By David Stahl

If the Lord had made spirituality both attractive and easy to attain, multitudes would have followed Him, but we know as we walk this wondrous path with the LORD,  “For many are called, but few are chosen” (Matthew 22:14).  The first thing we are called to is to follow truth not what we believe is true, but what the Bible and God says is true.  There is a vast difference here as seen between a prophet and a politician.  It is such a shame to see how politics has infected the church.  The term “grass roots” refers to the discovery of what people think and want. The politician then offers what the majority wants and as a result becomes popular and is elected.  In other words the politician seeks out which way the majority is going to gain influence and power. Then he stands in front of them and says, “follow me.”  Sadly, church leaders have learned if you want people to follow you or give you money just tell them what they already know and what they want to hear, but the prophet stands alone and says, “you are going the wrong way — turn around now.”  The politician is popular because he relates to the majority.  The prophet is never popular because his word is costly and requires change.  People often are deceived because they choose that which is presently comfortable rather than being willing to pay the price for the truth they hear. Truth can never really be sold, but it must be purchased with the last ounce of our strength and all that we possess.  Solomon tells us, “Buy the truth, and sell it not also wisdom, and instruction, and understanding.”  (Proverbs 23:23)  Truth is always costly and the result may not be seen, but to choose less in the long run is much more costly because  those who continually look for something for nothing are open to deception.  Many of these will compromise rather than submit to the LORD’s way.  The LORD works very slowly, but very thoroughly as He is more interested in what we are becoming rather than what we are doing.  Our “self” will always seek comfort and a life of ease which leads to us to self-deception, but God is not after that. Now when we make our way to truth we will always have to wrestle with wisdom, instruction, and understanding these all are a part of the truth.  Solomon knew this and saw the great value in truth.  Without wisdom, understanding, and instruction truth would be useless because truth is always from God’s perspective (God is the origination of  all wisdom, understanding, and instruction) and is always progressive.  We enjoy truth, but sometimes there is a fascination in its revelation that bewitches us and we want to know more about that, but we do not want to know about the power of its reaction in us.  That is where the trouble begins.  We must always remember that there is a reaction in us from the truth.  We want it that’s good the desire is there that is wholesome.  We may say we want the truth, but we see if we really mean it the entrance of truth in our hearts and lives it can be the most disastrous thing we could ever ask for, that is,  if we allow it to accomplish its features and purposes.  It is not something that liberates us and makes us happy.  That is one aspect of its reaction, but truth in its power in its essence is the most terrifying thing I have found that I did not know of in the beginning.  Truth has two fold action in us.  It will begin pleasing us of course quite agreeable and it has a great charm if we embrace it we better be very careful and pray about it because the sole purpose of truth is not to make us happy (which it will at times), but to slay us because the LORD is not interested in our carnal nature setup or our happiness His goal is to conform us into the character and image of His dear Son Jesus Christ and will use truth to chip away at our fleshly character and nature.  Truth must go by a way of death before it can be released in life — spiritual death in us.  This is the spiritual law in the spiritual realm.  Truth is never objective, but when we yield our hearts and lives to the Holy Spirit the Spirit can take this truth and incorporate it into our lives until the things which are purely judicial may be brought down to actual living.  The Holy Spirit takes that which is purely objective and makes it a reality in our lives until it is incorporated into our being it then will be a subjective realization.  Truth is never ours until it is personalized.  It is never ours until we have laid ourselves open before God in our inner being and the Spirit has been able to bring that truth in and by faith taken hold of it allowing that truth to do the thing in us that God is looking for in us. It may be creative or corrective, but whichever it is the conforming tool will be truth. As I said truth is purely progressive in all forms, thus the heart has to be conditioned  continually for its reception.  It is an invisible miracle in the heart.  Truth comes from revelation (God’s measuring stick for men) not ability and strength.  As we read the Bible we understand why the Bible is the truth:  because no conversation in the Word of God is accidental, not the words, nor the arrangement of the choice of words, nor their combination that is what makes it so powerful. The power (the understanding of the truth) is contained in the words.  That is why truth is exacting and precise; it is settled forever. We cannot make truth up, God alone is the author of all truth, but one may discover it.  It is life and it gives life.                  

          No where is this seen any clearer than between the words and action of justice and mercy.  Today in the world people are crying out for all forms of justice (even social and economic), but in reality if we get justice we all would be judged, found guilty, and duly punished.  In reality it is not justice we hunger for but, mercy.  In the Psalms David said, Justice and judgment are the habitation of thy throne: mercy and truth shall go before thy face.”  (Psalms 89:14) Now notice the combination of words here:  “justice and judgment” on one hand and “mercy and truth” on the other.  Mercy and truth always walk hand in hand as does justice and judgment.  So if we go towards justice then judgment precedes the justice.  Before the judge can give justice at whatever level he first must judge the situation and circumstance.  Over 10 verses in the KJV of the Bible the words, “justice and judgment” appear together (side by side) with other verses listing justice and judgment in the same verse. Here is an example,  “For I know him, that he will command his children and his household after him, and they shall keep the way of the LORD, to do justice and judgment; that the LORD may bring upon Abraham that which he hath spoken of him.”  (Genesis 18:19)

and “Fair weather cometh out of the north: with God is terrible majesty.
23 Touching the Almighty, we cannot find him out: he is excellent in power, and in judgment, and in plenty of justice: he will not afflict.”  (Job 37:22-23)

When we turn towards justice we turn toward judgment.  Let us remember this spiritual truth the next time we think we have been wronged or get offended by our brothers and sisters.  The  pound of flesh we are asking God for may be our own. The same is true with “mercy and truth” as is for the many verses in the Bible that list them side by side and separate in verses. 

For example,  “I will hear what God the LORD will speak: for he will speak peace unto his people, and to his saints: but let them not turn again to folly.9  Surely his salvation is nigh them that fear him; that glory may dwell in our land. 10  Mercy and truth are met together; righteousness and peace have kissed each other.11  Truth shall spring out of the earth; and righteousness shall look down from heaven.”  (Psalms 85:8-11) When we turn towards mercy we turn towards truth and we know the objective of truth is to slay us.  It is easy to give mercy to a dead man.  I will let that sink in awhile.  When we die to our “self” and our selfish desires and wants it is easy for God to give us mercy when we have failed or come short of God’s glory.  Notice the word combination that follow mercy and truth, “righteousness and peace have kissed each other.” Righteousness and peace always follows mercy and truth not justice or judgment. So the next time you have to turn towards justice or mercy think about the truth that is flowing in these choices and go towards mercy.  God will do the judging in the situation we find ourselves in (He is a Holy and righteous judge), but what are asking for?  When David numbered Israel (1 Chronicles 21:7-13) against God’s instruction God gave David three choices of punishment David chose right and fell into the hand of the LORD, let us turn towards God’s mercy and not His justice.  Our being tested as David was precedes the blessing.  Thus, Acts 1:8 becomes a powerful present word. “But you shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses to Me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and to the uttermost part of the earth.”  (Acts 1:8) The word “after” confirms to us that we must first be tested, before we can speak the word of the Lord with substance and power.  This is the price that must be paid.  Many can say, “I have some truth.”  Jesus said, “I am the truth.”  He could only say this because He chose to put the will of His Father ahead of His own comfort and satisfaction.  There is no easy formula to success, as there is always a price.  When we choose the purpose of the Lord rather than our own satisfaction and comfort, it can be said that we are “buying the truth.”  Many are called, but few are willing to pay the price of truth.  May we be found among those who are willing to do so.