God Meeting With Us
by James Smith, 1860
"The God of the Hebrews has met with us!" Exodus 5:3
So said Moses to Pharaoh, when God sent him to demand Israel's release. Man would never meet with God — if left to himself. Since his apostasy from God, there is in his heart a dread of the true God, a dislike to the true God, a wishing to have nothing to do with the true God. His motto is, "The farther from the true God, the better — the less of the true God, the better!"
If God and man ever meet — the movement always begins on God's part. The first movement is always with him. If God meets us now, it is in mercy; and he meets us in mercy now, that he may not meet us in wrath by and bye.
Has my reader ever met with God? You are surrounded with the proofs of his presence. He is not far from every one of us. If you have truly met with God — then you have experienced a great change. A change in your feelings, desires, and conduct. We can have nothing to do with the God of grace — without a great effect being produced upon us. Let us attend to this subject for two or three minutes — it is worth consideration.
Has God met with you? If so, you have seen your SIN — for God is light, and his presence reveals to us our sin and sinfulness. Just in proportion to our nearness to God, and our frequent fellowship with God — will be our discovery of the sinful state of our hearts and lives. Self-righteousness cannot live in the presence of the God of the Scriptures.
Has God met with you? If so, you have felt your own VILENESS — for God is holy, and the perfect holiness and beauty of his nature, reveals to us the odious vileness of ours. When God met with Job he cried out, "Behold I am vile!" When God met with Isaiah, he cried, "Woe is me! I am undone!" And so it has always been, our loveliness is turned into corruption, when God is near to us.
Has God met with you? Then you have fallen at his feet — for God is so infinitely glorious, that no sinner can stand in his sight. Filled with confusion, alarmed for our safety, and thoroughly ashamed of ourselves — we drop to the ground, when God lets out but one ray of his glory upon us.
Has God met with you? Then you have cried to him for mercy — for he is the Father of mercies, and so makes himself known to us, and seeing our sin, feeling our vileness, and falling at his feet — we instantly cry, "God be merciful to me a sinner!" Nor can we rest until we obtain mercy.
To meet God in his law, requiring, commanding, and threatening — is often dreadful, and fills us with alarm, dread, and terror!
To meet God in his providence — at times bewilders, confounds, and troubles us.
But to meet God in his gospel — God in Jesus, excites hope, draws forth desire, and gives us courage. Now we see him with his heart full of love, his eye full of pity, and his mouth full of tender invitations, asking us to be reconciled unto him. He tells us, that he is prepared to pardon every sin, to forgive and forget every offence, to take us to be his friends, and to treat us as his friends forever!
Meeting God in Jesus, is like the prodigal meeting his father, who instead of upbraiding him, falls on his neck and kisses him, and calls for the best robe to be brought forth and put upon him.
Meeting God in Jesus, there is no terror to make us afraid, no frown to drive us from him, no display of glory to fill us with alarm. All is peaceful. All is attractive. All is calculated to win the heart.
Reader, have you met with God — with God in the person of his Son? He is not far from you. He is in his word, in his house, in his ordinances, and on his throne of grace. May he draw you to him. May he manifest himself to you, as he does not unto the world. May you have such a vivid consciousness of the presence of God, and such sweet enjoyments of his love and mercy — that you may be able to say as confidently as Moses did, "The God of the Hebrews has met with me!"
God and sinners must meet. They have a long account to settle, and they must settle it at the throne of grace — or at the bar of justice. It must be settled by the blood of Jesus appreciated and pleaded — or it will be settled by the pouring out of the vials of God's just and eternal wrath! O how important it is to meet God — as the God of grace! How dreadful, how inconceivably dreadful it will be, for a sinner to meet God — as the God of justice! Then he must be weighed in a just balance — then he must present an obedience, equal to all the requirements of the law — or be condemned, condemned to suffer the just wrath, of a justly offended God — to suffer the wrath of God in that place, prepared for the devil and his angels!
What a meeting that will be, which will take place between the sinner and God, when he is called upon to give an account of himself, to answer for his conduct as a breaker of the law, and as a neglecter of the gospel. Sinner, what will you do? What will you say? How will you bear that dreadful day? How will you be able to endure the eternity of torment beyond it?
O that you were wise, that you understood this; that you would consider your latter end! If God meets you by his messenger death, before you meet him in his beloved Son — it will be dreadful! dreadful! O that God would now meet with you, and make the reading of these lines, life and power to you!
Blessed Lord, you who once met with Moses — meet with the reader, O meet him in a way of grace, and save his soul, save him with an everlasting salvation! Holy Spirit, put life and power into your own word, for Jesus Christ's sake.