This people claim, however, that the Lord is thinking upon them. They have good cause for such a claim, and they plead the promise. They believe the Bible – from the first word in Genesis to the last word in Revelation – to be the Word of God, inspired by the Holy Spirit. It is to them the word of life and thus a precious word to their souls. Their poverty sends them to this Word, and often, when their eye rests upon a portion of it, they see that part of the Word in a new light, because the Holy Spirit is opening it up to them.
This people have been made tender. When were they made tender? It was when their conscience was first purged and after they came to know that Christ is exalted a Prince and a Saviour to give repentance and remission of sins to them. They have tasted not only of legal repentance but of the grace of repentance and faith, and they obtained remission of sin. Although Satan and the carnal mind and unbelief may cast up to them that this is all deception, these people cannot give over. However low they come, they have a living desire. Satan cannot imitate that desire. He can imitate every other grace but it is beyond him to imitate this one. This people walk in God’s ways, as it says in Psalm 119: “Such in His ways do walk, and they do no iniquity”. Now, says Satan to them, you believe the Bible, and this particular part of it. What can you make of that? You are always doing iniquity. What is to become of you? No wonder they are poor and needy!
The Lord Himself answers for them that He, the Lord Jesus Christ, has been made of God unto them not only justification but also sanctifying righteousness, and because of that the Father sees no iniquity in His Jacob nor perverseness in His Israel. They themselves have to confess that in all things they sin and come short of His glory. Still they hold on to this: “Yet the Lord thinketh upon me”. Their prayer is: “Make no tarrying”. They long to see Him, they long to behold this glorious One. They had a glimpse of Him as a suffering Saviour who is now alive. “I am He that . . . was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore . . . and have the keys of hell and of death”. He shuts and no man opens, and opens and no man shuts.
This people have to see to their walk, for this is very important. “Such in His ways do walk, and they do no iniquity.” They are in Christ; they have Him as their sanctifying righteousness and He is making them holy. The Holy Spirit is working in them through the truth, but they are afraid they will grieve the Holy Spirit and they know that if they grieve Him they will get nothing. They are upheld by His intercession. Their walking is not of themselves, for they know it is not of man that walketh to direct his steps. Psalm 143 is most precious to them. They have the new heart, yet they often feel the hard and stony heart within and who are they going to tell? Who is going to deliver them? Who but Christ? The Holy Spirit is dwelling within them, but they themselves say that they do not look like people in whom the Holy Spirit is dwelling. How can He be dwelling in such creatures? But He does dwell in them because of the love of the Triune God.
This people are exercised in regard to these things and they will be saying that their exercises are not like the exercises of the Lord’s people. They can see the Lord’s people growing in grace but they see themselves going backward, for they feel poor and needy. But it is for such the Lord has made provision: “Of Thine own goodness for the poor, O God, Thou didst prepare”. He did not spare His only begotten Son but delivered Him up for them all, and how shall He not then freely give them all things? You have much in the seventeenth chapter of John, where you have these words of the God-Man: “Thou hast . . . loved them as Thou hast loved Me”. If they could only cast themselves anew upon Christ and anew be sprinkled with His blood, they believe that all would be well; and so it would be.
1. These are notes of what Mr Beaton said at a Question Meeting at Gairloch in 1968. The verse given out was Psalm 40:17: “But I am poor and needy; yet the Lord thinketh upon me: Thou art my help and my deliverer; make no tarrying, O my God”. Mr Beaton was for many years an elder in Inverness.