Not So, Lord
by Inglis Fleming
Peter’s language, “Not so, Lord!” when bidden to eat of the animals in the great sheet of his vision, finds a repetition in our hearts oftentimes, even if the words do not fall from our lips.
He was not prepared for the great dispensational change: that Gentiles, unclean and uncircumcised, were to be received into the kingdom of heaven on equal terms with the Jews was still foreign to his thoughts the vision (Acts 10:11-15) had been given to prepare him to preach the “whosoever gospel” to the Gentiles, and a severe reprimand was administered to him in order to overcome his opposition.
How often we say, “Not so, Lord!” “We comprehend Him not.” We are so short-sighted. We cannot look to the end of things. We need the patience of Job that we may see “the end of the Lord.” The object He has before Him is ever His glory and our good. He works for and with us that all may tend to our profit, and that we may partake of His holiness (Heb. 12:10); that in the ultimate we may think His thoughts and magnify His name.
“Not so, Lord!” His way is in the sea, His path in the great waters and His footsteps are not known. “My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways, saith the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts (Isa. 55:8-9).
“As for God His way is perfect” (Ps. 18:30).
Do we think of the histories (written for our admonition), of honoured servants of God?
Joseph is put into the pit and into the prison. Moses flees to Midian. The three Hebrew children are cast into the furnace. Daniel is thrown into the den of lions. Jeremiah sinks in the miry pit. Paul is a prisoner in Philippi and in Rome. John is banished to Patmos. And nearer to our own time John Bunyan is in Bedford Jail, and Samuel Rutherford in St. Andrews. Each one might have said, “Not so, Lord!” as to his circumstances, but their training is “to do” them “good in their latter end,” and for their testimony as God’s witnesses to men, to us today, as we begin to see the object God had in view in these dealings.
“Not so, Lord!” each one might have exclaimed. And yet now, with clearer vision, each would cry, Amen! to all the ways of God with him. And we in these present conditions may raise the same cry, but the word to us is “Be still and know that I am God.” “Wait, wait I say on the Lord.”
Some of the words of the Hon. H.F.Lyte, the author of the hymn, “Abide with me,” are good in this connection:
“My spirit on Thy care,
Blest Saviour, I recline,
Thou wilt not leave me to despair
For Thou art Love Divine.
In Thee I place my trust,
On Thee I calmly rest,
I know Thee good, I know Thee just,
And count Thy choice the best.
“Whate’er events betide.
Thy will they all perform;
Safe on Thy breast my head I hide,
Nor fear the coming storm.
“Let good or ill betide,
It must be good for me;
Secure of having Thee in all,
Of having all in Thee.”