Matthew 23:37 O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not!
The Scripture implies that for many centuries God had reached out to his people, that God would have gathered them as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings. This Scripture shows us very plainly that the ruin of men lies within themselves.
Jesus puts it very plainly: "I would but you would not!"
God's will doesn't just happen in the earth.
Israel could have had a much different life; a much different history than the one they had. God's will for Israel is set down in Scripture. His will was that they:
* Be the head and not the tail
* Be above and not beneath
* Be the lender and not the borrower
* Would be blessed coming in and going out.
But stubborness and disobedience kept them falling into captivity. It held them away from God's plan because they refused His instruction.
2 Peter 3:9 The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.
If a person leaves this world lost, it is not because Jesus wouldn't save, but because that person wouldn't repent.
It is the will of God that saves. It is the will of man that damns.
"I would but you would not", the Lord calls. You might say, "Preacher, this was a call to Jerusalem."
But I can tell you that in Matthew 11:28, Jesus gave an invitation to all when He said, Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. And I want to tell you today that this call goes out, not only to the lost, but to His children.
Saints, many times our Lord is calling out to us just as He called out to Jerusalem to turn to Him, to trust in Him, to find our hope in Him, to find out protection in Him, but we keep turning to and trusting in other sources.
To those who come to Him He gathers them as a hen gathers her chicks. If you have ever been around a mother hen you know how protective she can be.
I read a story once about a prairie fire that had caught and burned off many acres of grass. It just got the wind behind and went so fast not much could escape. These 2 men were walking through looking at the damage after the fire had passed by. This man saw a charred clump of something. He took his foot and turned it over and little prairie chickens ran off. The charred clump was the mother hen. She could have flown away, but she covered her chicks.
That's how the Lord has covered you and I and all those that will come to Him when He calls. Jesus could have called 10,000 angels but He didn't.
Now if you have been around a mother hen, you also know that sometimes there are chicks that just don't respond when she calls. She calls but the wayward chicks are distracted by something else. Often she tries to round them up and gather them in. They sometimes lag behind too far and fall prey to the predators.
Friends, fear, worry, jealousy, and self-pity are predators that will destroy your life physically and spiritually. Unforgiveness is another predator that wants to catch hold of your life. Jesus is the safe place from all these things. He will heal your heart and cleanse you of these things, if you are willing.
Brothers and sisters, we forfeit much comfort and safety simply because we won't: simply because we are stubborn. We won't humble ourselves and just get under His wings. We walk around full of fear, worry, and care, stressed to the breaking point and all the time God's Word declares that, according to I Peter 5:7, we could be casting every care upon Him for He cares for us.
I can tell you there have been many times in my own life when He would have, but I wouldn't.
"I would, but you would not", Jesus cries out over Jerusalem. We have a look here into the heart and mercy of Jesus. He is willing to carry our burdens for us. He is willing to save us to the uttermost, but it is our will that gets in the way.
The Word tells us in Philippians 4:6-7, Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. Php 4:7 And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
In difficult circumstances God says that we can come to Him and we don't have to be restless and worried. He would give us peace if we would give Him the circumstance, but many times we would not.
Look at Matthew 6:25-34.
Matthew 6:25 Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment?
Mt 6:26 Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they?
Mt 6:27 Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature?
Mt 6:28 And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin:
Mt 6:29 And yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.
Mt 6:30 Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to day is, and to morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith?
Mt 6:31 Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed?
Mt 6:32 (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things.
Mt 6:33 But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.
Mt 6:34 Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.
Another promise that if we would, He would.
There is a Scripture in Isaiah 66:13 that says: As one whom his mother comforteth, so will I comfort you. God offers to comfort us as a mother comforts.
I remember lying in the ER after the motorcycle wreck I had when I was a teenager. I was an ugly looking mess. My throat was cut, my head was opened from the forehead to the crown, my head was swelled about the size of a basketball, most of the skin on my face was scratched and scraped, and I was covered with blood and dirt. They brought my mom in to see me. It's hard to believe but she smiled at me and kissed me and said, "It's going to be alright. The Lord will take us through this." You see, no matter how much I was messed up, I wasn't ugly in her eyes. I was still her boy, still her child.
That's the way we are in God's eyes. Now matter how messed up we are, He still loves us. Jesus died for us while we were yet sinners.
I would, but you would not.
Jesus is willing to make us whole, to comfort us, to protect us, to provide for us, if we are willing to do what He asks; if we are willing to do things His way.
God would like to bless some people's finances, but they won't tithe, give, or sow. And Malachi 3:8-9 says they are cursed.
Malachi 3:8 Will a man rob God? Yet ye have robbed me. But ye say, Wherein have we robbed thee? In tithes and offerings.
Mal 3:9 Ye are cursed with a curse: for ye have robbed me, even this whole nation.
God would like to heal some people, but they have become casual believers who have set practical boundaries on God's Word.
Naaman dipped 7 times in Jordan and his leprosy was healed. How many today would obey?
God would like to heal some people's hurts and broken hearts, but they won't let go of unforgiveness.
God would like to move in some people's circumstances, but they won't surrender control to Him.
God would like to use some people in some churches, but they won't pray, they won't read His Word, and they won't be faithful.
God would like to save all people, but they won't repent: Many because they think they are alright.
You don't have to be defeated or fearful.
You don't have to be cast down and filled with worry and care.
You don't have to be hurt, sad, and bitter.
You don't have to be prey for the devil.
God is willing to take you under His wings and comfort you with a mother's comfort.
What about you? Are you willing to surrender to Him today?