Echoes from the Past

Doing God's Will

And the LORD spake unto Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt, saying, This month shall be unto you the beginning of months: it shall be the first month of the year to you.—Exodus 12:1,2

Benjamin Barton (excerpted from Pilgrim Echoes, pp. 479-482)

The change in the beginning of the year had a typical meaning. When the children of Israel left Egypt they began the year a new time. Previously the year beginning in the fall was followed by unpleasant months, but the new year was followed by pleasant months. It is the same with the children of God; they begin all things new, and it was followed by pleasant months; whereas previously following the old way, they had unpleasant months. The old way was followed by cold, fleshly experiences; from the new standpoint we have joy and peace following the new year.

Our constant tendency, as the entire world looks at things from the old viewpoint, is to forget to look at things from the new standpoint. The standpoint of the world is to seek wealth, ease, popularity; from God’s standpoint we must seek God’s will, God’s viewpoint, that which makes for the edification of the brethren. Wealth does not bring joy—the rich man is called on to eat crabs, lobster, etc., things which he should never put into the stomach; the poor man eats beans, etc., which are good for him.

When we are determined to do God’s will, we will crush selfishness, then we begin to find joy and the blessings of summer come. We learn that God’s ways are the best ways.

The world seeks to have as many people work for them as possible. The teachings of the Word are just the opposite. We are to see how many people we can work for. It must not be selfishness, but unselfishness. The greatest is the one who serves most. "If I wash your feet, you ought to wash one another’s feet." Above everything else he was a servant. Our place is going to depend on our heart’s desire to serve the people of God.

Three Aspects of the Body of Christ

1. The membership in the body is pictured chronologically—Christ the head; the apostles, the neck; and the shoulders, the early church. "The plowers plowed upon my back"—the time when the Church suffered persecution (Psalm 129:3). The legs are the Church in the Middle Ages and the feet are the Church in the present time.

2. Another viewpoint—The standpoint of their ability to serve. The head is the most able member. Some represent the hands—their work is so important. The feet are a responsible place; it is theirs to guide and assist the children to walk.

3. The body from the standpoint of humble service. Jesus was the one who served more than anyone else. Our position in the body depends on our service. The anointing oil ran down; if you are seeking to serve, God is permitting the oil to run down over you to them, thus you are in a more important place.

The more we are served by others, the more they speak kind words of us, the more they pray for us the more they are blessed. To the degree we help them, the more we are blessed. During the coming year let us determine we are going to serve. Often a little service is most important. If we hear of a trial of a brother or sister make it a special time of prayer for them. Then you get more of the holy spirit. Let us not only be more faithful, but let us economize more, so we can have more time. Make a program. If you wake before it is time to get up, put in a few minutes in prayer for others. Make every moment count; if we lay awake in the night, make it count. If we read, have a fixed hour, so it will become a system—thus we accomplish more.

Let your light shine. Keep your tracts wrapped up in paper so they will not get soiled. Use every opportunity! Make opportunity! Let us determine not only to use those within our reach, but those beyond our reach. If we have faith these will become within our reach.

Faith Requires No Signs

Faith is misunderstood. It takes more faith when there are as yet no supernatural occurrences. Noah had faith. There had been no rain; there was as yet no supernatural occurrence, no miracle. Noah believed a simple statement from God. When the water fell, it did not require faith—faith is believing when there is nothing supernatural about it. Hezekiah wanted a sign; the sun dial went back; it did not take faith with such a sign.

In Jesus’ day the centurion’s child died; the centurion said: "Master, speak only the word." Jesus said, "I have not found such faith; no, not in Israel" (Matthew 8:10). He did not have to have the sun go back. We want the confidence that does not need a sign or miracle. Elijah fled to the wilderness, ravens fed him; nothing miraculous. The word raven is the same word as Arab, some think God put it into the heart of an Arab to feed him. God arranged for a widow to provide for him. God’s hand is in our case, but we think we must see God’s hand working miracles.

If we pray for our need, then do our part and if it comes naturally, give God the credit. If our heart is right, we will see God’s hand in back of it, at the same time not experiencing a miracle, though sometimes God does work a miracle.

The Hebrew children said: "Our God is able to deliver us, if not we will not fall down and worship the image" (Daniel 3:17,18). Let us have that spirit! Let us have faith even if beyond our reach.

Many are not blessed with many opportunities because so many of the opportunities they had in the past they did not reach for. If we have the proper spirit, we will want to reach for every opportunity. Let us examine ourselves, spur ourselves on.

Be lenient to others; do not judge them by your standards. We cannot see their hearts. Our consciences differ. I see many do things I could not do, yet I know they are just as conscientious as I am. We hinder our way by judging others. We injure ourselves. Pass it by. Learn to leave the brother to his own due rights. Make allowances. He also sees us do what he would not do. We are to build up one another, not tear one another down. We are to assist and help, even the world. The man of the world may never see things as I see them, nevertheless I want that man to get the proper influence from what I believe. We may make it harder for him in the future to believe. We want to walk ever the more circumspectly.

We are living in the closing period of this age. This last year has had experiences which, if I had not have had, I would never have gotten into the kingdom. No doubt it is so with all, so let us be glad that there still is time. The longer the time, the more opportunities and the more joy we will have if we continue to progress.