“Not by might, nor by power, but by My Spirit, saith the LORD of hosts”.
It goes automatically. When I say this, I mean that it is God who does it. It is therefore of importance that we learn to watch, yearning and waiting. After all, there must come a moment – in order that the work might be a good work – wherein we are ruled out, and leave it to God to do the work. For it is not written in vain: “Not by might, nor by power, but by My Spirit, saith the LORD of hosts.”
It was given to Jacob to do that when he was with Laban. He stood on his watch and waited for twenty years, and he has not done it in vain. “Though it tarry, wait for it; because it will surely come, it will not tarry” (Hab. 2:3). It was not given to Saul to do this. He has grasped at it. And we know how fatal, foolish, miserable, yea, how ungodly his end was.
The world does everything without God. If not with the mouth, still it is with the heart that the world says: “Depart from us; for we desire not the knowledge of Thy ways” (Job 21:14). And why is this? The world is too good. It has too much strength and power of reason and comprehension. For as long as man has power of reason and strength in himself, and thinks he is a good man, or thinks his intentions are good, he is at enmity against God.
“But to this man will I look, even to him that is poor and of a contrite spirit, and trembleth at My Word” (Isa. 66:2). God takes hold of us, and then there has to be subjection from our side. That is what it is! All else is pretence. “The LORD will regard the prayer of the destitute” (Ps. 102:17). Therefore, stand on your watch, yearning and waiting.
John the Baptist has been permitted to do that. John saw Jesus come to him, and he received a sign in his heart as that of which the Bride testified when she exclaimed: “The voice of my Beloved! Behold, He cometh leaping upon the mountains, skipping upon the hills” (Song of Solomon 2:8).
(From: Meditations, 12 February. Sermon on John 1:29, 4 February 1951 in The Hague.)