Brief Notes

The Stone,
the Pillow, and
the Pillar (6):
Growing by
Dealing with
the Lord

29 June 2024

The “bitter waters” of
our experience will become
sweet to us when we see
the Lord’s hand in them

Jacob was not, in his early life, what we might call a great hero of the faith. Rather, he was a schemer who conspired with his mother to deceive his father and steal his brother’s blessing (Gen. 27:1-40). Nonetheless, as soon as he submitted to the Lord’s dealings with him, God gave Him a great vision of His eternal purpose. (See “The Stone, the Pillow, and the Pillar • 5: Submitting to the Lord’s Dealings.”) And eventually, towards the end of his life, he had been transformed into “Israel,” that is, “a prince of God.” At that point he was no longer a schemer trying to deceive others, but rather, was one who blessed others all the time (Gen. 47:10, 48:15-16, 49:1-28).

This shows us a great principle for our own Christian life today, namely, that if we desire to be those who know the Lord and His purpose, we must submit to His dealings with us so we can have transactions with Him.

This means that, when the Lord raises up certain situations in our life, we should not become bitter or angry or rebellious towards Him; that is to accept the enemy’s accusations (as I so often have!). Instead, knowing how the Lord loves us, we should trust that, even in very difficult situations, He is very much for us. We should therefore open our heart to Him, asking Him, “Oh Lord, why have You allowed this to happen to me? What are You trying to show me in all of this?” Eventually, we may have some shining from the Lord about our situation, why it has happened, and how He is touching us in it. Then we will be like Jacob, who awoke from his dream and exclaimed,

“Surely the LORD is in this place, and I did not know it!”
— Genesis 28:16

And we will be like the Children of Israel during their journey in the wilderness, who threw the tree into the bitter waters to make them sweet (Exo. 15:22-27). In the same way, when we apply the Lord’s cross to the “bitter waters” of our experience, they will also become something sweet to us, for we will see the Lord’s loving hand in it all, working to bless us in the end.

Watchman Nee’s book, Spiritual Knowledge, has been very helpful to me in this regard; I have included a quote from it below.

Watchman Nee:
The Need to
Deal with the Lord

If anyone wishes to know God, he must learn to have transactions with Him. In other words, he needs to deal with God and to be dealt with by God. Many Christians carelessly let difficulties or problems pass by without receiving dealings from God. They do not know why He sends them these difficulties. These people may read the Bible daily and seem to possess some knowledge and light, yet they are ignorant of the mind of God. Their knowledge is clearly insufficient. For this cause, beloved, we must deal with God and receive dealings from God; and then we shall truly know Him….
None will ever know God without having transactions with Him. I once told a few brothers that there is only one way of making progress in the spiritual life, and that is by receiving God’s dealing. If you refuse to accept dealings from God you will never make any advance. Should you only want to obtain knowledge of the Bible, you will merely need to study hard and to be assisted by those who have Bible knowledge. But if you really want to know God, you must have personal dealings with Him, for there is no other way.
Spiritual Knowledge, Chapter One, “Dealing by God and Dealing with God.”

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— 29 June 2024 —