"The wind goeth toward the south, and turneth about unto the north; it whirleth about continually, and the wind returneth again according to his circuits." The same old wind going through its various circuits! Yes, but not really so. It blows in one direction as the north wind. Then it completes the cycle, becomes the south wind, and blows back from whence it started. God's order is first darkness, then light. First chaos, then order. First barrenness, then fruitfulness. First weakness, then power. First death, then life. Never have we heard so much about positive living as we have in the past decade or two, and never has there been so much frustration amongst God's people. We have come to believe, somehow. that anything that speaks of coldness, or barrenness, or fruitlessness is from the Devil and must be strenuously resisted. We are encouraged to reach forth and grasp the glory, and the power, and the victory. and the fruit of the Spirit. The fact is we are negative by nature, and victory is not ours by blindly refusing to acknowledge our own futility, and vainly attempting to arouse some secret potential of our character within. This might have its place in the realm of this world system, but not in the realm of God. God is consistently seeking to bring us to the place where we recognize the utter nothingness and futility of our whole being and way of life by nature, For it is in the full recognition of all that we are in the realm of weakness and failure that we may reach out and grasp hold of the Divine promises. It is only when Jacob is smitten in the place of strength, "in the hollow of his thigh" that he finally submits to defeat, and clings to the angel of God, And it is only in his defeat, and in clinging to the angel after his defeat, that his name is changed from one of weakness to one of POWER WITH GOD.
The North Wind
The north wind will certainly strip us--leaving a veritable picture of frustration and defeat in its wake. What a sorry sight it is to behold the barren fruit trees in the orchard, like so much firewood, with the turning of the seasons and the blowing of the north wind. But we are not too alarmed about it in the realm of Nature--even though we do not like it. Nor should we be too alarmed about it in the realm of the New Creation. We accept the seasons, as periods of Divine provision, and we embrace each winter season as a PROMISE. Each winter is a promise of springtime and life. I mean it is a promise from God's Word. For He hath said, "While the earth remaineth, seedtime and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night shall not cease" (Gen. 8:22).
Therefore the songwriter says, "Awake, O north wind; and come, thou south; blow upon my garden, that the spices thereof may flow out" (Song 4:16). Notice the order once again: first the north wind, and then the south. First the cold, then the heat. First the snow, then the warm rains of spring. "He giveth snow like wool; he scattereth the hoarfrost like ashes. He casteth forth his ice like morsels: who can stand before his cold?" (Psa. 147:16, 17). It is the blowing of the north wind, But it is still the Word of God. The north wind bringing the snow and ice was because of "his commandment upon the earth." But it was not intended to destroy, but to prepare... to prepare for the day of spring when the south wind would blow and melt the snow and the ice and the frost, and cause the waters to flow in the River of God.
Truth And History
When will the Church of Christ realize that the restoration of Truth is not merely the repetition of history? Truth is certainly related to history, because it is related to mankind. But Truth is eternal in nature. It springs from eternity, proceeds to do a work in time, and culminates back in eternity. As creatures destined for eternity, and possessors of eternal life, we must feed upon the eternal principles of Truth, and not merely upon certain historical facts which are recorded in the Scriptures. It is not enough to see how truth was manifest in the days of Moses, or of Aaron, or of David, or even in the early Church. We certainly receive the Truth as it related to them, but we must follow the Spirit of Truth as He would continue to unfold the glory of Christ in His relation to us today, and our relation to Him in eternity. Therefore, as we look into the inspired records of history, and feed upon the Truth that we discover there, we have no thought in mind of attempting to restore some historical structure of the Kingdom of God as we have known it in the past. Rather we desire that the Lord should bring into being in our own lives, and in the Body of Christ, that structure of the Kingdom which pertains to us here and now, according to our place in the circle of His eternal purpose. Therefore, bearing in mind that we are living in the ends of the ages, we are persuaded that any realm of Christian experience that falls short of the Divine ultimate in our lives or in the Body of Christ, though perhaps having had its place as a temporary expedient, must eventually and very shortly give way to the Divine ultimate. This divine ultimate we must state here and now to be nothing less than full conformity to the image of His Son, where He abides in us in all His fulness, and His Love is PERFECTED in us.
The Law Of Life
This realm knows no boundaries of human limitations, and has no law to control it--for this realm constitutes its own law--even the Law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus. Many would like to boast that they are already in this realm, because they are not under law but under Grace. This is certainly Divine provision, but it has not been human experience. For if we are not walking in full conformity to the will of God, possessed by His Spirit, the fact remains that we are under a certain measure of law whether we can quote the Scriptures about our standing in Grace or not. It is not in quoting the Scriptures that we dwell in freedom, anymore than we can declare the cake to be good because it was made from a good recipe. Paul declares, "Ye are not under law, but under Grace," but he likewise makes it plain: "If ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law" (Gal. 5:18). God would make us completely free from law in this day of His glory. But it is only as we become captives of the Son that we are really made free. We might readily cast off the restraints of all forms of law, and brand everyone a legalist who would cling to them. But as long as we retain the least element of control over our own lives we are not free. We are, in fact, under the law--because we are under the law TO SELF. Consequently many people, insisting that they are free from the law, have come under greater bondage to the law of sin and self than men do who feel they must remain under the law of Moses. Who then is the legalist? The man who is bound by the law of Moses in an endeavor to measure up to its precepts? Or the man who throws off all such restraints, perhaps retaining a measure of Christian principles, but for the most part going his own selfish way? In either case the man is a legalist. The man who is saved by the Grace of God, and knows it, and yet persists in living his own life--he is a legalist. "If ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law." True liberty consists of vital union with the Son... in fact, in becoming bound to the Son with bonds of the Spirit which effectually and experimentally liberate one from the former bondage to sin and self. "If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed." And the Lord makes it very clear, He only makes free as He comes in to take possession of your household, and to "abide." (See John 8:32-36).
A Marked People
If these writings help in any way to stir up God's people, and to implant a new hunger and thirst for the Word of God, then it shall not have been in vain. And we are thankful to see that there is a certain restlessness and dissatisfaction in the hearts of those who are pressing on with the Lord. We are speaking of those who are walking with God, and therefore sharing His secrets. These are the ones who are being "marked" in this day and hour, by the man with the inkhorn at his side. "And the Lord said unto him, Go through the midst of the city, through the midst of Jerusalem, and set a mark upon the foreheads of the men that sigh and that cry for all the abominations that be done in the midst thereof" (Ezek. 9:4). This "Marking" we believe is even now taking place. Judgment is about to fall, but it must first begin at the house of God. Before the man goes forth with the slaughter--weapon in his hand, the chosen ones are being marked. Before the four winds of the earth are loosed upon mankind, "the servants of our God" must be sealed in their foreheads (Rev. 7:3). Many agencies in the earth and in the Church are desperately trying to solve earth's problems, but basically the problem is the Church itself. Instead of being the answer to human need, we are the problem. God's problem has always been with His own people, not with the world. Continually every day His Name is blasphemed amongst the nations, because of His people. They are the real problem, because they are supposed to be the "salt of the earth." How then can we condemn the corruption of the world, when the salt has lost its savour? We are the real problem, because we are supposed to be "the light of the world." (Jesus was the Light when He was here; but WE ARE now that He has gone away. See Jn. 9:5; Matt. 5:14). Why then do we condemn the world for walking in darkness, when the light has become well nigh extinguished? Our responsibility is to shine forth the light of God, just as Jesus did when He was here. Yet vainly do we attempt, with our feeble candle, to point men to Jesus as the Light of the world, who lives somewhere in the distant recesses of the universe. We may only enlighten the minds and spirits of men as we reflect and radiate His glory--and not as we try to get men to behold "the Light" somewhere away off in the heavens. "Arise, and shine, for thy light is come, and the glory of the LORD is risen upon thee..."