Saul's Challenge.

H. C. Anstey.

Christian Friend vol. 18, 1891, p. 124.

"Whose son art thou, thou young man?" - 1 Samuel 17:58.

What family a man derives from shows his present interests and his future prospects.

1. I find myself within a vast circle, a system built up under Satan, its accepted prince and ruler. I am surrounded by men and women, called by the Spirit of God in His word, "the children of this world." Faith in Christ says, "You do not belong to them."

2. Do I dare to take a step in opposition to this immense vortex which is surging all around me? It must be in open opposition then to him who energises and moves it all. Can I, dare I, expose myself to his wrath? Faith in me says, "I can, I will leave this place."

3. Dare I to take a yet further step, and openly to ally myself with those who say they have no interests here, but have died, and who thus proclaim every link snapped, and that they live in and for another? Faith in me says I can say this, "I am crucified with Christ, yet I live." "The world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world," and I am in Christ.

There are those three steps in the pathway of faith, and they may be easily discerned in the lives of those whom the Lord is leading on today, as they could in past ages, I think, always be discerned. It may be helpful to ask ourselves if we have taken all those. They are illustrated for us in the three actions of Moses. (These are found in Hebrews 11:24, 27, 28.)

First Moses says, "I did not derive from this family. My origin is not from it. I find myself, it is true, in Pharaoh's house. I refuse to own that I am of this family." The child is beginning to walk alone. The soul is waking up to its privileges and its responsibilities. This is of immense and precious moment in its history. I see that I am born of God. (Compare. John 1:12 with 1 John 3:1-2.) And when the soul has reached this point, we have the act of faith. "By faith Moses, when he was come to years, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh's daughter."

The second step is, "By faith he forsook Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king." I give up the whole place, and because I enjoy another, I turn my back on it all. This is the next act of faith. In the midst of the world ruled by Satan I proclaim that I have done with it. "Then you will have to meet the wrath of the king." Be it so. I see a greater than he, a greater than Pharaoh. He "endured," as seeing "Him who is invisible" to mortal eye.

The third step is, I am linked with Christ on the ground of His death. In the midst of a hostile territory, swayed by an adverse power, I rest in peace. They fed on the slain lamb. "By faith he kept the passover, and the sprinkling of blood, lest He that destroyed the firstborn should touch them." I am sheltered by the blood, I am feeding on the Lamb, and the Lord in unsparing judgment is going forth upon all outside.

There is order in all this. 1st. I see my origin - "born of God." 2nd. I see that I have done with this place. 3rd. I see that I am under God's shelter, and given His food - His Lamb, with the "unleavened bread of sincerity and truth." "Egypt's food no more to eat." I am in the Lord's company. Mine is a wondrous deliverance. Salvation is of the Lord, and I am gone in the death of another, even Christ.

One word more. There is a "for" connected with these three steps of faith. As to the first, it might have been thought a great honour that Providence had placed him in the house of Pharaoh. The soul looked higher than this, high as it was. "FOR he had respect unto the recompence of the reward." Faith looks forward. As to the second step, he might have connected himself with God's people and stayed in Egypt. He did not, he forsook the land, it had no attraction for him. He did not look at the wrath of the king, he looked higher than that; "FOR he endured as seeing Him who is invisible." And as to the third step, the enemy is only powerless when he has to do with a dead man. "Through faith he kept the passover, and the sprinkling of blood, LEST [for fear that] he that destroyed the firstborn should touch them." This closes Moses' acts of faith, as given to us here. I am only safe from the enemy while on the ground of life by the death of Christ, in which I met my end in judgment. He cannot touch me. "He that is begotten of God keepeth himself, and that wicked one toucheth him not." Here is our end, our origin, and also our protection, but I think only here.

Saul's challenge we shall all assuredly hear. I hear it all around me. It is the voice of the man who is here - the natural man - challenging the spiritual man. In Christ we have triumphed over all the power of the enemy. "I will sing unto the Lord, for He hath triumphed gloriously." The enemy is overthrown. I see David with the head of Goliath in his hand. It is all done; but remember you will have to be challenged, nay, you are continually challenged, and it is good for you to challenge yourself as to what family you belong to. May the reader be enabled by grace daily to give the reply that Moses gave - he "kept the passover " this one reply - and the Holy Ghost gives us these his three actions, all based upon a living faith in the living God.

H. C. A.