The Way Out
“Have you seen this man that is come up?” —1 Samuel 17:25
All the magazines and the books of our times are talking about the awful confusion that is upon us, and of the world conditions that we face today. There isn’t a department of life where there is not a crisis problem. If it is business, it is a grave problem; if it is the home, it is the greatest testing time that it has ever known; if it is education, it is a mass of problems; if it is religion, it is legion. Preachers are in more of a quandary today than they ever were. There is every kind of sect, and every kind of a voice, and each specific philosophy and form of religion has found its own little sect and is worshiping seemingly by itself. As we look out over the earth today in any department we could cry out “Babel!” for there are many voices and an awful confusion of tongues.
Now, with this dread monster upon us, the question is asked by all thinking men and women, “What is the way out?” In the hour of catastrophe God always has a way out. It has always been a miraculous deliverance. You could go over your Word this morning and find situations where it seemed that there was no way out, and then come these two little words, “But God.”
If you start in with God’s promise to Abraham, or start further back than that at the Garden of Eden, with our first parents thrown out because of sin, you will see a promised way out. Picture the curse upon womankind, the awful, horrible curse that was put upon women, which they bear to this day, the physical suffering that has to be theirs. Picture the sweating face of man after he was cast from the garden. Think of the darkness when the first boy became a murderer, and that mother, before she was many years old, taking that son into her lap and washing off his dead face, staggered at the view of death—it seemed like there was no way out.
The garden was at their back, with a flaming sword roundabout the tree of life; but before they even left the garden you can put in the little words, “But God.” God said, “The seed of the woman shall bruise the serpent’s head.” There has never been an hour of catastrophe, there has never been a dark hour that God did not speak forth a word of hope in the form of a promise.
From that day men have turned away from God. They have failed God in every department. Because of the failure God had brought flood upon the earth. God had brought Babel upon the earth, breaking up the unity of evil and devilish planning. Men spoke in different tongues and formed many nations.
In this dark crisis God calls a man stalwart in soul, across a little brook, and asks him to look up at the stars and look down at the valleys before him, and the mountains. It is a land flowing with milk and honey, beautiful for situation, with the Mediterranean breezes bathing its shores, and He says to him, “This land I give you as a heritage for you and your children forever.”
He asks Abraham if he believes it, and Abraham says “Yes.” God counts it to him for righteousness. Here again in the dark hour there is promise of a new God-led race of men and women.
Abraham goes along, and the years pass by, and the wrinkles come, and his step is tottering, and he is an old man. Sarah and himself sit and look at each other, and he is almost tempted to say, “Has God failed us, Sarah? I am here in this home, and no issue of yours is here. Shall I go to God and ask Him that this son of the handmaiden shall be my heir? But God promised me, Sarah, that through my seed the nations of the earth should be blessed.” There seemed no way, no way—but God.
God spoke to him and said that he should bring forth a son in his old age. It was laughable from a human standpoint. Men have always failed to believe God in every hour of catastrophe. So the world has had to go on in its course, and in its curse, because it failed to look at the way out which God offered. It always puts its mind and thought and vision upon what man can do in the crisis, and the last thing it wants to believe is that God has a way out.
Abraham was a man that was picked for his faith—a giant in faith. He was a man who stood not only head and shoulders, but away above the masses of men through the ages, as a man of faith. And yet in his crisis hour he commenced to tremble, and his wife laughed at the very proposition of God.
She laughed at a miracle. Men have always been laughing at miracles. “The carnal mind is enmity against God. It isn’t subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be,” and God will never have a world that exhibits Him until He has put the carnal mind out of existence and created a new race that is born of the Spirit. There can never be peace in this world until Jesus Christ brings back to this Earth regenerated human hearts and human bodies.
His purpose today is to send messengers through the nations preaching the Gospel, and calling out this new people for His Name’s sake. Soon He will catch this called-out crowd away and then bring them back to this Earth, powerful, clothed with the likeness of the Son of God. Yes, on this dirty, sin-cursed Earth, to praise Him, and to believe God, and to show that God has a way out. Thank God, the clouds shall open one day, and we will see what God can do. He has promised a complete victory over sin, and it will come.
Men have fought the miracles, and in Abraham’s hour of darkness God spoke, and then that son came into being. How Abraham’s heart must have thrilled with thanksgiving to God as he listened to the prattle of that child. I have a child in my home that has a peculiar influence on my life, and as I hear the voice and the laughter of that child I remember the hour in the night when I knew she was slipping from life into death, and I know the second when God put her back into my hands. From that hour to this, simply the hearing of her voice only whispers to me of the power of God.
I will never forget the verse that He gave me. I had read the 33rd chapter of Exodus, where God had been talking to Moses, and God gave me a little mental running over—you might call it a vision, but it was not a vision. I thought of a street car going by crowded, and car after car seemed to pass me in my praying, as I waited in the night watches before God, and all of them were crowded and filled and went by. But finally it seemed that the motorman opened a door and said, “Here is a place right here by me.” I turned over the page, and at the top of the page I see the words standing out yet that He said to Moses, in the 21st verse, “Behold, there is a place by Me, and thou shalt stand upon a rock.” Only the Holy Ghost can take such a verse as that and bring it to you. I saw immediately that I was one with Jesus Christ and had a place by God, for my Christ was at the right hand of God, and I had the right from Him to ask and to see that it would be done, and I could stand upon a rock, which was His Word and Himself.
In the darkest hour of your life, my friend, God is there to speak some way out. When other help has failed, and other comfort has fled, He is there.
God Wants Faith
Let me say, please, that if you are anxious to keep from the ravages of apostasy, then you must cultivate every opportunity that comes your way to show the miraculous, in work and in worship. You may say what you please—men and women may be just as sound as can be as far as doctrine is concerned, and their faith be absolutely apostate, turning to men instead of turning to God.
Your doctrines may be splendid, and I thank God for them, and I love men of the truth, but I have known them by the dozens in the past five years whose faith was as cold as the icebergs that float in the Arctic. Men may be clear as crystal in their conceptions of God’s plan, and of God’s method, but it is another thing to have faith in a loving God and expect the miraculous, and expect God to work when men have said it is useless.
Many men can talk about God, but God is looking for a people that will believe God in the crisis hour. As your pastor I preach divine healing and I intend, while God gives me breath, to continue to do it in the sweetness of love and in the tenderness of God. I am going to fight with all the faith that God gives me for every little bit that there is left in our day of the miraculous. By that I mean the things that show the direct intervention of the hand of God.
I love my brothers who don’t believe it. I love them with a passion they little know, and my heart bleeds in the night hours for them, and I have no contention. I do not care to fight in the way that men fight. I only say I will stand by it while God gives me breath to live and faith to trust Him. I don’t ask you to come into it. I never have. I have never insisted on anyone else coming. I found my way one day through the Word of God to get my hand into the honey jar, and by God’s grace I will never withdraw it. If you don’t see it, irrespective of means and doctors and human help, I don’t ask you to take it, and consider you just as much of a saint, and am not objecting to you; but in God’s name, in this church, allow us to keep the miraculous to the forefront as long as God sees fit to work through the faith of His saints.
As long as I stand in this pulpit I never intend to check any gift of the Spirit. I intend to regulate everything by the Word of God, but I welcome men and women of faith that are bold enough to step out where men say you cannot step, and walk in the power of God.
You need not expect to be understood. You may expect to be misunderstood. When I walked out on the streets of New York five years ago, bless God, I left behind me any desire to have the world understand me. I only asked that I might walk with God—and that is all you ask this morning, that you might walk with God.
Oh, continue to be willing to go anywhere God leads. We may not know the way, but, oh, we know our guide, and that is enough—to know Him, to walk with Him.
The Everlasting Arms
When Abraham’s children came out from Egypt and came to the Red Sea, oh, how wondrously God delivered them through the sprinkled blood. They had the doctrine side of deliverance, and now they faced the Red Sea, with hills on every side, and an army behind. They could have said, “Surely there is no way out,” but God.
Dear friend, in every experience of our life, why do we wish to see a way, when you have a God who makes a way where there is no way. He has a method when men’s methods run out. He has a plan, when our program has been burned. There is always a way for a man or a woman that looks to God alone.
Men have turned to every human ingenuity, and to every human device, and to every human organization, and at last thrown back and baffled, in the dark hour they have been forced to turn to God. Have you reached the crisis hour yet of your life, where you will be forced to trust God? You will thank Him for the last straw that breaks you, and lets you down into God alone. It will then be His life, His comfort, His grace, His power.
“How oft at the touch of that nail-scarred palm
My storm-troubled soul has at once grown calm.
The tempest that surges I will not fear,
For how can I sink if that hand is near?”
Oh, don’t be afraid to reach the extremity. Don’t be afraid to reach the top of the wave and look over into the chasm, for at the end of the way you will always find “but God.” The giants may be great, the forces round about you may be great—“but God.” God will be with us in trouble. He does not say that He will deliver us from death, but, my friend, He has the program, He has the way. We are not immune from death, but we, every one of us that are Christians here this morning, expect in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, to be changed, these mortals to put on immortality, and to be changed into His own likeness.
Do you mean to tell me that while I walk in my weariness I cannot get a little bit of that in advance for my poor old body? Thank God, I have gotten it from time to time. When this old voice seemed to be worn out, thank God, I could find another. He does the refreshing. When it seems that nerves and strength have gone away, oh, there is a delight in finding His refreshment.
How Long Must He Chastise?
I talk to you as a Christian, and I say to you, in your personal life, are you going to wait until God has to break you before you give up? Must He bring you face to face with death? Must He allow your business to be touched? Must He have to take the lamb from your bosom, before you wake up and cry out to God?
Many of you are sitting here this morning who have had to have that done. You would not give up. You would not go in where He wanted you to go in, and God’s hand is heavy upon your life.
One of our blessed young men in this church talked to the man he was working for downtown. First of all, the man’s mother died, and then the precious wife of his bosom, to whom he had been untrue, was taken from him, then another catastrophe hit him, and he walked through the office and said, “What in hell is the matter?”
This young fellow was brave enough to go and tell him that God had a controversy with him.
Let me say to you, business men, this morning, and women at the head of the home—if you are fighting God, and resisting God, on any line, you will find out that peace, the sweet dove of peace, is not dwelling in your heart.
Chastening And Testing
It is an awful thing to resist God. Shall He drive us to the place where we have to cry out to God? God brings persecution into our lives to test our faith, and it is not always for sin—it is a test of faith; but there is a fine distinction between the chastening of the Lord because we won’t walk in His path and the testing of our faith.
Paul was on an old shipwrecked vessel, and it was going down to Earth and up to heaven, seemingly the whole thing going to pieces, and Paul was in the hold of the vessel. Was Jesus whipping him? No, He was trying him, as a refiner tries gold; but in Paul’s heart was the consciousness that he pleased God, yet the persecution was upon him.
The stocks at one time were on his feet, but was it for what Paul did? No, he was being tested of the Lord, that others might know of this wonderful Christ who can keep in such an hour.
“Have you seen this one that has come up among us?” What is your attitude before the giants that come up before you? Will you lean on the arm of flesh or on God? In the hour of Israel’s conflict, here with the wrong kind of leadership that was not looking to God, up springs this great giant, the very type of anti-Christ, and the armies are at a standstill, and now it is a dead-set issue between this great giant and the living God, and what shall be done?
The giant stands on one mountain, and David stands on the other, and the valley is between them, the Valley of Elah.
This man has come up among us, this anti-Christ and the spirit of anti-Christ. The spirit of anti-Christ is to believe that men can conquer without God, and lean toward men, and trust in men, and trust in the flesh, and boast in the flesh and in what we ourselves can do. You may be powerful—nobody will deny that this giant was not a giant. None of the Israelites could look at him and say, “He is little, he is a gnat, he is a flea.” Oh, no.
Are we as Christians saying this morning that men are not great? Oh, no. Don’t misjudge me in my preachment when I talk about the greatness of God and the power of Jesus Christ, and the awful day in which we live. Don’t misjudge me in this. I know and believe that this is the brightest day that intellectual man ever saw. I know this is the greatest and grandest day that inventive man ever saw. I know the pinnacle upon which surgery stands. I know the heights upon which science waves its banners today. I know that the presses turn off wondrous things in our day. Oh, don’t put us in a corner and say, “You don’t understand our day,” when we say the world is growing worse. Oh, the achievements of the presses, and printers’ ink, and advertisement, and the wonderful things done in business, such colossal undertakings that it staggers one to see the things that business men put over! No wonder the wide-eyed man of today sees the wonders of men and, standing back, says, “Thou art a giant, thou twentieth century man.”
Don’t think that the men who see God only lack the education of the men who are patting mankind on the back and saying, “We never saw such a day as this.” True, we never did. Think of a city like Chicago, with its system, and the other great cities of millions, taking care of their people in transportation, in food distribution, in railroads, ships, commerce, electric wires that flash their messages along. Then the system of wireless that, poised above the battlefield, can signal to that man five miles away that he missed his mark at his last shot by ten feet, and he adjusts his mechanism on that gun until he rectifies his shot, and the shell following lights on the mark; and the marvelous ingenuity of men, that makes it possible to shoot guns not hundreds and hundreds of yards but miles, bursting its shells at the very click of the clock and the point of the compass.
I am not standing here fool enough to say this isn’t the mightiest day man has ever known, so far as his own power is concerned. No more would Israel say that Goliath was not a giant. He stood there roaring in the strength of his colossal might, big enough to have downed any man in the Israelitish army, and as the Israelites looked at him they trembled.
Many preachers and professors, as they look today at the marvels of science and the deductions of philosophy, are scared, and running into their holes, but, oh, for a people of faith, that will believe the might and the power of Jesus Christ to absolutely undo man at his best and put Jesus on the throne!
Have you seen this man that has come up? Yes, thank God, we have looked him over from head to foot. We have tasted his achievements, first in the preparatory days, then through colleges and out into business. We have looked him over in magazines and books and libraries, and looked at him from behind and before, on top and beneath. In the pages of history we have watched him down the centuries grow and grow and grow, and finally emerge from the ranks and stand out today, with the ipse dixit of science saying, “We want naturalism; away with supernaturalism.”
Thank God for those in the world today who haven’t bowed the knee and who say, “We do not want naturalism and we are going to supernaturalism. We look for peace, not by the achievement of men, but by the achievement of heaven.”
Spit upon Him, slap His head with the reeds, and with the palm of your hand, crucify Him, put Him away—but He will come again, thank God, and the giant called “man” will fall, and great will be the fall. We are looking for another man, a God-man from Glory. Our hope is fixed on nothing less than Him.
We acknowledge the giant proportions of the day in which we live, but, thank God, we will not tremble and run into our holes, but we will ask for the supernatural working of Almighty God. Jesus doesn’t say, “When I come, shall I find mighty works?” No; He says, “Shall I find faith on the earth?”
The days may be dark, but the light of His promised return to reign colors the eastern sky. The day’s work of the devil may oppress, but He says, “resist the devil and he will flee from you.” “Thanks be unto God who giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.”
The flesh may want its way. “But there is therefore now no condemnation to them that are in Christ Jesus who walk not after the flesh but after the Spirit.”
Yes, in every crisis, and from every oppression and oppressor, there is a way out, and Christ Himself is that way.
“His own soft hand shall wipe the tears
From every weeping eye;
And pains and groans and griefs and fears,
And death itself shall die.
How long, dear Savior, O how long
Shall this bright hour delay?
Fly swiftly round, ye wheels of time,
And bring the welcome day.”