Night Walkers and Day Walkers – Stockmayer Selection 5

on January 30, 2008 in Stockmayer

NIGHT-WALKERS AND DAY-WALKERS

(Luke 2:40-51; John 11)

It is on my heart to go closer with you into the subject of sanctification, and how could we do it better–and in a way more sure–than to see how the Lord Jesus, from His earliest childhood up to the last day of His life, carried out the attitude taken in eternity by the call of the Father–the attitude of a Sanctified One: “He whom the Father sanctified and sent into the world,” the One–the only One–all the days and all the minutes of whose lifetime, from the earliest awakening of consciousness up to the last breath on Calvary, the Father was sure of having for Himself. To redeem the world, God needed a man whose ear was always open to Him, someone whose ear could never be dulled by the noise of the world, or by blame or flattery of man; a man whose eyes would always be turned toward the Father and whose ear would hear nothing which did not come from God. For God so to have one’s ear–that is being sanctified, set apart, living out an existence in God’s hand from the beginning to the end; but freely given, as the Son gives to the Father. From the moment when the Father called Him, He did not regard anyone, not even His mother; yet He was the most obedient son that had ever lived on earth.

The portion of Luke is the only New Testament passage which gives us a glimpse of the childhood of our blessed Saviour. This Scripture discloses the fact that at this point His mother was unfaithful to the heavenly vision, and unfaithful to what she knew of the Divine origin of her Son; and He had to reprove her. He knew, even at the age of twelve years, how to be faithful to His mother as a sinner and to reprove her, and yet immediately to take up again the attitude of a respectful Son. What an example to children who have to obey parents in whom they see faults!

This story opens up the early life of the Child Jesus. He had been subject in everything to His mother and His step-father and His brothers from the first awakening of consciousness throughout His first twelve years. But it is evident from His question, “How is it that ye sought Me? Did ye not know that I must be in My Father’s House?” that they had ground to know that when the moment came suddenly for Him to have an opportunity of hearing of God and of His Word, this was the spot where the Child ought to be sought.

“Did ye not know?”–Did I ever, from the first awakening of My understanding, lose one occasion to hear the Word of My Father, His Holy Scriptures?

He was begotten by the Holy Ghost; and being begotten by the Holy Ghost–by the very act–involves dependence upon Scripture as His daily food. The Spirit of God and the Word of God cannot be separated; you have as much of the Holy Ghost–not as you have read written or printed texts–but as you have taken in the Word of God in the substance of your life. This Child never listened to the Word of God without taking it into the innermost substance of His being, drinking it as a child drinks its mother’s milk. As a child is drawn to the breast of his mother, so this Child was drawn toward the Word of God. Had He lost even one occasion in all these years?

Mary, go back to that moment, years before, when He went for the first time to the synagogue. Did He have to be inquired for or sought for when that hour came? “Did you not know?”

Had you no eyes, Mother? Had you no memory? You knew about the process of My first coming forth, even though it was hidden behind the veil. Did you not see these holy things springing up? Where were your eyes and your ears, Mother, that you could for one moment think I ought to be sought among the relatives and kinsmen when the hour was opened for Me?

At the age of twelve years, the Boy had to be taken to Jerusalem to the feast. He had learned all He could from the teachers of Nazareth; He had exhausted all other sources of knowledge. He knew that His glorious moment had come. Where else than in the Temple would He be likely to be looked for? Did Mary not know that He was always to be found in the things of His Father? He was always to be found as a sanctified One. The Boy, long before the age of twelve years, had come to know His Father without any revelation from Mary. He could not be elsewhere.

His questions astonished the doctors–the old, gray-headed scribes; and if His spirit and mind had already to such an extent been opened by the Spirit of God as to astonish these old men, it was because from early childhood knowledge and experience had been kept in equal balance in His life. He was in the things of His Father, and He learned to see things from His Father’s point of view. He was sanctified to His Father, He was set apart, chosen, by the Father from eternity to be the Lamb of God. He did not wait until He was twelve years old to manifest the Lamb-life. A boy could not have brothers and sisters, step-father and mother, without having opportunities to live out the Lamb-life–to take the place of the wrong one when He was right; to suffer, to be slain, without complaint. In living with His brothers and sisters, who were seeking their own life, He exercised the Lamb-life. As a Boy He was sanctified unto His Father, and He probably had wonderful glimpses of light into His own mission.

Of course I cannot go with you through the entire life of our blessed Saviour, but I now take the closing period as recorded in the eleventh chapter of John; and I look to the Lord that He may open your eyes to see the things which are written in this Scripture. What you find here may stand out as a question: What does it mean to walk in the night, and what does it mean to walk in the day?

There are night-walkers and there are day-walkers. If you take the portion of Scripture as a whole, the distinction will spring out very clearly and definitely. I may first sum it up in one word: to walk in the day is to carry out through the whole being the attitude of a sanctified one; and again–to give the key to the chapter–to walk in the night is to shrink back from the place in which they would stone you and to go to the place where you feel at home without direction from on high, following the drawing of your heart and avoiding trying circumstances.

The sisters in Bethany sent their simple message: “Lord, he whom Thou lovest is sick”; they were quite sure He would not need to be called twice–He would come at once–but He did not come.

There was, I am quite sure, at that moment–as throughout the whole life of Christ–a looking into the Father’s face to know what He would say about this matter, instead of a running to help the poor sisters. He had been received so kindly in that home, where–if anywhere on earth–He felt at home, but the truly sanctified one never follows the drawing of his own heart with reference even to the nearest and dearest, but rather says, “Father, what wilt Thou have me to do?”

“When Jesus heard it, He said, ‘This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God, that the Son of God may be glorified thereby.'” These words He said through the Father; He did nothing by His own will or personal decision. Then in order that we may not be mistaken, it says immediately, “Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. When, therefore, He heard that he was sick, He abode….” Not, “He went”; but “He abode.” He had His direction from the Father, and He could afford not to be understood by His nearest and dearest. No man, no home, was nearer to Him than Bethany; to leave two sisters in such a situation with a dying brother–to be able to help and not to go–proved Him to be a sanctified One! In the first moment He did not understand but just obeyed; then the Father gave the clue.

“Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. When, therefore, …” What would follow if He loved them? Therefore He went? No; He went not. For the very reason that they were so near and dear to Jesus, He had to be anxious that the full will of God should be fulfilled in Bethany, not only for the Father’s sake but for His beloved ones’ sake. No matter whether they would personally understand Him, or what they would think of Him, He loved them so truly that He could afford to be misunderstood in order that the Father’s will might be fulfilled in that home and the Father’s glory manifested in a way that it could not have been manifested had the Lord gone before to end the trial.

Oh, let us never interfere between our loved ones and the Father; otherwise we love them in the flesh and spoil them–we are not sanctified ones. Others must know, by our going or not going, that we are sanctified ones.

Now this is the first distinctive characteristic of the day-walker–the one who walks in the day. It is not to go, so long as the Lord does not permit you to go, to the place to which your heart is drawn because of a tender love that suffers with the suffering ones; but to leave them restfully in the hands of God that He might carry out His purposes in their lives, not minding whether they understand now or later on when they will thank you for having been true in the time when they thought you hard and lacking tenderness.

The first characteristic is not to go where your heart draws, and the other characteristic follows immediately afterwards in the story. The trial had gone on, and after two days the Father lifted the cloud and opened the way. Then Jesus said to the disciples, “Let us go into Judea again.” They answered, “Rabbi, the Jews were but now seeking to stone Thee, and goest Thou thither again?”

You must go where you expect to be stoned! How is this? The sanctified one can refrain from going to Bethany, and the sanctified one can afford to be stoned if it should be necessary. The need of the nearest ones is no determining reason to go to Bethany so long as the Father has not opened the way; and the stones waiting in Jerusalem are no reason not to go to Judea when you are sanctified. When sanctified–and knowing you are sanctified and belong to God, and God only has the right to you–you are sure that the Spirit will guide you and lead you straight. Circumstances can no longer keep you back and the suffering and agony of others cannot determine your coming; then the Spirit can reach you, and you prove to be sons of light and day-walkers; not going to Bethany before the time, and being ready to go to Judea and the waiting stones at the very moment that the Father makes a movement of His hand in that direction. That is to walk in the day!

And this, my beloved friends, is His will: to fulfil a full day-walk of twelve hours. “Hath the day not twelve hours?” No power of sickness, no power of death, can take us away before our day-walk be fulfilled, if we walk in the daylight–in the lines in which Jesus walked in Bethany and in Judea with regard to Lazarus and his sisters and the stones of Jerusalem.

That is the freedom of the servant of Jehovah. That is to be sanctified to God. That is in a practical way to be set apart–by none to be held, by none to be freed. There is only one thing in view: never to miss the will and pleasure of the Father, and to grow up day by day into better and quicker understanding of what God the Father means by stillness of will and stillness of heart–not the heart of a stoic, without tenderness; but a loving, and perhaps a bleeding, heart. I say this is the way to fulfil a full day-walk.

The day, the Lord said, has twelve hours. He stood in the eleventh hour of His day-walk, at the opening of the twelfth; the Lazarus incident was just the stepping from the eleventh into the twelfth hour. His whole day-walk would have been prolonged and turned into a false direction if He had not waited for His Father’s hour in regard to Bethany–if He had not been able to leave the sisters without comfort and to let Lazarus die (and He knew he was dying). You know your Bible as well as I know mine, and you have only to look carefully to see that the resurrection of Lazarus was the determining point in the attitude of the Scribes and Pharisees toward Him: now this is enough; He must die. It would have been a prolonging of His day-walk if He had not gone to Bethany–and gone just when He did. The raising of Lazarus was the last drop to make the waters overflow: He must die; His day is finished.

No man can shorten the day-walk of one who lives and walks in the day. How many day-walks are prolonged, and how many others are shortened before their time! Not so with Jesus; He simply followed the Father. There was no unnecessary prolonging of suffering; the work was done. The last obedience was in regard to Bethany. This was the signal for the Pharisees: this is enough.

Well, brethren, may these glimpses help you to understand what it means to be sanctified of the Father and to the Father, and may you come to know that every clear shining of Light has loosening and binding power; it loosens us from many things which held us back. We have to do with the Lord, not with the Jews or with circumstances; not even with Mary and Martha. Never play with Light. Light is given to kill us and to quicken us again into new life–to loosen us from any fear of circumstances or of what man may say of us.

The Lord never gives us Light in the one hand without giving us in the other hand a cord; for every bit of Light, new cords of love are present to bind us to His heart and to His altar. As sanctified ones, all things are bound to His altar. Every trial, victoriously overcome, is another cord binding us to the horns of the altar–to the altar of the Father and to the Saviour, with cords no power of flesh nor hell nor men can break. As conquered ones, we are bound to the triumphal chariot of our Saviour, who gives us strength to go the way He leads alone.

It is written of Christ that He “through the Eternal Spirit offered Himself without blemish unto God….” I do not know if there is another place in our Bible where the Spirit of God is spoken of as the Eternal Spirit. Of course He is the Eternal Spirit; but why is His Name so called here, and only here? The answer came to me with power. Christ was obedient unto death through the Spirit; He was enabled through the Spirit of God, with whom He had been baptized, to go this way. If He needed the Spirit of God for His ministry of teaching, He needed the Spirit of God for that awful ministry of offering Himself unto God on the Cross. It was through the Spirit of God that He made such an offering; and where the Breaker has broken through, there is a way open for His own to break through behind Him. The Spirit through whom He broke through was stronger than any Peter or any angel or any devil; they were all impotent to prevent Him from going this way. If He did this, and the Spirit through whom He did it is the Eternal Spirit, then the Spirit who brought my Saviour through brings me through. He is the same today; He opened the way and left behind Him an open door. It is a pathway of power: to suffer, to be slain, to love others, to die, to seek not our own life. The pathway is open; He has given us His Eternal Spirit, that through the Spirit we may go the same way and be sanctified ones day and night.

I find so many Christians who cry after the Holy Ghost and who do not believe, day by day and hour by hour, in the Holy Ghost–the Eternal Spirit–to go along whatever pathway of humbling, of suffering, or of crucifixion that the Lord may be pleased to lead them. He never opens before us any pathway of self-denial or crucifixion, in any way or degree, but that the Spirit stands with Christ–one with Him–on His bidding to open the way, to lead us there, and to strengthen us.

Follow Him, never shrinking back from any ministry or any humbling to which He leads in His own season and in His own time, when you are able. Fear to shrink back; fear with a holy trembling to stop short. The whole creation waits for the manifestation of the sons of God who are working out their own salvation with fear and trembling.

And thus far our glorious Redeemer has opened the way. Will you go?

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