ART THOU AMONGST THE CHILDREN WHOM GOD IS TEACHING?
“And all Thy children shall be taught of the LORD; and great shall be the peace of Thy children.” [Isaiah 54:13]
All the daylong with everything we do—we should be continually watching the Lord’s hand, and saying inwardly—Is this for my profit? Is this for my good? Am I learning real religion thereby? This minister, this work, this book, this person, this circumstance, this company, this occupation, this engagement, this path of living, this way of business—WHAT is it doing for my soul?
Is it doing me harm or good? Is it for my profit or for my injury? If it is for my profit—doing my soul good, melting my heart, softening my spirit, bringing Jesus near, separating me from the world, fostering a spirit of prayer in my bosom, making me to walk with the Lord in sweet and blessed communion with him—it is OF GOD.
Why? Because it is to profit!—it is doing my soul good, bringing life and feeling to my heart, communicating sweet and blessed impressions to my soul. I feel that it is doing my soul good; let me then avoid everything else, because I know it is not for my good, but my injury. This, then, is the way whereby we may, if we are honest to ourselves—weigh in the scales of the sanctuary, whether the teachings we have, or profess to have, are to profit.
If we are God’s children, all his teachings will be to our profit. He will teach us sometimes by PROVIDENCES—they shall be to our profit. He will teach us by AFFLICTIONS—they shall be to our profit. He will teach us by TRIALS—they shall be to our profit. He will teach us by TEMPTATION—it shall be to our profit. He will teach us by ENEMIES, who will show us our faults when friends would not—it shall be to our profit. He will teach us by MINISTERS—it shall be to our profit. He will teach us by BOOKS—he will teach us by HYMNS—he will teach us by the SCRIPTURE—teach us by His VARIOUS DEALINGS with us. If we are His children, all these will be to profit. By all these things we shall be instructed.
Now THIS is the grand difference between a child of God, and a child of the Wicked One. All that the child of God goes through is for his PROFIT, all that the child of Satan goes through is for his INJURY. Everything heaps blessings on the head of the one—and everything heaps curses on the head of the other. If he has sickness, it is a blessing to a child of God; if in poverty, it is a blessing to him; if he is persecuted, it is a blessing to him; if he is in temptation, it is a blessing to him. Whatever he passes through, however rough, however difficult, however painful, however opposed to flesh and blood, it is all made a blessing to him!
But, on the other hand, it is all made a curse to a child of the devil. Look at Saul, and look at David. Here was Saul—everything was made a curse to him—the very throne which he sat on, the crown which he wore on his head, the scepter which he carried in his hand—all made a curse to him, all plunging him deeper and deeper into perdition. And here is David—everything made a blessing to him. Not a single thing he passed through but is OVERRULED AND MADE A BLESSING TO HIS SOUL.
And so it is with the child of God—EVERYTHING is a blessing to him. It may not COME as a blessing, but it will END in one. All that God sends upon his children ends in their good. What a mercy, then, to have a hope that we are in the right way, that the Lord is teaching us to profit! I want you who desire to fear God, to weigh this matter well in your heart. Do not say, ‘I know this and that; I have made a consistent profession many years; I am sound on the point of election; I am a member of a gospel church; I hear this and that minister.’
But look at this—’WHAT HAS MY RELIGION DONE FOR ME? What has my profession wrought in my heart?’ Let me fix my eyes upon THIS ONE THING—let me draw my attention away from everything else, and fix my eyes as closely upon it as the clerk at the Bank fixes his eye upon the bank-note—What have I learned to profit?
Do I bear Scripture marks of being one of those whom God is teaching? If I do, then I am one of God’s children, for “all your children shall be taught of the Lord, and great shall be the peace of your children.” (Isa. 54:13.) But if we cannot find any of this profitable teaching, we must write upon all our profession, “Tekel— Thou art weighed in the balances, and art found wanting!” Daniel 5:27