“They have greatly oppressed me from my youth,”
let Israel say;
“they have greatly oppressed me from my youth,
but they have not gained the victory over me.
Plowmen have plowed my back
and made their furrows long.
But the Lord is righteous;
he has cut me free from the cords of the wicked.”
- Psalm 129:1-4
At the end of seven days the word of the Lord came to me: “Son of man, I have made you a watchman for the people of Israel; so hear the word I speak and give them warning from me.
- Ezekiel 3:16-17
“I once heard a brother preach on the fact that the church should be without spot or wrinkle. To get the wrinkles out of a sack, he said, you ﬁll it. To get a wrinkle out of a rug, you lay it down and walk on it. God sometimes ﬁlls us, the preacher continued, but sometimes He just puts us ﬂat down so that everyone can walk on us!
“King David long ago knew something of the latter method. He wrote, ‘The plowers plowed upon my back: they made long their furrows’ (Psalm 129:3). I think David was talking about his enemies. And they must have been wearing hobnail boots!
“Ezekiel had just come to this kind of a low-ebbed, humbling experience when God opened the heavens. In effect, God put His hand on him and said, ‘Now I can use you. I have some words and some plans that I want you to pass onto your country men.’ ”
- A. W. Tozer, Men Who Met God
This can apply to individuals as well as churches. It feels like a thousand men have walked up and down my back with hobnailed boots at times.
But as Rev. Tozer says about Ezekiel – Now I can use you.
Jesus was baptized and God sent the Holy Spirit to rest upon Him, but His active ministry did not start until He had spent 40 days in the wilderness.
Some of us may not need that wilderness time, but some of us, like me to some extent, go 40 years in the wilderness before God said that I was useable. Forget 40 days.
A church with well-worn rugs may be a church with a lot of useless activities. Or it could be a church that feels so good about themselves that they walk around in circles showing their wonderfulness.
Or the rugs may be worn out by people getting on their knees and working out their salvation. They may already be saved, but they are working out justification, that does not end with any of us until we die.
Let us worship in a church with the right kind of well-worn rugs. The people look weather-worn themselves, but they will be genuine. Praise the Lord.
Soli Deo Gloria. Only to God be the Glory.