This meditation is taken from “The Hyssop that Springeth Out of the Wall” by George H Warnock
We can understand how a man gifted with wisdom would write about great and lofty things; but God would show us that men of wisdom are concerned also about little things. It reminds us of Paul’s admonition: “Mind not high things, but condescend to men of low estate,” (Romans 12:16).
Much reference is made in Scripture to both the Cedar and the Hyssop; but whereas the Cedar speaks of stature and honour and glory, the Hyssop always relates to sacrifice… and therefore to humility, weakness and contrition of heart. Other than this I knew nothing about the plant itself. But after having been impressed to minister on the “hyssop” relative to its weakness and sacrificial character, I felt to put it in writing; and I have since looked up a number of reference books concerning it.
I found it grows in dry places, out in the full sun. It is particularly suited to a rockery, and this may be inferred in the statement that it “springeth out of the wall”–perhaps a terraced rock wall. It is low-growing, up to about 2 feet. It is native to Egypt. It has strong wiry stems, with bunches of flowers and leaves. Produces small bluish-purple flowers, and has a sweet fragrance. It is a bitter herb, belonging to the mint family, and was once used for medicinal purposes. It seemed to grow plentifully in Egypt, for on the Passover night it was readily obtainable to every Israelitish family, who would use it for the sprinkling of the blood. It was used for various sacrificial purposes in the Levitical order, and therefore must have grown extensively in the wilderness also. It is always associated with “sacrifice”… so that even at Calvary, when the supreme Sacrifice was being offered, mention is again made of the lowly “hyssop.”
Solomon, a great and Wise man, was impressed to write about the weak, insignificant “hyssop.” Great men are always small enough to take note of little things.
They are concerned about the weak. Jesus stood still at the cry of a blind beggar. True greatness reveals itself in areas of meekness, mercy, compassion and forgiveness.
The world considers a meek man to be a weak man. But God considers the meek to be strong. They shall inherit the earth; because in their meekness and weakness, their confidence is not in themselves but in Another.
The weak must assume an attitude of defensiveness; but the strong are prepared to let the Truth defend itself. So when the weak assume positions of power and authority, as is often the case, they must use that power and authority to bolster their own inadequacy. The meek are strong, because they are prepared to commit their cause into the hands of God who judgeth righteously.
As I ministered about the hyssop I could not help but think of our own little fellowship. It seems so fragile. What is it that keeps us gathering together week after week? Just a handful of us… but we will travel 30, 50, 70 or a 100 miles a week just to gather with a handful of people in someone’s home. But when you come to know God’s ways a little, what does it matter whether there be 20 or 30 people, or 1,000? God can use 20 as well as 2,000… 1 as well as 10,000. It doesn’t really matter, as long as we are faithful; and as long as God is directing us in this way. But how strange this may sound to those who have not known God’s ways?
How long will we continue to gather in this manner? We certainly do not know; for we have no plans to fulfill of our own. And we are reminded that the precious “hyssop” having served its purpose was thrown away! Precious as it is in the eyes of the Lord, it was made for sacrifice.
And every sacrifice that delights the heart of God requires it. God has therefore put it within the reach of all. It grows there at our feet, lightly esteemed by most… but prepared of the Lord for sacrifice… a certain kind of sacrifice: the sacrifice of a broken spirit and a contrite heart. It is not something beyond our reach.
The elders of Israel had no problem finding it… apparently it was right outside their doors, and when the blood had to be sprinkled on the doorposts, the hyssop was readily obtained. When the last Passover Lamb was offered, hyssop was there too, and readily obtainable. When Jesus cried “I thirst,” a soldier bunched some hyssop together and lifted it to Jesus’ mouth with a sponge full of sour wine. He must use hyssop to fulfill the Scriptures, and God had provided it even on Mount Calvary! Then it was discarded… it had served its purpose.
But what waste? And to what purpose is this waste?
“Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it” (Matthew 16:24, 25).
All knowledge both temporal and spiritual has something inherent in it to catalyst pride. Despite this truth, God still gives both temporal and spiritual knowledge to man. Through His gift of temporal knowledge, man has discovered and invented a lot of temporal things that help us live well while we are on the earth. Man owes thanks to God; may He be praised in all the earth!
God has distributed temporal knowledge to all men such that, no one man has better knowledge of all the temporal things more than anyone else. A professor of aeronautic engineering or law may have less knowledge and be lectured about fishing, farming or hunting by persons skilled in such fields. All humans have areas they are illiterate. This is meant to curtail pride in man. But does it? No, not in this fallen world we live in where the fittest set the norms, ethos and structure such to benefit them.
As a result, man considers that some things are superior and more valuable than others. This factor accentuates pride in man and makes God’s intent of equality enshrined in complementation a strange and difficult concept for man to comprehend. The difficulty is not limited to temporal knowledge but is the same also with His gift of spiritual knowledge. This assertion is authenticated as we read in the scriptures, “… even though I have received such wonderful revelations from God. So to keep me from becoming proud, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger from Satan to torment me and keep me from becoming proud” 2 Corinthians 12:7NLT.
For Christians, we learn from Christ’s dealings in Paul’s life that, we need to be humble and God’s ways are mysteriously active to so help us. It is important to point out that the situation was not unique to Paul. It is an ordination for all who will inherit eternal life through Christ and in Christ. Therefore, we like Paul and other saints of God, must face contradictions, perplexities, crushing etc and meet it all with patient endurance or perseverance. That is what His grace is supplied for. And, that is the only way we will glory with Him—through His grace in overcoming by faith and patience like other saints who have gone to be with Him. Faith and patience are the only evidence that God is and is becoming Lord over our spirit, soul and body. The result is ultimately a humble walk with God and men. The person(s) in whom God has worked and is walking through their spirit, soul and body has/have become a highway of God’s city.
Those who increase in God’s knowledge must be prepared to increase in His dealings unless we want to end up like Demas, Judas, the Pharisees, the widows that strayed after Satan 1 Timothy 5:15 etc.
While there is joy to enjoy as we increase in the knowledge of God, there are pains to bear, one’s weaknesses to discover and overcome, ambush to overcome, betrayals, insults, accusations and crafty and diabolical lies told against us that must be ignored—all for Christ’s sake—and for the glory that is in Him.
Therefore, our admonition is, ‘if we want to glory, boast or be proud, let it be only in the cross of Christ. Showing we have tasted bitter waters and He made it sweet in our bellies (souls). And we have His mark in our bodies’. Galatians 6:14. That is maturity!
Maturity is not assumption. It is not by popular opinion held about us that we are a loving, humble and good people and therefore, are accepted, loved, supported, given opportunities and positions. It is rather, having the signs of His mark in our bodies.
Signs of His Mark: Soul and Hand
We don’t speak when He doesn’t want us to speak though it may portray us as idiotic, senseless, unwise and lacking understanding, dumb, fearful and weak.
We speak when He wants us to though it makes us appear stupid, trouble makers, unwise and assumed arrogant.
We endure rather than act when He wants us to endure though everyone or almost everyone thinks it is time to act and vice versa
We lose when He says, “lose” though it may show us as utterly irresponsible and lazy
We fight with no restraint or care for our lives when He says, “fight” the course though it may confirm us as indeed stubborn, divisive, individualist, proud, unwise, suicidal and ungodly.
We stand up straight again after even the devil knocks us down and refuse to be consumed or discouraged by what people and devils think
We grow in leaps and bounds in spirit and truth giving us a steady lifestyle of glorifying Christ both in abounding and debasing situations though many people dream otherwise for us.
We leave “this and that opportunity” when God says so though, it may make one seem dull, not able to detect and seize opportunities.
All knowledge (spiritual and temporal) has the potential to puff up but, maturity humbles. Though increased knowledge is not maturity, maturity is not without increase in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ that gives increase in grace.
The five wise virgins—that is, the sons of God brought to glory by Christ, knew the difference between having knowledge and maturity. So, their actions appeared “wicked, unloving, and not humble” so to speak when they refused to share their oil with the five foolish virgins Matthew 25:7-9. Knowing when to apply knowledge is maturity. They did not allow the knowledge of, “It is written give to everyone who asks of you” to be used to confuse them from obeying the voice of the Spirit. Saleh!
Maturity reminded them that they did not have enough to spare. “For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God” Romans 8:14.
The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit. Amen.
Strong insight for humble walk with God is inevitable for us all. The exhortation below by T. Austine-Sparks is most timely for the season the Church is at. The excerpt is taken from “The shool of Christ”.
To him who overcomes, I will give some of the hidden manna to eat. (Revelation 2:17)
God always keeps the revelation of Himself in Christ bound up with practical situations. You and I can never get revelation other than in connection with some necessity. We cannot get it simply as a matter of information. That is information, that is not revelation. We cannot get it by studying. When the Lord gave the manna in the wilderness (a type of Christ as the Bread from heaven), He stipulated very strongly that not one fragment more than the day’s need was to be gathered, and that if they went beyond the measure of immediate need, disease and death would break out and overtake them. The principle, the law, of the manna, is that God keeps revelation of Himself in Christ bound up with practical situations of necessity, and we are not going to have revelation as mere teaching, doctrine, interpretation, theory, or anything as a thing, which means that God is going to put you and me into situations where only the revelation of Christ can help us and save us….
Now then, that is why the Lord would keep us in situations which are acute, real. The Lord is against our getting out on theoretical lines with truth, out on technical lines. Oh, let us shun technique as a thing in itself and recognize this, that, although the New Testament has in it a technique, we cannot merely extract the technique and apply it. We have to come into New Testament situations to get a revelation of Christ to meet that situation. So that the Holy Spirit’s way with us is to bring us into living, actual conditions and situations, and needs, in which only some fresh knowledge of the Lord Jesus can be our deliverance, our salvation, our life, and then to give us, not a revelation of truth, but a revelation of the Person, new knowledge of the Person, that we come to see Christ in some way that just meets our need. We are not drawing upon an “it,” but upon a “Him.”
The following article came together out of the conviction of the Holy Spirit within my own life. Although at times I may refer to a condition I see in other believers, it is not at all my intention to set myself apart from anyone else. This is truly one area where none can be set apart from any other. Just the thought that we are free of such an illness ought to reveal to us that we are yet entangled in it.
It is only possible for me to even make mention of such things by the grace that I have received from the Lord to do so. I am well aware of the pride of man that yet smolders within my own heart. It has only been since the first of this year that the Lord has been removing the blinders from my eyes in this area of my soul.
It is certainly the greatest enemy to our walk in the spirit. We’ve blamed the devil, other people and circumstances for our troubles, when, very often, the worst enemy we have is the selfishness and the deceitfulness of our own hearts. The root of all such wickedness is pride.
Pride manifests itself in various ways. Regardless of its manifestation, it is always after the interest of one’s own self.
I am convinced that there is enough pride and rebellion in the nature of fallen man to send himself to hell without any help from Satan. Satan constantly seeks who he may devour by gaining entrance through the lusts and desires of man’s selfishness. This is the dust which he has been given to eat. He works where men seek to save their own lives.
Due to the multitude of spirits that are at work to accompany self-interest, it is often that pride will appear in various forms of godliness, and be readily accepted by those of whom it desires acceptance. The root of it all is pride, and regardless of its outward appearance, it is after recognition and selfishly demands a response from others. The desired response may vary from one individual to the other, depending on what spirits one yields oneself to. However, regardless of the response desired, self cannot be satisfied without recognition from others.
What you are about to read is a statement of repentance. The greatest fool is the one who remains a fool. A wise man is able to recognize his foolishness, but a fool is too proud to admit the truth, even when it is known. The truth of Jesus Christ always reveals the foolishness of man. The love of God can only be manifested in the absence of self.
I am most grateful for the harness of the Lord. The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases. His mercies never come to an end. They are new every morning. Great is the faithfulness of our God. His loving kindness is better than life!
I. THE SEARCHING OF OUR HEARTS
We often ask the Lord to search us, try us, know our hearts and see if there be any wicked way in us. Yet, what do we think about when we pray this way? In such a prayer, it is foolish to believe that the Lord needs to check our hearts because He doesn’t know what is in them (see Hebrews 4:13).
In Genesis 3 and verse 9, the Lord did not ask Adam where he was because he didn’t know or he wasn’t certain. The Lord was not searching frantically to find Adam. It was Adam who was in need.
When Abraham was asked to offer up Isaac, the Lord did not sit back, not knowing what was in Abraham’s heart. He wasn’t fretting over the possibility of Abraham failing to obey His command, and how that might affect the generations to come.
It is in the divine plan of God for a people to cry out to be conformed to the image of His Son. In responding to such a cry, the Lord asks of us to give Him our hearts. Not part of it, but ALL of it. It is not possible for the Lord to answer such a cry without obedience to His call for surrender. Yet, even as we say, “Father, I give you my whole heart,” the Lord is much more aware than we are of the things which we are still holding on to. Nevertheless, if such an offer is given out of a pure desire for the Lord to change us into the image of His Son, the Lord begins to answer our prayer (1st John 5:14-15).
In the process of cleansing and sanctification, we must realize that there is absolutely NO holiness outside of Jesus Christ. There is no overcoming that is done independently of Him or that is of self-effort. Neither can there be any overcoming without death to the self-life, and there is no death to self that is pleasing to the Father that is of our own design. All such self-imposed slaughter of the self-life will always remain outside of Christ; therefore keeping us entangled therein. The only one who can overcome is that same one who already has overcome, and that same Spirit desires to overcome and live His life in us. We must follow Him in submission to His Headship.
This is where the Lord begins to reveal to us the things in our soul life which keep us from a closer walk with Him. This is the work of the Holy Spirit in the life of the believer. This is the baptism of fire. This is the pruning Jesus spoke of in John chapter 15, verse 2.
The work of searching, trying and pruning belongs exclusively to the Lord. Most Christians do not understand that such a working is the sole purpose of the gift of the Holy Spirit. Many are far more interested in signs and wonders. Let us not embrace the gifts, and disregard the greatest desire of the Father. He desires us to bear fruit that we might glorify Him (John 15:8).
The Lord is faithful to show us what is asked of us in this conforming process. That is shown to each of us in the command to follow Him day by day.
The command to follow Him demands a response of obedience from us. Having faith in the Lord is seen in our obedience to heed His call to follow after Him (John 15:14, Hebrews 11:8).
So the light of the Holy Spirit searches and tries our hearts to lead us into a deeper and deeper call from the Father to go on in Him (Hebrews 4:12). Our part is to agree with the Lord to rule over every area of our soul life. As He reveals to us our heart each step of the way, He says just as he did to Adam, “Where are you?” It brings no pleasure to the Father for us to make excuses, but to agree with the findings of His great light. This agreement is acknowledged by the confessing of our faults. When we agree with the Lord and repent of our weakness, then its rule over our soul suffers a violent blow. As we surrender again to Him who has already overcome the world, we are conformed even the more to His likeness (James 5:16).