1. Farther On, Still Go Farther
"But now they desire a better country, that is, an heavenly: wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God: for he hath prepared for them a city." Hebrews 11:16
We just finished our devotions on "Precious Promises From God's Word" which has carried us through 100 promises. There are many, many more that we could have talked about, but I felt it was time to move on. I was praying about God's leading for a new theme as I often do, and I did not know where to begin. As I was thinking and praying about it one day, God brought a great old song to my mind and I began singing, "Farther on, still go farther. Count the milestones one by one. Jesus will forsake you never. It is better, farther on." I don't know how many times I have sung this old song with tears streaming down my face. In times of stress and in times of distress it has brought hope to my soul. In times of sorrow and sadness, it has brought peace of mind. At the loss of loved ones, it has brought comfort. I could not find who wrote this old song, but it has been a blessing to me for many years. As we begin a new devotional theme, let's find help from those who went a little farther. I hope that during the next couple of weeks we can be encouraged to follow the examples of the faithful and find strength in the Lord to go a little farther. I don't think our time on earth will be much longer before the Lord calls us home to a better country, that city He has prepared for us.
Oh, my brother, are you weary
Of the roughness of the way?
Does your strength begin to fail you,
And your vigor to decay?
Farther on, still go farther.
Count the milestones one by one.
Jesus will forsake you never,
It is better farther on.
2. Jesus Went A Little Farther In The Garden Of Gethsemane
"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 further, 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." Matthew 26:36
Last week we celebrated the death, burial, and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. As we begin our new devotional series on "A Little Farther", we see in these familiar verses that Jesus went a little farther in prayer. Jesus came to the place in Gethsemane and He asked the disciples to wait there. Then, He took Peter, James, and John a little farther with Him to pray. Being "exceeding sorrowful, even unto death", "He went a little further, and fell on His face, and prayed." Jesus was willing to give His life to pay for our sin. He knew the pain and suffering He would bear. He took His closest friends with Him a little part of the way in the garden, but He went a little farther in prayer, even unto death. Where are we in prayer and communion with God? Are we with the multitudes who followed Jesus in the day, but did not know about Gethsemane in the night? Maybe we are with the other disciples who went along with Jesus into the garden. A very few may even be with Peter, James and John who went a little farther with the Lord. Notice what Jesus said when He returned to them. "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." (Matthew 26:40-41) When we go a little farther in prayer with our Lord, He will help us overcome temptation. Watch and pray, and follow Him.
3. Enoch Walked With God A Little Farther
"And Enoch lived sixty and five years, and begat Methuselah: And Enoch walked with God after he begat Methuselah three hundred years, and begat sons and daughters: And all the days of Enoch were three hundred sixty and five years: And Enoch walked with God: and he was not; for God took him." Genesis 5:21-24
As we continue our devotions on going a little farther, let's look at the story of Enoch. I have heard it explained that Enoch and God walked together each day and as they walked each day Enoch walked a little closer to God. One day, after a while, God told Enoch that they were closer to His home, and Enoch just went home with God. What else do we know about Enoch's walk with God? Enoch's son was Methuselah (who lived 969 years and died the year of the flood), his grandson was Lamech, and his great-grandson was Noah. In the days of Noah, there was great wickedness on the earth, so things were probably getting pretty bad during Enoch's day as well. In verses 14 and 15 of Jude we see that Enoch preached against the wickedness of his day. "And Enoch also, the seventh from Adam, prophesied of these, saying, Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousands of his saints, To execute judgment upon all, and to convince all that are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have ungodly committed, and of all their hard speeches which ungodly sinners have spoken against him." Also, in Hebrews 11:5 we read, "By faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death; and was not found, because God had translated him: for before his translation he had this testimony, that he pleased God." Enoch prophesied, and he pleased God, and he walked a little farther with God and a little closer to God and God just took him away from the wickedness. What about us? Can the world see a difference in the way we walk? Would others say that we walked with God, or that we pleased God? How can we walk a little farther? Walk in the light. "If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth:But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin." (I John 1:6-7) Walk in truth. "I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth." (III John 1:4) "Walk in wisdom toward them that are without, redeeming the time." (Colossians 4:5) "That ye would walk worthy of God, who hath called you unto his kingdom and glory." (I Thessalonians 2:12) Finally, "Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children; And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweetsmelling savour." (Ephesians 5:1-2)
4. Noah Went A Little Farther To The Saving Of His Family
"And GOD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And it repented the LORD that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart. And the LORD said, I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth; both man, and beast, and the creeping thing, and the fowls of the air; for it repenteth me that I have made them. But Noah found grace in the eyes of the LORD. These are the generations of Noah: Noah was a just man and perfect in his generations, and Noah walked with God." Genesis 6:5-9
We saw in the fifth chapter of Genesis that Enoch "walked with God." Now we have come to the sixth chapter and we see that his great grandson, Noah, also "walked with God." Noah also worked for God, "to the saving of his house" as we see in Hebrews 11:7. "By faith Noah, being warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved with fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house; by the which he condemned the world, and became heir of the righteousness which is by faith." The first three individuals of the faith chapter in Hebrews 11 give us an example of how we need to live. Hebrews 11:4 tells us that Abel worshipped, 11:5 tells us that Enoched walked with God, and 11:7 tells us that Noah worked. If we want to go a little farther with God, we need to follow this order. We need to worship God, then we can walk with God, and finally accomplish something for God in our work for God. It is fruitless for us to try to walk with God or work for God until we have worshipped God. Ok, got a little sidetracked there... back to Noah. The people of the earth were very wicked. While God chose to take Enoch out of the wickedness, God had something different in mind for Noah. He told Noah to build an ark and prepare for a great flood. I like Genesis 6:22, "Thus did Noah; according to all that God commanded him, so did he." Noah went a little farther than all the rest of the world. He worked a little harder to save his family. If we want to see our family saved, then we need to work a little harder, and go a little farther with God. Noah preached to the lost and dying world, but they would not listen. We need to work just as hard to save a lost and dying world today. "And spared not the old world, but saved Noah the eighth person, a preacher of righteousness, bringing in the flood upon the world of the ungodly;" (II Peter 2:5)
5. Abraham Went A Little Farther In Search Of A City
"Now the LORD had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father's house, unto a land that I will shew thee: And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing: And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed. So Abram departed, as the LORD had spoken unto him; and Lot went with him: and Abram was seventy and five years old when he departed out of Haran." (Genesis 12:1-4)
Let's continue in Hebrews 11, the Faith Chapter, with Abraham. "By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither he went. By faith he sojourned in the land of promise, as in a strange country, dwelling in tabernacles with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise: For he looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God.." (Hebrews 11:8-10) God told Abraham to go to the land He would show him, and Abraham went. I went to visit my sister for a few days and it takes me a little over three hours to make the trip. I usually look at what time we leave, and guess about what time we will be back home. While driving back home, I keep a watch on the clock and keep telling myself that I am getting closer to home. It is a little easier now that I don't have little voices in the back seat crying, "Are we there, yet?" After we have been on the road two or three hours, I start telling myself, "Just a little bit farther." I am always ready to get back home. Think about Abraham. "By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither he went." It would be really hard to just pack up and leave, not knowing where you are going. But, sometimes if we want to go a little farther with God, we may have to pack away some things that hinder our path, and step out in faith to follow God. We may not always know where God is leading us, but as we take each step in faith, we can keep on going a little farther with God.
6. Sarah Went A Little Farther In Faith
"Through faith also Sara herself received strength to conceive seed, and was delivered of a child when she was past age, because she judged him faithful who had promised." Hebrews 11:11
Yesterday we looked at the faith of Abraham, and there are many more stories in the Bible of faithful men who went a little farther with God. Quite often their wives are not mentioned, but today we have the exception, the faith of Sarah. God told Abraham to pack up and leave home, but He didn't tell him where he was going. Sarah packed up her belongings and went with Abraham. They journeyed and God blessed them. They did not always make the best decisions, but they are both listed with the faithful in Hebrews 11. After they both grew old, God reminded Abraham of His promise to make him a father of many nations. When Sarah was 90 years old she had a son. "And the LORD visited Sarah as he had said, ... For Sarah conceived, and bare Abraham a son in his old age, at the set time of which God had spoken to him. And Abraham called the name of his son that was born unto him, whom Sarah bare to him, Isaac... And Abraham was an hundred years old, when his son Isaac was born unto him. And Sarah said, God hath made me to laugh, so that all that hear will laugh with me." (Portions of Genesis 21:1-6) God may lead you down a certain path and those around you may not understand. They may criticize or laugh at your decisions. There may also be times that God leads you in a certain direction and you don't understand. God reminds us in His Word to trust in His leading and not our own understanding. "Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths." (Proverbs 3:5-6) It takes faith and trust to go a little farther with God. It also takes faith to go a little farther with your spouse when God is leading. I praise God for faithful husbands and wives who go a little farther in support of their spouses as they follow the Lord.
7. Ruth Went A Little Farther
"6 Then she arose with her daughters in law, that she might return from the country of Moab: for she had heard in the country of Moab how that the LORD had visited his people in giving them bread.
7 Wherefore she went forth out of the place where she was, and her two daughters in law with her; and they went on the way to return unto the land of Judah.
8 And Naomi said unto her two daughters in law, Go, return each to her mother's house: the LORD deal kindly with you, as ye have dealt with the dead, and with me.
9 The LORD grant you that ye may find rest, each of you in the house of her husband. Then she kissed them; and they lifted up their voice, and wept.
10 And they said unto her, Surely we will return with thee unto thy people.
11 And Naomi said, Turn again, my daughters: why will ye go with me? are there yet any more sons in my womb, that they may be your husbands?
12 Turn again, my daughters, go your way; for I am too old to have an husband. If I should say, I have hope, if I should have an husband also to night, and should also bear sons;
13 Would ye tarry for them till they were grown? would ye stay for them from having husbands? nay, my daughters; for it grieveth me much for your sakes that the hand of the LORD is gone out against me.
14 And they lifted up their voice, and wept again: and Orpah kissed her mother in law; but Ruth clave unto her.
15 And she said, Behold, thy sister in law is gone back unto her people, and unto her gods: return thou after thy sister in law.
16 And Ruth said, Intreat me not to leave thee, or to return from following after thee: for whither thou goest, I will go; and where thou lodgest, I will lodge: thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God:" Ruth 1:6-16
If anyone believes all the jokes we hear about mothers-in-law, then that person does not know the story of Ruth and Naomi. Naomi and her husband and two sons left Bethlehemjudah and went to Moab because of a great famine. Naomi's husband died, and their two sons married Moabite women. After ten years had passed the two sons died also and Naomi decided to go back home. She told her daughters-in-law to return to their homes and Orpah returned back home. Ruth went with Naomi to Bethlehemjudah. She didn't just go a little farther with Naomi, but she returned all the way and said, "Intreat me not to leave thee, or to return from following after thee: for whither thou goest, I will go; and where thou lodgest, I will lodge: thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God:" Ruth was rewarded for her faithfulness to Naomi and her God. She was found by Boaz, a kinsman redeemer, and had a son named Obed. Obed had a son named Jesse. Jesse had many sons, the youngest was named David and he went on to become king over Israel. Don't quit on the Lord. Keep on following God... a little farther. You don't know what influence your faith will have on the future generations.
8. The Shunammite Couple Went A Little Farther For God's Man
"And it fell on a day, that Elisha passed to Shunem, where was a great woman; and she constrained him to eat bread. And so it was, that as oft as he passed by, he turned in thither to eat bread. And she said unto her husband, Behold now, I perceive that this is an holy man of God, which passeth by us continually. Let us make a little chamber, I pray thee, on the wall; and let us set for him there a bed, and a table, and a stool, and a candlestick: and it shall be, when he cometh to us, that he shall turn in thither." II Kings 4:8-10
This is an excellent illustration as to how we should be hospitable to the men of God. Elisha was a prophet and as he went through Shunem, this woman would welcome him into her home and give him something to eat. But her hospitality did not stop there. She went a little farther. She and her husband made a little chamber for him to stay in. There was a bed for him to sleep on, and they added a table, stool and candlestick. We still use the term, "Prophet's Chamber" today for rooms set up for visiting preachers. God blessed this couple for their cordiality toward Elisha and gave them a son. We should follow the example of this couple and take care of our pastors and preachers. When was the last time you took your pastor and his family out for a meal? And even going a little farther, when was the last time you invited them over to your house for fellowship? Let's go a little farther and take care of God's servants, and God will surely take care of us.
9. Elisha Went A Little Farther And Received A Double Portion
"1 And it came to pass, when the LORD would take up Elijah into heaven by a whirlwind, that Elijah went with Elisha from Gilgal.
2 And Elijah said unto Elisha, Tarry here, I pray thee; for the LORD hath sent me to Bethel. And Elisha said unto him, As the LORD liveth, and as thy soul liveth, I will not leave thee. So they went down to Bethel.
3 And the sons of the prophets that were at Bethel came forth to Elisha, and said unto him, Knowest thou that the LORD will take away thy master from thy head to day? And he said, Yea, I know it; hold ye your peace.
4 And Elijah said unto him, Elisha, tarry here, I pray thee; for the LORD hath sent me to Jericho. And he said, As the LORD liveth, and as thy soul liveth, I will not leave thee. So they came to Jericho.
5 And the sons of the prophets that were at Jericho came to Elisha, and said unto him, Knowest thou that the LORD will take away thy master from thy head to day? And he answered, Yea, I know it; hold ye your peace.
6 And Elijah said unto him, Tarry, I pray thee, here; for the LORD hath sent me to Jordan. And he said, As the LORD liveth, and as thy soul liveth, I will not leave thee. And they two went on.
7 And fifty men of the sons of the prophets went, and stood to view afar off: and they two stood by Jordan.
8 And Elijah took his mantle, and wrapped it together, and smote the waters, and they were divided hither and thither, so that they two went over on dry ground.
9 And it came to pass, when they were gone over, that Elijah said unto Elisha, Ask what I shall do for thee, before I be taken away from thee. And Elisha said, I pray thee, let a double portion of thy spirit be upon me.
10 And he said, Thou hast asked a hard thing: nevertheless, if thou see me when I am taken from thee, it shall be so unto thee; but if not, it shall not be so.
11 And it came to pass, as they still went on, and talked, that, behold, there appeared a chariot of fire, and horses of fire, and parted them both asunder; and Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven.
12 And Elisha saw it, and he cried, My father, my father, the chariot of Israel, and the horsemen thereof. And he saw him no more: and he took hold of his own clothes, and rent them in two pieces.
13 He took up also the mantle of Elijah that fell from him, and went back, and stood by the bank of Jordan;
14 And he took the mantle of Elijah that fell from him, and smote the waters, and said, Where is the LORD God of Elijah? and when he also had smitten the waters, they parted hither and thither: and Elisha went over.
15 And when the sons of the prophets which were to view at Jericho saw him, they said, The spirit of Elijah doth rest on Elisha. And they came to meet him, and bowed themselves to the ground before him." II Kings 2:1-15
Elijah and Elisha were two of the greatest prophets in the Old Testament, performing miracles and even raising the dead. Elisha began following Elijah in I Kings 19 when Elijah cast his mantle on him. Verse 21 tells us "Then he arose, and went after Elijah, and ministered unto him." He started out as a servant to Elijah, and our verses above tell how he went a little farther following Elijah, and received a double portion of the Holy Spirit. Many in this world think it is ok to have a little religion, but they may become vocal when they think we are following God too closely. They may criticize the time we spend reading the Bible, time in prayer, and time we spend at church. Keep following God and His Word. I have not counted the miracles associated with these two prophets, but some have said that Elisha did twice as many miracles when he received the double portion of Elijah.
10. Moses Continued To Go A Little Farther
"Now Moses kept the flock of Jethro his father in law, the priest of Midian: and he led the flock to the backside of the desert, and came to the mountain of God, even to Horeb. And the angel of the LORD appeared unto him in a flame of fire out of the midst of a bush: and he looked, and, behold, the bush burned with fire, and the bush was not consumed. And Moses said, I will now turn aside, and see this great sight, why the bush is not burnt. And when the LORD saw that he turned aside to see, God called unto him out of the midst of the bush, and said, Moses, Moses. And he said, Here am I. And he said, Draw not nigh hither: put off thy shoes from off thy feet, for the place whereon thou standest is holy ground." Exodus 3:1-5
Today we see Moses on the backside of the desert, watching over a flock of sheep. In all the years he spent tending sheep, he did not know God was teaching him how to be a great shepherd of His flock. He saw the burning bush, and went a little farther to "holy ground". God told Moses to return to Egypt and lead His people out of bondage. "And the LORD said unto Moses, When thou goest to return into Egypt, see that thou do all those wonders before Pharaoh, which I have put in thine hand: but I will harden his heart, that he shall not let the people go. And thou shalt say unto Pharaoh, Thus saith the LORD, Israel is my son, even my firstborn: And I say unto thee, Let my son go, that he may serve me: and if thou refuse to let him go, behold, I will slay thy son, even thy firstborn." (Exodus 4:21-23) God did harden Pharaoh's heart just as He said, but Moses and Aaron continued to go back before Pharaoh with God's Word, "Let my people go." After the final plague, the death of the firstborn, Pharaoh let the Children of Israel go, but followed them to the Red Sea. With the Red Sea before them and the Egyptian Army behind them there was no where to go. "And Moses said unto the people, Fear ye not, stand still, and see the salvation of the LORD, which he will shew to you to day: for the Egyptians whom ye have seen to day, ye shall see them again no more for ever." (Exodus 14:13) God opened up a path in the midst of the waters and the Children of Israel went a little farther on dry land through the Red Sea. God commanded the people not to come up on Mount Sinai when He came to talk to the people, but He called Moses a little farther up the mountain. "And Moses brought forth the people out of the camp to meet with God; and they stood at the nether part of the mount. And mount Sinai was altogether on a smoke, because the LORD descended upon it in fire: and the smoke thereof ascended as the smoke of a furnace, and the whole mount quaked greatly. And when the voice of the trumpet sounded long, and waxed louder and louder, Moses spake, and God answered him by a voice. And the LORD came down upon mount Sinai, on the top of the mount: and the LORD called Moses up to the top of the mount; and Moses went up." (Exodus 19:17-20) The Israelites murmured and complained along the way, and Moses may have been discouraged of the way, but he continued to follow God in the way for forty years through the wilderness. You may feel like you are on the backside of a desert, or backed up against a wall by your enemies, or even like you are going in circles through the wilderness. Be encouraged by the stedfastness of Moses. Keep going a little farther, even when it means you have to "stand still, and see the salvation of the LORD."
11. Joshua Went A Little Farther On His Journey To The Promised Land
We looked at several occasions where Moses went a little farther with God, and today I want to look at how Joshua also went a little farther. Joshua fought with Amalek to the going down of the sun. "But Moses' hands were heavy; and they took a stone, and put it under him, and he sat thereon; and Aaron and Hur stayed up his hands, the one on the one side, and the other on the other side; and his hands were steady until the going down of the sun. And Joshua discomfited Amalek and his people with the edge of the sword. And the LORD said unto Moses, Write this for a memorial in a book, and rehearse it in the ears of Joshua: for I will utterly put out the remembrance of Amalek from under heaven." (Exodus 17:12-14) Joshua went a little farther up Mount Sinai with Moses. "And Moses rose up, and his minister Joshua: and Moses went up into the mount of God." (Exodus 24:13) Joshua was also with Moses when he came down from Mount Sinai and discovered sin in the camp. "And when Joshua heard the noise of the people as they shouted, he said unto Moses, There is a noise of war in the camp." (Exodus 32:17) Joshua went to the tabernacle with Moses, and stayed a little longer. "And the LORD spake unto Moses face to face, as a man speaketh unto his friend. And he turned again into the camp: but his servant Joshua, the son of Nun, a young man, departed not out of the tabernacle." (Exodus 33:11) Joshua and Caleb were the only two spies that wanted to go in and possess the Promised Land. They were the only two men of that generation that God allowed to enter into Canaan. "Doubtless ye shall not come into the land, concerning which I sware to make you dwell therein, save Caleb the son of Jephunneh, and Joshua the son of Nun." (Numbers 14:30) Joshua followed Moses all those years in the wilderness and God allowed him to lead the Israelites into Canaan. "And Moses called unto Joshua, and said unto him in the sight of all Israel, Be strong and of a good courage: for thou must go with this people unto the land which the LORD hath sworn unto their fathers to give them; and thou shalt cause them to inherit it." (Deuteronomy 31:7) Joshua followed God all his life, 110 years. When we come to the last chapter of Joshua we see his charge to the people before he died and see that Joshua was still going a little farther with God. "And if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD." (Joshua 24:15)
12. Paul Went A Little Farther To See Souls Saved
"17 And from Miletus he sent to Ephesus, and called the elders of the church.
18 And when they were come to him, he said unto them, Ye know, from the first day that I came into Asia, after what manner I have been with you at all seasons,
19 Serving the Lord with all humility of mind, and with many tears, and temptations, which befell me by the lying in wait of the Jews:
20 And how I kept back nothing that was profitable unto you, but have shewed you, and have taught you publickly, and from house to house,
21 Testifying both to the Jews, and also to the Greeks, repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ.
22 And now, behold, I go bound in the spirit unto Jerusalem, not knowing the things that shall befall me there:
23 Save that the Holy Ghost witnesseth in every city, saying that bonds and afflictions abide me.
24 But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God.
25 And now, behold, I know that ye all, among whom I have gone preaching the kingdom of God, shall see my face no more.
26 Wherefore I take you to record this day, that I am pure from the blood of all men.
27 For I have not shunned to declare unto you all the counsel of God." Acts 20:17-27
Our sermon Wednesday night was titled, "When It's Over, It's Over." Paul went through many persecutions, yet he said, "But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God." He wanted to finish his course with joy, so he continued to go a little farther. It must have been sad when he told these believers that they would not see him again. He went to Jerusalem and was put in chains, and carried to Rome. He went a little farther to finish his course with joy. What joy? The joy he would have knowing he had declared the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ to all in Jerusalem and as he went on his missionary journeys. What is keeping us from telling the gospel story? Will we be ashamed when we stand before a Holy God and have to give an account of what we did to win the lost? What will we say when our friends and family are cast into outer darkness for eternity and they point at us and say, "You never told me about the Lord"? I know that I need to go a little farther to be a witness. What about you? Are you where you ought to be in serving the Lord? One day our life on earth will be ended, and "when it's over, it's over."
13. Follow The Life Of Jacob A Little Farther
"And Isaac was forty years old when he took Rebekah to wife, the daughter of Bethuel the Syrian of Padanaram, the sister to Laban the Syrian.
21 And Isaac intreated the LORD for his wife, because she was barren: and the LORD was intreated of him, and Rebekah his wife conceived.
22 And the children struggled together within her; and she said, If it be so, why am I thus? And she went to enquire of the LORD.
23 And the LORD said unto her, Two nations are in thy womb, and two manner of people shall be separated from thy bowels; and the one people shall be stronger than the other people; and the elder shall serve the younger.
24 And when her days to be delivered were fulfilled, behold, there were twins in her womb.
25 And the first came out red, all over like an hairy garment; and they called his name Esau.
26 And after that came his brother out, and his hand took hold on Esau's heel; and his name was called Jacob: and Isaac was threescore years old when she bare them.
27 And the boys grew: and Esau was a cunning hunter, a man of the field; and Jacob was a plain man, dwelling in tents.
28 And Isaac loved Esau, because he did eat of his venison: but Rebekah loved Jacob.." Genesis 25:20-28
This week I have been reading about Jacob. Jacob and Esau were twins, and they "struggled together" before they were even born. Esau was born first and Jacob held onto his heel, and he was named Jacob, or supplanter, one who follows on another's heels. Jacob had to deal with his name growing up, and also had to accept the fact that although his mother loved him, his father loved Esau. Jacob lived up to his name and stole Esau's birthright and tricked Isaac for Esau's blessing. Esau wanted to kill Jacob, so his mother had him go to her brother Laban's to find a wife. On the way he dreamed of a ladder going up to heaven and called the place, Bethel, or house of God. One of the teachings of the Bible is that you reap what you sow. Uncle Laban cheated Jacob into marrying Leah, his older daughter, before letting him marry Rachel, whom Jacob loved. Laban continued to trick Jacob as we see in Genesis 31:41, "Thus have I been twenty years in thy house; I served thee fourteen years for thy two daughters, and six years for thy cattle: and thou hast changed my wages ten times." Jacob is running away with his wives and children from Laban, and he is going back to meet Esau, who wanted to kill him. If the story of Jacob ended here it would be a sad story. But, let's go a little farther with Jacob's life. "And God said unto Jacob, Arise, go up to Bethel, and dwell there: and make there an altar unto God, that appeared unto thee when thou fleddest from the face of Esau thy brother. Then Jacob said unto his household, and to all that were with him, Put away the strange gods that are among you, and be clean, and change your garments: And let us arise, and go up to Bethel; and I will make there an altar unto God, who answered me in the day of my distress, and was with me in the way which I went." (Genesis 35:1-3) God told Jacob to go back to the house of God. "And he built there an altar, and called the place Elbethel: because there God appeared unto him, when he fled from the face of his brother." (Genesis 35:7) Jacob changed the name of the place from Bethel, the house of God, to Elbethel, the God of the house of God. "And God said unto him, Thy name is Jacob: thy name shall not be called any more Jacob, but Israel shall be thy name: and he called his name Israel. And God said unto him, I am God Almighty: be fruitful and multiply; a nation and a company of nations shall be of thee, and kings shall come out of thy loins;" (Genesis 35:10-11) Jacob went from being called a cheater, to becoming a prince with God. Maybe you were tagged with a bad name when you were born. Maybe people said, "There comes old so-in-so, he will be sorry just like his dad and won't amount to anything." Maybe you struggled early in life with a dad who didn't love you. Maybe you lived up to what people thought about you by cheating to get ahead. Don't give up hope. Go to the house of God. Put away the idols or whatever is between you and God. And while you are at the house of God, look for the God of the house of God. The life of Jacob started out pretty bad, but God helped him overcome his faults and failures. If we read down a few more verses to Genesis 35:18 we see that Rachel had a son, and as she died she named him Benoni, son of sorrow. Jacob knew how hard it was to live with a bad name, so he named him Benjamin, son of my right hand. Turn to God and He can help you change from a "son of sorrow" to a "son of my right hand."
14. Simeon And Anna Waited A Little Longer
"And, behold, there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon; and the same man was just and devout, waiting for the consolation of Israel: and the Holy Ghost was upon him. And it was revealed unto him by the Holy Ghost, that he should not see death, before he had seen the Lord's Christ. And he came by the Spirit into the temple: and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him after the custom of the law, Then took he him up in his arms, and blessed God, and said, Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, according to thy word: For mine eyes have seen thy salvation," Luke 2:25-30
"And there was one Anna, a prophetess, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Aser: she was of a great age, ... And she was a widow of about fourscore and four years, which departed not from the temple, but served God with fastings and prayers night and day. And she coming in that instant gave thanks likewise unto the Lord, and spake of him to all them that looked for redemption in Jerusalem." Luke 2:36-38
Mary and Joseph took baby Jesus to the temple when He was eight days old according to the Jewish law to present Him to the Lord. They had wondered at the things told to them by the shepherds, and now they have been approached by two elderly people who looked for the coming of the Messiah. They knew that this little baby was the Christ Child. They kept waiting a little longer for the coming of the Lord, and Simeon could now say, "Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, according to thy word: For mine eyes have seen thy salvation,"
We have been told for years that the Lord is coming again. It was told when Jesus appeared after His resurrection. "But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth. And when he had spoken these things, while they beheld, he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight. And while they looked stedfastly toward heaven as he went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel; Which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven." (Acts 1:8-11) Jesus is coming back to take us to heaven. I believe that it won't be very long. I believe that we may need to wait just a little longer. Are you ready? Are you looking for His coming as Simeon and Anna looked for His first coming? I've read the last chapter, and I know how it ends... "He which testifieth these things saith, Surely I come quickly. Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen." (Revelation 22:20-21) Can you say with John, "Even so, come, Lord Jesus"?
15. Want It A Little More
"Now it came to pass, as they went, that he entered into a certain village: and a certain woman named Martha received him into her house. And she had a sister called Mary, which also sat at Jesus' feet, and heard his word. But Martha was cumbered about much serving, and came to him, and said, Lord, dost thou not care that my sister hath left me to serve alone? bid her therefore that she help me. And Jesus answered and said unto her, Martha, Martha, thou art careful and troubled about many things: But one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her." Luke 10:38-42
Years ago when my children still lived at home, I was complaining about not being able to lose weight. My teenage boys all seemed to have the same answer. "You got to want it more, Mom." They told me that I didn't "want it" bad enough. Well, I buckled down back then, wanted it more, and lost the weight. I eventually gained the weight back, and today I confess, that even though I would like to lose weight, I don't want it bad enough. I don't want it enough to stop eating what I enjoy, or enough to exercise more. When I was younger, I felt that people judged me for the way I looked. The older I get, the less important that becomes.
I have thought about it over the last few years and asked myself, "What is important to me?" Deep in my heart, God has given me the desire to be a servant, to Him, and to others. In our text above, Martha wanted everything to be just right for Jesus and guests. She had probably cleaned, and fixed the meal and she wanted Mary to help her serve the guests in her house. I'm a Martha. I work to clean the house and cook the meals, and I really enjoy it. Since I lost my job, I have time to do a little more around the house, like painting walls and working in the yard. It gives me great joy to have family and friends over, to serve them. But it is also important to me to be a Mary, and sit at Jesus' feet. The more I read my Bible, the more I feel like God shows me from His Word. The more I pray, the more I see that God answers my prayers. When we take time to pray about the "little" things in our lives, then we are more apt to notice when God answers the "little" prayers. This strengthens our faith for the problems we see as "big". If someone asked me today, "What do you want out of life?" I would have to say that I want to be a servant for my Lord. It would be an honor to hear the Lord say, "...Well done, thou good and faithful servant:.." (Matthew 25:21) I am thankful that God has given me the desire to be like Martha, and like Mary, and I want to work a little harder to be a servant for the Lord. I hope to lose a little weight this summer, but I agree with my sons, I guess I don't want it enough. Our priorities change with age, and I hope that I have reached the age to choose "that good part, which shall not be taken away..."
16. Following Those Who Came Before
"Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.." Hebrews 12:1-2
For the past two weeks we have been looking at men and women in the Bible who went a little farther with God. The eleventh chapter of Hebrews is filled with heroes of faith. Thus, chapter twelve opens, looking back on those who came before, and looking forward unto Jesus. The author seems to be cheering us on with our theme, just a little farther. Lay aside every weight and sin that might hinder us from a good finish. Run with patience. He seems to be setting the tone, just a little farther, then you'll reach the finish line. What about this cloud of witnesses that has gone before? We hear these amazing stories from the Bible and we think of these men and women as heroes that had extraordinary powers, and traits that excelled human capabilities. James reminds us that these men and women were like us. "Elias was a man subject to like passions as we are, and he prayed earnestly that it might not rain: and it rained not on the earth by the space of three years and six months. And he prayed again, and the heaven gave rain, and the earth brought forth her fruit." (James 5:17-18) We sometimes think of these Bible characters as being old men and women who had a great deal of experience in life. This is not always the case. Joseph was 17 years old when he was sold as a slave into Egypt. (Genesis 37:2) Daniel was in a group of children when he was taken into Babylonian captivity, yet he "purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself..." (Daniel 1:8) Samuel had just been weaned as a small child when Hannah took him to the temple to serve the Lord. (I Samuel 1:24) David was but a youth when he fought against the giant, Goliath. (I Samuel 17:42) We can serve the Lord when we are young. What a blessing to have the privilege of serving the Lord for many years. Each of these four men continued serving the Lord into their old age. What does one person have that another does not, that allows him to go a little farther with God? As we finish our theme this week, let's focus on some of the character traits that some of the people had that carried them a little farther with God.
17. The Faith Of Peter Took Him A Little Farther With Christ
"And they that had eaten were about five thousand men, beside women and children.
22 And straightway Jesus constrained his disciples to get into a ship, and to go before him unto the other side, while he sent the multitudes away.
23 And when he had sent the multitudes away, he went up into a mountain apart to pray: and when the evening was come, he was there alone.
24 But the ship was now in the midst of the sea, tossed with waves: for the wind was contrary.
25 And in the fourth watch of the night Jesus went unto them, walking on the sea.
26 And when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were troubled, saying, It is a spirit; and they cried out for fear.
27 But straightway Jesus spake unto them, saying, Be of good cheer; it is I; be not afraid.
28 And Peter answered him and said, Lord, if it be thou, bid me come unto thee on the water.
29 And he said, Come. And when Peter was come down out of the ship, he walked on the water, to go to Jesus.
30 But when he saw the wind boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink, he cried, saying, Lord, save me.
31 And immediately Jesus stretched forth his hand, and caught him, and said unto him, O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt?
32 And when they were come into the ship, the wind ceased.
33 Then they that were in the ship came and worshipped him, saying, Of a truth thou art the Son of God." Matthew 14:21-33
I have been thinking about what could have been the difference in the lives of the men and women of the Bible who walked so close to God. We looked at Hebrews 11 and 12 yesterday, and I think "faith" may be the answer. It is faith that helps us believe Genesis 1:1. "Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. For by it the elders obtained a good report. Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear." (Hebrews 11:1-3) It is faith in God that worked through the lives of all those listed in Hebrews 11. In our scripture reference above we see the faith of Peter. After feeding the 5,000 Jesus sent the disciples across the sea while He stayed on the mountain to pray. The disciples were right where the Lord told them to be when the storm came. (Sometimes storms come into our lives even though we are where God wants us to be. It could be that the Lord is trying to strengthen our faith through the storms.) The disciples saw Jesus walking on the water, and Peter stepped out of the boat in the midst of the storm to go to the Lord. When he took his eyes off Jesus he began to sink and cried out, "Lord, save me." Jesus immediately reached out and caught him and said, "O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt?" Peter had enough faith to step out of the boat. That is more than I can say for myself. If we turn over two chapters later we see Peter's faith grow. "He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am? And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God. And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven." (Matthew 16:15-17) After the death and resurrection of Christ we see Peter's faith reach new heights. "Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ. Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do? Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call. And with many other words did he testify and exhort, saying, Save yourselves from this untoward generation. Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls." (Acts 2:36-41) If we want to go a little farther with Christ, then we need to put our trust in Him and believe. I close with these words of faith by Peter. "That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ: Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory: Receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls." (I Peter 1:7-9)
18. Going A Little Farther On Our Knees
"In the year that king Uzziah died I saw also the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up, and his train filled the temple. Above it stood the seraphims: each one had six wings; with twain he covered his face, and with twain he covered his feet, and with twain he did fly. And one cried unto another, and said, Holy, holy, holy, is the LORD of hosts: the whole earth is full of his glory. And the posts of the door moved at the voice of him that cried, and the house was filled with smoke. Then said I, Woe is me! for I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips: for mine eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts." Isaiah 6:1-5
God gave Isaiah prophecies of our Lord's birth ("Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel." Isaiah 7:14) and of his death. ("But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed." Isaiah 53:5) The book of Isaiah is so interesting that we once spent six weeks going through some of the profound scriptures. Yet, these verses in the beginning of chapter 6 are some of my favorites. "In the year that king Uzziah died I saw also the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up, and his train filled the temple. Above it stood the seraphims: ... And one cried unto another, and said, Holy, holy, holy, is the LORD of hosts: the whole earth is full of his glory. And the posts of the door moved at the voice of him that cried, and the house was filled with smoke. Then said I, Woe is me! for I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips: for mine eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts." When Isaiah saw the glory of the Lord on His throne he saw how low he was. As the seraphims cried, "Holy, holy, holy..." Isaiah cried, "Woe is me, for I am undone..." Ezekiel was another great prophet who saw the glory of the Lord. "Then I arose, and went forth into the plain: and, behold, the glory of the LORD stood there, as the glory which I saw by the river of Chebar: and I fell on my face." (Ezekiel 3:23) This morning I was reading about Moses when he turned aside to see the burning bush in the desert. "And when the LORD saw that he turned aside to see, God called unto him out of the midst of the bush, and said, Moses, Moses. And he said, Here am I. And he said, Draw not nigh hither: put off thy shoes from off thy feet, for the place whereon thou standest is holy ground. Moreover he said, I am the God of thy father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. And Moses hid his face; for he was afraid to look upon God." (Exodus 3:4-6) Moses was a great leader of the Israelites, yet we see his humility before God. "(Now the man Moses was very meek, above all the men which were upon the face of the earth.)" (Numbers 12:3) David killed the giant and went on to become a great king over Israel, yet we see him humbled before God. "Then went king David in, and sat before the LORD, and he said, Who am I, O Lord GOD? and what is my house, that thou hast brought me hitherto?" (II Samuel 7:18) I believe that one of the reasons we aren't going a little farther with God is because we are trying to lift ourselves up. We read in James 4:10, "Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up." If we see the holiness of God, we will see the lowliness of man, and only then can God use us.
19. Putting Others First
"So after he had washed their feet, and had taken his garments, and was set down again, he said unto them, Know ye what I have done to you? Ye call me Master and Lord: and ye say well; for so I am. If I then, your Lord and Master, have washed your feet; ye also ought to wash one another's feet. For I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done to you. Verily, verily, I say unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord; neither he that is sent greater than he that sent him. If ye know these things, happy are ye if ye do them." John 13:12-17
Yesterday we saw that we need to see God in His holiness and put Him first in our lives. Today I want us to see that we need to put others second. We used to teach the children that real JOY means Jesus, Others, and You... in that order. When Abraham and Lot each had so much cattle the land could not feed them, Abraham let Lot choose the land he wanted first. "And Abram said unto Lot, Let there be no strife, I pray thee, between me and thee, and between my herdmen and thy herdmen; for we be brethren. Is not the whole land before thee? separate thyself, I pray thee, from me: if thou wilt take the left hand, then I will go to the right; or if thou depart to the right hand, then I will go to the left." (Genesis 13:6-9) Lot chose the land that looked the best, but Abraham was blessed by God. Also, in the story of Naomi and Ruth, we see Ruth going back with Naomi and working in the fields to take care of her mother-in-law. She put the needs of Naomi before her own life. The best example of putting others first and serving others was shown by our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Before He died He washed the disciples' feet to teach them to serve others. Then He gave the ultimate sacrifice, His own precious life. If Jesus loved us so much that He gave His life to save us, how can we not love one another? "As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you: continue ye in my love. If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father's commandments, and abide in his love. These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full. This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you. Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you. Henceforth I call you not servants; for the servant knoweth not what his lord doeth: but I have called you friends; for all things that I have heard of my Father I have made known unto you. Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you. These things I command you, that ye love one another." (John 15:9-17)
20. Stand A Little Stronger, Stand A Little Longer
"10 Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might.
11 Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.
12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.
13 Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.
14 Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness;
15 And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace;
16 Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.
17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God:
18 Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;" Ephesians 6:10-18
Sometimes we have to Stand Still and Wait on God.
"And Moses said unto the people, Fear ye not, stand still, and see the salvation of the LORD, which he will shew to you to day: for the Egyptians whom ye have seen to day, ye shall see them again no more for ever. The LORD shall fight for you, and ye shall hold your peace." Exodus 14:13-14
Stand your Ground and Defend it.
"And after him was Shammah the son of Agee the Hararite. And the Philistines were gathered together into a troop, where was a piece of ground full of lentiles: and the people fled from the Philistines. But he stood in the midst of the ground, and defended it, and slew the Philistines: and the LORD wrought a great victory." (II Samuel 23:11-12)
Stand Firm and Don't Bow to the Idols of the World.
"Nebuchadnezzar spake and said unto them, Is it true, O Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, do not ye serve my gods, nor worship the golden image which I have set up? Now if ye be ready that at what time ye hear the sound of the cornet, flute, harp, sackbut, psaltery, and dulcimer, and all kinds of musick, ye fall down and worship the image which I have made; well: but if ye worship not, ye shall be cast the same hour into the midst of a burning fiery furnace; and who is that God that shall deliver you out of my hands? Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, answered and said to the king, O Nebuchadnezzar, we are not careful to answer thee in this matter. If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of thine hand, O king. But if not, be it known unto thee, O king, that we will not serve thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up." (Daniel 3:14-18) Because they were willing to stand firm and not bow to the king's image, the Lord walked with them in the fire and delivered them.
"Then Nebuchadnezzar the king was astonied, and rose up in haste, and spake, and said unto his counsellors, Did not we cast three men bound into the midst of the fire? They answered and said unto the king, True, O king. He answered and said, Lo, I see four men loose, walking in the midst of the fire, and they have no hurt; and the form of the fourth is like the Son of God." (Daniel 3:24-25)
Stand in the Gap.
"And I sought for a man among them, that should make up the hedge, and stand in the gap before me for the land, that I should not destroy it: but I found none." (Ezekiel 22:30) Will we be like those in the book of Ezekiel, or will we answer the call like Isaiah? "Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, Whom shall I send, and who will go for us? Then said I, Here am I; send me." (Isaiah 6:8)
Stand on the Solid Rock.
"Whosoever cometh to me, and heareth my sayings, and doeth them, I will shew you to whom he is like: He is like a man which built an house, and digged deep, and laid the foundation on a rock: and when the flood arose, the stream beat vehemently upon that house, and could not shake it: for it was founded upon a rock. But he that heareth, and doeth not, is like a man that without a foundation built an house upon the earth; against which the stream did beat vehemently, and immediately it fell; and the ruin of that house was great." (Luke 6:47-49)
Our Final Stand.
"And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them. And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works." (Revelation 20:11-12)
21. The Hope That Carries Us A Little Farther
"Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ;" Titus 2:13
Three weeks ago when I began this journey going "A Little Farther" I did not know the joy and hope it would bring to my heart and soul. We have looked at men and women of the Bible who went a little farther with God and been encouraged to keep on going ourselves. I began with the words to a blessed old song which still lifts the heart of the faithful. "Farther on, still go farther. Count the milestones one by one. Jesus will forsake you never, It is better farther on." I have searched the internet and found several sites which give the original version of the song I have grown to love. It was possibly written by L. Thompson in 1877. This old version sings of the hope that sings to our heart in the stillness of the night. As you read these words, keep... "Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ;"
1. "Oft I hear hope sweetly singing,
Softly in an undertone;
Singing as if God had taught her,
“It is better farther on.”
Night and day she sings the same song—
Sings it while I sit alone;
Sings it so my heart may hear it,
“It is better farther on.”
2. When my faith took hold on Jesus,
Light divine within me shone;
And I know since that glad moment,
“It is better farther on.”
Daily coming to the fountain,
Flowing free for ev’ry one,
I am saved, and hope is singing,
“It is better farther on.”
3. Farther on, but how much farther?
Count the milestones one by one;
No, no counting, only trusting,
“It is better farther on.”
Hope, my soul, hope on forever,
All thy doubts and fears be gone,
Jesus will forsake thee never,
It is better farther on.”