READ: Exodus 33:7-34
THINK: Jonathan Edwards is one of the greatest evangelists and theologians in American history, and he was one of the key leaders of the period of spiritual revival during the 1730’s known as The Great Awakening. Many of the things Edwards wrote have stood the test of time, and his deep and challenging sermons continue to make an impact even today. One sermon in particular, a sermon entitled Sinners in the Hands of Angry God, has moved countless thousands of people to put their faith in Christ over the centuries since it was first delivered and has a huge impact on many lives when it was first given.
Thought the theology and the message were profound, and though many of his contemporaries were noted for their communicative gifts, it is interesting to note, when considering the impact his sermon had, that Edwards was not a particularly gifted public speaker. He spoke rather softly and in a monotone voice, clearly but without any inflection. He read from a manuscript without ever looking up at the congregation and he rarely even took his hands off of the pulpit in front of him. If he was alive today, he would not be high on anyone’s list of great speakers and gifted preachers and he probably wouldn’t have very many podcast subscribers. But people were moved by his preaching. Why?
Edwards has a burning passion in his soul to reach lost people for God. And he went to great lengths in preparing himself to preach Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God. He did not eat anything for three full days leading up to that Sunday morning. He did not sleep for three full nights leading up to that Sunday morning. Instead he prayed. Over and over again, he prayed, “Oh Lord, give me New England! Oh Lord, give me New England!” And those who were present on that Sunday reported that as they watched him walk to the pulpit they were moved at the sight alone because his face looked as if he had been gazing straight into the face of God.
In that moment Edwards had a sense of what Moses experienced. And here’s the crazy thing: we can too! Because of what Jesus accomplished for us on the cross we have been invited in to real relationship and real communion with the God of the universe. And this is the cold hard fact – spending time with God is like spending time in the sun, it shows. It changes our complexion, as his light radiates from us.
PRAY: Spend some time seeking God’s face today.