My post-midnight meditations have become precious to me. I am even thankful for those circumstances that tend to drive away sleep and yet drive me to the Saviour. Yet I am profoundly aware that such meditations are far from being meticulous studies of God’s Word.
Perhaps they may be regarded as ‘such a secret study of the Word of God as shall be unprofessional, unclerical and simply Christian’ – for which Bishop Handley Moule pleads in his book, To my younger brethren (p.41).
At any rate, they are now part and parcel of my nightly experience. The Bishop described his book as ‘fragmentary’ and ‘imperfect’ and so, too, are my meditations. Yet, just as his book has brought blessing to many, so my meditations have been made a blessing to me. For that I am thankful!
Poor but rich
I have found, of course, that when I am sleepless and troubled in mind and heart, the devil and his agents are extremely active. In a recent encounter, I was reminded that my name was Rodgers and not Rockefeller!
Then came the twist! If I weren’t so poor, I could put a good deal of money into the Lord’s work, both at home and abroad. Then I remembered that James speaks of believers as ‘the poor of this world’ but adds that they are ‘rich in faith’ (James 2:5). So though I am poor, I am rich!
How can that be? By God’s grace, I have received riches beyond measure. What kind of riches? Paul speaks in terms of the riches of God’s goodness (Romans 2:4). He writes of ‘the exceeding riches of his grace’ and emphasises that this is the grace of a God who is ‘rich in mercy’ (Ephesians 2:4,7). Paul also refers to the ‘richesof his glory’ (Romans 9:23).
So, am I poor and in need? I listen to the great apostle again as he comforts me with the words, ‘my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus’ (Philippians 4:19).
My worldly poverty is nothing compared with the spiritual riches with which God has enriched me in Christ. And there is more! Didn’t James say that ‘God had chosen the poor of this world, rich in faith, and made them heirs of the Kingdom’ (James 2:5)?
So then, not only am I rich but I am an heir – I have an inheritance among the sanctified (Acts 20:32; 26:18). What an inheritance it is! John sums it all up in one sentence: ‘he that overcometh shall inherit all things’ (Revelation 21:7).
Nonetheless, it is encouraging to remember that I am an heir to salvation (Hebrews 1:14); to blessing (1 Peter 3:9); and to a Kingdom (Matthew 25:34). How I thank God that, by his grace, I have been made partaker of the inheritance of the saints in light (Colossians 1:12).
How God has encouraged my heart and soul this night! From a disturbed and fretful state of mind, I have been transported into the realm of thanksgiving for all God’s many benefits (Psalm 103:1-2).
And there is added encouragement. Paul tells me that though ministers of God may be poor, yet they may make many rich; though they have nothing, yet they possess all things. God has not only enriched me but he may also use me to enrich others (2 Corinthians 6:4,10).
All that is balm to my soul, though I must confess with the psalmist, ‘such knowledge is too wonderful for me, it is high, I cannot attain unto it’ (Psalm 139:6).
Grace in Christ
Now, if my move from poverty to incalculable riches staggers my mind and imagination, what if I consider how this all came about? You see, the Bible puts it all down to the grace of God in Christ.
When Satan tempts me to despair
And tells me of the guilt within,
Upward I look and see him there,
Who made an end of all my sin.
Think of it! My blessed Lord, enriched with the Father before even time began, became poor that we through his poverty might be enriched (John 17:5,11; 2 Corinthians 8:9; Philippians 2:5-8).
Yet having redeemed his ‘purchased possession’, Jesus Christ has once again been enriched. In Revelation 5, Christ Jesus enters heaven fresh from his triumph at Calvary and over the grave. He receives worship and honour, and a new song is sung (Revelation 5:9).
This song celebrates the worthiness of the Lamb to receive power and riches(5:12) – and an inheritance, which he has redeemed and confirmed (Psalm 74:2; Ephesians 1:18).
Having been redeemed by Christ, I am part of his inheritance. And how does Christ view me? I am included in his ‘special treasure’ – I love that rendering of the word ‘jewels’ in Malachi 3:17.
The psalmist speaks of the Lord’s ‘peculiar treasure’ in Psalm 135:4. It is enough! God has been pleased to banish my guilty fears by reminding me that in Christ this poor man possesses wealth and riches untold and that I also have an inheritance.
I have been permitted to focus on Christ and what he has done for me. I am staggered at the goodness of God. At the same time, I am enabled to believe what is otherwise incomprehensible – that Jesus Christ who was rich became poor, in order that he might enrich his people and receive an inheritance in them.
Blessed post-midnight meditations! How I thank God for his goodness!
So shall no part of day or night,
Un-blest or common be;
But all my life in every step,
Be fellowship with thee.