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Footsteps of the Flock (Part 2)

Author, expositor, preacher and missionary John Matthias Davies (1895-1990), whose collected writings span nearly 1,500 pages, was mightily used of God to bring blessing to those who heard him and those who still read his works. His exceptional gift for effective and powerful exposition of the Word of God was never more clearly seen than in his “Footsteps of the Flock” book, chapter 2 of which is reproduced below. 

Footsteps of the Flock

Part 2

SEPARATION IN CREATION from Genesis 1:3-31

In these verses we have recorded the six days work of making the earth a fit scene for man’s habitation. “God created the earth not in vain, He created it to be inhabited” (Isa 45:18).

A cursory reading of the chapter will reveal that the principle of separation is brought into effect in one way or another in each of the six days. This is expressed by the word “divided” and by the phrase “after their kind,” which involves the thought of separation. For the sake of clearness it may be well to tabulate them. The word “divided” used five times in the chapter is the word for “separated”.

Day 1 – Light separated from the darkness.
Day 2 – The waters which were under the firmament separated from the waters which were above the firmament.
Day 3 – Dry land separated from the seas. Herbs and trees classified according to their kind
Day 4 – Day separated from night.
Day 5 – Fish classified after their kind. Winged fowl after their kind.
Day 6 – Beasts classified according to their kind, cattle classified according to their kind and creeping things classified according to their kind.

And God saw that it was good. The law of separation enacted out in life is a pleasant sight to the eyes of our God. It is well to note that the basis of this law of separation so clearly and indelibly inscribed on all of God’s handiwork in Creation is the essential difference in kind between the things separated. An attempt at mixing light and darkness would bring about a twilight, when things cannot be seen clearly or in their true perspective. Things will appear hazy. And if we are going to be able to distinguish between the things that differ, we shall need to walk in the light.

To bring down the waters above the firmament “consisting of the enormous supply of vapour which fills the clouds,” (W. Kelly) (Prov 8:28) to the level of the waters below the firmament would result in a mist or fog. And who desires misty or foggy weather, yet how many misty and foggy spiritual experiences there are because of the lack of separation.

To mix earth and water creates mud and swamps, the breeding places of pestilential diseases, and insects. The same applies in the spiritual world. How many unhealthy spiritual lives there are today owing to the doing away with the separation from the world which the Word enjoins so clearly. Many are the false doctrines abroad today which have been begotten and bred in the marshy and swampy experience of an unseparated heart and mind. Immediately following the separation of the dry land from the waters, we read of the earth bringing forth grass, the herb yielding seed, and of the fruit trees yielding fruit. And God saw that it was good, for a separated life precedes a fruitful life.

The day was to be governed by the “greater light”. The sun was to have dominion over the day. This is the first use of the word “rule” in the Scriptures and its last use in the Old Testament is in Zech 6:13, where reference is made to Christ sitting and ruling upon His throne. So the believer, who is of the day and not of the night, should be controlled and governed by Him who is the Sun of Righteousness, the Man upon the throne. Christians should be governed by principles that stand the unsullied light of His sanctuary. The rays of that light should be allowed to penetrate every department of his life.

Inanimate creation was divided according to the character of the fruit produced. “By their fruit ye shall know them.” “Can a fig tree bear olive berries?” (Jas 3:12). Profession is to be tested by fruit.

In the animal creation the separation was based upon the difference in kind. The origin of species is found in the fact that God created them differently. This difference of kind is the direct result of the fiat of the Almighty, and not the result of any process of evolution. Animal creation left to itself obeys this law instinctively. Sin has corrupted man’s heart so that he would feign break down every wall of separation that God has erected (Deut 27:21).

CLEAN FROM UNCLEAN

Besides the separation based upon difference in kind as recorded in Genesis Ch 1, we have a further separation between clean and unclean in Leviticus Ch 11. The animals, fishes, fowl and creeping things are there grouped into two distinct classes. The separation is based upon the difference of nature.

It is interesting to note that amongst the animals the two things characterising the clean were the divided or cloven feet and the chewing of the cud. These two would represent to us the two-fold characteristic of the child of God; the separated walk or foot-print, and meditating on the word of God. The camel chews the cud but does not divide the hoof, hence it is unclean. As the camel has capacity for storing water so there are many who seem to have a capacity for storing up the word of God in the mind, but whose walk is not separated…they are unclean. The swine divides the hoof, but does not chew the cud – hence it is unclean also. The impress of the swine’s foot is very much like that of a sheep, but the animal chews not the cud. And there are many who may outwardly in their walk be religious and moral, yet who do not delight in the law of the Lord. The true believer is the one who has a heart for the Word and whose walk is separate from evil.

Unclean animals could not be sacrificed on Jehovah’s altar, and they were unfit food for His people. Similarly unclean lives are unfit for God and unclean fellowship is forbidden diet for His people. “Touch not the unclean thing.” In every page of nature’s book, God has indelibly engraved this inflexible law of separation that he who runneth may read as he runs. God’s handwriting is not like the characters upon the Cuneiform monuments that need a scientist to decipher them. There is no speech nor language where their voice is not heard. It is only the wilfully blind that cannot read and understand.