the God who answers by fire

A.W. Pink misses no opportunity to exhort to faithfulness and offer encouragement to those whom God has called as ministers and shepherds to His sheep. Below are some of those warnings found in Pink’s work, “Elijah.”

…the man whom the Lord uses has to be kept low: severe discipline has to be experienced by him, if the flesh is to be duly mortified…alas, how little is man to be trusted: how little is he able to bear being put into the place of honour! How quickly self rises to the surface, and the instrument is ready to believe he is something more than an instrument! How sadly easy it is to make of the very service God entrusts us with a pedestal on which to display ourselves. But God will not share His glory with another, and therefore does He “hide” those who may be tempted to take some of it unto themselves. It is only by retiring from the public view and getting alone with God that we can learn our own nothingness.

God often says to His servants, “Get thee hence…hide thyself”: sometimes it is by the dashing of their ministerial hopes, sometimes by a bed of affliction, or by a severe bereavement, the Divine purpose is accomplished. Happy the one who can then say from his heart, “The will of the Lord be done.”

What a message is there here for any ardent ministers of Christ whom Providence may for a season have laid by from public service!They are so desirous of doing good and promoting the glory of their Master in the salvation of sinners and the building up of His saints, that they feel their enforced inactivity to be a severe trial. But let them rest assured that the Lord has some good reason for laying this restraint upon them, and therefore they should earnestly seek grace that they may not be fretful under it, nor take matters into their own hands in seeking to force a way out of it. Ponder the case of Elijah [during the time he was hidden away in the widow’s home]! He uttered no complaints nor did he venture out of the retirement into which God had sent him. He waited patiently for the Lord to direct him, to set him at liberty, and to enlarge his sphere of usefulness. Meanwhile, by fervent intercession, he was made a great blessing unto those in the home [by supernatural provision of food and the raising from the dead of the widow’s son].

There is therefore no higher testimony to their fidelity than for the servants of God to evoke the rancour and hostility of the reprobate.

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