Brief Notes

The Golden
Reed (11)

by | 25 March 2022

Today we can
touch the Lord as we
feel our weakness,
for He feels it as well

As we saw in our previous Note on the golden reed (Rev. 21:15), a reed in the Bible signifies humanity in its weakness (Matt. 11:7, 12:20; see “The Golden Reed” 10). So, to experience the divine nature, signified by the gold in the golden reed, we must be those who are very human, rather than “spiritual” in a religious way. And, we must also have a deep sense of our own weakness in terms of being able to live out the Christian life.

Only God Himself can bring us to realize our weakness in this regard. Messages and writings can point the way, but we can only come to know our weakness as God deals with us, and we deal with Him, concerning all that He brings, and does not bring, into our life.

I read somewhere recently that the mark of someone who is in the Lord is weakness (though unfortunately I don’t have the reference). The Apostle Paul was certainly one who felt it:

Lest I should be exalted above measure by the abundance of the revelations, a thorn in the flesh was given to me, a messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I be exalted above measure. Concerning this thing I pleaded with the Lord three times that it might depart from me. He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.”
Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
— 2 Corinthians 12:7-10

How human was Paul here! He did not simply accept and bear his sufferings in a passive way; rather, he felt them deeply, and he cried out in prayer until he found the Lord in his affliction.

This is to deal with the Lord in an adequate way. It is, in fact, a wonderful example of “the golden reed,” of experiencing the divine nature in the weakness of our humanity. It is a pattern of dealing with the Lord so that He may come in to strengthen and uplift us with His divine nature.

Of course, the ultimate example of this in the Bible is the Lord’s own prayer in the garden on the night He was betrayed (Matt. 26:36-46).

How precious it is to know that, having gone before us in this way all His life, the Lord surely knows how we feel.  The writer of Hebrews tells us:

We do not have a High Priest who cannot be touched with the feeling of our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all respects like us, yet without sin.
— Hebrews 4:15, RcV; cf. ASV

So, how can we touch the Lord today? We can touch Him in “the feeling of our weaknesses.” That is, not simply as we are weak, but as we deeply feel our weakness.

Watchman Nee was one who had many experiences along these lines. He wrote these wonderful verses in one of his hymns:

Exceeding in glory, that day we’ll be crowned,
Yet there’ll be no cross to obey;
The sweet fellowship of His suff’rings for us
We only can share in today.
Once we’ve that rest entered, no weariness then,
Nor chance will remain to partake
The trials nor the hardships, nor happiness lost,
Nor suffering borne for His sake,
Nor suffering borne for His sake.

Oh, chances to suffer for Him are so few,
His shame and derision to bear;
Such blest opportunities soon pass away,
That He in our troubles may share.
All loneliness, misunderstandings and scorn
Despisings and sorrows will flee;
I treasure these blessings, for through them, O Lord,
I   enter sweet oneness with Thee,
I   enter sweet oneness with Thee.

The Lord knows it is not an easy path to take as He deals with us. That is why He Himself said:

“Blessed is he who is not offended because of Me.”
— Matthew 11:6

But if He grants us the grace to follow Him in this way, we will know the preciousness of a Savior who can be touched by the feeling of our weaknesses, and we will enter into “sweet oneness” with Him.

 

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— 26 March 2022 —