GOD’S FAITHFULNESS IN LEADING US
INTO HIS ECONOMY
Although we are unfaithful, God is faithful. Lamentations 3:23b says, "Great is Your faithfulness." The chorus of a well-known hymn on God’s faithfulness (Hymns, #19) says, "’Great is Thy faithfulness!’ ‘Great is Thy faithfulness!’ / Morning by morning new mercies I see; / All I have needed Thy hand has provided— / ‘Great is Thy faithfulness,’ Lord, unto me!" We may understand what the Bible says and what this hymn says about God’s faithfulness either in a natural way or in a spiritual way. When you sing this hymn, how do you understand the word faithfulness? If you understand God’s faithfulness in a natural way, you may think that He is faithful primarily in the matter of material provisions or physical blessings. When some say that God is faithful, they mean that He is faithful to take care of their material needs. However, in 1 Corinthians 1:9 Paul says, "God is faithful, through whom you were called into the fellowship of His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord." God is faithful in this matter, but He may not be faithful to provide you a large house or a well-paying job. I would not deny the fact that God is faithful in caring for our welfare. My point is that God’s faithfulness is not according to our natural understanding.
Consider the sufferings of the apostle Paul. He was called, commissioned, burdened, and sent by God, but wherever he went he had troubles. For example, as soon as he began to preach Christ, he began to suffer persecution. He even had to escape from Damascus by being lowered down the wall in a basket. Does this mean that God was not faithful to Paul? No, it means that God’s faithfulness is not according to our natural understanding.
When we believed in the Lord Jesus, we might have expected to have peace and blessing. But instead we might have had many troubles and might have lost our security, our health, or our possessions. When some Christians experience such things, they may question God’s faithfulness and ask why He did not prevent hardships from happening to them.
We need to realize that in allowing us to have troubles, God is faithful in His purpose to turn us from idols and bring us back to Himself. Our peace, safety, health, and possessions may become idols to us, and God is faithful to take these things away so that we may drink of Him as the fountain of living waters. If our house or our possessions become idols to us, we drink of them and not of God. God’s faithfulness is a matter of dealing with these idols and causing us to drink of Him.
God is faithful in leading us into His economy, and His economy is for us to drink Christ, to eat Christ, to enjoy Christ, to absorb Christ, and to assimilate Christ that God may have His increase with us to fulfill His economy. This is God’s faithfulness.
Instead of drinking of God as the fountain of living waters, Israel drank of their idols. Therefore, God used the Babylonians to deal with these idols and also to destroy Jerusalem and even the temple, which had become an idol to them. We need to see that we are not better than Israel. Anything can become an idol to us. But God is faithful in fulfilling His economy. In His faithfulness He deals with our idols that we may drink of Him. We all need to drink of God as the fountain of living waters, receiving Christ into us and assimilating Him, so that He may increase for the fulfillment of God’s economy to have His expression through His counterpart.
Whereas God is faithful, we are neither faithful nor chaste but go to many other husbands. After failing God, we may receive some mercy and grace and therefore repent and weep, saying, "How pitiful I am! For a long time I have not loved the Lord very much, and I have not attended the meetings." While we are repenting and weeping, God is rejoicing. However, if we repent and weep too much, even our repentance may become an idol. We may testify in a meeting, saying that we have thoroughly repented to God. But this may be a matter of self-boasting and be a self-made idol. Therefore, after repenting, we should begin to drink of the living waters, praising God, giving thanks to Him for everything, and enjoying Him. This is what God wants. God is not interested in anything other than our enjoyment of Christ.
(Life-Study of Jeremiah and Lamentations, Chapter 4, by Witness Lee)