Sanctify Jehovah of Hosts Himself, and let Him be your fear, and let Him be your dread.  (14)  And He shall be a sanctuary for you, but for a stone of stumbling, and for a rock of falling to both the houses of Israel, for a trap and for a snare to the people of Jerusalem.  (15)  And many among them shall stumble and fall and be broken, and be snared, and be taken.  (16)  Bind up the testimony; seal the Law among My disciples.  (17) And I will wait on Jehovah, who hides His face…” Is.8:13-17

We know the words God used towards the father of Faith to cheer Him up, words which might have been discouraging for some people for the lack of worldly assets in them: “After these things the Word came to Abram in a vision, saying, Fear not, Abram, I am your … exceeding great reward”, Gen 15:1.

Seldom do we find that the Lord alone is the simple reward for all our labour, how much less being a great and exceeding one! People easily go to work and put their hand to the plow never to look back if it has a promise or a simple hope upon a visible reward which is not the Lord Himself.

I live where people do anything do build a house, undergo any kind of sacrifice to achieve whatever they wish they could have. If these people hear a testimony of how God has managed to help, somehow, any of His own Children, they will greedily take hold of any plow themselves, doing it for themselves and not for the Lord at all. People, if it is for their sake, will be able to believe anything, undergo any kind of hardship and be sacrificed to the extend of not being able to enjoy the fruit of their labor later on during times of exhaustion. But allow their hearts to perceive and mark the Lord is the reward (and not a house, wife or children) and soon their strength and motivation will slack down and their work will start suffering prejudices because of that.

This whole world will perish. If it does not in our life time, at least the things you have been working so hard for, will either stay behind or will merely be outdated and past. It is so sad to see how hard people work towards something – as if going after the wind to catch it – and then, after so much having been done, such give in to death while darkness engulfs all such has done for good. And then his descendants breed the same aspiration on and on, little thinking what had happened to the living example of just how effort to save one’s life is useless and lacking on any genuine results and compensating rewards – ones which will stay, anyway.

Let’s look after this thing which happens to be a testimony bound up, something sealed for His disciples to perceive alone. You can let the Gospel either be turned into a motive of sanctification unto God alone, or a stumbling block and a snare to so many people, if it is so unto you. Choose between the curse and the blessing and “now if you will deal kindly and truthfully with my Master, tell me. And if not, tell me so that I may turn to the right hand or to the left”, Gen 24:49. You may not have the Lord as one who would be to us as a “broken reed, on which, if a man lean on it, it will go into his hand and pierce it”, Is.36:6.

God is able to grant riches and wisdom, in fact all things people so desire after. Yet, He will do so if any man will keep God as his only reward still, after such has received all. Rewards come and go, but the Lord will remain. “My reward is with Me”, said the Lord. It is awful to mark how people put their hand into that plow of salvation only to leave the plow in the field once a certain crop has yielded something which is not the Lord! Which do you rather take, the sea or the fish of the sea? If you are able to take the sea unto yourself and care after it, you may have both; but you may not aspire to have both by choosing to have its fish, for fish will not breed more fish outside the sea. I often tell people who fear to sin and so desire after holiness that they should not only strive to be holy, but rather to have the God of all holiness in and with them - whatever they are! His reward is with Him! Have Him then, for “in Christ are bound all mysteries", even practical ones. This is the thing which is to be bound among His disciples: “For to them God would make known what are the riches of the glory of this mystery among the nations, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory”, “so that your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God”, Col 1:27; 1Cor.2:5. But of Him you are in Christ Jesus, who of God is made to us wisdom and righteousness and sanctification and redemption; so that, according as it is written, "He who glories, let him glory in the Lord", 1Cor.1:30,31.

To have people follow the Lord at the promise of abundance and blessing is a sin beyond conception! It is a kind of “iniquity which shall be to you as a breach ready to fall, swelling out in a high wall, whose breaking comes suddenly, in an instant”! Is.30:13. It is so hard to choose because God has it all – if He hadn’t, we could easily choose Him for whatever He is and means unto us. If you were to marry a rich husband, a King, with all he has, how hard would it be unto you to have Him for what he is alone, without having to ponder over his possessions to have you take a decision for or even against that kind of marriage after all! And the Lord has it all and even more! Now, will you marry Him for what He is knowing that? Will you be able to? Why do you think did he ride an ass, a borrowed one, on the way to Jerusalem? Why do you think God stated about Abraham that “Shall I hide from Abraham the thing which I do, (18) And Abraham shall surely become a great and mighty nation, and all the persons of the earth shall be blessed in him?  (19)  For I know him, that he will command his sons and his house after him, and they shall keep the way of Jehovah, to do justice and judgment, that Jehovah may bring upon Abraham that which He has spoken of him”? Gen 18:17-19. Abraham hoped upon a son to inherit the land God had promised unto him; yet, it sacrificed that same son unto God! His children are now, so to speak, learning from his example and he is teaching his house after him, you and me, through his example.

Shall the Lord say once more “Who knows why I have come?” It is strange that after having died for mankind and humanity He should “call and no one answers, and no one is here”. “Is My hand shortened at all so that it cannot redeem? Or have I no power to deliver? Behold, at My rebuke I dry up the sea, I make the rivers a wilderness; their fish stink, because there is no water, and die for thirst”; but, “Who knows why I have come?” Is.50:2.

Let’s seek after the Lord while He may still be found – Him alone, even though His reward is with Him to stay forever. Till then, “I will wait on the Lord, who hides His face", even if His reward is visible and clear. Lord, let your reward not hide you from us, but rather that it be able to take and open the way to you instead. Amen.

Back to messages-index

José Mateus