God Is All I Needby A.W.Tozer on March 29, 2022
Dear friends, The Old Testament book, The Song of Songs, is a poetic book about a King and His beloved bride. Many scholars throughout history, before and after the Reformation, considered it an allegory about Christ and the Church, or a poetic picture of God's love for His people and His dealings with them. The book offers some insights into our relationship with the Lord. When we have the Spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of God, when we have illumination by the Holy Spirit of who He is, His glorious attributes, we realize as the beloved Shulamite bride did, that "Your love is better than wine..Your name is ointment poured forth.." (Song of Songs 1:2,3), which is what David said, "Better is one day in your courts than a thousand elswhere.." (Psalm 84:10), and what Paul expresses in the above verse. We also see that our seeking of God is only a wonderful indication that He Himself is drawing us to Himself: "Draw me away and we will run after you.." (Song of Songs 1:4). As Jesus said, "For no one can come to Me, unless the Father who sent Me draws them.." (John 6:44) A.W.Tozer articulated that in his classic book, The Pursuit of God:
"Christian theology teaches the doctrine of prevenient grace, which briefly stated means this, that before a man can seek God, God must first have sought the man.
Before a sinful man can think a right thought of God, there must have been a work of enlightenment done within him; imperfect it may be, but a true work nonetheless, and the secret cause of all desiring and seeking and praying which may follow.
We pursue God because, and only because, He has first put an urge within us that spurs us to the pursuit. "No man can come to me," said our Lord, "except the Father which hath sent me draw him," and it is by this very prevenient drawing that God takes from us every vestige of credit for the act of coming. The impulse to pursue God originates with God, but the out working of that impulse is our following hard after Him; and all the time we are pursuing Him we are already in His hand: "Thy right hand upholdeth me."Another insight from the Song of Songs, is that when the Lord draws us to Himself, we experience hunger and thirst for Him, and seek to know Him more, as the Shulamite woman did: "Tell me, O you whom I love, where do you feed your flock?..." (Song of Songs 1:7), In other words, how do I get closer to you? The Lord's answer is: "If you do not know...follow in the footsteps of the flock..." (Song of Songs 1:8), in other words, follow in the footsteps of those who knew Me, walked with Me, and were close to Me. As the Scriptures says in Hebrews, "Consider the outcome of their way of life and imitate their faith.." (Hebrews 13:7), and also in First Corinthians where Paul says, "Imitate Me as I imitate Christ." (1 Cor 11:1) The article below is from a Tozer book about lessons from the lives of Biblical figures who walked with God and were close to Him. We can all learn a whole lot from these lessons, and they can help us in our own walk and pursuit of God. Blessings, Mamdouh Riad The Glory of God on Cape Cod team ******************************************* God Is All I Need Abraham's faith was from the heart and rock-solid By A.W.Tozer
ULTIMATELY ABRAHAM discovered that only God matters. He discovered in that revelation the greatest concept in the world. We might say he became a "one idea" man.I like what I see about Abraham after that. If ever there was something significant between the lines, it is in the account of Abraham. It is as if Abraham laid hold of God's favor and promise with rejoicing, saying to himself, "When I have God, I need nothing more!" Abraham was completely satisfied with God's friendship. He becomes to us a faithful example in his willingness to put God first. With Abraham, only God mattered. In the fullness of time when Jesus came into the world. His emphasis to men and women was the same: "Commit your life and soul to God, for only He matters!" To an intellectual religious leader of His day Jesus said, "If you do not know the things of the earth, how can you believe Me when I tell you about heavenly things?" (see John 3:12). God has not changed, Christ has not changed, the need of mankind has not changed. The all-sufficient God whom Abraham discovered, whom Nicodemus sought, is just as appropriate to our aspirations today. Abraham was not a halfhearted believer. He was completely committed to the fact that only God matters. His fellowship with God was so real that he had no problems about the spiritual/material questions raised so often in our day. I am certain Abraham did not spend time or effort with creation theories. He discerned that the natural world is the spiritual world projected downward. The earth is the shadow of heaven. If we knew more about earth, we would know more about heaven, because the same God made them both. It was true in Abraham's day, and it is still true that sin has scarred and polluted the earth. But God's laws from above still rule below in nature-except in the hearts of rebellious men and women. I have long contended that the Creator God is an artist. His design and handiwork may be seen throughout His creation. Do you have compelling memories from your childhood concerning the beauty of the earth where you grew up? I confess that I continue to think of my native Pennsylvania as a wonderful paradise of nature. When I go back there, I still delight in the rolling green hills, the peaceful valleys, the flowing streams. I recall with pleasure the mystery in the morning fog hanging ribbon-like and low over the river, only to disappear into the sky as the sun rose. It was not hard to sense the hand of God m the lovely face of nature all around. And why should not we accept, not only as a matter of faith but also as a matter of common reason, that the God who made the heavens above made the earth beneath? Abraham was a theist, and so are we if we have gone on to follow the Lord. A theist is one who believes not only that there is a God but that He is a God who loves and cares about us. He is a God who has provided a Savior as a revelation of Himself so that men and women may fmd Him, know Him, love Him. In Abraham's encounter with God he learned why he was here upon earth. He was to glorify God in all things and to continually worship. So Abraham built an altar. "The Lord appeared unto Abram, and said. Unto thy seed will I give this land: and there builded he an altar unto the Lord, who appeared unto him" (Genesis 12:7). In our present-day age of grace and mercy, we acknowledge that the only altar in effect for us is in the glory world. It is there that our Lord Jesus Christ ministers as our great High Priest. But we are Christian believers intent upon glorifying God and worshiping Him. It is consistent with that objective that there should be an altar deep within our own hearts, our inner beings. Two centuries ago, George Croly captured this picture of our devotional life. We often sing his words: Teach me to love Thee as Thine angels love, One holy passion filling all my frame; The baptism of the heaven-descended Dove, My heart an altar, and Thy love the flame. In many of our churches we have wooden altar rails. Some of us have put our elbows down on them in times of spiritual stress. But I speak here of the need for an unseen but very real altar within our beings. Here God will speak with us, deal with us and teach us the joys and delights of personal communion and fellowship. Abraham heard from God. Abraham met with God. Abraham listened to God. Abraham responded to God. He knew the meaning of an altar of worship and praise. Our altar of devotion and worship within our hearts should be as real. These truths concerning Abraham and his wholehearted response to God cause me to wonder. How can we bring our lukewarm Christians into a realization that nothing in the world is as important to them as God's love and God's will? It does not take great wisdom to perceive that we live in a generation of completely self-confident men and women. We are doing so well and flourishing in so many ways that we feel little need for God. In spite of what God has told us about the dangers of pride, we are proud, proud, proud! We are proud of the civilization we have produced. We are proud of our inventions, our comforts and conveniences, our educational accomplishments. We are proud that we can travel so far and so fast. We spend our time dashing from one place to another, pursuing business and pleasure. We assure ourselves that the most important issue in life is making a living. And we scarcely know what that means! In the midst of all oiir hustle we try to forget that we are becoming older every day. Only an occasional man or woman has the good sense to perceive that the day of judgment draws nearer and nearer. The Lord Jesus Christ in His earthly ministry knew all about the apathy and materialism that would dominate our lives. His words of warning were recorded by Matthew: "For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shaU a man give in exchange for his soul?" (16:26). Jesus' words quoted by Luke come like an alarm to our own day and time: "Take heed to yourselves, lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting, and drunkenness, and 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" (21:34-36). I am having a hard time trying to comprehend what has happened to sound Bible teaching. What has happened to preaching on Christian discipleship and on our daily deportment in the spiritual life? We are making an accommodation. We are offering a take-it-easy, Pollyanna type of approach that does not seem ever to have heard of total commitment to One who is our Lord and Savior. I regret that more and more Christian believers are being drawn into a hazy, fuzzy kind of teaching that assures everyone who has ever "accepted Christ” that he or she has nothing more to be concerned about. He is OK and he will always be OK because Christ will be returning before things get too tough. Then all of us will wear our crowns, and God will see that we have cities to mle over! If that concept is accurate, why did our Lord take the stern and unpopular position that Christian believers should be engaged in watching and praying? If there is an automatic deliverance for everyone, why did Jesus distinctly warn us to watch and pray that we might be accounted worthy to escape all the things that will come to pass? It is my judgment that every one of us should be sure we have had that all-important encounter with God. It is an experience that leaves us delighted in our love for Him. Like Abraham, we become satisfied with the revelation that only God matters. If you are living only to buy and sell and get gain, that is not enough. If you are living only to sleep and work, that is not enough. If you are living only to prosper and marry and raise a family, that is not enough. If you live only to get old and die, and never find forgiveness and the daily sense of God's presence in your life, you have missed God's great purpose for you. A great number of believers have set a limitation on what they are willing to do for the Lord, for His Church and for His people. Such an attitude only underscores the contemporary unwillingness of professing Christians to take the Word of God seriously. Their difficulty is not in understanding the Bible but in persuading their untamed hearts to accept its plain instructions. The question we face, therefore, is not theological. We know what the Scriptures teach. Rather, our problem is moral: Have we the courage to stand up for what we know to be true and right? Can we bring ourselves to take up the cross with its blood and death and reproach? From Abraham's time to this very day. God has always expected that His believing people would be a separated people. Love for God and obedience to Him have always meant scorn and derision from the world. Why should this be? Because Abraham in his day, and the disciples of Christ in this dispensation, were friends of God. That could only mean they were pilgrims and strangers in this world and in this world's society. Abraham was a man of faith—a godly man. He was also a lonely man. We see a revealing word picture of Abraham in Genesis 14 after he had given his nephew. Lot, the choice of the well-watered Jordan plain. Many of the local tribes were in constant warfare. Ultimately Lot and his family were captured and taken from Sodom where they lived. One man who had escaped during the conflict went to Abraham, the Hebrew, to ask for help. This is the first time the word Hebrew appears in the Bible. Scholars are in agreement that the word meant "stranger" or “alien”. Perhaps it was used of Abraham because he had left Ur of the Chaldees and had gone into Canaan at God's direction. Abraham was a Hebrew, a stranger, an alien. Living in faith, living for God, he stood alone. He did not mix with the people around him. He was separated because he was God's man. He had met God. He had heard the voice of God. God had assured him of his future. He was Abraham, the Hebrew. A stranger, yes, and lonely. Now, let me transfer this to our times and our status. The sense of not belonging is a very real part of our Christian heritage. It is easily possible that the loneliest person in the world is a Christian-given the right circumstances. Place a believing, practicing Christian boy suddenly into the arena of an army training camp where there is no other Christian, and he is absolutely a stranger, the loneliest person in the world. The medical men and the other officers will say, "Just let him get adjusted.” They always feel that the lonely person has a complex, is headed for a nervous breakdown. But the Christian already has his values sorted out. He knows that he is a stranger. He understands why he is lonely in the midst of thousands of people around him. We know what it means to have made our choice and to know that our Lord is our very best friend. We also know that when we break into tears from time to time, it is not a sign of weakness. It is the sense of the normal loneliness of a committed Christian in the middle of a world that rejected our Lord and now would disown us, His disciples. Is there an encouraging word? Yes, there is a gracious word for you, fellow believer in the faith. Being lonely in this world will only drive you to a closer communion with the God who has promised never to leave you or forsake you. He is altogether good and He is faithful. He will never break His covenant or alter that which has gone from His mouth. He has promised to keep you as the apple of His eye. He has promised to watch over you as a mother watches over her child. God's care for you is real, and His pattern for you is plain. He says, "This is the sign of your pleasing My indwelling Spirit: you have been absorbed with Christ, you have made your thoughts a clean sanctuary for His holy habitation” Build that invisible altar within. Let the Spirit of God produce the living, cleansing flame that marks your devotion to Christ, our Lord. (From the book Men Who Met God, By A.W.Tozer)