This is the first of a series [I hope] of transcripts of talks or devotions that I have shared in recent years at various places – most recently at Living Stones Christian Centre in Kilmartin. I felt moved to share these 'meditations' [amended edited and updated where necessary] with a wider audience, and hope they stimulate prayerful reflection and encourage a closer meeting with The LORD.

'I will stand upon my watch...'
Take hold of the message. Keep the vision fresh. It would be easy to become complacent, or fall into familiar routines, and neglect our higher calling to live in His life and hear and obey the ‘still small voice’ of the Holy Spirit urging us to come closer, to come up higher. And this word is, I pray, one of encouragement for each of us in reaching ‘unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ’.

The reading is from Habakkuk 2:1-4 – ‘I will stand upon my watch, and set me upon the tower, and will watch to see what he will say unto me, and what I shall answer when I am reproved. {tower: Heb. fenced place} {unto me: or, in me} {when…: or, when I am argued with: Heb. upon my reproof, or, arguing}
And the LORD answered me, and said, Write the vision, and make it plain upon tables, that he may run that readeth it.
For the vision is yet for an appointed time, but at the end it shall speak, and not lie: though it tarry, wait for it; because it will surely come, it will not tarry.
Behold, his soul which is lifted up is not upright in him: but the just shall live by his faith.’

If we are called to anything of God at all – and surely we are called to His highest – we are required in the calling to be watchful – to be considering what He is showing us first of all, but also watching for the Enemy trying to trip us. He tries to persuade us that our own way is really so much better after all. For ‘Every man whatsoever is right in his own eyes.’ [Deuteronomy 12:8]

We must be spiritually aware of the times we live in, of the warring in the Heavenly Realms, and though we know that the battle belongs to The LORD, that sure and certain result still has an outworking to be seen. We need discernment, that spirit-led watchfulness that reveals the truth.

And to be properly watchful, we need to seek out the high places of God. Mark, it is God’s high places – not our own mountaintops that we should seek – for our own are places of pride and arrogance. No, climb the high tower and watch from the battlements. Remember that ‘the name of the LORD is a strong tower’ [Proverbs 18:10], and the name is synonymous with the nature. When we are on the high tower we are in the LORD’s nature – unassailable, a bastion against the darkness. Him in us and we in Him, or more properly ‘Hereby know we that we dwell in him, and he in us, because he hath given us of his Spirit.’[I John 4:13].

As others have said, we should be hearing from the Holy Spirit for ourselves, so that when we hear an anointed word from someone else, the revelation is our witnessing to it. It is not merely another trying to direct our ways. We can do that for ourselves so easily and misguidedly, that we need no other to help in that endeavour. It is all part of being watchmen. And if we profess to have that higher calling, then the heavenly vision should be fixed in our spirits, so that discernment - seeing with God’s eyes – will be our measure.

'tarry ye here, and watch with me'
The LORD always speaks balance to us – and looks for balance in us – and balance and discernment are all part of that same spirit gift. But it is not all about the gifts of the Spirit – these are merely the instruments that a loving Father bestows on His children. It is far from being the end of the matter.

There is a co-labouring with The LORD to be done – ‘hearing then obeying’ what the LORD is saying. ‘Watch to see what he will say unto me, and what I shall answer when I am reproved.’ Really it is, ‘watch and consider what The LORD says and how I shall respond when I am argued with’. Again, the LORD knows us so well, and expects the ‘Ah, but…’ reply from us. We really want The LORD to do our bidding instead of our doing His.

In fact, in some parts of Scotland when folk cry out in prayer, it is not ‘Abba, Father’, it's ‘Ah but, Faither…’

Being a watchman on the tower is an enormous privilege. It is being trusted to be in the forefront of the war. You are on the tower – the centre of great and important things – the high place of the LORD – and given the responsibility to see with wisdom and understanding. The master is relying on your never-sleeping fortitude to warn of any approach – good or bad – so long as it is plainly-spoken truth. Truth in the inward parts, not viewed with religious hypocrisy and religiosity, but with absolute sincerity and transparency – reporting freely and openly to our LORD. And we shall thus receive honour from Him. ‘How can ye believe, which receive honour one of another, and seek not the honour that cometh from God only?’[John 5:44] This from John 5, ‘Seek the honour that cometh from God’, by being a faithful watchman.

And I should say at this point, that in encouraging us all in this way, I am not urging us to ‘do’. The co-labouring is not a ‘doing’ thing, but a ‘being’. Being an expression of The LORD’s nature – and that coming so naturally within us [and really that should be ‘so un-naturally within us’], that it becomes reality. When we live in reality, we are living under His wing.

The ‘ever-wakefulness’ required of the watchman, brought me to Matthew 26:38 [reading from verse 36]: ‘Then cometh Jesus with them unto a place called Gethsemane, and saith unto the disciples, Sit ye here, while I go and pray yonder. And he took with him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and began to be sorrowful and very heavy.
Then saith he unto them, My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death: tarry ye here, and watch with me. And he went a little farther, and fell on his face, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt.
And he cometh unto the disciples, and findeth them asleep, and saith unto Peter, What, could ye not watch with me one hour? Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.’

The disciples in the garden were set as watchmen – but failed in their charge. This reading from Oswald Chambers’ ‘My Utmost For His Highest’ was entitled ‘Watch with Me’ and said this:

‘"Watch with Me" – Jesus was saying, in effect, “Watch with no private point of view at all, but watch solely and entirely with Me.” In the early stages of our Christian life, we do not watch with Jesus, we watch for Him. We do not watch with Him through the revealed truth of the Bible even in the circumstances of our own lives. Our Lord is trying to introduce us to identification with Himself in a particular “Gethsemane” experience of our own. But we refuse to go, saying -"No, Lord, I can’t see the meaning of this, and besides, it’s very painful."
And how can we possibly watch with Someone Who is so incomprehensible? How are we going to understand Jesus sufficiently to watch with Him in His Gethsemane, when we don’t even know why He is suffering? We don’t know how to watch with Him – we are only used to the idea of Jesus watching with us.
The disciples loved Jesus Christ to the limit of their natural capacity, but they did not fully understand His purpose. In the Garden of Gethsemane they slept as a result of their own sorrow, and at the end of three years of the closest and most intimate relationship of their lives they "all … forsook Him and fled." [Matthew 26:56]
"They were all filled with the Holy Spirit …" [Acts 2:4]. "They" refers to the same people, but something wonderful has happened between these two events – our Lord's death, resurrection and ascension – and the disciples have now been invaded and “filled with the Holy Spirit.” Our Lord had said - "Ye shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you …" [Acts 1:8]. This meant that they learned to watch with Him the rest of their lives.’
 (c) 1963 by the Oswald Chambers Publications Assn., Ltd., and is used by permission of Discovery House Publishers, Box 3566, Grand Rapids MI 4950l. All rights reserved.

This is what I mean by ‘being’. The Holy Spirit inhabited – indwelled – the disciples so thoroughly that they watched with Him from then on. It became the ‘abiding reality’ of their lives, not merely ‘something to be done’.

That is when we come to the place when each of us can finally say ‘And the LORD answered me, and said, Write the vision, and make it plain upon tables, that he may run that readeth it.’

‘Write the vision’. ‘Write the vision, and make it plain’.

'speak unto him in a dream'
I don’t think it is just me – but Gill will tell you that unless I write something down, the ‘something’ – usually something important, necessary or essential, like food or medication – will be forgotten. It slips out of our minds, for we are so forgetful. [OK So it’s just me then.] We all lead busy lives, and when I am struggling to finish a picture frame before the customer walks through the door, it is easy to forget to ‘buy coal, or we freeze tonight’. But if it is written down, then that is a different matter, [unless like me you need a small neon sign dangling in front of your spectacles, saying ‘Remember to read your note’].

So, better than ‘written down’ is ‘written down on something substantial’. Something you are going to trip over, or bang your head on in a reminding-sort-of-way. What better way to ‘make it plain’ than writing on the table! Except here, ‘table’ means ‘boards [of wood]’, ‘plates [of metal]’ or ‘tablets [of stone]’. You know, it is as well that Moses had a few stone tablets [and presumably, a chisel] about him when he went up the mountain. The Ten Commandments would have been long lost and forgotten, if he’d had to rely on a papyrus notebook and a biro.

What vision? In Numbers 12:4-6 we read ‘And the LORD spake suddenly unto Moses, and unto Aaron, and unto Miriam, Come out ye three unto the tabernacle of the congregation. And they three came out. And the LORD came down in the pillar of the cloud, and stood in the door of the tabernacle, and called Aaron and Miriam: and they both came forth. And he said, Hear now my words: If there be a prophet among you, I the LORD will make myself known unto him in a vision, and will speak unto him in a dream.’

The LORD makes Himself known to us in a vision, a phenomenon, a revelation. This fellowship only exists because of a vision. We are only in this building because of a vision. In a few days time we will be celebrating 36 years of that first vision that brought a body of people through many trials and testings, through times of wilderness, through times of joy and sorrow, but always with eyes fixed firmly on The Rock of their Salvation.

‘When the going get tough, the tough get going’ was a somewhat glib one-liner a few years back. Better – though it does not trip so easily off the tongue – would be ‘When the going gets tough, then those who are strong in their weakness, sure of their vision and have faith and trust in The LORD will have their reward in Him’.

‘Write the vision’, and set it clearly in permanent form, lest it be forgotten. Lest we deviate from the truth we have seen. Lest we stray from the path that is set before us. The vision is The LORD speaking to His people. And in Proverbs 29, verse 18 it says ‘Where there is no vision, the people perish’. We are not for perishing. We are for going on, climbing higher up GOD’s Holy Mountain – for that is where the vision leads.

That vision is not written in tablets of stone, but in ‘Living Stones’, and the word ‘tablets’ is used only three times [three meaning completeness, fullness, spiritual perfection, etc], and one of the meanings is ‘houses of the soul’. I believe that this means we can be a people of The Spirit, following The LORD’s vision and going on to perfection if we choose that road. But we must hold to that vision, that end-time truth, and walk in it.

In fact, my ‘Companion Bible’ says that these ‘tables’ are ‘boxwood tables smeared with wax’. One would inscribe into the wax with a stylus to detail what was to be recorded. Just one interpretation, but that word ‘wax’ in a scriptural context is a type for ‘melting’. Melting occurs when heat is applied, and is what happens to us when the tribulation fire comes to us. ‘It takes a melting, it takes a moulding’ are words from a song, so that when the melting occurs we can be moulded by The Master into the form He desires for us. LORD, make us malleable in Thy Hands.

For the vision is yet for an appointed time, but at the end it shall speak, and not lie: though it tarry, wait for it; because it will surely come, it will not tarry.’

'it will surely come'
The fulfilment of the vision may not yet have occurred – but The LORD does have a time for it – and it will be done. It seems odd that this verse says ‘though it tarry… it will not tarry’. Poetic, but cryptic. I believe that The LORD is urging patience upon us – patience after all is part of His nature. These words – though translated the same – are actually two differing Hebrew words. The line could be better shown as ‘though the vision may linger, wait on its appearance, because it will not delay. It will come.’ And that is our hope and our prayer and our belief. GOD will deliver on the promise of the vision He has given us. We believe it. We receive it.

We hear an end-time message. We set great store by visions and prophecies, when many treat them casually, or indeed decry them. I believe we should hold fast to the visions from within our fellowships, even more than we do.

‘Write the vision and make it plain’. Write it not on paper or card or stone or wood, but engrave it on our hearts. Carry it daily in our walk, as a banner before us. Let us not only write The LORD’s vision, but proclaim it.

Oswald Chambers also wrote ‘A man with a vision of GOD is not devoted to a cause, or to any particular issue; he is devoted to GOD Himself’ I believe that is the best place to be.

Habakkuk – having described the many ‘woes’ which he sees – ‘Why dost thou shew me iniquity, and cause me to behold grievance? for spoiling and violence are before me: and there are that raise up strife and contention’ – ends his message with a wonderful statement of faith. It is a bold declaration, which I believe is a vision for any of us at any time of difficulty we may be experiencing.

Although the fig tree shall not blossom, neither shall fruit be in the vines; the labour of the olive shall fail, and the fields shall yield no meat; the flock shall be cut off from the fold, and there shall be no herd in the stalls: Yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will joy in the God of my salvation. The LORD God is my strength, and he will make my feet like hinds' feet, and he will make me to walk upon mine high places.’

The LORD is still speaking to His people.

'... but at the end it shall speak.'


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