Greetings Sovereign Redeemer and other friends,
It is so refreshing to be in the Sermon on the Mount, and especially in the beatitudes, where our minds are reset again to know that the ways of the kingdom of heaven completely overthrow everything that the world loves, thinks, does, and advocates. Poverty of spirit, mourning, meekness, hungering and thirsting for righteousness – all things despised by the world, and all things that make for the happiness of the children of God.
I have been particularly thinking about “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted” (Matthew 5:4), and yesterday I ran across a related statement from one of Samuel Rutherford’s pastoral letters. In it, he laments the apostasy of the church in Scotland and longs for the people of God to mourn their sin and earnestly prevail upon Jesus not to depart.
“Would God we could stir up ourselves to lay hold upon Him, who, being highly provoked with the handling He hath met with, is ready to depart! Alas! we do not importune Him by prayer and supplication to abide amongst us! If we could but weep upon Him, and in the holy pertinacity of faith wrestle with Him, and say, ‘We will not let Thee go,’ it may be that then, He, who is easy to be intreated, would yet, notwithstanding of our high provocations, condescend to stay and feed among the lilies, till that fair and desireable day break, and the shadows flee away.” (Letters of Samuel Rutherford, Letter XXVIII)
There are several types of mourning encompassed in what Jesus is teaching in the beatitudes, and this is one of them. It is the mourning that recognizes our coldness towards God and actually weeps over it. The first and great commandment is to “love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.” (Matthew 22:37,38) We dare not skim over the top of that. All your heart. All your soul. All your mind. Surely those who are truly born again can feel the crushing weight of that. The Biblical vision of God makes it abundantly clear that He is more than worthy, and yet we find ourselves so divided in our affections. We have much to lament, and God actually wants us to lament, so that we would turn away and turn towards, that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord.
Unless you mourn an order of magnitude more than I do, there is something essential and precious that has been lost to be recovered. As Rutherford exhorts, let us weep upon Jesus, and cling to Him that He would not depart. Is He less easily entreated in our day? May it never be! Let us humble ourselves, mourn for our sin, and cling to Jesus with this resolve: “We will not let Thee go.”