"The exceeding greatness of His power". We resume where we broke off a little while ago in seeing an example of Divine power which was by no means small, but which gives point to this word: 'exceeding', inasmuch as the connection in Ephesians 1:19 relates to something very much more than the example in the Old Testament, namely the extrication of Israel from Egypt. There we have such an example of mighty power at work which we are going to consider a little more fully now. And may I remind you of the point which we have reached, that in relation to God's purpose and intention of having a people wholly for Himself, He works on the line of utterness.
We reminded ourselves that the final and ultimate point and issue of that great controversy in Egypt was when Pharaoh sought compromise, but the Lord and Moses said, 'No, not to the point of one hoof of one animal. There shall not remain one contact with that kingdom, even though it be the contact of the foot of a mere animal.' That is the basis upon which the Spirit of God works, and that is the issue that will arise. And sooner or later that issue will be found in the whole matter of whether the Lord's people are going to fall short of the intention of their salvation and redemption, or arrive at it. The later point in the history of Israel when that whole nation, with the exception of two men, perished in the wilderness, was the disclosure of the fact that although every hoof had come out of Egypt, it had not come out of them. It is a very serious matter, this, tremendous things are involved as to eternal calling and vocation, so that when God works on the line of utterness to extricate a people so thoroughly, it is a terrific thing.
We must reread those chapters in Exodus from the point where the Lord sends Moses, to the point where He has the people on the other side of the Red Sea. It is nothing less than a terrific thing that we find happening in Egypt through all those judgments and plagues to the last consequences. I repeat that it is no small thing for God to get a people completely extricated from that whole spiritual condition and enthrallment into which the race has been brought through Adam.
Well, having said that, let us look at it a little more closely and take a fresh glance into Egypt at that time, for it was there that this word really had its significance, and its point, this word 'exceeding'. There was something of a tremendous power there which had got to be exceeded by the exceeding power of God in that realm. Let us look at several of the factors here.
The Religious Factor
We must remember, first of all, that there was the religious factor. I use that word in its very widest, broadest sense. Literally or absolutely the word 'religion' means reverence for Divine things. I am not using it in that restricted, essential sense. I am using it in the broader sense. It has to do not with just temporal things, but with spiritual things. It has to do with worship in the broadest sense, not necessarily worship of the Lord, but worship. And that was a very big factor, and it always is a very big factor in this great conflict, because man is, no matter how some may deny it, a religious creature, and if he closes his eyes and his mind to God, nevertheless he must have something to worship. There must be something towards which his soul goes out. There must be something which corresponds to this word 'religion'. I do not like referring to it, but even in those great systems that are in the world now which are anti-God, the principle is a religious one. It is a form of worship. That is enough about that. But remember that Satan's real strength is a religious strength, simply because man is a religious creature, and the religious factor in Egypt is a very real one, and a very strong one, and it really did serve the purposes of the enemy very greatly.
My point is this: that in this great matter of utter extrication from the kingdom of the prince of this world, it is very often a religious question as much as it is a secular question. Very often the whole religious element comes into it, and it is so often the religious factor which confuses it, which blurs it over, which complicates it. So often people are so sincere, earnest and devout, and that is religion, and it may be Godward, and yet with all their earnestness and sincerity and devotedness, if you touch something in their religious system to which they cling, which means a lot to them in the interests of something more heavenly, you come up against something very strong. Religion can become a tremendously strong obstacle to the heavenly thing, to the purpose of God. I do not want to follow that out, but do not let us think that because we are sincere and very devoted and earnest, that that means that we are right out on God's ground. There may be, even in that, compromising factors, and there was the religious factor in Egypt which was the very strength of the captivity, the bondage of this people. It was a religious power that had to be broken, not just a secular power.
The Spiritual Factor
And further, there was the spiritual. The religious related to the people, the Egyptians and their priests. That was their religion. But additional to the religious, there was the spirit. There was that behind it all which was satanic, so that God focussed the whole issue and conflict upon the point of the gods of the Egyptians. "Against all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgments" (Ex. 12:12). That is a spiritual thing. That is the expression of a spiritual kingdom, a kingdom of the god of this world. And in this tremendous conflict to get a people completely clear, as the phrase is ultimately when they go into the land - "clean over the Jordan" (Josh. 3:17) to get a people there, you have got to deal with spiritual forces. Religion, yes, but backed up by an intelligence that is even greater than the intelligence of the religious people. They do not realise what is behind their very religion, and how their very religion is in the hands of another kingdom to hold them. There is a spiritual factor.
The Psychic Factor
And then a third thing that was there was the psychic or psychical. Pharaoh called in the magicians, and the magicians were able to perform the counterpart and imitative acts of Moses, of God. They were not in the same realm; they were psychical, that is, produced by psychic or soul forces. It would take a long time (and I do not know that it would be very profitable were I to embark upon the matter of showing and giving examples of how the psychical can reproduce what looks exactly like the Divine) suffice it to say that there are depths in our human constitution, depths of psychical powers and forces which are altogether unbelievable if they are dug into and drawn out and put into forceful exercise. You and I are far more complicated beings than we realise, and if only we liked to project ourselves into certain psychical realms and give ourselves over to that sort of thing, we would be amazed at what we would call the utterly uncanny and unnatural things that can happen. And so the magicians came in with their counterfeits, and it looked for the time being as though they had something comparable to the power of God that they could do as well as He could. They apparently repeated the thing that Moses did. The psychical realm was in operation. It is a hateful thing to talk about, but it has a reason.
We have moved already into a phase and aspect of the dispensation which is intensely psychical, and we are moving up to the day of Antichrist. That will be the culmination of the psychical forces in human nature, calling down fire from heaven, working miracles, all sorts of things, soul force, terrible, awful, the great deception - "They received not the love of the truth... And for this cause God sendeth them a working of error, that they should believe a lie" (2 Thess. 2:10-11). The other version is: "God sendeth them a great delusion", that they will believe the lie instead of the truth, not because they know it to be a lie - they would never believe it if they knew it to be a lie - but because the lie is so like the truth which they have refused.
We have moved into that part of the age, and today over Christianity, as well as over the world, is spreading a tremendous psychic wave; that is, a wave of soul force to produce and reproduce the things that look like the work of the Spirit of God. A terrible thing to contemplate, but there it is. And to get a people for God on this utter basis there has got to be a dividing between soul and spirit more and more as we go along; clear definition, division and distinction, has got to be made. That is where Satan has his foothold. Yes, not a hoof, but a thousand hooves, in that very realm, and not one contact with his kingdom through our psychical being, our soul life, may remain. That is saying a lot, and many of you may not understand that. If you do not, do not worry about it, but they are statements which are facts, and these facts can be verified today all around us.
The Heart of Man
There was a fourth factor there: the heart of man. If Pharaoh is a kind of embodiment of that kingdom, and of man, what a revelation of the heart of man! I know the problem that some of you, perhaps young Bible students, have come up against: God hardened Pharaoh's heart. He said to Moses "I will harden his (Pharaoh's) heart" (Ex. 4:21). If God hardens Pharaoh's heart, then Pharaoh is not responsible - that is the argument. Why should God destroy a man whose heart God Himself has hardened? But remember it was not until Pharaoh had repeatedly hardened his own heart and repudiated God, and said, 'Who is the Lord? I don't believe that there is such a person; I don't believe in Him, I will not have anything to do with Him. Who is the Lord?' Not until then did the Lord say, "I will harden Pharaoh's heart." But altogether apart from that problem, here is the capacity of the human heart for hardness against the Lord. You are amazed - it is plague, plague, plague.
At the end of the first triad of plagues, there seems to be a shaking. Pharaoh is shaking, and he asks for time, 'Just give me time, give me space to get my breath', and he hardens his heart. And the second triad of plagues, and the magicians reeled in terror. It looks as though something is happening, but they harden up. And a third triad, and what is the consequence? Well, you would say, 'Surely the heart of man will yield and give way under this; surely the heart of man cannot stand out against all this.' But no, after a third triad of plagues, what happens? Pharaoh says to Moses, "See my face no more; for in the day that thou seest my face thou shalt die" (Ex. 10:28). The door is fully and finally closed. What a revelation of the heart of man, the capacity for hardening.
It is a little out of place at the moment to remind you that it was that very thing that the Lord was seeking to deal with in Israel. His word was: "Today, oh that ye would hear His voice! Harden not your heart. You have, like all your race, a tremendous capacity for hardness of heart and stiffness of neck". That is the heart of man universally, and that heart can resist, no matter what happens.
The point is this. All this is bringing to clear relief a tremendous power, a power in the spiritual realm, a power in the religious realm, a power in the psychical realm, and a power in the human realm. What power! It looks as though nothing can break that power. But the exceeding power did it all. It broke Pharaoh, it broke Pharaoh's priests, it broke Pharaoh's gods, it broke Pharaoh's religion, it broke the psychic imaginations, and it broke the resistance of man's heart. "The exceeding greatness of His power".
God's Work to get the Church on Clear Ground
It is only a type and illustration, a shadow, but it does point on to this, does it not? All this is included in a people, a church. Being extricated from Satan's kingdom at every point rests upon such an utter basis, everything broken, and God by His Spirit works to make all that real in the church's inward life. Do you know what He is doing with you now? We are like that. All these things are true of us: religious in our way naturally; in the spiritual background, influencing, controlling, a strong soul nature - what troubles our souls are to us! And this human heart, oh, what a problem this human heart is! The church that God is going to have means that all those things have been dealt with in the Cross of the Lord Jesus, and the Spirit of God gets to work upon that church inwardly to make all that true. You and I are being wrought upon, if we are in the hands of the Lord and if we will let Him work in us, as it was true in an outward way with Israel and Egypt, in an inward way, which requires the exceeding greatness of His power, something more even than that in Egypt, to do this inside.
Now, I wonder if you see the point. I am not anxious to just go on heaping thing upon thing. We should recognise the point of application. The Lord wants to have a people after this kind. That is where we begin. Such a people is the elect Body of Christ. To be to God what He desires, His Spirit must do this thing in us. Thank God it is not left to us, thank God it is, "the exceeding greatness of His power to usward who believe", not something that we have to do. When God gets to work upon us, His object is that at no point whatsoever shall Satan have a foothold, shall there be a link, a single hoof link between the church and the kingdom of Satan. That covers a lot of ground.
It covers all our life, it covers us in our inner life. It covers us in our home life, our family life. It covers us in our business life. How scrupulous and meticulous we must be in our business relationships and transactions. We must, in handling temporal things, handle them with this sacred conception, that in handling temporal things, doing our work in the world, it is just possible to give an opening to Satan to destroy the testimony of the Lord, to strike a blow at the great purpose of God in His church. You who handle time, handle time from the standpoint of heaven and eternity. Is it not one of the most shocking things to anybody who has any conscientious integrity to see how men waste other people's time and take money for it? They are no better in principle than the man who goes with a gun and demands money. It is robbery, pure and simple, in principle. Beware of how you use time for which you are paid. Beware how you handle money.
Well, need I go over all that? You may think that is coming down to a very low level, but no, dear friends. The wiles and the efforts of the enemy just in some, perhaps altogether unconscious way, to bring about a link between the church and his kingdom in order to once again have power over it, to destroy it, these wiles and intrigues are almost unthinkable and inexhaustible.
But here is the point of this letter to the Ephesians. I am not thinking of taking up Ephesians at all. This one fragment was all I wanted, but it is all here: the wiles of the devil, and the call of the apostle to watch unto prayer. This is utterness. There is no room or place for weakness here in our lives, no place for carelessness of any kind because of all this. Well, you see, the Spirit of God works on the line of this utterness in order that there shall not remain one hoof in contact with the kingdom of Satan which gives him power.
You must remember that although we speak about the exceeding greatness of God's power, God's power is moral power, and God (don't misunderstand me) is helpless, being infinitely powerful as He is, when moral ground does not exist. Power works morally, and it will not work apart from a moral life. It is no use our breaking laws, being careless and compromising on principles, and then going and asking the Lord to work for us. He will not. He will say, 'Put that right, and then I will come in. You have given Satan ground. Take it away, and you will find My power at work.' Be practical.
Well, I did say that this is Israel in Egypt to be got out, and it is a tremendous business, because the thing has got to be so utter. Now, if any of you are saying in your minds, 'That makes the Christian life far too hard, high and complicated. Why can't we just have the simple Christian life?' Well, what I say to you, is this: that if you are not going to be utter, then you are going to come to a standstill. If there is going to be just going so far and no further, then you will find that the enemy just plays with your life, and you have not got power, you do not know the power of God really. There will come a crisis sooner or later, and you will find you have been wasting a lot of time; you have not got very far. You certainly have not got where you could be if only you had been more utter, if only you had taken God's ground of utterness. I will not follow that at the moment.
God's Necessary Intermediary
Let us look here again at this matter. We must, before we finish, look at Moses, God's necessary intermediary for getting the people out. That is what Moses was. Moses is always known in the Bible as 'Moses, My servant', the servant of the Lord, and so service to the Lord and of the Lord, to be a servant of the Lord, means this and this only - serving the Lord in the ultimate and utter purpose of His heart, serving the Lord in getting a people for God right out. And service, or servanthood, becomes a very much more intense and emphatic thing the further you go. You may be a servant of the Lord in just turning souls to the Lord to believe, but if you are going to lead them further on than that, you will find the whole question of service becomes a very much more acute thing. You meet other things when you are going beyond that. Leave that for a moment. Moses - God's necessary intermediary, necessary vessel.
In the World But Not of It
Now, is it not so in keeping with all that we have been seeing of truth here, and the point that Moses was once in Egypt, and very much in Egypt, learned in all the wisdom of the Egyptians, in the very palace of Pharaoh? He was in it up to his eyes, and then by a sovereignty he was got out of it and taken right away to that backside of that desert. Not only was he taken thoroughly out of Egypt, but Egypt was taken thoroughly out of him. What a tremendous thing! If ever he had any pleasure in Egypt, Egypt was now a horror and a dread. He can never go back. But when God has got him like that, He takes him back, and you have to say of Moses the instrument, that he is in, but really he is out. He is out and here he is in. That is a very significant fact.
When God is after an instrument to bring about the fulness of His purpose, He has to do something very deep. His power has to work very deeply to get out of us the thing that we have got to deal with. We shall never be able to deal with Egypt if Egypt has got a hand on us or in us. And so God took him right out, and took Egypt right out of him, and then brought him into the position of dealing with this situation. We have no authority whatever, no power at all in this realm, if that power has a place in us, the power of this realm. We are just floored and beaten because Satan can laugh; he has his foothold inside. So Moses is a man who is in the situation, but he is not a part of it.
We could say a lot of things about that, but pre-eminently that means something spiritual where you and I are concerned, something that has been done in us. God has done it in us. The thing of which we were once a part is now a horror to us, and then God puts us in the place of our horror to get other people where He has got us inwardly.
Weakening and Emptying
And further, Moses was emptied and weakened and brought very low. 'I cannot speak; anybody else can speak better than me'; weakened and emptied. Why? Oh, we must borrow from Paul again - "That the exceeding greatness of the power may be of God, and not from ourselves" (2 Cor. 4:7). "The exceeding greatness of His power" - here we are again - "might be of God, and not of ourselves". An instrument to be used by God for His full and utter purpose will never be a self-important person or instrument (be it individual or collective), will never be of world importance, will never be able to think anything of itself. It will be empty; it will be weakened.
I am not exaggerating when I say that for such purposes as these, and for this inclusive purpose of God, the instrument will come to the place where it tells the Lord straight to His face: 'You have chosen the wrong man; for work like this, you need something of better calibre than I am, with greater gifts than I have.' Alright, argue with the Lord, but He will not let you off. "Who hath made man's mouth? (Ex. 4:11). Did not I make you as you are, and in making you as you are, is not My sovereign power sufficient to make good all your difficulties?" I wish we could always talk to ourselves like this and believe it. When you are feeling your utter worthlessness, looking around everywhere, to life, and background and history are saying: "There is not one bit in it all that could justify my being in this or that"; it is not easy to think about the sovereignty of God just making it so for His own purposes. But there it is - emptied, weakened, broken down, in the sovereignty of God, that the exceeding greatness of His power should be of God and not of ourselves.
I had thought that I would get to the captivity in Babylon with all its extra emphases and features that I can see, but I cannot get very far with that. The return of the remnant from Babylon after the seventy years' captivity was on the same basis of principles, the same factors as were in Moses, but there were extra factors. You read the book of Daniel and those books which contain the record of conditions during that period and at the time of the return and you find most of it, but here I say we have some extra factors. I hurriedly pass over these to leave the thing as complete as possible.
The Principle of Heavenliness
There is an extra emphasis in this part upon the great principle of heavenliness. We said that earlier. Of course, the principle of heavenliness was there implicit in Israel's getting out of Egypt and becoming representatively or typically a heavenly people, and going to a heavenly country. The principle of heavenliness was really governing. But here it comes in with an extra and new emphasis for the very reason that it is always more difficult to recover something lost than it is to initiate it at the beginning. In the initiation and projecting of a matter, while it does require very great power, if that thing is lost, the recovery of it requires more power. Is that patent? It required tremendous power to bring the church to birth at the beginning.
Power was certainly mightily at work in those early days of the church and the apostles. Mighty power was there embodied in the existence of the church at the beginning, but to recover anything like it requires a very great deal more power. We know it; we are in it today. We are always harking back to the book of the Acts, to the beginning, to the day of Pentecost and all that, and all the apparent longing for that. It requires in the church itself, in the people of God themselves, something far more to recover those conditions. See what you are up against in the matter of recovery. When you have thrown away or let go a heavenly position, it is far more difficult to get it back again than it was to get it at the beginning. It seems that in the beginning it was far more spontaneous. Now, it is an agony, and that comes in here in Babylon. There is a lost testimony, a lost position, which was once held, and if there were nothing else as a strong factor in that, you know there is lost heart, and you lose heart and you lose almost anything and everything.
Here it is. Just look at Jerusalem at this time. Read Nehemiah, for that is the state of things at Jerusalem. What was Nehemiah's plaintive cry? "The wall of Jerusalem... is broken down, and the gates thereof are burned with fire" (Neh. 1:3). What was the cry of Isaiah? "Our beautiful and holy house where our fathers worshipped Thee is destroyed and trodden underfoot" (Isa. 64:11).
The Unity of God's People
The wall of Jerusalem is the type and symbol of the unity of the people. It was one wall joined together. It represented the unity of God's people, one people. The unity was their strength. The strength was in their unity. The wall is a strong wall, but their strength is destroyed because their wall is broken down. That is, their unity has gone. Look at Christianity today. Is not the weakness of Christendom that? Is it not like that spiritually today? The wall is broken down, the unity of God's people is destroyed, it is cast down, it is in ruins. We are deploring it, but there it is, and we not only have to look out on the general state of the divisions by sects, denominations and what not. We know how this creeps in to the closest relationships and fellowships, and all the time the enemy is on this job to destroy the testimony of the oneness of God's people which is their strength against him. It is broken down. To recover that is no human job. That requires the exceeding greatness of His power.
But mark you, the positive side is: "the exceeding greatness of His power to us-ward who believe", and it will not be long after you have read that in Ephesians before you come to this: "the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ which passeth knowledge" (Eph. 3:18). That is a mighty wall, the knowledge-surpassing love of God. Can God do it? Well, it is only God that can do it, but He can do it. He can unite and knit you and me together in such a way that the enemy's power will not destroy it. He can do it. It may be only found in little ways, but here it is. But that is the thing to be faced, and what a heartbreaking situation it is, is it not? No wonder they in Babylon, the majority of them, said, 'No, thanks, I am not tackling that job.'
"The gates burned with fire." The gates in type in the Old Testament are authority. Judgment in the gates: authority. The councils met in the gates: authority. Look today, and ask the question: where is the church's authority? Does it speak with authority in the world, among the nations? Has it got authority in itself? Well, the answer I think is: no. It has lost its authority, it is not speaking with authority. It has no authoritative influence in the nations, in the world. The gates are burned with fire. That is the situation which confronts us; there is no doubt about it.
The Glory of God's Presence
"The house, our beautiful and holy house wherein our fathers worshipped Thee is destroyed". Well, it is the place of the glory. The glory of the Lord was present in the midst of His people because of the house. God was there in glory. Shall we say that is true of the whole church as we know it today? Again that needs no arguing. So, the glory of the presence of the Lord is not to be found, speaking generally, in the church now.
Well, that is the situation. That was the situation that Nehemiah tackled, and that is the situation that the remnant tackled, but to deal with a situation like that wants exceeding great power. Interpret that spiritually in our own time. Exceeding great power. This is in the Bible, and we have got to do one of two things about this. I always think that we are forced to be realists in matters like this, and here is the Bible. It says (and it is either true or throw your Bible away, and say it is nonsense, impossible) there is no other course. It is so utter, so ultimate. Now, you see what God would do is to recover in a people these things - a love, relatedness, fellowship, rebuild the wall, a note of authority, definiteness, positiveness. 'This and this is the mind of the Lord for His people, and this is not to be contradicted', something that comes with a certitude and positiveness. 'This is the mind of the Lord for His people to recover.' Oh, how little there is of that today, instead: little authority in the preaching, anything used, but that. Would to God that in the earth today, then, He had a vessel and a voice that knew with perfect assurance what God is after, what God wants, and say without any hesitation, 'This is the mind and purpose of God, to have a remnant embodying that, and in whom His glory is found, His presence.' When you meet them, when you go there, the thing that impresses you is that the Lord is there, you meet the Lord there. But that was the situation all so contrary to that, which obtained in the exile, and that was the thing that had got to be overcome.
But that was only one thing. There was also this soul of man. Babylon was a great, mighty expression of the soul of man. 'See this great Babylon that I have made', said the king. The great image and the orchestra and the bands, the whole thing, a tremendous set-up, man's soul inflated and expressing itself in all its self-importance, superiority, pride and self-sufficiency. There in Babylon was everything that the soul could desire. Your souls would thrive and grow back in Babylon. The world there would offer you everything that you would desire in your soul, and so the vast majority of the people said, 'This is our place; we find what we want here.' It was only a few people who would, on the one hand, sacrifice the whole soul life, deny their souls, lay down their souls, and tackle this spiritual thing which represented God's mind. A big issue, is it not?
A remnant said, 'Well, no, that is what God wants and has ever intended, God's thoughts are there; we are for God.' That means the loss of this world, the loss of everything. It means what they found it to mean in Nehemiah's time - ridicule: "What are these feeble Jews doing?" (Neh. 4:2). It means slander, misrepresentation, ostracism, threats and wiles. They had to meet it all, and they might have had Babylon. A people like that, and God is with that people. That is where God is. He is not with the rest, I do not know what happened, I suppose they all died in Babylon. I am wondering what happened in the day when the image was set up and the band started playing, and the king said, "Whoso falleth not down and worshippeth, shall be cast into the midst of a burning fiery furnace" (Dan. 3:15). I wonder what happened to the great multitude? They must have fallen down and worshipped, for we do not read anything about their being destroyed. I will not say that it was so, but you cannot help asking the question if it was only Daniel and his companions who refused to bow down. They are involved. But somewhere there is a hidden remnant, as in the days of Elijah, who will not bow the knee to Baal and God is with them.
Daniel - God's Intermediary
We finish by looking at Daniel. Here we come again to God's intermediary to get the remnant. It seems as though this whole storm and battle, converged upon Daniel and his three friends. It seemed that it broke upon them. It seems that they broke it. The whole issue of the remnant centred in them, mainly in Daniel. But look again. Here is a man with three companions who is in, but not in the same thing, again. They are in Babylon, but they are not in Babylon, not a bit of it. Their courage is marvellous. Daniel said to the king: "Let thy gifts be to thyself, and give thy rewards to another" (Dan. 5:17). 'You keep your honours, we do not want any of them; the dainties of your table, we scoff at them. The Lord will look after us, don't you fear for us.' You see the kind of man, the kind of instrument for this purpose of God. They are faithful to God's thoughts at tremendous cost. Furnaces and lions' dens, which have their spiritual counterparts. Any people who are going to stand for God in this way are going to know furnaces seven times heated. Don't have any doubt about it. If you are going to serve God in this way, you are going to find that there are lions and dens of lions, and you may find them in your Christian circle. You may find that Christianity itself can be like that to you, that it may make things exceedingly hot for you and seek to tear you to pieces. Oh, the affliction of these men, their suffering! But God got His remnant.
It is, I say, but a type, a figure again. It was real, not a myth; it was history, but even so it is a figure of the higher. We today can be in exactly the same position spiritually as Daniel and his three companions were. We are serving the same end as they were serving, but on this higher level of a people utterly for God. We will have their experiences; there is no doubt about it. There is no romance about it; these things are very real.
The Power of His Resurrection
But we come back to the starting point. You see, we started by pointing this out, that when the apostle Paul used this phrase, "the exceeding greatness of His power", he used it in relation to the church after this kind. And if these other things in history represented an exercise of Divine power (and there is no doubt that they did) this thing that God is after now exceeds that, and thank God, because of the exceeding greatness of His power, it can be done, and it will be done. You and I may come more than once to the place where we feel that the end has been reached, the end of endurance, the end of ability to go on. We have come to the end; this is the shattering. We marvel that that has happened, more than once in our experience, and we are still going on. Now you know what Paul meant when he, at the end of his life, said, "that I may know Him, and the power of His resurrection" (Phil. 3:10).
In the creation of the world, it was the power of His resurrection, out of chaos and darkness and ruin. In the extrication of Israel from Egypt, it was the power of His resurrection from that living tomb. In the deliverance of the remnant from Babylon, it was the power of His resurrection again. Did not Ezekiel say that that is what it would be? Was not his vision of the dry bones just related to that? "I will open your graves, and cause you to come up out of your graves" (Ezek. 37:12). Was it not referring to Babylon, the power of His resurrection? But there is a resurrection which is more than creation at the beginning, more than Israel in Egypt and in Babylon. It is this power of His resurrection working in us so silently and hiddenly. There is the hiding of His power. We are not conscious of this power. That is perhaps our main trouble. We are not conscious of this power, the exceeding great power, and I am feeling nothing but a poor, weak worm. Yes, but you are a worm that is going on in spite of what? Why have you continued, and why do we continue? Not because our hearts continue, our wills continue, our understanding continues, not because we receive any help from the world or from circumstances. Some mysterious hidden thing is happening that we do not feel at all, but it is just happening, and we are just continuing. It is the hiding of His power. It is exceeding great power at work, unfelt but very real. I believe that is the story of the church at the end. The church emerging at the end in glory will just be the embodiment of that, not its own glory, strength, resource, or anything like that, but all contrary to that, but God did it, and what a thing it will be. We will understand then, "The exceeding greatness of His power which is to us-ward who believe".