"This is the resting place, let the weary rest; and this
is the place of repose"—
"The Lord will provide." Genesis 22:14
The Elim-palms only environed Israel's temporary
resting-place—marked one of the many wilderness camping-grounds on
the way to Canaan. In the very next words after the recorded tent-pitching
by the twelve wells, we read, "Then they left Elim" (Ex. 16:1).
If "Get up, go away! For this is not your resting place,"
be the watchword for all God's pilgrims still, what, it may be asked, of the
untrodden journey? What of tomorrow's march? What of the unknown future?
"The Lord will provide!" That future is in the
keeping of the God of the pillar-cloud, and we may well leave it there.
These refreshing palm-groves at one encampment may well be taken as pledges
of His faithfulness and loving care, until the last stage of the wilderness
journey be reached, and 'the fields of living green' appear in view.
How beautiful the impress of the Divine hand in the works
of outer nature. Every blade of grass, every forest leaf, how perfect, in
symmetry of form, and in tenderness of color! With what exquisite elegance
He has pencilled every flower, delicately poised it on its stalk, or spread
a pillow for its head on the tender sod! The God who has "so clothed the
grass of the field," will not be forgetful of the lowliest of His covenant
It is for us to say, as we lie passive in His hands,
"O Lord, come to my aid!" He, portioning out for us as He sees fit, and
having His own infinite reasons for what may appear perplexing to us—we,
with an unquestioning and unreasoning faith, fully trusting His
power, tenderness, vigilance, love. He does not consult our
short-sighted wisdom in what He does. The clouds do not consult the earth as
to when they shall visit its fruits and flowers—its cornfields and forests,
with their watery treasures. The pining plant does not dictate to the
cloud-reservoirs as to when they shall unseal their hidden stores. These
give a kindly and needful supply "in due season," and the earth has never
yet (for six thousand years) had to complain of them as miserly distributors
of their Creator's bounty.
So it is with the soul. He who makes the clouds His
chariot—who opens and shuts at will the windows of heaven—locking and
unlocking the springs of the great deep—says to all His people, 'Trust Me; I
will give you all needed present blessings; I will come to you like the
winter rains, like the spring rains that water the earth. I do not pledge
myself as to how or when the rain shall fall—but I will send
down showers in season; there will be showers of blessing.'
Happy for us, if we are able to respond with a
declaration of entire confidence in a present, personal God, in whom
we live, and move, and have our being! Behold the sun of the natural
heavens, the great central luminary—a dumb unfeeling mass of matter—holding
its dependent planets in their orbits, controlling their unerring movements;
they, in calm, silent submission, yielding obedience to the will of this
sovereign lord! How much more may we hold on our way in the orbit of
undeviating obedience, exulting in Jehovah's ever-present power and love; so
that in the most remote solitude, as well as the most dense crowd, we can
say, 'Alone, yet not alone, for my Father is with me!'
And if we thus confide in God, He will confide in
us. Beautiful are the words of the prophet, "You meet him who rejoices and
works righteousness; those that remember You in Your ways." Those that
remember You and confide in You, "You meet them!" The Lord comes out
halfway to meet the confiding heart.
Let us listen to the words of Him who spoke as never man
spoke, "Take no thought" (that is to say, Do not be over-anxious or
over-careful) "for tomorrow." That 'tomorrow' is in the hands of One
boundless in His resources, infinite in His compassion. He not only
distributes the destiny of His people, but He molds and adapts them for
their lots and positions in life. Just as in outer nature He adapts the
varied classes in the vegetable world for different climates. As the palm
was the tree of the desert, the olive that of Palestine, the cedar, of
Lebanon—so is it with every tree of righteousness. They too are "the
planting of the Lord;" and wherever planted, there, in their varied
ways, they may 'glorify' Him.
Do not charge God with insincerity, when He declares,
through His inspired Apostle, that all things work together for good to
those who love Him. "No good thing will He withhold from those who walk
uprightly." If He leads you along a rough and thorny road, hear His loving
voice thus reassuring your faith and lulling your misgivings, 'Your heavenly
Father knows that you have need of all these things.' He foresees and
anticipates every emergency that can overtake you. He can ward off every
danger, and disarm every foe. As you may be now surveying the yet-untrodden
road, leading 'uphill and downhill, to the city of habitation,' remember the
words of Him who has said, "I will never leave you, nor forsake you."
"Leave, oh leave your fond aspirings,
Bid your restless heart be still;
Cease, oh cease your vain desirings,
Only seek your Father's will.
Leave behind your faithless sorrow,
And your every anxious care;
He who only knows the morrow
Can for you its burden bear.
Leave the darkness gathering o'er thee,
Leave the shadow land behind;
Realms of glory lie before thee,
Enter in, and welcome find."
"Commit your way to the Lord; trust also in Him, and He
shall bring it to pass."