The Waiting Arms of the Father
By Donald Holliday
Gathering Home the Saints — Chapter 3
O Lord, that I might view my present walk,
each test, each trial, each concept of Thy Truth,
against the glory of that perfect day.
Oh that with retrospective wisdom blest,
I could retrace each step, remold each thought,
with noonday vision of my Father’s face.
In Exodus 24, verse 9, we find, with Moses, seventy elders climbing the holy mountain.
Exodus 24:10 (AV) “And they saw the God of Israel: and there was under his feet as it were a paved work of a sapphire stone, and as it were the body of heaven in his clearness.
11 And upon the nobles of the children of Israel he laid not his hand: also they saw God, and did eat and drink.”
We know this was a visionary representation. We have the words of spiritual authority saying, “No man hath seen God at any time.” Likewise must this apply to other visions of the divine presence and glory, to Isaiah, Ezekiel, Daniel, and John. Genesis 32, verses 24 to 30, speaks of Jacob wrestling with God until the break of day. “I have seen God face to face.” The thought filled Jacob with deepest awe and wonder. “I have seen God face to face, and live”, for no man can do this. No man can see God’s face and live!
Thus is conveyed to our minds the underlying vastness of truth, the utter holiness of God. Such holiness is a consuming fire of all that is feigned, all that is impure, all that is unworthy to stand in His most holy presence.
“Eternal Light, Eternal Light, how pure that soul must be,
When placed within Thy searching sight,
It shrinks not, but with calm delight,
Can live, and look on Thee.”
Yet once man did walk and talk with God in the cool refreshing breeze of evening, before sin intervened to alienate and estrange from Creator the creature made to bear His likeness. What Adam sadly lost and missed the walk of faith has found and cherished. Communion of heart with heart, and in this age, one Spirit shared, and confidences too, between the Father and His child.
Save for that Way, that ladder He has made to bridge the distance separating Holy God from fallen man, no one would yet have come to know the Lord. There would have been no Word, no message sent of truth. Yet ‘Way’ did He provide when He sent His Son, a ‘Way’ anticipated by the faith of ages past. “I am the Way,” “No man cometh to the Father but by Me.”
Here is the blessing of the pure in heart,
who long for separateness from sin.
Their oneness of desire, the Lord to please.
Their total aim, His nod and smile to win.
Bringing us to God is a process involving first the passing through that door, once found, of faith in that blood that lift’s away sin’s guilt. It then entails pursuit along a road the end of which is to lift away sin’s power. This road is lit by a lamp to the feet, the guidance of His Word, instructing steps, reproving slips, and strengthening resolve by the power of the Spirit of Holiness. All this is involved, and it would be an undertaking of impossible magnitude were it in any other hands than of the Captain of our salvation, Jesus. ‘First and chief bringer’, so does that title “Captain” imply, of “many sons to glory.”
The provisions of grace sufficient for such work, the furnishing of every need to bring us to that final presentation before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy, all is the Father’s doing, all is the Father’s work, the fulfilling of the Father’s desire. To achieve this wondrous goal He employs the skill and judgment of His beloved Son, so aptly described as the Arm of God. Thus TWO most wonderful Minds, united by One Spirit, are actively directed towards the achievement of that moment of presentation, focusing every enabling power in common purpose to that one blessed end.
Oh that Wonderful Mind of my Father, that sees a long way off even the first turning of the eyes, hears that first groaning of the soul, that loathing of self, that dissatisfaction with the husks appropriate only to the lower beasts. That Mind that knew when man first left the safety of his dwelling with the One Who brought him forth, now following his own unworthy course, knew that one day that same man would return, return home. So, with arms outstretched, the Father waits that hour when He might greet His wayward child and say, “This son of Mine was dead, and is alive!” That pathway of contrition do we tread today, before mankind. That Father’s smile, its warmth along the path to urge us on, the whispered voice, “Yet closer come, thou art not near enough..” all love’s constraining do we feel within our hearts. Each faltering step is thus endowed with light of hope, and ever present is the knowledge of those waiting arms that reach to take me to Himself.
This fellowship, this walk with God, we know, even now along that way. We know the power of those arms, sustaining, reassuring, everlasting, always there. We bow beneath that humbling hand when human pride rebels. Its disciplines we accept as tokens of His love, that of His holiness we should partake. In weariness and weakness, those arms become our bed. In face of stumbling, they bear us up lest we dash our feet and trip. And when, in disregard of his full warning, we may fall, yet still they lift again to set us straight upon the path that leads to closer walk, and deeper knowing, and more faithful love.
These are the arms we know and each have proved. They wait there at the end when faultless in His presence we shall stand, and know that full atonement with our God. Each one the Master takes by hand and leads them to the Father’s presence, as He says, “My Father, O Righteous Father, this is ” yes, and then will He confess my name.
Faultless in the presence of His glory, blameless before the throne of His holiness, my righteousness will be all of Him Who is of holiness the Source. The vessel in His hands will be pure gold, in furnace tried, and on it will be stamped in everlasting character, HOLINESS TO THE LORD.
Oh may it never end, that age of love’s embrace, triumphant in the outcome of His work!
If I in Thy likeness, O Lord may awake,
And shine a pure image of Thee,
Then I shall be satisfied when I can break
The fetters of flesh, and be free.
I know this stained tablet must first be washed white,
And there Thy bright features be drawn.
I know I must suffer the darkness of night
To welcome the coming of dawn.
And O! The blest morning already is here.
The shadows of earth soon shall fade.
And soon in Thy likeness I’ll with Thee appear,
In glory and beauty arrayed.
When on Thine own image in me Thou hast smiled,
Within Thy blest mansion, and when
The arms of my Father encircle His child,
O! I shall be satisfied then.
“O send out Thy light and Thy truth. Let them lead me; Let them bring me unto Thy holy hill, and to Thy tabernacle.” Psalm 43:3.