Preached by Dr. Gene Scott on March 14, 1982
Who is among you that feareth the LORD, that obeyeth the voice
of his servant, that walketh in darkness, and hath no light? Let
him trust in the name of the LROD, and stay upon his God.
I HAVE ONE TEXT THAT IS BEHIND EVERY MESSAGE that I preach: “God is not a man, that he should lie; neither the son of man, that he should repent: hath he said, and shall he not do it? or hath he spoken, and shall he not make it good?” Unlike men, there is no shadow of turning in Him. When God says something, that settles it. The Scripture declares, “For ever, O LORD, thy word is settled in heaven.”
Jesus said, “Whatsoever ye shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever ye shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.” He was speaking in the context of intercessory prayer. What is an intercessor? Let me use an illustration from the Old Testament. When the children of Israel entered into the Promised Land, God assigned them their “lots,” which were the territories that they were told to occupy and possess. God defined the borders or boundaries of their land, and we read in Joshua 19, “the border reached to Carmel,” and “the border reached to Zebulun,” etc. A form of that word reach appears again in the book of Isaiah, where it is translated “made intercession.” The Hebrew word for intercession comes from the same root word that was used when God’s people were told to possess the lots that God defined as their territory in the Promised Land. That land was occupied by enemies, but from the moment that God defined the boundaries, it was theirs for the taking. The task of taking possession of God’s promises gives us the root meaning for intercessory prayer.
Once God says something, a man of faith seizes it and will not let go until it becomes his possession. The seen circumstances do not mean a thing. In the New Testament frame, when you encounter a situation that defies a promise of God, you are confronted with a choice. You can either view the circumstance as an opportunity to grab hold of God’s promise in defiance of the circumstance, or you can look only at that circumstance and wait for God to change it before you will believe Him.
The latter type of person is described by the entire record of the first generation of Israelites who came out of Egypt’s bondage. Whenever the circumstances defied what God had said, they put God on trial. They moaned and groaned, murmured and complained, and they expected God to change the circumstance. And only when God had “passed muster” would they follow Him a bit further. God said in the book of Deuteronomy that He took them into the wilderness to prove them. He wasn’t the one on trial, they were. Their consistent attitude to take the circumstance as reality and only trust God after He changed the circumstance eventually brought forth God’s wrath. He strewed their bones in the wilderness and started over with a new generation.
With that backdrop, we are warned in the New Testament that when we have a promise of God that is contradicted by circumstance, “Let us therefore fear,” lest we wait one day too long before we grab hold of what God says and defy the circumstance. Our circumstances are analogous to the Hittites, the Perizzites, the Jebusites and the Canaanites occupying the land that God had promised to His people. God had declared, “This is yours, Asher; this is yours, Dan; this is yours, Zebulun; this is yours, Naphtali. Now go possess it!” The life of faith is that agonizing, unchanging, never-let-go, tenacious, possessive action in defiance of the circumstance.
Peter says that the experience that tries our faith brings forth the “legal tender” in heaven to obtain our eternal inheritance, which is faith tested, tried and proven. The Bible says, “Faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” As God’s faithfulness is unfolded in His word, at some point your understanding should begin to break forth like a flower from the soil of your faith-generated being. You should begin to understand that God is faithful. When confronted with a circumstance that denies a promise of God, I have the opportunity to bow my neck, set my face like a flint and grab hold of the promise with a determination like one of David’s mighty men. Figuratively speaking, when a battle of faith is over, someone will have to pry my fingers from the hilt of the sword. And if I die in the process, God’s promise is still true: “For ever, O LORD, thy word is settled in heaven.” I will grip God’s word and never let go.
With that introduction, please turn in your Bible to Isaiah 50:10. I don’t know who needs this message today, but I would guess that all of us do. “Who is among you that feareth the LORD, that obeyeth the voice of his servant. . .” This passage is not speaking of a disobedient, rebellious, backslidden, scoundrel ex-Christian. You may have weaknesses in your life, but this message is to you who fear the Lord in the Old Testament sense: You know that He is on the throne and that He will have the last word. You know that He is the Lord of hosts; you respect Him and you obey the voice of His servant. The word of God is your lamp, and you are not kicking against God’s claims. Yet the Bible says, “Who is among you that feareth the LORD, that obeyeth the voice of his servant, that walketh in darkness, and hath no light?” This passage says that you can be faithfully serving God, and yet find yourself walking in darkness and having no light.
The popular message today is that you must find a place where the light is so bright that it hurts your spiritual eyeballs. The charismatic renewal, with all of its good points, nonetheless creates a false impression that from the moment I crawl out of bed every morning, I should expect the light to be shining all the time. There is an old hymn that is sung in some churches, “Walking in sunlight, all of my journey.” If that were the expected path for all of God’s servants, then the person described in Isaiah 50:10 is serving a rather unusual God.
“Who is among you?” Listen closely, for this message is targeted at individuals. Wherever you are, God is asking a question. “Who is among you?” You haven’t done anything wrong that you know about. You have done everything that you know to do to put God first and to follow His word, and yet you are in darkness. I am not talking about the darkness of sin, though Satan would suggest to you. Let’s get that burden off our shoulders right at the outset and kick the devil out the door. I am talking about misery.
Some of you are listening to me today while your closest companion is in a hospital facing surgery. Some of you who have supported God’s work faithfully for many years have found yourself out of a job, and you do not know where to turn. When the sun was shining, you gave freely; and when the sun started to set, you kept on being faithful. Then calamity hit. And there is something about calamity: it seems to come at you from all sides and all at the same time. There is an old song, “What a Difference a Day Makes,” which I am sure could be sung by many in this congregation. God is speaking to you today through this message. “Who is among you?”
Those who fear the Lord and obey the voice of His servant can be found walking in darkness. And it is not just a moment of darkness, it is a not a darkness that comes and goes in one day – you are walking in it, and you have no light. There is no seen help. What are you going to do when you find yourself in that state? Let me dispense with verse 11, which describes human nature at work: “Behold, all ye that kindle a fire, that compass yourselves about with sparks: walk in the light of your fire, and in the sparks that ye have kindled.” To say it differently, when darkness comes, most of us start scurrying around looking for a matchbox so we can strike a match and make our own light. In a time of darkness, our natural instinct is to try to deliver ourselves. We usually try to find some way out of our darkness by relying on our natural abilities.
This is a subtle truth I want to communicate. God gave us our abilities. God gave Jacob his abilities, but it took years for Jacob to learn to pause for a moment before he started in a dead run to do God’s will in his own strength. Jacob was always trying to solve his own problems before he gave God any attention. When you find yourself suddenly in darkness, stop and tread water for just a minute. God said to the Israelites in Deuteronomy that He led them into the wilderness to prove them. And He made them to hunger that He might teach them that man does not live by bread alone. God has been scanning this universe looking for the one prize that He will take to eternity to share the inheritance of His Son: God is looking for faith. God is looking for faithers.
You can expect darkness to be a routine part of the journey. Once you understand that, you have come a long way toward your solution. When the darkness settles in, instead of immediately punching the panic button and exhausting yourself in your own kind of deliverance, just pause for a moment and shove the matchbox a little out of reach, because there is something else that should be done first. And if you do not do that something else first, God says, “Behold, all ye that kindle a fire, that compass yourselves about with sparks: walk in the light of your fire, and in the sparks that ye have kindled.” When the darkness comes, if I scramble for my matches and start a fire of my own making, I might get some temporary relief. But the only light I will have is the match that I have struck, and God has promised, “This shall ye have of mine hand; ye shall lie down in sorrow.”
I am starting to learn that I never allowed God to teach the lesson He wanted to teach by the darkness. The moment you place yourself into God’s hands, no darkness will come upon you that He does not allow. “All the promises of God in Him are yes and Amen,” and that includes the promise that he will not tempt you beyond what you are able to bear, but with the temptation He will provide a means of escape.
Darkness is part of the trip. Wherever you are today, who is among you in that state? But if you immediately resort to a fleshly deliverance without a thought or a pause, then you might deliver yourself, but you are no different than the children of this world. You might make it through because you are a “survivor,” but God’s promise is, “This shall ye have of mine hand; ye shall lie down in sorrow.”
I do not preach a mystical Christianity. I preach a hardnosed Christianity that realistically takes God’s word for what it says, knowing that God says what He means and means what He says, and understanding that God gives every man the opportunity that this verse is giving. Just as cool, collected and hardheaded as a business decision, you can recognize you are in darkness and you can see the options.
I spoke of “survivors” in the natural sense, but there are also those whom I call “superspiritual survivors.” Those are the ones who try to kindle a spiritual spark of their own doing. To them, deliverance is an emotional outburst and a spiritual blowout. And as they cry out and jump and gyrate, they substitute their own feelings for God’s cure. I suppose that kind of behavior can comfort you, but it is not much different than the reaction of a man who has natural ability and quickly grabs his own matchbox. The superspiritual survivor behaves like any other citizen of this world who does not know God’s promises or even care about God. It is the knee-jerk response of someone who immediately starts devising his own means of deliverance without even taking a breath to pause and pray to God. You are still just trying to get out of your mess by your own efforts.
Both the natural survivor and the superspiritual survivor have the same warning: “This shall ye have of mine hand; ye shall lie down in sorrow.” I will guarantee that, and some of you know it because you have experienced it. But God has provided us a clear cure: “Who is among you that feareth the LORD, that obeyeth the voice of his servant, that walketh in darkness, and hath no light? let him trust in the name of the LORD.”
God never wastes a word in His book. Notice that God does not say, “let him trust in his gifts” or “let him trust in his spiritual experiences.” When darkness comes and you have no light at all, neither your gifts nor your past experiences will give you any advantage. Everyone is on a level playing field here. The only advantage you might have is that if you have seen enough of God’s workings to know His faithfulness, you can be motivated to respond to His command more quickly: “let him trust in the name of the LORD.”
Why does the Bible say “trust in the name of the LORD?” Names are never used by accident in the Bible; they always have a meaning. Abram’s name means “high father.” But after God promised Abraham that he would have many children, He changed Abram’s name to Abraham, which means “father of a multitude.” Jacob’s name means “heel catcher.” When God finally got him straightened out, He changed Jacob’s name to Israel, which in essence means “God governed” and is interpreted to mean “a prince who has power with God.”
God said to Moses, “by my name God Almighty have I been known.” The basis of the name “God Almighty” is the name El. The plural form is Elohim, which is the name used in Genesis 1:1 where it says, “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.” It is the revelation of God as all-powerful.
God was known as Elohim throughout the record of creation. But now to God’s oracle people through whom He chose to reveal His nature to the world, He said, “By my name Jehovah I will be known unto you.” God lamented about His people, saying, “They only knew Me by My actions. They only saw the results of My being there. But only Moses came to know My ways.” God lamented because He chose them that He might reveal His ways to them. His people were chose to be the recipient of a revelation of God’s ways, so they could say of God with familiarity, “That is the way He is.” And God said, “By my name Jehovah I will be known unto you.” The name Jehovah is used to represent the so-called tetragrammaton, the Hebrew four-letter name of God YHWH. The closest you can come to pronouncing it is Yahweh. In the King James Bible, it is most often translated using the name “LORD” set in capital letters.
The Jewish people took God’s name that He had shined forth as a revelation of Himself, and they covered it up. To this day, when they read the Scriptures, they do not even pronounce the name Yahweh or Jehovah. They substitute a lesser name for Lord, and say, “Adonai.” In their folly, they reversed God’s intention: God intended to reveal Himself through this name, but they covered it up and would not say it aloud.
The name Jehovah is an untranslatable word. The closest that I have been able to come to a translation is by the use of a word picture. Imagine taking a garden hose and turning on the water. Now pinch the hose with your fingers until you feel the water pressure start to build up. That imagery will enable you to come to a felt awareness of what the name Jehovah means: it conveys the impression of God’s nature under pressure waiting to burst forth and be seen.
God was saying to His people, “By My name God Almighy I have been known, high and mighty and powerful and above all; but to you My chosen ones, I am going to reveal Myself: My nature will now flow forth.” That is why you find the name Jehovah in the Bible linked over and over again to other specific names that reach out or flow to meet specific needs. The Jehovah names of God reveal what God wants to be to His people:
Jehovah-rohi: the Lord is my shepherd.
Jehovah-rapha: the Lord who heals.
Jehovah-shammah: the Lord is there.
Jehovah-shalom: the Lord is peace.
Jehovah-jireh: the Lord will see or the Lord will provide.
Jehovah-tsidkenu: the Lord our righteousness.
The Jehovah names take God’s nature and focus it with precision on our specific needs. God said to Jeremiah, “I will hasten my word to perform it.” God was giving the prophet a revelation of His nature. I like to use the imagery of a magnifying glass that catches the rays of the sun and brings them all into a sharp focus to put all the power of the sun in one place. It is as though God will reach within Himself and focus all that He is on our precise need.
The Bible makes it very clear that all that God was to His chosen people in the Old Testament, He will be and even more so to His chosen ones in Christ. I preach a hardheaded, realistic Christianity that takes God at His word and acts on it with clear-eyed sanity. And whatever feelings that might come along with it are the result of faith and are just icing on the cake. I know there are some people who would rather stay on a spiritual high. That is nothing new. There are many who seek a drug-induced high, and there are parents in the sound of my voice who know the tragedy of this feeling-oriented generation. We have seen the tragedy of what has happened to so many popular entertainers. What is new about enjoying good feelings? The Bible says, “Be not drunk with wine. It is better to be filled with the Spirit.” That means if you are the kind of person who must live on that kind of feeling, it is better to be drunk on the Spirit than to be drunk of wine. So if that is how you have to live, between the two options there is only one choice. But we are to act on God’s word whether we feel anything or not.
God’s word is speaking to you and me today. “Who is among you that feareth the LORD, that obeyeth the voice of his servant, that walketh in darkness, and hath no light? let him trust in the name of the LORD.” If anything has happened as a result of the preaching we have done for many years, you should have come to the conclusion that when God says something, He means it. In the New Testament, 2 Corinthians 1:20 declares, “all the promises of God in him are yes,” if you are in Christ. How do you get in Christ? By faith. What is faith? Faith is taking God at His word in spite of any circumstance.
No matter what your darkness, no matter what your need, there is a name of the Lord that fits it. It is not enough to simply know that the Lord’s name exists. This passage in Isaiah not only gives me a license, it gives me a command. I am to “trust in the name of the LORD.” I am to run to the Lord for refuge, instead of running to my matchbox. Leave your matchbox alone for a moment. Stop in your tracts, pause and count to ten, and ask, “What is my darkness, and what is the name of the Lord that fits it?” and then run to that name. How do you run to the Lord in the New Testament frame of reference? Paul says in Romans 10, “With the heart man believeth . . . and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.”
Instead of trying to deliver yourself by using your own talents or by having some kind of spiritual blowout, you would be ten times better off to do what Jesus said to do: go into a closet and pray, and literally and spiritually wash your brain with the name of God that fits your need. If your need is provision, this passage in Isaiah says you are to run to the name Jehovah-jireh, “I am the Lord who sees and provides.” If your need is a provision of strength, you can also claim the promise, “as thy days, so shall thy strength be.” You are only promised strength enough for today, but you can run every morning to Jehovah-jireh. Run to that name and grab hold of it if it fits your need.
If your darkness is sickness, this passage in Isaiah gives you license to run to the name Jehovah-rahpa, “I am the Lord who heals.” You do not need any other promises. You do not need a “faith healer,” and you do not even need an angel. God Himself said it: “I am the LORD that healeth thee,” and this passage gives you a license to run to that name; indeed, it commands that you run to it.
In the Old Testament, there was a lot of bodily motion involved in acting on a promise of God. You had to lift a sacrifice; there was a “heave offering” and a “wave offering.” Someone had to take a goat out to a wilderness area to get rid of sins. You had to go to a specific place to claim a promise. But in the New Testament, Romans 10 says, “Say not in thine heart, Who shall ascend into heaven? (that is, to bring Christ down from above) or, Who shall descend into the deep? (that is, to bring up Christ again from the dead). But what saith it? The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth,” speak it forth, “For with the heart man believeth . . . with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.” The word “salvation” is soterian in the Greek. It includes wholeness of every kind, not just salvation from sin.
Romans 10 is not addressed to the nonbeliever, it is addressed to God’s people. Paul was well past dealing with the sinner. He was well past Romans 3 where he said, “all have sinned,” well past Romans 5 where he spoke of redemption, and well past Romans 8 where he spoke of the indwelling Spirit. Paul was speaking to God’s people when he said “With the heart man believeth . . . and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.” There are people who take that verse as a license to claim anything with their mouths. They think you can “believe and receive” anything you want. But the only focus of this verse is God’s word.
Once God says something, it is forever settled in heaven. God waits for a man who is in darkness, someone who will not forget in the dark what he heard in the light. And He waits for that man who will run to the shelter of His name. God’s name can be made yours by that very act of running.
If your darkness is uncertainty, and you do not know where to turn or what move to make next, run to the name Jehovah-rohi, “the LORD is my shepherd.” God promises to lead. Jesus could commend no man more highly than Elijah, and God made Elijah walk one step at a time. Run to the name! Run in the darkness with the certainty that He is leading you, no matter what the circumstances look like. Don’t ask God for the whole map to be laid out in advance. To use Elijah again as an example, if God sends you to a brook, keep trusting that He is leading you even if the brook dries up and the ravens stop bringing you food.
How do you run to the name of the Lord today? Again, the Bible says, “With the heart man believeth . . . and with the mouth confession is made” or “proclamation is made.” Go into your closet, shut the door and declare, “The Lord is going to lead me. He is my Shepherd. I can run to that name.” If you are about to have a nervous breakdown, run to the name Jehovah-shalom, and make it yours. If your darkness is crushing you until you are coming apart at the seams, quit talking about it and start speaking forth the name “the Lord is my Peace.” Every name of God is yours to claim.
The worst kind of darkness is when the heavens are brass, the feelings are gone and you do not know where to turn. One philosopher said, “God may be in His heavens, but it seems like He is not listening.” Have you ever had that feeling? That is when the acid test comes. Are you serving God because He scratches your back, or because He is faithful? Run to the name of the Lord: Jehovah-shammah, “the LORD is there.” You may not be able to see Him, but He sees you. That is His declaration.
Are you being beaten over the head with guilt? Usually it is other Christians who do that to us, or worse, backsliders and sinners who know we have stepped out in faith and they want to tear us down. I am sure that no matter how much I preach about God’s grace, people will still become overcome with guilt when they make a mistake, and they will think that their lack of righteousness separates them from God. If your darkness is guilt, run to the name Jehovah-tsidkenu, “the LORD our righteousness.”
The next move is yours. It is God’s declaration and there is a name to fit your need. If you are sick, “the LORD our righteousness” may not mean as much to you as “I am the LORD that healeth thee.” If you are facing an economic catastrophe, “I am the LORD that healeth thee” is not as important as “the LORD will provide.” Find the name of God that fits your circumstance and make it yours.
And when you pray, do not give God a lengthy, superspiritual introduction. Do not pray, “O God, sitting on Your throne, with angels flying around You; Creator of the heavens and the earth . . .” and go on and on for an hour and a half. If you need healing in your right big toe, then say, “Lord, it is my big toe on my right foot; heal it!” Be specific. I wonder what you would do if your child came up to you and said,
“O Dad! Twice as tall as I am! Seemingly bigger than the
world! Provider of this house, payer of the mortgage
and driver of the family car; father of my brothers and
sisters, and adoring husband of my mother; delight of
your employer and marvelous man about town! May I
have a candy-sucker?”
Spell out your desire in prayer. You ask me, “What is your authority for that?” The Bible says, “Let him trust in the name of the LORD, and stay upon his God.” God is giving you a license to fish and hunt through the wealth of His revelation and find the name that fits your need. God is saying, “Grab that name, and I will literally be yours.”
Some of you are looking for a healer. You can follow the so-called faith healers all around the world, but they will never be yours. You cannot put them in a sack and bring them home. But God has said, “What is your darkness? Find the searchlight of My name before you do anything else. Believe it, declare it, and I will become exclusively that for you and go home with you. If you need healing, I will be your healer. If you need provision, I will be your provider. If you need peace, I will be your peace. If you need righteousness, I will be your righteousness. If you need My presence, I will be there.”
Matthew’s Gospel declares, “And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins.” The name Jesus comes from the Greek cognate of the name Joshua, and the name Joshua is the contraction of Jehovah-oshea, meaning “Jehovah our Helper.” Whatever else you may need, if it was left out of the other specific names we have been looking at, God is saying to you today, “I will be your Helper.”
Father, take your word today and apply it to our hearts. I do
not know who needed this message, but we pause in the midst
of teaching on Your faithfulness throughout the whole book to
let Your word reach with individual focus to individual needs.
Help every person in the sound of my voice to understand there
is a way out that is precise and personal. Your word says that
You will not tempt us beyond what we are able to bear; but You
will, with the temptation, provide a way of escape that is as
precise and individual as our individual problems. I have faith
that Your word will bring forth fruit. And whatever the need,
let the people know as they whisper their prayers and in the
privacy of their own thoughts that they can take the revelation
of Your name as the answer to their problems, and can make
Your name their own possession. You will lead us through the
darkness. We ask it, in Jesus’ name.
Taken from The Pulpit, Volume 10 (Dr. Gene Scott)
Reprinted with permission from Pastor Melissa Scott
A few of you have written recently to ask if some of the messages in the newsletter were published before, thinking you had already read it because you recognized the title, or you had read one of Dr. Scott’s messages on the same subject before.
But Dr. Scott preached on the same subjects a lot. For instance, “The Potter’s House,” “Blessed men go through valleys” (Psalm 84), “Fret not,” and several others, were messages he preached repeatedly, at least annually. Each time the text might be the same, but Dr. Scott always had a different take on the subject, with new information we had not heard before.
We do not learn the Bible in one reading. Maybe we learn more EACH TIME that we read it. But the more things are repeated, the better they will stick in your brain. It’s the same with these messages. If we read them a hundred times, we can learn something from each different reading. The Bible repeats itself a lot. So repetition must be important. But for the record, all of the messages recently have not been published in the newsletter before.
I just wanted to clear that up and encourage each of you to read the messages.
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