Negativity can eventually blunt the weapon of positivity in the Christian’s spiritual arsenal. Even the negative prohibitions of the Law served a positive purpose: “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God” (Deut 6:5). The title of this series is to focus on the positive without discounting the existence of the negative. We need “negative instruction” but should never leave the saints with the taste of negativity. How much better to leave them with the upbeat of positivism! We are in full agreement with the Scriptures when we see the value of both. We can learn from Winston Churchill. When all seemed negative, he powerfully equipped the nation with positive speeches.
Let us commence with words that are like the continual dropping of rain on a tin roof: “We are in last days and things can only get worse”; “The Lord is coming and we’ll soon be gone, so just hang in there”; “Don’t expect much in these closing days; the day of big things is over.” And so we don’t get much! Sometimes we fall back on the slogan, “If the folks of the past knew how things are today, they would turn in their graves.” Remember, they had their problems and difficulties, yet they survived. Then here’s one that is a real hand-me-down: “The churches are in ruins, numbers are small, and nobody stands for the truth anymore apart from the twos and threes.” Their pet support portion is Revelation 3 and the Laodicean condition. Could we have it wrong, beloved? The Laodicean condition has been with local church testimony from the beginning. This nullifies excuses for the testimony in ruins. Let us be realistic! Admittedly these negative statements have grains of truth, but to dwell on this negativity will cause us to end up dry, dead, discouraged, disgruntled, and despairing. May the Lord preserve us from that hard, cold, fault-finding profile. While it is not all sunshine and roses, yet there are roses and there is sunshine! Some of the stalwarts in past history shone with the glory of Christ in dark days. Others said about the Christ-like Rutherford, “He always kept his face looking upward as if he already saw the King in His beauty.” His focus was on Christ until his heart was totally ravished with Him. Let us look at Biblical history and grasp the lesson that at the lowest ebb, we have the turn of the tide. Things are on a slide, no denial! Things have changed, no doubt! Morals have deteriorated, no question! But we do have many younger folks that have deep spiritual exercise for which we are thankful. May others catch their flame.
Israel was in Egypt when a new king, which knew not Joseph, arose to power. The balmy, bright, and blessed days of the Joseph era are past; the dark days have arrived that will finally reach the lowest ebb. Humanly speaking things look hopeless! Where is God in their affliction? Has He forgotten His promises to Abraham? Is He unaware of the rigorous labor under the ruthless and greedy Pharaoh, building his treasure cities? Ponder their complaints and desperation. Hear their cries. See their tears at the drowning of their male children. But watch with wonder the Divine movements from the eternal Throne as unknown, weak, insignificant human instruments bring about a mighty revival. What did God use? (1) Midwives that feared God, (2) a godly couple whose male child was under the decree of death, (3) a babe (what weakness!) fair to God, destined to be a mighty deliverer, and placed in a basket in the river of death, (4) that baby’s tears melted the heart of none less than the enemy Pharaoh’s daughter, (5) a girl, Miriam, who fetched Moses’ mother to nurse the child.
What instruction Moses received from his mother as to his culture, calling, and, finally, his choice! Moses, while learned in all the wisdom of Egypt, learned greater values from his mother’s training. He became fully aware that he belonged to that suffering people under Pharoah’s tyranny. Circumstances are but stepping-stones to advance God’s purposes. We marvel at the God Who, though behind the scenes, creates those scenes. All circumstances blend together in raising a Moses to produce days of blessing for the nation. What a day when the blood-sprinkled lintel and doorposts secured their deliverance from death and bondage! Led by Moses they marched out in ranks, a purchased, princely, priestly, and pilgrim people. They went forth in an orderly fashion, loaded with Egypt’s wealth. This payoff was payback of their back-pay. Finally we have the overthrow of Egypt’s might in the Red Sea – deliverance by blood and by power. What praises filled the air from over one million voices! The tide had turned at the lowest ebb! Sighs gave way to songs. Summing up the events provides a clear lesson. Weakness, adversity, suffering, and seeming hopelessness can all turn to Jehovah’s glory and our good. At the lowest ebb was the turn of the tide.
We admire this great man born in slavery, educated in a palace, taught a shepherd’s heart at Mt. Horeb. He delivered a nation from bondage, led them with extreme patience through the wilderness until at last he was buried on Mount Nebo by the word (mouth) of the Lord. His legacy was worshipers, workers, warriors, and witnesses to Jehovah’s Name. We need the reminder today that the heart of the king is in the hand of the Lord, as rivers of water He turns it whithersoever He will. In our day we can get so downcast with the political corruption, the social breakdown, the family heartbreaks, the overthrow of values, the fear, the falling away, and the smallness of the assembly. We fail to get our focus upon our God, the God of the living. Mothers need to relearn the lesson of the importance of instructing their children in spiritual values, raising them for God and eternity! This should be our spiritual agenda! God still lives, still acts on behalf of His people. The God of Moses still raises up men and women to bring in revival and blessing. May these positive lessons increase our faith and develop our minds to focus our attention on things above! At the lowest ebb, the tide can turn with rivers of blessing, with gushing streams, and with springs in the desert. He can still open the windows of heaven! Be positive!