Jesus also, that he might sanctify the people with his own blood, suffered outside the gate.  Therefore, let us go forth to him outside the camp, bearing his reproach.  For we have no continuing city here, but we seek one to come.

 
 
 

Going to Jesus

Gospel Tracts

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Gospel Tract #100

Bleating and Lowing

by George C. Clark

“What is this bleating of the sheep in my ears, and the lowing of the oxen which I hear?
1Samuel 15:14

Samuel’s question was indignantly asked King Saul after Saul had testified falsely concerning his obedience to the commandment that God had given him.  Saul’s orders from the Lord had been to “strike Amalek and utterly destroy all that they have.”  This holy judgment was to be executed in reprisal for the Amalekites’ previous cruelty toward Israel.  “I remember”, said the Lord, “what Amalek did to Israel, how he laid wait for him in the way when he came up from Egypt.”

King Saul utterly destroyed the people of Amalek, but not Agag, their king – the greatest potential enemy of all.  Too, we find that Saul spared “the best of the sheep, and the cattle, and the lambs, and all that was good.” Thus, he failed to “slay both man and woman, child and infant, ox and sheep, camel and ass,” as God had commanded him.  In spite of this, Saul, like many today, testified of his faith and obedience, for he emphatically declared to Samuel, “I have performed the commandment of the Lord.”  What a picture of believers who fail to destroy their chief sin (King Agag), and the “little foxes” (sheep, oxen, etc.) that so easily “spoil the vine”.

God, my dear Reader, still has His prophet and His sheep and oxen, His prophet to inform us of our obligations to Him, and His sheep and oxen to bleat and low when we fail in these obligations. Moses, you may remember, once proclaimed to the children of Israel: “A prophet like me will the Lord your God raise up for you from among your brothers. You must obey him in whatsoever things he says to you” (Acts 3:22).  This was a prophecy about Jesus, and now, we either live in obedience to God, or Jesus will reprimand us when he hears the bleating and lowing of our conscience. It will not always be sheep and oxen that bleat and low against our testimonies, but it will always be God’s disapproving voice.

When Peter denied knowing the Lord, he was reproved by the crowing of a rooster.  And a thousand years before that, God used a dumb ass to rebuke the prophet Balaam.  How many ways God uses to reprove His erring children!  Yes, my Reader, God has many avenues through which He cries out against those who fail to live clean and holy lives.  In spite of their Saul-like testimony, “I have performed the commandment of the Lord,” Jesus hears the bleating of their sheep and the lowing of their cattle.

If you have failed, like King Saul, to perform the commandments of God, let me earnestly plead with you to be honest with yourself, and with God, and listen for the censuring of the holy Spirit.  Perhaps there is a still small voice, right now, bleating or lowing concerning that unforgiving spirit you have, something that should have been destroyed long ago. Or, it might be your failing to love and respect all God’s children, especially those who do not know God as well as you think you do.  Or, can it be you’re trying to hide under a cloud of pretense that dagger of hate which you are holding toward someone, possibly someone who has wronged you? It could be selfish ambition, a very deadly poison, or stubbornness.  Whatever it is, it must be slain before you can have God’s approval.  Otherwise, the bleating and lowing in your heart will continue.

There is a blessing which comes through obedience which keeps one free and happy, for it prevents the bleating of every reproving sheep and the lowing of every denouncing ox.  This peace is found by those who do the will of God.  The Psalmist gave us a splendid description of such a person when he said, “Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked, or stand in the way of sinners, or sit in the seat of scorners, but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and he meditates on His law day and night” (Ps. 1:1–2).

Everyone who is born again is required to obey the Master’s imperative: “Be perfect, just as your Father who is in heaven is perfect” (Mt. 5:48). As long as such holiness remains in our life, we will not be condemned by any bleating or lowing. The lamb and the lion, so far as we are concerned, may lie down together.  The bear and the ox may eat their straw without any interruption.  We are free.  We are happy.  We are ready for the Lord’s return.

May God help us to be able to say, along with that dear old apostle, “Our boast is this, the testimony of our conscience” (2Cor. 1:12).  A testimony from a clear conscience brings an end to all bleating, lowing, braying, or crowing because every commandment will have truly been performed from the heart.  Amen.

Disobedience

by George C. Clark

“Hearken thou unto the voice
of our mighty God,”
said the prophet to the king,
leaning on his rod.

“Go and slay Amalekites!”
commanded He of Saul.
“Evil did they to my saints
when leaving Egypt’s wall.”

“Not one ass, or sheep, or ox
let ‘scape the sword’s bright edge.
Let all the people die as one;
regard not wealth or age!”

Saul began the slaughter, but
his heart the people swayed.
Failed he then to slay the king
and all the best of prey.

God, when seeing Saul’s great sin,
regretted He had made
Saul to be His people’s king
and given him His aid.

Samuel wept in sorrow deep
‘til night had come and gone,
then rose to meet the foolish Saul
to show the king his wrong.

Samuel found the guilty man
encamped ‘round stolen hordes.
Saul gave greeting, very loud,
“Blessed be thou of the Lord!”

“I performed the Lord’s command,”
said Saul in accent bold.
“What, then, are these piercing bleats?
And the cattle, how they low!”

They have brought them from the war
to offer God our King.
See how great a sacrifice
we now to Him do bring!”

“Hath the Lord as great delight
in offerings, foolish man,
as to obey his prophet’s voice
and do as He commands?”

Many Sauls are with us who
are sent their sins to slay.
Prayerful, pilgrim soul, now be,
and mindful to obey.

Many the Amalekites,
a cunning, evil host.
Oft do they our brothers hurt
and hate our Pentecost.

Vain and evil spirits, they,
in hearts of sinful men.
Slay them and their herds we must,
ere Jesus comes again.

Agag is the chief of them;
his name must “Carnal” be.
Back to Egypt he leads those
who listen to his plea.

Kill him first; obey God’s will,
then sheep and oxen, too.
Otherwise, the “little fox”
may hinder what we do.

If the prophet now should hear
us have our Sunday meet,
would he hear the oxen’s low
or bleating of the sheep?

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