Willem Boshoff - “The Faithful in Hebrews” - Williams Conventions, 1988

Hymn 249

I would like to express my thankfulness at coming to this land, and I feel unworthy of the privilege.  I did not think they would pick me. We have known over the years some of the workers here:  Bert Cameron, Clem Geue, John Hardy, Tom Turner.  We see a huge production here today as a result of their labours. One time there were young workers being asked to be willing to go to another country.  They were to put their names into a hat, and 68 were willing. Some were chosen to go to Europe, to America, to Australia, New Zealand, South Africa.  We see a great production today, dying men and women, willing to be as seed. There were no friends in the country they went to but now we see big conventions, hundreds of workers, and we see the fruit of the spirit. As I close my eyes and listen to the people here giving their testimony, struggling against world, flesh, and devil, it is the same testimonies that we hear in our land. 

Hebrews 11 tells us of faithful heroes. Abraham journeyed out by faith.  What a clear vision he received from God, and we wonder who helped him. When he returned from the slaughter, it tells us that Melchisedec approached him with bread and wine, as the king of peace, who had no father nor mother, no beginning no end, and I believe Abraham often visited that king. I admire those who lived before the Law of Moses, who lived before Jesus came, and how they grew wonderfully, and God could use them.

When Abraham was 75, he went out of his country and he never returned. He went on from victory to victory. There came a famine, and Abraham didn't ask God first - he went down into Egypt. He went through some painful experiences there, it was a Godless success. It was success without God. This is the worst thing a child of God can go through, but we sometimes have to go through to learn a lesson. God stepped in and brought him out. He was telling a "white lie," some say it is a "business lie."  This king gave him riches, and Lot went with him, who also received riches. When they went back, the trouble started. They were both rich, and they had plenty, and there was friction between their  shepherds. A terrible situation when there is friction. Abraham was a meek man. He said, "We are brothers; there should not be such things amongst us. You choose." Lot opened his eyes and saw the flats of Sodom, the open waters, he saw Egypt, he had a taste of Egypt, and he pitched his tent near where he was later on the inside. He was taking the easiest path, the path of least resistance. He wanted to be like others, but human nature is never satisfied.

Abraham took the mountain path, he had to dig wells, but God was with him. Later, Lot lost everything.  Things went well for a time, but now Abraham heard that his brother was taken away, and he became a deliverer. He took 380 men, they went in the night, and conquered, and brought them back.  He was his brother's keeper. He was not willing to fight with his brother, but he was willing to fight for his brother. What did Lot do after this?  Did he get out of Sodom? No, he went back again. The king was so pleased with Abraham and his victory that he said, "You choose." Abraham said, "No, I want nothing." He had learned that lesson, he did wrong, Pharaoh had made him rich, but now he realized that riches and blessing must come from God. "Lest you say that you have made Abraham rich, I will not take a shoe lace." After this Melchisedec blessed Abraham. He was developing in the right direction. We are so glad when we can see God's children growing more Godly. We sometimes go through deep waters, painful experiences, but then we grow. Sometimes you pray for more love, but you are asking God to bring trouble, because experiences come that will develop love. We go on from victory to victory.

God said to Abraham, "Walk before me, and be thou perfect." In Afrikaans, it says, "then thou shalt be perfect." Noah walked with God, Enoch walked with God. They did not get tired. Noah built the ark, which was the saving of his family. Abraham was also an intercessor. God planned to destroy Sodom, Abraham interceded and asked if there were 50 righteous, and went right down to 10, and there were not even 5 righteous in Sodom. There were only Lot and his two daughters who came out of that terrible place. From their lives descended those who became the enemies of the children of Israel. God wants our lives to be a growing experience, to have God-directed activity, willing to be the least, we will be winning, or otherwise we will have a Godless success.   

Joseph it tells us, that his father loved him. He went out to his brethren, and when they saw him they said, "Here comes the dreamer" and they made plans to kill him. Here was human hatred, jealousy. They conspired against him, they took his cloak. There were the same qualities of Jesus in Joseph, although He was Lord, they said, "We will not have this man rule over us." Joseph dreamed wonderful dreams. There were eleven sheaves bowed before him, and his sheaf was bound firm together. His father did not understand. They stripped him of his coat, and sold him. His brethren sold him, and this was to them a Godless success. This is the saddest experience:  success without God. Joseph had God's directed activity.

He was sold as a slave. Jesus took upon Himself the image of a servant, willing to serve. Joseph started to clean the pots, he was proved by God, God was with him as a slave. He felt that if I meet my father again, I do not want him to be disappointed in me. He realized that in Heaven there are two eyes seeing me continually. This was the spirit of the Lord Jesus. In the tests and trials, that He wanted His Father to be satisfied with him, and we can say the same as we go through tests, "Would Jesus do this?" No more just fighting to fight, but wanting to please God, and go to Heaven, to keep Jesus example continually before us. God blessed the employer for Joseph, and we know that friends working in the world that God has blessed them, and that business also. There is sometimes so much corruption, in business, but our people keep from becoming defiled.

Through the tests and trials, God knew that it was safer for Joseph to be in prison than to be in Pharaoh’s home. He was willing to be a slave there, and this humbled him more. He did not try to justify himself, he realized that God must have a purpose in this. In prison he gained the confidence of the head man. It tells us of Jesus that He was numbered among the transgressors. Then the baker and butler came to prison, they had tried to kill the king. They had a dream that worried them, and after Joseph told them the dream, he told the butler that if ever you get out, tell Pharaoh that I was stolen from my country. But we know the butler forgot.

Then Pharaoh dreamed a dream, and he realized there was a man in prison who helped him: "Today I remember my sin, there is in your prison a Hebrew servant." Joseph was fetched, and this was now 30 years, and during that time I'm sure that Joseph had many sweet dreams, and his brothers had many a nightmare. He had no conventions, he had no visits from workers, there were lonely experiences, there were dark experiences. Joseph had roots that went down to the fountain, he was planted by the riverside, and his roots went down and his branches went over the wall, he did not live for himself. God prepared this young life; this was God-directed activity. He was able to explain the king's dreams. Joseph, so full of wisdom, you become the governor, there is no better man than you. This is a far-reaching result of a faithful life under the control of God. He was promoted to be under the king, and I wonder what Mrs. Potiphar thought when she heard that night from her husband, "Do you know what happened to our slave? He is my boss now." Joseph had no revenge. It is in human nature to revenge, but God can do better than us. She would have to bend and bow before Joseph.

One time there was one of our friends, a mechanic, who had a boss who made it difficult for him. He saved the government a lot of money by using a different kind of  oil in the machines, so he was appointed as Chief Technician, and all men were now below him. This man who had been his boss, who made things so difficult, thought he would make them feel it, but no, the man said to him, "Let us work together." This is the Christian spirit.

Joseph did not retaliate. He said to his brethren, "If you do not bring your brother down you shall not see my face." His father did not understand. He asked questions of his brethren:  “Is my father still alive?" Now Simeon was left, and Jacob said, "Now you want Benjamin also." He had a little pearl in Benjamin.   We need to sell all our pearls to possess the pearl of great price. He is more precious to me than in the beginning, after 50 years. This was a painful experience for Jacob. Judah had pleaded for them, he said "I'm responsible." Jacob said "If I am bereaved, I am bereaved. Take a present to the man, give of the best” and they went again. Joseph said to them that he was their brother. They were shocked, they were so surprised. But he said, "Don't worry, it's not you that sent me here, this was God-directed activity. God prepared me." Joseph became a feeder. Jacob saw the wagons, he said, "Now I believe, and will go and see Joseph before I die."

Jacob spent the last 17 years of his life near Joseph, they were the sweetest years of his life, but he had to be willing to part with Benjamin to see the face of Joseph. God did not reveal Joseph to him till he was willing to be broken and humbled. When people are willing for this before they profess, they never cause any trouble.

In the story of Esther, we see Haman got promotion, not Mordecai. Sometimes others are getting promotion; Mordecai did not fight for it, he waited on God. Haman asked for a writing to kill all the Jews, he said it was not good for them to live. Esther heard of it. Mordecai was sitting in ashes and he sent a message to her to plead with the king and "it is possible that you are in the kingdom for this purpose, that through you God may send deliverance." Here we see again God-directed activity. Haman knew of a God-less success. Esther prepared royal apparel, and found grace in his sight, and this is wonderful. Whatever we do, let us find favour in the sight of God. Esther pleaded for her life.

During the war in Holland, there was the underground movement. A man and wife who were professing were asked if they would look after a little Jew girl. He was not willing to do so, but his wife had a sleepless night, and she said in the morning:  "If I perish, I perish; I am going to take her." They kept her a secret throughout the war. Later she heard the workers, and then went out into the work to preach the gospel. She realized there was a great price paid for her life, for this couple did not obey the law.

When we were in Indonesia during the war, the last British boat was leaving for Australia. There was my companion and I and two sister workers, and we said that we had seen good days in Indonesia.  Why run away now? We wanted to be willing to suffer with the sheep. We did not go, although the authorities pressed us to go. Those boats never arrived in Australia. They were full of missionaries and parsons trying to save their lives, but they lost their lives. We had to suffer by staying, but the Lord brought us into contact with a better class of people who listened. We were praying for this before the war, but I didn't expect to go to prison to meet these people. There were some judges there, some doctors. One man said, "I am so miserable, my father is a parson but I have no contact with God." We started having meetings, my companion and I, we would have ten men in a cell, and some of these great men became little children. One man who was a doctor said, "My medical conscience does not allow me to believe that I can be born again as a child" but he became born again in his heart.

Then we read of Joshua who filled the place of Moses. He said, "Be strong and full of courage" when they surrounded Jericho. The order was that they were not to speak a word for six days as they went around Jericho, but on the seventh day they were to shout. There was an order among God's people. One time there was an official who came to convention. He said, "Well, Mr. Boshoff, we were never satisfied about your small number of converts, but we are satisfied that you have quality. There is an order amongst your people, they listen so well." Not long after that, they recognized us in Indonesia.  Among God's people, there is order.

The Lord's people invaded Jericho. The Lord caused the walls to fall, to kill everybody. Achan stole a garment, some silver and gold, and hid these in his tent. This was a Godless success, but Joshua had God-directed activity. This man conquered a country. It is sad that Achan did not think that there are two eyes in Heaven who see everything. Others did not see because these things were hidden in his tent.

We read of Elisha.  He helped Namaan with God-directed activity, to go down to wash seven times in Jordan. He got all worked up, he had brought a lot of money for his cure, but this man of God was giving this free of charge. He wanted to do something great. Jesus said, "You have received without pay, and give it without pay."  If he had received healing according to his mind, he would still be a proud man, but this humbled him, to dive under the water seven times. He said, "Now I believe that there is no other God but in Israel."

This all came about because of the faithfulness of a servant maid. Young children, you can be used by God. Sad to read about his companion, running after Namaan and asking for rings and money. He also received a Godless success. What brings us to repentance? Something stronger than law, takes something more than natural benefits. In John 1, Jesus fed the people, and they were looking for him, following Him only for the natural heart was not turned. There is not enough power in natural things to turn clothing and money. He also received a Godless success.