Tears In a Bottle
"...put thou my tears into thy bottle: are they not in thy book?"
A MESSAGE CONCERNING THE TEARS OF...
Putting tears into a container was actually a custom followed by many in years gone by. History records that this practice was used more in Asia; however, it was practiced among the He- brews. The containers were made of various types of materials— some were of glass, some of day, others of sheep’s skin; the size and shape of course varied.
At various gatherings, when grief was at its height, one would go around to each in the company and with a piece of cotton or SImilar substance collect very carefully the fatling tears from the face of his friends, squeeze them into a bottle, then keep them with great care. THIS WAS A MEMORIAL OF THE GRIEF. David is exdaiming that his sorrow is great and that he will need a wine skin to contain his tears. He is very confident that the Lord is going to keep all of his grief in remembrance. Notice that it is not only just a bottle, but it is the LORD’S BOTTLE. This, the Lord’s bottle, is a book of remembrance, as Malachi puts it, "And a book of remembrance was written before him."
In other words, "Let my distress and the tears I shed in consequerce of it be ever before thee, 0 Lord."
To man, a tear is a tear—there is no difference! Just as to the naked eye there is no difference between two drops of water, or two small particles of anything, yet, when placed under a microscope, there IS the detection of a great difference—it is the same with this spiritual truth: under God’s powerful searchlight there are various types of tears. This is seen in the following examples from God’s Word where those of tile Bible wept. and the circuntstances for their weeping, and the kind of tears they sited!
May I inject this word, however; there is no disgrace in weep. ing! Tears are naturally produced over various emotional states that we undergo; and was it not our Master, even Jesus, who wept?
But, back to our text: "Put thou my tears into thy bottle: are they not in thy book?" The Scripture carries with it an expressive metaphor. As one traveled throughout the country. lie would carry precious water or milk, or perhaps wine, in bottles made of leather which to him were most precious. Even so. David is convinced that every precious tear that he has shed is kept in remembrance by God—that every tear is treasured by his Lord. I am persuaded that God is fully aware of EVERY tear that His cbildren shed, both inwardly and outwardly. Of the many types of tears that we have shed, in particular has He recorded the many
Tears of Dedication
shed by His servants from the. beginning of time in service for 1-Jim. Notice, if you will, the great missionary-evangelist Paul, who, as recorded in Acts 20:19, was one "Serving the Lord with all humility of mind, AND WITH MANY TEARS and temptations whihc befell me by the lying in wait of the Jews."
Paul was dedicated to the working of the Holy Spirit in their lives as lie carried the Gospel to many1 far and wide. Because he was dedicated to his work in serving the Lord, oftentimes be wept, "serving with many tears."
When one is serving the Lord, many disappointments come his way—and no doubt because of this, his servants weep- This comes about when others do not share the concern that one should feel who is a Christian.
On the other side of this picture, there have been shed tears of dedication in another aspect. Mary cried when she anointed the feet of Jesus "and stood at his feet behind him weeping, and began to wash his feet WITH TEARS, and did wipe them with the hairs of her head, and kissed his feet, and anointed them with the ointment" (Luke 7:38).
Mary was happy_rejoicing in the Lord. Mary was dedicated to her Master. Also along this line of dedication of which we to her Master. Also along this line of dedication of with we speak, Hannah the mother of Samuel wept over her son when lie was being cledicateti in the Temple with the priest Eli. Tears of being dedicated to one’s work, as Paul was, or tliers whom we have mentioned, have also been shed by many Christians in our present age. Could it be said of you someday by God’s recording angel that you were known to have wept Over your dedication and determination to tell the story that will never grow old?
But to pass on, we find that there are also the
Tears of Denial
When the word DENIAL is uttered in a religious connotation, the man Peter is immediately brought to mind. But I wonder how many recall what Peter did AFTER his denial? Record ed in God’s book of remembrance and kept in his tear bottle are the tears of Peter. Yes, Peter WEPT! He wept tears of his denial. In Matthew’s writings (26:75) is found: "and Peter remembered the words of Jesus, which said unto him, Before the cock crow, thou shalt deny me thrice. He went out and WEPT BITTERLY.’
Certainly this would motivate one to weep. Have you ever been in a crowd where your church was underrated, or perhaps tIle subject of religion came up and you did not speak aloud your convictions? in a sense, you denied Christ. When the day drew to a close and it came time for reflection, did it not cause you to feel sorry for your unconcern and for denying to a degree your Master?
Are we not all guilty of denying our Lord at times? Many are guilty of denying Christ in doctrine, in their practice of living. Denying is a characteristic of false teachers, and not only is it the spirit of the antichrist, but Christ himself someday will (10 some denying. The Scripture reads: "it we deny him, he also will deny us" J Timothy 2:12), Again from the Gospel of Matthew (10:33): "But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my father which is in Heaven." This is it that leads to destruction.
To answer the question hurled at us, are we guilty of denying Christ? The answer is found in several questions. Do we always speak up for Christ in our actions; are we a Christian the whole week through or only on Sunday; is our profession consistent with our confession; do we practice as best we can the principles of the New Testament completely, or is there inconsistency in our lives? If we are guilty (and are we not all?) may God help us to lament over what we have done. May we weep tears of denial.
Still, of all the tears that one could weep, the most common perhaps for material-minded people, and spirttual-minded people as well, would be the
TEARS OF DISAPPOINTMENT
We turn to Genesis and recall the story of Esau. Notice the words: "And Esau said unto his father, hast thou but one blessing, my father? Bless me, even me also, 0 my father. And Esau lifted up his voice AND WEPT."
He wept because his brother Jacob had deceived his father by putting the skin of the goat upon his hands and upon the back of his neck and telling his father that he was Esau. Consequently, his father, after eating venison, blessed Jacob and pronounced his blessing upon him thinking that be was pronounc ing his blessing on Esau.
This caused Esau to weep bitterly, when he found that his father had already pronounced his blessing on his brother. Let us establish that: (I) he wept bitterly because he had lost his rightful claim as the first-born, as the material blessing would pass to Jacob. I repeat, this is perhaps the most common reason for all tears shed, mainly because we are so materially minded in our present day that it hurts us to lose material things — thus causing disappointment; (2) There are the tears of disappointment over our shattered dreams. Who has not dreamed dreams of the future? Who has not made "big" plans for the days to come? God must be deeply concerned over His Creation and, speaking figuratively, weep over our being disappointed when we so often fail Him, the One who never fails. We would all have to admit that we have shed tears of disappointment! So we would cry as did the Psalmist, "put thou my tears into thy bottle: are they not in thy book?" The answer to reassure us comes that God knows our every tear shed over disappointing in life. Notice the words "unto thy bottle." Whose bottle is it? It is the weeping urn of God. He ‘is fully aware of our tears, and it is He who says, "Be not afraid, for lo, I am with thee." It is He who says, "Comfort ye," for "all things work together for good to them that love the Lord."
Yes, tears of disappointment but there are also the
Tears of Distress
which could no doubt be termed more correctly the tears of our suffering. However, suffering will bring distress in many incidents.
Was it Job who encountered this in a real sense? Listen to his testimony as recorded in Job 16:16 "For my face is foul WITH WEEPING." Job had to weep, for he was suffering. Yet even in his distress lie maintained his innocence. I see him now—-sitting in his misery, with his three friends trying to get him to turn from his God. . .yet he stands firm! He has a faith in his God, and even in his suffering and great distress he can smile and praise the Lord, even with the tears flowing down his cheeks!
There is no doubt that God has recordeJ your tears of distress. May I proclaim to you that EVERY tear of this nature that you have shed—pro(luced through sufferings_IS TREASURED BY GOD!
Suffering can be seen over a parent who is disturbed over a lost One in the home. Tears of distress are shed upon going LO bed at nighL To press this further, oftentimes we weep in distress of tomorrow, and even when we do so, even though it can and sometimes does show our lack of faith, these tears are kept by God, kept in His book of remembrance!
From Job of old down to the present time, people have been persecutetj, even killed, for taking a stand for Christ, but again — God is remembering all of these instances, and there will come that time when we will receive our reward and hear Him say, "Well-done."
Closely associated with tears of distress, yet in a different relationship, come the
Tears of Death
that we shed over the loss of a loved one.
Notice tears that have been shed over a son on the part of a (lad and on the part of a mother. We turn to a king and read about King David, as recorded in 2 Samuel 18:33; "And the king was much moved, and went up to the chamber over the gate, and WEPT: and as he went thus he said, 0 my son Absalom, would to God I had died for thee."
David was expressing his sorrow over the death of his son. One will recall that word had just come to David that Absalom had been killed. Absalom was riding through a forest and his hair had become caught in the limbs of a tree. He was left suspended as his horse continued. When his enemies came and found him in his defenseless position, they thrust three darts into his heart, thus ending his life. The story concludes with a beautiful picture of a dad weeping over the death of his son: "Put thou my tears into THY bottle."
Mothers have shed tears over members of the family who have "answered the trumpet’s call." It was Mary, the mother of Jesus. that we read about in John’s Gospel (20:11): "But Mary stood with out at the sepulchre WEEPING: and as she wept, she stooped down, and looked into the sepulchre." This portrays the love of a mother for her son.
This word to you mothers who have lost sons and daughters: WEEP AS DID MARY—BUT for only a moment, for your tears will be turned into gladness when the thought of the resurrection is considered for those dying in Christ. As Jesus Himself arose from the dead, so also WILL your sons and daughters be resurrected. There will come that time when "The Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God, and the dead in Christ shall rise first."
Tears of death—tears, all of which have been collected by the Lord. EVERY tear is in the remembrance of God, according to His blessed Word.
From the SATURDAY EVENING POST came this story years ago about a heartbroken clown. The clown was telling how during the summertime lie had to be away from his home and his lovely wife and son. One year the show opened early, and it was still cold. As lie put it, "We were playing in a small Wisconsin town. It was a one-night stand and the tent was full. I had an unusually funny act, and brand new. In it I carried a baby around in my arms. I was supposed to be taking it away from the nurse. After I had been on for a uutile while, I was told that I was wanted in the pad-room.
When I got there someone gave me a telewam from my wife which read: FRANK IS DYING! That was my boy. He was in New York; I was hundreds of miles away and I could not get to him. Outside in the big tent the band was playing, whips were cracking in the rings, people were laughing and shouting—the whole circus fun was on. There I stood in my clown’s garb, with the tears streaming down my white makeup. I heard a-voice say merrily. ‘Come, Jules, we are waiting for you.’ I had to go out into that crowded arena with a breaking heart—tears flowing down my face."
Yes, the world IS a place of tears. But I proclaim to you, thus saith the Lord: THERE WILL BE NO TEARS IN HEAVEN! Listen to the words in the writing of Revelation 21:4: "And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes: and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away." Praise the Lord for this! Heaven, the place where perfection is—above all, where Christ is! We have noticed the tears of Dedication; the tears of Denial; the tears of Disappointment; the tears of Distress and the tears of Death, but now flow the prettiest of all, the
Tears of Divine Sympathy
These are the most precious tears, for they (as the others also) come from the eyes of our Lord and Saviour. And "when he was come near, lie beheld the city, and WEPT over it" (Luke 19:41). He wept because of the sin. This showed the divine sympathy of His nature. Because of the sinful condition of Jerusalem, John records, "Jesus wept."
How many tears have we shed over a lost individual? How many times have we been concerned enough to cry, at least in our heart? It is an unusual thing about human nature—after we weep for someone to be saved, we also weep when lie walks the aisle. Why? Simply because of the joy in our hearts. We will not classify these in a separate section as such; however, there are "tears of delightfulness."
The greatest joy that can come to a Christian is the helping in someone’s conversion. Psalm 126:5 declares that "They that sow in TEARS shall reap in joy. He that goeth forth and weepeth, bearing precious seed, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing bringing his sheaves with him."
It truly is a time of rejoicing when someone is born into the Kingdom of God by accepting Christ as his personal Saviour, and giving his heart and life to him. This can only come when there first have been shed the tears of divine sympathy on the part of our Master and our tears of the spiritual death.
Yes, Jesus was piuch concerned—concerned enough to give His life for you and me. In His suffering during the trial and his spiritual suffering in the Garden of Gethsemane and on the cross, there were tears being shed within the heart of our Lord. The author of Hebrews writes, "Who in the days of his flesh, when he had offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying AND TEARS unto him that was able to save him from death, and was heard in that he feared; Though he were a son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered" (5: 7-8).
may it be said in a most direct and emphatic manner that God collects and treasures tears as though they were precious water in a desert. At this very moment He weeps for you to give yourself to His salvation. He cries, saying, "Come unto me, all ye that are weary, and I’ll give you rest." Paul said, "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved."
For you to be saved, you too have to weep! You must be geniiinely and eternally sorry for your sins. You have to renounce your sins and your former ways. You have to say "no" to the ways of die world, and say "yes" to the way of the Cross. When you do, your darkness will be turned to light—the light of the world, which Jesus said He was.
It stands to reason that when one comes to the crossroad in his life in wanting both God’s salvation and also the desire to Jive a more victorious life, weeping, if not physically then certainly within the heart, must take place. There is that "tug in your heart" and that "te in your eye" for the way the past has been conducted. With renewed dedication of heart and mind, cry as is recorded in Mark 9:24: "and said with tears, Lord, 1 believe, help thou my unbelief." Help me to believe that I can have that joyful life with Thee.
In doing so, the Lord will provide the bottle for your tears of repentance and record them with your decision in His book of remembrance!
Oh Lord, "PUT THOU MY TEARS INTO THY BOTTLE" —the act of your remembrance!
Look up another Note