A Character Like God’s

In one of the early camp meetings I attended (it was 1974) George Warnock was speaking one evening on God’s eternal longing for a dwelling place.  After some length he quoted from memory this passage from Isaiah:

 Thus saith the LORD, The heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool: where is the house that ye build unto Me?  And where is the place of My rest?  For all those things hath Mine hand made, and all those things have been, saith   the LORD: but to this man will I look, even to him that is poor, and of a contrite spirit, and trembleth at My word (Isa. 66:1,2).

He went on to ask why it was that God was looking for someone who was poor and of a contrite spirit.

Then he said with much emotion, “It’s because if you only knew it… when God is finished with you, you’re going to have a character… like God’s.”

The words were branded into my heart.  They are there still.  Oh, to know this God, to know what He is really like… and be like Him.

Our God is a God of great power.  His understanding is infinite.  His greatness is unsearchable.  He created the universe with the word of His mouth.  How then can great buildings impress Him?  Or those who strive for a place among the stars?  He is the high and lofty One who inhabits eternity.  If that is the case, one would think that those in the heights are closer to Him—the rich, the powerful, the famous, the lofty, the proud.  But the high are far away from Him, and the lowly near.  It is in them that He finds the house—the fellowship, the family, the friendship—He longs for.  With those who are lowly.  Contrite.  Gentle.  Meek.  Patient.  Loving.  Just like Him.

This is His purpose in all His workings in our lives.  When it seems that our own goals are being frustrated, God has His own goal in mind.  He is working to bring forth a character like His own.  A character so infused with His Presence that others become aware of Him when they are with you.

Back in the days when Isaiah wrote that prophecy, the ritual offerings of bulls and goats along with the distinctive rites of their religion had become things the people gloried in, all the while forgetting God Himself.  Their temple was the most prestigious building in the world and they gloried in it, totally forgetting its purpose as the dwelling place for God’s name.  They boasted in their religion even while alienated from their God because of the pride of their hearts.

“You think you are special offering Me these offerings?” God challenged.  “Offer swine’s blood.  Go cut off a dog’s neck.  It’s all the same to Me.”

Even in the Christian life there is so much we can become involved in, so much we can glory in… our great church, our great program, our knowledge, our gift, our ministry, our work for the Lord… all the while forgetting what it is all about.  Beloved saint of God, He is looking for a dwelling place.  With those who are like Him.  If this is not our one pursuit, our reason for being, our whole Christian life… whatever else we are doing, whatever else we are involved in and offer Him by way of works and endeavours, even though they be things He Himself initiated, if we have lost sight of what God is seeking…  we might as well go and cut off a dog’s neck and give Him that, or offer Him swine’s blood.

God revealed much the same thing to the prophet Micah, telling him that He had shown him what He really wanted from him.  It was not the offering of thousands of rams or ten thousands of rivers of oil.  Nor could he give his firstborn for his transgression, the fruit of his body for the sin of his soul.

 He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the LORD require of thee, but to do justly, and love mercy, and walk humbly with Thy God (Micah 6:8).

He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good?  When, Micah?  But this is prophecy; the Man in whom God would show this would not arrive on the scene for another 700 years.  When He did arrive, He would call others to walk with Him in His yoke and learn concerning Him—that He is meek and lowly of heart.  Who is meek and lowly of heart?

God.

In whose yoke the lowly Son of God rested.

And did justly.  And loved mercy…

…And humbled Himself.

That’s how the margin of my Bible reads for the last phrase in Micah’s prophecy, “humble thyself to walk with God.”

This is what the Son of God did, He who had been in the form of God… humbling Himself in His walk with God even unto the death of the Cross.

I remember a moment in my life when I became aware that I was going to have to go through something I did not want to go through, something that would mean a very deep cross for me.  I was standing on my back step frightened, sorrowing… when I had a very strong impression that the Lord Jesus was standing right there beside me.  The only way He could have been more real is if He had been actually visible.  And I knew He was saying to me, “I will go through it with you.”  Somehow I knew that this meant He was willing to come down to do this.  It was not beneath Him to do so.  He would come alongside me, and go through with me the very thing that was bringing me low.

Over the years I have at times forgotten this.  What is more important to me?  To be delivered from the grievous circumstances of life, or to walk through them in fellowship with the lowly Lord Jesus?

And so there grows in the heart a cry for a character like God’s, a  great desire to know what He is really like, and walk with Him.  And suddenly we find Him answering that cry by leading us into things that humble us, bring us low.  Let us not think it strange when this happens.  Let us not be afraid.  Let us ask for eye salve that we might see Him right there… walking with us, and finding the companionship He is hungry for with those like Himself.  He wants—yes, wants—to walk with us.  Let us humble ourselves to walk with Him, then…

…And, in turn, let us walk with those in low places who need someone to walk with them.

It must be this phrase from Micah that inspired the old hymn by Johnson Oatman Jr.  Here are the words; the music can be found on Cyberhymnal: http://www.hymntime.com/tch/htm/h/u/m/humblets.htm

If thou wouldst have the dear Saviour from heaven
Walk by thy side from the morn till the even,
There is a rule that each day you must follow:
Humble thyself to walk with God.

Chorus:
Humble thyself and the Lord will draw near thee,
Humble thyself and His presence shall cheer thee,
God will not walk with the proud or the scornful,
Humble thyself to walk with God.

Just as the Lord in the world’s early ages
Walked and communed with the prophets and sages,
He will come now if you meet the conditions:
Humble thyself to walk with God.

Just as a stream finds a bed that is lowly
So Jesus walks with the pure and the holy,
Cast out thy pride, and in heartfelt contrition,
Humble thyself to walk with God.

23 responses »

    • And that’s the word He loves to hear when He asks us, “Are you willing to put those other goals aside and just walk with Me? Are you willing to let Me form in you a character like My own?”

      “Yes.”

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  1. What a wonderful word Allan. This word sheds such a bright light on our path. Strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it. Yesterday I installed a light on a pole on a rural acreage illuminating the gate to a property located on a country road. The lady was so thankful that it would help her to find her way in the dark. This is what your word is doing…”Thy word is lamp unto my feet, and a lamp unto my path.” You’ve clearly brought God’s purposes into clarity.
    I am reminded of Philippians 3:12… “Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ.”
    I will be sure to share this posting in our prayer meeting tomorrow morning.
    God Bless you and yours.
    Terry

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    • Thank you, dear brother Terry, I much appreciate the encouragement. There is great cost involved in this pursuit, as we have discovered over the years, as we “press toward the mark.” But I am reminded of something somebody said back then– I forget who– that once God has that initial heartfelt “yes” from us, He turns a deaf ear to the “no’s” we utter later on when the going gets so hard. He knows we still mean yes.

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  2. That was a deeply touching article, Allan. And so true!! Thanks so much for sharing! 🙂

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  3. Allan, Terry, Susanne, What a small world it is! I happen to know all three of you from the present and the past. You see, I am also a friend of George Warnock and live in Coeur d Alene, Idaho. I used to print his books for him. I think I met you two brothers at a Warnock gathering in the mid 90’s in Cranbrook. At the time I was still going through a long hard wilderness period that God had put me in to kill everything in me of man’s religions that had blinded me to the reality of Christ crucified… the very things you have been sharing here in this well written and inspired article. Thank you my brother. You wrote,

    “Let us not be afraid. Let us ask for eye salve that we might see Him right there… walking with us, and finding the companionship He is hungry for with those like Himself. He wants—yes, wants—to walk with us. Let us humble ourselves to walk with Him, then…And, in turn, let us walk with those in low places who need someone to walk with them.”

    Oh, Wow! The very place He has me, my brother! “That I may KNOW HIM, the power of his resurrection, the fellowship of His suffering and that I might be conformed unto His death.” For years I prayed this and little did I know the cost that it would require. He had to kill me and all that was of that religious old Adam and strip me of my religious fig leaves before I could experience the power of HIS resurrection life in me and up until then I had been Spirit filled and walking in the gifts, but also with them came great pride welling up within me. When He showed me how HE saw me I cried out for Him to kill this terrible thing in me that wanted to use HIS power to build my own kingdom (ministry). He answered that prayer and it cost me everything.

    Anyway in this last year he has gone on to let me experience “the fellowship of HIS sufferings.” He has put on me the pain that He feels as He carries the sufferings on His heart of my fellow saints. Sometimes it is so strong a heart ache that all I can do is stop everything I am doing an pray with tears for the one who he places on my heart. I have never wanted an intercessor’s ministry.. so much hype has been made over this in my former church circles, but God has done this to me. It is all so new. I weep a lot these days.

    This all has me wondering what is coming in that final portion of Paul’s prayer, “That I might be conformed unto His death.” I know that the cross of Christ is in my life to kill all that is of that old Adam and keep me forever weak that He might be made perfect in me. And I truly want this ever deepening death, for out of it comes HIS life abounding in others. But is there yet more?

    The chorus of that song you linked to goes:

    Humble thyself, and the Lord will draw near thee;
    Humble thyself, and His presence will cheer thee;
    He will not walk with the proud or the scornful;
    Humble thyself to walk with God.

    So true, my brother. I hope to see you one of these days soon, Allan. I would like to visit George again as well. I have a new passport that needs some stamps in it (grin).

    Your brother IN Christ,

    Michael Clark
    http://www.awildernessvoice.wordpress.com

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    • Greetings, Michael, it’s wonderful to hear from you after so long a time! I much appreciate what you have shared here, especially the intercession that comes upon you, and the weeping. I too have a great burden– it is the Lord’s own burden– to see “the love of the brethren” among our “fellow saints.” Oh, the healing that is needed in the body of Christ! Oh the pain He feels (as do we ourselves) when “His bones are out of joint” (Ps. 22:14). Oh, to see that one Man rise up in the earth, all His members in perfect harmony, and speaking with “a voice of many waters.”

      Michael, I will email you regarding George. He is now 97.

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      • Allan, it is so good to hear from you again, my brother. Yes, it has been way too long. The Lord has had me focused on this passage as HIS passion for this hour, but I have not yet felt the burden for it as you have. Pray for me….

        That they all may be one; as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that you have sent me. And the glory which you gave me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one: I in them, and you in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that you have sent me, and have loved them, as you have loved me.
        (John 17:21-23 KJ2000)

        That we might ALL be truly ONE IN the Father and the Son, just as they are ONE. Amen.

        I will be watching for our email,my brother. And a special thanks to Susanne in Germany for reuniting us on here for she told me about your blog. God bless her richly with His love for the saints.

        Michael

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        • Thank you, Michael. It’s greatly reassuring that that passage from John 17 is the Lord’s own intercession. It’s so encouraging when He enables us to participate in it. This one is going to be answered!

          I find it very interesting that I connected with you this morning via two different sources– one of them Susanne, who apparently emailed you about my latest blog post; and another after I read an excerpt from your message on The Great Ecclesiastical Conspiracy which I came across on another website, and then began to read on your own website, and then emailed you about. What a “coincidence”! I think I see the Lord’s fingerprints on this! 🙂

          Yes, please check your email!

          Allan

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          • Yes, Allan, as soon as I figured out that Susanne was writing to me about the same Allan Halton that I once met through G.W. I felt the Lord say that it was time to connect with you once again. I will definitely be seeking His leading on when and how we might meet again, my brother. We have so many things to share that God has been stirring up in our hearts. Yes, two witnesses is usually a sign that God is in it, fingerprints and all. I will be answering your two emails shortly. Terry, if you read this, I would love to see you again as well.

            Love you, my dear brother,

            Michael

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          • Perhaps we could all meet together, Michael. I’ll be praying about it as well.

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  4. I really enjoyed reading your exchange here, Michael and Allan, and I am so glad that you got finally reunited (virtually, so to speak). 🙂

    Indeed, Michael, I mentioned Allan last year in July as I had written on his blog and you said (in a chat), “I know his name, I think I know Allan from George Warnock.” I recall having said something like, “That cannot be, Allan is a Canadian.” 😉 Somehow the whole thing got confused then and today it seems to me that it had obviously not yet been the time you should have “met” again, as you clearly confirmed, Allan, with your second witness/source mentioned above.

    ❤ Guys, you really made my day!! ❤

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    • Thanks, Susanne, for your part in “connecting” us again!

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    • Yes! Thank so much, dear Susanne. Yes, I guess that God had to do some more deep work in my heart before the time was right, God knows how deep he has been digging since then and how His ax has been laid to the root of many things that needed to go. You made our day as well. God bless your dear heart!

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      • My pleasure, Michael! 😉

        Actually, He had a lot to do with and in my heart as well. So many triggers I had to deal with until recently springing from sexual abuse and gang rape which I had experienced in my youth. Also, I had to be confronted with all those old wounds I had still hidden in my heart from my time in a Christian charismatic cult. So, well – here I am again with this hope in my heart that says,

        And he who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” Also he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.” (Rev 21:5 ESV)

        May God bless you both immensely!

        Love,
        Susanne

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        • Dear Susanne,

          It is so good to hear of the great progress that Father is making in your life for I have read your blog and know about much of your past sufferings. I also watched you react to anything that had to do with spiritual gifts, and knew that your former cult experience in Germany was at the root of it. I appreciate your gentle surrender to God in this matter, “So, well — here I am again with this hope in my heart…” Yes, He is making ALL things NEW and the old things are passing away.

          “And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. Faithful is he that calls you, who also will do it.” (1 Thessalonians 5:23-24 KJ2000)

          May the Lord continue to bless you as He heals your heart with His great love,

          Michael

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  5. Allan,
    I have felt lately to re-visit the writings ‘The Visions of Annie’. For those who are not familiar with Annie Schisler she is a Christian lady who is now in her upper 60s. She was apprehended of God in about the mid 1960s in an outpouring of the Holy Spirit in Argentina when she was in an utterly evil, dark, rebellious condition. Even her physical body was filled with evil and sickness. When she was saved God immediately began to take her almost daily into the heavenlies and showed her mysteries concerning Himself and His people and His purposes.
    I feel the following vision from ‘Book One’ fits with your writing ‘A Character like God’s’ and you might want to post it.

    THE BLIND ONES
    After but a short time of prayer and with but little opposition, He allowed me to enter into His presence. His welcome to me was dear and joyful. I don’t know why He always is so loving when He takes me unto Himself, comforting me, quieting all my fears, and filling me with a deep sense of security. How I wish I could bring back to this world the great fullness of life, peace and joy that fills my heart up there!
    When he told me to look, I saw the souls of His people on the earth, yet they did not appear like human beings. I cannot describe them for they seemed to have a form, yet it was not a form at all. The pitiful state of these souls filled me with amazement, for all of them were completely blind and naked. In spite of their lamentable condition, the saddest thing of all was their great display of haughtiness and pride. I wondered how it was possible for such naked and blind ones to be so haughty. What made it yet worse was that these souls were not aware of the shame of their condition. To the contrary, they seemed to be perfectly content to remain just like they were.
    With great sadness I observed them, for in spite of the fact that they belonged to Him, their miserableness was awful to behold. His word came to me: “It is time for me to breathe upon them and to open their eyes so that they may be able to see their true state.”
    As He quietly waited, the blind and naked ones went right along in their own ways, just as if they were enjoying abundance of health. Then after a time He breathed light upon them. This light – like a cloudy substance- completely enveloped them. Immediately their eyes were opened and they understood their terrible condition and were fully ashamed.
    Whereas these had been scattered over a great area on the earth and had not been at all close one to the other, they now began to draw together and seek to be covered by Him. When His light entered into them they began to seek to hide themselves and to make Him their covering. As they drew very near to Him He received them with great joy.
    Having forsaken their haughtiness and high mindedness, they became very low before Him and were covered by His cloud.

    Terry

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    • Thanks for this Terry, from time to time I too revisit Annie’s visions. Yes, this one fits well here.

      She said, “Then after a time He breathed light upon them. This light – like a cloudy substance- completely enveloped them. Immediately their eyes were opened and they understood their terrible condition and were fully ashamed.”

      Followed by this: “Having forsaken their haughtiness and high mindedness, they became very low before Him and were covered by His cloud.”

      The same cloud of light that first exposed their miserable condition also became their covering when they humbled themselves and came to that light. George Fox continually taught the same thing. Come to the light, and be exposed, and then discover the same light to be your covering.

      I was also impacted by this: “…He breathed light upon them.” This is the only light that is going to reveal the true condition of those who are naked and blind and don’t know it, all the while walking in pride. It is light with the Breath of the Lord in it. This must be the nature of the light that comes from our own mouths; it must be the breath of the Lord, or it will have no impact on others.

      But I am moved to say that I believe we are going to see this Cloud more and more characterizing our gatherings, exposing, and humbling, and then, covering, and we all dwelling within it!

      Start with me, Lord!

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  6. “What is more important to me? To be delivered from the grievous circumstances of life, or to walk through them in fellowship with the lowly Lord Jesus?”
    Powerful question, Allan. I have pondered this many times.
    Great post.

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