Johnny Hickley - Winchester II, South Africa Convention - Friday morning, 2005

Psalm 65: 1-4,9-10, “Praise waiteth for Thee, O God, in Sion and unto Thee shall the vow be performed. O Thou that hearest prayer, unto Thee shall all flesh come. Iniquities prevail against me. As for our transgressions, Thou shalt purge them away. Blessed is the man whom Thou choosest, and causest to approach unto Thee, that he may dwell in Thy courts. We shall be satisfied with the goodness of Thy house, even of Thy holy temple. Thou visitest the earth, and waterest it; Thou greatly enrichest it with the river of God, which is full of water; Thou preparest them corn, when Thou hast so provided for it. Thou waterest the ridges thereof abundantly; Thou settlest the furrows thereof; Thou makest it soft with showers; Thou blessest the springing thereof. (Last part of verse 13.) They shout for joy, they also sing.”

 

I was just reminded of something someone said some years ago about the demand and supply. We know in life today in the world, there is such a demand for certain things; in some places, the supply is inadequate. Often they demand, and supply can’t keep up with demand. We are just so glad that it is so different in the house of the Lord, that it is just opposite. Our need can never be greater than what the Lord is providing for us.


We think of convention, I always like to think of convention that there is no one who looks forward to convention more than the Lord Himself because He has such provisions for His children. He knows the needs even before we have come here, He has such great provision, there is such an abundance in His storehouse, and in the house of the Lord, there is such great riches, unsearchable riches, and it is there for our need to satisfy the need of our soul. The need of our soul can never be greater than what is in the store house, and this is what we find when the Lord speaks to us at convention, through His word, through His Spirit, as we heard last night He performs miracles. I don’t know how many conventions you have had here all ready but when we hear from God’s people going away, we still being able to say that this is the best convention we have ever had. Because of God’s provision, because of the need, God provides.

 

It was a great day a wonderful day for Joseph when he found his brothers there before him in Egypt come to buy bread for their families, and Joseph knew that they didn’t know him at first but he knew they were hungry, and he would open the store house and he would provide for them. But he knew as they stood before him that day that the need in their souls was far greater, far greater. He knew they were praying for a cleared conscience, for forgiveness, for a peace of mind, for comfort. So Joseph opened up his heart, things that he has found in the hidden storehouse from vast experiences. He found precious things in that hidden storehouse, and on that day, he could open up his heart and give them what they needed. I’m sure it was the greatest day in Joseph’s life when he could say to his brothers, “I am Joseph your brother, come near.” It is just what they needed that day, it was just what they needed to help them, and they felt so bad, they felt so guilty because of the past of the wrongs they did to Joseph. But you know Joseph, he looked back and he saw the hand of the Lord and he said, "It wasn’t you. You didn’t do that to me, it was the Lord. The Lord’s hands did that to me." And that was a wonderful vision that Joseph had from the Lord, that he was to provide from the beginning.


And we know convention is a special place that we can be fed and we can receive help for every need. In Solomon songs, it says, “Praise waiteth for Thee O God; praise wait for Thee.” This is something that really gladdens the heart of God as He hears the songs of praise going up from the hearts of His children. Praising God for all that He has done. Sometimes we are in a place we can go to convention and we feel this song of praise isn’t with us. There are no other people that can praise God so much, in such a way as God’s people, it comes from love, God delights in that, He delights in that we are in that place again where He can put that song in our hearts, we can get that song of praise, we can go out and show forth praises unto Him for all He has provided for us. Praise is something that is seen, something that is heard, something that is done. We are glad that the Lord can help us with this these days. "Unto Thee shall the vow be performed." And we have heard the vows again this morning, and we can remember in times past that we made vows to the Lord. These vows brought us closer to the Lord, and the Lord took us to places where we could make these vows, perform these vows. And we hear these wonderful songs of others that had great blessing in their lives because they were willing to pay the vows they had vowed to God.

 

As it says here, “O Thou who hearest prayer, unto Thee shall all flesh come.” All flesh come. Aren’t we glad for the place of prayer? We can actually say we are here today because of prayer. It is a special place for God’s people, this place of prayer. Sometimes in the home and the mother is busy with her house work, cooking etc; and a child is in the room upset, she doesn’t seem to take notice of the child, the child just cries away there. She knows the voice of the child, she knows. And there is another time when the child is crying away there and the mother leaves what she is doing and runs to the child because she knows this is serious, she knows the voice of the child. And God knows when there is a desperate cry from our hearts, He hears prayer.


Some years ago, we were at the bedside of a brother in South Africa just a couple of days before he passed away, and he just told us of a time when he was in the home, his mother was serving God and he looked forward to the day when he could be gone. Just do his own thing in the world, and that day did come. Then one day, he was with some of his friends in a boat and the boat capsized and he just realized that this could be the end for all of them, being desperate he just prayed a few words, he prayed aloud, he didn’t mind what his friends thought of him that day, and he just said, “O Lord of my mother, save us.” He didn’t say, "My Lord," his Lord, but he knew what the Lord had done for his mother, thus the words he uttered. They were saved that day, they were saved every one of them just in time. And that man he had to battle, tests came, he married and for many years, he had the Sunday morning meeting in his home. And there he was an old man.

 

At one convention in South Africa, we just heard of one of the friends coming to convention that she had served God for many years, and that her husband at first was so much against it, he didn’t make it easy for her. He would take her to meetings and just stayed outside, he took her to conventions but he never went in just left and picked her up on the last day. At this one convention, he brought her and in the first meeting, she gave her testimony and she said, “I don’t know if God hears my prayers.” She said, “I have been praying for my husband now for fifty years and he’s still outside.” She just felt that God wasn’t listening to her prayers although she was always praying for him. But she did not know that her husband had come into that tent and sat right down in the back, and she sat down. He stood up and he said, “I thought that I would tell you all that God has heard those prayers today.” There was a change.

 

David said in one place, “Let none that wait on thee be ashamed.” Psalms 25:3, "Anyone that is willing to wait on the Lord need not be ashamed." As David thought of what he was in the place of prayer, he was not ashamed. The power he got from the Lord, the forgiveness and the comfort, all that he got is being provided to every one who is willing to wait on the Lord.  In one song David just said, he was facing an experience, and he just said, “Oh that I had wings like a dove! For then I would fly away, and be at rest. Lo, then I would wander far off, and remain in the wilderness.” (Psalms 55:6-7) This is how he felt, and aren’t there times when we also feel like that along the way? When experiences come, some circumstance strikes, some situation we wouldn’t wish on ourselves, and we just wish we had wings, the wings of a dove to just fly away. But the Lord knows all this that we know and it is the reason that He has made for us the place of prayer.


"They that wait on the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up on eagle’s wings." We know the eagle can fly high, and the higher it flies the better it can see. And this is the provision God has made for His children as we wait on Him that we can rise up like an eagle, rise above one’s human thoughts, rise above human reasoning, rise above the things that make us feel discouraged and get us down, but the Lord, He will help us rise above it.


One thing that was said about Satan, that Satan was cast down from Heaven, was cast down and now he’s trying to make God’s people feel cast down in themselves, to feel that we are no good, to feel discouragement. But there is the provision God has made to help us rise above these things. It was when the Lord found Hagar by a fountain of water and the angel of the Lord said to her, "Hagar, where have you come from, and where are you going, where do you want to go?" Her circumstances were so bad she felt she couldn’t face it any more, and she sort of wanted to flee, to fly away that day, and she was asked by the Lord to just return and do the will of God. Wasn’t it in the wilderness when the Lord found His faithful prophet Elijah, and He asked, "What are you doing here, Elijah?" We know at that time, Elijah didn’t find peace, did he? He said, "It is enough Lord." He didn’t feel it was worth living anymore but the angel heard him, and he said, “There is provision, eat, otherwise the way is to long for thee.” And it was there that Elijah would yearn for that still small voice of God, it was there that Elijah looked down with the eyes of an eagle and rose above his own thoughts on the wings of an eagle. He got a clearer vision of the will of God.

 

We are so glad for God’s provision today, we are so glad for the Gospel message today because it brings messages of hope. God has chosen His people, they are very precious to Him. It said that we shall be satisfied with the goodness of Thy house even of Thy Holy temple; there is no other house like this even in all the world.

 

There are so many buildings, places where people go and worship and they call it the house of God but it is said that the Lord dwells within, He doesn’t dwell in temples made with hands. God’s people collectively all over the world dwell in the house of God. There is no other house, we will never find another house. But we find that the house of God is the house of prayer. There is provision made for every need of the soul in this house. I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever. There is beauty in this house, a beauty we won’t find out here either.


There is one of our friends in South Africa, she told us about a time she was in the world and she took part in a beauty competition and she did very well. She said, "Often when I was alone, a face would come before me, the face of my mother." She saw a beauty in that face, a beauty that comes from God, a beautiful spirit that won’t be found in the world. And this is the work God is busy working out in our lives. God’s people are a beautiful people in the world, the beauty will come from within. We feel grateful that Jesus came to show us the perfection of Jesus, came to show us a beauty in mercy, compassion, love, self-denial, and obedience.

 

Remember on the Cross, He asked God to forgive them for they know not what they do. There was such a beauty that was coming from His life, wasn’t just something just from His lips, it was from His heart. There was a beauty there that the Roman soldier centurion that saw all these things, he never before had seen someone like it, it was such a beautiful Spirit the Lord Jesus had that day, beautiful, the beauty of Heaven that is found in the house of the Lord. It just says here that the Lord watered the earth and it gave abundantly, such an abundance in the house of the Lord. He will bring us forth like the beauty of a flower. May God help us to seek Him in the house of prayer.