Alone, But Not Lonely
by Tom Stewart
December 12, 1999
God's people must learn "how
to be abased" and "how
to abound" (Philippians 4:12). It was so with their Master,
and it must be true of His disciples. "Take
My yoke upon you, and learn of Me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall
find rest unto your souls" (Matthew 11:29). IF Jesus
was unwilling to stand alone bearing the reproach for our sins on Calvary, then
we would have to be as those predestined to destruction, i.e., "wandering stars, to whom is reserved the blackness of darkness
for ever" (Jude 13). Unlike our LORD Christ, "Who did no sin, neither was guile found in His mouth" (1Peter 2:22), we have earned and do deserve all of the suffering and distress
that our sin deserves. "Father, I have
sinned against Heaven, and in Thy sight, and am no more worthy to be called Thy son" (Luke 15:21). Though our perfection is justly demanded by our LORD, i.e.,
"Be ye therefore perfect, even as your
Father which is in Heaven is perfect" (Matthew 5:48),
and our perfectibility is presently attainable in this world, i.e., "The disciple is not above his Master: but every one
that is perfect shall be as his Master" (Luke 6:40), we
have sinned, and justly deserve the reproach of God. "5 We have sinned, and have committed
iniquity, and have done wickedly, and have rebelled, even by departing from Thy precepts
and from Thy judgments... 8 O
LORD, to us belongeth confusion of face, to our kings, to our princes, and to our
fathers, because we have sinned against Thee" (Daniel
But, for the Penitent, we have been called to wholeheartedly follow the LORD Jesus, "esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt" (Hebrews 11:26). To stand alone for Christ means to stand apart from man, but with Christ, our Emmanuel-- "which being interpreted is, God with us" (Matthew 1:23). The Almighty God desires to stand with us, but we hinder Him by our unwillingness to stand alone with Him. "Draw nigh to God, and He will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded" (James 4:8). His willingness to "make all grace abound toward" (2Corinthians 9:8) us, is well documented in the Annals of the History of the Saints, e.g., "32 And what shall I more say? for the time would fail me to tell of Gedeon, and of Barak, and of Samson, and of Jephthae; of David also, and Samuel, and of the prophets: 33 Who through faith subdued kingdoms, wrought righteousness, obtained Promises, stopped the mouths of lions, 34 Quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, waxed valiant in fight, turned to flight the armies of the aliens" (Hebrews 11:32-34). The blessedness and peace of God's presence is ours only if we prefer His company to all else. "The LORD is with you, while ye be with Him; and if ye seek Him, He will be found of you; but if ye forsake Him, He will forsake you" (2Chronicles 15:2).
Possibly, the prophets can be called upon to best illustrate the concept of standing alone for the LORD against the sins of man. Jeremiah "suffered rebuke" (Jeremiah 15:15) for the LORD's sake by his faithful delivery of an unpopular message of repentance to God's professed people. "I sat not in the assembly of the mockers, nor rejoiced; I sat alone because of Thy hand: for Thou hast filled me with indignation" (15:17). Understanding that he was prophesying against the Chosen People of God (Deuteronomy 7:6), Jeremiah's willingness to stand with Jehovah meant standing alone, even in the midst of the only people that he knew. "Therefore thus saith the LORD, If thou return, then will I bring thee again, and thou shalt stand before Me: and if thou take forth the precious from the vile, thou shalt be as My mouth: let them return unto thee; but return not thou unto them" (15:19). We, like the prophets, need to have the utmost confidence that our God will deliver us, when we stand alone for Him, even when we do not know how to deliver ourselves. "7 For the LORD GOD will help me; therefore shall I not be confounded: therefore have I set my face like a flint, and I know that I shall not be ashamed. 8 He is near that justifieth me; who will contend with me? let us stand together: who is mine adversary? let him come near to me. 9 Behold, the LORD GOD will help me; who is he that shall condemn me? lo, they all shall wax old as a garment; the moth shall eat them up" (Isaiah 50:7-9).
The test of a tree is its fruit. "Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them" (Matthew 7:20). Loneliness is impossible to the one who walks with God. "Yet I am not alone, because the Father is with Me" (John 16:32). Our difficulty is not whether God is willing to stand by a willing people, but it is whether or not we are willing to stand with God. "19 If ye be willing and obedient, ye shall eat the good of the land: 20 But if ye refuse and rebel, ye shall be devoured with the sword: for the mouth of the LORD hath spoken it" (Isaiah 1:19-20). Our worthiness to stand before God is based upon our acceptance in the person of the LORD Jesus Christ. "He hath made us accepted in the Beloved" (Ephesians 1:6). But, our acceptance in Christ is contingent upon continuing in that "faith which worketh by love" (Galatians 5:6). "21 And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath He reconciled 22 In the body of His flesh through death, to present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable in His sight: 23 If ye continue in the faith grounded and settled, and be not moved away from the hope of the Gospel, which ye have heard, and which was preached to every creature which is under Heaven; whereof I Paul am made a minister" (Colossians 1:21-23).
May God grant you the grace of His presence, if you are willing to stand alone with Him. "If God be for us, who can be against us?" (Romans 8:31).
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