Greetings from Meditation Moments, and God bless you today.
I want to read to you from Exodus where God is sending Moses to deliver the children of Israel.
“And the Lord said, I have surely seen the affliction of my people which are in Egypt, and I have heard their cry by reason of their taskmasters; and I know their sorrows. And I am come down to deliver them out of the hand of the Egyptians, and to bring them up out of that land, unto a good land and a large, unto a land flowing with milk and honey … Now therefore, behold, the cry of the children of Israel is come unto me: and I have also seen the oppression wherewith the Egyptians oppress them. Come now therefore, and I will send thee.” (Now He was speaking here to Moses.) “I will send thee that thou mayest bring forth my people, the children of Israel, out of Egypt.
“And Moses said unto God, Who am I that I should go unto Pharaoh, and that I should bring forth the children of Israel out of Egypt? And he said, Certainly I will be with thee; and this shall be a token unto thee, that I have sent thee: When thou hast brought forth the people out of Egypt, ye shall serve God upon this mountain. And Moses said unto God, Behold, when I come unto the children of Israel, and shall say unto them, The God of your fathers hath sent me unto you; and they shall say to me, What is his name? what shall I say unto them? And God said unto Moses, I AM THAT I AM: and He said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you” (Exodus 3:7–8a; 9-14).
Isn’t that wonderful? God sends Moses out with this assurance that He is unchangingly behind Moses, and also the children of Israel, and that His name is “I AM”—never “I was,” but “I AM,” the unchanging Lord. It’s so wonderful when we think that our God never, never changes! What surety, what assurance, what security! Then a verse that’s very companion to this in the thirteenth chapter of Hebrews: “For he hath said, I will never leave thee nor forsake thee. So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me” (Hebrews 13:5–6). Then we skip the one verse for time’s sake: “Jesus Christ, the same yesterday and today and forever” (Hebrews 13:8). God says, “I AM,” and God’s Word says here, “Jesus Christ, the same yesterday, today, and forever.”
Some time ago, I was reading about those days back there when the hardy Portuguese colonists were founding this city down on the south coast of China, a city called Macau. Vasco da Gama was their leader, and when they built the town of Macau, they built a great cathedral there, and on the top of that cathedral they reared a great bronze cross—a beautiful bronze cross, and very large.
But as the years passed by, time with all of its decay was too much for that cathedral, and then came a China Sea typhoon, and all of the walls except one were broken down. That was a wall, the facade on which tower was this great bronze cross. Now many tourists when passing by that place on the great ocean liners would look up and see that old broken wall. Through its gaping windows they could see the China Sea beyond, but all was just broken and decayed rocks and piles lying around there. But this one wall was standing with the cross upon it.
One day on one of those ships there was a man, and he was the governor—the British governor to Hong Kong. His name was Sir John Bowring. When he saw that great cross gleaming there in the sunlight, towering over all the wreckage of that old city, it so inspired his heart that he went down into that ship and taking pen in hand, wrote this old world-circling song we love so much:
In the cross of Christ I glory,
Towering o’er the wrecks of time;
All the light of sacred story
Gathers round its head sublime.
When the woes of life o’ertake me,
Hopes deceive, and fears annoy,
Never shall the cross forsake me,
Lo, it glows with peace and joy.
When the Son of bliss is beaming
Light and love upon my way,
From the cross the radiance streaming
Adds more luster to my day.
Bane and blessing, pain and pleasure,
By the cross is sanctified;
Peace is there that knows no measure,
Joys that through all time abide.
John Bowring, 1825
The thing that brought all this to my thoughts was when I was reading again that wonderful verse of scripture in 2 Corinthians, the first chapter. I remember when I was in Pittsburgh some time ago, being called to pray for a young woman who had been eight long years in bed, a total invalid, so pitiful and so hopeless. The doctors had come to the place where they said they could do nothing at all for her.
My husband and I went there and lived in the home and spent ten days there. There we prayed and spent many hours in prayer. I kept thinking, “Oh God, so many have prayed with her, some very noted people who believe in God’s healing have prayed for her, and nothing has happened. Who am I after all?” The day came to pray for her, and I just felt like I was so worthless. I just felt like I was so little, and I think a little fear came into my heart.
I knelt by the bed and opening to this passage, which is one of my favorite verses, I wanted to read this verse. “Who delivered us from so great a death, and doth deliver: in whom we trust he will yet deliver us” (2 Corinthians 1:10). Also a companion verse of “Jesus Christ, the same yesterday, today, and forever.” He delivered us, He doth deliver us, and He will yet deliver us. But my eyes didn’t fall on that verse; they fell on the verse just before it, which I had never truly noticed, and these are the words: “We should not trust in ourselves, but in God, which raiseth the dead” (2 Corinthians 1:9).
Then it came to me: It has nothing to do with me. It isn’t trust in ourselves. What have I to do with it except to be an instrument? It’s God who is to do this work; no confidence in the flesh. No matter how we feel about ourselves, it’s God that raises the dead.
So I called my husband and we read from the Gospel, and the mother and the father of the girl went in the room and prayed for her. Then, with all sincerity and faith in God, after that 10 days of fasting and prayer and much reading the Word, we bade her in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ to rise. And she did, she rose from that bed! Eight years she had never been out of that bed, could not walk at all. It was a very serious illness, and an infection of the spine. She is still walking and I hear from her almost every week, and God wonderfully used that life.
We trust not in ourselves, but in God, who raises up the dead, who delivered us from so great a death, and who doth deliver, and in whom we trust He will yet deliver. “Jesus Christ, the same yesterday, today, and forever.” Oh, the unchanging Lord, the unchanging Christ; our blessed Lord never changes. And God said, “I AM, I AM.”
So many things change today, so many springs that run dry. There are two kinds of springs. Some we call “weather springs” and some we call “dry weather springs.” In the early part of summer, when much rain is falling, these little basins are formed in the creeks’ banks that hold the water. But when the hot weather comes and rain ceases, they dry up from the water’s source. They’re springs that dry up because they have their source in an upper fountain.
So many sources of pleasure and comfort change as the years go by. But the Christian’s joy and peace doesn’t dry up or change because it has its source in an upper, everlasting fountain—the unchanging Lord. As God’s Word says, “There is a stream that makes glad the heart of man” (Psalm 46:4). I want you, as you listen to this message, to believe that the God who said all of these things in His Word is “I AM,” no matter what anyone says to you. Christ has not changed, He’s just the same. What He did for others in the past, He can do for you today!
We turn again in closing to another one of these precious old hymns. This fits into this message of the one that we can abide in, who changes not, the “I AM” that we read about, the Christ who changes not:
Abide with me; fast falls the eventide;
The darkness deepens; Lord, with me abide.
When other helpers fail and comforts flee,
O Thou who changest not, abide with me.
Swift to its close ebbs out life’s little day;
Earth’s joys grow dim; its glories pass away.
Change and decay in all around I see;
O Thou who changest not, abide with me.
We need Thy presence every passing hour.
What but Thy grace can spoil the tempter’s power?
Who, like Thyself, our guide and stay can be?
O Thou who changest not, abide with me!
Henry Lyte, 1847