Wollen and Linen - Following the path of Christ - Chapter 2 - David and Peter

Woollen and Linen - J G Bellet

David and Peter
Mistakes of this kind are very old mistakes. David was erring this way when he purposed to build a house for the Lord; but it was an error, though committed with a right desire of the heart.
The time had not come for building the Lord a house, because the Lord had not yet built David a house. The land was still defiled with blood; and till it was cleansed there was no place for the rest and kingdom of the Lord.
David therefore greatly erred, yet not through double-mindedness but through ignorance. David’s error was this – that the Lord could take His throne in the earth before the earth was purged.
The servants in the parable erred on the other hand in this, that the church was made the instrument of purging the earth or the world.
I might say, in the language of the Levitical ordinance, that David was about to put on a garment of “divers sorts”, but the Lord prevented it. The motion of his heart – as far as it was expressive of himself – was acceptable with the Lord, but still it was hindered and disappointed.
Something to tell us how jealous the Lord is that His own principles be observed and the position in which He has set His servants and witnesses be maintained; nay, that even the most affectionate and jealous desire of the saint, though it be valued by the Lord and get its personal reward or acceptance, can never reconcile the mind of the Lord to an abandonment of His thoughts and purposes.
All would be confusion. David’s thoughts, however innocent and in some sense to be approved of God, would have confused everything, bringing about this strange result – the Lord taking His throne in an uncleansed kingdom and allowing His servant to give Him rest before He had given His servant rest!
What confusion this would have been! What an evil testimony these mixed principles would have produced! Who could have read in the result, had it been allowed, either the grace or the glory of the God of Israel?
The rebuke of Peter at Antioch was more peremptory; for Peter erred, not like David, through ignorance, but through the occasional fear of man, which, as we are taught and as we experience, “bringeth a snare”; and it was something worse than confusion, it was perversion – in Deuteronomy 20:19-20 we have an ordinance against perversion, or turning things to a wrong use.
But still, even if it amount only to confusion, and that by the hand of the dearest and most loved servant, it is not to be allowed, as this case of David shews; as also in his other act of bearing the ark from Kirjath-jearim.
The confusion there was not made excusable by all the true-heartedness and religious joy that attended it, 1 Chronicles 13: it could not be. Place by subjection was not to be given to it for an hour, and, however acceptable with God the motion of David’s heart was, these ways must be withstood, because the way, and purpose, and counsel, and thoughts of the Lord are precious in His sight and are to stand for ever.
It is not that David and Peter were men of mixed principles, as the word is, or were wearing, as the ordinance speaks, garments of woollen and linen, but these instances in their history illustrate a serious truth, which is much to be remembered, that the Lord will vindicate His own principles in the face of even His dearest servants, that He will and He must withstand the motions of their hearts if they go to obscure or disturb His purpose and His testimony, even though such motions have much of a personal, moral character in them which He can accept and delight in.
But, beside these cases of David and of Peter, and of the disciples in Luke 9, who, in mistaken, misapplied zeal for the Lord whom they loved, would have avenged His wrongs with a true and righteous affection, there is a generation who are seen apart from the way of God through double-mindedness.
Such a generation may be tracked all through Scripture, a people of mixed principles, as we say, who wear garments of woollen and linen contrary to the call of God and the pure ordinances of His house. It may be humbling to oneself more than to most others to look at such a generation, but it has its profit for the soul and its seasonableness in this hour.