Ezekiel 39:29 “I will no longer hide my face from them, for I will pour out my Spirit on the house of Israel, declares the Sovereign Lord.”
We forget what the life of faith was like before Pentecost. Actually, we can’t imagine what it was like, because we’ve never lived in a time when the Spirit of God was not available to all who would believe and receive. Those who have fought severe depression perhaps have the best grasp, because it feels like God is far away and unresponsive, but even there the Holy Spirit is still available, once they get past the lies of the enemy. The thing is, we live in times of great turmoil and spiritual warfare, but God is always accessible to those who will turn to Him. The only thing that can hide God from us is our own sin. If we are in willful rebellion, then God can indeed seem distant or even nonexistent. The operative image there is Jesus’ story of the Prodigal Son. (Luke 15:11-32) The Father’s love never changed, but the son had to “come to his senses” (Luke 15:17) before he could recognize that. Paul tells us we can grieve and quench the Holy Spirit, (Ephesians 4:30, 1 Thessalonians 5:19) and He can certainly seem distant at such times, but all He is waiting for is repentance.
My personal Pentecost was in 1974. I wish I could say that I have never grieved or quenched Him since, but that would be manifestly untrue. I have experienced time and time again the blessing of repentance. That’s not at all to say that it wouldn’t have been better had I not sinned in the first place, but it is to say, as the hymn does, that God’s grace is greater than all my sin. It is a joy beyond any other to fellowship with my Lord by His Spirit, and I desire that everyone have that same joy. It is a continuing mystery to me that we so often settle for less, or even refuse to believe that such fellowship is possible. As a pastor I urge the believers to take the time to get to know their Lord, to be comfortable with Him and allow Him to speak intimately with them, but so few really make the effort. I am not to give up, but live my life as a demonstration that it is possible, and continue to invite all who will to join me in that lifestyle.
Father, I am often painfully aware of my own foolish weakness, but I am even more aware of Your magnificent, omnipotent grace and love. Thank You. Help me be increasingly effective in communicating that grace and love to others, for their salvation and Your glory. Thank You. Praise God!