“And whosoever shall compel thee to go a mile, go with him twain.” —Matthew 5:41
“Go with him twain.” I call your earnest attention to these words. I find in them a characteristic mark of a very unique people. The Word of God says that He desires a peculiar people, zealous of good works. The characteristic mark then, of this peculiar people, is this, if a man compels them to go a mile, they will go with him twain. That is, they do not only what they are expected to do, but, because of grace given, they do the unexpected.
Anyone, in selecting horses, can tell the difference between the horse that can run and the horse that is built to pull. God lays down this rule, which I use as a text, as a mark or a brand which distinguishes His true servants. It is not that everyone who has been born again has this characteristic; this is a characteristic of that inner selected crowd of Christians who are willing to do the will of God, the crowd who are not living the life of the flesh, but the life of the Spirit, and have presented their bodies, a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God.
It is the crowd who are willing to suffer with Him in order that they might reign with Him, who are willing to know Him in the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings. They never stop to say “I have done my duty, and there my service ends,” but they do all that they are expected to do, and then go on far beyond that. They love all that they are expected to love, and then have a compassion for the multitude on beyond that. They love the work in the homeland, but their hearts go out also across the sea to the uttermost part. They give all they are expected to give, and on top of it lay many a thank offering baptized with tears of joy.
This is the crowd that break their alabaster box of ointment upon His precious head, and perfume floats out that makes a godly savor in the church where they worship. This crowd does not just smile, but they rejoice. Their lips are loosened for God, and they tell of all His wondrous works.
The Mark of the Bride
How wonderfully this life is typified in the story of Eliezer seeking out a bride for Isaac. You remember he goes down to the city of Nahor with his caravan of camels, and stands without the city gates. He only knows that he is to select a maiden from this village, but, oh, there are many maidens, and they look so much alike, these Syrian maidens, as they come forth from the city gate at the evening hour, all bearing the same kind of a pitcher, going to the same well, and returning in the same way.
He is among the right people to do the selecting, but, oh, how shall he know the one? Finally the inspiration comes. The Holy Ghost is true to this rule quoted in the text, and Eliezer cries out, “Let this, oh Lord, be the test.” He says substantially, “I will ask the maidens that come forth to draw water, if they will give me drink.” Courtesy, proper breeding, demands that they shall lower the pitcher from their head or shoulder, balance it on the hip, and give the stranger a drink. This is their duty. This is expected.
Eliezer says, “Lord, let this be the mark of the one that shall be the bride of Thy servant Isaac. Let her not only give me a drink, but say to me, ‘I will water thy camels also.’”
Beloved, that is very much to expect of a young woman. Have you ever thought what an undertaking it was for a young woman to water that caravan of camels? To have watered so many horses would not have been much of a task, but camels take a great supply of water.
Rebekah comes forth. She gives the drink to Eliezer, and her sweet soul shows this characteristic mark immediately, as she says, “I will water thy camels also.”
She cannot be thinking of herself, of the backache, of the weary drawing of the bucket and filling of the trough. This is the mark of the servant of the living God, and Rebekah is chosen and taken. Beloved, is this mark upon you?
Now those who have this mark are pleasing to the Lord. They do not draw back. They do not come just short, but they are willing to go all the way with God.
The Negative Side
I have stated the positive side of this characteristic. Now look at the negative side, and see God’s great disapproval of the man who is not willing to go the limit with Him. The story of this negative side is told in the 13th chapter of Second Kings:
“Now Elisha was fallen sick of his sickness whereof he died. And Joash the king of Israel came down unto him, and wept over his face, and said, Oh my father, my father, the chariot of Israel, and the horsemen thereof. And Elisha said unto him, Take bow and arrows. And he took unto him bow and arrows. And he said to the king of Israel, Put thine hand upon the bow. And he put his hand upon it; and Elisha put his hands upon the king’s hands. And he said, Open the window eastward. And he opened it. Then Elisha said, Shoot. And he shot. And he said, The arrow of the LORD’s deliverance, and the arrow of deliverance from Syria: for thou shalt smite the Syrians in Aphek, till thou have consumed them.
“And he said, Take the arrows. And he took them. And he said unto the king of Israel, Smite upon the ground. And he smote thrice, and stayed. And the man of God was wroth with him, and said, Thou shouldest have smitten five or six times.”
Here you see the displeasure of God in the wrath of the prophet. It is yours, beloved, to smite five or six times. How dare you stop when you have smitten thrice? God hasn’t told you to stop. God hasn’t withheld His hand. God hasn’t stopped working. How dare you reach a limit? Do ye not see that your failure in life has come because you have limited God?
You have set the mark and said, “I can go that far.” Oh, rub out the mark and say, “Where He leads me I can, I will follow.”
Tears and Failure
There is an outline in this story concerning King Joash, that shows us the reason for men and women failing to be in the crowd of those who go just “a little further” with Jesus.
First of all, the king came to Elisha and began to weep over him. He realized that the power was with Elisha—that Elisha had this “little further” life, this “go with him twain” walk with God. Elisha did not get his double portion of the spirit of Elijah by crying over Elijah when he was to be taken from him; but he set his face like a flint to get what Elijah had, and would not leave him until the power had come upon him.
In the great crisis hour of Elisha’s life, when Elijah was taken up by a whirlwind and the mantle dropped back, the words from Elisha’s lips were, “My father, my father, the chariot of Israel and the horsemen thereof.” No telling how many times Elisha had repeated that phrase to himself and rejoice over the day when the mantle of Elijah had fallen upon him. Now King Joash stands over Elisha and realizes that Elisha, this great man of power, is slipping out of his life. He weeps, and tries to bring Elisha back by repeating to Elisha this charmed sentence, “My father, my father, the chariot of Israel and the horsemen thereof.”
It is easy enough for the church, shorn of her power, or for an individual life shorn of its power, to cry over the good old days and try to arouse fervor by singing the good old hymns, or repeating a good old phrase, and using some terminology; but this does not bring power. Nor did any power come to King Joash from the weeping and from repeating the phraseology of the golden hour of Elisha’s life.
A life that wants to go a little further with Jesus, on into the things of God, will not stop to weep over past days, or talk much about past power, but will set its face toward the life where Christ is supreme, and not give up until the blessing of God and the fire of God have been found.
A Bending Bow
The next phase of this story shows how this life of being able to go a little further is to be had. First of all Elisha says to him, “Take a bow and arrows.” All the “arrows” of God are in His Word, and He uses us as bows. Oh, how important to have God’s arrows to shoot! It is His promises, it is the truth put forth by the Holy Ghost in God’s own Word that we need. It is the truth, shot by bent, and willing and yielded bows. Just ask yourself, “Do I bent to carry His arrows? Can He pull me?”
Oh, we wish to be used, but we will not yield when He pulls the bow-string, knowing the truth in God’s Word, and then being a yielded bow.
God next tells us to put our hand upon the bow, to take our lives in our hands. Then He puts His hand upon our hand, His hand upon our yielded lives. He says “Open the window,” and we dare to take the open doors into which He sends us. Then He says “Shoot,” and we shoot only at His command, His hand upon our lives, and our lives grasping His Word, and we shout, “The arrow of the Lord’s deliverance! The arrow of deliverance from Syria!” I don’t know what your “Syria” is, but I know that this is the way to deliverance.
All the Way
Then the picture changes, and the prophet tells him to take the arrows and smite them upon the ground. The king smites thrice and stays. Elisha tells him what would have happened if he had gone a little further, if he had used this rule of “Go with him twain.” Just think what might have happened in your life if back there you had gone with him twain, if you had said, “I am going all the way.”
Nearly anyone in normal health can run a hundred yards, and by the time they have done it they say their wind is exhausted; but the runner, the athlete, knows that one may run a certain distance and feel nearly exhausted, but that if he will continue for a little space at the proper pace he will get what is known to the athlete as the second wind. The lungs, the heart, the organs will adjust themselves, and there will come refreshment and the breath will come more easily.
The long distance runner realizes that he not only gets a second wind, but a little farther on he gets a third wind. It is agony to go over the space that lies between these two winds, but once this mark is passed the runner comes into the exuberant joy of realizing that from some source has come reinforcement.
It is so in the mental world. Some men stop, others think on and come out into fresh pastures of conclusion. It is so in business. At the first tightening, and stringency, and competition, many men give up. The other man stays with the game, tries to weather the storm, and before long rights his financial ship and is taking his second wind in a business way, and going on to success. Thousands of men round-about him are constantly starting new projects, coming up to the crisis time, and failing.
Oh, how true it is in the Christian life. Souls who have accepted Christ have come on to the crisis hour when God is proving them, and when the test comes and their faith is tested and their love is tested they drop back, and the dark clouds gather around. They believe, and walk on, but without success and without victory.
Wait on the Lord
Thank God there is a life of victory, if we go a little further, if we go with him twain, for He says, “They that wait upon the Lord shall renew (exchange) their strength; they shall mount up on wings as eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint.”
Maybe you have asked what it means to wait on the Lord. This is what it means, don’t doubt Him, don’t quit Him. Wait on Him. He will come to the rescue. He will give you the great joy of seeing that His resources are infinite, that He never fails, that although it is the fourth watch of the night and all hope seems gone, yet He will come walking to your little storm-tossed boat over the rugged waves. He will always be there. Will you wait for Him? Will you go just a little further? Will you dare to take this characteristic mark of those who will be His servants? Will you be one who will “go with Him twain?”
Then you may say, “How will I get energy?” It is not energy that you need, it is desire. Have you not found that energy springs readily to our aid when we have desire?
Here may be a lady, languid and tired, seemingly, and not caring much for the things that are around her, resting in her room. Somebody asks her to do a certain task, and she says she hasn’t energy enough to do it. The telephone bell rings, and some bright happy voice suggests a certain lark. She is all energy in a minute, she has made an engagement, and she hurries about the house with plenty of enthusiasm and energy, because she is about to do something which she very much desires to do.
What do you want to do? Do you want to go on with God? Do you want to walk with Him? Do you want a holy life? Is there a hunger in your soul for a knowledge of Jesus, even if it came by suffering, or has your “want to” leaked out?
Peter strutted as an actor before the footlights one day, and said, “Though all men forsake Thee, yet will I never forsake Thee;” but it wasn’t long until he forgot his fine speech and denied his Lord as he warmed himself by the fire. His “want to” had leaked out.
Praise God, there is a blessed Comforter, the third person of the Trinity, who, coming in His fullness into our hearts, can let loose within us rivers of living water—love, joy, peace, long suffering, gentleness, meekness, kindness. He pours in the “want to.”
It is stated of some saint of old that when he first read the New Testament and read of the lives of the apostles, he made up his mind that angels had come down to earth and taken the form of men, to show men how to live for God. He afterward, by continuing to read, found that these apostles were real men; and a great hunger came for the life that they had. He could not figure how men could be constant, and get their minds and affections so set upon God.
In his darkness he went on, in his hunger he sought the Lord, and when the Holy Spirit had filled his heart, he cried with exultant praise, conscious that another life possessed him, and that within him was a big “want to be” all that God would have him be, and “want to go” with Jesus all the way, to be His and His alone.
Have you, as you look back over your life, walked in a rut? Have you traveled in a circle? Oh, get out into the open fields, “go with him twain.” Separate from the things that are holding you to the rut, break away from the sides of the old circle.
Maybe it is a new task He will give you, maybe it is a new experience; certainly it is a new vision. Say with Paul, “Forgetting the things that are behind, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.”
Renouncing every worldly thing,
And safe beneath Thy spreading wing,
My sweetest thought henceforth will be
That all I want I find in Thee.