By Byron J. Rees
"The people that do know their God shall be strong, and do exploits." (Daniel 11:32).
If we are strong we impart strength to those with whom we come in contact. If God has commanded us to be strong, we can not afford to be weak. He has commanded nothing for which He has not provided. Every command carries with it the weight of a promise. He has placed within our easy grasp ample provision for all the strength and success which He expects of us.
But there is a determined purpose on the part of many to eliminate from Christianity all that is superhuman and miraculous. The tendency of the age is to exalt man and displace God. If the supernatural could be taken out of the Bible, and its miraculous occurrences explained on the grounds of natural causation, many so-called clever people would be greatly delighted.
Christianity is in great danger of being reduced to a "system" of theology and ethics, doctrine and dogma, laws and creeds. Many who "believe in Christianity" look upon it as simply a great institution. Many of them are devoted to its interests, are willing, in some instances, to shape their lives more or less according to its rules, and are most untiring in their efforts to further its interests. But they are not acquainted with its Author. Their knowledge of Him is indirect and remote. Away with such cold, dead, mechanical theory and practice! If Christianity is not as supernatural as in the days of Paul and Stephen, it is nothing at all. If the power of God is not so imminent and active today as in the times of Elijah or Daniel, it is nothing whatsoever. The system of redemption through Jesus Christ is intensely personal. It is the revelation of a personal God, the reception of a personal Christ, the endowment with a personal Holy Ghost. Christianity requires every moment of the presence and living hand of its Author.
Each soul must have a personal revelation of God. Jacob was an altogether different man after Peniel. Job's life was revolutionized after he could say, "Now mine eye seeth Thee." Moses was never the same man after he met the God of fire at Horeb. Joshua could never have taken Jericho if he had not met the captain of the Lord's hosts. Isaiah never did much prophesying until he saw the vision of "Jehovah sitting upon a throne high and lifted up". Paul was a high-churchman, but his life was worse than a failure until he met God out in the "big road" going to Damascus. We must all meet God for ourselves. A personal knowledge of Him will make us mighty. Mountains of guilt will melt away, billows of sorrow and waves of grief and tumult will give place to "peace that floweth like a river". Oh, if we only knew God! Then we could open the skies in judgment against sin and in salvation for the sinners: we could water three million souls from a flinty rock by the use of a mere shepherd's stick. The crying need is not more brains, money, eloquence, human magnetism, new methods nor better appointments. All we need is to know God, the Mighty God, the Irresistible God, the All-conquering God.
There is a great temptation to get into bondage to methods and appliances. We catch a few fish, and then burn incense to our nets. We succeed in some method, and then decide that that method is the only one. We expect God to duplicate Himself again and again, and when He does not we are disappointed. Many of God's dear people today, if they would only submit to being humbled and degraded in men's eyes, would be wondrously used and exalted in God's work and estimation. Let us get through with our own plans and our own power. Let us get on God's side rather than attempt to pull Him over to help us and be on our side. It was a fortunate event when Joshua met the captain of the Lord's host "over against Jericho "and he got down on his face and resigned his leadership and gave the Son of God command. Let us believe God for greater things.