Saturday, February 13, 2010
"He shall not strive, nor cry; neither shall any man hear his voice in the streets. A bruised reed shall he not break, and smoking flax shall he not quench, till he send forth judgment unto victory. And in his name shall the Gentiles trust." Matthew 12:19-21
From my reading last night.....
"It should encourage us to duty that Christ will not quench the smoking flax, but blow on it till it flames......a Christian complains he cannot pray. "Oh, I am troubled with many distracting thoughts, and never more than now!" But has He put into your heart a desire to pray? Then He will hear the desires of His own Spirit in you. "We know not what we should pray for as we ought" (nor how to do anything else as we ought), but the Spirit helps our infirmities with, "groanings that cannot be uttered" (Romans 8:26), which are not hid from God. "My groaning is not hid from Thee" (Psalm 38:9). God can pick sense out of a confused prayer. These desires cry louder in His ear than your sins. Sometimes a Christian has such confused thoughts that he can say nothing but, as a child, cries, "O Father", not able to express what he needs, like Moses at the Red Sea. These stirrings of spirit touch the heart of God and melt Him into compassion towards us, when they come from the Spirit of adoption, and from a striving to be better.
"Oh, but is it possible", thinks the misgiving heart, "that so holy a God will accept such a prayer?" Yes, He will accept that which is His own, and pardon that, which is ours. Jonah prayed in the fish's belly (Jonah 2:1), being burdened with guilt of sin, yet God heard him. Let not, therefore, infirmities discourage us. James takes away this objection (James 5:17). Some might object, "If I were as holy as Elijah, then my prayers might be regarded." "But," says he, "Elijah was a man subject to like passions as well as we, or do we think that God heard him because he was without fault? Surely not. But look at the promises: "Call upon me in the day of trouble: I will deliver thee" (Psalm 50:15). "Ask and it shall be give you" (Matthew 7:7) and others like these. God accepts our prayers, though weak, because we are His own children, and they come from His own Spirit; because they are according to His own will; and because they are offered in Christ's mediation, and He takes them and mingles them with His own incense (Revelation 8:3).
There is never a holy sigh, never a tear we shed, which is lost. And as grace increases by exercise of itself, so does the grace of prayer. By prayer we learn to pray. So, likewise,we should take heed of a spirit of discouragement in all other holy duties, since we have so gracious a Saviour. Pray as we are able, hear as we are able, according to the measure of grace received. God in Christ will cast a gracious eye on that which is His own.
Would Paul do nothing because he could not do the good he would? No, he "pressed toward the mark". Let us not be cruel to ourselves when Christ is thus gracious. There is a certain meekness of spirit whereby we yield thanks to God for any ability at all, and rest quiet with the measure of grace received, seeing it is God's good pleasure it should be so, who gives the will and the deed, yet not so as to rest from further endeavors. But when, with faithful endeavor, we come short of what we would be, and short of what others are, then know for our comfort, Christ will not quench the smoking flax, and that sincerity and truth, as we said before, with endeavor of growth, is our perfection."
"Seek ye the LORD while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near: For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts. For as the rain cometh down, and the snow from heaven, and returneth not thither, but watereth the earth, and maketh it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater: So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it."
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