The "Cry" and the "Coming"
Then it seems to me that the Lord intended that we should take account of this too, that, when the Church really does reach that point and position where it does cry like this, that means that the end is just at hand. "He will avenge them and that speedily." Now the Lord said those words many centuries ago, and if we reasoned according to man, we should say, Speedily? Well, of course the Lord dwells in eternity and there is no time with Him. A thousand years is as a day with Him. With Him it may be speedily, but for the poor Church it is two thousand years – we cannot call it speedily. But that is not what the Lord meant by "speedily". He meant that, when the Church really cried like that, it would be speedily. Has the Church done it? When it really becomes one cry from the Church, you may take it that God's hour synchronizes with the cry. We have always to recognize that principle in God's Word, that God's time is always made to synchronize with something else. He may fix His time, but He fixes it in relation to something else; and the time of His coming may be fixed, it may be appointed, but it is a related time, and His appearing to avenge His Church is bound up with the Church's cry day and night: "Avenge me!" If the Lord by the Holy Spirit were to produce that cry in the Church, we can take it as settled that His coming is near.
Now, is He working toward that? Is there today an activity of the sovereign government of God to hedge the Church up to this cry? Some of us can say that, for our part, we have no doubt about it. As we look out, we can see movements in that direction. Yes, inability to do a very great many things, inability to be occupied with much that has been occupying the Church; a cutting off, a shutting in, and this sense of the adversary withstanding, obstructing, hindering, limiting, and all efforts to break through seeming to be unavailing, until almost in despair, the cry which is focused upon the enemy, the adversary, breaks out of the heart. Well, that is what the Lord is doing, I am quite sure. We must ask the Lord to keep us very much alive to what lies behind things and to bring us strongly into this cry which is for the Church's deliverance, the Church's emancipation, the Church to be avenged of the adversary, the adversary cast down from his place of accusing the brethren. "Avenge me of mine adversary this adversary which accuseth the elect before God, day and night".
The Essential Ministry
We should ask the Lord that we may be so much in the Spirit when we come together for prayer that we are not found dealing with things on the surface, as they appear, but touching the throne in relation to the adversary and what he is doing behind things. Oh, do ask Him to interpret this to your hearts, to give you the meaning in every matter. There is no doubt that there is today much that is locked up, that is hindered, that is limited, much of the Lord's interests brought well-nigh, if not altogether, to a standstill by the work of the adversary. You say, Can that be? Yes, even such a one as Paul who was not ignorant of his devices and who knew something about union with the sovereign Lord said, "…but Satan hindered". "We would fain have come unto you, I Paul once and again; but Satan hindered us". You say, That is a problem: here is a man anointed, laid hold of by God, and yet that man has to say "but Satan hindered"! Satan succeeded in stopping something, preventing something, something of value. Are we to say that the Lord never intended the Apostle to go? No, not at all, not in that case. Where, then, are we to find the solution? There are many servants of the Lord and many interests of the Lord locked up like that, not able to function, to fulfil their ministry, by reason of the hindrances of Satan, because the Church is not prevailing for that ministry, for those interests. There is not a company of the Lord's people who know how to take hold of the throne for the release of those Divine interests. That is borne out more than once by things that Paul said when he appealed for prayer from the Church; for example, "…that utterance may be given unto me in opening my mouth, to make known with boldness the mystery of the gospel". He appealed for united prayer, for corporate prayer, that he might fulfil his ministry; and I say again, there are many things being limited, held down, paralysed by Satan, the adversary, the release of which can only be brought about by this prayer, this cry; and, if it is true that the Church's final deliverance is coming through its own cry, the Lord's response to that, it is true in the details of the Church's life. If the whole thing is an issue like that, then the principles are the same in every detail.
There is a ministry here. There are multitudes of the Lord's people who need light, revelation, spiritual reinforcement, in order to bring them through to God's full end; but Satan has come in between them and the resources and the ministry, the stewardship, and they will not get it unless there is prevailing over the enemy on the part of spiritual and enlightened children of God. It is a Divine way, Divine order. Here is our responsibility. Do take it to heart. Very much more could be today if there was a prevailing instrument, a vessel with God's cry, a vessel that saw through the situation, saw the adversary, and knew the meaning of touching the throne to bring Haman's great campaign of death to an end, to turn it from death to life, for the children of God. Well, the Word of God is shot through and through with this truth that, while God wills, God's will is brought into operation by the co-operation of those who are one with Himself. This is a basic truth. Oh, may He bring us there, for the large interests which are at stake today!
First published in "A Witness and A Testimony" magazine, Jul-Aug 1940, Vol 18-4