The more excellent way

Those who have been impressed by God will never be intimidated by men. Have we yet been so impressed?

Those who have been impressed by God will never be intimidated by men. Have we yet been so impressed?

Have we yet witnessed the thunderings?

“Now all the people witnessed the thunderings, the lightning flashes, the sound of the trumpet, and the mountain smoking;

And when the people saw it, they trembled and stood afar off.

Then they said to Moses, ‘You speak with us, and we will hear; but let not God speak with us, lest we die.’” Exodus 20:18-19

And yet there is a more excellent way…

Has His fear yet been put before our faces and in our hearts?

“And Moses said unto the people, Fear not: for God is come to prove you, and that his fear may be before your faces, that ye sin not.” Exodus 20:20

“I will put My fear in their hearts so that they will not depart from Me.” Jeremiah 32:40

And yet there is a more excellent way…

Have we yet drawn near?

“So the people stood afar off, but Moses drew near the thick darkness where God was.” Exodus 20:21

And yet there is a more excellent way…

Have we yet hid ourselves?

“Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed earnestly that it would not rain; and it did not rain on the land for three years and six months. And he prayed again, and the heaven gave rain, and the earth produced its fruit.” (James 5:17-18)

James tells us of Elijah’s nature, yet he spares us the detail of the isolation demanded in order to pray words such as these. For immediately upon pronouncing these words, Elijah was given this command from the Lord:

“Get away from here and turn eastward, and hide by the Brook Cherith…and it will be that you shall drink from the brook, and I have commanded the ravens to feed you there.” 1 Kings 17:3-4

The King James translates the phrase as, “hide thyself.” A powerful two-word command which became a popular sermon appeal for the evangelist Leonard Ravenhill.

For the excellence of power in Elijah’s words were not in the words themselves, nor the nature of the man (for his nature was just as ours), but rather in the proximity to God, alone by the brook, fed by ravens for near three years.

Go hide thyself! Get alone with God.

And yet there is a more excellent way…

Have we kept watch yet, praying always?

A little sleep, a little slumber, a little wine, a little flattery, a little sport, a lazy word of caution, ‘There’s a lion outside.’ (Proverbs 22:13, 24:33, 26:13)

All of this and the burden of responsibility fades quickly. A slip of the step, a sideways glance and the heart goes astray. “Watch therefore, and pray always.” Luke 21:36

Fix your gaze, keep your mind, focus your affections, lest your hearts be weighed down with the cares of this life. (Luke 21:34)

And yet there is a more excellent way…

Have we yet put down our profane for His holiness?

  • “An altar of earth you shall make for Me…And if you make me an altar of stone, you shall build it of hewn stone; for if you use your tool on it, you have profaned it.” Exodus 20:24-26

And a similar command came from God in the building of the temple, “So that there was neither hammer nor axe nor any tool of iron heard in the house, while it was in building.” 1 Kings 6:7

The English Bishop Reginald Heber poetically captured this command in 1803, 'No hammer fell, no ponderous axes rung, Like some tall palm the mystic fabric sprung.' This is the same Bishop Heber who gave us the hymn we still sing today, “Holy, Holy, Holy! Lord God Almighty.”

Only Thou art holy, there is none beside Thee,
Perfect in power in love, and purity.

Do we see His holiness to this degree yet? Or are we comfortable still to bring our own methods into the place of worship? Our own inventions into the household of God? A little of this, a little of that, until the altar has been built and the temple has been erected. The noise of our clamour draws the crowd.

And yet there is a more excellent way…

Have we yet cried out as children for our Deliverer?

  • “And when the children of Israel cried unto the LORD, the LORD raised up a deliverer to the children of Israel, who delivered them.” Judges 3:9

  • “The LORD is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; my God, my strength, in whom I will trust.” Psalm 18:2

The children cried out and the Lord raised up a deliverer. Have we, like little children, cried out to the Lord for a deliverer? Have we depended on Him to this degree?

Or have we, as Saul, grown impatient at the perceived delay? For Saul, ‘waited seven days,’ but couldn’t wait any longer in the presence of a scattering people. His impatience was counted by the Lord as foolishness and it cost him the kingdom, “For the Lord has sought for Himself a man after His own heart,” a “better man” than Saul. (1 Samuel 13:8-14, 15:28)

“Therefore I say to you, the kingdom of God will be taken from you and given to a nation bearing the fruits of it.” Matthew 21:43

A nation full of men and women after God’s own heart, a better people.

And yet there is a more excellent way…

The more excellent way

There is a more excellent ministry, a better covenant, one that has been established on better promises. Hebrews 8:6

This better covenant is one of three baptisms:

  • Of Water: I will sprinkle clean water on you and, and you shall be clean. Ezekiel 36:25

  • Of Fire: I will cleanse you from all your filthiness and from all your idols. I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; v.25-26

  • Of Spirit: I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will keep my judgements and do them. v.27

“And whoever falls on this stone will be broken; but on whomever it falls, it will grind him to powder.” Matthew 21:44

I implore you today - desire the more excellent way! Be impressed by God as the writer of Hebrews reminds us, “I will put My laws in their mind and write them on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people.”

Fall upon the Stone, who is Christ! Seek Him while He may still be found. Cry out for a deliverer, and wait until He answers you with a single word, “Come!”

Let him who thirsts come, for a single word spoken in season is water to a parched soul. Proverbs 15:23