked I Came, Naked I Return

“And said, Naked came I out of my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return thither: the Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.” Job 1:21.

As we read these words our soul is at once taken aback at the suffering and great loss of Job. His flocks, his servants and his entire family was taken from him in the same day. He lost so much material and physical blessing and our heart goes out to him. Yet we are consoled in that later we read, “So the Lord blessed the latter end of Job more than his beginning…” Job 42:12.

Yet were these material and physical things the true things that were the blessings of God? I think not, I know not. It was the process of the afflictions that taught Job about God and His faithfulness, not the things that resulted from his relationship with Him. The true blessing is that he came to know his heavenly Father in a way that is beyond the value of the things of this earth.

Man was in the Garden and he was naked and unashamed. Not having things was not a problem, neither a weakness nor a shame. We in our fallen state have placed great value on our clothing, our outer presentation. In the beginning it was not so. In the beginning Adam was naked and not ashamed. In the beginning Adam saw himself through the eyes of his spirit as he was in truth, like God.

In the fall Adam’s spiritual eyes were closed and he opened for the first time the eyes of his soul, knowing good and evil. He became aware of himself from his own perspective and ceased seeing himself the way his heavenly Father sees him. Now Adam was no longer a spirit clothed in flesh, he moved from the inner place of his spirit to his soul and saw that he was flesh, not spirit, and needed to be clothed. He was naked and ashamed.

Ever since that fateful day man has been preoccupied with his outward adornment and the need to make a good external presentation. That may be well and fine for men but not God. “For the Lord seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart.” 1 Sam. 16:7. And the best tailor in the land is the religious system that stands in direct opposition to the true church of God, those who are circumcised in the heart, not the flesh. Those who are are His in word and deed, not confession only.

The system of religion is all about presentation, outward appearance and deception coming from the father of lies himself. It subscribes to the idea that if you think it is true, then it is. And if I can make you believe it is true then it is. That is the dictionary definition of deception – cause (someone) to believe something that is not true, typically in order to gain some personal advantage; give a mistaken impression; fail to admit to oneself that something is true. The truth is that you are who you are in your heart not necessarily who you present yourself to be on the outside.

Well, we have been covering over our true self since day one of the Fall and deceiving ourselves and everyone else who will buy it. We are gathering not only fig leaves to cover ourselves with but also big houses, fine linens, fast cars, dazzling toys, inflative titles, impressive paychecks, beautiful physiques, engineered faces and bodies and you name it — we are naked and ashamed.

God knows that we are still hiding from Him, He wants you to come out from behind your fig leaves and meet Him face to face. He wants to know you, not the you that hopes to impress Him and everybody else, the real you, the spiritual you, the you that walked with Him in the Garden and was naked and unashamed. Get real, get God. Drop the pretense. God is not deceived for a minute.

“Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked: I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see. As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.” Rev. 3:17-19

God is in the Garden waiting for you to return to Eden. He wants to know you, and more importantly you need to know Him. It is vital to your soul. “And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.” John 17:3.

Don’t worry, you do not have to go through life without the things you need, God knows what you need. Once you become His child again instead of acting like an orphan fending for yourself he can give them to you. You just have your priorities mixed up. You are deceived.

“For all these things do the nations of the world seek after: and your Father knoweth that ye have need of these things.” Luke 12:30. “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” Matt. 6:33.

Job learned this same lesson by the things he suffered. “Then came there unto him all his brethren, and all his sisters, and all they that had been of his acquaintance before, and did eat bread with him in his house: and they bemoaned him, and comforted him over all the evil that the Lord had brought upon him: every man also gave him a piece of money, and every one an earring of gold. So the Lord blessed the latter end of Job more than his beginning: for he had fourteen thousand sheep, and six thousand camels, and a thousand yoke of oxen, and a thousand she asses. He had also seven sons and three daughters.” Job 42:11-13.

Get naked. Heaven is a nudist colony. 😉

Quote Title Quotation Source
Are You Following God Now? One of the cardinal rules of the spiritual life is this we are to live exclusively in the present moment, without casting a look beyond this moment. You remember that the Israelites in the desert followed the pillar of fire, or of cloud, without knowing where it was leading them. They had a supply of manna but only for one day anything more than that became useless. Fenelon – Christian Counsel, circa 1690, copyright 2002 Bridge-Logos Publishers
We Are Either Libels or Bibles God cannot be honored when a child of His bears a burden with downcast and dejected countenance. As men of the world look upon the faces of those who profess to be God’s children, and see them dark with the same shadows as are flung across their own, they may well wonder what sort of Father He is. Whatever a man’s professions, we cannot help but judge him by the faces of his children. And if God is judged by the unconscious report made of Him by some of the His children, the hardest things ever said against Him by His foes are not far off the truth. Under such circumstances, the unbeliever may fitly argue, “Either there is no God, He is powerless to help, He does not really love, or He is careless of the needs of His children. Of what good will religion be to me?” We are either libels or Bibles; warning signals or harbor lights; repellent or magnetic. Which we are very much depends on how we treat our burdens. The one cure for burden bearing is to cast all burdens on the Lord. Whatever burden the Lord has given you, give it back to Him. Treat the burden of care as you once treated the burden of sin; kneel down and deliberately hand it over to Jesus. Say to Him, “I entrust this to You. I cannot carry them, but I commit them all to You to manage, adjust, and arrange. You have taken my sins; now take my sorrows.” As we find peace amidst hardship, others will know that God is faithful and trustworthy. F. B. Meyer – The Best of F. B. Meyer, circa 1910, © 2006 Cook Communications Ministries
We Are Actively Hostile to God Until … The death of Christ had to do with our sin and not with our sluggishness. It had to deal with our active hostility, and not simply with the passive dullness of our hearts. Our hostility that is what the easy-going people cannot be brought to recognize. That is what the shallow optimists, who think we can now dispense with emphasis on the death of Christ, feel themselves able to do to ignore the fact that the human heart is enmity against God, against a God who makes demands upon it; who goes so far as to make demands for the whole, the absolute obedience of self. P. T. Forsyth – The Work of Christ, Wipf & Stock, 1910
A Time to Weep and A Time to Laugh Happiness is the characteristic of a child, and God condemns us for taking happiness out of a child s life; but as men and women we should have done with happiness long ago, we should be facing the stern issues of life, knowing that the grace of God is sufficient for every problem the devil can present. Oswald Chambers – The Complete Works of Oswald Chambers
Upping the Ante It was not the justification of sin, but the justification of the sinner that drove Luther from the cloister back into the world. The grace he had received was costly grace. It was grace, for it was like water on parched ground, comfort in tribulation, freedom from the bondage of a self-chosen way, and forgiveness of all his sins. And it was costly, for, so far from dispensing him from good works, it meant that he must take the call to discipleship more seriously than ever before. It was grace because it cost so much, and it cost so much because it was grace. That was the secret of the gospel of the Reformation justification of the sinner. Dietrich Bonhoeffer – The Cost of Discipleship, circa 1945, copyright 1959 by SCM Press Ltd.
Know God, Know Peace The true ground for peace and comfort is only to be found in the sort of God we have. Therefore, we need first of all to find out what is His name, or, in other words, what is His character in short, what sort of a God He is. Hannah Whitall Smith – The God of All Comfort, circa 1890 – 1956 Edition Moody Publishers
The Persecution of the Persecutors O persecutors, there is a time coming, when God will make a strict enquiry after the blood of Hooper, Bradford, Latimer, Taylor, Ridley, etc. There is a time coming, wherein God will enquire who silenced and suspended such and such ministers, and who stopped the mouths of such and such, and who imprisoned, confined, and banished such and such, who were once burning and shining lights, and who were willing to spend and be spent that sinners might be saved, and that Christ might be glorified. There is a time when the Lord will make a very narrow enquiry into all the actions and practices of ecclesiastical courts, high commissions, committees, assizes, etc., and deal with persecutors as they have dealt with his people. Thomas Brooks Charles H. Spurgeon – The Treasury of David abridged by David Otis Fuller, circa 1880, © 1968 by David Otis Fuller, Published by Kregel Publications
The Value of Dependence Upon God The greedy man scoffs at the poor and exults himself with the pride of his material possessions yet the poor man understands dependence on God and fears Him, while the rich man is here bankrupt. Humility, dependence upon God and fear of Him are the currency of the gates of Heaven. Tom Van Hoogen
The Only Qualified Teacher on Spiritual Matters God then began to show me that the Word of God alone is to be our standard of judgment in spiritual things; that it can only be explained by the Holy Spirit, and that in our day, as well as in former times, He is the Teacher of His people. The office of the Holy Spirit I had not experimentally understood before that time. I had not before seen that the Holy Spirit alone can teach us about our state by nature, show us our need of a Saviour, enable us to believe in Christ, explain to us the Scriptures, help us in preaching, etc. Andrew Murray – The Two Convenants, 1898, copyright 2005
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