1 John 5:11-13
Numbers 13:21-25, 30; 14:6-8
Joshua 14:7; 15:13-19
PJW My thought today is quite simply that we should have a desire to appreciate what God has given us. As believers in the Lord Jesus we come into much blessing. Some of it is future, but much of it is now. But, also, I am challenged as to how much I am concerned with knowing more of it.
There are two things principally that I want to speak of this afternoon. One is the gift of eternal life, the other is the gift of the Holy Spirit. They are two things which are to be enjoyed currently. And they are two things which we should desire to know more of.
So I read the New Testament Scriptures so that we can think about the gift of eternal life and the gift of the Spirit. But then I read the Old Testament Scriptures because I think it is always good to get practical examples of truth that we are considering. What strikes me about Caleb and his daughter is that they both had desires. Also, in fact, the woman in John 4 said, “Give me this water” (v15). I know for myself that, as being brought up in a Christian household, amongst the brethren, we take a lot for granted. But these things are to be gone in for. Would that each of us desired a blessing!
The people that we have read about wanted to know more, and also they wanted a blessing. It would be good if every one here today sought God’s face and asked for a blessing. I do not think God would ever fail us if we asked Him for more. We shall come on to what Achsah’s feelings were later, but she was not afraid to ask for more. I think that is something that the believer has full rights to do, because God is a giving God.
I started with eternal life. I nearly read John 3:16, that wonderful passage; it is so often used in the glad tidings, but I think actually there is much more than just the simple gospel in John 3:16. It is a question of whether we are enjoying what we have, and whether we want to know more about it while we wait for the Lord to come.
And then, in John 4, you have the gift of the Holy Spirit. Again, the Lord works skilfully to draw out the feelings of the woman. She says, “Give me this water.” She says, in effect, ‘I want to know more about this water.’ And then we find that all these things are, as it says in Ephesians, really a down payment, a deposit, and they are also an inheritance. We often speak of the inheritance, and we can speak about what that actually means. But having eternal life and knowing the Spirit is all connected with knowing the inheritance.
Then we can, maybe, look at Caleb and Achsah as examples of those who had a genuine desire to know more of these things.
DJB I believe that would be very healthy. What does “eternal life” convey to you?
PJW I can tell you what it does not mean. It is sometimes useful to give the negative. It does not mean ordinary life as we know it continuing without end. Some in the religious world think that that is the case. They have some peculiar ideas about life after death. But I think what the Lord is proposing in John 3 and John 4, and here in the Epistle of John, is an entirely different kind of life altogether. It is life which God always intended. I suppose that if the Fall of Man had not come in, man could have lived – there was the Tree of Life in the garden – but sin came in, and we know the rest of the story. It is a life which is nothing to do with what I am brought into naturally. It is a life which is dominated and generated by the Spirit, the Spirit of God. Is that acceptable?
DJB Yes. Would it be fair to say that it is the kind of life that the Lord Jesus enjoyed and manifested? The first chapter of this Epistle would rather suggest that.
PJW It is very interesting that you should say that, because, as I said, I nearly read John 3:16, and I nearly read the verse a little before that, “And no one has gone up into heaven, save He Who came down out of heaven, the Son of Man Who is in heaven” (v13). I was looking at that the other day: only this (JND) translation and one or two others record it accurately! A lot of the modern translations get that verse wrong. But the point was that when the Lord was here on earth, He was drawing His life from above, because although He was walking this very earth, He was drawing His supply from God Himself. “The Son of Man Who is in heaven” – I think that rather confirms what you say.
DJB So, would one way to learn more about eternal life be to look at the Lord Jesus and the kind of life which He enjoyed and manifested when He was here? “The eternal life, which was with the Father, and has been manifested to us” (1 John 1:2). It was something which the apostles actually saw and enjoyed.
PJW He did not draw anything from this earth. It says, “As a tender sapling, and as a root out of dry ground” (Isaiah 53:2). Everything He did was in the power of the Spirit, and that is something for us to take hold of. It is a different type of life altogether: it is from heaven itself.
WRT Is the Lord’s definition not a good one? “… that … He should give them life eternal. And this is the eternal life, that they should know Thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ Whom Thou hast sent” (John 17:2-3).
PJW And I think I am correct in saying that the word “know” there is to ‘know consciously.’ There are various references to “know” (consciously) in Scripture. It is not just to know it in an academic way. God’s intention in revealing Himself in the Person of the Son is that we should know Him consciously. That bears very much on what I have on my heart this afternoon, that we should know these things for real: to know God, and Jesus Christ Whom He has sent.
PKL There is an interesting verse in John 5; the Lord says, “Ye search the Scriptures, for ye think that in them ye have life eternal, and they it is which bear witness concerning Me; and ye will not come to Me that ye might have life” (vv39-40). They were searching for that life. And you get another man who asked, “What shall I do that I may inherit eternal life?” (Mark 10:17).
PJW I think that is absolutely vital. We read here, “He that has the Son has life.” It is all in Christ Himself. If I do not have a link with that Man, then I am dead. We know that there is judgement coming, but we are spiritually dead now without Christ, and without that knowledge and link in my heart, I am dead now. But the Son has come that I might have life. He said, “I am come that they might have life, and might have it abundantly” (John 10:10). I think that as we go through what we have read this afternoon, we shall see those who had a desire to have it more abundantly.
AWGS It says that it is related to a witness (v11). Could you say something as to that, please?
PJW “He that believes on the Son of God has the witness in himself” (v10). Is that what you are thinking? It does not actually say what that is. But I think it is linked with the Spirit. I shall be interested to hear what you have to say. The believer, when he comes to the Lord, receives, as we know, forgiveness of sins and the gift of the Holy Spirit. That is something which takes up residence in our hearts, in the believer. And it is from above. And that is a witness in me that links me with a glorified and risen Saviour.
AWGS Yes, and it all relates back to divine purpose and will.
PJW We did not read it, but it speaks about the witness of the three, earlier (v7). That is all connected with the way that God has come out. God has made Himself known in the power of the Spirit through the blood and the water. These are real things, tangible things that we can take account of.
DJB And they agree in one, and every one that has the conviction of sin, and is indwelt by the Holy Spirit and loves the Lord Jesus, should be able to confirm that in themselves as having the witness in themselves.
PJW God has worked, and He has worked through the Person of the Son. He has given the Spirit, and these are things which are to be taken account of, and which I should be able to experience for myself.
MJC A witness is something you can see. In a sense you cannot see eternal life, but you can see it in persons.
PJW That is challenging. Scripture says, “By their fruits ye shall know them” (Matthew 7:16). I read recently a comment that where there is no life, there is no fruit. That is really quite challenging. But in every true believer where the Spirit has taken up residence there will be some fruit. God’s purpose is that there should be more, and that we should enjoy it.
GKB “We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love the brethren” (1 John 3:14). I always find that a very good, basic point. But we need to go on from that.
PJW I can remember a time when I did not love the brethren. But that is God’s work in you, and that is one of the evidences – there are other evidences. These things are not to discourage us, but rather to encourage us. If you love the brethren and if you love His word, then those are evidences that God has worked in your heart and that you have eternal life.
DO The Lord Jesus declared Himself in John 14:6, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life.” I was thinking of linking that with this verse which has, “And this life is in His Son.” He who has the Son has life eternal because He is the life.
PJW It is all in Christ. With John there is no middle ground, and it is a question of whether you have this life or whether you do not. If you do, then are you enjoying it? And do you want to know more? That is my burden this afternoon.
KHW The fact that “he that has the Son has life” suggests, does it, that the enjoyment of relationships is very much bound up with this question of eternal life?
PJW I think relationships are absolutely intrinsic to it, as was quoted earlier, to “know Thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ Whom Thou hast sent.” That is being brought into that divine circle. It is not to know about God. Plenty of people in the world know about God, but the believer is unique in that he knows, and has come into a relationship with, God Himself, the Father. The Lord Jesus has come here to make the Father known to us, and that relationship is outside of this world; it is from heaven, and that is where eternal life originates.
SML Is it not encouraging to us, from what John says here, I take it, that every believer has this eternal life, it is in His Son. It is not in me, it is in His Son. And so, as having the Son, we have eternal life. Whether we enter in to it or enjoy it might be another question, but it is encouraging to remember that God has actually given us this. It is something, therefore, for us to enter in to.
PJW It says here that God has given to us the eternal life. John 3:16, “He gave.” It is from God Himself. We cannot engineer it or manufacture it; we just need to make it good. It is bound up with God’s sovereignty. Nicodemus could not really understand that. I am glad that Nicodemus asked, because we would not have John chapter 3 without Nicodemus, but his questionings really brought out the most wonderful revelations, not just that I am saved from my sins or that I go to heaven when I die, but that I can have this wonderful relationship with the Father now and I can enjoy life according to God now. As you say, every believer has it, but whether they enjoy it is another matter.
MJC What do you understand by the expression “eternal”?
PJW Well, I heard one remark that we would not need it in heaven, exactly, because that is a day of eternity. But I think it is really to do with the character of it. It is not its duration, but it is the character of it. We are receiving something from outside of ourselves which is eternal in character because God is eternal. Does that make any sense?
MJC Yes. If I have it right, what we enjoy now is of the same character as what we shall enjoy in eternity. It is not different, is it?
PJW It is not different. I do not want to get tied up with words, but the point is that eternal life is life according to God. It is from the heaven above. It is not earthly. Because it is eternal, it is indestructible. So that work of God in my soul can never be destroyed. That is a great comfort! There are believers, sadly, who think you can be saved today and lost tomorrow. It is making less of the work of Christ. But also, it cannot be, because eternal life is from above; it is outside of time and space. That character of life is to be resident in me, a most marvellous thing!
Perhaps we ought to move on to John 4. It just struck me that this is another gift that God was able to give. This is the gift of the Holy Spirit. It has always been a marvel to me that this discourse should be opened up to such a woman. But such is God’s grace that these wonderful revelations are worked out and made clear to this woman. She says here, “Sir, give me this water.” I think that would be a wonderful cry for every believer, to drink more and to understand the gift of the Spirit. The gift of the Spirit is something I would like to know more of, personally. It is another gift from God, and He enables, through that blessed Person within me, to enjoy these things that we have been speaking of.
MSB Are you connecting the thought of the Spirit with what it says, “Springing up into eternal life”?
PJW It is something within the believer. It is a marvellous thing to me that there is something in me, although the origins of it are outside, as we have been saying; they are from heaven, they are eternal, and there is something in me in the Spirit’s power that springs up. I wonder how much we know about this springing up.
BED It says, “The water which I shall give him shall become in him a fountain of water.” Can you say something about that?
PJW Well, I do not know that I can answer that exactly. It is a work of grace in the heart. We need to make room for the Spirit, do we not? He cannot fill a heart which is full of other things. This woman had plenty of things to distract her, but here was a proposal that she would be filled with the Spirit, essentially, and she would never thirst. I think there is the side in a believer that we need to have that desire. I was thinking of the psalmist who said, “As the hart panteth after the water-brooks, so panteth my soul after Thee, O God” (Psalm 42:1). God will satisfy that thirst. But I think it is wonderful to have that desire.
MJC The woman was concerned that she might not thirst, but also that she might not have to “come here to draw.” What do you see in that?
PJW Well, coming to the well was what was usual and dependable. We like to be like that. We like to be in our comfort zone, to use a common expression. But this is why I connected this Scripture in my mind with eternal life, because that is something outside her sphere altogether. She would have gone there every day, done the same thing, never satisfied. At the end of the story she leaves her water pot (v28). That is set aside. She now has this living water.
DJB Would you say some more about the connection between the gift of the Holy Spirit and eternal life? This chapter shows that they are very intimately connected, but I would like to have your impression about that.
PJW I had thought about that. I think the only thing I can say is that they are from the same origin. We have been saying that eternal life is something which comes from above and it is outside ourselves. You might say, as a believer, ‘How can I grasp that?’ The point is that God has given His Holy Spirit and placed it within me that I might link myself with this eternal life. It is really a piece of eternal life in me, in that sense.
CPB I was just thinking that without the Spirit we can have no concept of the great things that God has in His heart for us. It is so attractive: the Lord says, ‘If only you knew’ – “If thou knewest the gift of God.” We can have no concept of the greatness of what God has in His heart for us without the Spirit, can we?
PJW Not only is there this great proposal, but where I did not read the Lord Jesus opens up about worship to the Father, and the whole system of worship about which she had got the wrong end of the stick entirely! He was able to bring it all into the open. But it starts with something in your heart.
DJB In chapter 7 the Lord makes this the subject of a public preaching: “Jesus stood and cried saying, If any one thirst, let him come to Me and drink. He that believes on Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water. But this He said concerning the Spirit” (vv37-39).
PJW That is another interesting episode; another strand of teaching if we can put it that way. It is a wonderful contemplation – here it is springing up, there it is flowing out. It may link with our final Scripture. Someone in our reading last Lord’s Day made reference to the Spirit being within and flowing out. But I think it is a wonderful thing: there is something within me, but there is also something which flows out. As we were saying previously, if I have eternal life, then there should be some visible outcome. How do people know that I have eternal life? There is a witness within which should flow out.
DJB Yes. I am just struck by the words, “The water which I shall give him shall become in him a fountain of water, springing up into eternal life.” These are, shall I say, very energetic expressions. There is something vital that was not there before.
PJW And this was in a woman who was arid, dry and barren. Although there was nothing there, this is what God’s grace can do in the soul.
JCT Paul, when writing to Timothy, says, “O man of God,” which you would have thought was a pretty exalted title, and he goes on to say, “Lay hold of eternal life” (1 Tim 6:11‑12). What do you say to that?
PJW I think Paul was saying more elegantly what I am trying to say this afternoon! Although we might have it, we need to go in for it. The section goes on to speak of laying hold of what is really life (v19). We often go in for the second best, a substitute. The proposal here is that we have this fountain which is in us, but we just need to grasp it and make it our own.
MJC Where do we go in for eternal life? This woman was very linked with, “Our fathers worshipped in this mountain, and ye say that in Jerusalem …” (v20). But the Lord says it is worship in spirit and in truth. He is de-linking her with earthly centres. So our enjoyment of eternal life is not, exactly, in an earthly centre.
PJW No. It is in a heavenly Man. It is interesting; I find this woman fascinating. The Lord gives this woman a proposal and then, when her conscience is aroused, she starts going into religion, which is often the case. But then the Lord cuts through all of that and says, ‘I have come to show you what real worship is and it is in spirit and in truth.’
I read in Ephesians. I always find this first chapter of Ephesians quite difficult in one way because it is so full. But we sang at the beginning about all the spiritual blessings (Hymn 136), and here it says we have been blessed with every spiritual blessing. It just struck me: we “have been sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, Who is the Earnest of our inheritance.” I think that links with what we have been saying. This idea of “earnest” is the same idea as a down payment. I read a comment recently that went home to me: if you are buying something, you would not give just a pound as a deposit, you would give a sizeable amount of money as a deposit. That is the same way as God has acted. He has not given something paltry as a deposit. He has given His Holy Spirit, which is, we might reverently say, a wonderful amount. He has not given all, because we know it is the earnest of our inheritance. But we have, in the Holy Spirit and His seal, what we now come into in our inheritance. There is enough to go in for now. We do not realise everything. We do not understand everything. But God has been generous in this earnest, this down payment. He has given His very Spirit, Who really enables us to appreciate eternal life!
KHW Does “the Holy Spirit of promise” really bring home the certainty of it to our souls?
PJW The promises of Scripture are very interesting, and something we can take hold of. Sometimes you meet believers who are not firmly established. But God has given promises. He has given His Son. He has given eternal life. He has given the Holy Spirit. These are ‘cast-iron’ things. We are not to be unsure of where we are going, and to Whom we belong. We are not to be unsure of what we have, what God has given us. These things are real and tangible, are they not?
DJB The opening part of Romans 8 has, we might say, a good deal to do with the presence and power of the Holy Spirit now. But Paul does then say, “But if the Spirit of Him that has raised up Jesus from among the dead dwell in you, He that has raised up Christ from among the dead shall quicken your mortal bodies also on account of His Spirit which dwells in you” (v11). I wonder if there is a link with this verse in Ephesians as to the presence of the Spirit now being security for what God will do when the possession comes to be fully acquired.
PJW That is very helpful. It is the same Spirit, it is nobody different. That very Person Who resides in me through God’s grace and work is that very same Person Who is going to accomplish that mighty feat. And that is another guarantee.
AWGS In the Old Testament, God says to Abraham, what ‘I will give,’ as to His promises, the land and many other matters. But here it is present with us, is it not? We have it. Is that not important?
PJW Absolutely. There are things we do look forward to, but they are only a fulfilment of what we know now and should enjoy now. Paul says, “We know in part” (1 Corinthians 13:9). Well, the question is, how much do we know? I think we could know more.
PJC There is an expression that is often used in the Acts of the Apostles, about being filled with the Holy Spirit. I was just thinking about that. Do we not need a real desire, to link with what you were saying earlier, to be filled with the Holy Spirit?
PJW I feel very challenged as to what I can say about that. It is an injunction in Scripture, which shows it is possible (Eph 5:18). And in John 4 where we read, it is springing up. We allow so much else to come in. We cannot live in a vacuum. Someone said once that to be filled with the Spirit is normal Christianity. In one way I would question that statement, but I think we should know something of His power and fullness in our lives.
PJC Like you, I wish I knew more of it. But the reality is that a divine Person dwells in us. “Do ye not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit which is in you, which ye have of God?” Paul says to the Corinthians (1 Cor 6:19). I think “filled with the Spirit” gives me a feeling that there is a lot more that is available to us if we allow the power of the Holy Spirit to have its full work in us. You see the wonderful results, especially in the Acts of the Apostles, of a company that was marked by persons who were all filled with the Holy Spirit.
PJW We have just started reading the Acts in Worthing. It is interesting; they were special times in one sense, but God is still here and the Spirit is still here. There is no bar for me to be filled with the Spirit now.
MSB Does it involve displacement, do you think?
PJW Well, we all have ‘I’ trouble, do we not?
MSB We have ‘I’ trouble and we have other things that come in. “Lay hold of eternal life.” If the Spirit is given His place, we can have these things, but so much has to go. Persons are occupied with things which are bounded by death, things here.
PJW What is the answer?
MSB As we were saying, give place to the Spirit. The earnest, as you were saying, is something you are actually going to enjoy.
PJW I think in reality we all have to come the way of the woman in John 4; the Lord has to lead us to that point where we feel so dissatisfied and He is the only alternative. Sometimes we are driven to that point.
DO The Lord Jesus says in John 3:6, “That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit,” and so on. I thought about the link which we have with the verse which you read from Ephesians, that we have the Holy Spirit because we are born of the Holy Spirit. Do you think so?
PJW Yes. We cannot do anything outside of His power. If we do anything in our own power, we shall fail. It is God’s work in us and through us. As has often been said, God has far more to do in us than He has through us.
SML ‘Making way for the Spirit’ – would you help us, how do we practically do that?
PJW I think it is something to do with being dependent. The Lord Jesus was the most supremely dependent Man. He did things in the power of the Spirit. He waited on God. Naturally we tend to be self-sufficient. The woman was, and we can be self-sufficient. If we look at Laodicea, she says, “I am rich, and am grown rich, and have need of nothing” (Rev 3:17). We need to realise our absolute poverty apart from the Spirit of God. You can help us further on that.
SML No, I think what you say is very challenging. It casts us on God. Dependence makes us prayerful. I was just thinking of the reference that was made, “Do ye not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit?” That was a very practical exhortation to the Corinthians not to do certain things. These are practical ways in which we can actually make way for the Spirit: just turn aside from one thing and seek His help to do something different.
PJW Absolutely. In Worthing we have just started reading Titus. The Cretans were people that had a certain reputation (ch 1:12). As believers we are to stand out, we are to be different. And we are different because we have the Spirit of God within us and we have eternal life.
GKB Is not the question of desire critical to many aspects of my Christian life? How much do I really want to go in for these things? We have referred to displacement – do you not think that is critical?
PJW That is the crux of my exercise this afternoon. That is why I thought we might just look at Caleb and his daughter. I know this has to be applied. He could see something which the others could not see, and that desire kept him going for 45 years. And it did not dip. He saw those grapes, and I think the sweetness of those grapes lasted for 45 years! It is a challenge as to whether what we have received as the earnest of our inheritance is enough to keep us going until glory. It is very telling when we get to that verse in Joshua, “I brought him” (that is, Moses) “word again as it was in my heart.” I think that is the key thing; he really had something in his heart. It kept him going and it was real to him. All that was available in the land was embodied in that bunch of grapes, and he already had all the blessings in his heart then.
DJB Caleb and Joshua were qualified to go in and enjoy it immediately, but they had to go along with the rest of the people those 40 years’ journey. One of the issues for any one who desires to go on with the Spirit is the need for patience and forbearance with others on the wilderness journey.
PJW It is very salutary: out of around two million people only two got into the land. That is a very small percentage in anyone’s mathematics. The reason was that they were wholly committed to the Lord. That is one thing. But the other thing was that they did have an appreciation and the desire for what God was going to bring them into, and they enjoyed it then. They had gone into the land already, in spirit. That is what the believer should be, someone who has gone into the whole inheritance now.
DJB So, what the wilderness has to tell us is part of the believer’s experience for all the time that we are here. But we do not have to postpone enjoyment of the land for 40 years, do we?
PJW I do not think so. The way Caleb describes it here, it is “a very, very good land.” And then he says, “If Jehovah delight in us, He will bring us into this land.” It is God’s doing all the way. It is wonderful that he can speak of that. We have referred to the souls that were destroyed in the wilderness, and yet, despite all that, God does delight in His people: “If Jehovah delight in us.” He is able to bring a new generation in. But my thought was that these two really appreciated it at the present time, currently.
DJB What does the expression “the land” convey to you?
PJW My answer to that would be to read Ephesians 1, “Every spiritual blessing” (v3). It flows with milk and honey, and I know people have said various things about the milk and the honey, and put different interpretations on it. But I think if we read Ephesians 1, we shall see all those wonderful things which are brought by God which will be perfected in a coming day but which we can enjoy, in measure, now!
TJK In connection with our brother’s enquiry, the blessings they received were received in the wilderness, but fruitfulness, in this story in particular, is connected with the land. Is there something significant in that for us?
PJW My only answer would be that if there is any fruit in my heart, it has to be as a result of my feeding on the blessings from God and enjoying what God has brought me into. If I produce fruit, it is not from my own resource, it is because of my current enjoyment. Think of great servants of God that have done wonderful things in Church history: their service and their fruit has been directly as a result of their enjoyment of what they have been brought into, I believe.
PJC I was struck with the way that the symbol of the great bunch of grapes is what really characterised the land for them. They bring that back, and in my mind the connection is with joy, and the thought that it conveys to me is that their joy was going to be absolutely overflowing. I just wondered if that was something that would help us in our desire to go in for these things. There is something there that will give us a joy that we will never find anywhere else, and it is a joy that will never run out.
PJW Absolutely. The grapes were from the land. They were not a replica or a substitute. They were actually from the land. It was something real that was from the land, and that is what God has given us – His Holy Spirit, that we might practically enjoy now what God has got in store for us. And it is joy, as you say. I am reminded of the words of the Lord Jesus, “that your joy may be full” (John 16:24, see John 15:11). That is not just in a coming day; that is now.
MJC Caleb knew that there would be enemies to be overcome, but it did not deter him.
PJW And I think I am right in saying that his was the only portion in which there was total victory. In Caleb’s portion they totally eradicated the enemies, the only one where it was so. I think there is something in that, and it is to do with desire; he was going to succeed. His report was not going to fail.
Perhaps we should very quickly just speak about Achsah. There was something, obviously, with Caleb’s family. Faith does run in families sometimes, though not always. But she was very commendable. What really struck me about this passage was that she had a healthy eagerness to acquire more. We have been speaking this afternoon about the gift of eternal life and the gift of the Spirit. I would like to have more and to know more. In John 4 we had a dissatisfied woman who became satisfied. Here we have a woman who was satisfied, but she had a heavenly dissatisfaction, if I can put it that way; she wanted more. She had the southern land, but – and I love the language here – she says, “Give me a blessing.” It would be good for young people especially; ask that of God, ask that of the Lord Jesus, ask that of the Spirit, “Give me a blessing.” God will not fail you. If you ask for a blessing, you will get it!
PKL You might wonder why Caleb had not given her the springs in the first place. But God does delight for us to ask, does He not? “Ask the Father,” we are told, for various things. That is what the Father wants us to do, to ask for more.
KHW Do you think if the spirit of desire was characterising older ones more, as it characterised Caleb, then it would be an encouragement to the younger ones to go in for it? I am thinking of Caleb that he says, “Give me this mountain” (ch 14:12). He went in for the very best!
PJW I am glad you mentioned that. That is another thing. He asked – he was not afraid to ask. In Scripture there are certain men of God who are not afraid to ask. We should not be afraid to ask, because God is a giving God. Achsah realises she has a wonderful inheritance, but she needs this extra thing to appreciate it. We need the springs, do we not? The hymn says, ‘All my fresh springs are hid in Thee’ (Hymn 281).
MSB What are the upper springs and the lower springs?
PJW I thought someone might ask that! I know what CAC says, but I do not want to repeat it for the sake of repetition. In one sense it is all from the same source, ‘All my fresh springs are hid in Thee.’ But I will say what CAC says. There is no harm in repeating something.
DJB “To write the same things to you, to me is not irksome, and for you safe” (Phil 3:1)!
PJW CAC says that the upper springs are like the relationships we can have with divine Persons, in the vertical direction. The lower springs are the relationships we have with one another, in the horizontal direction (CAC vol 6 p71). How do we enjoy these things we have been speaking of this afternoon? We enjoy them by knowing God, coming into a relationship with Him, and we enjoy them by our relationships with one another. Practically, how are we enjoying the good of these things this afternoon? Because we are together.
DJB Achsah herself did not have to enter into the conflict which provided this inheritance. The men that took up the conflict provided it. I just wonder whether it reminds us of the things which the apostle says are “freely given to us of God” (1 Cor 2:12). There is conflict, even within, and there has to be conflict. What God actually provides is a free gift.
PJW “Others have laboured, and ye have entered into their labours” (John 4:38).
CPB Just following on from what you were saying, it was not just grapes they brought from the land; they brought pomegranates and figs. I was just wondering whether that linked with our enjoyment of things. Pomegranates often speak of our links together, do they not?
PJW I think that is right. It would be very difficult to enjoy all that we are speaking of in a solitary confinement.
CPB That is why it is all the more amazing that Caleb and Joshua both seem to go it alone; they maintained it in their hearts all that time.
PJW Well, they had each other. But I guess it is a lesson for us. The reality is that we are brought into these things together. God has set us together. But it has to be in the heart first. It is no good being together if these things are not in my heart.
23 November 2013