Ray Govan - God's Faithfulness to the Young - Glencoe, New Zealand - 1976

Most of us can sing that hymn, “Counted In,” from our hearts with thankfulness and gratitude for being remembered amongst God’s people, counted in with the lambs and sheep of God, the flock of His pasture, and having the Great Shepherd to care for us. It is wonderful to go back to our beginning and how it all started. The Lord was prepared to count us in because of our attitude towards Him when He called. He has called us by name. Maybe some have not yet known that call. Some may feel their need of God’s help yet are still outside the Shepherd’s care. The time will come when you, too, will hear the voice of God. The Shepherd will call you by name and you will rejoice with us that you are counted in and you will be able to sing, “I am now a child of God.”

I was thinking back on the time when it gradually dawned on me, the privileges that belong to a child of God. We become members of the household of faith, brought into the family circle. It is wonderful that God has arranged a place for you and me in God’s family circle, and we can sit together in heavenly places in Jesus Christ, having fellowship with our elder Brother and our Brothers and Sisters in Christ. We have a common heritage and are able to speak of these things that belong to the household of faith and learn more and more of what belongs to our peace and eternal inheritance.

Far more than what we could ask or think is going to be given to us in that day, and already is, if we have found the truth. What we get in this life is sufficient to repay us for anything we would suffer for Jesus’ sake, or the truth’s sake, but how much more reward lies beyond the grave. Paul said, “It hath not entered into the heart of man the things God has prepared from those that love Him.” He reveals them to us by His spirit. They will never be seen by the stranger that is outside. Jesus will reveal them to us by His Spirit. The Father will lead us into all truth, and that anointing will teach us all things.

Some young folk may be thinking over these things and we know it is better to see the life lived out because much more can be done through a life. That life in the home and attitude to the children is so important if they are to be sanctified and kept from the world and brought to the place like Jacob. In his young years, he heard the voice of God to himself as an individual. Young people have much to enjoy. Those things that look so good in life, they are often things that are quite legitimate. “Rejoice, O young man, in thy youth; and let thy heart cheer thee in the days of thy youth, and walk in the ways of thine heart, and in the sight of thine eyes; but know thou, that for all these things God will bring thee into judgement.” If we grow up as young men and women keeping this in mind, we are going to keep ourselves carefully. We are not going to give way to things that will bring us regret later, and grieve the heart of our Maker.

It tells us in Ecclesiastes, “Remember now thy creator in the days of thy youth, while the evil days come not, nor the years draw nigh,” when they have nothing to offer. It is sad to see old people coming to meetings, listening to the Gospel and trying to grasp the comfort they have need of, the comfort they have not got in life, but they are too old. They have left it too long, have lived for themselves, walked in their own way and in the counsel of their own heart, and have come to the end of their lives empty and desolate. It is very sad. Yet the pride in men’s hearts keeps them from becoming a little child. One man was very offended about baptism of little children. He thought that was the thing that ought to be done, take them in tender years and make them children of God. It is good we have learned different to that. He had preached the Gospel for thirty years or more, but he was ashamed to say he did not understand it. Later on, he got over his hurt feelings and asked permission if he could come to our Gospel meetings. As he sat in meetings, with tears he asked, “Why can’t I understand?” He could not remember anything he heard. Because of his age, it would soon go. “Remember now thy Creator in the days of thy youth...” God has intended this right from the beginning.

Moses was a young child in a Godly home, with his parents understanding the will and purpose of their maker and they did not fear the wrath of the king. They would go to any length to keep their little one from being destroyed by the destroyer and keep that child growing up in the care of his parents, a thing that would be impossible under the circumstances of the day, you would say. God will overrule in such a way that children will get the opportunity, if parents and children co-operate. That young man grew up with his mother, in the enemy’s camp, and it worked wonderfully. By prayer and willingness to fit in with the will of God, God can still work wonders. Moses grew up in the palace of the king, among the best the world could offer, yet he refused to become the son of Pharaoh’s daughter, and I am sure you will come to that conclusion, that you do not want to be known as a worldling.

From a child, God prepared Moses, then we think of Timothy. It speaks of his mother and grandmother, and finally, that he made his own decision and was filling his place in the service of God. Isaiah and Jeremiah, to whom God spoke the message to be carried forth in their day and generation, God prepared them for the place they had to fill. It is wonderful now, to read of their lives, service, wisdom and spirit that God gave them. It is possible for young people to be like that.

God’s purpose from the beginning, is to make us a prepared people from a prepared place. God has created us all with this in view, and through the Gospel, He is trying to accomplish it. By His word that gave form and light in the beginning, He is still working in the heart of man to make a wonderful change. If we give ourselves to God, there is a wonderful end: “'For they shall be Mine,' saith the LORD, 'when I make up My jewels.'” That means being counted in. Even in this life, we can be a diadem in the hand of God, His workmanship; glorifying our Maker; letting that light shine out, a reflection of the Son of God, the Son of righteousness, who was the express image of His Father.

God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, in Our Own likeness.” God has not given up that hope that was in His heart of having a people like the firstborn, Jesus. We would not understand what was in the mind of God, except Jesus had come. All the things in the Old Testament are like types and shadows. Jacob saw that ladder that led from earth to Heaven. Others saw different things at different times, but God said, “hath in these last days spoken unto us by His Son.” The answer to our problems is in Jesus. God makes no mistake. Adam’s fall was not a mistake. Romans tells us that our Creator made the creature subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of Him who hath subjected the same in hope. Vanity does not just mean conceit. The meaning in the Old Testament is emptiness, fruitlessness, uselessness. It was often applied to the idols of the Old Testament. Those idols in India, we cannot understand why people can be deceived. It is all vanity.

We see masses of people worshipping stones and pieces of wood and clay. They know no living God and no Maker. They cannot understand, and in the darkness and superstition, they carry on with these sort of services. It is not vain to serve the Lord, but it is fruitful and useful and has a great end, an expected end. Think of the people of God walking in the truth. Some have, for many years, been holding up that banner of truth in this area. Our old Brother gave testimony for the hope that he wanted to die in the faith, die in the Lord, finish up with the hope he started out with. What a testimony to speak after so many years.

This is not a new thing. Jacob leaning on his staff, giving the same sort of testimony, telling his sons of the angel of God keeping him, “all my life long.” Jacob had started as a young man when he made his own decisions. He was not counted in because his father and mother were counted in. He was not included because of Abraham and Isaac. He knew God had been faithful to those men, had called Abram out of Ur of the Chaldees to a place he did not know, but he heard the voice of God and obeyed and that faith he had to take such a step was counted for righteousness.

You may not understand what is before you, but God asks you to take steps in faith, too. It is not a matter of how far your father or mother have journeyed, it is still a step in faith for you. It means taking these steps with Jesus of whom God said, “This is My beloved Son in whom I am well pleased.” It leaves no doubt about what the Father is asking. Jesus did always those things that pleased the Father and He is an example of what a child of God should be. A nominal Christian would never have the power to take those steps but those who have obeyed the Gospel are able to give their own testimony. A nominal Christian has not that to give.

We can tell how God’s servants came our way. That is God’s true purpose from the beginning. He sent those two servants into Egypt to deliver His people, and to give them that opportunity that belongs to the children of God, that could take them into the promised land. Jesus said regarding the Kingdom, “Fear not little flock, it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.” It is not only this Kingdom but also this likeness of Christ we must have stamped on us.

Jacob proved God and His provision, and was able to pass on to his children these things, and to us. Those who came out of Egypt had a responsibility to tell of their experience, of those two servants God sent into Egypt, and led them forth. It all began in our experience by the Gospel bringing us to the gate of Heaven, and as we listened to the word preached, we became conscious of a voice speaking to us. It would be terrible to turn a deaf ear. “He that hath an ear, let him hear.”

Sometimes we quarrel with our Maker, like the clay says to the potter, “Why hast thou made me thus?” God leaves a void in our life that we might be made like Jesus. We don’t like to be different. Nature teaches us a lot. God wants us to learn without knowing much of the Scripture. There were things every day where Jesus taught the mind of God, the purpose of life and how this work was going to be accomplished and make men and women different. I saw a platypus in the stream here. I sat quietly for a while before I could get a good view of him. It is the same with the birds. God can teach us a lesson from them, if we only wait quietly.

Quietness invites the spirit of God, and we will learn the things that belong to our peace. “Go to the fish and ask them,” we read in Job, and to the birds. The old platypus is different. I have never seen a thing like him. The old grey duck came swimming up beside him, and he could perhaps think how different he is from the duck and the rabbits on the bank, and could quarrel with his Maker for being handicapped. Sometimes we are like that. We have not learned that, “Godliness with contentment is great gain,” and we must be content as we are.

I was brought up in a religion and baptized as a child and made to believe I was a child of God. God has planned through a new birth, being born of His spirit, that we become a child of God. I feel thankful for the patience of God’s servants as in love, kindness, and gentleness they tried to teach me the things that helped me to understand.To a young person, a birthday is an important event of the year with gifts, celebrations, and it goes on like that until perhaps the doctor tells us we are having too many of them, and we know these things are going to finish. But there is a birthday that is not going to finish, but mark the beginning of an endless life, that life eternal that Jesus came to give, that we might not perish but have eternal life. Jesus spoke to Nicodemus of being born again and it seemed foolish to him. He could not understand it. He had built his faith on tradition and the knowledge he had of the Jewish religion, blinded by these things. Blessed we are to hear this word of Truth that can bring such a change in our life. These ugly marks of human nature are going to be dealt with and taken away.

We look on Jesus and say we are handicapped. We have not got this nature, but God has planned that we can be changed and made into another person by His spirit, like Saul of the Old Testament. That will happen to us and we won’t despise the nature God has given us but like Jesus, will say, “I delight to do Thy will O God.” We realize our body is to become the temple of the living God. We are born again of the Spirit of Jesus and that is what makes all the difference. We are born again of incorruptible seed.

The Gospel came not in word only, but in power and assurance, and the wilderness of our life has been changed into a garden, and the voice of thanksgiving and melody is there. His word is not returning void, and its purpose is fulfilled as we hear in testimonies. It says of David that he died full of days, riches, and honour, and God wants us all to experience that. His purpose is that we should be like His Son, speak like Jesus and walk like Jesus. To the disciples looking on Jesus as He walked, He appealed to them as the Lamb of God. John writes, “It doth not yet appear what we shall be, but we know that when He shall appear, we shall be like Him.” A lot has been put out of our lives for Jesus to be manifested and for the Spirit to be at home in our hearts. May this work continue to the day of Jesus Christ.

David could say, “Come and I will tell you what great things the LORD hath done for my soul.” In eternity we will be able to sit down in the house of the Father, with Abraham, with Isaac and Jacob. What a conversation. It will be wonderful to hear their testimonies.

“Would you not choose what Abram had, the conscious guidance of God’s hand?”

He went to a place he did not know of, but he believed that what God had said, He would do. We too can learn that from the animals and birds, even the annual migration of the birds which is unchanging. God has promised the Comforter who will guide you into all truth. We have that still, small voice, that Spirit as we journey, speaking to us that we turn neither to the right hand nor the left, saying to us, “This is the way. Walk ye in it.” We will come to our desired haven if we are prepared to follow Jesus.