OUT OF AND INTO
And He brought us out from thence, that He might bring us in, to give us
the land which He sware unto our Fathers." --Deut. 6:23.
I have spoken of the crisis that comes in the life of the man who sees that
his Christian experience is low and carnal, and who desires to enter into
the full life of God. Some Christians do not understand that there should
be such a crisis. They think that they ought, from the day of their
conversion, to continue to grow and progress. I have no objections to that,
if they have grown as they ought. If their life has been so strong under the
power of the Holy Ghost that they have grown as true believers should
grow, I certainly have no objection to this. But I want to deal with those
Christians whose life since conversion has been very much a failure, and
who feel it to be such because of their not being filled with the Spirit, as
is their blessed privilege. I want to say for their encouragement, that by
taking one step, they can get out into the life of rest, and victory, and
fellowship with God to which the promises of God invite them.
Look at the elder son in the parable. How long would it have taken him to
get out of that state of blindness and bondage into the full condition of
sonship? By believing in his father's love, he might have gotten out that
very hour. If he had been powerfully convicted of his guilt in his unbelief,
and had confessed like his prodigal brother, "I have sinned," he would
have come that very moment into the favor of the son's happiness in his
father's home. He would not have been detained by having a great deal to
learn, and a great deal to do; but in one moment, his whole relation would
have been changed.
Remember, too, what we saw in Peter's case. In one moment, the look of
Jesus broke him down and there came to him the terribly bitter reflection
of his sin, owing to his selfish, fleshly confidence, a contrition and
reflection which laid the foundation for his new and better life with Jesus.
God's word brings out the idea of the Christian's entrance into the new and
better life by the history of the people of Israel's entrance into the land of Canaan.
In our text, we have these words:--"God brought us out from thence
(Egypt), that He might bring us in" into Canaan. There are two steps: one
was bringing them out; and the other was bringing them in. So in the life
of the believer, there are ordinarily two steps quite separate from each
other;--the bringing him out of sin and the world; and the bringing him
into a state of complete rest afterward. It was the intention of God that
Israel should enter the land of Canaan from Kadesh-Barnea, immediately
after He had made His covenant with them at Sinai. But they were not
ready to enter at once, on account of their sin and unbelief, and
disobedience. They had to wander after that for forty years in the
Now, look how God led the people. In Egypt, there was a great crisis,
where they had first to pass through the Red Sea, which is a figure of
conversion; and when they went into Canaan, there was, as it were, a
second conversion in passing through the Jordan. At our conversion, we
get into liberty, out of the bondage of Egypt; but, when we fail to use our
liberty through unbelief and disobedience, we wander in the wilderness for
a longer or shorter period before we enter into the Canaan of victory, and
rest, and abundance. Thus God does for His Israel two things:--He brings
them out of Egypt; and He lead them into Canaan.
My message, then, is to ask this question of the believer:--Since you know
you are converted and God has brought you out of Egypt, have you yet
come into the land of Canaan? If not, are you willing that he should bring
you into the fuller liberty and rest provided for His people? He brought
Israel out of Egypt by a mighty hand, and the same mighty hand brought
us out of our land of bondage; with the same mighty hand, He brought his
ancient people into rest, and by that hand, too, He can bring us into our
true rest. The same God who pardoned and regenerated us--is waiting to
perfect His love in us, if we but trust Him. Are there many hearts saying:--"I believe that God brought me out of bondage twenty, or thirty, or forty
years ago; but alas! I cannot say that I have been brought into the happy
land of rest and victory?"
How glorious was the rest of Canaan after all the wanderings in the
wilderness! And so is it with the Christian who reaches the better
promised Canaan of rest, when he comes to leave all his charge with the
Lord Jesus--his responsibilities, anxieties, and worry; his only work being
to hand the keeping of his soul into the hand of Jesus every day and hour.
and the Lord can keep, and give the victory over every enemy. Jesus has
undertaken not only to cleans our sin, and bring us to heaven, but also to
keep us in our daily life.
I ask again:--Are you hungering to get free from sin and its power?--Anyone longing to get complete victory over his temper, his pride, and all
his evil inclinations?--Hearts longing for the time when no clouds will come
between them and their God?--Longing to walk in the full sunshine of
God's loving favour? The very God who brought you from the Egypt of
darkness is ready and able to bring you also into the Canaan of rest.
And now comes the question again:--What is the way by which God will
bring me to this rest? What is needed on my part if God is really to bring
me into the happy land? I give the answer first of all by asking another
question:--Are you willing to forsake your wanderings in the wilderness? If
you say "We do not want to leave our wanderings, where we have had so
many wonderful indications of God's presence with us; so many remarkable
proofs of the Divine care and goodness, like that of the ancient people of
God, who had the pillar to guide them, and the manna given them every
day for forty years; Moses and Aaron to lead and advise them.
The wilderness is to us, on account of these things, a kind of sacred place;
and we are loath to leave it." If the children of Israel had said anything of
this kind to Joshua, he would have said to them (and we all would have
said):--"Oh, you fools: It is the very God who gave you the pillar of cloud
and the other blessings in the wilderness, who tells you how to come into
the land flowing with milk and honey." And so I can speak to you in the
same way; I bring you the message that He who has brought you thus far
on your journey, and given you such blessings thus far, is the God who will
bring you into the Canaan of complete victory and rest.
The first question, then, that I would ask you is,
ARE YOU READY TO LEAVE THE WILDERNESS?
You know the mark of Israel's life in the wilderness--the cause of all their
troubles there--was unbelief. They did not believe that God could take
them into the promised land. And then followed many sins and failures--lusting, idolatry, murmuring, etc. That has, perhaps, been your life,
beloved; you do not believe that God will fulfill His word. You do not
believe in the possibility of unbroken fellowship with Him, and unlimited
partnership. On account of that, you become disobedient, and did not live
like a child doing God's will, because you did not believe that God could
give you the victory over sin. Are you willing now to leave that wilderness
life? Sometimes you are, perhaps, enjoying fellowship with God, and
sometimes you are separated from Him; sometimes you have nearness to
Him, and at other times great distance from Him; sometimes you have a
willingness to walk closely with Him, but sometimes there is even
unwillingness. Are you now going to give up your whole life to Him? Are
you going to approach Him and say, "My God, I do not want to do anything
that will be displeasing to Thee; I want Thee to keep me from all
worldliness, from all self-pleasure; I want Thee, O God, to help me to live
like Peter after Pentecost, filled with the Holy Ghost, and not like carnal
Beloved, are you willing to say this? Are you willing to give up your sins,
to walk with God continually, to submit yourself wholly to the will of God,
and have no will of your own apart from His will? Are you going to live a
perfect life? I hope you are, for I believe in such a life;--not perhaps in the
sense in which you understand "perfection"--entire freedom from wrong-doing and all inclination to it, for while we live in the flesh the flesh will
lust against the Spirit and the Spirit against the flesh; but the perfection
spoken of in the Old Testament as practiced by some of God's saints, who
are said to have "served the Lord with a perfect heart." What is this
perfection? A state in which your hearts will be set on perfect integrity
without any reserve, and your will wholly subservient to God's will. Are you
willing for such a perfection, with your whole heart turned away from the
world and given to God alone? Are you going to say, "No, I do not expect
that I will ever give up my self-will."? It is the devil tempting you to think
it will be too hard for you. Oh! I would plead with God's children just to
look at the will of God, so full of blessing, of holiness, of love; will you not
give up your guilty will for that blessed will of God? A man can do it in one
moment when he comes to see that God can change his will for him. Then
he may say farewell to his old will, as Peter did when he went out and
wept bitterly, and when the Holy Spirit filled his soul on the day of
Pentecost. Joshua "wholly followed the Lord his God." He failed, indeed,
before the enemy at Ai, because he trusted too much to human agency,
and not sufficiently to God; and he failed in the same manner when he
made a covenant with the Gibeonites; but still, his spirit and power
differed very widely from that of the people whose unbelief drove them
before their enemies and kept them in the wilderness. Let us be willing
wholly to serve the Lord our God, and "make no provision for the flesh to
fulfill the lusts thereof." Let us believe in the love and power of God to
keep us day by day, and put "no confidence in the flesh."
Then comes the second step:--"I must believe that such a life in the land
of Canaan is a possible life." Yes, many a one will say, "Ah! what would I
give to get out of the wilderness life! But I cannot believe that it is
possible to live in this constant communion with God. You don't know my
difficulties--my business cares and perplexities; I have all sorts of people
to associate with; have gone out in the morning braced up by communion
with God in prayer, but the pressure of business before night has driven
out of my heart all that warmth of love that I had, and the world has
gotten in and made the heart as cold as before." But we must remember
again what it was that kept Israel out of Canaan. When Caleb and Joshua
said, "We are able to overcome the enemy," the ten spies, and the six
hundred thousand answered, "We cannot do it; they are too strong for us."
Take care, dear reader, that we do not repeat their sin, and provoke God
as these unbelievers did. He says, it is possible to bring us into the land
of rest and peace; and I believe it because He has said so, and because
He will do it if I trust Him. Your temper may be terrible; your pride may
have bound you a hundred times; your temptations may "compass you
about like bees," but there is victory for you if you will but trust the
promises of God.
Looking again at Peter. He had failed again and again, and went from bad
to worse until he came to denying Christ with oaths. But what a change
came over him! Just study the first epistle of Peter, and you will see that
the very life of Christ had entered into him. He shows the spirit of true
humility, so different from his former self-confidence; and glorying in God's
will instead of in his own. He had made a full surrender to Christ, and was
trusting entirely in Him. Come therefore to-day and say to God, "Thou
didst so change selfish, proud Peter, and Thou canst change me likewise."
Yes, God is able to bring you into Canaan, the land of rest. You know the
first half of the 8th of Romans. Have you noticed the expressions that are
to be found there--"The law of the spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made
me free from the law of sin and death". To walk after the spirit; To be
after the spirit; To be in the Spirit; To have the Spirit dwelling in us.
Through the Spirit to mortify the deeds of the body; To be led by the
Spirit; To be spiritually minded. These are all blessings which come when
we bind ourselves wholly to live in the Spirit. If we live after the Spirit we
have the very nature of the Spirit in us.
If we live in the Spirit, we shall be led by Him every day and every
moment. What if you were to open your heart to-day to be filled with the
Holy Spirit? Would He not be able to keep you every moment in the sweet
rest of God? and would not His mighty arm give you a complete victory
over sin and temptation of every kind, and make you able to live in
perpetual fellowship with the Father and with His Son, Jesus Christ? Most
certainly! This, then, is the second step; this is the blessed life God has
provided for us. First, God brought us out of Egypt; secondly, He brings us
into Canaan. Then comes--
Thirdly, the question,
HOW DOES GOD BRING US IN?
By leading us in a very definite act, viz., that of committing ourselves
wholly to Him;--entrusting ourselves to Him, that He may bring us into the
land of rest, and keep us in.
You remember that the Jordan at the time of harvest overflowed its banks.
The hundreds of thousands of Israel were on the side of the river from
Canaan. They were told that tomorrow, God would do wonderful things for
them. The trumpet would sound, and the priests would take up the ark--the symbol of God's presence--and pass over before the people. But there
lay the swollen river still. If there still unbelieving children among the the
people, they would say, "What fools, to attempt to cross now! This is not
the time to attempt fording the river, for it is now twenty feet deep." But
the believing people gathered together behind the priests with the ark.
They obeyed the command of Joshua to advance; but they knew not what
God was going to do? The priests walked right into the water, and the
hearts of some began to tremble. They would perhaps ask, "Where is the
rod of Moses?" But, as the priests walked straight on and stepped into the
water, the waters rose up on the upper side in to a high wall, and flowed
away on the other side, and a clear passage was made for the whole
camp. Now, it was God that did this for the people; and it was because
Joshua and the people believed and obeyed God. The same God will do it
to-day, if we believe and trust Him.
Am I addressing a soul who is saying:--I remember how God first brought
me out of the land of bondage. I was in complete darkness of soul and
was deeply troubled. I did not at first believe that God could take me out,
and that I could become a child of God. But, at last, God took me and
brought me to trust in Jesus, and He led me out safely." Friend, you have
the same God now who brought you out of bondage with a high hand; and
can lead you into the place of rest. Look to Him and say, "O God, make an
end of my wilderness life--my sinful and unbelieving life,--a life of grieving
Thee. Oh, bring me to-day into the land of victory and rest and blessing!"
Is this the prayer of your hearts, dear friends? Are you going to give up
yourselves to Him to do this for you? Can you trust Him that He is able
and willing to do it for you. He can take you through the swollen river this
very moment;--yes, this very moment.
And He can do more: After Israel had crossed the river, the Captain of the
Lord's host had to come and encourage Joshua, promising to take charge
of the army and remain with them. You need the power of God's Spirit to
enable you to overcome sin and temptation. You need to live in His
fellowship--in His unbroken fellowship, without which you cannot stand or
conquer. If you are to venture to-day, say by faith "My God, I know that
Jesus Christ is willing to be the Captain of my salvation, and to conquer
every enemy for me, He will keep me by faith and by His Holy Spirit; and
though it be dark to me, and as if the waters would pass over my soul,
and though my condition seem hopeless, I will walk forward, for God is
going to bring me in to-day, and I am going to follow Him. My God, I
follow Thee now into the promised land."
Perhaps some have already entered in, and the angels have seen them,
while they have been reading these solemn words. Is there anyone still
hesitating because the waters of Jordan look threatening and impassable?
Oh! come, beloved soul; come at once, and doubt not.
Taken from The Deeper Christian Life: An Aid to Its Attainment by Andrew Murray, Author of "THE
MASTER'S INDWELLING," "WITH CHRIST IN THE SCHOOL OF PRAYER," ETC., ETC. FLEMING H.
REVELL COMPANY (Chicago, Fleming H. Revell Company, 1895, this book is public domain).