Alone with God.

H. C. Anstey.

Christian Friend vol. 15, 1888, p. 160.

Anyone can see that from the moment sin came into the world God has sought a people who should be separate from this vast stream of evil which has rolled over the world like a flood. Separation from is taught first; it is the negative side. Then comes separation to; and this is the positive side. To be right with God, the first only, is not enough, although with us all it comes first to "cease to do evil." We then go on to what is positive, and "learn to do well." (Isaiah 50:16-17.)

"The people shall dwell alone, and shall not be reckoned among the nations." (Numbers 23:9.) Here we have the negative side of the truth of separation. They are not counted among the nations. The world goes on, and so mean are they in its eyes that it ignores their very existence. The Lord's people are people of no reputation - not worthy to be in any way considered. Apart from the rush of human strife, they dwell alone. Oh, to accept this as the Lord's word concerning His people! for it was the Lord who put this word into Balaam's mouth.

But further, Israel "shall dwell in safety alone." (Deut. 33:28.) The thought of God is still this same word for His people - "alone." Israel is only safe when he dwells "alone," as to all that surrounds him. He is safe then. No enemy can touch him then; and why - why is this? We must turn to another passage for the answer.

"Let them make Me a sanctuary; that I may dwell among them." (Ex. 25:8.) If they are contented to "dwell alone," and contented not to be "reckoned among the nations," God Himself will come and tabernacle among them. What a wonderful word that is, "Judah was His sanctuary!" (Psalm 114.) Here was a place where the Creator could find an asylum of rest, while the billows of sin rolled over all around. And this is the positive side of separation. His people must now be consistent with a fact that God is present with them. Everything must take its colouring from this fact. "The Lord is there." Then as to every enemy they are safe. Every enemy retreats. "The sea saw it, and fled." "Tremble, thou earth, at the presence of the Lord, at the presence of the God of Jacob."

No marriages were to be made with Moab; no intercourse or alliance of any kind with the people of the land. "The people shall dwell alone" (" in safety alone"), and God, "whose name is Jealous," will dwell among them. (Exodus 34:14.) They are alone with God.

Such is the truth, and may we accept it in all its naked simplicity. Nothing can be added to it, or God is not enough. For us it is still, "Where two or three are gathered together unto My name, there am I in the midst of them." (Matthew 18:20.) H. C. Anstey.

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The Church is the vessel to hold the glory of the Lamb.

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The believer is a vessel for the display of Christ in this world.