The Olive, Without Crushing, Yields No Oil
Words: Watchman Nee, tr. from Chinese
Music: William H. Monk
This week’s hymn is a very precious and sober hymn by Watchman Nee, translated from the Chinese. I hope that we all can appreciate this deep hymn that will bring us into a deeper life with Christ. The opening thought of the song is simple: to get olive oil, wine, and fragrant herbs, one needs to put these things through a process, namely crushing, to achieve the end product. Similarly for us, we too need to go through a process if we are to become a disciple of Jesus that pleases Him and can be useful to Him in His service of bringing His life to others.
As we see in this song, this process is not necessarily pleasant, and there can be many honest questions and prayers that we will bring to the Lord. We may not enjoy all the experiences that we go through, actually many of them are quite unpleasant and painful, but the ultimate goal is for us to gain more Christ amd become more like Him. Because we love Jesus and will do anything to please Him; because we are happy and content to have Christ and only Him; because we seek to have a simple life that pleases Him, we may accept all from Him, as He designs to strip us of everything else that He may replace it with Himself. When we are full of so many other ‘things’, we have no room for Christ in our lives; the Lord desires to empty and remove all those other things so that we can have more room for Christ to fill us.
I hope and pray that we all can have such a sober realization of how the Lord often wants to work in us and with us. Especially in this strange season where so many things have been taken away, I hope we may see that the Lord is endeavoring to show us more of Himself and give us more of Himself: so may we yield to Him and allow Him to work as He pleases. May we be those who, like Paul, can count all things as loss, that we may gain Christ (Phil. 3:8) more and more.
The olive, without crushing, yields no oil;
The precious herb, unbruised, no fragrance frees;
No wine from grapes, without the winepress toil.
Must I be bruised and pressed, Lord, such as these?
Lord, Thy afflictions are true gain to me.
What Thou removest, Lord, replace with Thee!
For sacred love to find the melody,
Must my heart’s strings be stretched and tuned by Thee?
Must I be smitten, Lord, Thy love to see?
I fear no loss, if Thou draw close to me.
Oh, how ashamed I feel for holding back!
You sculpted me, yet I myself retain.
According to Thy pleasure, dear Lord, act;
Mind not my feelings. Thy delight is gain.
Lord, should my joy and pain not match Thine own,
I’ll welcome, bear Thy yoke at any cost.
I’ll take the suff’rings for Thy joy alone;
If You are pleased, I’ll gladly bear Thy cross!
I want to praise Thee with the sweetest praise.
On earth there is none fairer, Lord, than Thee.
Tears cloud my eyes, yet sweetness fills my heart.
May I decrease. May Thou increase in me!
Blessed Be Your Name
This is a simple song that has touched my heart, especially in recent times. No matter what is happening in our lives, no matter where we are, whether we like it or not, we don’t have to question the Lord’s worthiness. He is always worthy of our praise. When we have plenty, we can bless the name of the Lord. When we walk through the desert, we can still bless His name. The bridge of this song comes from the book of Job, in which a man passes through intense suffering and can still bless the name of the Lord. Job 1:21 says, “…the Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.” I have been learning that as the Lord gives us blessings and sometimes takes them away, we can place our hope not on those earthly blessings but on the Lord Himself. He is the true blessing in our lives. Today, right here, right now, we can bless His glorious name!
— Shulamite Konopinski
Blessed be Your name in the land that is plentiful,
Where Your streams of abundance flow,
Blessed be Your name;
Blessed be Your name when I’m found in the desert place,
Though I walk through the wilderness,
Blessed be Your name.
Every blessing You pour out I’ll turn back to praise,
When the darkness closes in, Lord, still I will say…
Blessed be the name of the Lord,
Blessed be Your name; (Jesus!)
Blessed be the name of the Lord,
Blessed be Your glorious name!
Blessed be Your name when the sun’s shining down on me,
When the world’s all as it should be,
Blessed be Your name;
Blessed be Your name on the road marked with suffering,
Though there’s pain in the offering,
Blessed be Your name.
You give and take away,
You give and take away;
My heart will choose to say,
“Lord, blessed be Your name!”
Man of Sorrows
(For the Lord’s Table Meeting)
Man of sorrows, Lamb of God
By His own betrayed
The sin of man and wrath of God
Has been on Jesus laid
Silent as He stood accused
Beaten, mocked, and scorned
Bowing to the Father’s will
He took a crown of thorns
Oh that rugged cross my salvation
Where Your love poured out over me
Now my soul cries out hallelujah
Praise and honor unto Thee
Sent of heaven, God’s own Son
To purchase and redeem
And reconcile the very ones
Who nailed Him to that tree
Now my debt is paid
It is paid in full
By the precious blood
That my Jesus spilled
Now the curse of sin
Has no hold on me
Whom the Son sets free
Oh is free indeed
See the stone is rolled away
Behold the empty tomb
Hallelujah, God be praised
He’s risen from the grave
The Twelve Sons of Jacob
“Jacob’s Blessing on God’s People”
Message given by Rex Beck for May 17, 2020
49 Then Jacob called his sons and said, “Gather yourselves together, that I may tell you what shall happen to you in days to come.
2 “Assemble and listen, O sons of Jacob,
listen to Israel your father.
3 “Reuben, you are my firstborn,
my might, and the firstfruits of my strength,
preeminent in dignity and preeminent in power.
4 Unstable as water, you shall not have preeminence,
because you went up to your father’s bed;
then you defiled it—he went up to my couch!
5 “Simeon and Levi are brothers;
weapons of violence are their swords.
6 Let my soul come not into their council;
O my glory, be not joined to their company.
For in their anger they killed men,
and in their willfulness they hamstrung oxen.
7 Cursed be their anger, for it is fierce,
and their wrath, for it is cruel!
I will divide them in Jacob
and scatter them in Israel.
8 “Judah, your brothers shall praise you;
your hand shall be on the neck of your enemies;
your father’s sons shall bow down before you.
9 Judah is a lion’s cub;
from the prey, my son, you have gone up.
He stooped down; he crouched as a lion
and as a lioness; who dares rouse him?
10 The scepter shall not depart from Judah,
nor the ruler’s staff from between his feet,
until tribute comes to him;
and to him shall be the obedience of the peoples.
11 Binding his foal to the vine
and his donkey’s colt to the choice vine,
he has washed his garments in wine
and his vesture in the blood of grapes.
12 His eyes are darker than wine,
and his teeth whiter than milk.
13 “Zebulun shall dwell at the shore of the sea;
he shall become a haven for ships,
and his border shall be at Sidon.
14 “Issachar is a strong donkey,
crouching between the sheepfolds.
15 He saw that a resting place was good,
and that the land was pleasant,
so he bowed his shoulder to bear,
and became a servant at forced labor.
16 “Dan shall judge his people
as one of the tribes of Israel.
17 Dan shall be a serpent in the way,
a viper by the path,
that bites the horse’s heels
so that his rider falls backward.
18 I wait for your salvation, O Lord.
19 “Raiders shall raid Gad,
but he shall raid at their heels.
20 “Asher’s food shall be rich,
and he shall yield royal delicacies.
21 “Naphtali is a doe let loose
that bears beautiful fawns.
22 “Joseph is a fruitful bough,
a fruitful bough by a spring;
his branches run over the wall.
23 The archers bitterly attacked him,
shot at him, and harassed him severely,
24 yet his bow remained unmoved;
his arms were made agile
by the hands of the Mighty One of Jacob
(from there is the Shepherd, the Stone of Israel),
25 by the God of your father who will help you,
by the Almighty who will bless you
with blessings of heaven above,
blessings of the deep that crouches beneath,
blessings of the breasts and of the womb.
26 The blessings of your father
are mighty beyond the blessings of my parents,
up to the bounties of the everlasting hills.
May they be on the head of Joseph,
and on the brow of him who was set apart from his brothers.
27 “Benjamin is a ravenous wolf,
in the morning devouring the prey
and at evening dividing the spoil.”
28 All these are the twelve tribes of Israel. This is what their father said to them as he blessed them, blessing each with the blessing suitable to him.