[We continue to ponder the ways God is for His people as portrayed in the book of Hosea.]
Secondly, to be shared with us. He says, ‘All that I have is thine.‘ He holds nothing back, reserves nothing from His dear children, and what we cannot receive now He is keeping for us. He gives us ‘hidden riches of secret places’ now, but by and by He will give us more, and the glorified intellect will be filled continually out of His treasures of wisdom and knowledge. But the sanctified intellect will be, must be, used for Him, and only for Him, now!
9. His Will ‘for you.’
Think first of the infinite might of that will; the first great law and the first great force of the universe, from which alone every other law and every other force has sprung, and to which all are subordinate. ‘He works all things after the counsel of His own will.‘ ‘He does according to His will in the army of heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth.‘ Then think of the infinite mysteries of that will. For ages and generations the hosts of heaven have wonderingly watched its vouchsafed unveilings and its sublime developments, and still they are waiting, watching, and wondering.
Creation and Providence are but the whisper of its power, but Redemption is its music, and praise is the echo which shall yet fill His temple. The whisper and the music, yes, and ‘the thunder of His power,’ are all ‘for you.‘ For what is ‘the good pleasure of His will’? (Eph. 1:5.) Oh, what a grand list of blessings purposed, provided, purchased, and possessed, all flowing to us out of it! And nothing but blessings, nothing but privileges, which we never should have imagined, and which, even when revealed, we are ‘slow of heart to believe;’ nothing but what should even now fill us ‘with joy unspeakable and full of glory!’
Think of this will as always and altogether on our side—always working for us, and in us, and with us, if we will only let it; think of it as always and only synonymous with infinitely wise and almighty love; think of it as undertaking all for us, from the great work of our eternal salvation down to the momentary details of guidance and supply, and do we not feel utter shame and self-abhorrence at ever having hesitated for an instant to give up our tiny, feeble, blind will, to be—not crushed, not even bent, but blent with His glorious and perfect Will?
10. His Heart ‘for you.’
‘Behold … He is mighty … in heart,’ said Job (Job 36:5, margin). And this mighty and tender heart is ‘for you!’ If He had only stretched forth His hand to save us from bare destruction, and said, ‘My hand for you!’ how could we have praised Him enough? But what shall we say of the unspeakably marvelous condescension which says, ‘You have ravished (margin, “taken away”) my heart, my sister, my spouse!‘ The very fountain of His divine life, and light, and love, the very centre of His being, is given to His beloved ones, who are not only ‘set as a seal upon His heart,‘ but taken into His heart, so that our life is hid there, and we dwell there in the very centre of all safety, and power, and love, and glory. What will be the revelation of ‘that day,’ when the Lord Jesus promises, ‘You shall know that I am in My Father, and you in Me’? For He implies that we do not yet know it, and that our present knowledge of this dwelling in Him is not knowledge at all compared with what He is going to show us about it.
Now shall we, can we, reserve any corner of our hearts from Him?
11. His Love ‘for you.’
Not a passive, possible love, but outflowing, yes, outpouring of the real, glowing, personal love of His mighty and tender heart. Love not as an attribute, a quality, a latent force, but an acting, moving, reaching, touching, and grasping power. Love, not a cold, beautiful, far-off star, but a sunshine that comes and enfolds us, making us warm and glad, and strong and bright and fruitful.
His love! What manner of love is it? What should be quoted to prove or describe it? First the whole Bible with its mysteries and marvels of redemption, then the whole book of Providence and the whole volume of creation. Then add to these the unknown records of eternity past and the unknown glories of eternity to come, and then let the immeasurable quotation be sung by ‘angels and archangels, and all the company of heaven,’ with all the harps of God, and still that love will be untold, still it will be ‘the love of Christ that passeth knowledge.’
But it is ‘for you!’
12. Himself ‘for you.’
‘Christ also has loved us, and given Himself for us.’ ‘The Son of God … loved me, and gave Himself for me.’ Yes, Himself! What is the Bride’s true and central treasure? What calls forth the deepest, brightest, sweetest thrill of love and praise? Not the Bridegroom’s priceless gifts, not the robe of His resplendent righteousness, not the dowry of unsearchable riches, not the magnificence of the palace home to which He is bringing her, not the glory which she shall share with Him, but Himself! Jesus Christ, ‘who His own self bare our sins in His own body on the tree;‘ ‘this same Jesus,’ ‘whom having not seen, you love;‘ the Son of God, and the Man of Sorrows; my Saviour, my Friend, my Master, my King, my Priest, my Lord and my God—He says, ‘I also for you!’ What an ‘I’! What power and sweetness we feel in it, so different from any human ‘I,’ for all His Godhead and all His manhood are concentrated in it, and all ‘for you!’
And not only ‘all,’ but ‘ever’ for you. His unchangeableness is the seal upon every attribute; He will be ‘this same Jesus’ for ever. How can mortal mind estimate this enormous promise? How can mortal heart conceive what is enfolded in these words, ‘I also for you’?
One glimpse of its fulness and glory, and we feel that henceforth it must be, shall be, and by His grace will be our true-hearted, whole-hearted cry—
Take myself, and I will be
Ever, ONLY, ALL for Thee!
Part 2 of 2
Havergal, Frances Ridley (1836-1879). From Kept for the Master’s Use, ch. 13: “Christ for Us.” www.ccel.org/ccel/havergal/keptuse.toc.html