Jack Craig - Paul's Meekness - Booyong - 1937

I do not exercise myself very much with the meaning of these names that we have in the Bible, but some of them do have a great meaning for us.  After Saul had received God's Son, his name was altered to Paul, the meaning of which is little. He was brought up by a great man.  Education often makes a man big. Knowledge puffeth up but love buildeth up others.  If Gods love is going to fill our hearts, it is going to teach us how we can help others.  God’s love is filling our hearts and it teaches us to think of others.  If God's love is able to fill our hearts, it will teach us how to be helpers of others.  Paul says that knowledge will always have the effect of puffing us up, make us feel that we are something great because we have a bit of knowledge.

We do not require a great deal of knowledge to walk in the way of God.  God has prepared everything to keep us humble and small.  When God revealed His love in Jesus, to Paul, Paul came down, he humbled himself.  Paul came down so low and humble that he prayed unto God, and so God sent one to comfort him that he might recover his sight to see the truth as it is in Jesus.

It is only the work that God does in our hearts that can help us.  God draws people to Jesus.  God makes people His messengers.  He creates in them a love for men and women who are perishing.  God beginning His work is the only thing that is ever going to produce anything in our lives.  Paul came down to the place where he was willing for anything.  We must be willing, as little children, to receive God's Kingdom.  As Saul prayed, God sent His messenger along to help him. This man Saul, who had been great, had come down to be small.  The great and mighty God had got the first place in that man’s life.

God is very anxious to bring us all down to be small.  There is no greater guarantee that our lives are going to be used, than that we have been brought down. Although God had worked to bring Paul down to that place where he was small, yet God was afraid lest he should again be exalted, therefore God sent him a thorn in the flesh, something to keep him down, and something to keep him small.  Paul prayed that it may be taken away from him, but God said, "No.  My strength is made perfect in weakness."  When Paul heard that, he said he would therefore much rather remain small.

He had the same old inclination to rise up, but he said, "I beat about my body, I seek to bring it down.  I resist this inclination that is to my human body to become great."  That was the secret of God being able to bless that man’s life.  We know that in our own bodies there will always be in some inclination, and as we seek to fight the battle, God will enable us to keep our bodies under and therefore these things will not get the better of us.  Paul only desired to be a servant unto others.

We know how easy it would be, especially when God gives us privileges, for us to be spoiled.  It is good if we have a gladness of heart to do what would fall to our part.  It is a terrible thing if we are foolish enough to get exalted because a little more is entrusted to us.  It is very easy to be spoiled because of privileges given to us.  Perhaps we may think we are something more than another person is.  It means disaster if we become exalted in our own eyes.  We should be willing to fit into any place, at any time that God will have us do.  God wants to bring us down and keep us small, though the enemy would like to put something into our hearts that would spoil us.  There is room in God’s family for all who are willing to fill the humble place.

In Psalm 131:1, David gives testimony that is very weighty and powerful, "My heart is not haughty, nor mine eyes lofty, neither do I exercise myself in great matters, or in things too high for me."  His eyes were not lofty. He did not look down on others.  There would have been many things that perhaps David’s human nature desired to have, but he said, "I am willing to be anything that God wants me to be." He was willing to exercise himself in the little things that God was revealing to him.

Paul an apostle according to the will of God.  God gave him a work to carry out, commanded him to go and preach the Gospel.  He wanted to do more than carry out the commandment that God had given him, he wanted to put all that he could into the work that was given him.  He wanted to endure all ends that others might be partakers to the eternal life.  He wanted to be a partaker in the sufferings of Christ that, through him, others might be blessed.  Paul just wanted to be what God wanted him to be.  He was in the will of God, and that can be a great comfort to us that we are willing to live a faithful life wherever we are, willing to carry out the responsibility that has been entrusted to us.  It is a very comforting thing when we are conscious that we are in the will of God. There may be temptations for us to get away from the will of God.  We are only happy in life so long as we are willing to do what God has called us to do. Perhaps there is sometimes a temptation for us to get away from what God has called us to do, but if we do not give way to do temptation, we will, in time to come, be glad.

Seek to abide in the will of God and be faithful to that which has been committed to us.  This will bring eternal gain to us.  Paul said, "I am what I am, by the will of God."  He wanted to continue in the will of God unto the end of the chapter.

Jesus Christ our hope.  That may be a strange way to put it, but I believe that Jesus Christ is the door of hope to us.  Immanuel means God with us, one of the names of Jesus.  Men saw the way to victory because they saw that God was with His Son.  Jesus appeared to be the same as others until people were able to look on His life, and then they saw a man who able to overcome all the temptations of this world.  The temptations of the world were not able to have any power over Jesus, God was with Him.  He gave men the hope that when they received His message, that God would give them victory, too.  Jesus did not leave them in ignorance, God was continually with them.  Jesus always did the things that pleased God.  No matter what sacrifice it meant to Jesus, He always did what God wanted Him to do.  He said that of Himself He could do nothing.  It was by the connection that He had with His Father that He was able to overcome.  He was therefore able to give the bread of life to men because God was with Him.

God has shown us how we can submit to Him, how we can obey His voice, that our lives may be a blessing to men and women in the world.  Jesus Christ our hope of glory, and we are very thankful to Him for the hope that we have in God. God is not a disappointment to us.  He gives us grace to do things which otherwise we would never be able to do.  Paul speaks about the glorious gospel that God had committed to his trust.  The law of Moses was not able to give life, but the glorious gospel committed to Paul was able to give life.

There was not one amongst the apostles who thought that God's gospel would ever work so wonderfully that a man like Paul should be brought down to his knees and his hard, cruel heart changed, another heart given him that he might preach the glorious gospel which at one time he hated so much.  God united Paul in His great family with His people.  He was able to declare God's gospel to others. The gospel of God can work wonders in our lives today.  It is not the greatness of preaching that helps, but the fact that we, who were in bondage at one time, are now set free and God has raised us up to be overcomers.  That is the thing that will speak hope to men and women who have been trying to free themselves from the weak and beggarly elements of the world, and yet are unable to do so without the glorious gospel of God.

The grace of God was wonderful to Paul, filled his heart with love for his fellow creatures.  God delivers His people from bondage.  This also helps to give us sympathy for others.  Remember the stranger that comes amongst you, remember that we were once strangers, we were once where others are.  It is because of God's strong arm that we are brought to the place where we are no longer strangers.  We should have extra tender care when people come to us, we
should remember that we are once strangers.  Now we are no more strangers to His love and grace.

God showed wonderful mercy to a man who was so far from Him, when He dealt with Paul, the man who was so far removed from Him.  He had shown His mercy to Paul that we might see how great is the mercy of God, how wonderful in its working is God's salvation.  No matter how difficult our position, there is that wonderful salvation of God that is working in mankind, that we can remember this that there is the word of God that is living and powerful.  The message of God is wonderful and powerful, something that is able to appeal to the hearts of people who are seeking God.  God would like to have His people offer prayers and supplications for all men, for kings, and so on.  God wants His people to have a sympathy for the rulers of this world.

Paul was accused of being against the ruler of the land.  He said he wanted to show that such things were not true at all, that they had the welfare of the land at heart.  I would like to encourage men and women to be a people who would be loyal in their country, seek to strengthen the hands of those who are ruling the country.  With well-doing, we can put to silence the ignorance of foolish men.  We should be a people who want to be loyal to our country.  God wants us to live a quiet and peaceable life.  He is not interested in us making a fuss of any sort.  God is not anxious to see us make a row with others, perhaps trying to show them that they are going to hell, but we should be trying to live a life that will appeal to them.  God wants us to so live, that in the darkness our lives might be a light to others, that we may so live that they may desire that which we have in our lives.