The Glory of the Lord (continued)
The Vision of the Glory Saves From Despair
That vision - the opened Heaven; the throne, and the Man upon it above - had a tremendous effect upon Ezekiel. It saved him, in his day, from despair; it saved his ministry; it saved his testimony; it saved his life. And it is only that that will save us; only that can save us. Perhaps that sounds a little pessimistic. I do not want to be a pessimist; but you cannot be acquainted with the state of things on this earth today, even among what is called Christian, or Christianity, without sometimes feeling fairly hopeless about it. Is it possible that the great revelation given to us of the Church, as we have it in the New Testament, can in any way be realized in our time? Look at the divisions; look at the quarrels; feel this awful atmosphere that has grown up and spread. In the United States, for instance, some 35 years ago, there seemed to be such an open, clear way for something new of the Lord: the atmosphere seemed so clear, and hearts seemed so open. But in that land today, everybody is suspecting everybody else; the spirit of criticism has got into the most devoted Christians, both about other Christians and about Christian things. You cannot have half an hour's conversation even with those who are most devoted to the Lord, without somebody being lashed, somebody being mentioned for warning, as suspect. It is like an awful miasma, or fog, that has crept in among Christians over the whole world. You cannot go into your religious bookshops without seeing line upon line of pamphlets and books that are occupied with denouncing something. Men are giving their whole lives to this horrible work of trying to expose what they think to be error.
That is strong language, but it is not too strong. It is the state of things, and you might despair of the realization of that which you have seen to be God's purpose. And yet you cannot; the Lord will not let you. If you really have seen the Lord, you just cannot give it up. You may say, like Jeremiah, that you will not speak in this way any more. He resolved that he would never speak again of the Lord. But then - "If I say, I will not ... speak any more in His name, then there is ... a burning fire shut up in my bones ... and I cannot contain" (Jeremiah 20:9).
You and I may have often decided that we should just have to stop talking about it, and give it up, because it does not seem to work; things seem to go from bad to worse, and worse to awful! And yet we are still here. We cannot help ourselves; we are back again in full view of God's declared purpose. The Spirit will not give it up, and will not let us give it up, however bad the situation is. The Heaven is not closed yet; the Man on the throne has not evacuated the throne yet; there is still hope. We have got to have the mastery of that great reality that He is still there, where God put Him. And if this is true, difficult as it sometimes is to believe it, or at any rate to see it, - then He is "far above all rule and authority, and dominion, and power, and every name" - world dictators or anybody else - "That is named, in this age or in the ages to come." Only as that gets hold of us, and we take hold of it in turn, will there be any prospect at all; but that is the prospect.
(continued with # 45 - "Strategic Revelations of the Glory")