Everett Swanson - Foundations of Love, Faith, and Conviction - Georgetown, Queensland, Australia - 1986

My thoughts have been regarding foundations. Isaiah 28:16, “Therefore thus saith the Lord God, 'Behold, I lay in Zion, for a foundation a stone, a tried stone, a precious corner stone, a sure foundation; he that believeth shall not make haste.'” I Timothy 6:19, “Laying up in store for themselves a good foundation against the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life.” I want to mention three foundations: the foundation of love, the foundation of faith and the foundation of conviction.

 

Before I mention those, I want to tell you one of the reasons I have been thinking about foundations is that after a Gospel meeting, one of our friends went to knock on a door of a home. I don’t know why they would do such a thing, it was dark and there were no lights on in the house.  Anyway, a woman came to the door and she had been weeping. She excused herself and poured out her heart. She said, “For thirty years, I have belonged to the Salvation Army and now the foundations are destroyed. I have been an officer in the church and put my heart and soul into this.” All she could do was sit and weep. She said that for every dollar donated to the Salvation Army, it used to be that eighty cents went to others and twenty cents went to the church; now it’s in reverse, eighty cents goes to the church and twenty cents goes to others. I’m sure it’s changed even more since that conversation. Then, last night, two brothers stood up here on this platform and both of them mentioned the year 1919 as the year the Gospel came to their part of the country. I asked one of them with whom I’m bunking, “You heard the Gospel in 1919?” He said, “That is so.” I said, “Has there any teaching or doctrine changed since that time?” Instantly, he answered me, “Not one bit.” I cannot tell you personally what it means to me to be in this convention and realize that we have a foundation, a sure corner stone that’s founded on Christ and it never will change. The Holy Spirit is giving us the same teachings as those two men heard first in 1919. The foundation is not found in the people, it’s in the Son of God.

 

Another reason I have been thinking about foundations is that something that happened on one of the convention grounds. One day, the wallpaper tore and then a little while later, the stairs shifted. The owners said, “Well, looks like we need to get some new wallpaper and need to shim up the stairs.” Someone else came along and said, “I don’t think you have a surface problem; it’s a little deeper than that, the problem is in the foundation.” One of the friends dug under the house and he said, “The beams that are there have been rotting and that’s why the wallpaper tore and that’s why the stairs have been settling.” A person could put more wallpaper on the wall and shim up the stairs but that’s not the problem or the cause. You will only deal with the result by doing those things.  I’ve also been thinking about the foundation in my own life. The foundation of Christ doesn’t need any repairs or alterations, it’s pure, it’s solid and it’s true. Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever and we don’t even need to discuss that. That which we have founded our faith on will never change, but there’s a problem with our foundation.

 

I’ve been thinking about the foundation of love in connection with John 21. Jesus was dead and Peter said, “I go fishing.” Six of those men followed him. In a workers’ meeting on the West Coast, someone got up and she said, “I must be true, because there are those that trust me.” Children are watching and they are looking and they will follow you.  Anyway, these six men followed Peter’s example. There was a little problem this day with the foundation of their love; it needed some repairs. So, they went out fishing. The experience may not be important for what it is, but see what it produces? They went fishing on a common day and on a common sea and it looked like a very unimportant experience, but it was a very vital experience.

 

In Isaiah 65 we read about a little cluster of grapes and we are told “...Destroy it not; for a blessing is in it...” (verse 8) Every experience we go through, there’s a blessing in it somewhere. Even the worst experience of our life might turn out to be the best experience of our life, if we take it right. Sometimes identical experiences can produce opposite results, just according to our reaction. That’s the important thing, our reaction. These men went fishing and they fished all night and they caught nothing. Have you ever had an empty net? It’s hard to admit you have an empty net; I have learned a lot from one, though.  When there’s no result from our efforts, it’s hard to realize the problem is at a lower level. These men hadn’t depended on Jesus as they should have. The fishermen on the coast know what they are doing. When the net is on the right side of the boat, it belongs there and you couldn’t talk those fishermen into putting it somewhere else. Reasoning would cause these seven men to say, “That’s where the net belongs,” and yet all they had was empty nets. The next morning, a Voice came from the shore. One thing that touches my own heart is the fact that the Lord is closer to us than we are aware of.

 

The Lord was on the shore; He had a fire, and He had been tending that fire and they didn’t even know it. That fire had burned long enough to burn into coals. We read in the Bible that, “Where no wood is, there the fire goeth out:...” (Proverbs 26:20) If you feed the right kind of fire, it will burn. If you starve the right kind of fire, it will go out. It doesn’t take much neglect and fire will go out.  We were in a home not long ago where the temperatures are still getting to zero these days. The woman of that home was constantly tending her fire. She had plenty of wood and that fire kept burning to keep the house warm. Sometimes there’s plenty of wood and still the fire goes out.  Timothy was told, “...stir up the gift of God...”  God gave you a fire and you must keep that fire burning. When the fire is out, all we have is a fire that used to be burning. There are some empty seats here today and maybe the reason is because some neglected the fire.  The fire needs to be attended to every day.

 

There are four words found in connection with the tabernacle service of the Old Testament: daily, continually, perpetually, and always. Something was always happening inside that tabernacle. Every morning and every evening, there was a sacrifice. On the inside, there was continual prayer, perpetual incense, and there was always a light burning, continual, perpetual, and always.  Daily, there must be something take place between ourselves and God so we can have an act of God upon our tabernacle. There was fresh bread in that tabernacle and prayer was always taking place. There was no fire there, they had to go out in the court and get the fire from off the altar. If there was a living sacrifice on the altar, they would scoop up the coals and put four dry ingredients, myrrh, sweet cinnamon, sweet calamus, and cassia, on that fire and the smoke arose to God. When there was a right attitude, there was a living sacrifice. There were four little horns on that altar and the blood was there, too. If it wasn’t for the blood of Christ, we couldn’t pray in our own name. We couldn’t even think about praying in our own name. It’s the Lamb of God that makes it possible to continue every day. One thing about the candlestick is that it is a picture of the church. That candlestick had one shaft and six branches.  There was a bud on the shaft, then a blossom and then an almond and that almond had an oil that gave light. It would be nice to leave here with a bud of fresh purpose that’s never been there before. We want to protect and preserve that bud on the shaft. A bit higher there’s a blossom, a continuity of purpose.

 

Finally, there’s an almond and that would speak of fruitfulness from all the seeds and planting having taken place in this convention. A seed is easy to be despised. Willie Jamieson told us about being in the prison camp in the Philippines. As they were taken in to that camp, they were handed a packet of seeds. It was easy for those men to despise those seeds and think, “The American troops will be back in a few days to rescue us, so why do we need to bother with these seeds?” Anyway, Uncle Willie decided, “I think I will plant them.” (We get seeds at convention and we can plant them.) Others scoffed when he planted his seeds, but they didn’t laugh in the day of harvest when men were dying from starvation and Uncle Willie could pick fruit and he could feed on it when others that had despised their packet of seeds had nothing. In the day when Christ returns, there won’t be any criticism then for the precious seed that’s being sown these days by the servants of God. Some these days might listen and criticize, but in the Day of Judgment they won’t laugh. The seed will be precious then.

 

So, these disciples went fishing and the Voice said to them, “...Cast the net on the right side...” (John 21:6) That’s contrary to fisherman’s logic; it would be easier to move the boat instead of moving the net.  Besides, if there’s fish on this side of the boat, why wouldn’t there be fish on that side of the boat? This Voice said, “Take the net, pull it in, cast it on the other side of the boat”; or, “Do something as simple as obeying.” They did it and the net was full. I’m thankful in this fellowship of Christ we don’t have to wait to the end of life to find out if our faith is right or not. We don’t have to think, “I just hope that at the end of my days, all will be well with me because of what I’ve lived for.” There were some Catholic monks interviewed. (They are the most religious part of the church, some of those monks chant things over and over, up to twenty thousand times a day.) Anyway, they were asked, “Do you believe there’s a God?” They answered, “We don’t know.” They were asked, “Do you believe there is life after death?” They answered, “We hope there is.” They had no answer and didn’t know if there was a God or not. I would like to mention that we can prove something to ourselves during our lifetime and we don’t have to wait until the end of life. The way we can do this is when the Lord says, “Cast on this side, put the net over here and you will find,” and we find ourselves thinking, “It’s not convenient. It’s a lot of bother and it’s a lot of work.” If we will just do that, we will pull up like the disciples a great net full. When we do that, no more faith is needed in that experience.

 

Jesus came to the blind man and anointed his eyes with clay and told him to go to the Pool of Siloam and wash. It’s not hard to wash, but here’s what you must conquer, thoughts like, “Has anyone ever washed in the Pool of Siloam and came seeing?” The answer will come, “No.” Then, the thought comes, “Has any miracle ever been done there?’ The answer will come again, “No.” Our part is to go and wash. The Bible tells us not to tempt God, but the Lord does invite us to prove Him. In Malachi, we’re told the Lord poured out a blessing and there wasn’t room to contain it.. How do we prove Him? Go and wash in the Pool of Siloam. The blind man would have had to ask someone, “Will you lead me to the Pool?” because he wouldn’t have known where it was. Then, when they took him there, he would have had to make sure, “Is this really the Pool of Siloam?” and to be assured that it really was. Well, then he would have dipped his hand in the water and, sure enough, nothing happened; but as soon as he would have taken that water and washed his eyes, instantly, he was seeing! The miracle is on the other side of obedience. As soon as we take the step in faith, we have proof and we don’t have to go through life wondering if this is the true Gospel and doctrine of Christ and way of Christ. We are sure this is the foundation of God.

 

Remember the time when Naaman came to Elisha because he was stricken with leprosy? He was the general for the Syrian Army and he just knew everyone would be impressed with the healing process that Elisha would go through for him. But Elisha never even came out to say hello or talk to him, he sent his servant out with the message, “...Go and wash in Jordan seven times, and thy flesh shall come again to thee, and thou shalt be clean.” (II Kings 5:10) Right away, the man said, “Are not Abana and Pharpar, rivers of Damascus, better than all the waters of Israel? May I not wash in them, and be clean?...” (verse 12) Besides, he had some more thoughts on the matter, “...I thought, He will surely come out to me, and stand, and call on the name of the Lord his God, and strike his hand over the place, and recover the leper.” (verse 11) He was angry! If you ever feel a spirit of “Why not?” coming to you, that’s not the right spirit. I suppose it’s common after being in a rage, to ask what to do and Naaman wasn’t any different. His servants said to him, “...if the prophet had bid thee do some great. thing, wouldest thou not have done it?...” (verse 13) Maybe the test isn’t doing a big thing or not doing anything at all, maybe the test is to be willing to do a little thing. “…I do the little I can do, And leave the rest to Thee.” (Hymn 234) That opens the door for miracles. The Lord doesn’t expect us to do miracles. None of those listed in Hebrews 11 did a miracle. They just went as far as the miracle and then God did the miracle. So, Naaman conquered his pride and his independence and his selfishness, and then, after the experience, he could say, “...now I know that there is no God in all the earth, but in Israel...” (verse 15) He didn’t need any more faith for the experience.  We take the steps that the Lord asks and then we have results and that’s our proof. There’s more proof waiting for us but it’s on the other side of obedience. When we take steps, we will know and then no one can take that knowledge from us.

 

My companion belonged to a certain church before professing and he said that when he was teaching Sunday School, he never had the feeling of assurance he wished he had. He said, “I just did what they told me. Now, how come as I ride in the car as a preacher of the Gospel, I know that I know?” Why did he know that he knew? He had taken steps and he had received. If we sin and come to repentance, then we sin again and come back to repentance again and we do this over and over, we aren’t getting anywhere. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if when we sin, we go on to repentance and then on to blessing? “The blessing of the Lord, it maketh rich,...” Blessing is on the other side of obedience. Hearts will be full and then hearts can rejoice. The Lord poured out the blessing. There’s a difference between something poured and something spilled. When something is poured, it’s controlled. We’re sorry to say there are so many spilled lives. A young man twenty seven years of age said to us after several Gospel meetings, “I know this is right, but right now I have a business and I am not ready yet.”  Someone invited him to convention and he said, “I would like to go, but I’m not ready yet.” He was telling God, “I am not ready yet.”  We stood by his open casket a while later. Something happened he hadn’t planned on; some plumbing caved in and in a half second, he was in eternity. His girlfriend stood there by his open grave and said, “My boyfriend told me this is the Truth. He said he wasn’t ready yet.” There she stood two feet from his open grave telling us that.  That was a few years ago and she’s still not ready yet. Life is given to us to get ready; that’s what life is for. We are glad for conventions helping us to get ready. The Lord can do something permanent in our soul, if we’re willing to let Him.

 

I can’t tell you all about this story, there’s lots of things I don’t know about it. I don’t know where Jesus got this bread; maybe He baked it, maybe He bought it. I don’t know where the fish came from either; but I do know this, you don’t get something for nothing. When Jesus had fish or bread, He didn’t get that for nothing. He had bread, fish, and a fire and He was waiting for them, laboring for them, because He loved them.  Little do we know the personal labor of God toward us.  I was cheered by that story of Joseph. It was a personal coat that his father made him; that coat wasn’t made for anyone else. Can you picture his father coming to measure him, measuring him across the shoulders, maybe the length of him, and then he went away to put together a coat for Joseph. I don’t know if it took him a day or a long time, but Joseph could be sure all that labor was just for him. The father was doing that just for him. One day after the father labored for a long time, the father called him and you know what Joseph said? “Here am I.” When the Father sacrifices and labors for us, do we respond, “Here am I?” The Father is making a garment of righteousness for us. We have no idea all the labor of love that’s going on just for us.

 

In Hosea 11:4 we read about some bands of love. “I drew them with cords of a man, with bands of love...” When I was coming to meetings like this one time, a servant of God put some bands of love on me. I wasn’t going to profess. I was going to get out of school first and then I had some other things I wanted to do, but a brother wrote a letter to me and he put a band of love on me. A cousin of mine that I admired knew I hadn’t made my choice yet and he asked me if I would like to ride with him.  After we were in the car, he said to me, “I’ve never done this before, but I was just wondering why you are yet outside.” That was another little band of love put around me. Jesus was putting bands of love around each one whose feet He washed that day. He knew, “These feet will be going out and getting martyred for Me.” Those disciples walked over dusty roads to preach the Gospel and they were hated and despised. Peter was, according to history crucified and nearly every one of those twelve men were put to death for the Gospel’s sake. Jesus knew, “These men are going to die for My sake.” He put another band of love around them. I feel a convention like this puts bands of love around us from the Lord Himself.

 

What would you say to a false prophet if he came to you? One day, a false preacher came to Jesus and Jesus could have said, “You are destroying men’s souls because you don’t have the correct doctrine;” but He didn’t.  He just put a band of love around him. It says when the ruler of the synagogue was coming, “.. Jesus beholding him loved him....” (Mark 10:21) My foundation of love might need some repairs. If you love those that love you, that’s no different than the publicans. They loved to love those that loved them. The Pharisees loved the chief seats of the synagogues and loved to be called Rabbi. Those things appeal to the flesh. Human love is to love one person or one family, your family; but here’s the love of God: “...God so loved the world,...” (John 3:16) That’s not publican love, that’s not Pharisee love and that’s not human love, it’s the love of God and the love of God is to love the whole world. I asked an older brother one time, “Why did Jesus choose Judas? He knew he was going to betray Him?” He said, “Well, I have the feeling that the reason Jesus chose Judas, (it was really God’s choice, of course) was to show us and give us an example of how to love our enemies.” It says Jesus loved him to the end. He took the bread and dipped it in wine and told him, “...That thou doest, do quickly.” (John 13:27) Judas went out and it was night. Jesus still loved Judas with all His heart. We can put bands around our neighbors, but can you love them? Can you show kindness to them? If you can, then you are in a position to invite them to Gospel meetings when the time comes. You have put bands of love around them and it makes it a little easier to invite them to the Gospel story. 

 

So, when the net was full, Jesus said, “...Bring of the fish which ye now have caught.” (John 21:10) The net wasn’t full because of their efforts.  When they got to shore, He set before them bread and fish. This is what I like very much and it applies to me. Jesus said, “...Simon...” (verse 15) Have you ever had your mother call you by your first name? Has she ever called you by your first and second names? Then, has she ever called you by your first name and your second name and your third name? Jesus said, “...Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou Me more than these?...” (verse 15) But, you know, Peter never answered Jesus’ question. He answered, “...Yea, Lord; Thou knowest that I love thee...” (verse 16) You know, I’ve found that in convention, it’s easy to be general and say, “I love you,” and not get down to the foundation. The Lord didn’t ask him if he loved Him, He asked him, “...lovest thou Me more than these?...” Is it a person, is it a place, or is it a thing that is causing us the problem? We need repairs on the foundation of our love in the kingdom of God. 

 

In Seattle, we enjoy driving past a seventy-six story building. I was so interested in that foundation that I just had to stop and see about it.  When I went to the construction site, I saw a hole one hundred feet deep. Why so deep? Because the first thing they did in the construction of that huge building was to go down to the bedrock. That’s number one. I was standing there one day and a man walked up and began taking pictures.  We said to him, “Are you a photographer?” He said, “No, I own this building.” He was spending three hundred and one third million dollars for that building and he was taking pictures to make sure the foundation was right. There wasn’t only concrete went in that hole, but they went under some of the other buildings around that site and poured concrete under those buildings, too. They wanted this building to stand sure on that foundation. They also wanted it to stand the test of time. They put earthquake plates under the whole building. They hope that when the earthquake comes, the whole seventy-six stories will shift as one because it’s anchored to withstand any kind of storm. When the convention is over, the storms will come. What a wonderful feeling when the storm is coming, because of our repairs on the foundation of our love, that there won’t be any damage when the storm is over. Three times Jesus talked to Peter about his love. The third time Peter was grieved; it’s hard to admit there’s some problem on the inside.

 

Something happened recently. An eleven year old boy came to our Gospel meetings and professed on Sunday night. Derek lives with his father not professing and his mother that is professing. His father is a coach. On Wednesday, three days after Derek professed on Sunday, his father was taking Derek and several other boys to have their picture taken with some famous player after a basketball game to which they all had free tickets.  It was the highlight of these boys’ life. Well, Derek professed on Sunday and this all was going to happen on Wednesday after supper. He and his dad were going off to the game and his mother off to meeting. Well, Derek had professed on Sunday and just before he and his father left to go to the game and his mother left to go to meeting, little Derek went off to his bedroom for a little bit. When he came back out, with tears streaming down his face, he said, “Dad I want to go to the Bible study tonight.” His father was so shocked, he said, “Well, son, I am proud of you and I won’t go to the game, either.” That’s loving God and having convictions.  Just three days, this seed had been growing and yet it overcame the thing the flesh wanted more than anything else in life. That little seed wanted to go to meeting.

 

I might mention about Jesus. Did Jesus have a struggle or was everything automatic? He said in the Garden, “...the Spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” (Matthew 26:41) How did Jesus know the flesh was weak? Because He had the flesh and He had flesh that was weak. Little Derek’s flesh was weak, too. It says of Jesus, “Wherefore in all things it behoved him to be made like unto his brethren,...” (Hebrews 2:17) Today we rejoice that Jesus had our nature. He is just like we are and was tempted like we are, yet without sin. He had weak flesh. Jesus washed those disciples’ feet with weak flesh. You can just plan on weak flesh because it’s all we are ever going to have. Flesh doesn’t want to pray, flesh doesn’t want to go to meeting, flesh doesn’t want to read the Bible; it’s just weak flesh. Jesus conquered all His experiences with weak flesh. We are going out from this convention with weak flesh, and we’re going to face the world, the flesh and the devil not with weak flesh, but with the power of God and His Holy Spirit to help us to be victors.  “...Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou Me...?”             

 

Now, we need to hurry on to the foundation of faith. In Job, there are a couple of things mentioned about the foundation of faith. One of the reasons I have been thinking about this foundation of faith is that I’ve been looking at my own foundation. We can’t make any repairs to the foundation of faith during a storm, so we need to make these repairs while we are at convention (the place of no storms) and then when we leave we will be ready to face the storms. Job faced these tests and storms. The first test for him was the test of his wealth. How many can handle wealth in the first place? He not only handled wealth but he handled the loss of wealth and kept his balance. The next storm he faced was poverty. In Proverbs it tells us, “...give me neither poverty nor riches;...” (chapter 30:8) Job had both and he kept his balance. Then came the test of bereavement. Some of you in this place might have lost a child, I don’t understand that at all, because I’ve never had a child to lose; but I do understand this, it’s a great, great loss. Now here’s Job and he lost all ten of his children at one time. Do you know what he said, “God maketh my heart soft,...” (chapter 23:16) He lost his health, he lost his wealth he lost his children and then he had another test to face, he lived in a divided home. After this test of bereavement, all his friends were against him.

 

But the next test, the last one, was the worst one, because he said, “God has forsaken me.” That was the test of his imagination. His imagination said, “I have gone too far and now it’s hopeless. It’s too much, because God himself has forsaken me.” But Job said, “Though He slay me, yet will I trust in Him...” (chapter 13:15) Right on the front row at a convention in Idaho sat a father and mother with their own children and several that were adopted. During one meeting, someone came in and asked the father to come out. Pretty soon, someone came in and got the mother and then the mother came to get the children. We learned that their whole house had burned to the ground and even those adopted children lost everything. There was nothing left but ashes. They missed one meeting because of having to go take care of insurance and things. They were back the next meeting and the mother gave her testimony. I wondered what she would say, but she didn’t even mention the house and the fire. She said, “I am so thankful for the precious Gospel of Christ.” What a foundation! That was a foundation of faith that will take a storm. Will our foundation take criticism or correction? Can it handle responsibility or privileges?

 

On the conventions grounds, something happened. There’s a high building, thirty feet high, where the sister workers sleep and sometimes there’s too many of them to sleep there.  So, someone decided to put a floor half way up in that building to make some more room. The discussion came up regarding the floor. Someone asked the question and I hope I never forget it until the day I die. “I like your idea, but I have one question, will the foundation support the added weight?” I don’t know about our foundation; can it support a test? Can it support a test we have never had before? Can it support a privilege we have never had before? Can it stand under criticism we have never heard before? Can it stand the test of whatever comes along? Can we handle that? Will our foundation support more of the work of God? Well, some men dug down in the dirt around the foundation of this building on the convention ground. It was a dirty job and everybody just wanted to do it and then forget about it. The answer came, “The building is sagging and repairs are needed.” When the Lord said to Peter, “Feed my lambs and feed my sheep,” that was added weight on Peter’s foundation, but we read that he withstood it. In 1 Corinthians 14 we read the word “edify.” In its original form “edify” means “house building.” When we come to Sunday morning meeting, everyone brings materials for house building or for edifying one another. You can be a feeder. Someone asked a shepherd one time, “Why aren’t your sheep fenced in? We haven’t seen any sheep that are fenced in around here.” He said, “I’m not going to put fences around my sheep or my pastures, because my sheep aren’t interested in leaving the pasture I’ve provided.” Peter was told, “Feed my lambs and feed my sheep,” and he fed them with good pasture the rest of his days.

 

One time, I was visiting some friends that had sheep and I asked them before going to bed that night, “What time do the sheep get up?” I went out earlier than they had said, because I just wanted to see what time those sheep really got up. I went out while it was still very dark and those sheep weren’t up yet. Pretty soon, just at the crack of light in the sky, a ewe came out of the shed. I thought to myself, “What’s she thinking?” Maybe her thoughts go like this, “I must eat this stuff for survival, but I’m sure tired of this same old pasture.” No, the first ewe came from the barn and she was running! She came running out of that shed and was quickly taking bites of the green grass as she ran. She was acting like she had never seen that pasture before in her life and that was what she fed on every day of her life. It was the same pasture she’d been feeding on for years! All the rest of the sheep came running out of that shed, too, snatching bites of grass like they had never had anything to eat before in their life.

 

The trials of life cause us to thank God and take courage. Job kept true in the storm because Job had an anchor. He had an anchor and he was faithful. Every morning, he offered sacrifice for his children. He was a better father than he was a farmer and he was a good farmer. Satan said, “Give him to me and I will destroy his faith.” Here we have just finished a year and Satan has done everything he could do this year to destroy our faith and he has failed. We are here and we are singing a song of rejoicing. Zephaniah 3:17 tells us, “The Lord thy God…will rejoice over thee with joy; He will rest in His love, He will joy over thee with singing.” God was singing because of His people. We can live to bring joy to the heart of God. Satan said, “Give him to me and I will destroy him.” The Lord said, “No, you can’t destroy him.” The Lord put more weight on Job’s foundation so He could help him. The picture in the end was humbling. He never told Job to pray for his brothers. He knew Job would pray for them. As soon as he prayed for them, God turned his affliction. 

 

In Judges 11 we can read about the foundation of conviction. I was wondering one time why Jephthah was listed in Hebrews 11. I believe it was because of his conviction. His brothers told him, “...Thou shalt not inherit in our father’s house; for thou art the son of a strange woman.” (verse 2) and rejected him, so he left. Isaiah 45:3, “And I will give thee the treasures of darkness, and hidden riches of secret places,...” Take that verse with you. There are treasures even in darkness.  Jephthah’s brothers told him to leave because they hated him and they cast him out. One day they came back to him and said, “Would you help us?” (verse 6) In his heart, his flesh would have said, “Retaliate now!  Get back at them while you can.” But he had a conviction and that was, “I will forgive them.” I would like to share this because I want to learn it myself. When this man Jephthah faced a storm, he did something I want to learn. He invested in that struggle and he secured the victory before the battle ever took place. That’s the secret of Jesus’ life. He prepared before an experience so He didn’t have to repent after the experience.  Jephthah said, “.. If thou shalt without fail deliver the children of Ammon into mine hands, Then it shall be, that whatsoever cometh forth of the doors of my house to meet me, when I return in peace from the children of Ammon, shall surely be the Lord’s, and I will offer it up for a burnt offering.” (verses 30-31) Here’s something interesting and it tells us what kind of enemy we are dealing with.

 

The children of Israel had victory and had possessed this land for three hundred years and then the enemy, the children of Lot, came and said, “Give us back our land.” The enemy won’t be satisfied with the one victory; we must invest again for another conviction, for another blessing and then another privilege.  Three hundred years later, they wanted their land back and were told, “You can’t have it.” Jephthah said, “You can’t have it.” He secured the victory and he was singing and rejoicing in that, but his flesh would have been saying, “You have victory now, just forget all about that vow you made.” But no, when he came back in victory, he remembered his vow.  “And Jephthah came to Hizpeh unto his house, and, behold, his daughter came out to meet him with timbrels and with dances: and she was his only child; beside her, he had neither son nor daughter. And it came to pass, when he saw her, that he rent his clothes, and said, 'Alas, my daughter!  thou hast brought me very low, and thou art one of them that trouble me for I have opened my mouth unto the Lord, and I cannot go back.'” (verses 34-35) His conviction! You know what he did? He kept his vow.

 

There was a father one time who took his little daughter every night with him to the bedroom in order to teach her how to pray. You know where she is today?  She’s preaching the Gospel in the country of Sweden. The foundation of her conviction has grown. “...I cannot go back.” I hope we have that conviction and I hope we won’t go back.

 

I want to make the necessary repairs on my foundation so I could have the blessing of God.