Exploring God's Amazing Word
18 Bible Studies on Positive Living in Christ.
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"He that goeth aside out of the busy round of his daily task
Into The Quiet Corner, to sit down with the Most High, he will find the Most High coming over so close that this man will find himself lodging under the very shadow of the Almighty" (Psalm 91:1). -- A paraphrase, putting the real meaning of the words underneath into simple homely English.
"I sat down under His shadow with great delight" (Song of Solomon 2:3).
"Come ye yourselves apart into a quiet corner [i.e., a solitary place, shut away from the crowd, where you can be alone]" (Mark 6:31).
"When He giveth quietness who then can make trouble" (Job 34:29).
"I will go off, and take my stand upon my look-out corner, and will set me upon the lone elevated watching place, and will look forth to see what He will speak" (Habakkuk 2:1).
1. Comrades of The Quiet Corner
2. Things Seen In One Quiet Corner
3. The Quiet Corner -- God's Soundingboard
4. How The Quiet Corner Has Changed Things
Was the traffic ever quite so thick, and so tensely on the move! Wherever you go, in the city street, or country road, it's the same, with occasional breathing spaces in between.
The most experienced man is put on duty where the traffic is thickest. There he stands quite alone, very quiet, very decided.
His very value lies in his quietness, trained quietness, strong deliberate quietness. Alert, nervously tense, keenly alive to the possible danger lurking at every angle and turn, he is so quiet. That is his strength.
The seasoned driver at the wheel sits very quiet, but sharply alert. Nothing escapes his quiet eye. His grip on the wheel must be firm, the decision breathlessly quick, and must be right. His nerves are tense, but they must be quiet, all the quieter because so tense.
The huge ocean liner is out on the high seas battling some terrific gale. Hammered and battered by wind and wave, merciless whirlwind and mountain wave, it keeps steadily on.
Day and night the Captain sticks to the bridge. All alone, in a quietness painfully tense at times he keeps the sharp lookout. His quick, quiet, steady hand on a brass knob gives a signal.
The engineer down in the bowels of the boat instantly, quietly, blindly, obeys the signal. Its significance he is quite ignorant of. His one task is to be quiet, so as to get the signal true, and to obey it implicitly, unquestioningly, unfalteringly.
Inner quiet is the essential thing with both captain and engineer. Only so can the boat be kept steady, and outride the tempest.
Our Lord Jesus, as a Man down here, knew all about congested traffic and traffic jams, both kinds, actual, and in the spirit world.
Those crowded, crooked, narrow Jerusalem streets He threaded. He knew the thing by sight and feel, by sound and quick move.
And the terrific drive and push, subtle drive and stormy push, of the unseen spirit atmosphere He clearly knew, too, by the feel of His keenly alert, inner, spirit sensitiveness. And, of the two, this latter was the tenser and subtler, by far.
To-day's spirit traffic intensifies tremendously the need of the Quiet Corner. The key to its door needs polishing with the friction of constant use. The hinges of its door must be kept in good condition by the steady rhythmic awing.
There are three sorts of Quiet Corners, of place, of time, and of spirit. The quiet place, even though it changes, and the reserved bit of time, help to preserve the Quiet Corner inner spirit, out in the thick of things.
One needs to use all three for inner peace, and outer power, and keen discernment, and steady footing.
S.D.G. New York City, March, 1932
1. Comrades of The Quiet Corner
An Echo Hunger
God is hungry. He has a hungry heart. He is hungry for us, for you and me. He is hungry that we would let Him be friendly with us, really friendly. He is hungry that we would be really friendly with Him. The word commonly used for this is fellowship. The other is what it really means.
There is a very natural reluctance on our part about saying that God is hungry for fellowship with us. There is an inner instinctive drawing back from saying anything of that sort.
We know that we are hungry for Him. Every one is hungry for God, though most people don't know who it is they are hungry for.
But the simple fact here is this. That inner hunger of spirit, that yearning within, that eager wistful reaching out and up, it is an echo, only an echo. And the echo is always less than the original. It is an echo of the longing, the yearning, in the heart of God for us, for each one of us.
When a man finds out, by the inner touch of his spirit, about that hunger in the heart of God, and the answering hunger of his own heart, it always starts a song in his heart.
And it is most striking and significant to find that there is just such a song in this precious old Book of God.
It is the one marked off in our English Bible as the Ninety-first Psalm. Let us turn now for a little to that Psalm. I think of it as the psalm of the hungry heart of God.
Do you recall just how it begins? Here is the old familiar reading of its opening sentence. "He that dwelleth in the secret place of the Most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty."
Now, please, let us read it over again, a little differently. And yet, let me say boldly, strictly true to what this man is thinking and saying, in his own mother-tongue underneath our English words.
It is really a picture and one must look, as well as listen, to get the meaning vividly clear in his mind, clear to both eyes and ears.
Listen then: "He that goeth aside, out of the busy round of his daily task, into some quiet corner to sit down with the Most High, he will find the Most High coming over so close that this man shall be lodging under the very shadow of the Almighty."
The Human Touch
I do not know who wrote this Ninety-first Psalm. No one knows, that is no one of those now living on the earth. There is no inscription given.
But I think, I do not know you understand, but I think it was most likely written by the same man that wrote the Ninetieth. That psalm is entitled "a prayer of Moses the man of God". The old-time Hebrew Rabbi scholars insisted that Moses was the writer of a group of psalms.
They are quite clear that this group of psalms, Ninety to One Hundred, both inclusive, came from Moses' pen. And that would seem like an entirely trustworthy scholarly source.
And I think you can go back to the place in Moses' experience where this Ninety-first Psalm actually grew up.
It is helpful to call to mind just how these psalms came to be written. It would not be that David, the sweet psalmist of Israel, would set out to write a psalm. That he would think a bit, brood thoughtfully, and pray, and so write a psalm; not that. No. There would be some unusual experience of difficulty and danger, or something of this sort. There would come some very real touch of God's love and power, meeting his need in a way that took hold of his heart, and stirred him to the depths of his nature.
And then in the rare flush of that experience, when he could somewhat steady his hand to the mechanical task of writing, under the gracious touch of the Holy Spirit, he would put down a bit (you can never tell all!) of what had come to him. In some such way as this many of these precious heart-throbbing psalms were written.
It was in some such fashion that these other pages, the great prophetic messages, came and were written down. A single instance may help a little to make this a bit clearer.
Here are two men in Jerusalem, one morning, walking up to attend the proper service of worship in the Temple.
One of the two is a city man having his home there in Jerusalem. The other is a man from the country, a kinsman or friend, visiting in the home of the other.
As they walk along the man from the country is all eyes and ears for the city sights and happenings. He notices a small knot of people gathered out in the open, at the corner of the Temple area perhaps. In the centre is a man talking, quietly, earnestly, to the assembled group. And they are listening most intently.
The man from out in the provinces turns to his companion, and pointing, says "What's that?"
The city man at his side looks intently a moment, and then makes reply.
"Oh! that's only Isaiah, talking to the crowd again. He's a good man, Isaiah is, a very godly, saintly man. We all hold him in the highest regard. He is just a bit unconventional. He talks to the crowd that gathers in the open like that."
And the two men continue on their way up to the proper temple service of worship. And bye and bye Isaiah quits talking. The little knot scatters. And Isaiah goes down to his home. And there, under the gracious inspiration of the Holy Spirit, he writes down part of that which has been burning in his heart, and pouring out of his lips.
It is in some such fashion, with endless variations, that these prophetic pages were written. This is one explanation, on the human side, of how this sacred old Book of God has taken such hold on men's hearts. It goes into men's hearts because it grew up out of men's experiences.
The Book is like the Man, Christ Jesus, in certain regards. No draughtsman's pencil has ever yet drawn the line between the God-part of Jesus and the human. God and the Man were joined and blended in a way that quite eludes our human analysis.
And so it is with the Book. It is so intensely... human. Every experience of human life is vividly portrayed here in a way that takes hold of one's heart indescribably.
And there is the distinctive inspiration of the Holy Spirit throughout, from first page to last, and all between. Under His controlling touch, and subtle power the moral issues are dealt with. And yet there is an absolute accuracy to historical fact, and to the findings of true science, when the true translation is got.
The Story of this Psalm
Now all this finds a simple illustration in this Ninety-first Psalm. Let us go back to the experiences out of which this rare psalm grew, likely.
The story is back in that Thirty-third of Exodus, and very briefly and simply I want to recall that story to mind.
A huge multitude, maybe as many as three or four million people, were on the move. They had come out of long decades of slavery. It had been an indescribably cruel slavery, to the last degree of human endurance, and even beyond that.
They were just the common everyday sort of people you find everywhere in the world to-day, with the added touch of intensity, dourness, characteristic of Orientals.
There was a big mixed multitude with them, thousands likely of half-Hebrew, half-Egyptian stock. And that didn't make any easier their hard task of making a new home in the Wilderness.
They were living in tents, and out in the open. Their new life naturally bristled with difficulties and questions, some big, some really little that seemed big.
The truck gardens of Goshen were behind them, but not forgot. The luscious fragrance and taste of leeks and garlic, melons and onions, were remembered contrasts with the windswept sands on every side here in the Wilderness. The onions are named last as a sort of superlative degree of missed lusciousness. One day a man comes, with anxious face and voice, to their leader, Moses. He himself was a leader down in his corner of the huge encamped nation.
He says to Moses, "We're having some trouble, sir, down in our neighbourhood. What shall we do about this?" And he would state his difficulty.
It likely was not what we would call a religious or spiritual question. Not about faith or prayer or that sort of thing. No; far more likely it was a very commonplace sort of difficulty, and maybe the more real for that reason.
Maybe two men were quarrelling; or a bit of property in dispute. You may have heard of that sort of thing, possibly. Or, maybe, there was a case of severe illness. All life is so much alike, the earth around, back through the years.
He would say, anxiously, "What shall we do about this, sir?" And Moses would listen patiently, ask a question or two, and then he would say, "I don't know what to tell you to do about that. God hasn't told me. And I really don't feel as if I know just what to do."
"You wait, and I'll ask God. He'll tell me. And I'll tell you. And then you go back and get the thing straightened out, for this is an important matter. We must get it settled right."
He might, quite likely, add, "We didn't come here. We were brought here.God has our life all planned out. He'll tell me what should be done."
And then Moses would wend his way out the aisle of the tents, to a little peaked-top tent called the "Tent of Meeting," or "God's Tent". This was before the Tabernacle had been put up. That was in the very centre of the encampment. This little Tent of Meeting was out on the edge of the encampment, quite distinct from all the other common tents.
And as he went out the word spread throughout the encampment, by the swift wireless grapevine telegraphy, "Moses is going out to talk with God". And there would come a hush over the multitude.
They would come out, and stand in the open flaps of their tents, with bowed, reverent heads, and look eagerly out after Moses as he went out toward the little God-tent.
And as they stood looking, this is what they saw. The Pillar of Cloud began to move. Do you recall about that Pillar of Cloud? When they were leaving Egypt, strangers to a strange land, God had said, "I'll send an angel. He'll show you the way".
And Moses had said, in effect, "Please, this is not satisfactory. An angel is very good. But, please, we want you to come, yourself, and show us the way." That does sound very bold, does it not? But then Moses knew God better than some of us folk do.
And God said in effect, "Very well. I'll come". It was just like Him. And one day every eye was caught with a pile of fleecy white that appeared in the sky.
It was in the shape of a column or pillar. It looked like a cloud, a beautiful white fleecy cloud; not a rain cloud, a bright glory-cloud.
You know their sky there in the desert was not like our sky. It was blue, beyond what we can take in unless we have seen it. The dryness of the desert air, the lack of moisture in the atmosphere, made a tinting of exquisite blue to be found nowhere else. You remember Kingsley speaks repeatedly in Hypatia of the "rainless blue" of the desert.
And to have a bit of cloud appear caught every eye. Every boy was looking. Every baby was held up to see. The vast tented multitude was all eyes, intently gazing, absorbed with that Cloud.
And they came to know that God was in the Cloud. He used the Cloud for the sake of their eyes, so they wouldn't go sheer stone-blind at the sight of the glory of His mere presence so close.
It was a Pillar of Cloud in the day time, and an awe-inspiring Pillar of Fire, soft, clear, steady, unfailing, fire, all through from twilight to the dawn. It came as they were leaving Egypt, and remained until they reached the Plains of Moab across the Jordan.
God spoke to them out of the Cloud. He spoke in homely simple words everybody understood. He talked in their mother-tongue, with the vocal intonation so familiar in their common talk.
He went ahead to point out the way. He came behind as a protection from their enemies. Sometimes he chided them plainly when they did wrong. Always he was there.
This is the outstanding illustration of the meaning of that word our Lord Jesus used that betrayal night, the word "comforter".
The actual word, used that evening, means one alongside devoting himself to you. It means some one, strong, able, powerful. And that he has come to be your friend, your companion, your real unfailing friend.
It is one of the most outstanding illustrations of the fact that this old Book of God is self-explanatory. It contains in itself an answer to every question its pages may stir up. This is most striking.
The two parts of the Book fit together in an intensely interesting way. Each needs the other. Each fills out the story of the other.
Characteristically, the Old Testament is the picture book, the New the teaching Book. There is, of course, teaching in the Old, and there are pictures or illustrations in the New.
Now here is one of the most illuminating of these pictured illustrations. Our Lord spoke of the Holy Spirit coming as the Comforter.
And this Pillar-of-Cloud presence of God in the Wilderness gives us its practical meaning. God Himself was there in their very midst. He was there because they were there. He was always at hand for any need that might arise.
This page Copyright © 2002 Peter Wade. The Bible text in this publication, except where otherwise indicated, is from the King James Version. This article appears on the site: http://www.peterwade.com/.
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