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Watchman, What Of The Night?

The days we live in are visibly darkening, like the twilight in the evening, and as wise men and women we must re-assess our work in our generation. It is not merely that our own life's work is short. The age we live in is fast drawing to a close. The return of the Jews to the land of Israel, and their re-possession of Jerusalem, is an evidence that the times of the Gentiles are nearing an end (Luke 21.24). The rise of worldwide Communism foreshadows the world-wide rule of the Man of Sin. These are facts that we ourselves have seen in recent years. By the time this article is in print it may be that man will have set foot on the moon. If God permits this it will be an amazing feat.

Equally amazing is the departure from the fear of God so manifest in Western lands even though they are flooded with Bibles. There seems little doubt that the propagation of the theory of evolution in schools and colleges has done much to undermine the fear of God and to hasten the prevailing godlessness.

The affluence of many lands, added to the aimlessness of godless living, has given an impulse to indiscipline among young people. With increasing godlessness have come increasing immorality and crime. Worldwide tension in all lands is evident and this reacts again in the minds of men, unsettling them. World affairs can be seen on television, and this also has reduced any inclination that men might have for quiet thought of eternal things.

And now we see a generation, without peace and without God, driven on by their own ability to attain to what seemed impossible in years past. The good news from God is scorned or ignored by most of our fellow-men today, and the servant of God may well be discouraged unless he keeps his eye on his Master. Of Him it is written, that, "He shall not fail nor be discouraged, till He have set judgement in the earth" (Isaiah 42.4). It is certain that in this age the servant of God needs a double portion of His Spirit (2 Kings 2.9).

Despite the desperate character of this age it is very evident that the prayer-power of many disciples, and indeed of many assemblies, is low. Only in the power of the Spirit of God have men been reached in any generation. But the Holy Spirit uses men, and the men He uses are those who are powerful through prayer. All experience, as well as the word itself, testifies to this (James 5.17-18).

It is possible for us to preach, and to organize meetings, and yet to accomplish little. Let us stop and consider where our weakness lies. We do not see men being broken down by the word because the power that is needed to do that is lacking. What God requires of us is earnest effective prayer in the Holy Spirit. Only men broken in prayer before God will reach the stony hearts of this generation. We need a spirit of grace and of supplication to be poured upon us (Zechariah 12.10). We are not broken-we are calm and unmoved in a world that is collapsing, morally. Let us be realistic. Let us learn from Jacob at Peniel and from Elijah at Carmel what it costs to get divine blessing, and the showers that we often sing about.

Our preaching meetings are related to our prayer meetings. The former will never rise higher than the latter. Let us take hold of God in earnest, believing prayer and refuse to let Him go until He pours upon us the latter rains. It is His will to grant these. It is only our cool, unmoving prayers that keep them back. Let us cast off our carefree complacency, or we will meet the Master at His coming with little fruit. His coming is near. What of the night? The morning comes, and also the night (Isaiah 21.11). The morning of His coming for us and the world's dark night of tribulation are near. It is now or never, in the service of God.

Brethren, let us awake, and betake ourselves to earnest effective prayer in the Holy Spirit, and we will see again those times of refreshing, which God has promised, in the pouring out of His Spirit upon all flesh.