Of Growth
And Strength

What is Man -- That Thou Visitest Him?
Walter Beuttler

This morning around 4:00 o’clock, the Lord awakened me with a very intense presence.  So I got up and changed my ideas.  Strange isn’t it?  So instead of speaking to you on what I had planned, I’m going to speak to you along the line of the Lord’s visit.  In the light of that, I have a hunch that the Lord would very much like to pay us a visit.  That wouldn’t be a bad idea, would it?  So I want to chat with you along that line.  Turning to Hebrews 2:6.  This is merely to give us a beginning, that’s all.

Hebrews 2:6 But one in a certain place testified, saying, What is man, that thou art mindful of him?  Or the son of man, that thou visitest him?  

To me it is very obvious from this, as well as other passages, that there is such a thing as the Lord visiting His people.  “What is man that thou art mindful of him?”  Or that You even think of him?  Or the son of man that You pay him a visit?  Naturally, we can have different ideas about the Lord’s visit, and I’ll mention a few of them just by way of passing giving different applications.  Then we’ll begin to bear down on one particular line of truth.

In I Samuel 2:21, we have the statement: “And the Lord visited Hannah.”  All of us know the story.  She received from the Lord the answer to her prayer after all natural possibilities failed to exist, or no longer existed - seemingly.  She cried unto the Lord for her need (that can be any need), and in response to that intercession, that earnest prayer petitioning of Hannah, God responded.  That response is clothed in the term ‘visited.’  “And the Lord visited Hannah.”  In other words, the Lord visits us, so to speak, in answer to earnest prayer.  That would apply to any kind of legitimate need that we can imagine.  The Lord visits His people in prayer.

Again in Zephaniah 2:7 For the Lord their God shall visit them, and turn away their captivity.  Or turn away their bondage or bring them out of confinement.  Are any of you this morning in confinement; solitary confinement; the confinement of circumstances or environment?  Or if you prefer another line: spiritual bondage - no freedom in the Lord?  Well, hallelujah!  “The Lord their God shall visit them.”

I can’t help but think back a number of years, when on one particular Sunday morning, the Lord bore down on liberating us from our bondage.  For a long time we called that day: “Liberation Day.”  Folk were so free in the Lord.  They were so set free from their timidity that in this particular service, we had two lines of students waiting to get to the mike.  The lines on either side reached back more than halfway, the fellows here and the girls here.  I had to sit there and say, “Now you’re next, you’re next, now you’re next, etc.  Like a traffic cop.”

Among them was a little half-pint, one of those timid things, and did she let go.  It was one of those days in which the Lord came to liberate from bondage.  Don’t put it past Him that He wouldn’t do that again-and I’m not trying to reconstruct anything.  But I know one thing: if you have any friend that loves to visit you, that friend likes to visit you again.  If I know anything about Him, He likes to do it again, and then some more.  Why not, if He likes it at all?  And I think He does (in a whisper).

“Well, I don’t feel like He’s visiting us.”

Did you ever get an unexpected visitor?  What I don’t like is when they come unexpected at 10:00 o’clock at night.  I don’t mind Him.  I would mind you!  But He’s different, isn’t He?  All right, the Lord visits by turning away captivity, liberating from bondage.

I’m still merely giving you different directions that what I have later to say can take.  In Luke 7 we read:

Luke 7:15-16 And he that was dead sat up, and began to speak.  And he delivered him to his mother.  And there came a fear on all; and they glorified God, saying, That a great prophet is risen up among us; and that God hath visited his people.  

What kind of a visitation do we have here?  I would simply say, a visitation of God in the supernatural manifestation of His power.  One that was dead, sat up, and began to speak.  I don’t know what he said, but if I were dead and sat up, I think the first thing I would say is, “Hi.”  Now how they would react, I don’t know.

But the Lord has visited His people, a visit in supernatural power that raised the dead and manifested His power in meeting the needs of people and glorifying God.  God still visits His people in supernatural ways.  Wouldn’t be a bad idea, would it?

John 14:21 He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me; and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him.

Now here you have the Lord’s visit, I would call it, in a personal way.  Now those of you that like to go to the library, and it will pay you to do it, and make a search of this word ‘manifest,’ wherever you can get a ray of light, you will be surprised what you will find.  I know there are some things in the Pulpit Commentary; there are some things in other books.  Different translators translate this word differently, and I like those translations.  I use all of them.  I haven’t memorized the translation of this word, but I know it reads like this: “I will reveal myself to him; I will make myself known to him; I will show myself to him.”

You can go to the Pulpit Commentary and another Greek work of some kind and they’ll tell you that this word ‘manifest’ in the Greek is so strong that it means nothing less than to make apparent to our natural senses.  You check on it, look into it.  It’s so strong that it means nothing less than that the Lord will make Himself known to those who qualify, the qualification being love and obedience.

Now this is not the kind of a love when folks sit on a bench around here and hold hands underneath their coat.  It’s not that kind of a thing.  It’s the love that results in obedience, and to that kind of a person, the Lord has promised to visit them in a manner perceivable by their natural senses.  You check on the word, and don’t forget that I did not write the Gospel of John.  This is not the Gospel of Saint Beuttler.  This is the Gospel of Saint John.

And holy men of God spake as they were moved upon by the Holy Ghost.  And the Holy Ghost put in here a word ‘manifest,’ said to be by those who know hundred times better than I, that it is so strong as to mean nothing less than to make apparent to the senses.  And I’m not going to weaken this and water it down.  Why should we water it down?  Watered down food or watered down drink doesn’t taste good.  Take a glass of orange juice and try to spread it by making half orange juice and half water.  See what it tastes like.  You’d just as soon drink water.  This isn’t to be watered down.  This is to be (slurping and enjoyment sounds).  Yumm!  Glory!  Holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.  And the Holy Ghost put in this word ‘manifest,’ and He made it just as strong as He could to let us know that there is such a thing as a personal visit from a personal Christ.

Now then, we’ll proceed from here.  I want to deal with attitudes.  You know attitudes are of tremendous importance.  Have you ever thought of attitudes?  Now we can hold certain attitudes toward everything, but here it’s toward the Lord’s visit.

Now suppose John and Myra lived 500 miles away, and Wife would say when I came home, “Say Daddy, you know we got a letter from John and Myra.  They’re going to be here next week.”

“Oh really?  Glory!” I wouldn’t say, “Oh yea, them again?” Oh no!

How do we feel toward a visit from the Lord?  How would you feel if the Lord paid us a visit this week?

“Beuttler are you trying to manufacture one?”  You ought to give me a little more credit than that.  Those things aren’t manufactured, but they can be hungered for and had.  When we have an attitude of desire, of yearning for His visit, I’ll tell you, He says to Himself, “Why you know, I was going to go there, but over there, they’re so expecting Me, I’m going to go there.”  Would you go where you’re not wanted?  I wouldn’t.  I suppose I’d go where I’m wanted most.

We had one of our graduates up at the house yesterday.  He said, “Brother Beuttler, I want you for a weekend.”

I said, “Well, I don’t think there’s one left.  We’ll have to see if we can’t shift something.”  So we did.

He said, “You know Brother Beuttler, I remember what you said in class about preachers asking you to come give them a service sometime, but they don’t want you.”  They say, “Come to my church sometime when you have time.”

He said, “I knew you wouldn’t come.  I told you once to come and visit me, but I knew you wouldn’t come, so I’m here to tell you I want you.”

So I said, “Okay, I’ll come.”

Folks say, “Come to my church sometime,” and when you say, “All right, how would this date suit you?”  They say, “Why I’ll have to take it up with my board.” That’s the last you ever hear.  But when they say, “Now look here, can you give me a date, be specific.  Isn’t there anything?”

That’s when you can say, “Well, let’s see, I guess we can make it.”  They’re people who say they want you, but hope you’re too busy.

I never will forget one of our preachers in Council Meeting.  He came up in such a casual manner and said, “Well Brother Beuttler, I suppose you’re all booked up for the year.”

“No, I’m not.  When would you like me to visit you?”

“Why, we’ll see.”

That’s been 2 or 3 years ago.  I’ve never seen.  Now the Lord doesn’t respond to that kind of an attitude.  When there is an attitude, the kind that He responds to, don’t tell me that He isn’t readjusting His calendar to make room for us.  I hope that by now you know me a little bit.  You never know me all the way, I understand that.  I haven’t found out myself yet.

But the Lord will go through His calendar and say, “Well now, I have a date here, and I have a date there.  My, but they’re yelling down there.  My, but they want Me.  I’ve got to do something.  I haven’t got any date open, but I’ll tell you something, I don’t think these people are quite as hungry; I’m going to shove them down there, and I’ll move these in here.”  He’ll make room on His calendar for you.  You convince Him that you want Him.

I hope the Jeremiah class will forgive me if I say this because I don’t feel mean.  They know what’s coming.  The other day toward the end of the class, there was something building up, a touch, and I was right in the middle of something.  I knew where I was going, and I also knew when I get done with this, the Lord will give us a little word.

The bell rang sizz zz zz zz.  They were beginning to pack up.  So He said, “All right, run ahead.  You could have had something, but you’re more interested in something else.  Go right along.”

Then they sat there, all still as if to say, “Oh we’ll wait.”  But it’s too late.  Please, I’m not critical when I say that, not at all.  But to me it showed, and of course to Him, there were other interests that had priority.  When other things have priority, He isn’t interested, except that He would receive priority.  You give Him priority, and He will give priority to you.  Did you hear that?  You give Him priority, and He will give priority to you.  I know you’ve heard it, but have you heard it in here (pointing to heart).  You give Him priority, and He will give priority to you.  You put that down on your notebook.

Here are some attitudes that I like to draw your attention to.  One of them is in Mark 5:17, “And they began to pray him to depart out of their coasts.”  Ah Oh!

What had happened was the Lord had cast out some spirits, and these spirits were dumb enough to run into a herd of swine.  They should have known better.  You know those swine ran down a hill and ran into the lake and there they drank too much water.  The lake was too much for them and they drowned.  When the people say that, “Oh Lord, please get out.  Depart, go somewhere else.  We don’t want that.”  I’ll put it this way: In this particular instance, the Lord was unwanted.  Do you want Him?

“Yea, we want Him, if He comes the way we want Him to.”

Wait a minute.  That’s for Him to decide, not for us.

How did He come here?  He came here in supernatural power, and they did not desire the results of His working.  Presumably, they were more sorry for having lost those pigs than they were glad that one man had been delivered.  Shall I put it this way: They were more sorry about an economic loss than they were glad about a spiritual gain.  In other words again: They were more interested; they attached more value in this herd of swine than in one human being.

Presumably, they were scared besides, scared out of their wits.  So they said, “Jesus, you better get out of here.  We don’t want that kind of confusion around here.”  God never puts on confusion, He just un-confuses the confusion.  He was unwanted.  When he isn’t wanted, He goes where He is wanted.  So He went.  Do you want Him?

I haven’t come to the main thought yet.  I’m clearing away some of the underbrush, or at least pointing it out.

Matthew 24:40-42 Then shall two be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left.  Two women shall be grinding at the mill; the one shall be taken, and the other left.  Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come.  

He came unexpectedly.  What was their attitude?  I don’t know, possibly one of indifference.  “Oh well, He doesn’t come,” people say.  But two women shall be doing the same thing.

That brings back to my mind the scene in India where I watched two ladies in a home made of cow manure and something else.  It stands just the same.  They were sitting on the floor grinding at the wheels, the stone like this (demonstrated how they did it), making their flour early in the morning.  I thought to myself, One shall be taken and the other left.

They were both occupied, but one of them was not only occupied, she was preoccupied.  I think that’s the difference because the Lord said, Occupy until I come.  There is a difference between occupying and being preoccupied.  When we’re preoccupied, the work dominates us like children at play.

Norma was playing with the boys over there and Mother calls, “Norma.” No answer.

“Norma” louder.  No answer.

“Norma” even louder.

Norma finally says, “Oh did you call?”

“Well sure I did.  Haven’t you heard?”

“Just now,” she answered.  They were so absorbed that they were all but dead.  You know what I mean.  We can be so preoccupied and be taken by surprise.  Here He came unexpectedly.  You know the Lord doesn’t seem to gear Himself to our machine.  He seems to do just as He pleases.

Our 1951 revival started before semester change.  Semester change brought a cessation to activities.  We had to have our tests.  Programs somehow had to be going on.  And we let the students go home for a long weekend and wondered, “What will they do when they get back?”  It rolled right on after they got back.  We would have never chosen a revival right over a semester change.  He did.

“Why did He?”

Oh that’s His business.  I don’t ask, “Why,” I just move in.

Does the Lord ever take you by surprise?  So unexpected?  Hey, we can have one of the deadest, driest days in school, where it’s hard to breathe.  We have those days, too many of them as far as I’m concerned.  And yet, the Lord suddenly appeared on the scene and moved in.  Don’t put it past Him to come unexpected.

I have seen visitations of the Lord start, not when a spiritual giant, so to speak as we would call it, is speaking; not some special evangelist, not some special from who knows where.  No!   The very day when you have a little half-pint behind this microphone that ordinarily hardly knows how to peep, and the peeps are short and faint at that and far between - and you never expect, except a little testimony and then closing the Bible and sitting down.  We’ve had some surprises here, and He came right down.  Why doesn’t He wait until somebody of stature (as we might call it) is there?  Because He wants to show to everybody that it’s not by might, nor by power, not by this one, not by that one, but that it’s Himself.

That’s why in the Old Testament they used the ox goad.  It was just a stick.  Don’t despise God’s sticks, and the left-handed (you know the story) and the nobodies, so everybody has to say, “There’s only one explanation-God.”  Praise God!

Two shall be doing an assignment, the one shall be visited, and the other one not.  That happened to me in Bible school.  I had a roommate with no interest in the things of God.  He’s out long ago.  He didn’t get vary far.  He had no interest.  He was a good boy.  I liked him as a roommate.  I think one year, I even asked that he be my roommate.  But his interests just weren’t where my interests were.

One evening I was sitting next to him at the table, and something stole over my soul.  You know what I mean?  Oh a presence!  I said, “John, there’s something up.”

He said, “Ugh.”

I said, “John, I don’t know what it is, but something’s going on.”

He said, “I don’t feel nothing.”

I said, “Hallelujah John!  Something’s up.”

Then we heard something in the washroom.  I said, “John, listen.  What’s happening to the fellows?”

He said, “What are they doing?”

I went out and saw two fellows around each other’s neck weeping, laughing at the same time (you know that strange mixture), under the power of God.  Then when I saw there were others in the group, I let her go.  Say, that was an evening.  Did it break out!  And then the flames came out of the girl’s dormitory.  I don’t mean fire, I mean fire, the fire of the Spirit.  For three days, we had such a visitation of the divine presence that we walked tiptoed.  You were afraid to walk.  We talked in whispers in the dining room.  Whew!  I’ve often thought and have said once or twice, “You can measure the spiritual level of a Bible school by the noise in the dining room.”  How’s that for a compliment?  Oh yes!  Let there be a move of that presence and see how things change in the dining room.  We literally walked tiptoed.  It was totally unexpected - in the evening.  He’s quite a visitor, but I like Him.

“Watch therefore, for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come.”  Did you get that?  “Watch therefore, for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come.”  How do you know He doesn’t come today?  And I’m not speaking about the Second Coming of Christ.  That’s not my topic.  I’m speaking of the Lord’s visit.

“Well Brother Beuttler, what gives you the idea that He would?”  I’ll tell you what gives me the idea: Because I didn’t select this message.  I had something else on the agenda.  I assume that if He says (in effect), “Now you talk about this,” He is not speaking this way to tantalize us like somebody mean would go to a little child and dangle a cherry or lollipop in front of his mouth and say, “You can’t have it, you can’t have it.”

“But may I just have one sucker please?”

“No, you can’t have it.  Doesn’t it look good?  Can you imagine how sweet it is?  Isn’t it nice?  How would you like to have that in your mouth, sticky and all?  But you can’t have it.”

Wouldn’t that be cruel?  That’s the way I was with our dog, Peter, when I was a boy.  I tied a frankfurter on a string on my arm.  The dog was under the table, and I’d let the frankfurter down on the string in front of his mouth.  When he went after it, I’d quickly pull it up over and over again until the poor fellow actually drooled.  Then I’d take the frankfurter and eat it myself.  Oh that’s enough for a report to the cruelty society to animals.

Well, God isn’t that way.  He doesn’t dangle a frankfurter in front of us just to make us drool and then say, “Ha, Ha, can’t have it.”  No, God doesn’t do that.

Isn’t it logical to judge that if He says, “Now you speak on My visit” (not that He said it that way, just laid it on my heart), I’d conclude that He’s making an announcement?  I’d conclude from that knocking that He’s knocking (banged on desk).  What other conclusion would you want to draw unless I’m all off?  Well if I’m off, then I’m off, but I happen to be on.  Isn’t it logical?  He doesn’t make our mouth water for nothing, “That was good saliva, wasn’t it?”  He doesn’t tantalize like that.

I’d rather take this attitude: “Now you talk about this.  I want to see how they feel about it, as though you were writing to a person that you weren’t altogether sure of.”  Well, I could write, and have done it: “You might be interested to know that I’m passing through Australia at such and such a time.”  I wrote that just recently, and went on because the party told me to write them sometime.  All right, now I’m going to wait and see what I get by way of reply.  They know I expect to pass by.  I expect to go to Australia and would be interested.  I’d say no more, just that.

Now if he says, “I’d like Beuttler to stop off for some meetings,” say he writes:

Dear Brother Beuttler, “We were glad to receive your letter and I trust that you will find time in your schedule to pay us a visit.”

Ah!  Then I’ll make time.  But if they write: Dear Brother Beuttler, “Glad to receive your letter.  It’s nice to hear that you’re passing this way again.  The Lord give you a real nice trip.”  I’d pass right by.  Right?

I wouldn’t say, “Now listen here, I’ll give you a week.”  Oh no!  It’s now up to them.

But if they say, “By the way, when you come this way, we hope you can give us some time,” I’ll stop.  Oh yes.

Now with this thing here, I’ll tell you what I think it is: Dear EBItes, “I’m on my way through Pennsylvania.  I thought you might be interested.  I’m near EBI, and I’m on my way somewhere, but I thought you’d like to know that I’m in the neighborhood.”  That’s what I think it is.

He says, “Now then, I’ll just see what they write.  I’ll see how they react.  I’ll see what they say.  I’ll see what they say when they get to their homes.  I just want to see.”

Just interested to say that I’m passing by?  Oh no!  How about sending Him a telegram saying?  “Glad you’re coming.  Have a good journey.”

He’ll say, “I will,” and journey right on.  Of course this is some of that Beuttler mysticism you know.  But it works. John 6:60 Watch therefore, for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come.   There’s a whole passage there and I don’t want to take the time to read it all.

John 6:66 Many therefore of his disciples, when they had heard this, said, This is an hard saying; who can hear it?  From that time many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him.

Now here the Lord came to visit them through truth.  He was just speaking about that highly mystical and mystifying, yet truly spiritual truth.  There is mystical truth.  He talked about this highly mystical truth of eating His flesh and drinking His blood.  Whew!  Talk about mysticism!  Whew!  If that’s the word for it.  It isn’t, but that’s the word they use.

Here the Lord came with truth, truth beyond full comprehension, and they went their way.  Can you imagine how He felt?  He came to visit them with truth.  They would have none of it.  So they went back and walked no more with him.  They failed to understand, and they failed to understand because they were out of sympathy with both Him and with what He had to say.  Did you get that?  They failed to understand the spiritual verities (truths) of enormous benefits so they never cried.  Think that over sometime.  It makes all the difference in the world.

John 20:14 And when she had thus said, she turned herself back, and saw Jesus standing, and knew not that it was Jesus.  

Ah!  Unrecognized - Do you know it’s possible for the Lord to visit us, visit His people collectively or individually, and we fail to recognize Him?

Some years ago, we had a weekday chapel.  I happened to be chairman.  Just as the boy finished his message, I perceived the Lord standing there.  I could walk down now and stand within an area of about one foot, and tell you where He was standing.  I didn’t see Him, but I perceived Him.  It was so real that I could have walked up and touched Him with my finger and said, “Lord, that’s You,” as though a person stood there.  Well, a Person did stand there.  Obviously, the Lord isn’t going to come in that presence at the end of the service just to walk out.  There was only one reason that the Lord was coming - to do something.

I watched this leader and he said, “Stand and be dismissed.”

I said in my heart, “Oh Lord!  Is he dismissing?  Are we going to walk out on You?”  Obviously he didn’t notice what I noticed.  So he went through his prayer and finally said, “In Jesus Name, Amen.”

In the meantime I stood there, put my hand up acknowledging His presence, whatever signal it might mean.  I said in my heart, “Lord, I want You to know that if everybody walks out on You, I will not.”  That’s right.  I sat where John sits.  When the boy said, “Amen,” I had my eyes closed, but I could hear the rustling and the turning around in the seats.  I wouldn’t budge.  I was supposed to walk out first.  That used to be our order.  The faculty member got off the platform first and walked out, then the students followed behind.  When we didn’t move, they didn’t move.

I knew a chapel full of eyes were looking at me, but I stood there, hands up, eyes closed in recognition of Him, of a Person there.  I just stood.  I must have been looking like a fool.  Fool or no fool, He was there and I wasn’t going to walk out on Him.  Fortunately those students recognized something must be up.  The Lord bless them real good.  I don’t know how long it was, but to me it seemed like an eternity because everybody was looking at me.

Suddenly the power of God hit this chapel in one clap, so to speak, and we were here until dinnertime and had a great move of God’s presence that morning.  The power just fell.  All right, we almost failed to recognize Him and walked out.  That wouldn’t have been the first time of course.  It’s possible for the Lord to visit us and be in our midst to do something, and often because of other interests and prior interests, be totally oblivious to what’s going on.  As a consequence we let Him stand alone, walking out, so to speak, grieved in heart with a bowed head in disappointment.  Mary “knew not that it was Jesus.”  He can come and remain unrecognized.

Now then I want to chat a bit about His personal visits.  I don’t think I better give you everything; just see how we’ll get along.  My!  It’s hard speaking this morning.  It’s uphill all the time.  You have to push every word uphill.  My!  It’s hard, like climbing a mountain and pushing a wagon in front of you trying to get it up there.  We need a visit and how!  And a good one, and a long one, and very soon, we need a visit.  I shouldn’t have to push this thing uphill.  Umph, umph, umph.  It shouldn’t have to go that way.  It should roll.

How can a fish swim on dry land?  He can be the best fish, but all he can do is wiggle and jump, kick himself around hoping to get somewhere somehow.  Oh God!  Visit us with streams of living water, waters to swim in.  That’s right.  Praise God!  (An effort of praise from audience) I’ll keep on pushing.

Genesis 18:1 And the Lord appeared unto him in the plains of Mamre; and he sat in the tent door in the heat of the day.

Oh, I like that!  Notice the Lord paid Abraham a visit.  Please do get this.  Abraham wasn’t there sitting with clenched teeth and fists saying, “Oh Lord!  Visit me.  Oh God!  Lord, I want a visit.  Umph, umph.”  Why you would wind up in an institution or a hospital.  Don’t do that, ever.  Abraham didn’t do that.  (He pounds on pulpit and talks in straining voice.) He didn’t say, “Oh God!  Come down from heaven.  We need a visit.” No.

I think Abraham sat there.  He didn’t wear glasses so I’ll take them off.  He didn’t wear a tie either, but I’ll leave that.  You know what I think?  Abraham just sat there at leisure.  I assume his heart was occupied with God.  I think in light of some of the scriptures that probably he was thinking of a city that had foundations because that was the great aspiration of his life - to move toward that city, the city of God.  I suppose his thoughts were on that, “Praise God!  I’ve come out of Ur of the Chaldeans.  It was quite a metropolis, but my God has a city for me.”

I think he was just there meditating, thinking about God in perfect relaxation.  He was all at rest, crossed his legs, just sitting there waiting for the heat to pass so he could go on traveling some more.  He was at leisure.  All of a sudden these three men came.  He recognized them as the Lord.  As far as I’m concerned, I’m inclined to think that was the Trinity.  In any case, the Lord paid him a visit while he sat in the door of his tent at leisure without strain, without effort, without squeezing, without working, without doing.  He just had a heart of anticipation contemplating Him.

The Lord visited Abraham when he sat.  Hey!  We’re in the right position.  We are sitting.  Now you get me right here.  He had a visit while he was at leisure.

Genesis 18:33
And the Lord went his way, as soon as he had left communing with Abraham; and Abraham returned unto his place. 

Did you notice that?  Apparently Abraham was alone.  Nothing else is said.  He sat; he sat at rest, at leisure in the heat of the day in the door of his tent.  He wasn’t even in chapel.  Oh!  The Lord just came.

Maybe some of you are in the situation found in Matthew 14:25.

Matthew 14:24-25 But the ship was now in the midst of the sea, tossed with waves; for the wind was contrary.  And in the fourth watch of the night Jesus went unto them, walking on the sea. 

Where were these disciples?  They were in trouble.  Does anybody qualify?  Is anybody in trouble this morning?  So were they.  Is anybody in the dark?  So were they.  Is anybody in rough seas?  So were they.  Is anybody in fear?  So were they.  So what?  He came to them walking on the sea.  Do you notice that the very waters that jeopardized them and caused them to be filled with such fear - those waters were the very element on which He walked?  You didn’t get that.  The very thing which so distressed them became the very medium of His approach.  He used the very waters that shook the disciples so in the boat, yet those very waters were the thing on which He walked to come to them.  The very same waters that caused them such distress and fear and jeopardized their lives, those waters constituted the very element on which He walked to them.  He visited them in the night, in the storm, in turbulence, in fear.  The Lord visits His people.

John 20:19 Then the same day at evening, being the first day of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled for fear of the Jews, came Jesus and stood in the midst, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you.

I think this is where we are.  Now here He visits the assembled disciples.  We qualify in one respect.  We are assembled disciples.  He came and stood in the midst, and said to them, “Peace.”  In verse 20 He identified Himself, “Then were the disciples glad, when they saw the Lord.”  He comes to identify Himself.

Two more examples and that’ll be all.  Both of them are found in Luke 24.  I’ll not read the whole passage, but the idea is found in 13-15.  You’ll find there the disciples walking together talking about the things that had happened, all the misfortunes that had overtaken them as they viewed it.  Jesus himself drew near, and went with them.

What I’d like to point out here is that the Lord visited them during a journey.  They weren’t in church.  They weren’t in chapel.  They weren’t in EBI.  They were on a journey just walking along talking, “You know isn’t it terrible what happened?”

“Yes, I thought that was a crime.  Something went wrong.  I don’t know what we can do.”

“I don’t know.  All of our hopes are dashed.  Our plans are wrecked.  I don’t know what we’re going to do next.”

And a man walked alongside and said, “Hi fellows.”

“Hi,” they said.

“What’s the trouble?”

“What’s the trouble!  Haven’t you heard?”

He answered, “Heard what?”

“Why it’s about this Jesus.”

“Is that so!  What about Him?”

“Well, haven’t You heard?  They put Him to the cross.  We thought He was the Christ.  Then He died and was buried.  He’s gone and we’re behind, left alone.  Big fools we are now because we proclaimed He was the Christ and now we found out that something went wrong.  We can’t understand it yet.”

Umph!  Strange isn’t it?”

“Yes, it sure is strange.  And You haven’t heard?  Where have You been?”

“Oh, I’ve been out for a walk.”  And they walked along, the disciples and the Lord.  They still didn’t know Him.  They came to the place where they lived, and slowed up and began to stop.  I suppose, because it was town, and they lived over on the corner.  Jesus made as though He was going on further.  “He made as though He was going further.”  Can you picture the thing?  He kept walking on while they began to linger behind, because they had arrived.  You watch this.  That could happen this morning.

“Say stranger, where are You going?”

“Why, I’m going.”  He didn’t know where He was going, but He was just going.  He had no place to go, but He didn’t ask for a room, “Well, I’ll be going down a ways.  I’ll be staying up yonder.”

“Oh no stranger!  You come and stay with us.  Don’t go.  You’ll have time enough tomorrow.  It’s too late.  It’s getting dark and getting cool.  You stay with us.”  So He abode with them.

Why did the Lord make out as though He had gone further - and He would have?  He was not going to pay them a visit until He knew they wanted Him.  He would have gone right on, but they constrained Him, “Oh no!  You mustn’t.  Oh no!  Not this late.  You stay with us.”

He wants to be constrained.  We can let Him just go by.  “Are you going to go up yonder?”


“Well, where are you staying, at the Hotel Commodore?”

“No, but I have a place.”

Too bad.  Goodnight!”  He’ll go right on.

Will we constrain Him, “Lord, abide with us.  Don’t pass by, don’t pass by, abide with us.”

“Well, why would He go on if He wants to abide,” you might ask.

“Because He wants to be wanted,” is the answer.

We’ll say, picture a man and his wife (or anybody) that like to stop off with some people they have a liking for.  They stop at the house.  They say to themselves, “Well we’ll ring the bell and tell them we’re going down to the park and do a little boating.  If they invite us in we’ll stay.  We hope they do, but we’ll try it.”

So they ring the bell and the people say, “How do you do,” a little cool, but “How do you do,” with that ultra friendliness.  “Where are you going?”

Oh, we’re out for a drive.”

“Won’t you come in?”

“No, no thanks.  We’re going down to the park for a little bit and do a little boating.”

“That’s too bad!  It’s a nice evening all right for that.  It must be real nice.  It’s nice to see you.  Goodbye.”

They don’t want you.  They’re too glad to let you go by and maybe are relieved that you do.

But if you stop and they say, “You’re going boating?  Oh no you’re not.  You come on in.  We just have a pot of coffee ready (Or tea, if you’re an Englishman), and we’ve got some cake.  No, you’re not going.  Now you come right here you.  Give me your coat and hat.  And Suzy, give me your coat.  You’ve got lots of time to boat some other time.  Glad to see you.”

They go out to the kitchen while you’re there and you say, “Hallelujah!  We’re wanted.”

Who of us hasn’t played that trick already?  Now the Lord didn’t put on a trick.  He wanted to be wanted.  They constrained Him.  So He went in and began to speak to them.  Then we’re told that He took bread, blessed it, broke it, and their eyes were opened, and they knew him.  He visited them on a journey.  He visited them in the home, but before He identified Himself and opened their eyes so they could perceive Him, He wanted to be wanted.

“What is man, that thou art mindful of him?  And the son of man that thou visiteth him?”  The Lord today visits His people under all kind of circumstances and uses the very circumstances they’re in as a means of conveying Himself to them.  But folkses, He wants to be constrained.  He wants to be wanted, for if we don’t want Him, there are others who do.

Shall we pray?  Praise God!


Our Father, we believe that You are knocking.  As it is written, “Behold I stand at the door and knock.  If any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come into him and sup with him, and he with me.”  Father, we pray that within our hearts shall be generated such a yearning, such a cry, such a constraining that Thou shalt feel constrained to visit afresh Thy people in this place for Thy glory.  Amen.