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Jottings

Two mornings ago as I was gradually awaking I found that in my sleep my mind had been travelling over quite a number of portions of the Word dealing with the thought of forsaking God and His truth. Though the subject was a solemn one, I, nevertheless, even while asleep, seemed to have a deep joy in meditation on the Sacred Writings.

The Hebrew word Natash means to beat or pound and consequently to expand, as a result there arises the thought of dispersing, sending away or letting go. Out of this emerges the thought of deserting or forsaking. In this last sense the word is used in Deuteronomy 32.15; 1 Samuel 12. 22; 1 Kings 8.57; Proverbs 1. 8; 6.20; Jeremiah 23.88, 39; Judges 6.13; etc.

The word is used both of God's people forsaking Him (Deuteronomy 32.15); and it describes how He forsook the Tabernacle at Shiloh (Psalm 78.00), and also how He forsook or cast off His people (Jeremiah 23.88, 89).

The Hebrew word Raphah has a number of applications. It means principally, to slacken, let fall, to east down, to relax, to cease a work which is begun (Nehemiah 6.8).Moses assures the people of Israel that though they would commit idolatry, and the LORD would scatter them and they would be left few in number among the nations, yet in the latter days they would return unto the LORD their God, "For," said he, "the LORD thy God is a merciful God: He will not fail (or forsake, A.V.) thee, neither destroy thee, nor forget the covenant of thy fathers which He swore unto them" (Deuteronomy 4.81). David in Psalm 138., in a psalm of thanksgiving, seeks at the end of the psalm the mercy of God, and says, "Forsake (Raphah) not the works of Thine own hands" (verse 8). How blessedly true this was of the psalmist! that though his sin' in the matter of Bathsheba gave God abundant cause to cast him from His presence, yet He did not forsake the works of His hands in the man of His choice. David did in act what the flesh in each of us has caused us to do in thought, and those that live in glass houses cannot afford to throw stones, nor point the finger of scorn at a man who was preeminently beloved of God.

The Hebrew word most frequently used for forsake is Azab, which means to loosen, such as to loose the bonds of a beast (Exodus 23.5). Job speaks of giving free course (Azab) to his complaint (Job 10.1), meaning "I will let loose my complaint."

The secondary meaning of the word is to leave, desert, forsake. It is said in Genesis 2.24 that in marriage, a man shall "leave (Azab) his father and mother and cleave unto his wife." Of the word Dabaq, which is the word rendered cleave in this verse, Gesenius says, "To cleave, to adhere, specially firmly, as if with glue, to be glued." This is the meaning of the Greek word used in this quotation of Genesis 2.24 in Matthew 19.5; a man in marriage is said to be glued to his wife. Alas when the glue of matrimonial love becomes loose! Paul sought, when he came to Jerusalem to be joined (glued) to the disciples (Acts 9.26). If some saints saw their place in the Fellowship thus there would be fewer who forsake it and their brethren. Nevertheless being joined (glued) to the disciples of the Lord is to be as permanent as marriage, that is, for the lifetime of those so joined, and though death brings to an end both a marriage and one's part in the Fellowship, we shall then reach that stage of life in which partings on a higher plane are unknown.

God's people of old were told how they would forsake (Azab) God and that He would forsake them (Deuteronomy 31.16, 17). Yet despite what would eventually befall that nation, God again and again exhorts them to cleave unto Him. "Thou shalt fear the LORD thy God; Him shalt thou serve, and to Him shalt thou cleave (be glued) (Deuteronomy 10.20). See also Deuteronomy 11.22; 13.4; 30.~20; Joshua 22 5; 23.8. They were not to cleave to idolatry, the cursed thing (Deuteronomy 13.17), nor to cleave to the remnant of the Canaanitish nations amongst them lest they should learn their ways (Joshua 23.12). Alas, they did not heed the warning voice of their God!

We cannot leave this subject without referring to the words of that good man Barnabas when he exhorted the disciples at Antioch to cleave (be glued) to the Lord with purpose of heart (Acts 11.28).

Thinking of the word forsake, it is interesting to see that originally it had a stronger meaning than simply to neglect, it meant" to contend against or oppose-" It comes from a Latin word which means "to contend-" If one considers the word forsake, even in its modern meaning of neglect, we see that to neglect a thing or person is in reality to be opposed to the best interests of that person or thing. David in the early days of his persecution at the hands of Saul says, "Cast me not off, neither forsake (Azab, to loose or leave) me, 0 God of my salvation. For my father and my mother have forsaken me, but the LORD will take me up" (Psalm 27.9, 10). Evidently, I think, this psalm was written in David's early life before his father and mother came to him to the cave of Adullam, after which he sent his father and mother to the king of Moab for protection (1 Samuel 22.1-4). Psalm 27. has endeared itself to all who love God's house and the God of the house, as it shews the like longings in the heart of David, though a persecuted exile, for the house of his God.

"One thing have I asked of the LORD, that will I seek after;

That I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life" (verse 4). Frequently throughout the psalms we hear David crying

"Forsake me not, 0 Lord."

It is very touching as we think of the psalmist in his old age, the forces of nature which were once so strong in him dying away, he cries,

"Cast me not off in the time of old age;

Forsake me not when my strength faileth" (Psalm 7i. 9).

In another psalm written by David in his old age (Psalm 37.), he says,

"I have been young, and now am old; Yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken (Azab), Nor his seed begging their bread" (verse 25).

How comforting a word this is to the righteous as is also that word of Paul's,

"Be ye free from the lace of money; content with such things as ye have for Himself hath said, I will in no wise fail thee, neither will I in any wise forsake thee" (Hebrews i3. 5).

These too are the words of an old man-Paul the aged, the prisoner of Christ Jesus what encouragement we may derive from the life's experiences of old men. Young men should consort with elder men to learn from them the ways of God and His doings in past times, and to such, elder brethren should impart freely of their knowledge. See Psalm 44. 1; 78.1-8; 2 Timothy 2.1, 2. whilst it is said by David, and said truly, that, "The LORD loveth judgement,

And forsaketh not His saints

They are preserved for ever" (Psalm 37.28),

yet it is gravely possible for His saints to forsake Him. The hook of Judges is replete with instances of Israel forsaking the LORD. It is said, "They forsook the LORD, and served Baal and the Ashtaroth" (Judges 2.18), and we hear Gideon

cry out later to the angel, " why is all this befallen us?" what is true of the days of the Judges is true all along the entire history of God's people, as revealed in the inspired record, and as Jonah in the whale's belly said, and said truly, "They that regard lying vanities forsake their own mercy" (Jonah 2.8), and he had known it by experience. But there is no more touching part in the divine story of the Scriptures than that contained in the words. Then all the disciples forsook Him, and fled" (Matthew 26.56, A.V.).

The Lord had told them what they would do, and brave Peter said he would never be offended in his Lord and would go to death with him, yet he too left Him and

fled with the rest. The disciples left the Lord to return to Him later when the first shock of the battle with the powers of darkness bad passed, but Demas abandoned Paul. He forsook him, not because of the terrors of martyrdom, but because he loved this present age. Poor Demas! and, poor reward.