with Martha Kilpatrick and hosted by John Enslow
This episode contains a recorded message of Martha speaking at a home meeting in Vancouver, Washington.
I recently got fired again, as God. We did a podcast on this, and I laughed so much I don’t know that it’s going to be intelligible. I just feel like kind of telling you how we live and hear the Lord. I went away for a few days recently and somewhere in some mountain grocery store I picked up this little film, Jewish film, and I can’t even pronounce the name because it’s a Hebrew name that means guest. And the story is of a Jewish couple, he’s orthodox, and he was formerly in jail; formerly a criminal. And he’s become religious, and his wife, and they both want to serve the Lord. I won’t tell you all the Jewish traditions because that’ll take too long. But, into their lives come two of his former criminal buddies, at a time when there’s supposed to be a Jewish holiday and celebrate hospitality. So these two prisoners come in there; actually fugitives from the law; but the wife doesn’t know it, the husband does. And these two, this Jewish couple, are trying to please God enough to have a child. They married for 5 years and can’t have a child, so they’re trying very hard to please God. They talk about Abraham and Sarah all the time. Well Abraham and Sarah had visitors, so we’ll have visitors, and they fed them, so we’ll feed them; and they’re doing has a motive of getting this child from God. So the two prisoners come in and they think this is sent from God for them to be good to the prisoner’s. Well the prisoners ravage their lives. They ruin their reputation in the Hasidic neighborhood; they take advantage of them, they’re big moocher’s. Then the wife finds out that they’re fugitives from the law and that the husband has lied to her so she leaves him, so the marriage is ruined. And the Hasidic Jewish man has a history of anger; and anger caused him to attack a man and he went to prison for it, so he’s always trying to conquer that anger. So when these two prisoners ravage his life, and his wife leaves him, he wants to kill them, so he goes running out into the forest screaming, I don’t understand, I don’t understand; help me God not to be angry. And he falls on the ground in this great passionate cry. The next morning he wakes up and he’s just very subdued. The two prisoners are still there mooching at their table, and they say, oh we have just ruined your life. And he says, no, no you didn’t. They said yes we did, we’ve done you so badly; and he says oh no, you’re nothing. And the other prisoner is indignant and he says, do you hear what he called us? He called us nothing! And he says, no, no, I’m nothing too; you’re nothing, I’m nothing, there’s only God. And to me that was the pivot of the story. So then he goes about trying to repair all the chaos, and his wife comes walking up to him and she’s smiling. And he looks at her, and he says, what? And she says Nahum. He says what? She says, I want to call him Nahum; and he says, you’re pregnant! She says yes.
The Lord speaks to us in things like that, so we kind of went around this movie two or three times. And I had a situation in my life, and suddenly I saw that I had two prisoners ravaging my life. (Laughter) And I was living the story. And I was also living Abraham and Sarah, where if I did these things, surely God would do these things. You know the Christian life is learning the same thing you know, and the same thing you learned before, you learn it again. And I don’t’ think there are but about seven lessons, I think they’re the seven churches in Revelation. David boiled them down to twelve in Psalm 15, the Jewish tradition is. But I think there’s not many things that we have to learn, and un-learn, and re-learn. But I find that as a parent, God takes us, ok, did you understand this? Let’s go over it one more time.
And so as I was sitting one day by the fire, meditating, had my Bible out, and I read, T. Austin Sparks said, “Every true servant of God is really a defeated man.” And all of a sudden I saw that I was completely defeated by my two prisoners; I could do nothing, I was absolutely powerless. And I began to laugh, that I was truly defeated, that I could do nothing in this situation. I had done everything that God had told me to do, and it hadn’t changed the situation. It was kind of like Abraham and Sarah, and this couple wanting to, well if we feed these people, then we’ll have a child. Well it turned into chaos, and God gave them a child, but the point was that only God has the power to do as He pleases, on whatever ground. He thwarted everything that they tried to do to please Him. He destroyed everything they offered Him, which I won’t even go into some of it. He sovereignly brought the complete disaster of what they tried to do; and they were defeated, and once they were defeated, God moved. It’s the same thing with Abraham, they didn’t catch on, that Abraham only believed when it was utterly impossible. And Sarah it says in Hebrews, by faith she conceived; so at some point she got past the laughter and believed. And throughout the whole little story, which was spoken in Hebrew, they kept saying, everything in life is a test.
So I sat there by the fire, and I thought about a verse I’ve had since the beginning of my walk; and I’ve always pondered it. It’s Luke 17:10, Jesus says to the disciples, starting about verse 6, “If you have faith like a mustard seed, you would say to this mulberry tree, be uprooted, and be planted in the sea, and it would obey you.” And then He goes, Jesus is strange, because He goes from one subject to an unrelated subject, and only He can tell you the relationship between the two subjects; because He goes from the mulberry tree to another subject in the same discourse. “But which of you having a slave plowing or attending sheep will say to him when he has come in from the field, come immediately sit down and eat.” In other words, when the slave comes in from the field, the master doesn’t serve him. “But will he not say to him, prepare something for me to eat, and properly clothe yourself, and serve me while I eat and drink, and afterward you may eat and drink. He does not thank the slave because he did the things which were commanded him. So you too, when you do all the things which are commanded you say, we are unworthy servants, we have only done what we should have done.” And the King James is, “We are unprofitable servants, we have only done what we should have done.”
As I was thinking about this, I thought, we have this mentality in our nature; that our service to God should produce a result; not necessarily. The chronicles in Hebrews, all the people of faith, some believed and died and never saw it and died without the fulfillment. I haven’t ever liked that, but I do know it’s there. So suddenly I saw this whole scripture in its meaning. We have an assignment of obedience, a destiny of purpose. We have a daily mandate from the Lord on some ground; for some it’s to clean the kitchen, but we do have the will of God to perform, we are His servants.
There’s a story they tell about Reese Howell, remember, do you know Reese Howell? He was a phenomenal man of God. He left his one child in England and went to the mission field, I think in China, and he came back to England and founded a school of prayer, and there’s a tremendous book about his prayer life. And they prayed in this school, at the beginning of World War II, and they saw the victory, and they had a celebration party as the war was going on. And everybody thought they were crazy. But Reese Howell was a phenomenal servant of God, holding nothing back. And some people that I know of went to England to meet Reese Howell’s son. And they said, you must tell us the secret of Reese Howell, how he knew the battle plans of the Lord. And the son went on and talked about something else. And they said, you must tell us, because we’re in America on the verge of war, you must tell us how he knew the mind of God about the war. And the son went on, and finally they pinned him down. They got on the floor on their knees and wept, and said please, we beg you, we have come here to hear how you know the mind of God about a country at war. He said, you must understand, the servant of the Lord knows the mind of the Lord. That’s all he would say. The servant of the Lord is what he called his own father, he didn’t say, my father knew the mind of the Lord. He knew his father as a servant.
And we are, we are servants and we are slaves; and this parable says that we are here to serve Him, in whatever capacity He names, and that service goes on and on, and He does not serve us, He is the Master. He is not going to serve my purpose in this situation, He is only going to serve His own. And my purpose was personal in it, and passionate, and devastated, and I couldn’t make anything move in places where I even have served and had influence and had mighty anointing. But I had to say at the end of it, I’ve only done what I should have done; I’m just an unprofitable servant. The unprofitable means I cannot ask for a gain from my service. I cannot demand of God that because I was faithful toYou, and I did this, so You must do that. So I laughed and laughed and I said, I am a servant who is defeated. I can do nothing in this situation.
So we did a little podcast on it and it was very difficult to convey it, because there are certain points in your life, where you have a collapse; there are different kinds of collapses. And on the podcast, John grasped it, he grasped it when I called him and told him. But several people I shared it with couldn’t get it. It’s not failure of service that this was about. It’s not Jacob’s failure to have to run to Laban and have to work 14 years; it’s not that failure, though I know that one, but that wasn’t it. The failure, there’s a failure of unbelief, there’s a failure of fleshly performance to do the will of God, I know all those failures. This was a peculiar defeat. It was sort of like Joseph in prison expecting the Baker to tell Pharaoh about him and get him out. Joseph had been faithful unendingly in his life, and his faithfulness did not gain his release. His faithfulness was noted and no doubt rewarded. But it was God, and only God, who decided when he would get out, and what He would do with him when he got out. I’m nothing, you’re nothing, there’s only God; and that Jewish phrase has become for me not only my defeat, but my liberty.