“According as He has chosen us in Him, before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love: having predestinated us (marked us out) unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of his will” (Ephesians 1:4-5).
What great thoughts of Christian blessedness are here! God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, has blessed His own according to His good pleasure. Before the foundation of the world He had chosen them in Christ, marking them out for sonship to Himself. He would have them
DELIGHTING BEFORE HIM.
“Before Him” in holiness, in a nature answering to Himself, and in righteousness, blameless in His presence, “through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus.” “To Himself” in joyous relationship as sons in His own home ere long, but now (by the Holy Spirit given to them) anticipating the gladness of that day.
Verse 3 is connected with the God of our Lord Jesus Christ; while verse 4 links our thoughts with the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the rather. Thus believers are seen in righteousness before God, and in relationship with the Father.
When risen our Lord could say, “My Father and your Father, My God and your God”—Christ’s place is now our place. It was His place eternally (see Prov. 8:30-31); He was daily His Father’s delight, “rejoicing always before Him,” while His delights were “with the sons of men.” And such were His delights in them that in due time He stooped to manhood, and accomplished that work suitability in the Father’s house. Marvellous grace! Glorious Saviour! In the joy of the knowledge of our position, and portion, and privilege, we bow and worship, as we
SIT BEFORE HIM
in complete rest of heart, like David in the 7th chapter of 2 Samuel, when, instead of David building a house for Jehovah, it is Jehovah who pledges Himself to build David a great house besides making his name great. Hearing this and rejoicing in it, David “went in and sat before the Lord.” His heart was filled with thanksgiving, and as he poured out his soul in praise he could ask nothing but that Jehovah would carry out the gracious and glorious pledges He had made. And should not we, with far richer and eternal blessings as our heritage, give our God and Father our heart’s glad and constant adoration, as we sit under His shadow with great delight, and find His fruit sweet to our taste?
It is this which is expressed in the verse,
“I’m sitting in His presence,
The sunshine of His grace,
While with adoring fervour
His blessings I retrace.
It seems as if eternal days,
Would be too short to sound His praise.”
Knowing Him in His great goodness, and that our standing is in His unqualified grace, we can gladly
WALK BEFORE HIM.
Our pathway should be trodden in the peace and joy of being under His holy and loving eye. And is not this true piety—ever to have the happy consciousness of His presence, the guidance of His wisdom and the support of His arm? He has said to the godly, “I will instruct thee and teach thee in the way which thou shalt go: I will guide thee with mine eye” (Or rather, “Mine eye shall be upon thee”). Thus controlled and cared for by the God of all grace we may press on in our pilgrim journey knowing that God’s pleasure is in the pathway of His own and that, “The steps of a good man are ordered of the Lord, and He delighteth in his way.”
To Abraham He said “I am the Almighty God, walk before Me, and be thou perfect.” The patriarch was to spend the time of his sojourning in the knowledge of the almightiness, the all-sufficiency, of his God, and he was called to answer to the revelation God had given of Himself in that name of power and might. He was to walk in faith counting on the care of Him who had called him. Forty years after this we hear Abraham say to his steward, “The Lord before whom I walk will send His angel with thee and prosper thy way.” He had now proved that God was enough for every emergency and could rely upon Him for the journey his servant was to undertake. Let us cultivate the sense of the presence of God in our everyday life, and seek to live in that atmosphere in the pursuit of practical piety. Doing this we shall be free in Spirit to
STAND BEFORE HIM
in readiness to serve. Ready to do the Master’s will whatever that will may be; watching at His gate and waiting at the posts of His doors.
“Contented not to serve Thee much
As to serve Thee perfectly.”
So David’s servants said, “Thy servants are ready to do whatsoever my lord the king may appoint.”
This is the attitude which says with Isaiah, “Here am I; send me.” This is the attitude for true service. And to those who are waiting before Him and ready to do His pleasure, whatever that pleasure may be, the Lord will make known His mind and will. Thus it was with Elijah, and so it was that he could come forth at His bidding and say, “As the Lord God of Israel liveth before whom I stand, there shall be no rain.” Testimony in faith and boldness marked the prophet and will mark all who stand “before the Lord.”
Let it be our purpose to delight ourselves before Him continually, that we may have confidence, and serve Him with gladness day by day.
Help and Food 1926