Walking Before God – By Lewis Williams

Chapter 17

The Almighty God

Back in the twelfth chapter of Genesis we read that the Lord had said unto Abram, “Get thee out from thy kindred and from thy father’s house unto a land that I will shew thee.” Abram obeyed partly, inasmuch as he left his fathers house and went out, but he did not leave all his kindred. He took his brother’s son Lot with him. It would have been better had he obeyed fully, for Lot was the cause of much trouble later on. This call of Abram has been used as a symbol of God’s call to the sinner to leave his old life with its associates, and go out into a new life, but many have acted like Abram and not fully obeyed, but endeavored to hold on to some thing, retain some worldly company or some unclean habit, and it has caused them more or less trouble ever afterwards, until the thing, whatever it was, was completely abandoned. forbids Him asking or requiring of us what we are unable to do; hence, we believe we are able to do anything He requires of us, and when He says, “Walk before Me, and be thou perfect,” we believe it possible to do so.

He said to Abram, “I am the Almighty God.” Whenever we hear money spoken of as the “almighty dollar,” we always feel like contradicting such a statement at once. We grant that the dollar is mighty, but God alone is Almighty. “I am the Almighty God” — the one who pours out blessings; the one who sends the sunshine to warm the earth, and the rain to moisten it, and cause it to bring forth in abundance. The wealth of the world comes from the ground, and should God cause it to withhold its power and treasure, the human family would die. “I am the Almighty God, and beside Me there is none other.” There are many gods, but there is but one Almighty God, and He alone can bring peace and purity to a human heart, and that heart that knows Him not, knows nothing of peace and purity.

How often are our hearts moved and stirred by the stories told us by returned missionaries from heathen lands. They tell us of India, with the teeming millions in their darkness, worshipping their multiplicity of gods. We hear of their many gods, and the strictness and exactness of the conduct of those who bow down before them and worship them, and we pour out our money to enable missionaries to carry the Gospel to them. But if we would turn our eyes homeward, and study the situation a little while in the light of the old Book, we would be amazed at the idolatry at home. We boast of our Christian civilization, and of a land whose church spires pierce the skies in every community, and make the claim that we are not living in a heathen country, that we believe in one God and Him only do we worship.

Stop a moment. Friend, that which occupies the greatest space in your affections, that which takes up the greatest amount of your time, that is your god. The thing, whatever it is, that you love most, that is your god, and there are millions of people in this land who care no more about the Almighty God than they do for some one of whom they have never heard. Although He alone, apart from themselves, holds and controls their eternal destiny, yet neither their time nor their affections is centered on Him. Speak to the average business man and hear him reply, “I am too busy; I have no time for religious matters.” exactly! Money, gold, the amassing of wealth is his god, and his whole time, thought and attention are turned to that one thing, and with all the forces of his nature he pursues after it. But. the Almighty God, and His power to save from sin and make the heart pure and fit for its eternal destiny, is scarcely thought of, unless it be for a few minutes on Sunday morning. People are making gods out of their business, money, position, possessions, standing in society, fine clothing, adornments, their preachers, the denomination of which they are members, and a thousand and one other things too numerous to mention. That which occupies the greatest space in your time and affections, that is your god.

The writer has known of a certain individual who made a god of her fine clothes, and on a Sunday morning she would bring them out and hang them up in the sunlight where she could see them. But one day she died and they laid her away under the ground, while others took her fine clothes to wear. We have known others to make gods of their children, and later on those children laid down and died or went to the bad and crushed their hearts, but the loving Lord, who allowed them to accumulate those things, held no place in their affections whatever. Untold numbers are busy with money-getting, pleasure-seeking, and the things of this life, with scarcely a thought of the day when they must meet God.

When Jesus was asked concerning the signs of His return to this planet, He replied, “Take heed to yourselves lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting and drunkenness, and the cares of this life, and so that day come upon you unawares. For as a snare shall it come on all them that dwell on the face of the whole earth. Watch ye, therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass and to stand before the Son of man.” (Luke 21:34-36) And as Jesus taught that none but the pure in heart should see God, the most important thing in this life is to make sure that we have pure hearts; but the masses at this day and age have neither thought nor desire for pure hearts. He who alone is able to make the heart clean, does not occupy much space in either their time or affection. He is not their God. They are not searching for pure hearts, nor worshipping the Almighty God.

Sometime ago we listened to a returned missionary from India, and he related the following incident. He said, “One day I heard a noise and confusion in the village, and going outside of my hut I saw a crowd of people some three hundred yards away moving slowly towards the village. I walked down the road to meet them and discovered that in their midst were two men who were stretching themselves out full length upon the ground. They would reach as far in front of them as they could and with the ends of their fingers make a mark across the ground in front of them. Then arising they would toe the mark and stretch themselves out again, repeating the operation. Their hands were bleeding, their faces were scratched, and their clothing badly torn. They had come forty-seven miles across the country, much of it with no roads, through brakes and briars and over the rocks and sandy desert, and had two miles further to go to a crossroads where there was a small stone god a few inches square. The top of it had formerly been the shape of a human face, but it had been kissed by so many lips that it had been worn off round and smooth. It had a particular name, and those two men had been told that if they would make the journey from where they lived to that stone god, and measure the entire distance by their bodies, they could get pure hearts when they reached that god.”

As he related the story, the picture came before us of their bleeding, disfigured faces, torn hands and clothing, and their desperate earnestness to find a god who could give them pure hearts. We could not keep the tears from starting from our eyes, and when we thought of the millions of people in this land of Bibles and churches who are too busy to seek the God in whose hand their very existence lies, who gave His Son to shed His blood to wash and make pure their hearts, but from whom they had turned away, we could not keep the cry from coming up from our very soul, “O Lord, let us go and preach the story of Jesus and His power to save from sin, to a people who want pure hearts as earnestly as those two India heathen!”