I Will Pay Any Priceby A.W.Tozer on February 8, 2022
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.."
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.
The Glory of God on Cape Cod team
Abraham was on his face, God was on the throne
I happen to believe that Abraham's encounters with the living God nearly 4,000 years ago leave modern men and women without excuse.
Abraham stands for every believer. His eager and willing faith becomes every Christian's condemnation. On the other hand, his fellowship with God becomes every believer's encouragement.
If there is a desire in your heart for more of God's blessing in your life, turn your attention to the details of Abraham's encounters with God. You will find yourself back at the center, at the beating heart of living religion.
It is profitable for us to remember that when he was still Abram, living in a segment of the world that we now identify as Syria, humans were completely occupied with a wide variety of gods. Religious expressions were based on many forms of pagan idolatry.
Remember, too, that at that point in history, almost 2,000 years before the coming of Jesus Christ into our world, Abraham had no Bible and no hymnal. He had no church and no godly religious traditions for guidance. He could not turn to a minister or an evangelist for spiritual help.
Abraham had only his own empty, hungry heart. That and the manifestation of the God who reveals Himself to men and women who desire to find Him and know Him!
The Bible informs us that Abraham heard the word of the Lord—an audible communication from a living, eternal Being. It was a revelation that takes us back to the ancient fountain of true worship, back to the roots of a living and meaninghil religion. It takes us back to a time before there were churches, denominations and forms of worship— things we now take for granted. But remember, Abraham predated them all.
The Lord God was about to do something special in our sinful world. He needed a man who would believe and trust and obey just because God is God! Abraham was that man. In the course of his fellowship with God, Abraham heard the Lord say, "I am the Almighty God; walk before me, and be thou perfect. And I will make my covenant between me and thee, and will multiply thee exceedingly. . . . A father of many nations have I made thee" (Genesis 17:1-2, 5).
Abraham had a glorious and continuing experience with the Almighty God. And spiritual experience is as real and valuable yet today as at any time in the history of God's dealing with mankind.
Let me define what I mean by experience. It is conscious awareness. Experience is awareness within a person's conscious intelligence..
Think about the reality of Abraham's experience. Abraham was consciously aware of God, His presence and His revelation. He was aware that the living God had stepped over the threshold into personal encounter with a man who found the desu-e within himself to know God, to believe God and to live for God.
See the effect of this encounter on Abraham. He was prepared to pay any price for the privilege of knowing God. For certain he recognized the lofty, holy character of the Creator and Revealer God.
The Scriptures declare, "Abram fell on his face" as the Lord talked with him."(Genesis 17:3). Abraham was reverent and submissive. Probably there is no better picture anywhere in the Bible of the right place for mankind and the right place for God. God was on His throne speaking, and Abraham was on his face listening!
Where God and man are in relationship, this must be the ideal. God must be the communicator, and man must be in the listening, obeying attitude.
If men and women are not willing to assume this listening attitude, there will be no meeting with God in living, personal experience.
This probably explains why there are so many shallow, empty Christian believers in our day— dissatisfied men and women in our churches who exhibit little delight in the things of God. To them, Christianity is a rather humdrum, monotonous religious practice. They seem never to have been gripped within by the world's most tremendous and awesome experience—an encounter with the majestic God whose being fills His universe.
Yes, Abraham was lying face down in humility and reverence, overcome with awe in this encounter with God. He knew that he was surrounded by the world’s greatest mystery. The presence of this One who fills all things was pressing in upon him, rising above him,defeating him, taking away his natural self-confidence. God was overwhelming him and yet inviting and calling him, pleading with him and promising him a geat future as a friend of God!
This is God’s way and God's plan. This is God!
As we examine the nature of believing faith in our day we find ourselves asking, "Where is the mystery? Where is the reverence, the awe, the true fear of God among us?”
As humans we are prone to reduce our concept and estimate of God. We are to the point where we presume we can manage and maneuver Him— perhaps even push Him around on occasion.
How wrong can we be?
The great God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ rises beyond our consciousnesses, rises above our abilities and our questions. His infinitude is known only to Himself, the One who created and who is able to redeem and forgive.
This is the God who drew near to Abraham. This is the God who later approached mankind in mankind's own flesh, who was called Immanuel—God with us. No wonder Abraham was stretched out, on his face, before that Presence!
God was saying, "Abraham, I am trying to tell something-something very important. I want you to listen and to comprehend. Abraham, you were made in My image and you were designed for a single purpose: to worship and glorify Me.”
We are surrounded throughout our lifetime by a multitude of things designed for specific purposes. Without argument, most things are at their best when they are fulfilling their purpose and design.For instance, a piano is made with a specific purpose: to produce music. However, I happen to know that someone once stood on a piano in order to put a fastener of some kind in the ceiling. Some artistic women have used piano tops as family picture galleries. I have seen piano tops that were cluttered filing cabinets or wide library shelves.
There is an intelligent design in the creation of a piano. The manufacturer did not announce: "This is a good piano. It has at least 19 uses!" No, the designer had only one thought in mind: "This piano will have the purpose and potential of sounding forth beautiful music!"
Or consider the design of our ears. They are at their best when they serve our hearing as God intended when He made us. But some people seem to think that God designed ears just to hold glasses in place.
Do not miss the application of truth here. God was saying to Abraham, "You may have some other idea about the design and purpose for your life, but you are wrong! You were created in My image to worship Me and to glorify Me. If you do not honor this purpose, your life will degenerate into shallow, selfish, humanistic pursuits. Abraham, commit your whole life and future into My hands. Let Me as your Creator and God fulfill in you My perfect design. It is My great desire that you become a faithful and delighted worshiper at My throne."
My Christian brother or sister, you who follow the Lamb, you do not need me to tell you that our faithful God has a master design for each life. God has a master design for your life.
God knew that Abraham was a man, a human, and that he belonged to a fallen race. Yet God's word to Abraham was not a condemning word. It was an encouraging, supportive word. So it is with God's word to us, even in our day. He still asks, "Are you willing to worship Me and glorify Me?”
We were so designed and created. We were made in the image of God. And God is prepared to receive us and welcome us through His love and goodness as though we had never been the sons and daughters of misery and darkness.
As followers of the Lamb, we know this wonder and this miracle. Our way into fellowship and friendship with the God of all creation is by the blood of the everlasting covenant, Jesus Christ Himself being our sacrifice, our redemption and our surety.
I see a beautiful and engrossing lesson in these experiences of Abraham. It is a lesson as real in this century as in Abraham's time. God by His very being and nature had been there all the time: but Abraham had just become acquainted with Him in a wondrous, personal encounter!
This has been true of all the great saints, no matter when or where they lived. We Have the biographies of many of them. Others lived, encountered God and served in their own time and sphere with little notice but with God's blessing.
I have had the opportunity to write about three spiritual giants in my own generation. The three were Albert B. Simpson, the Presbyterian divine who founded The Christian and Missionary Alliance; Robert A. Jaffray of the Toronto Globe family, the missionary genius who found ways to take Christ into many forbidden areas of Asia and the Pacific Islands; and humble lay evangelist Tom Hare, known personally to many of us as "the Irish plumber”
The three were alike in the sense that all had met God very definitely in personal encounters and ever after could say in wonder, "God was faithful—and He had been there all the time!” Each had a burning, personal experience with our Lord.
In terms of culture, education and methods of ministry, they were as unlike and different as three men could be. But God had said the same thing to each of them, the same thing He had said to Abraham: "When you have found Me, your Creator, your Redeemer and your Lord, you have found everything you need! It will be your privilege to trust and obey. It will be My privilege to bless you, guide you and sustain you!"
They were three of those who in this era found their great example of faith in Abraham. If we had the names and the experiences of all the saintly men and women who encountered God throughout the centuries, we could fill many great libraries.
Some of them we would consider great, but many of them were very ordinary people. Some were rich, but many more were poor. Some were highborn, but many of the lowborn were God’s true royalty in the society of mankind. Some of them were kings and leaders, but God’s final records are going to reveal shining crowns and eternal rewards for saintly scrubwomen, tradespeople and peasants.
In that coming day they will all alike be children of Abraham in faith.They will be alike in their encounters with the Almighty God. They will be alike in their service for Him as sinners saved by grace, liberated and transformed to bring glory to God.
I close this chapter with the account of one more brother in Christ—a humble, joyful evangelist known widely as "Uncle Bud" Robinson.
Lost, selfish, crude, rough, profane, vulgar, alienated from God, Bud Robinson always wept when he told audiences of his great distance from God as a younger man. But then he would laugh with joy as he testified to his encounter with the God of all grace and his conversion to Christ Jesus.
"Everything looks good when Chnst has come to live in your heart” Uncle Bud Robinson would say. “When the Lord filled me with the Holy Spirit, I was so blessed that I just went outside, grabbed a tree in my arms and hugged and hugged it!'
Everything looks good when you see it through the glow of worship and the aura of divine enjoyment. Bless the Lord, 0 my soul!
(From the book Men Who Met God, By A.W.Tozer)