An horror of great darkness fell upon him. — Genesis 15:12
Whenever God gives a vision to a saint, He puts him, as it were, in the shadow of His hand, and the saint’s duty is to be still and listen. There is a darkness which comes from excess of light, and then is the time to listen. Genesis 16 is an illustration of listening to good advice when it is dark instead of waiting for God to send the light. When God gives a vision and darkness follows, wait. God will make you in accordance with the vision He has given if you will wait His time. Never try and help God fulfil His word. Abraham went through thirteen years of silence, but in those years all self-sufficiency was destroyed; there was no possibility left of relying on commonsense ways. Those years of silence were a time of discipline, not of displeasure. Never pump up joy and confidence, but stay upon God (cf. Isaiah 50:10-11).
Have I any confidence in the flesh? Or have I got beyond all confidence in myself and in men and women of God, in books and prayers and ecstasies; and is my confidence placed now in God Himself, not in His blessings? “I am the Almighty God” — El-Shaddai, the Father-Mother God. The one thing for which we are all being disciplined is to know that God is real. As soon as God becomes real, other people become shadows. Nothing that other saints do or say can ever perturb the one who is built on God.
Thomas answered and said unto Him, My Lord and my God. — John 20:28
“Give Me to drink.” How many of us are set upon Jesus Christ slaking our thirst when we ought to be satisfying Him? We should be pouring out now, spending to the last limit, not drawing on Him to satisfy us. “Ye shall be witnesses unto Me” — that means a life of unsullied, uncompromising, and unbribed devotion to the Lord Jesus, a satisfaction to Him wherever He places us.
Beware of anything that competes with loyalty to Jesus Christ. The greatest competitor of devotion to Jesus is service for Him. It is easier to serve than to be drunk to the dregs. The one aim of the call of God is the satisfaction of God, not a call to do something for Him. We are not sent to battle for God, but to be used by God in His battlings. Are we being more devoted to service than to Jesus Christ?
I heard the voice of the Lord saying, Whom shall I send? — Isaiah 6:8
When we speak of the call of God, we are apt to forget the most important feature, viz., the nature of the One Who calls. There is the call of the sea, the call of the mountains, the call of the great ice barriers; but these calls are only heard by the few. The call is the expression of the nature from which it comes, and we can only record the call if the same nature is in us. The call of God is the expression of God’s nature, not of our nature. There are strands of the call of God providentially at work for us which we recognize and no one else does. It is the threading of God’s voice to us in some particular matter, and it is no use consulting anyone else about it. We have to keep that profound relationship between our souls and God.
The call of God is not the echo of my nature; my affinities and personal temperament are not considered. As long as I consider my personal temperament and think about what I am fitted for, I shall never hear the call of God. But when I am brought into relationship with God, I am in the condition Isaiah was in. Isaiah’s soul was so attuned to God by the tremendous crisis he had gone through that he recorded the call of God to his amazed soul. The majority of us have no ear for anything but ourselves, we cannot hear a thing God says. To be brought into the zone of the call of God is to be profoundly altered
By Oswald Chambers
Buried with Him…that…even so we also should walk in newness of life. — Romans 6:4
No one enters into the experience of entire sanctification without going through a “white funeral”* — the burial of the old life. If there has never been this crisis of death, sanctification is nothing more than a vision. There must be a “white funeral,” a death that has only one resurrection — a resurrection into the life of Jesus Christ. Nothing can upset such a life; it is one with God for one purpose, to be a witness to Him.
Have you come to your last days really? You have come to them often in sentiment, but have you come to them really? You cannot go to your funeral in excitement, or die in excitement. Death means you stop being. Do you agree with God that you stop being the striving, earnest kind of Christian you have been? We skirt the cemetery and all the time refuse to go to death. It is not striving to go to death, it is dying — “baptized into His death.”
Have you had your “white funeral,” or are you sacredly playing the fool with your soul? Is there a place in your life marked as the last day, a place to which the memory goes back with a chastened and extraordinarily grateful remembrance — “Yes, it was then, at that ‘white funeral,’ that I made an agreement with God”?
“This is the will of God, even your sanctification.” When you realize what the will of God is, you will enter into sanctification as naturally as can be. Are you willing to go through that “white funeral” now? Do you agree with Him that this is your last day on earth? The moment of agreement depends upon you.
* “white funeral”: phrase from Tennyson’s poem “To H.R.H. Princess Beatrice”; to Chambers, it meant a passage from one stage of life to another; leaving the past behind and moving into the future; he often used it to mean death to self and a complete surrender to God