Brian Doecke - Second Convention, Williams, Western Australia - November 2005

Hymn 207

Songs of Solomon 2, “I am the rose of Sharon, and the lily of the valleys. As the lily among thorns, so is my love among the daughters. As the apple tree among the trees of the woods so is my beloved among the sons.”

Then verse 15, “Take us the foxes, the little foxes that spoil the vines: for our vines have tender grapes.”

4:16, “Awake, O north wind; and come thou south; blow upon my garden that the spices thereof may flow out.”

What we have been enjoying here, we can think of what the Lord is enjoying as He looks upon us: what we gain from Him and what He loves to gain from us. Lovely to think God is looking down upon His people and seeing them as a lily among thorns. There are only 2 classes of people in the world:  those that belong to God and those who aren’t of God. It doesn’t matter how bad or good human nature is dressed up in religious clothes, its still human nature; just thorns and not producing anything for God. It doesn’t matter how much religious people can generate together: with that comes self righteousness which is a terrible thorn. So as a lily amongst thorns – all without Christ and without a Saviour are thorns. Its nigh unto cursing and to be burned, that’s the finish. It doesn’t matter if they’re religious or irreligious but the Lord has helped us so we gain the new nature with the beauty of Christ so we can become a lily and not a thorn and can have the nature that comes from above.

Every good and perfect gift comes from above. It speaks of Him as the rose of Sharon – outstanding beauty and purity – Jesus our Saviour. Then as the apple tree ……  Something to gain in the apple tree: not just producing wood, but the apple is something that we can continually taste and partake of. “I sat down under his shadow with great delight and his fruit was sweet to my taste.” This is the part that brought me to this book because of what we are enjoying here. Its 6 years since I have been enjoying Convention like this because it’s a little different over there because we don’t and can’t apply it. We have been shut out and just separated: it’s so lovely, as some express gratitude to be in a quiet place. We can sit down under His shadow with great delight and His fruit is sweet.

At the beginning of the week there was some excitement because a truck came and had come 3,000 kms bringing fruit that had been produced on the property and a comment was made, “You never tasted fruit so good.” We were enjoying the natural fruit that came from 3,000 kms away and were so grateful for that. But we are much more grateful for the other fruit:  His fruit was sweet to my taste.

Verse 4, “He brought me to the banqueting house and his banner over me was love.” – the divine love. The banqueting houses of this world don’t have anything like that: they’re not looking after our good at all. I had a companion who spoke once of passing by a big house: lot of noise, lot of revelry and he made a remark, “How will they be in the morning?” Bleary eyed, swollen heads and a hard job to get to work. The banqueting houses of this world are full of thorns, briars, thistles all ready to be burned. Surely none of God’s people participate in these things or try to bring that element in amongst us. A young man from Melbourne was telling me many years ago when I was on a home visit how 20 young people would go away skiing; and do you know how many professing today? 2 are professing today and he was one of them. We don’t want to copy the world in any way but Jesus Christ is our example and we’re thankful for the faithful of the old and our generation, not banqueting like the world, putting so much emphasis on birthday parties and other days and making it a banquet with nothing of Christ present.

“His banner over me was love.” That’s what we’re enjoying here and the world can’t understand it. Other young people have to have games, this and that. But isn’t it lovely to see young people happy here. Most I don’t know but they seem happy doing their jobs like someone remarked when a reporter went to a Convention and asked a child, “How much do you get paid for this job?” And he replied, “You are lucky just to get a job.” There are grandparents whose parents weren’t professing, but the grand parents helped their children and they in turn help their children. We owe a lot to the old ones and the young ones owe a great debt to the old ones. And the young ones are an encouragement to the old ones as they do the right thing. Like another worker said, “They will have their puppy days.” It’s all part of growing up; but the thing is to have a love for the things of God then the other side will fade away as time goes on and we get in the harness.

“Take us the foxes, the little foxes that spoil the vines.” A group of young people doing their own thing and the results aren’t so good. I’m grateful when we get together for picnics with the older ones where they’re always so welcome and they enjoy it. Little foxes are dear little things, you can’t kill them. They’re jumping around playing and off come the flowers, off come the grapes – no harvest! It’s the little ‘no harms.’ But the world says it’s not important, let the foxes spoil the grapes. But our vines have tender grapes. These things that they have in buses and planes that I wish I had never seen because the eyes are sensitive and it’s a channel to the heart. Young ones are tender, and as faith has been nurtured and born into their hearts: what you do with your children will have lasting results.

It speaks of the children of Israel that they were to teach their children in their waking and going to bed; the things of God, a godly home, a clean home with nothing of the world entering, no friendships of the world and wrong things to channel the world into the home. The Lord is still longing and asking for that. The young ones having time to pray because the world isn’t there to fill their lives and time.

I was in one area in Victoria on a sheep station and this morning the man of the home wasn’t going around checking on his sheep, but he was there waiting for breakfast and reading his bible. I spoke to him. Silence! Naturally I didn’t say anymore because I realised he was having his time alone with God. It was his usual place and here I was interrupting. I never did it again; once was enough but he was spending the time with his beloved at the beginning of the day.

4:16, “Awake, O north wind; and come thou south, blow upon my garden that the spices thereof may flow out.” The beauty that was in that garden that he could speak about. It didn’t matter which way the wind blew, adverse or favourable, it would be fragrant and pleasant going out. Whether it was hard done by didn’t matter – only the sweet fragrance flowing out of that garden. Here is the garden of God and the church is his garden. He was confident he had in his heart that which would stand the test. “Let my beloved come into his garden and eat his pleasant fruits.” If we can invite God to commune with us, it is pleasant fruits. That our spirit, our attitudes, our heart’s desires, our longings are in conformity with the beloved. Not desiring to be like the world or to be in company of the world.

You can’t be a friend of the world and a friend of God. We know some are helped through school and work, but friendship goes deeper and it’s not the same conversation. We couldn’t make friends at school, why? Even though we participated in many things, it was part of the curriculum; but I’m glad we couldn’t. “Let my beloved come into his garden and eat his pleasant fruits.” The beauty of Kununurra and the friends there; we have taken it in; and in Victoria where we helped with the picking and pruning. A friend said to us, “You have helped a lot so we will leave this row for you.” So I sent a couple of boxes home on the train and a box to my companion, then a box to Bruce. Then Stan wrote back saying Bruce wasn’t very fond of grapes, yet every morning you could see a bunch disappearing. Beautiful fruit; couldn’t be resisted! Just in these meetings, the expressions of our friends.

There could be a change of diet when we return home because we have tasted of the best fruit. They speak a lot about organic food these days. Good if we change our diet: reading, meditating, all takes time but leave ourselves open so the Lord can speak. I thought of Daniel and his companions. The king put them on a diet and wine and meat were part of it. It represents self indulgence. So Daniel asked for soup, lentils and water – very unsavoury. Some don’t like soup but Daniel asked for that for himself and his companions, just the 4 of them. They were true souls and they gained a wonderful place in the kingdom; they were beloved of God. They proved it because they were fairer and fatter than anyone else. The world is full of skinny people in comparison but the young people of God have the wealth in them that which is so precious, with no hankering to be like the world and they’re 10 times wiser. Somebody said an ounce of faith is worth more than all the instruction of the universities of the world. Because it’s for eternity.

Like the grain of mustard seed which Jesus said, was a small portion of faith, but it could remove mountains. I hope our faith will increase as we change and strengthen our diet in a godly way. I thought of Joseph who was a fruitful bough, an overflowing bough by the well. He brought blessing to his family and to the whole world as a result of abiding in the vine and at the fountain head. He was in close contact though hard done by, ill treated and he became the perfect type of Jesus because he saved the whole world in his day. He saved the world in a famine for 7 years and that was after 7 years of plenty when he gathered it in and there was no lack. He was a fruitful bough by the well. It speaks of him in Deuteronomy when Moses spoke of the blessings, “By the precious fruits brought forth by the sun.” Hard and hot experiences, difficult times made the fruit sun-ripened and precious. Suffering must precede the glory. If you try to escape the suffering there will be no glory: no glory if we shun the cross and despise the shame. The Lord gave that and it’s our example. Think of Joseph: think of Daniel.

It speaks about the virtuous woman that is like the merchant ships that bring fruits from far. It’s lovely to have a mother and lovely for those who have a wife. She’s working for that for her household – all so well attended – she had it because she had brought it from afar. Like the merchant ships during the war. They tried to cut them off, but they kept the lifeline open. Lovely to see those who keep the lifeline open: don’t let the busy-ness or the cares of this world keep you from it. Families flourish because the merchant ship is bringing it from afar by prayer, by meditation. That’s what the virtuous woman is doing and it represents the whole church too, not just the woman.

God is looking for fruit friends. In Matthew 21, we read He came looking for fruit and sent His Son to look for fruit from the nations of Israel. They had turned away and His Son was put to death. They didn’t want to honour and serve Him. So it says in the same chapter, “Why is the fig tree cumbering the ground?” It withered from the roots and He cursed it because it didn’t have the fruit. The root system wasn’t in the right place. So how is our root system? Because the roots weren’t in the right place then where are our roots drawing from? In Daniel’s life it says he became beloved of God. In Joseph’s it says – can we find such a one as this? The Colossians and Thessalonians were example churches and it’s lovely to see example churches. They were bringing forth fruits of love and peace and increasing their love for one another. Sad when it’s decreasing. It was said in a fellowship meeting many years ago when somebody had left the meeting that, “They just seemed to wither and die.” Maybe they thought they could do without the gospel meetings: then the study meetings – and at the end they just withered and died.

Some of the good workers have said we should visit the fatherless, keep ourselves unspotted from the world, living for others, and not being selfish. But are we visiting the fatherless and the widows and those who are needier than ourselves? I am grateful we have 4 in mind where we are labouring: 2 have been told to finish their university courses and work a little and then there will be a place for them. 3 brothers always do things together and their parents won’t put anything in their way because they are praying for them. Jesus on the cross could remember others, even though He was in such agony. He told John to care for His mother and to care for the church. And to that repenting sinner (on the cross) – “Today thou shalt be with Me in paradise.” He had a wonderful care and love for the sinner. Those that falsely accused Him, betrayed Him, and misused Him – “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.” May the Lord help us to be more fruitful and that we will not let the little foxes spoil the vines. Have no mercy on anything that spoils the possibility of fruit.