THE DAY OF HIS SYMPATHY……C.H. Mackintosh

“The three Nazarites, Shadrach, Mechach, and Abednego, walked with God
in the king’s palace; and God walked with them in the king’s furnace.
And is it not worth passing through a fiery furnace to enjoy a little more of the presence
of the Lord Jesus, and the sympathy of His loving heart? Is not a furnace where He is
better than a palace where He is not? Nature says, “No!” Faith says, “Yes!”

It is well to bear in mind that this is not the day of the Lord Jesus’ power; but it is
the day of His sympathy . When passing through the deep waters of affliction, the
heart may, at times, feel disposed to ask, “Why does not the Lord display His power,
and deliver me?” The answer is, This is not the day of His power. He could avert
that illness–He could remove that difficulty–He could prevent that catastrophe–
He could preserve that beloved and fondly cherished object from the cold grasp
of death.

But, instead of putting forth His power to deliver, He more often allows things to run
their course, and pours His own sympathy into the oppressed and riven heart, in
such a way as to elicit the acknowledgement that we would not, for worlds, have
missed the trial, because of the abundance of the consolation (2Cor.1:4-6).
Such is the manner of the Lord Jesus just now. By and by He will display His
mighty power; He will come forth as the Rider on the white horse; He will unsheath
His sword; He will make bare His all-powerful arm; He will avenge His people ( Israel )
and right their wrongs forever.

But now His sword is sheathed, His arm covered. This is the time for making
known the deep love of His heart, not the power of His arm, nor the sharpness
of His sword. Are you satisfied to have it so? Is the Lord Jesus’ sympathy enough
for your heart, even amid the keenest sorrow and the most intense affliction?

The restless heart, the impatient spirit, the unsubdued will, would lead one to long
for escape from the trial, the difficulty, or the pressure; but this would never do. It
would involve incalculable loss. We must pass from form to form in the school;
but the Master accompanies us, and the light of His countenance, and the tender
sympathy of His heart, sustain us under the most severe exercises.

What remains? Just this: live unto the Lord Jesus Christ! Seek to be faithful
to the One who is your very Christian life. Be not discouraged by the fragmentary
state of everything around you. Let the example of Daniel and his honored companions
encourage your heart to seek after an elevated course here below. It is your
privilege to enjoy as much if not more, of companionship with the Lord Jesus, as
if you were cast amid the best days of apostolic testimony.”

HAVE I NOT COMMANDED THEE?……C.H. Mackintosh

“Have not I commanded thee?  Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid,
neither be thou dismayed; for the Lord thy God is with thee wither-so-ever thou goest.”
Joshua 1:9

“Here lies the true secret of stability and peace, at all times, and under all
circumstances.  The authority of God for the ground we occupy, and His presence
with us thereon—the word of the Lord, as the warrant for what we are doing, and
the light of His countenance in the doing of it.  Joshua could never have faced
the difficulties of his day, without these two things; and, although we may not have to
meet the same things that lay in his path, yet, we may rest assured of this,
we shall never get on, in this our day, without the
word of God as our authority,
and His presence as our strength.  No doubt, those who are enabled to go
through the sifting and testing, with God, will reap a rich harvest of blessing;
but we must go through it.  It is being made manifest, just now, in a very special
way, whose faith is standing merely in the wisdom of men, and whose in the
power of God.  All that is hollow is being exposed, and will be so more and more;
but God will keep those whose hearts are true to the
name of Jesus.  “Thou wilt
keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on thee, because he trusteth in thee.”

This is the soul’s unfailing refuge, at all times.  “and now, brethren, I commend you
to GOD, and to the WORD of his grace.”  Nothing but God Himself and the word of His
grace could stand, in an evil day, or enable a soul to stand.

There is something perfectly beautiful in the jealous care of the apostle Paul lest any
should lean upon him, or upon anything save the living God Himself….”For this cause
also thank we God without ceasing, because, when ye received the word of God
which ye heard of us, ye received it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth,
the word of God, which effectually worketh also in you that believe.” (1Thess.2:13).

Be able, in the calm dignity of a faith that rests only in the power and on the authority
of God, to give a reason for the path that you tread, the work you do, the niche you
fill.  This is not highmindedness or haughtiness, dogmatism or pride, self-confidence
or vainglory.  It is the very reverse.  it is self-abnegation and confidence in God.
“With the lowly is wisdom” (Prov. 11:2).  Precious truth!  May we all remember it!
It is the lowly mind that really possesses heavenly wisdom.  It is not the learned,
the astute, the long-headed, or clear-headed among men that can thread their way
through the labyrinths of the present moment; no, it is the lowly, the simple, the
self-distrusting, the childlike, the unpretending.  These are they who will have
wisdom to guide them, in the darkest times–these are they who will possess peace
in their souls and stability in their ways.  May God’s Spirit lead us into these things!”
(from Short Papers on Scripture Subjects, Vol.1, C.H. Mackintosh).