Streams in the Desert
"He knoweth the way that I take" (Job 23:10).
Believer! What a glorious assurance! This way of thine--this, it may be, a crooked, mysterious, tangled way--this way of trial and tears. "He knoweth it." The furnace seven times heated--He lighted it. There is an Almighty Guide knowing and directing our footsteps, whether it be to the bitter Marah pool, or to the joy and refreshment of Elim.
That way, dark to the Egyptians, has its pillar of cloud and fire for His own Israel. The furnace is hot; but not only can we trust the hand that kindles it, but we have the assurance that the fires are lighted not to consume, but to refine; and that when the refining process is completed (no sooner--no later) He brings His people forth as gold.
When they think Him least near, He is often nearest. "When my spirit was overwhelmed, then thou knewest my path."
Do we know of ONE brighter than the brightest radiance of the visible sun, visiting our chamber with the first waking beam of the morning; an eye of infinite tenderness and compassion following us throughout the day, knowing the way that we take?
The world, in its cold vocabulary in the hour of adversity, speaks of "Providence"--"the will of Providence"--"the strokes of Providence." PROVIDENCE! what is that?
Why dethrone a living, directing God from the sovereignty of His own earth? Why substitute an inanimate, death-like abstraction, in place of an acting, controlling, personal Jehovah?
How it would take the sting from many a goading trial, to see what Job saw (in his hour of aggravated woe, when every earthly hope lay prostrate at his feet)--no hand but the Divine. He saw that hand behind the gleaming swords of the Sabeans--he saw it behind the lightning flash--he saw it giving wings to the careening tempest--he saw it in the awful silence of his rifled home.
"The Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord!"
Thus seeing God in everything, his faith reached its climax when this once powerful prince of the desert, seated on his bed of ashes, could say, "Though he slay me, yet will I trust him." --Macduff
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