The Wanderer

As I walked through the wilderness of this world …

Coming from God’s presence

with 2 comments

The story is an old one, and told of several different men. The details may differ slightly, but the essence is the same. A man is due to preach the Word of God. He is late. Someone is sent to find him. When they come near to where he is, they hear his voice. He is reasoning, pleading, remonstrating with someone. He will not go to preach unless he goes in the company of that person. Sometimes the one overhearing goes back or is sent back again and again, and again does not wish to interrupt; sometimes a door receives a timid knock. Eventually the preacher issues forth with shining face and preaches with the blessing of God. Of course, the longed-for companion was God himself, the presence of the Spirit with the preacher, the favour of Christ upon the ministry, the smile of the Father on his truth.

These stories were brought to mind by reading a comment of Andrew Bonar in his diary, for 6th February 1843: “Have been struck at noticing how often, especially no later than yesterday, in going forth to preach, I was like one seeking his own entrance into the holy place and fellowship with God; not like one coming out from enjoying communion to speak to others.”

What a humbling thought for the preacher! What an enticing one for the hearer! Do we go to preach in the hopes of meeting with God, or do we go to preach because we have met with God? While I think we need to be careful about divorcing those from each other, Bonar’s comment holds. Too often we are still seeking God when we come to the pulpit. Too often we have forgotten that we need not only to find God there, but to go there with God. Like Moses, whose face shone after he had been in the presence of God (Ex 34:29 ff.), we need to come to God’s people as men who who have already known the light of his smile lifted up upon us, and who are then ready and able to speak as those who have been with Jesus.

Let us not, then, dismiss the story of the men who would not go to preach unless they were confident that God was with them. We should not make something artificial of that, for often God is pleased to meet with us as we go. Nevertheless, what heavenly scents and celestial sense might we bring to God’s people if we more often spoke as those who have come out from enjoying communion with the Most High?

Written by Jeremy Walker

Monday 15 February 2021 at 06:58

2 Responses

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  1. Dear Jeremy,

    Thank you, this is a reminder what we must do before preaching. Is lack of communion with God not the reason why our preaching lacks unction?

    Andrew

    Andrew Coats

    Monday 15 February 2021 at 10:32


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