Willie Brown - "My Saviour, I would cross the brook with Thee" - Sermon & Hymn

Before I sing to you this hymn, “My Saviour, I would cross the brook with Thee,” I want to tell you that I have been to the Brook Kidron, about which it was written, so would like to tell you a little about it, so that you will be able better to appreciate and understand the words of the hymn. The Brook Kidron is near Jerusalem – about half an hour’s walk from the city. Jesus crossed that brook many times. It held many memories for Jesus, for He crossed it on many outstanding occasions in His life, both happy and sorrowful. I know that I am speaking to brothers and sisters tonight who have passed through difficult experiences, and through dark and bright experiences. They can look back upon them as times when they crossed this Brook Kidron with Jesus. Jesus had to cross the Brook Kidron every time He left Jerusalem to go up to the Mount of Olives to pray. He had to cross the Brook each time He went to that sacred home of Mary and Martha and Lazarus in Bethany. He had to go down into the valley and cross the Brook Kidron every time He entered into Gethsemane. We know He went there often to pray, and to go apart in quietness with His disciples, because it tells us that “Judas also, which betrayed Him, knew the place” and he led the soldiers there. On that night of sorrow, when He was betrayed, He crossed the Brook and entered into Gethsemane for the last time, and there He fought that terrible battle to submit His own will to the will of His Father. His sweat was as great drops of blood; and while He agonized in prayer, His disciples slept. David too, crossed the Brook Kidron when Absalom took the Kingdom from him; and we read of him going up the Mount of Olives, barefooted, and with ashes on his head, weeping as he went. If we would walk the path of Jesus we will all be called upon to cross the Brook Kidron, and it leads to many and varied experiences. 

Solo: Tune: “I’ll walk beside you.” 

My Saviour, I would cross the brook with Thee, Where lies the Garden of Gethsemane, 

There thou didst drink that bitter cup for me, and poured Thy soul out in Thine agony. 

My Saviour, I would cross the brook with Thee. Oh, help me watch one little hour with Thee. 

My flesh is weak, but grant me grace and power To be found watching in temptation’s hour. 

My Saviour, I would cross the brook with Thee. I long to prove my love and loyalty 

To thee, my King; though by the world disowned, Thou art forever in my heart enthroned. 

My Saviour, I would cross the brook with Thee, for where Thou art, there shall Thy servant be. 

I’ll gladly share in Thy reproach and shame, in life or death to magnify Thy name. 

My Saviour I would cross the brook with Thee. As King in all Thy beauty soon I’ll see. 

Thou wilt return, and to Thy kingdom come, awake me, should I sleep within the tomb. 

Deuteronomy 11: 10, 12. 

“For the land, whither thou goest in to possess it, is not as the land of Egypt, from whence ye came out, where thou sowedst thy seed and wateredst it with thy foot, as a garden of herbs: but the land whither ye go to possess it, is a land of hills and valleys, and drinketh water of the rain of Heaven: a land which the Lord thy God careth for: the eyes of the Lord thy God are always upon it, from the beginning of the year even unto the end of the year.” 

"But there is one perfect way in which we can prove our gratitude to God and to His people, and that is by not withholding anything from Him or from His service, but giving that service without condition and without reserve. 

I would like to speak a little about some of the mountains, and perhaps about some of the valleys mentioned in the Bible. You will notice in the portion of Scripture I have read that God reminded His people that the land He had called them into was not like the land of Egypt out of which He had called them. As perhaps you know, I have spent eight years in Egypt, and about seven years in the Promised Land – up in Lebanon – and I don’t think there could be two countries of greater contrast than Egypt and Lebanon. It is striking, the difference in these two countries. One of these differences is that Egypt is as level as this table, but everywhere you look in Palestine there are hills and valleys. Another contrast is that in Egypt the people are never looking up to Heaven for rain. They don’t need it. They don’t want it, for it spoils their irrigation plans. They are always looking at the earth, and they water it by foot. This speaks of a different walk. The land of Egypt is very, very fertile, with soil 30 feet deep, yielding up to three crops a year. This is made possible by the hot sun and the water from the Nile. (Description given of foot irrigation, which propels the water up the furrows.) But who waters the Promised Land? It is God. It is God who controls the water from heaven, and His people are not looking down to the earth for their maintenance, but up to Heaven. 

In 1938 I and my companion first went to Palestine from Egypt, and started to learn the Arabic, then later on when we began to speak it a little, people would say to us, “But you have been to Egypt.” We asked, “How do you know?” They said, “By your tongue.” Our speech will testify to what country we belong. God can take our tongue as a result of us being in harmony with His will, and then these tongues will not remind people of Egypt, but will make plain to them that we seek a city whose Builder and Maker is God. 

“The Land, whither ye go to possess it, is a Land of hills and valleys.” The first of these mountains I’ll speak of tonight is Mt Ararat, a 17,260 ft peak, in the mountainous country of Armenia. It is the mountain on which Noah’s ark rested when the waters of the Flood subsided. We will call it by a very nice name – the mountain of rest. God has promised His people rest. We need never be perplexed if we see that the control and plan of man is a failure. That need never perplex us, for we see the promise God has given His people – the promise of rest, like the bow of promise Noah saw in the clouds on Ararat. There is one picture of Jesus and His disciples that I like to dwell upon. Oh, I like to think of the Master looking on those people whom He loved from the depths of His soul, and saying, “Come ye yourselves apart and rest awhile.” There was another time when He thanked God His Father that He had hidden these things from the wise and prudent, and revealed them unto babes; and then He turned to the people and said, “Come unto Me, all ye who labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” Then He told them how to get it. “Take My yoke upon you, and learn of me, for I am meek and lowly in heart; and ye shall find rest unto your souls.” Let us allow Him to lead us into that rest. You know Satan is out to do his best to rob us of the rest which is the portion of the true child of God. He is active to keep us in a state of ferment. 

Why did God put one family in the ark? Because He wanted one family in the earth, and one way. As the waters rose, the ark rose. There was only one place of rest in the whole of the world, and that was in the ark. There were only waves and trouble and death outside. There was only one family saved. There was only one place of safety. Where is it in the world today? In the Family of God, and only there. But there is the possibility of some little leakage – something coming in from the outside to take away the rest, and then there is trouble, and anxiety is caused. But there is rest in the fold, there is rest in the ark. God rested the seventh day. The first day of the week should be something very, very precious to us – something different from all the other days. It is the day of partaking of the emblems which remind us of God giving Heaven’s very best for us. It is the day when we look away from material, legitimate things of life that take our time. The children of Israel tilled the land for six years, and then the seventh year was a year of rest when it lay fallow. It was to remind them that this world is only temporal, and that God has promised a better rest of which this was only a shadow. Just think of the temptation to put in the plough during the seventh year! Ah, friend, there are temptations for the children of God today. How good to give the legitimate, material things their rightful place, and not let them rob God. There is something we needs must give to God. It is a word of four letters – T.I.M.E. We must give time to God. Another four letters added to it makes it ‘overtime’. It is difficult sometimes for me to give God time, but every time I do it, I am made very, very glad. Give God time. Give Him a little more and a little more. And yes, I’d say, “Give God overtime too.” In industry workmen demand extra rates for overtime. God gives recompense. You give Him overtime, and He’ll pay you double time. When the reaping time comes you will not be sorry for any overtime you have given to God, or for anything you have put into the service of God. There is something about this word “rest” which appeals to me. Don’t let Satan rob you of your inheritance. You get “rest” when you give time to God. Don’t allow something to come into the ark, something to come into your life, something to come into the church which will rob you of this promise of rest – the perfect rest of God. 

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The next mountain is Moriah, which is the mountain of choice. I like to speak to young people very much. There are young people in the meeting tonight, and I would like to speak to you now for a little while. Some of you know nothing yet of some of the things which it is far better for you not to know. I am glad that in my tender years, when I was 16 years of age, I was sitting on Mt Moriah, the mountain of choice, and first got on my knees and said, “Lord, if there is anything in my life which you can use, I give it to you. You can have it, and have it forever.” I like to go into homes where there are young people who, in their tender years, have given their hearts to Christ. After you have done that, the Devil will start to tell you that you have never gone out in the world and proved it for yourself, and stained your garments with sin as others have done, and then been redeemed, so you can never appreciate your salvation, and you cannot have a testimony as others have. That is the voice of Satan. The best little Boy the world has ever seen was that One in the carpenter’s shop in Nazareth, who left untouched everything that would spoil His life. I like to think of the lines of that hymn, 

“The many standards earth has set, the joy it offers warily, you left untouched, I’d be like Thee, O noble Youth of Galilee.”