David Lockhart - Arise, Let Us Go Hence - Williams, Australia - 1991

Hymn 304, "Come, Brothers, On And Forward"

There are some burdens that are too great for me. Psalm 68:19, "Blessed be the Lord, who daily loadeth us with benefits." God daily loadeth us with benefits; we have received so much through the sacrifice of Jesus.

 

I received a letter from my dad just before he passed away. When he was a young boy, there was so much that he had to give up, he had to give up his friendships with the world, but now he was looking back over sixty years of serving God, and he could write about all the benefits, all the privileges, all that God had loaded him with, and he could write about how God is so great.

 

 He acknowledged the goodness of God bestowed upon him. We cannot take it in what God is giving to us for the future.

 

A young boy was sent to the shop to buy something, and the shopkeeper knew the family well, and he offered the boy a jar of sweets, but the boy held back. The shopkeeper insisted, and still the young boy didn't move, so the shopkeeper became impatient and he took out a handful of sweets and gave them to the boy. He asked the boy why he wouldn't do it, and he said, "You have a bigger hand than mine." God's hand is more bountiful, but we do not always receive all that God wants to give us.

I would like to speak in this meeting of five words Jesus spoke, at the end of John 14, "Arise, let us go hence." Paul said, "I had rather speak five words with my understanding." There are several places in the Bible that are parallel to this, when Jesus spoke five words. When He washed the disciples feet, He said, "I have given you an example." This is the highest form of teaching, the kindliest way of correction. It is example that touches our hearts. He served His own. The most important seat was left empty. He humbled Himself, and washed the disciples' feet. Jesus could have humbled the world, but He humbled Himself.

Now we think of Him leading out His own - "Arise, let us go hence" - and they crossed the brook Kidron, where Josiah ground to powder all the idols, many years before. Let us arise and go hence, and keep ourselves from idols. There can be idols in one's life. Pride is the god of self, covetousness the love of money. There could be an idol - "I want" - and sadly, we could have the idol of the children of this world. Keep yourselves from idols.

 

There are five words spoken in the Old Testament, that God spoke, "Arise let my people go." This was the dawn of the gospel age, and good if we follow this in its truest sense, getting free from this world, to use it and not abuse it, to leave Egypt a little more.

This morning I walked near the baptism site and thought of those solemn words, "Obedient now to His command, we leave the world behind" and I felt the need of that, to realize that there are ties, there could be something tying us to this world. There was a man who lived by the side of a river, and once a week he would go down river and do his shopping, leave his boat tied up at the side. This day he had a few drinks, and it was nearly night time before he came back and put his shopping in the boat. He began his journey up river, but after he had been rowing for some time, he realized that he hadn't untied the boat. We realize that there are things in this world that are binding us, we are not getting very far.

In a forest area there was a big fire, and it was quite a job to make a break around the cabin. Later as we walked in the ashes, there was a monkey with a little one in its arms, burnt to cinders. This monkey did not leave because of what was dear to her. This is a lesson, that we need to let go of the things that are near and dear to us. If we do not let it go, it can cost us our life eternally. Arise, let my people go.We need to sever the ties of the world.

 

One time there was a friend who was prospering in God's way, and he was also prospering materially. Someone asked him how come he could prosper in both ways. He answered, "I always look at things with the eyes of a dying man." He saw that everything was only fleeting and passing. We need to see everything as though it was the last day of our life. There was a lady dying of cancer, and a reporter came to interview her, she had known fame, friends, and much in this world, and now she said, "Life for me is lonely, and there is an empty future, I have nothing to go on to." She had no harbor waiting. We need to arise and sever the ties that will impoverish us in the spiritual sense.

Joshua 1:2, "Moses, My servant, is dead. Now therefore arise, go over this Jordan." The people were willing to leave the world behind, they were willing to cross the Red Sea, but this was only the beginning. Many who left Egypt never reached the promised land.  I can honestly say that the things of time have lost their charm for me. Arise, let us cross over Jordan. Let us be willing to die so that Jesus can live indeed in us. How dead should we be?  We should be so dead that we are not able to see the glittering things of time.  We should be so dead that we could not speak the things that are hurtful.  We should be so dead that our feet are not going in the course of this world. We should be so dead that our hands would not be in anything dishonest.  The more we die, the more we see to live for, to die, so that He might live in us.  Jesus died before He died on the cross,  He died daily. We do not speak lightly of this, because this is a great reality.

Absalom conspired against his father, David, and David spoke these same words, "Arise and let us flee." He did not stand his ground, he was the king, but he wanted to save bloodshed.  Rather than see the kingdom suffer loss, he said, "Let us flee."

 

There comes a time when we realize that we have to sacrifice our own rights, and there is no greater sacrifice spiritually than for one's self to suffer lest the kingdom suffer loss. 2 Samuel 15:30, "And David went up by the ascent of Mount Olivet, as he went up and had his head covered, and he went bare foot, and all the people that was with him covered every man his head, and they went up weeping as they went up." He went up the Mount of Olives, barefoot like his master, and having his head covered. So easy to do the opposite, to uncover our head and to tell others what we know. Knowledge is a very dangerous thing on its own, because it puffs up. Love edifieth.

 

Peter tells us that we are to add to our virtue, knowledge, and this is the safe way to have knowledge. David was not afraid of discomfort in the way, he went barefoot, just like Moses in the desert, when he took the shoes off his feet, for he was on holy ground.  As we go on, all hail the brier and thorns.  When there comes the hardness and the difficulties, that we would not draw back, we would go on all the way.  I have been reminded lately of the first hymn I gave out when I went out into the work, "I am going all the way." Now, more than thirty years later, I have not gone all the way yet, but I have a desire to go all the way.

David was going on weeping, until he reached the top of Mount Olivet, and we hope to go on and reach the top, too.  Some perhaps on hands and knees, there is no easy way.  If we are going to reach the top, it is going to mean a little more kneeling.  I valued a companion, and we were staying in a place and the lady of the place noticed that my companion's shoes were worn, so she took them to the repairer.  He said to her, "This man must do his work kneeling, I can tell by the way his shoes are worn." There was a lot of time spent in prayer, waiting on God in earnest prayer.

Then we think of the Songs of Solomon, more than once he said, "Arise, my loved one." "Rise up, my love, my fair one, and come away." The bridegroom wanted to have fellowship with the bride, and He longs to have deeper fellowship with us.  In these early times, the father of the bridegroom chose the bride, this was the custom. Jesus said, "Ye have not chosen me." Until the appointed day, the bride is getting the material ready for the wedding garment.

In Colossians 3:12, it gives us seven parts of the garment. "Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering; Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another." It takes a lifetime to do this, to put it into practice. We have two hymns that contain this message of, "Arise and let us go." One tells us, "Awake, your lamps of purpose trim."  We need to arise to do it now, not sometime.  We are only as strong as our purpose.  One time an older brother wrote to me, and mentioned a proverb, "He who has an objective does not stop for flowers or tempest. " What he meant was that when we are praised, that we would not swallow it or let it go to our head.  When we are in the tempest, in the struggle, and things are difficult, it doesn't stop us either.  Many a time this has spoken to me.  This speaks to us of doing, "Arise, be up and doing."  We feel we have so much to do, and so little done.

 

Oh, arise, be up and doing. There could be a lot of theory and very little practice. Theory is great but it is practically useless.  A great musician bequeathed all he had to the village where he was born. They made a monument, and put his violin in it, and people came from all parts to look at it.  Later it began to deteriorate, and they restored it, but it happened again.  The people then realized that the violin should be used to preserve it.  Surely there is nothing that helps us more in the onward march of life, to use what we have been given.

Micah 4:13, "Arise and thresh, 0 daughter of Zion."  We cannot sit in meetings like this and not have a feeling that there is a lot of chaff in ourselves.  We need to arise and thresh.  Jesus said to Peter, "Satan has desired to have you, to sift you as wheat, but I have prayed for you, that your faith fail not."  Peter was going through the mill, and there was a lot of chaff being left behind.  God wants the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit.  It is only the bare grain that reaches home; the chaff is left behind.  This has been a message to me.  Ruth knew how to thresh, she was beating out what she had gleaned, and only the bare grain was left.  All could see that she was a virtuous woman; she had the bare grain.  David bought the threshing floor for the full price.  All human pride, human greatness, like chaff, was left behind. David had the pure grain.  Gideon was threshing wheat by the winepress, leaving aside the chaff.

The prodigal son said, "I will arise and go to my father." He had lost a fortune but he had not lost the use of his tongue and he could say, "I'm sorry."  He had lost a fortune but he had not lost the use of his hands; he said, “Make me as one of thy hired servants."  He had lost a fortune, but he had not lost the use of his feet; he said, "I will arise and go."  He had lost a fortune, but he had not lost the use of his reason, "Although I will lose, I will arise."  This boy's elder brother did not arise, but sat in the seat of the scornful.  He did not say, "I will arise and go to my father." It is only God's spirit in us that will enable us to say that.  There is nothing good in us humanly that enables us to stand in the presence of God.  We sometimes take these things for granted, but good manners are no substitute for the spirit of our Master.

As we leave this place today, leave convention, the Lord is saying to us, as in long ago, "Arise, let us go hence," to go out to put the very best into it.  I have been privileged to be amongst you, I am a debtor to many, and I can say that for half a century I have looked at Australia as a place on the map.  I have seen a list of workers, but it has only been a piece of paper. Now it is a living thing, when we really get to know others in the struggle, and this is an encouragement to us as we seek to keep up the standard.

The middle verse of the Bible, Psalm 118:8, "It is better to trust in the Lord than to put confidence in man." There is nothing in self that we can put our hope in.

 

May our trust deepen in our God as we leave here, and God will help us to put our very best into it, for time is getting short.  Before we sing our closing hymn, I would like to ask a favor. Would you put us on your prayer list and keep us there?  

 

There are other fields, other lands, where the fields are white unto harvest.  Golden fields are when the harvest is ripe, but when it is white, it is past the time; it is over ripe.  There are millions perishing for the want of laborers.  Then, you too can have a part in the song of glory.

Hymn 398 was the closing hymn, "Christ is coming, Christ is coming! Let us lift our eyes on high."