¶ There was a time in my forty years of walking with the Lord when I truly thought my sin had taken me down a road so far away from the Lord that there was no way I could get back to where I belonged. It was a dark, deep, lonely, and hopeless place I found myself in and it was all my doing. Because of it, I was full of deep anguish, perplexed, despondent, and remorseful with guilt, and no one on earth knew about it but me. I was truly going thru a Dark Night of My Soul which lasted for a couple of years.
¶ I had seen enuff pompous preachers, hirelings that whiffed of the wolf, medicine-show apostles, false prophets with all the pomp and confidence of Grammy award-winning movie stars, fleecers of the flock, along with unrepentant womanizers, prancing peacocks, gluttonous heavyweights, outright liars, and spruced-up cutie-pies still on the teat, standing in the pulpit to last me an eternity. I saw JESUS nowhere! Did I fall to my knees and cry out to the Lord? No! I stepped back out onto that Broad Highway and took to drinking whiskey and playing the old haunts with some of the older, more-honest-than-hireling-heatherns I once ran with back in the old days to recapture some of the immense success I had enjoyed way back there in my younger days. After nearly two years or so of wearing thin, I heard the Lord speak to me as if someone was right there in the room with me. He said, “Son, pack it up and go home.” “These boys ain’t your brothers. “He called me “son”! I broke and I wept. I immediately packed it up and headed for home.
¶ Did He rake me over the coals and cast me from His Presence to be brought under the sharp ridicule of preening preachers and hyper-religious tyrants? No! He blessed me with an overabundance of His Presence. He restored me and called me, son! He did, however, without the mincing of one word, let me know I had been treading on very thin ice but that my honesty before Him was certainly a step in the right direction, up onto solid ground. Holy Ground! Had I not been obedient to His command, “Son, pack it up and go home!” I don’t know where I’d be today.
¶ David was honest before the Lord. You say well, he did this and he did that. What about Bathsheba? What about Uriah? What about this and what about that? How many pompous preachers, how many self-promoting apostles and prancing peacocks not to mention all the yahoos we have today running around tagging themselves as prophets, how many, when caught in lies, false prophecy, adultery, or any other shadiness, would pen a Psalm of Repentance begging forgiveness, hand it to the praise and worship leader as an honest offering to the Lord and say, “perform this before the congregation in the solemn assembly? Reprove me, Lord! Correct me…create in me a clean heart. Renew in me a steadfast and willing Spirit…but please do not cast me from Your Presence in Your hot displeasure! Restore me, Lord!” (Psalm 6:1, 28:1, 51:10) King David did not justify himself with smooth words before the congregation. Though he was their King, he was also their “shepherd”. And because he was a shepherd’s Shepherd he did not condescend to them as though he lived in the clouds above. He was one of them. David smelled like sheep because he was one. David’s life was an “Open Book”, ALL of it! David the Psalmist went thru many a Dark Night of His Soul because of sin, yet he could not bear the slightest separation from the Lord whom he loved and feared with all of his heart which always brought him to quick repentance. David’s honesty, quick repentance, FAITH, longing for true restoration, and his true love for the Lord are a few of the foundational attributes he possessed that prompted the Lord to recognize him as “A Man After God’s Own Heart“. David was HONEST! Sin will forever have its consequences but Honesty will forever be the first step in the right direction away from it.
¶ All of us who are Born Again of the Spirit, if we are truly walking with the Lord, are deemed by the Father as righteous because the Father sees the Righteousness of His Son dwelling in us; that, my friend, is the wonderful Grace of God that is sufficient. Still, throughout our entire lives, we are continually being restored thru testings, trials, and tribulations into the fullness of the Image and Likeness in which we were originally created. David himself said in Psalm 39:19 “Many are the afflictions of the righteous but the Lord delivers us out of them ALL. If it’s any consolation to any of you, we are ALL a work-in-progress that does, in time, take root, flourish, and mature. However, there is not a Christian on earth that is not flawed to some degree or another. Beware of those who think they’re not! At the same time, never, never, never think, in any way, shape, or form, that God’s great mercy and Grace is a License to keep one foot in the world; a License to Sin. If that’s the case, my friend, you will one day look down and find both of your feet treading on very Thin Ice. That “mindset” is, indeed, a slippery slope.
¶ And so, with honesty, let us see how much “deep” might be fetched out of David’s six short verses of Psalm XIII, which reads,
1 <<To the Chief Musician, A Psalm of David>>
How long will You forget me, O LORD? Forever? How long will You hide Your Face from me?
2 How long shall I take counsel in my soul, bearing this sorrow in my heart daily? Just how long are You going to let my enemy ride roughshod over me?
3 Consider me and hear me, O LORD my God: Put Your Light back into my eyes, lest I sleep the sleep of death;
4 Lest my enemy say, I have prevailed against him and those that trouble me rejoice when I slip.
¶ Not in great confidence but in a most forlorn manner this great warrior, mystic poet, major prophet, this king named David is crying out to the only One Who can deliver him out of a most perplexing dark and troubled place; out of troubles that certainly seem to be of his own doing. He has obviously been downtrodden for some time now. He has found himself brought to a place where he must, with all honesty, look deep within himself, and so, taking a deep fetch into his own makings he comes up with absolutely no consolation, no solution, no help, and no relief which is something we all do before finally turning to the Lord for forgiveness and Divine Wisdom. It is as if David is saying in great desperation “Lord, do something here! Is not my enemy Your enemy? How long are You gonna let those who love wickedness laugh, mock, and ride roughshod over me when I slip? Am I about to buy the farm? O Lord, though I am guilty, this doesn’t exactly line up with what was spoken over me by Samuel, the prophet. I certainly don’t feel like a ‘Man After God’s Own Heart’.”
¶ At this point I must say, Like David, lest we live by FAITH and FAITH alone we will not see God’s Divine Providence come to pass in our lives, for there are times we certainly do see but through a veil darkly. As a matter of fact, there are times when we can’t see through that veil at all. This is what we call, Going Thru the Dark Night of the Soul. The Dark Night of the Soul is the very place in which the Lord shows us what we are truly made of. If we think our inner makings are of such sufficient righteousness as to be found pure in the Eyes of the Lord without going thru the Refining Fire of the Lord after being Born Again of the Spirit then we have never been thru the sanctifying Dark Night of the Soul. The Dark Night of the Soul is the very place where the Lord shows us exactly what we are without Him. It is in the Deepest Fetch of the Darkest Night that the Lord destroys the makings that our flesh does so dearly cherish. However, He will never forsake us nor leave us there. (Deuteronomy 31:6,8, Hebrews 13:5) Beneath the surface of our finite understanding the Lord is always moving on our behalf. Not unlike the powerful current of a massive river in the middle of summer; calm, smooth, and reflective on the surface, yet just beneath its surface moves an unrelenting power of such volume and strength that it is entirely beyond our comprehension, which, also unbeknownst to us, is continually reshaping us into His Image and His Likeness. If we are truly the Lord’s, He is forever bringing us into, thru, and out of Dark Nights that never fail to break like the dawning Light of a new Spring Day upon that breathtaking, Lovely Land of the Deep Fetch thru which runs His River of Delights, out of which we may freely drink. It is down by that very River of Delights that we are forever taking our harps down out of that weeping willow tree, tuning ’em up and singing,
5 Oh, I have (by Faith) trusted in Your mercy; my heart is overwhelmed by Your deliverance and salvation
6 I will sing unto You, O LORD, a new song, for You have dealt bountifully with me.
¶ Sometimes our “Daily Bread” is the “Bread of Sorrows”. I must admit, there is nothing more killing to the soul than the absence of God’s Grace (His favor) in our lives, especially if it seems to last for several long seasons. The man who, by Faith endures these long seasons is truly “A Man After God’s Own Heart” for he knows, by Faith, that even though God’s favor seems to have been withdrawn for a season or two, His mercy truly does endure forever.
¶On the other hand, if we use Scripture as a “Catchphrase” (Oh, God’s Grace is sufficient) to justify sin we will find ourselves caught by our very own “catching”.
¶A few seasons of the, seemingly, absence of God’s grace is far from the “Catch 22” it seems to be when our Daily Bread is, by the Hand of God, the Bread of Sorrows for several long seasons, and perhaps, for many good reasons.
¶The moral to the story is this: if you keep sweeping all that dirt up under the rug while at the same time proclaiming, “God’s grace is sufficient” …I promise you, the Day He comes to clean house you won’t find His Grace sufficient.
“….for everything done in the darkness will be brought into the Light and what is done in secret will be shouted from the housetops.” (Luke 12:3, Isaiah 29:15)
ROOT OF JESSE by Will Callery©William & Cynthia Pub. Co.©2008 BMI
God bless us, each and every single one with the Honesty, Humility, and Wisdom that comes from above, that we indeed might be wise as serpents, yet harmless as the dove!
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Letters From Over Yonder & The Deep Fetch are published by ©William & Cynthia Pub. Co. (All Rights Reserved)