KNOWN OF THE LORD
Br. J. A. Meggison
"I know mine own and mine own know Me even as the Father knoweth Me and I know the Father." (# Joh 10:14, 15, Rev. Ver.)
There is a world of comfort and encouragement in this statement of our Lord. It shows the Lordís deep love and interest in us, who are striving with heart and soul to please Him and help others to taste and feel that the Lord is good.
"I know mine own." This comforts the honest heart. We know that our calling is not appreciated by the world in general, nor by our neighbors. Many of these we love, and naturally desire their good will. And when we find that loyalty to the Truth and faithfulness to our King leads us into service which these do not appreciate; and the darkness of the world with its hatred of the light endeavors in every way to make this service seem evil, because it undermines the darkness of Satanís kingdom and enlightens the gloom, leading men away from Satan and slavery unto God and libertyóthen the Lordís people feel the reproach and loneliness, as their friends misunderstand and leave them. Then they remember this message: "The Lord knoweth His own, the Lord brings it to their attention, and they say: "Though the world knows us not, even as it knew Him not, though our friends steer shy of us and our enemies misrepresent us, yet Thou dost know, Thou dost understand." This draws us near to Him, and we nestle down into His bosom and look up into his face and see there a deep sympathy in all our struggles, a knowledge of every heart pang endured for Him, and a deep appreciation of our sacrifice of the good opinion of our friends to please and serve Him. We see there a patient mother love and we say that we had rather have such love and such a friend than all the friends we had before. We find peace, and learn to wait until He shall justify us and make our righteousness to shine forth as the sun at noon-day.
It cheers us to know that our Lord as the expression of the Fatherís feelings toward us, assures us that in all our affliction He is afflicted, that in His love and in His pity He redeems us, and He will bear us and carry us through all our days (# Isa 63:7-9). In our efforts to do His will, though they be imperfect, yet He appreciates us very highly. # Mal 3:16, 17: "The Lord hearkened and heard., and a book of remembrance was written for them who feared the Lord end who thought upon His name. Thus the Lord tells us His interests in our efforts to understand His plan, and to offer Him in loving sacrifice the best of everything that we possess by His grace. O that we could always realize as we meet our Heavenly Fatherís interest in us, and His willingness, yea His desire to bless our efforts in the study of His word, and in the development of character. Such a realization would make all meetings increasingly profitable. The Lord desires to remember what we say, takes notes on our conversation. Do we not desire that these notes shall be the best possible, and please Him after such marked interest, and show Him that we appreciate His loving kindness by rendering loving obedience to the best of our ability? Suppose an earthly father, earnestly striving to teach his son the paths of righteousness, with what interest that father would watch his sonís conduct to see how his instructions were being followed, and to see his son develop a strong, sturdy character. If the father heard the son, in the midst of some companions who were urging him to do something wrong, stand for the right and not yield, even though they used mean words and taunted him, would not the father tell the son, when they met again: "My son, this day your father is proud of you. And would not those words be esteemed a great reward by the son? Surely so. And this would bring them closer in heart, the father having confidence and delight in the son, and the son in the father. It is just the same with our Heavenly Father. Nothing delights Him so much as to see His character image growing in us.
"Thou shalt be a crown of beauty in the hand of Jehovah, and a royal diadem in the hand of thy God" (# Isa 62:2, 3)óa very beautiful and precious thing in the Fatherís sight. Imagine the Father holding these jewels in His hand and delighting in their beauty. Even so will He delight in His own, when they are fully completed in beauty and shine forth in the glory of the divine nature.
"Let not the eunuch say: Ďbehold, I am a dry tree,í for thus saith the Lord of the eunuchs that keep My Sabbaths, and choose the things that please Me, and hold fast My covenantóunto them will I give in Mine house and within My walls a place and a name better than of sons and daughters; I will give them an everlasting name that shall not be cut off" (Isa. 56: 3-5). Let us not get discouraged, though there may seem to be a delay in the realizing of our hopes, the Lordís time is the best for all. The Lordís greatest favors are for those who fully trust and obey Him.
The Lord Knoweth His Own
This helps us also to be calm when we see many posing as Christians, as the Lordís people, for selfish gain, or for a business standing, or social influence, but whose heart cares little for the Lord or for His ways. To hide their own inconsistencies and hypocrisy they throw slander and evil speaking against the Lordís people, so that the world may think these imposters are the real Christians, and the Lordís true people may seem to be imposters, and deceivers. These have always been Satanís tactics; the kingdom of heaven suffereth violence and the violent taketh it by force (# Mt 11:12). Then how assuring it is to know that while these may deceive others and the world in general, yet they cannot deceive the Lord. He knoweth who are His own. He assures us that the feet of the wicked shall slide in due time (# De 32:3l-35), that He will be a swift witness against the false swearers and the sorcerers, their darkness and double dealing will be shown up. But the Lord will cause the righteousness of His people to shine forth as the sun. This message gives us quietness and confidence in His wisdom and ability to make all things work for our good, and helps us to be willing to wait. "Blessed are all they who wait for Him" (# Isa 30:18). They that put their trust in the Lord shall never be ashamed. We realize, too, that the showing up of the evil minded will be for their best interests, and may open their eyes to see the peace and joy of real trust in the Lord. "ĎThe sons of them that afflicted Thee shall come bending unto Thee, and all they who despised Thee shall bow themselves down at the soles of Thy feet, and they shall call Thee ĎThe City of the Lord,í the ĎZion of the Holy One of Israelí" (# Isa 60:14). "I will make them of the synagogue of Satan, who say they are Jews and are not, but do lieóbehold, I will make them come and worship before Thy feet, and to know that I have loved Thee" (## Re 3:9).
Yes, the Lord knoweth His own; and this is a loud warning to all hypocrites, that they will surely be shown up in that day; that the Lord knows who are really His own, and who are for self or for someone else. He cannot be mocked.
Can we, after searching our hearts diligently, say with our whole soul we are truly His own? O friends, does this message appeal to your hearts and fill you with a longing desire to be one of those in whom the Lord shall delight, to be all His very own? Do we with all our hearts desire this? Then let us set about cleansing our house that the Lord may come in and dwell with us. Let us not grieve Him for if we continue to grieve Him he cannot remain but will withdraw. If in this examination we find a corner of our hearts still dark, that we are still holding on to some pleasing ill, let us cleanse it out thoroughly, that we may be in very truth His own, for none but those who are entirely His own shall reign with Him. Let us with David say "Search me, O God, and know my heart, try me and know my thoughts; and see if there be in me any wicked way, and lead me in the way everlasting" (# Ps 139:23, 24). Let us watch that no cloud come between us and the Lord, and if any does let us get it out of the way quickly.
And Mine Own Know Me
Ah, this is part of the reward of being His own, that we shall know Him. None but His own can know Him. When we first came to hear of Him we thought of His wonderful character as something far in the distance beyond us; but yet as we learned more of Him, we desired more to be with Him, that we might have His influence to cleanse us and make us more like Him; to lead us to liberty, for we realized that our imperfections and crookedness were so much bondage.
This knowledge of the Lord is not a mere mental recognition that he exists, and that He is a great and powerful God, for the demons know that much and yet are not happy (# Jas 2:19). But this knowledge means an intimate personal acquaintance with God, attained by the study of what He thinks, the kind words He speaks, and the spirit behind them, the way He does things, humbly yet effectively and thoroughly, and striving to copy Him in our life. "How precious are Thy thoughts unto me, O Lord, how great is the sum of them. They are more in number than the sand." (# Ps 139:17, 18) "How great are Thy works, O Lord, and Thy thought are very deep. A brutish man knoweth not, neither doth a fool understand this" (# Ps 92:5). Paul tells us that if we desire to know the Lord and be like Him, we must fill our minds with thoughts which are true, honorable, just, pure, lovely, and of good report. And when we think of others we should think of the things in them which are praiseworthy and virtuous, and should not allow our minds to meditate upon each otherís faults and failings, else we will not love one another; but think of others as God thinks of us: "Henceforth we know no man after the flesh, but from a new standpointóthat of intentions" (# Php 4:8; # 2Co 5:16).
We are told that we should chiefly meditate upon Godís character and wonderful works, as Paul said to Timothy: "Meditate on these things, give thyself wholly to them that thy profiting may appear unto all" (# 1Ti 4:15). As we do this and behold the glorious character of our Heavenly Father, we will naturally by degrees become more like Him, because our minds by this holy association will get in the habit of thinking as the Lord thinks. Our mental faculties will begin to operate more as His faculties operate. We will be getting accustomed to His association and presence. We will catch the principles which govern the Lordís actions, and will be putting these to work in our own life.
Then will follow that we shall see how much better the Lordís words are than our own words, and we will strive to speak no longer after our old desires, but will speck as the representatives of the Lord among men. "The Lord hath given me the tongue of the learned that I should know how to speak a word in season to him that is weary" (# Isa 50:4). We will be a binder-up of the broken hearts, a comforter, a Barnabas (which means an encourager, and exhorter) among men. We will strive to have our words seasoned with wisdom, provocative of good thoughts in the minds of others, health-giving, leading men, if may be, to see the beauty of the Lord.
Then we will strive to do things in the Fatherís way, without boasting or taking to ourselves the credit which belongs to God for any good deed. We will do good, not for selfish reasons, but that we may bless others and help them to reach the joy in the Lord which has made us so happy, and to show forth to the best of our ability the glorious goodness of our God, how worthy He is of all our heartís affections, and how happy are they who thus fully trust Him. We desire that the cup of all shall overflow with joy.
By thus using our talents in the Lordís way, as He has directed we get deeply acquainted with our Lord, learn to know Him. Happy are they who continue in this joyful relationship until the Master shall call us to the perfection and glorious relationship above. What a glorious calling.
"Mine own know Me." They know his voice, His message, having the sound of wisdom, justice, love and power perfectly blended, because their own hearts are attuned to His. The Lordís true followers can discriminate between the Masterís message, and the various false messages which more or less particularly represent the adversary, who seeks to mislead us through human agents. We have Jesusí assurance that none of His true followers will be satisfied with the false gospel, it will not appeal to their hearts, which are in tune with the Masterís, and they will be satisfied with the true Gospel, which will satisfy their longings as nothing else can do. This shows the importance of being truly, fully, emphatically the Lordís.
Even as the Father Knoweth Me and I Know the Father
What a wonderful statement. The Lordís description grows in beauty and richness as we listen to Him telling us of the mutual love and harmony of this divine family. Jesus said: "No man knoweth the Father but the Son and he to whom the Son will reveal Him" (# Mt 11:27). Jesus knew the Father from long association with Him, and through study of His ways and words. The Father knew the Son thoroughly and was delighted with Him: "This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased" (# Mt 17:5), "My elect servant in whom My soul delighteth" (# Isa 42:1). "I was daily His delight" (# Pr 8:30). "O Righteous Father, the World hath not known Thee, but I have known Thee" (# Joh 17:25).
Why did the Father delight so in the Son? Jesus said: "Therefore doth My Father love Me, because I lay down My life that I might receive it again (# Joh 10:17). Why was it ? Because the Son showed the same self-sacrificing disposition for the good of others as did the Father. And the Son loved the Father because He saw in Him the personification of all that was good and noble and true. So the Father and Son knew each other fully and delighted in each other.
And Jesus assures us that we may know Him and be to Him and He to us, even as the Father knows the Son and the Son the Father. What greater delight and honor and reward could be suggested than such fellowship and intimacy with the God of all grace. If we wish to enter this circle of such deep love and fellowship, then we too must show the same disposition to give up our own natural preferences that others might be brought to the Lord, and see His beauty, and enter into the fullness of joy and liberty. Yes, we will not be content as long as there remains one whom we can help to a knowledge of our wonderful king. We will not mind if we are inconvenienced a bit or quite a deal if we see thereby someone can be helped. Yes, we will rather count the happiness and liberty of others as more precious to us than our own personal convenience. Yes, we will even be content to have our own glorification delayed if thereby Godís glory can more clearly be seen by blinded humanity. "Ye that are the Lordís remembrancers keep not silence and give Him no rest till He make Jerusalem a praise in the earth." (# Isa 62:6, 7) "He shall not fail nor be discouraged till He have set judgment in the earth" (# Isa 42:4).
Let us then cultivate all that will help us to the Lord more, to be more like Him and to work with Him. May we meet each other when the Lord shall receive His own unto himself, that our joy may be full.