By Zhao Wei
There is a story: The State of Chu wanted to attack the State of Song, which was on the other side of a river. And they sent people to measure the depth of the river and place some markers in it in advance. Later, the river suddenly rose. But the Chu army didn’t know this, and they still tried to wade across the river following the markers at night. As a result, more than a thousand of their people were drowned. This sent a panic through the Chu army and they were utterly routed before the war.
The State of Chu could have crossed the river when they finished putting markers in the river. But later the river rose, and the situation had already changed, while the Chu army still waded across the river following the markers that had been set, so they failed. This story tells us: No matter what things or what new problems we encounter, we should act according to circumstances, not forgetting to change our strategy with the development of things and the situation. Otherwise, we’ll fail. The Chu army thought that they had set the markers, and that as long as they waded across the river following them, they would win the field. They didn’t think that as time went on, things were constantly changing. So when they still clung to the old regulations following the prescribed order, they were defeated.
This story touched me and made me think of the days when thecame to work. At that time, the Jews denied God’s new work because of holding on to their notions. Think back to the Age of Law. God issued laws and commandments through Moses. At that point, if people could obey the commandments and ordinances issued by Jehovah God, they were practicing God’s words, and they could be approved by God. For example, Jehovah required man to keep the Passover. Through their celebration of the Passover, God wanted the Israelites to commemorate His salvation to them, to remember that Jehovah passed over the homes of Israel when killing the eldest sons of Egypt. In this way, the Israelites not only know God’s majestic and wrathful disposition that doesn’t tolerate man’s offense, but also experience God’s care and protection for them, so that they will have real reverence, adoration, and worship for God in the depths of their hearts.
As God’s work moves forward, the age changes. When the Lord Jesus did the work of the Age of Grace, He ended the work of the Old Testament Age of Law. In new age, God has new demands for man. So, the former practices become old rituals and rules. If we still cling to the ways of the past, we will interrupt God’s work. If we cannot put aside our notions and imaginations, we will condemn and resist God, and finally be detested and eliminated by God because of offending His disposition. It is recorded in the, “And Levi made him a great feast in his own house: and there was a great company of publicans and of others that sat down with them. But their scribes and Pharisees murmured against his disciples, saying, Why do you eat and drink with publicans and sinners? And Jesus answering said to them, They that are whole need not a physician; but they that are sick. I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance” (Luke 5:29–32). And Luke 5:33–34 record, “And they said to him, Why do the disciples of John fast often, and make prayers, and likewise the disciples of the Pharisees; but your eat and drink? And he said to them, Can you make the children of the bridal chamber fast, while the bridegroom is with them?” From these verses, we can see: When God had done a new work, the Pharisees and the Scribes still abode by outdated practices and clung to old conceptions. They used God’s previous work and demands for man to make up rules, thinking that the Lord Jesus wasn’t God and the work He did was not God’s work because He had dinner with the publicans and sinners, and His disciples didn’t fast but ate and drank on the Sabbath day. However, the words of the Lord Jesus sent them a message: Your long-awaited Messiah has returned and He is doing a new stage of work. You should put aside your old thoughts; you should follow God’s new work, and listen to the Lord’s teaching face to face. If you still hold fast to the old sayings, you’ll hinder God’s work. The of Matthew also records, “At that time Jesus went on the sabbath day through the corn; and his disciples were an hungered, and began to pluck the ears of corn and to eat. But when the Pharisees saw it, they said to him, Behold, your disciples do that which is not lawful to do on the sabbath day. But he said to them, … For is Lord even of the sabbath day” (Matthew 12:1–2, 8). At that time, the Pharisees maintained that nothing could be done on the Sabbath, so they condemned the Lord Jesus for His not keeping the Sabbath, stubbornly holding on to their notions and not seeking the truth. They denied the Lord Jesus was the coming Messiah, tried their utmost to resist and condemn the Lord Jesus, and finally, they were subjected to perdition and destruction. By contrast, the Lord Jesus’ disciples, such as, Peter, Andrew, Jacob, John, and so on, when they faced God’s new work, they didn’t hold onto their old knowledge and old things but put aside their old notions to seek the truth. Thus, they recognized God’s voice from the Lord Jesus’ word and saw that the Lord Jesus’ work was done by God, because they knew no one but God could do the work. Thus, they made sure that the Lord Jesus is the wellspring of living water, and followed God without hesitation, thereby getting God’s salvation.
From these records, we can see: We, believers in God, should understand God’s current will to put aside our old thoughts and notions, and we should follow God whatever work God does. Only by believing in this way can we get God’s salvation and can we not fail in our belief of God because of holding on to the old notions. In the last days, disasters are occurring frequently. All manner of signs show that the Lord Jesus is coming. Then, can we learn lessons from the failures of people of the past, and become the wise virgins who can recognize the Lord’s voice, and follow God’s footsteps? The Bible says, “These are they which follow the Lamb wherever he goes” (Revelation 14:4). “Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 5:3).
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