James Smith, 1859
Some time ago, a little boy was accosted by one much larger than himself, and instead of attempting to defend himself, he called out, "Father! Father!" — and his oppressor looked round and fled. This is just how the Lord's people should act. It is not for them to avenge themselves, or punish their enemies — but to cry unto the Lord, who is the avenger of all such. If the little boy had tried to avenge himself, he would only have procured harder blows, and suffered for days from bruises; but calling for his father — he escaped without further injury.
Let us in malice, and revenge, and self-vindication, be children; and call upon our Heavenly Father to intervene for us, and to bring forth our judgment as the light, and our righteousness as the noon day. To encourage us to do this, the Lord has identified us with himself, saying, "He who touches you — touches the apple of his eye." So when Saul persecuted the primitive saints, we do not hear of their resenting it; but no doubt they cried unto the Lord: and when the Lord appeared for their vindication, he does not say, "Saul, Saul, why persecute you them?" But, "Saul, Saul, why persecute you me?"
If then Christ and we are one, and if what is done to us, is considered as done unto him — then it is wise, it is safe, it is consistent, to call upon him, and leave him to vindicate us. Then we shall have to say with the Psalmist, "The Lord is with me; he is my helper. I will look in triumph on my enemies. It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in man." Psalm 118:7, 8.
In connection with a congregation in town, it was customary to hold what is called a conference meeting, at which any person proposed a passage of Scripture for consideration, and the brethren present, gave their views of it. On one occasion the text proposed was "Resist the devil, and he will flee from you." On the road to the conference one of the friends, meeting an old Christian, asked him to accompany him to the meeting, when he asked what was the subject proposed for discussion. The friend told him, when he immediately turned and looking him in the face said, "Resist the devil! I am so weak that I can't resist him — but when he assaults me, I am obliged to cry, Father! Father! The Devil! The Devil!" Here was the same principle carried out in reference to spiritual assaults, by one who felt himself a weak and feeble child — as was carried out by the other in literal assaults.
It is quite true that we cannot resist the devil successfully in our own strength — but if we refuse to listen to his lies, and repel his attacks by faith in God's Word, and the blood of the Lamb, and then cry to our Heavenly Father — we shall be more than a match for him. Only by faith in a present God, in the finished work of Jesus, and in the immutable promises of grace — can we resist Satan. Before the word of the promise, he quails. Before the blood of the Lamb, he flees. It brings his degradation and defeat so vividly before him, and gives such confidence, courage, and strength to the believer — that he cannot endure it, and therefore flees. If we would effectually resist the devil, we must realize our own acceptance with God, through the perfect work of Jesus, keep the atoning blood before the eye of the mind, and live in close communion with our Heavenly Father. O what a mercy to have a father whom we can call to defend us, to deliver us, and in all difficulties to take our part!
Reader, is God your Father? Do you know him as such, love him as such, obey him as such, and call upon him as such? Have you received the Spirit of adoption which always prompts us to cry, "Father! Father!" In all our wants — in all our woes; in all our conflicts — and in all our trials, the blessed Spirit of adoption, stimulates us to cry, "Father! Father!" And the very pronouncing the word, "Father," sometimes infuses sweet peace into the mind, and sheds light and joy over the soul.
Blessed privilege, to have God for our father! Blessed privilege to have always, and everywhere, access to God, as our father! O my soul, if men persecute you, slander you, oppress you — then indulge in no vindictive feelings toward them, nor even seek to be revenged on them; but cry unto the Lord, put your cause into the hands of God, and expect him to intervene for you!
O how often, and in how many ways, has God interfered for me, during my pilgrimage below! And if Satan assaults you, if he tempts you, or suggests evil thoughts to you, or throws his fiery darts at you — hold fast the shield of faith, never give up your hold on the promise, or cease to present to him the precious blood; but in addition to these things look up, and cry with child-like simplicity, "Father! Father! undertake for me!" Thus acting, your character will be cleared and rendered transparent, and Satan will flee from you, as one filled with alarm and fear!