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Proverbs 1:24-33. Because I have called, and ye refused; I have stretched out my hand, and no man regarded; 25But ye have set at nought all my counsel, and would none of my reproof: 26I also will laugh at your calamity; I will mock when your fear cometh; 27When your fear cometh as desolation, and your destruction cometh as a whirlwind; when distress and anguish cometh upon you. 28Then shall they call upon me, but I will not answer; they shall seek me early, but they shall not find me: 29For that they hated knowledge, and did not choose the fear of the Lord: 30They would none of my counsel: they despised all my reproof. 31Therefore shall they eat of the fruit of their own way, and be filled with their own devices. 32For the turning away of the simple shall slay them, and the prosperity of fools shall destroy them. 33But whoso hearkeneth unto me shall dwell safely, and shall be quiet from fear of evil.
Hebrews 3:19. So we see that they could not enter in because of unbelief.
Hebrews 13:21. [Now the God of peace] make you perfect in every good work to do his will, working in you that which is wellpleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ; to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.
And He says, “Wisdom crieth without; she uttereth her voice in the streets: She crieth in the chief places of concourse, in the openings of the gates: in the city she uttereth her words, saying, How long, ye simple ones, will ye love simplicity? and the scorners delight in their scorning, and fools hate knowledge? Turn you at my reproof.” Oh God, that makes me think how we need reproof and how we hate it—how we don’t like reproof, and yet we need it.
God gives a great and wonderful promise to those who turn at His reproof. It’s quite an art. You’ve got to learn to turn at the reproof of Jehovah. You’ll find out that all of us by nature shrink from it. We shrink. Let someone correct me, or instruct me, or teach me, or criticize me, and immediately there’s an inward shrinking away from it. Sort of an excuse comes right out. How many times you find that you mention some fault that a person has, and they immediately excuse themselves.
We want to appear good, we don’t want to be good. We don’t care about being good. God cares about our being good, our being perfect. God comes to make us “perfect in every good work to do His will.”
We could ask ourselves this morning, have we come to Jesus and bought from Him “gold tried in the fire that we might be rich”? And He says, “You didn’t. You heard Me talk. You understood My way to some extent and you’re satisfied with it. You say you’re ‘rich and increased with goods and have need of nothing.’”
Now looking back over these fifty years, I see the way strewn with carcasses of men and women that knew God’s will and didn’t do it—good people. How many times have I stood at the bedside of the dying, and we called together unto the Lord, and He wouldn’t hear. He didn’t regard. Well, one time He called them and they wouldn’t regard. Beloved, it means something to regard, and to hear the voice of God, and to “hearken diligently,” and to desire His counsel.
He talks about the word of God that is “a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.” It’s “sharper than a two-edged sword.” And have you noticed the connection in which that word is being used? He talks about the great counsel of God: the rest that He has provided for His people—that wonderful union of our souls with God, where we obtain the inheritance “prepared for us before the foundation of the world,” where Jesus Christ has become our “All and in all…”
And now [the Israelites] didn’t consider that God promised to take them in. They were tested, and they failed. The Bible says, “They entered not in because of unbelief.” God had worked in them to will—made their mouths to water—but they wouldn’t let God work in them to do. They were not willing to believe that God was “able to perform what he had promised.”
“He that hath begun a good work in you…” How did He begin? Why, by coming into my heart, by taking the throne of my heart, by taking possession of me, by making my body His temple. He purchased me with a great price, and I don’t belong to myself anymore. Oh, thank God, in every word, in every thought, in every feeling, in every act, to do His will!
“They entered not in because of unbelief.” They defied God. They said, “We can’t go in. We’re going to be defeated by the enemies.” And that’s what we say when we say, “Well, it can’t be done: to live a life of overcoming, a life of perfection in God, to have a perfect tongue, perfect love, perfect peace ‘that passeth all understanding,’ that reigns within me.” Beloved, that’s God’s counsel. Isn’t it wonderful? It isn’t my counsel. I’d never make it. I’m satisfied with less than that.
Most people are perfectly satisfied to appear nice on the outside. And oh, how we labor to make people think that we’re more spiritual than we really are—as long as they don’t find out how we really are in our hearts. But God’s word is a “discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.” And if I want to be perfect in His sight, I’m not going to be satisfied with knowing about it, but I’m going to work with “fear and trembling.”
God won’t bother you anymore. He says, “I’ve given them up to their own counsel. Alright, have your own way!” But, oh, how dangerous it is when God lets me run in my own way. But He has to do that. I was dealing with a minister… and he got so angry at me… I wanted to help him. He didn’t want correction. The Lord said to me, “Try to make him feel good. Honor him.” God has to honor us, or He won’t have us at all. He’s got to tickle us under our second and third chin or we won’t even come to meeting.
We ought to be thankful for conviction if God really has found an entrance into the depths of our souls, and He is able to say, “Thou art the man.”