Ernest Robinson - Schizophrenia - South Africa

At convention we hear a lot of things, and there are times when it is nothing that we heard a worker or one of the friends say that helped us. There are times like that, that while somebody us speaking, God puts a thought in our minds and that is the thing that remains and helps us. It is amazing how God speaks in a meeting like this. We have to speak also but God doesn’t just depend on us and He is able to speak in spite of us and tell people something, and that has often happened to me. There are some meetings that you hear some things that are quite interesting and you are quite alert and you hear things that are easy to listen to. Yet some meetings it is hard to listen. It is kind of boring, but it is not necessarily those interesting meetings where God is speaking. Sometimes it is in that boring meeting that God Himself has put something into our minds and spoken to us and we are conscious of it. The one who is speaking on the platform knows nothing about it. We just pray that God would hide us, that we wouldn’t be seen or heard, but that there would be the voice of God heard in the meeting. We can get in the way sometimes by trying to be too interesting. In Korea, maybe you’d remember Don Garland who was here in Durban, he was telling about when he was in Japan. He had learned the Japanese language and he was in the middle of Tokyo when there was a big fuss and they saw a motorcade coming past. He wondered what it was and oh, it was the Emperor who was going to come by. People were thronging along the sides of the road, trying to get a view of the Emperor. Of course Don thought it would be interesting to see him too and you would remember that he is a big fat man. So while he was craning to get a view he heard two little Japanese ladies behind him. They probably thought that he didn’t understand Japanese and they were saying “If only it wasn’t for this big fat foreigner here in front of us we might also see our Emperor.” Don often mentioned that and he said that is his big fear that when he speaks in a meeting that there would be too much of that big fat foreigner and the people would not be able to see Jesus. So that is a fear and one has to be careful.

I’ll just read a verse in Genesis 25 from verse 21 "Isaac entreated the Lord for his wife because she was barren and the Lord was entreated of him and Rebecca his wife conceived. The children struggled within her and she said, 'if it be so, wherefore do I live.' She went to enquire of the Lord and the Lord said unto her, 'Two nations are in thee and two manner of people shall be separated from thee. The one people shall be stronger than the other people and the elder shall serve the younger.'” If you read on a bit you will see that it was Esau that was born first and then Jacob was born. It must have been pretty soon because Jacob had Esau by the heel. He had his hand on his heel, grabbed him by the heel. Quite interesting. I am not a psychiatrist but I can tell you one thing that the majority of people in this meeting have schizophrenia. For the children that don’t understand what that means, it is somebody with a dual personality. Two people in one body. Those of us who are serving God all have it and we all have an awful problem because of that - these two people in one body. Before we served God it was only Esau. Now we are going to speak here about the human nature being Esau and it is not my original idea, you have heard it many times, and the new life that God has given us is like Jacob. Jacob was the second born but the older had to serve the younger. There is a difference here as Jacob was quite grown up before his older brother sold him his birthright. But in our case, actually, Jacob is only born when Esau decides to sell his birthright. That is when Jacob is born. In other words, it is only when this human nature, this self, gives up its right to control our lives. It is only then that God gives us the new life.

In Korea we understand the right of the firstborn a lot easier because of the custom there and I suppose it is the same in China and Japan. There, according to the old custom, when the father dies, everything goes to the eldest son - absolutely everything. He gets everything and the other children get nothing, but that doesn’t mean that you can envy the eldest son at all. He gets everything but then he also gets all the responsibility of the father. He has to take the place of the father. He is the head of the home and he is responsible for all the other children and for looking after his mother till she dies. He is responsible and if there are still children at school then he has got to pay for them. He has to pay for them through university. He has a heavy burden. So you see he just takes over as the father of the family. So that is when we get this new life and from the moment that we have this new life born within us, it only came because Esau was willing to give up his birthright. That’s what it meant when we made our choice “I am giving over this new life that God is going to give me, that is going to rule my life now.” But from that moment there is a fight because Esau has given it up but he wants it back. All the time he is doing all he can because he wants to get it back.

If you read the 11th chapter of Hebrews you will read that, with tears even, he wanted to get it back. He repented that he had done that but there was no way, there was just no way that he could get it back, but in our lives he is struggling all the time to get this birthright back. That is why we are very much like Rebecca. There is always this struggle and life seems hard. These days it is almost common medical practice even though it was first done in this country, when they transplanted a human heart into somebody else. The problem that they found was that the body rejects it and that is exactly what happens to us, spiritually. When God gives us this new heart, this new life, Esau rejects it immediately. He doesn’t want it and that is why there is a struggle and he is not going to give up. To the end of our days he is not going to give up and he is going to do anything he can to get it back, to reject this new life. So in this case, Isaac was going to give the birthright to his eldest son anyway but Rebecca knew that it was not right. He had sold it and it was no good and she was going to help. So she had to help and she did help to get the birthright for Jacob. We also need help. This is a bit much for us because this human nature is powerful. It is dangerous and we need help and it is the help of the Holy Spirit that we need.

I suppose you would remember where we read in Exodus, about the children of Israel coming out of Egypt. What a struggle that was and all those plagues. Then all the times that Pharaoh said to let them go and then when he had relief then he said, "No." Do you know what it was that finally brought freedom? It was the death of the firstborn. That is the only thing that is going to bring freedom in our lives, the death of the firstborn. That is why we have to die every day. That is the only thing that MUST happen, this human nature must die and that is when our freedom comes. It would be wonderful if it could die now and we could bury it but it is worse than a cat with nine lives. The next day it is alive again. Up and ready to fight again. That is why we have to die every day, daily. Paul the Apostle, if you want to read about it sometime, you can read about the struggle with the two natures inside him. In the latter part of Romans 7, he says, “I don’t do what I want to do and the thing that I know I should do, I cannot do it.” Then he ends up saying, “Who is going to save me from this body of sin? Oh the wretched man that I am,” because of the struggle of the two natures inside.

Maybe some of the older ones here would remember oom Koot Viviers. Oh yes, some of you are related to him. I heard from my first companion that when he was with oom Koot, every morning when he stood before the mirror to straighten his tie he would shake his finger at his image in the mirror and say “Vandag is dit weer ek en jy.” (It is you and I again today.) That is how it’s going to be. From the very time that we have this new life it is going to be a daily thing. “Today again it is you and I and we are going to have to battle it out.” We read here that it was just for a morsel of food that Esau gave up his birthright. Can you imagine? Yet in this life we have seen it so often, when some have given up something so precious just for a morsel of food. I am going to tell you about one time when Jacob sold the birthright back to Esau. I was talking about Don Garland and he was telling me about a man who was his companion in the work and he got caught in this fight and he got married. It wasn’t long after that and Don was with him and they had a talk at opposite ends of the table. Don got quite a surprise when suddenly he just dropped his head on the table and he burst into tears. He sobbed and sobbed and he said, “Oh Don, I have given up so much for so little.” Can you see Esau again? In this case it was different because it was Jacob who sold the birthright back to Esau. Giving up SOOO much for SOOO little. As Jacob was born he had Esau by the heel and that is what we are going to have to do right from the beginning. We’re going to get Esau by the heel right from the start.

I have seen some people trying to get rid of the old habits little by little. Just talking about smoking or drinking or whatever. “I have been smoking 60 a day and tomorrow I will smoke 59 a day and the next day I will smoke 58” and so on. They think that they are going to cut it off little by little like that. Uncle Ockert also told me about an old lady who had a little dog that she loved. This dog got sick and couldn’t be helped and had to be put to death. So she gave it to the servant and said “Please kill it but please kill it gently.” So the servant took it and she heard this terrible howling outside and she said “I told you to do it gently.” He said “I am doing it gently! I am starting at the tail!” It just doesn’t work that way. I remember one time, when I was young, I cut my arm and my mother put an elastoplaster on there. Those days that plaster had terrible glue on it, especially if you have hair on your arm as I do. Taking it off is a torture! Well, finally, it had to be taken off and my dad wanted to take it off but I knew he was not going to be gentle. So I said I would do it and so I started and, oh dear, it really hurt. So my dad couldn’t take this and he said “Step aside” and he got hold of this. I knew now that I was going to die. He got hold of a corner of it and ZIP, it was gone and it didn’t even hurt. I was amazed. That’s the way to do it. A clean cut, a clean cut!

If you have made your choice and now you have to go back to the office and you have always gone out in the evening to have a little drink with your fellow labourers. So now you have made your choice and now there is a bit of a problem. They would say “Come along let’s go to the pub.” “Oh tonight I can’t, I have just got a headache.” So the next time you’d say, ”I have got an appointment and I have to go right now.” You can’t keep on like that, eventually it is going to have to come out. Then, not only do they know, “Oh this man has made his choice and he is serving God now.” Not only will they know that but they will also know that you are ashamed of your religion. It is much better to make a clean cut.

You know, when a ship is going through the waves in a storm, the fatal thing is to try and avoid it. That’s fatal. With those big waves it is fatal to try and avoid it and turn sideways. That ship will capsize, you have to take the waves straight on and that is what we’ve got to do, take it straight on. You take it head on and you will be surprised how you will get through it. People will quickly find out where you stand and that is what they’re supposed to find out. In my case, my human nature has another name, it is not only Esau, it’s also called Goliath and when I think of Goliath it is very much like my human nature. The first thing that it says is that Goliath was a warrior from his youth. You know, I cannot remember any time when I was too young to get a spanking, a hiding from my dad. Some people used to say “How can you spank a child when he is so young?” and my dad said, “Well, if he’s old enough to be naughty then he is old enough to be spanked.” So I got it and I can tell you that my human nature was a problem from my youth. I think all of us are like that because it doesn’t take long to start. Also Goliath was a giant and he is far too big for us to tackle. My human nature is like that and it is so for all of us and that is why we cannot do it because will-power is not enough. He is too big and too strong and that is why we absolutely need the help of God and that is why it brings us to our knees at the footstool of the Lord Jesus. That is why it is the only safe place for a child of God. Also, remember that he was defying the armies of the Lord and cursing them. I know that about my human nature, that whenever this human nature is winning then I am bringing dishonour to God and His people. I know I have done it and I am ashamed of it but that is so.

One time in Korea I was on a farm and there were two dogs there in a wire enclosure. One was a big dog and one was a little dog and I couldn’t stand it because the big dog would attack the little one. The little one would get bitten and I couldn’t understand the mentality of the people who would put these two dogs together. Such cruelty to that little one that couldn’t defend itself. Every now and then it would cry pitifully when it was attacked and then I saw the picture. How often that has happened to me and I can tell you that this human nature has absolutely ill-treated Jacob something terrible, this Esau, and I’ll tell you why. Sometimes it is terrible what it has done to my spiritual life and I’ll tell you why. The reason is that the one that you keep feeding is the one that is going to win and if you keep feeding the right one then the other one will not be able to get the upper hand. We have to be so careful because it is natural to want to feed Esau. That is our natural inclination all the time, to want to feed Esau. It is just natural.

Talking about that, there was something that came to my mind. We have to be very careful when we make our choice, that we’re not going to serve the flesh any more, now we’re going to let Jacob take the reign in our hearts. In other words we make up our minds that we’re going to deny ourselves. There is another decision that we have to make right there otherwise it is going to be hopeless. That means that I also am going to have to avoid the things that stimulate those wrong desires. That is extremely important otherwise it is going to be hopeless and we all know what it is. The things that stimulate the wrong desires and you can say that you are not going to do it, but you are not keeping away from the things that stimulate those wrong desires. If we don’t do that we are going to fail, we are not going to make it. That is another choice we are going to have to make at the same time.

I remember when I was still young, Uncle Wilson Reid said one time “If God wanted us to serve Him, why did He give us this kind of human nature?” Maybe you’ve even had this question in your own minds. If God did not want them to eat the fruit of the tree of good and evil, then why did he put that tree in that garden? There was a reason for it and everything that God did He had a reason for it. It was very obvious that it was necessary for there to be a test. The most effective test of virtue is temptation and that was absolutely necessary. This human nature is providing the struggle that God is using to temper our spirits, this new life that He has given us. He is using this struggle and our human nature is there for this reason. There has got to be a struggle but if we are willing to do what is right then He is going to help us. I was noticing a verse in Romans that says that it is only through the death of the firstborn that we get freedom and I do believe that it is a very important verse. Romans 8 verse 13, "If ye live after the flesh ye shall die but if through the spirit you do mortify the deeds of the body ye shall live." So you see how it is. Through the spirit, to put to death the deeds of the body and there is absolutely no other way. It is by having the help of the spirit of God with us that we get the power to put to death this human nature. God could have made us without this human nature to make us glad to do His will and to obey Him perfectly. He could have done that because He has all power to do it but can you think what the result would be? We would be a bunch of puppets, perfectly obedient but no will of your own. For that wonderful time in heaven when there is going to be a fellowship it is absolutely essential that you have souls that have their own free will and that is why God has done that. Otherwise we would just be a lot of puppets. You can make a machine that can cook your food and can wash your clothes and keep your house cleaner than any woman, but there’s no fellowship. Perfect obedience but no fellowship. So now you might understand what we’re trying to talk about.

There is a poem that many of you may have seen and it has something to do with this struggle between Esau and Jacob. The poem is called "The Soldier" and it says: His name is not on earth’s honour roll, There’s no medals fastened on his manly breast, But God has given him a place among the blessed, Because he conquered self, the only foe, That could have given to him a mortal blow. This Esau is the only foe that could give us a mortal blow.

I was at a convention in America quite a time ago and a sister worker spoke in the last meeting. She spoke a little about Esau and do you know what she said as she finished? She just said this and I felt that I needed that. She said “I hope every one of us is going to leave this convention with a wholesome fear of Esau. Esau is serious, he’s deadly and he wants to get that birthright back. I hope that we all leave this convention with a wholesome fear of Esau."