The Lord's Leading
Last weekend in Vancouver, our brother read these verses in Judges, among others, in his address. I felt confirmed to speak of it as linking on with our brother's thought of the Lord's leading. In this chapter of Isaiah, it says, "So didst thou lead thy people, to make thyself a glorious name." It is the manner in which the Lord Jesus leads His people. The Lord may not lead in the way we would expect. The Lord Jesus' leading involved His going into death: going through the agony of Gethsemane, suffering on Calvary's cross, taking upon Himself the whole question of sin.
It involved His going through the Jordan. When the ark went through the Jordan, the waters of death were rolled back, speaking to us of the way the Lord led His people into the land of Canaan. So it says here, "who led them through the depths, like a horse in the wilderness, and they stumbled not." The leading of the Lord Jesus involves that we must go through death in our experience. "If ye have died with Christ", the scripture says.
So in Judges 3, the children of Israel were doing evil in the sight of Jehovah, and God delivered them into the hand of Chushan-rishathaim, king of Mesopotamia. It says "they served him eight years." But then they "cried to Jehovah; and Jehovah raised up a saviour ... ." Othniel here is a type of the Lord Jesus. "Jehovah raised up a saviour to the children of Israel, who saved them. And the Spirit of Jehovah was upon him." Think of how the Lord Jesus reads the scripture, "The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, to announce glad tidings to the poor." He stood up in the power of the Holy Spirit, the anointing, to preach glad tidings. So it says of Othniel, "the Spirit of Jehovah was upon him, and he judged Israel; and he went out to war." He overcomes this power which is holding the children of Israel in bondage; — "his hand prevailed against Chushan-rishathaim. And the land had rest forty years." The Lord desires to bring the saints into rest, into conditions of rest. How often it says, after conflict, in the book of Judges, "And the land had rest forty years." It says that in the days of Gideon too, after Midian was subdued.
Well, that is the objective of the Spirit of God. "As cattle go down into the valley, the Spirit of Jehovah gave them rest." But the depths come in first, and then the manner of going down into the valley. That's something for each one of us, beloved brethren. It would be characteristic of the Lord's people here: "As cattle go down into the valley, the Spirit of Jehovah gave them rest." These persons would not be making claims: "I am grown rich and have need of nothing"; they would be self-judged persons, who are moving together in the power of the Holy Spirit. "The Spirit of Jehovah gave them rest." How wonderful that is! What wonderful conditions, dear brethren! "How good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity", (Psalm 133:1). And I believe the Holy Spirit would desire that among the saints, would desire to bring in and to find these conditions amongst the people of God. "So didst thou lead thy people, to make thyself a glorious name." That's the name of the Lord Jesus! As these conditions obtain, the Lord Jesus will be glorified. His name will be glorified among the saints.
I believe these conditions of rest can be reached among the saints, but it involves exercise. We must go through this conflict in each of our souls — repentance and self judgment must come in to the exercise in view of rest among God's people. "As cattle go down into the valley." How sensitive that is! The cattle would not be agitated. I'm sure we have all seen a herd of cattle as they go down to feed. They go together, like persons in whom the Spirit of God is dwelling and having his way.
Well, beloved brethren, I just had these few simple thoughts. May the Lord bless them to us, and may we come through the exercises that are needed in view of conditions of rest being found among the Lord's people. "The land had rest forty years." What a blessed period that is in God's dealings with men! Forty years — that's a whole generation!
May the Lord bless the word. For his Name's sake.
S. E. Hesterman
The Lord's Leading