Walking With God

“Can two walk together, except they be agreed?” —Amos 3:3

OUR text was addressed by God to the Jewish nation with which he was in covenant relationship, and it applies in principle to our association with him. Those who are in disagreement cannot successfully walk together. The words walk, walking, walkest, and walked are used in the Scriptures to denote a course of action, a general demeanor of life.

We read in Genesis 5:24 that “Enoch walked with God.” We know little of Enoch except that he prophesied the Lord would come with ten thousand of his saints and would execute judgment. (Jude 14,15) Evidently the Lord gave Enoch some understanding of his plan for human redemption, and he was faithful to the knowledge he enjoyed, this faithfulness constituting his walk with God.

In Genesis 6:9 we are informed that Noah walked with God. We have a little more information concerning Noah. He was faithful to the Lord, and labored zealously to do his will as it was revealed to him. Thus he walked with God, a walk that involved many long years of toil in building the ark, and of scorn from his fellows as he warned of the coming flood and urged upon them a course of righteousness.

In contrast to these two examples of faithfulness, we read in Leviticus 26:40, 41 that the Israelites walked contrary to the Lord, and because they did, he walked contrary to them. This illustrates the thought of our text—“Can two walk together, except they be agreed?” The obvious and scriptural answer is that they cannot. Thus it is emphasized that to walk with the Lord one must be in harmony with him, desirous of knowing his will, and being fully surrendered to it.

To be sure that we are fully devoted to doing God’s will requires a sincere and deep search of our hearts. In Jeremiah 11:8 we read of those who walked according to the “imagination of their evil hearts”—the marginal translation says “stubbornness” of their hearts. The Apostle Paul reminds us of the Lord’s provision to cast down, or destroy these imaginations. We read, “(The weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) casting down imaginations [Margin, reasonings], and every high thing that exalted itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.” (II Cor. 10:4,5) How easy it is to substitute our own reasoning for the clearly expressed will of God as set forth in his Word!

In Ephesians 2:2 Paul writes of the time when we “walked according to the course of this world,” a world which is under the domination of Satan, the “prince and power of the air.” Peter writes of walking according to our “former lusts,” or desires. (I Pet. 1:14) So it is that in order to walk with God, and in full harmony with all the divine appointments, there must be a sincere struggle against our own preferences, a continuous resistance of the spirit of the world, and a constant watchfulness lest we be led away from the path of righteousness by the wiles of the Devil.

From Behind

God has revealed his will through his Word. A beautiful poetic expression of this is given in Isaiah 30:21, which reads, “Thine ears shall hear a word behind thee, saying, This is the way, walk ye in it, when ye turn to the right hand, and when ye turn to the left.” This is the way—the Lord’s way, the way in which he walks, and the way in which we must walk if we desire to walk with him.

The word which we hear from behind is the entire Word of God, that precious Word which reveals the divine plan of salvation and the place we are privileged to occupy therein. Are we in agreement with that plan? Is every detail of it a delight to our hearts? Are we willing to set aside all our own plans and preferences and yield ourselves fully to the accomplishment of that which the divine plan reveals to be God’s will for us?

God is willing to walk with us, but only if we are in agreement with him. Typical Israel was his chosen people. In the verse preceding our text he said to Israel, “You only have I known of all the families of the earth.” He had devoted himself wholly to this people, but if this arrangement was to continue, they would have to devote themselves fully to him, otherwise they could not walk together, for they would not be in agreement.

Throughout the Gospel age the consecrated followers of the Master are the Lord’s chosen people—his peculiar or very special people, as the Greek text indicates. (Titus 2:14) Peter wrote, “Ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar [Greek, purchased] people; that ye should show forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.”—I Pet. 2:9

But here again this precious and favored relationship to the Lord is dependent upon our continued agreement with his ways, yea, our delight in all that pleases him. The Lord is unstinting in showering his blessings upon us. In Psalm 36:8 we read, “Thou shalt make them drink of the river of thy pleasures.” The thought is that the pleasures of the Lord become our pleasures if we are walking in complete agreement with him.

His Pleasures

All creation is a pleasure to the Lord—“Thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created.” (Rev. 4:11) We joy in the creative works of God because we see manifested in them his infinite wisdom, his mighty power, and his abounding love. Even the sunshine and the rain are evidences of his loving care for his creatures.

Jehovah rejoiced in his Son, who willingly and joyfully obeyed him. To him he said, “Thou art my beloved Son; in thee I am well pleased.” (Luke 3:22) Are we well pleased with Jesus? Do we see in him the One who is altogether lovely? Naturally we rejoice that through his death he has provided salvation for both the church and the world; but apart from this, are we well pleased with Jesus because he loved righteousness and hated iniquity?

In Psalm 149:4 we read, “The Lord taketh pleasure in his people.” Do we? Are the Lord’s people our people, the people with whom we delight to fellowship? Perhaps if we had had the selection of the Lord’s people we would have chosen quite a different group, especially those in our community. But God is too wise to err. He saw in each of his chosen ones certain heart qualities which he could use, and which would enable them to make their calling and election sure.

Are we looking for those same qualities in our brethren and then finding joy in their fellowship? Or do we see only the weaknesses of their flesh, and seeing these half wish, perhaps, that we did not have to be so closely associated with them in the meetings and in the service of the truth? It is a test of our love for those whom the Lord loves, an opportunity of demonstrating that we are in agreement with him and that we take pleasure in those who are a joy to him.

In the fifty-third chapter of Isaiah we have that very vivid description of the suffering and the death of Jesus, who was led as a lamb to the slaughter. I n verse ten we are told that it pleased the Lord to “bruise him,” and that he “shall see his seed,” and “the pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in his hand.” The pleasure of the Lord here mentioned is undoubtedly his loving purpose, centered in Jesus the Redeemer, of recovering the world of mankind from sin and death.

We are likely to talk about those things which give us pleasure, and in his Word God has said much about his plan for human restoration. This aspect of the divine plan is described by the Apostle Peter by the word restitution, and Peter says of the “times of restitution,” that “God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began.”—Acts 3:19,21

Yes, the prospect of restitution for dying humanity has been such a pleasure to God that he continued to talk about it throughout all those centuries of the past when he was speaking through his holy prophets. Are we drinking of this river of God’s pleasure? We are if we are in agreement with God, sufficiently in harmony with him to warrant his walking with us.

And this involves more, we think, than merely being thankful that God has blessings in store for the world. Do we continue to realize how important this aspect of God’s plan is to him, and that for us to discuss this and related truths pertaining to his provision for the world’s blessing is a pleasure to him, even as it should be for us?

Jesus, in whom the Father was well pleased, rejoiced to discuss the many aspects of the divine kingdom plan for blessing all mankind. In one of the last parables, a prophetic parable given as one of the signs of his second presence, Jesus spoke of the sheep class as those to whom it would be said, “Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.”—the restored earthly dominion.—Matt. 25:34

The apostles all preached and discussed the purpose of our Lord’s return. “The last enemy to be destroyed is death,” wrote Paul. (I Cor. 15:25,26) There is to be a dispensation of the “fulness of times,” he explained, in which all things will be gathered under Christ, in heaven as well as in earth. (Eph. 1:10) The hope of the world is set forth over and over again in the Book of Hebrews. Peter reminds us of God’s promise to create a “new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness.”—II Pet. 3:3

The last three chapters of Revelation are devoted almost entirely to emphasizing God’s wonderful provision of life for the world. Hell gives up its dead and the books are opened. There shall be no more death, for the former things are passed away. There will be a river of water of life, flowing from the throne of God and the Lamb. Finally, the “Spirit and the bride say, Come, … and … take the water of life freely.”—Rev. 20:12,13; 21:4; 22:1,2,17

Thus we see that from first to last in his Word God continues to talk about restitution. It is one of his favorite themes. Do we find it a pleasure to join in the conversation as we walk with God? We do if we are in agreement with him, having the same interest in mankind as he displays throughout his Word. This interest is prompted by his love, and if this love fills our hearts they will overflow with enthusiasm over his glorious restitution provision for the world of mankind.

God also takes pleasure in the high calling of his house of sons. Paul wrote, “Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will.” (Eph. 1:5) This feature of the divine plan should also be a pleasure to us, especially if we are running for the prize of the high calling. Our joy therein will be increased as we realize that we are being prepared to live and reign with Christ for the blessing of all the families of the earth.

“Blessed are the people that know the joyful sound,” wrote the Psalmist, “they shall walk, O Lord, in the light of thy countenance.” (Ps. 89:15) This is the joyful sound of the truth, present truth, the glorious harvest message, including the doctrine of restitution. What a blessing it is to know this truth! That we have been permitted to know these mysteries of the kingdom is evidence of the Lord’s favor, that we are walking in the light of his countenance. Let us, then, never lose our enthusiasm for any part of the truth. Let us continue to take pleasure in it as we walk together with the Lord.

To Gaius, one of the early disciples, the Apostle John wrote, “I rejoiced greatly, when the brethren came and testified of the truth that is in thee, even as thou walkest in the truth.” (III John 3) To the “elect lady” he wrote, “I rejoiced greatly, that I found of thy children walking in truth, as we have received a commandment from the Father.” (II John 1,4) To walk in the truth is to walk with the Lord, and John properly speaks of his rejoicing to know that this was the happy experience of Gaius and the elect lady and her children. We cannot truly walk with the Lord without rejoicing!

As He Walked

Again John wrote, “He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he [Christ] walked.” (I John 2:2) Certainly Jesus walked with his Heavenly Father. So closely did he walk with God that he could say, “He that hath seen me hath seen the Father.” (John 14:7-10) Jesus said that the words which he spoke were not his but the Father’s, and the works he did were the Father’s works.

Jesus testified that he always did the things which were pleasing to his Father. For this reason, he could say to his Father, “I know that thou hearest me always.” (John 11:42) In walking with God, Jesus was guided by the word from behind. “It is written,” was his reason for every step which he took in his walk with God. He then is our perfect Exemplar and Guide, and if we profess to be his and be in him, we ought to walk as he walked.

The only way we can be in Christ is by being baptized into his death. We are “buried with him in baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we should also walk in newness of life.” (Rom. 6:4) Jesus was raised from the dead literally, and exalted to the divine nature. What a glorious new life he thus entered. This is our hope also, but if our hope is to be realized we must begin now to walk in newness of life.

We are no longer to walk “after the flesh.” Our human ambitions and desires must be kept under while we walk “after the Spirit.” (Rom. 8:1,4) “Walk in the Spirit,” Paul explained, “and ye shall not fulfill the lust [desire] of the flesh.” (Gal. 5:16) We receive God’s Spirit through the Word of truth. Every instruction of the Word is a leading of the Spirit. The Spirit leads in the way of sacrifice. Actually, it was not the Roman soldiers who led Jesus as a lamb to the slaughter, but the Spirit of God, and it leads us to follow in his steps. This is God’s will for us, and when we walk in this way we are walking with him.

It is glorious to walk with God. Concerning Levi, the head of the priestly tribe of Israel, the Lord said, “My covenant was with him of life and peace; … The law of truth was in his mouth, and iniquity was not found in his lips: he walked with me in peace and equity, and did turn many away from iniquity.”—Mal. 2:5,6

If we have been baptized into Christ we are members of the antitypical priesthood, and the Lord has entered into a covenant with us. It is a covenant by sacrifice. (Ps. 50:5) It is a covenant, therefore which, if we are faithful to it will eventually lead to death by way of toil, ignominy, and suffering. Nevertheless, it is a covenant of peace because in the consciousness that we are walking with God and that through all of our experiences, regardless of how trying they may be, he is holding us by the hand, we have peace—the peace of God—which passeth all human understanding.

A Walk of Faith

The enjoyment of this peace while we walk with God depends upon our faith. We must believe that “he is,” and that he is the “rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” (Heb. 11:6) Thus, as Paul wrote, “We walk by faith, and not by sight.” (II Cor. 5:7) We do not see God literally. Our faith must lay hold upon the promises of his presence, and enable us to see in every experience of life the overruling of his providences for our good.

If we have a faith that firmly trusts God, come what may, we can continue to walk with him in peace and joy, and not become weary. Isaiah expressed this thought beautifully, saying, “They that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; they shall walk, and not be faint.” (Isa. 40:31) If we are not to faint as we walk, we must remain close to the Lord, walking with him, and in full agreement with every detail of his will, rejoicing in every feature of his glorious plan of salvation.

Walking Humbly

The Prophet Micah wrote, “What doth the Lord require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?” (Mic. 6:8) Paul confirms this thought. He wrote, “I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called, with all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forebearing one another in love.”—Eph. 4:1,2

There is an important relationship between walking humbly with God and walking worthy of the vocation to which we have been called by God. It is a very honorable vocation. We have been called, or invited, into partnership with God, to be “co-workers” with him, in his great plan of salvation. (II Cor. 6:1) We have also been called to glory and honor and immortality.” (Rom. 2:7) Through Christ, we have “access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.”—Rom. 5:1,2

It is surely a high calling. No wonder we are admonished to walk worthy of it, but to do so we must walk humbly with our God. It is important ever to realize that we have not been called to this high position because of any merit of our own. We are “not to think of ourselves more highly than we ought to think.” (Rom. 12:3) Our trust, our confidence, is “through Christ to God-ward. Not that we are sufficient of ourselves; … but our sufficiency is of God.”—II Cor. 3:4,5

So it is that as we walk together with God, rejoicing in all his arrangements for us and for all mankind, we can humbly look to him as the One whose grace has given us such a glorious privilege. And the more we realize this, the more earnestly and zealously we will strive to show ourselves approved by him through a prayerful and careful study of his Word, that we may know with precision just what the word from behind is saying to us from day to day as it outlines the way of the Lord in which we are to walk.

Walking Together

All of the Lord’s people during the present age are called to walk in the same way. We are walking together. Paul wrote, “Let us walk by the same rule, let us mind the same thing.” (Phil. 3:16) There is no question as to what Paul means by the same thing. He has just finished explaining what it is, and has emphasized, “This one thing I do.”—Phil. 3:13

The ‘one thing’ mentioned by Paul was “forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before.” In doing this, Paul said, “I press toward the mark of the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.” (vs. 14) This is simply another way of defining this vocation to which we are called. And to walk worthy of it, we must give ourselves wholly to it. We cannot expect to walk with the Lord, and have the assurance that he is walking with us if we are half-hearted in the matter, giving only partial attention to him and to the steps we are taking as we walk in this narrow way.

We should not expect that the Lord will outline a special path for each one of us, one perhaps that may be a little more favorable to our flesh, a little more in keeping with. our particular likings. No, there is only the one way, and all the consecrated are walking in this way, all minding the same thing. Thus we are not only walking with the Lord, but we are walking with one another, and this, too, is an added joy—“Behold, how good and pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity.”—Ps. 133:1-3

In His Presence

Our walk with God today is a walk of faith. He speaks to us through his Word and through his providences, and we speak to him through prayer—a blessed fellowship. Meanwhile, however, we are inspired with the hope of actually being with him, and in his presence enjoy fulness of joy. Jesus promised, “They shall walk with me in white: for they are worthy. He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels.”—Rev. 3:4,5

Only the pure—symbolized by white raiment—will have the inestimable honor of being introduced to the Heavenly Father by his beloved Son. That will be after this corruptible has put on incorruption. But prior to that there must be a purity of heart, while the imperfections of the flesh are covered by the robe of Christ’s righteousness.

Jesus said, “Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.” (Matt. 5:8) Purity of heart leads to faith’s vision of God even now. It is the pure in heart who are privileged to walk with him and enjoy the delights of his fellowship. It is these who, as they walk with the Heavenly Father, tell him all their sorrows and all their joys. It is to these that, through his Word, he speaks words of comfort, and gives assurance of his delight in them.

Thus we walk and talk together with our God, and it is this walk of faith and joy which eventually—beyond the veil—will culminate in our being presented to him by Jesus. The hope of entering into the Father’s actual presence as a divine being was one of the joys set before Jesus which enabled him to endure the cross, and despise the shame. (Heb 12:2) This prospective joy will enable us also to continue on zealously in the way of sacrifice, until, being faithful unto death, we receive the crown of life. Walking with God, we have the same assurance Jesus did, and like Jesus, we can say to him, “Thou wilt show me the path of life: in thy presence is fullness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore.”—Ps. 16:11

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