Thou God Seest Me
‘Once again I will shake not only the earth but the heavens also.’ This means that all of creation will be shaken and removed, so that only unshakable things will remain. (Hebrews 12:26–7)
God will shake the things that can be shaken, so that the things that are unshakeable may remain.
For many people in the country it has seemed that foundations have shaken. What was known before and relied upon is changed, and there is no certainty of the way ahead or of the future. Similarly for us as Christians, there has been change and shaking of much that seemed very stable, and we’re caused to discover more and more the things that cannot be shaken. In the words sung by Andrew and Rhian immediately before this word was first given in the Greenock church: ‘You have been faithful … You have been so, so good.’ And that is of course what we know cannot be shaken. It’s just God Himself.
I come back to a story in Genesis that I love: the story of Sarah’s slave-woman Hagar. Abraham has taken Hagar to be his concubine, that he might have a child. He won’t be the child of promise, but Sarah and Abraham have tried to take matters into their own hands. Hagar begins to mock Sarah when she knows she is going to have a child, and Sarah is so cruel to her that she runs away.
The angel of the Lord found Hagar beside a spring of water in the wilderness, along the road to Shur. The angel said to her, ‘Hagar, Sarai’s servant, where have you come from, and where are you going?’ ‘I’m running away from my mistress, Sarai,’ she replied. The angel of the Lord said to her, ‘Return to your mistress, and submit to her authority.’ Then he added, ‘I will give you more descendants than you can count.’ And the angel also said: ‘You are now pregnant, and will give birth to a son. You are to name him Ishmael (which means “God hears”) for the Lord has heard your cry of distress. This son of yours will be a wild man, as untamed as a wild donkey! He will raise his fist against everyone, and everyone will be against him …’ Thereafter, Hagar used another name to refer to the Lord, who had spoken to her. She said, ‘You are the God who sees me.’ She also said, ‘Have I truly seen the One who sees me?’ So that well was named Beer-lahai-roi (which means ‘well of the Living One who sees me’) … So Hagar gave Abram a son, and Abram named him Ishmael.
Assuming that she must have told Abraham just what had happened, I wonder how Abraham felt when he heard how God had spoken to Hagar, and if he felt bad that he had let Sarah be so cruel to her.
Hagar wasn’t perfect, and therein lies comfort for us. She was partly responsible for her troubles, but not wholly. The main responsibility lies on Sarah. But Hagar had been very unwise; she had been very cruel to mock at Sarah her mistress because Sarah couldn’t have a son and she herself was going to have a child. But she is now in a desperate plight. She is a slave, she’s a victim, she had no say in the matter; she was just dictated to. And now, having run away because she had been so cruelly treated, she’s alone and doesn’t know what to do. She finds a spring of water in the wilderness; and there we have this lovely incident where the Angel of the Presence, whom we believe to be Christ Himself, sees and speaks to her.
He says: ‘Where are you going?’ In other words: ‘Hagar, what are you doing?’ Hagar explains, and the Angel says to her: ‘Return; submit,’ and He speaks to her of the son she is going to have. She is beside a well of water, so she’s not going to die of thirst there in the wilderness. She’s able to get back to Abraham and Sarah. But she’s not the same person, for she has met with God.
I think we can identify to some extent with Hagar, in her loneliness, her need, and her imperfection. God finds her, and speaks to her. He lets her know that He has heard her cry, and that is what she has to call her son: ‘the Lord who hears’. He had heard her the instant she cried. And she now knows God by this name that means ‘the well of the Living One who sees me’. In her need God found her, God sees her. Is that not all we need? Just the assurance: ‘O God, You see me.’
Sometimes if we can’t physically run away from our circumstances we try inside ourselves to escape from it all, but we can’t. It may be something like a thorn that is continually piercing and bringing a cruelty into the deeps of our spirit, a cruelty of life, and we can’t escape … until in a moment we wait by the well of living water, and we know where that well is, even God. We wait – but glorious moment, when suddenly out of the silence He speaks. Sometimes He doesn’t even speak, but we just know: ‘O God, You see me. You hear. That’s enough.’
The years pass for Hagar, and she finds herself in a very difficult plight again when her son Ishmael is about seventeen. Isaac the son of Abraham and Sarah has just been weaned, and Ishmael (perhaps a bit like his mother seventeen years earlier) is now mocking Isaac. Sarah is incensed, and tells Abraham: Send her away.’ This time God speaks to Abraham, who is very grieved, and He says: ‘Do it. I will be with him. But send him away.’ And with a heavy heart Abraham does so.
But what was Hagar’s heart like? This time it’s not just Sarah’s cruelty that has made her run away; it’s actually God who has told Abraham: ‘Send her away.’ This time she’s just wandering in the wilderness, and there’s no well of living water. Having put the boy in the shade of a bush, she goes a little distance away and bursts into tears; she doesn’t want to watch the boy die. But God heard the boy crying, and the Angel of God called to Hagar: ‘Hagar, what’s wrong? Don’t be afraid. God has heard the boy crying as he lies there; go to him and comfort him.’ Her plight seemed even worse this time, but sometimes it’s when we’re at our greatest extremity of real need (not imagined need) that God speaks. And on each occasion you notice that He comes looking for her. She’s not a saint; nor has Ishmael been. It’s not like Elijah, such a mighty man of God, when God found him in the wilderness and fed him. Hagar we can identify with more in some ways: so ordinary, but so suffering, so badly treated, and it seems being shut out by God until out of the darkness He speaks, and then He opens her eyes and she sees the well of living water.
Is that not what He does for you and me, when it seems at times there is no water to be found in the wilderness, and there is a peculiar aloneness such as was Hagar’s lot. Who could help her? The ones responsible for her had sent her away. But wandering there she was seen and found of her God, given the well of living water, and cared for. Does He not do as much for you or me, the least of His children? Does He not see us? Does He not come searching, until He finds us? ‘Even in the darkest valley I will fear no ill: You are right beside me, Lord.’ He was right beside Hagar and found her wandering, to leave her never lonely – that’s why Christ came, to leave us never lonely again, but to cause us to find that which cannot shake. There in the beginning of the Old Testament right to the end of the New Testament is the goodness and the faithfulness of the same God that we worship today, and that we need to find for ourselves, as Hagar did. She said: ‘Now I know, I call Him the Living One who sees me.’
I close with an extract that really speaks of the heart of that which cannot be shaken, and that is the friendship of God:
… to have seen evermore revealed behind the complicated troubles of this strange, mysterious life, the unchanged smile of an eternal Friend, and everything that is difficult to reason solved by that reposing trust which is higher and better than reason: to have known and felt this, I will not say for a life, but for a single blessed hour, that, indeed, is to have made experiment of Christianity. (Wm Archer Butler)
That is to have reached the heart of it, and the heart of God.
To have seen, in this our very present life, the unchanged smile of an eternal Friend, is to experience Christianity. As an old Scots saying has it: It’s better felt than telt. There is no exchange for the actual divine moment of the touch of God, and the lingering of Him by us. And we know: ‘Thou God seest me.’
A Sign in the Heavens
I know that many of us are very focused on Christmas at this time. There are two verses that I want to bring out from the story.
Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea during the reign of King Herod. About that time some wise men from eastern lands arrived in Jerusalem, asking, ‘Where is the newborn king of the Jews? We saw his star as it rose, and we have come to worship him.’ (Matthew 2:1–2)
We know how Herod reacted to this news, and he sent them to Bethlehem.
When they had heard the king, they departed; and, lo, the star, which they saw in the east, went before them, till it came and stood over where the young child was. When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceeding great joy. And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshipped him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto him gifts; gold, and frankincense and myrrh. (vv. 9–11)
For all of us there are probably different parts of the Christmas story that particularly live, and perhaps different verses that encapsulate it for us. For me, it is always something about these two verses: We have seen his star in the east (or: We have seen his star as it rose), and have come to worship him, and then: When they saw his star again, they rejoiced with exceeding joy.
Even in the secular world there is a tremendous focus on Christmas. As one of you texted to me, this from one point of view is a good thing. It is very interesting that so much attention is being given, for it is a Christian festival, although many people who celebrate Christmas are hardly aware of that fact. Also there is a certain joy and happiness that affects even people who don’t understand where it comes from: it really is still the overflow of the joy of that first coming of Christ.
Among many signs that foretold it was the sign of the Star. Very interestingly, this Christmas week sees a crossing of the planets Saturn and Jupiter on 21 December, and if our skies are clear enough we will see what will look like an exceedingly bright star. Astronomers reckon that it happened about 2,000 years ago also; they have been able to work back to when these phenomena would occur. Could it have been something like that that the wise men saw? There were astronomic phenomena in the skies around the time of Christ’s birth, not exactly to where we date it. There was great belief in the pagan world that there was coming a ruler and a king, and they felt that the signs in the heavens such as this were foretelling it. This is documented by Roman historians such as Tacitus and Suetonius, who recorded the belief among many people that there would emerge a ruler of the earth, and he would actually come from Judea. But of course the Roman emperor Augustus was born about this time also, and came to his throne as the first emperor, and many saw in him the fulfilment of this promised messianic figure. Even in 5–2 BC, in the Egyptian month of Mesori, the daystar arose at sunrise with exceeding brilliance. And that word mesori means ‘the birth of a prince’. So we see that even secular history tells us there were phenomena. I don’t myself have any difficulty in believing that God had a star for Christ, not recorded generally but seen by the wise men, and that, as someone has suggested, that star was the Shekineh glory that had been homeless since the Temple had been destroyed and the Ark of the Covenant lost, now finding its home again on earth in the person of Christ, born that night in Bethlehem. But isn’t it a beautiful picture? We have seen his star in the east, and we have come to worship him.
As for the wise men (we assume there were three because there were three gifts, but we don’t know for certain), there certainly were people called Magi, wise men, who did read the stars, and who did interpret dreams. And so it’s not at all an uncommon or unbelievable thing that they should have come at the Saviour’s birth – as the poem says: ‘A cold coming we had of it’ – just at the very worst time of the year. There is something about that, the coming of the Magi, to where Christ was born, coming at a hard time of the year, but coming to worship this one to whom the doors were shut: with no room in the inn, born in a stable (probably a cave), born in a hard world that was full of darkness, full of sin, that part of the world ruled by a very wicked king, Herod, with unbelievable cruelty. Into that world He came, heralded by the angels where music heralded often the birth of a son, and there was no music for Christ but this music of the angels singing; and the wise men come and they find Him in the stable. There in that stable it is hard not to feel the light; there could even have been a physical light coming from Him; but there would certainly be the sense of the light of the presence of God.
But also, in the words of Graham Kendrick’s lovely hymn ‘Thorns in the straw’:
And did she see there
In the straw by his head a thorn?
And did she smell myrrh
In the air on that starry night?
There was a thorn there, wasn’t there? We know that. We know that the sword was piercing Mary’s heart: she would already have suffered even before Christ was born. And we know that the world was dark. But nothing can take away from that light that came with the birth of the Saviour, Jesus, who would save His people from their sins. And even for us – although we know the birth of Christ is to be followed by His death on the cross, there is to me an unalloyed joy at the heart of Christmas, mirrored in the beauty of that shining Star. They rejoiced with exceeding joy when they saw the Star again, because there is the light of God there in Christ: He is that light, and not all the darkness in the world can encroach upon it or upon His joy and what He came to share with us. They brought Him beautiful gifts: the gold fit for a king, or so often associated with deity. They brought Him frankincense associated with the priestly worship, and He is the Priest, the bridge builder. They brought Him myrrh, given for the One about to die. They brought Him treasure, but they found that He was the treasure.
Gifts to the Saviour I’m bringing,
Love’s richest treasure to lay…
But what gift have we to give Him except what He has given us? And we find He is the treasure.
Just as at Bethlehem the darkness can’t take away from the beauty of the light, so we find that not only at the beginning of his life is that the case, but also at the end of His life that is the case. How dark it grew at Calvary as the hordes of hell were summoned to try to extinguish that light of the dying Saviour, who perhaps seemed to be taking the light of the world with Him, as Dorothy Sayers says. But in actual fact, as in Bethlehem that night a kingdom was born in the hearts of those who saw Him and believed on Him, how much more at Calvary, where it seemed that the darkness was winning, was the light being established for ever and the kingdom being born and established in the hearts of men and women, till myriad myriads are now the guardians of that light, and the treasure is lodged deep within our heart. And that is something to truly rejoice and believe in, that the Christ is not now in a manger but He is actually within us, His life, His light inside. And if the enemy still tries to extinguish that light, he cannot touch Christ now. He never could touch that light, although he tried. He tries to do it in you and in me, but that light is stronger than any darkness in any assault and in any suffering. Indeed, the treasure that is Christ that has taken residence within shows all the brighter against the dark background, as the star shines when it is dark.
For some today there could be a cup of grief. There has been much bereavement this year. There has been difficulty of various sorts. If some of you feel cocooned in a place of worship and delight, that’s wonderful. But if you have found the enemy has tried to put a dark wing over your joy, remember: he cannot touch that light that is the Lord Jesus Christ, and He remains ours. The sorrows of Bethlehem never can remove the exceeding joy. So it is also at Calvary: the glory exceeds even the suffering. And because of Calvary, for you and for me our light affliction is but for a moment, and is not to be compared with the exceeding weight of glory. Let us bring our worship to this King.
Behind the Ranges: Mount Zion
This is the last of our series on the theme of looking for the treasures of God ‘behind the ranges’.
Great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised in the city of our God, in the mountain of his holiness. Beautiful for situation, the joy of the whole earth, is mount Zion, on the sides of the north, the city of the great King. God is known in her palaces for a refuge … Let mount Zion rejoice, let the daughters of Judah be glad, because of thy judgments. Walk about Zion, and go round about her: tell the towers thereof. Mark ye well her bulwarks, consider her palaces; that ye may tell it to the generation following. For this God is our God for ever and ever: he will be our guide even unto death. (Psalm 48:1–3, 11–14)
When the theme of the series opened up to me, immediately there flashed into my mind nearly all the mountains of which I have spoken, including this as the last one, and it came as a surprise. I wouldn’t have naturally included it. But the more we think about it, the more wonderful Mount Zion appears to us.
Zion was one of the mountains on which the city of Jerusalem is built, but it became synonymous with the name Jerusalem for the geographical city. Far more than that, it also became the name to describe the New Jerusalem and heaven itself, the City of God. And so the term Zion can refer to both, in both the Old and especially the New Testament. And that is when we begin to identify very much with the thought of Mount Zion. When I was a child we often sang the hymn that includes these words:
The hill of Zion yields
A thousand sacred sweets
Before we reach the heavenly fields,
Or walk the golden streets.
So you can understand the kind of connotations that had for me as a child, where happiness was definitely associated with Zion. When we look at some of the sweets that Mount Zion yields, they are very, very wonderful, far too wonderful to go into all in a short meditation.
But Mount Zion is referred to again and again in the Old Testament, and this verse, found in both Obadiah and Joel, has lived very strongly for me:
Upon Mount Zion shall be deliverance. (Obadiah 1:17; cf. Joel 2:32)
The city of Zion, or Jerusalem, was Israel’s fortress and ultimately their capital, built on the hill and associated with strength and power. We think of God coming down on Mount Sinai, one of our early mountains, imparting the sense of His power, His fire, His might. That is nothing compared with the power and the strength that are there in Mount Zion, the city of God, the fortress of God. God is known in her palaces for a refuge: He is greatly to be praised in the mountain of His holiness; and on Mount Zion there shall be deliverance. It came to me with a tremendous sense of the authority of God: there shall be deliverance.
For those reading now in need of deliverance of various kinds, let this strike a chord and awaken the note of faith inside your being. It may be that you know you need deliverance because of sins in your past or even in your present. Along with your inability to overcome and your awareness that you really do need deliverance from the power of the enemy, because of the lockdown you’ve been a bit more cut off from ministry that could have been available to you. But our God is the Deliverer: from Mount Zion there comes the Deliverer. He is there to deliver you and me from the power of the enemy in whatever way that enemy tries to assert himself. Take courage into your soul today: upon Mount Zion there shall be deliverance. Believe it, and claim it, not just at a mind level, but so that deep into your spirit there comes victory, there comes power to overcome sin, weakness, lack of faith, and fear. Is fear not something that is stalking so many people at this time? Some are left very untouched by fear of Covid, whereas the lives of others are almost being dominated by it. For a child of God He is our refuge, our strength and our future, and there is deliverance from fear and anxiety and the burdens of this life. He is our Deliverer: from Mount Zion He shines. As the mountains are round about Jerusalem, so the LORD is round about His people. (Psalm 125:2) They shall stand secure as Mount Zion (v.1 NLT).
With that awareness of the strength and power associated with the God of Mount Zion, there comes to us a tremendous sense of security, where (to cite an illustration that I have just read) we find that our feet are not just standing on the rock, but they are embedded in the rock. If we’re standing on the rock, we can slip, as we maybe know on a rocky hillside. But if our feet are embedded in the rock, then we don’t slip. That is the security that Mount Zion brings us: that deep treasure, to be found and explored all our life.
And then there is another aspect of it. She is beautiful for situation, the joy of the whole earth.
From Mount Zion, the perfection of beauty, God shines in glorious radiance. (Psalm 50:2)
And so that describes the city there, the New Jerusalem, heaven itself. Of that mount we read:
I saw the Lamb standing upon Mount Zion (Revelation 14:1)
and we read of the beauty of the New Jerusalem:
I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband… 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… And the city had no need of the sun, neither of the moon, to shine in it: for the glory of God did lighten it, and the Lamb is the light thereof. (Revelation 21:2, 4, 23)
Let us meditate upon that Mount Zion, the New Jerusalem, our destiny. We can’t explore all its treasure yet: that lies in the future. But some of its treasure comes spilling down to us now, and we can begin to explore it. The perfection of beauty, the radiance of God Himself shining out, is a beacon to us; it’s the light that is guiding us on our journey.
It is Christ Himself who said: ‘I go to prepare a place for you.’
In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. (John 14:2)
In other words: ‘If there wasn’t one for you, if there weren’t enough for you, I would have told you.’ He has gone to prepare a place, and the light of that dwelling place comes to us, the exquisite sweetness of it, the beauty, the place where there is no sorrow, no more tears, no more thirst. The Lamb Himself will be our guide to lead us to the fountains of water. In the midst of your thirst today – and have we not got thirsty spirits? – draw near to Him. In the words of the hymn we sing at Christmas time: Travelling home, heavy laden … The hills are parting, we see the lights of Bethlehem. And it’s not Bethlehem we’re going to; it is heaven, it is Zion, the New Jerusalem. We see the lights – the hills of this life with all its difficulties and its joys begin to part, and we see the lights of home. Let the joy of it begin to spill over us. They who trust in Him shall be as Mount Zion: citizens of a new country, in the world but not of it.
O the blessed joy of meeting,
All the desert past;
O the wondrous words of greeting
He will speak at last.
He and I together ent’ring
Those fair courts above,
He and I together sharing
All the Father’s love.
(Tersteegen, tr. Frances Bevan)
O the blessed joy of meeting, all the desert past – entering His home, which is ours, to be greeted by the Father.
Is there not deep treasure here? I don’t think we meditate enough on all that lies ahead, so as to prepare ourselves now for that heavenly home.
Behind the Ranges: Horeb
In following the series ‘behind the ranges’, we have been trying to discover something of the deep things of God. Last week I wrote about Elijah and his wonderful victory over the powers of darkness on Mount Carmel. This week we are still with Elijah as he travels to a different mountain, a journey of forty days and nights away: the mountain of Horeb, or Sinai. It’s a fascinating part in Elijah’s life, and one from which we can learn a great deal.
The hour of victory is wonderful, as I said last week: ‘Try it!’ But it’s also the dangerous hour, because with victory there can come a relaxation, an exultation in God, and a feeling of tremendous safety and happiness. That’s all very good. But the anointing, I suppose, lifted from Elijah for the purpose for which it had been there on top of Mount Carmel, and his life is threatened by Jezebel the wicked queen. We find him fleeing for his life. He is going through the wilderness, and the Angel comes and feeds him – the Angel of the Presence of the Lord (I always think it is probably Christ who comes) – and he is fed more than once; he is given enough to last him for a journey of forty days, and these lovely words are spoken to him: Get up and eat some more, or the journey ahead will be too much for you. We see there the tremendous understanding of God of His tired servant in an hour of danger. He’s had a long, long time, these three years without the rain, walking closely with God, then on Mount Carmel, and now that terrible sense of aloneness sweeping over Elijah in a way that left him quite spent. But he journeys on until he comes to Mount Sinai, the mountain of God.
There he came to a cave where he spent the night. But the LORD said to him, ‘What are you doing here, Elijah?’ Elijah replied, ‘I have zealously served the LORD God Almighty. But the people of Israel have broken their covenant with you, torn down your altars, and killed every one of your prophets. I am the only one left, and now they are trying to kill me, too.’
‘Go out and stand before me on the mountain,’ the LORD told him. And as Elijah stood there, the LORD passed by, and a mighty windstorm hit the mountain. It was such a terrible blast that the rocks were torn loose, but the LORD was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the LORD was not in the earthquake. And after the earthquake there was a fire, but the LORD was not in the fire. And after the fire there was the sound of a gentle whisper. When Elijah heard it, he wrapped his face in his cloak and went out and stood at the entrance of the cave.
(1 Kings 19: 9–13)
We follow Elijah to Mount Sinai. Why did he go there? It would be associated strongly in his mind and spirit with the revelation to Moses in the wilderness. The Burning Bush was thought to be at Mount Sinai. And then the revelation of God came down in tremendous fire and power when He revealed Himself to Moses. The suggestion is that the cave that Elijah came to was the same place where God hid Moses as His glory passed by.
God says to him there: ‘What are you doing here, Elijah?’ And Elijah makes his complaint. We find later that it’s not quite justified: there are many who have not bowed the knee to Baal. But we can understand Elijah. Having been told that he’s ‘a man of like passions with us’, most of the time we say: ‘Well, he doesn’t seem it!’ But we are quite grateful for hours like this, when we think: ‘Yes, we can identify with you now, Elijah.’ Everything seems dark to him; he feels peculiarly bereft. And God says to him: ‘Go out and stand before me on the mountain,’ and again: ‘Come out of the cave, Elijah.’
God had come in tremendous power on Carmel, and on Mount Sinai in the past. But now God is not in the mighty windstorm, or the terrible blast, or the earthquake. It’s not in any of these that Elijah finds God. He is passing by, but He is somehow not in these phenomena. And then we read that he heard the sound of a gentle whisper. Other translations are ‘a still, small voice’ and (the one which I think is my favourite) ‘a sound of gentle stillness’. Elijah then wraps his face in his mantle and covers himself from the glory of God that is being revealed to him. There is a deep, hidden revelation of God to his soul now. The stillness of God, the quietness of God. The psalmist says: Your gentleness has made me great, and Paul writing in one of his letters says: We were gentle in the midst of you as a nurse that cherishes her children. And there comes to Elijah the revelation and the instruction of God, but there comes to him the sound of the gentle whisper.
That sense of the stillness of God is very wonderful. Living in an urban society it can be very hard to find real stillness. We don’t tend to find true quietness; there’s always some background noise. But sometimes, perhaps at the top of a mountain or out in the country, we stop and listen, and there is this stillness, a quietness that can be felt, a quietness that isn’t just the absence of sound: it’s far more than that. It’s the sense of the atmosphere being full of a stillness and a quietness. And that, only much more so, I think, is the stillness of God. It comes sometimes after a tremendous victory, and sometimes in hours of need, and comes to the hungry soul. The stillness of God is His essential being. In the same way that we speak of the ‘King of Love’ because He actually is Love, and the ‘Prince of Peace’ because He is Peace, we could call Him the King or the Prince of Quietness or Stillness – an essential stillness in the very heart and being of God.
And how we need that. You know, this recurring lockdown brought for many an isolation and a quietness, but it didn’t bring a rest. There are people who have found that their mental faculties have been greatly strained and their mental health has deteriorated because there’s not been a rest in that quietness. Who can enter into the rest of God, the deep innerness of the quietness of God that can begin to pervade our spirit? That serenity of Christ that’s so evident in Him is not so easily obtained, is it?
It’s related to a deep faith. Elijah’s faith had got rather rocked for a little while. And there was no reproach from God. Rather He fed him and cared for him and looked after him and spoke gently to him, till he was strong enough to go on again with the commission of God.
And so He does for us. These thoughts had been in my mind when someone sent me this closely related verse:
Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest (Mark 6:31).
The rest comes into the soul when our faith reaches out to grasp Him. And so, as Samuel Rutherford puts it: In the way of duty and the silence of faith we go on.
God took Elijah by a new way for him, but He let him feel the extremity of weakness, and he knew what the apostle Paul was to learn in a later day: My grace is sufficient for you; My strength is made perfect in your weakness. And so it is for you and for me. It’s a wonderful aspect of God: In Thy quiet strength, O God, I shall be strong again.
I close with lines from a well-loved hymn:
O Sabbath rest by Galilee,
O calm of hills above,
Where Jesus knelt to share with Thee
The silence of eternity
Interpreted by love!
(John Greenleaf Whittier)
Let us seek to share something of that also.
Copyright © 2014 Struthers Memorial Church All rights reserved
Struthers Memorial Church is a registered Scottish Charity No. SC 006960 | Struthers Memorial Church is a company limited by guarantee incorporated in Scotland Company No SC335480 | Registered Office: 33 West Stewart Street, Greenock, PA15 1SH.