Friday, July 17, 2009


"Put off thy shoes from off thy feet, for the place whereon thou standest is holy ground."
—Ex. iii. 5.

I Have no need to go to the loneliness of Sinai to meet with God. I find the holy ground much nearer home. But I wonder whether I put my shoes from off my feet.

He reveals Himself to me in His written Word. It is His sanctuary. By its agency my deepest life is created, quickened, sustained. Listening to it the saints have heard the very voice of their Lord ; and it is associated with the faith and purity and joy of many centuries of Christians. But do I never raise a laugh by my grotesque and frivolous use of the words of Scripture ? And, whenever I open the Book, do I remember that God has breathed the Spirit of Life into its chapters and verses? Mine is culpable levity.

He reveals Himself, also, in the newborn character of His people. They are temples of the Holy Ghost, as the bush was which burned and was not consumed. Their aim is that the Father's will may be done on earth as it is done in heaven. Their desire is to reflect His likeness as they move among their fellows. But because they do it with human vacillations, and because it is not difficult to detect in them shortcoming and fault, I am afraid that at times I make light of their godliness, and I forget that thus I am dishonouring religion itself. I should hold the saints in higher regard.

He reveals Himself in the history of my land, as truly as ever He did in the history of Israel. In it the devout heart will trace His power, His wisdom, His stern hatred of sin, His overflowing goodness. But have I not winged my shafts of easy ridicule at some of the greatest names of the past? Have I not been slow to see the heroism and the consecration of which they are the summary? It is as if one should" peep and botanise upon his mother's grave," or should detect no holy flame in the thorn-tree of Horeb.

Best of all, He reveals Himself in Christ. But if Christ brings Him close to me, He teaches me fresh reasons for standing in awe of Him. His life shows me what God is—spotless, righteous, faithful, unchanging in antagonism against sin. And His Cross has a more impressive message still. Here are God's infinite gentleness and shoreless mercy ; and, side by side with these, here are God's abhorrence of my iniquity, and His unconquerable justice, and His rigorous determination to have done with my evil. He is holy, holy, holy, even in the brightest and sweetest manifestation of His grace. Yet I do not always worship Him, disclosed to me in His Son, " with trembling hope and penitential tears."

Not a day passes that I am not standing in the courts of His house. Not a place can I visit where the Spirit of glory and of God may not overshadow me. I pray for tenfold more thoughtfulness and adoration and humility.

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