Willie Brown - Mountains, Valleys, Lepers - Norwood, South Australia - 1948

To my mind, Paul and Timothy stand as two of the stones of the Great Pyramid of Egypt. It was built 5,000 years ago, and still stands as one of the  most mathematically perfect buildings in the world. You couldn't put a post card or a pen knife between any two of the stones.


I want to ask you a question, "Is it possible for someone to come along and put something  between you and your brother or sister. Something that will spoil the unity?" Elijah and Elisha had this spirit of confidence between them, and it was never betrayed. David and Jonathan were such close friends. Jonathan had a very great love for David. It says that he loved David as he loved his own soul. They made that covenant between them. When Saul's anger rose against David, it resulted in two seats being empty at the King's table. But when David most needed a friend "when he was rejected and outcast," Jonathan said, "David, there is trouble brewing; Goodbye, David." He left him! He left him when he needed him most. He left the Lord's anointed. It was the relationship with the one on the throne, his Father that held him back.


Let me ask you a question, "Is there someone or some relationship in your life that is holding you back from going outside the camp to have fellowship with the rejected Master?" There are some very nice people in the world, but they are not willing to go outside the camp. Don't let them hold you back.


The next mountain, Mt. Sion or Hermon. (Mt. Sion and Mt. Herman are the one mountain - Deuteronomy 4:48, Mt. Sion, which is Hermon.) This is the mountain of fellowship. Psalm 133 says, "Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity! It is as the dew of Hermon, and as the dew that descended upon the mountains of Zion; for there the Lord commanded the blessing, even life for evermore." This is the psalm of fellowship. How very much I appreciate the fellowship I have with the children of God!


During the war, we were cut off from fellowship, and for 15 months, we didn't even get a letter. During that time, our consolation was that in the place of prayer, we could have fellowship and contact with the children of God, and remember them there. We knew we were remembered also by them in prayer. We had fellowship in prayer. During the war, we were on one occasion going to South Africa by ship. The Japanese were still in the war then, and it was necessary for us to  have a convoy. I looked on our right hand, and there was a destroyer. I turned and looked on our left hand, and there was another destroyer. What were they there for? They were guarding us. I looked up, and overhead there was a plane. It was there to protect us. The destroyers were armed with guns. Why? For our protection. The guns were not for me, but for my enemies. As I walk the way of God, I look on one side of me, and I am glad to see there a fellowship. I look on the other side of me, and see another fellowship. Then I look up into the face of God, and see His love for men, and am glad He is our Father, and that He is watching over us to protect us.


The Mohammedans Koran, which is their Bible, contains 90 different names of God. He is called, "The Wonderful One," "The Compassionate One." He is called by many beautiful names, but there is not one word in the whole of the Koran which spells Father. We are thankful that we can look into the face of God and call Him, "Father." Fellowship is a wonderful word, but we can only have real fellowship with our brothers and sisters in Christ when we have real fellowship with God, our Father.


Mt. Sion is the mount of fellowship. We might speak of Mt. Hermon as the mount of blessing, "the blessing which results from fellowship with God," the dew of Hermon. Mt. Hermon is 19,000 feet high, and is snow-capped all the year round. It is called the mountain of perpetual snows. When we climb up to the summit, we can see the whole of the Promised Land, the inheritance. The dew of Hermon is a symbol of the blessing that God promised His people, "the dew that gave fruitfulness."


It was here on this mountain that Jesus took three of His disciples, and was transfigured before them. They saw Moses and Elias talking with Him, then a cloud passed over them, and when it was lifted, they saw no man any more save Jesus. They heard God's voice from the cloud, "This is My beloved Son, hear ye Him." On the mountain, they learned to get their eyes on Him alone. Jesus promised His disciples fruitfulness  as they continued to abide in Him.


There is a very fertile plain at the foot of Mt. Hermon. The dew falls, and the snow melts and runs down the mountain, and makes the land fruitful. How can you and I be fruitful in the service of God? Is it not when the water and dew from Hermon is flowing from our lives, and waters the flock of God? There is that mountain mentioned in Matthew 5, where Jesus sat and taught His disciples. We could well call it the mountain of exhortation. It was there that He spoke those wonderful words of exhortation, "Blessed are the poor in Spirit," and so on.


There is the mount of temptation, the exceeding high mountain, where the Devil tempted the Son of God with all the kingdoms of the world. We have all been there on the mount of temptation. Not one of us can say we have always come away unwounded and unscathed by the enemy. We have all failed there, but our Master never failed, and in our times of defeat, He has never failed us.


David, after many years of victory, sat down and asked concerning his enemy, the one who had done him so much wrong and had caused him so much suffering, "Is there any that is left of the house of Saul, that I may show him kindness? That I may show the kindness of God unto him?" The servant who was called, said, "Jonathan hath yet a son, who is lame on his feet." It was not Mephibosheth's own fault that he was lame. When he was five years old, his nurse let him fall as she took him up and fled at the news of the death of Saul and Jonathan. We are lame. It is not our own fault. It is not our fault that our lives are marred, for we were born so of Adam. David didn't blame Mephibosheth for his lameness. He sent and called him to him. The king watched him limp towards him, and his heart was soft and filled with pity. He said, "I will surely show thee kindness for Jonathon, thy father's sake, and will restore thee all the land of Saul, thy father; and thou shalt eat bread at my table continually." There was the promise, "You shall sit at the King's table as long as you live." If you want to show kindness to someone, show it to the one to whom you would be least inclined to, naturally. Show it to the one you wouldn't have much time or tolerance for. Show the kindness of God to that one. The kindness of God is a great thing. You may have failed; you may be sitting in the meeting lame, fallen in the battle, but I'd like to reassure your heart that you can sit at the King's table as long as you live. God will show His kindness to you. You may be lame, but you can keep going.


The following poem concerning one who slipped in the race, but got up and limped on, though with aching ribs, etc. Limped on to rank among the brave whose aching wounds will be healed. The exhortation is, not to lose the struggle, but struggle on until the prize is gained:

 

LIMP ON by Sandy Scott

He slipped, he fell, the fall was sore,

With aching limbs, he rose,

Undaunted courage spurred him on

Towards the goal he chose.

 

His speed t'was not as t'was before,

The fall had left him lame;

Hope kindly whispered to him said,

"Limp on, lose not the game."

 

'Tis true he limped, but limping on

Ranked him amongst the brave;

Would he have gained if he had made

That fallen place his grave.

 

Time's balsam heals the aching wounds

Of all who fall but rise

And limp and struggle on and on,

Until they gain the prize.


You may have fallen, but limp on, and on. Time heals the wounds of each one who has fallen.

 

Two things linked with the love of God is to be longsuffering and kind - so clearly seen in David.


Mt. Carmel is the mount of victory. It was the scene of Elijah's triumph  over the prophets of Baal, and also where he restored the Shunamite woman's son to life.


Mt. Gilboa, "the mountain of defeat," where Saul and Jonathan fell.


Mt. Amana (meaning fixed), "the mountain of purpose." Look from the top of Amana with purpose fixed.


There is another mountain in Revelations 21. John, at the end of his life, was upon that mountain. God carried him away in the spirit to a great and high mountain and there showed him the New Jerusalem descending out of Heaven from God. God carried him there, perhaps because he was too old to climb it, being then about 90 years of age. This one, we will call the heavenly mountain. John was carried away from the earth, and lifted above earthly things; and got a heavenly vision.


One old woman, when she decided, said to me, "I am finished with the world." I said to her, "Oh no, the world is finished with you." The Devil has a big scrap-heap, and when most people are old, he casts them on it. There are many people on it, cast there by him after he has got the best out of them. When you give your life to God, the world considers you are on the scrap-heap.


God carried John away from all things of the earth to heavenly things. On this heavenly mountain, he saw the New Jerusalem with the glory of God within her, and having a great and high wall with twelve gates and on twelve gates were written the names of the twelve tribes of Israel. To this old fisherman of Galilee who had followed the Lamb of God as He walked upon the earth, God showed the twelve foundations of the wall of the city, each having written on it one of the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb. Don't you think John would be a happy man that day? His heart would be filled with joy as he realized his name was written by the finger of God on one of them, written there in that city which would never pass away. God showed John what was going to be his portion.


In Revelations 18, another city is spoken of, "Babylon, of this world, whose pride and power was destroyed and desolated in one hour." Let us invest in the Kingdom which will never pass away. There are those in this meeting who are getting old and are living the last years, the evening part of their lives. I would like to think that God would be able to take them up onto this heavenly mountain, and show them the beauties of His Kingdom in a way they have never seen them before.


Now we come to the last mountain, "Mt. Calvary, the mountain of sacrifice." This is a very touching study. Jesus' life finished with a valley and with a mountain. The last pages of His life were pages of suffering. On that last night, Jesus left the city with three of His disciples and took that half an hour's walk down into the Valley of Hinnom, and crossed the Brook Kidron. He entered the Garden of Gethsemane and fought a terrible battle in prayer. He went back to where He had left His disciples, a stone's throw away, and found them sleeping. While they slept, He went away again and prayed, and His sweat was as drops of blood. Some of God's dear children, when they near the end of their lives, suffer terribly: It is the evening sacrifice. So Jesus, at the end, knew a great battle and intense suffering. He left the Garden weak physically, but strong in the spirit. Some of His greatest battles were fought when He was the weakest physically, but strong spiritually.


The next day, He walked from the city up Mt. Calvary. The little group of His disciples followed afar off. He had been scourged by the soldiers and crowned with the thorns. He was terribly weak. The blood was streaming down His face and from His wounds.  It would be a struggle to get to the top, yet at the top of that hill of suffering, He got a convert, "the thief on the cross," a man forgotten by the world. He said to Jesus as they hung there on the crosses, "Lord, remember me when Thou comest into Thy Kingdom." Jesus answered, "Verily I say unto you, today thou shalt be with Me in paradise." As Jesus looked down from the cross, He looked on one of the most beautiful pictures any man could. He saw His disciples and John, then a young man, and Mary, His mother, standing by the cross of Calvary. Sometimes people think it is something weak and feeble to be associated with the suffering and rejected Christ. But as I look into my brother workers and saints faces, I am glad that without a shadow of a doubt, I am in fellowship with the cream of the earth. Let us finish our lives with sacrifice.


In 1935, I went home to Scotland. In 1936, I went into my father's room where he lay sick. I took his hand and said, "Goodbye," and left him for the last time. I felt a kind of loneliness as I left him. Going away in my brother's car, I began to think of Jesus and His sacrifice. I hadn't been long in Cairo when I remember going one day with Fred Quick and opening that little post office box, 1147, and taking out a letter which told me that my father had passed away. I felt that I had lost something very, very precious that never could be regained. A few years ago, I went back home and his place was empty. But he left something evergreen, his life and his testimony.


My mother has been forty years serving God. She is now eighty years of age. Six weeks ago, I walked into her room and said, "Goodbye," to her for the last time, and I know I shall never see her again. On parting from her, I was glad that this world is not our home.


When we are in this relationship with Christ, we are never at home in the world. I am not telling you this so that you will think that my sacrifice is anything, but these relationships are evergreen, and last for ever and ever. When we think of Jesus and the home He left, and the fellowship with His heavenly Father that He left, and when we compare our own sacrifice in leaving home with that, ours seems so little. Jesus' life and example are evergreen before us. This world is not the finish, this world is not my home, and so I count it worthwhile to go on and sacrifice as He did.


There are other valleys in the Bible, but I can only mention them briefly tonight. There is the valley of dry bones, where God found every one of us. The spies who were sent out to view the land brought back great bunches of grapes from the valley of Eschcol, which would be the valley of fruit. David slew Goliath in the valley of Elah. When David was in the hold, he thirsted for some water from the well at the gates of Bethlehem, and three of his mighty men fought through the hosts of the Philistines when they were encamped in the Valley of Rephaim the valley of giants. Jesus drank from the well of true fellowship.


Psalm 84 speaks of the Valley of Baca, which is the valley of weeping. Blessed is the man who passing through the valley of Baca make it a well. I know some of you have passed through sorrow and weeping, but have you made it a well? In Scotland we were told it was weakness for a man to weep. There are tears and tears. But tears are no disgrace, for the best Man who ever lived shed tears of which record has been left. When He saw those two sisters, Mary and Martha, mourning at their brothers grave, Jesus wept. When he looked down over Jerusalem, the city which had despised its day of visitation and the things which pertained to its peace, Jesus wept. In the days of His flesh, He offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears. If sometimes your eyes are moistened by tears because of what you have to pass through, remember that God will wipe those tears away for all time when you pass through that last gate into the home where there will be no more tears and pain.


I will never see many of you again. I will be passing on, but while speaking to you, I would like to tell you something you will be glad to hear. In 1928, my companion and I were working among the diamond diggers in South Africa. Two men, and their wives who heard our message, made their choice for God. We left there in 1930 and some time later, we got a letter from one of those friends, saying, "My dear Willie, you will be very sorry to hear that our brother, So-and-so is a leper." When we were there, he had little blotches on his skin, but we didn't think it was leprosy. But a man who saw him said it was leprosy, and called in a doctor, who verified it. He couldn't believe he was a leper, but it had to be faced up. He had a wife and five children. According to the law, he had to leave home. When the authorities' car came to take him away, he was on his knees, and he was reading that verse in Psalm 39, "And now, Lord what wait I for? My hope is in Thee." He greeted his wife and children for the last time before he left home, never to return.


He was taken to an institution for lepers in Pretoria, in which there were 900 blacks and 300 white people. He still had his sight then. What did he do when he got there? He didn't sit and grumble, but began to speak to those other inmates of the love of Jesus. He soon had one convert. Then he went to a man who had no legs and only one arm; he had lost the three limbs through the leprosy. Fannie said to him, "Don't you think it is time for you to start to serve God?" The man said, "No, I'm tired of life." A few days later Fannie went to him again, and said, "Will you accept a New Testament?" The legless man said, "Yes." Fannie said, "Will you read it?He said, "Yes, I will." Not long after this, Fannie and the first man, and a coloured man who had also given his heart to God, were holding a little meeting together, when the legless man came hopping along on the ground with the New Testament between his teeth because he had no hands to hold it with. He levered himself along somehow with his one hand. He said, "I would like to make a start to serve God." A wonderful change came over that man. His nurse said, "He used to be our most difficult patient, but he has changed." She, too, decided, though sad to say, she never went on very long. But she was moved, just the same.


After Fannie had been in the Lepers compound for some time, I got a letter from him which was typewritten. He said, "My dear Willie, I have gone blind. I can't see to write, so I am typing this letter." He wasn't taken up with his own affliction, but went on to tell me about the others there, and how they were getting on, and what interest was being shown in the things of God. I went to see him as soon as I could. When we greeted each other, I couldn't shake hands with him because of the leprosy, nor could he shake hands with me. He said, "It is good to hear your voice, but I can't see you." We sat down and had a fellowship meeting with those few souls who were professing there. We sang a hymn which Fannie chose, "Oh, for the peace of a perfect trust, my loving God, in Thee; unwavering faith that never doubts, Thy choice is best for me. Best, though my health and strength be gone, tho weary days be mine; shut out from much that others have; not my will Lord, but Thine." As we sang, I looked around and saw that my companion was weeping. I wondered how I would ever get courage to speak in the meeting that morning. I hoped then that I would never be found by God to be grumbling about anything again. The legless man didn't live very long. About 20 were at his funeral. The Government offered the lepers a radio each, and the only two who didn't accept were Fannie and the coloured man, and they were both blind. But someone came and read to them for half and hour each day, and they were thankful for that. They could have had any literature they wished, but they chose the Bible.


One day I thought of going to the camp. My companion said he was busy that day; he had some letters to write, so would not come. So I went to see the lepers by myself. I found Fannie alone. The first man was in the hospital sick, and the other coloured man was dead. The authorities asked me would I like to bury him. I did, and at the funeral I asked Fannie would he like to say a few words. He did, and in speaking of this coloured man with whom he had had fellowship, he said, "It is wonderful how you can love someone you have never seen." Those words flashed into my mind immediately, "Jesus Christ, whom having not seen, ye love." (I Peter 1:8) Six lepers decided there in that compound through the faithful witnessing of that man, and they have gone on to be with Christ, which is much better. The time came when Fannie also died, and there were 200 friends at his funeral. At the graveside, our elder brother, Alec Pearce said, "God could trust him as He could trust very few, even though it was under such circumstances. God entrusted him with that mission in the lepers compound." The circumstances were not easy, but God was able to work. This land to which you journey is a land of hills and valleys. It is a land of ups and downs, but it is watered from above. I'll close with this verse:


O Saviour, we plead for Thy mercy and grace every day.

Lord be near as we pass through each valley,

'Til we get to the end of the way.