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Alicia Blackwood :: Jehovah Rophi—The Lord that healeth thee

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Part I. JEHOVAH ROPHI

"I AM THE LORD THAT HEALETH THEE."

A tower of Love, indeed! "I am the Lord that healeth thee" (Exodus 15:26). What words of comfort to a poor sin-sick soul!-and, behold the Remedy:

"With His stripes we are healed" (Isaiah 53:5).

Make it plain upon the tables, that he may run "that readeth it" (Habakkuk 2:2). "If My people which are called by My name, should humble themselves and pray, and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from Heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land" (2 Chronicles 7:14). "I am Jehovah Rophi." How wonderful is this name! For who amongst us does not need this Great Physician?

In true humility must we enter this Tower, and there shall we learn the love that first proclaimed this name. For though Israel's trouble called it forth it still remains, and we may enjoy its blessing.

Bitter were the waters of Marah, and Israel parched and wearied could not drink. "Moses cried unto the Lord, and the Lord showed him a tree, which when he had cast into the waters, the waters were made sweet. There He made for them a statute and an ordinance" (Exodus 15:25).

And that statute is for us. What can quench the thirst of a parched and wearied soul, faint with its burden of sin, yearning for relief, and feeling for salvation? The law is Marah to us, it is full of bitterness; it stands in broken magnitude against us, its floods and its waves must overwhelm us, it is condemnation unto death. The poor parched soul finds no sweet fountain there.

Moses found a tree to heal that bitter stream, and what have we? Oh, Jesus is our tree of life! redundant with leaves to heal.

He, too, is the "Fountain of living waters, opened for sin and for uncleanness!" (Zechariah 13:1). This is our statute and our ordinance for ever!

Yes! The bitterness of the law brings us to Christ, and all who come to Him are healed.

The footstep to that healing power is faith. We are justified by faith, (Galatians 3:24) and faith "is the gift of God" (Ephesians 2:8).

Sin is the transgression of the law. The bitter cup of Marah is our portion. How, indeed, can it be otherwise in our fallen state, for sin is everywhere! The fiery serpent has bitten us all, and for this deadly poison none on earth can give an antidote. It penetrates every thought, it rules the tongue, directs the hand, it guides the foot, blinds the eye, embitters the heart, obscures the mind, and reviles the goodness of God with whom it is in malignant antagonism.

Alas! "From the sole of the foot even to the head there is no soundness, but wounds and bruises and putrifying sores" (Isaiah 1:6). Oh, Jehovah Rophi, be Thou near, "Heal my soul for I have sinned against Thee" (Psalm 41:4).

It is true, when the Light from on High shines upon us, and shows us our lost condition, we are ready to cry out:

"I am not able to look up, mine iniquities are more than the hairs of my head," (Psalm 40:12) "Oh, God be merciful to me."

We are ready to acknowledge our sinfulness, but the depths of sin none can fathom here.

He only, who took its penalty upon Himself; He only, "Who knew the power of God's anger against sin" (Psalm 90:11); He only, can search its depths and bring it to destruction. For it is He who transferred the wrath of God from the head of the repentant sinner, and bowed His own upon the cross when all the waves and billows of that wrath passed over Him.

Oh! Jesus only knoweth the depths of sin and Hell! The home of sin! And He alone, who drank that cup of wrath to its deepest dregs, can heal.

Could my zeal no respite know,
Could my tears for ever flow,
All for sin could not atone,
Thou must save and Thou alone.

"Jesus is the one Mediator between God and men" (1 Timothy 2:5). And He it is who knows and searches that deceitful heart, where lurks the subtle poison, sifted by Satan into the bosom of every child of Adam, and whence spring evil thoughts, and all their train of iniquity. Sin is, indeed, an evil and a bitter thing, estranging the affections from all that is most loveable and should be loved, and drawing continually to that which is vile and reprobate.

Who will not acknowledge this? Who does not feel the grief of wandering thoughts, often of the greatest folly and sinfulness, suddenly intruded upon the heart, even in its most earnest outpouring before the Lord.

Look at the world, caught by its gaudy attractions, the pride of life and lust of the eye. Its victims become blind to the beauty of Holiness, and see not the outstretched Hand of love and righteousness, so willing to rescue from the broad road of destruction; and they are deaf to the beseeching "Come unto Me…Why will ye die?" (Ezekiel 18:31). "Be ye reconciled to God" (2 Corinthians 5:20).

"I will heal their backslidings and love them freely" (Hosea 14:4).

If we know anything of the plague of our own heart, the marvel is intense. Who can understand the Love of God? Who can grasp the wonders of Salvation?

"How small the part they know,
Who know that love the best!"

For though the new heart be given and the "new spirit" put within (Ezekiel 36:26), yet while here this body of death still clings to us; the struggle between the new man and the old continues.

Corruption, which taints all, can only put on incorruption when the soul becomes free from the burden of the flesh. Then only shall we really know the love of God, and apprehend the wonders of Salvation.

When this passing world is done.
When has sunk yon glaring sun,
When I stand with Christ in glory,
Looking o'er life's finished story;
Then Lord shall I fully know,
Not till then how much I owe.

Meanwhile, the Lord has planted a monitor within; we are not left in ignorance of our defileThe conscience is the testimony of the soul to show us what is good and what is evil. The Lord would have us know that we are sick, and have need of the Great Physician.

There are many in this world who know not that they have a disease within, which may deprive them of their natural life at any moment. So are there those who, being ignorant of Spiritual truth, are content, imagining themselves safe, and favoured citizens of Heaven, because they have done "their best," are honest in their conduct, "have done harm to none;" on the contrary, have a heap of so-called good works to boast of; they have given to the poor, built almshouses, churches, etc, and to them, as a matter of course, their claim is established. God, being merciful, will forgive any little accidental misdemeanour. Oh, there are those, who trusting thus in themselves, sail cheerfully down the river of life without a doubt that all is right with them!

But to such Jesus is not Jehovah Rophi, they do not need Him. "They that be whole need not a Physician" (Matthew 9:12).

We have an example of such set before us in the church of Laodicea, and her self-deception. Convinced that she was rich, and had need of nothing, "And knew not that she was wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind and naked" (Revelation 3:17).

That inward innate self-love and satisfaction is, indeed, as a thick film, blinding the eye to fearful consequences.

It is too true that even with the strictest examination and desire, it is hard to know ourselves; but to a believer the greatest comfort is that God knows him. How can a physician heal, except he know the malady?

Thus, while to the unconverted who know not God, it is their anxiety to hide from Him, the child of God prays: "Search me, O God, and know my heart; try me and know my thoughts, and see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting" (Psalm 139:23-24). And such will hear the answer: "He restoreth my soul, and leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for His name's sake" (Psalm 23:3). And with full heart will he exclaim: "Bless the Lord, oh my soul, and all that is within me bless His holy name; forget not all His benefits, who forgiveth all thine iniquities, who healeth all thy diseases, who crowneth thee with loving-kindness and tender mercies" (Psalm 103:1).

Dear friend, let us think of the woman of Samaria, and how the tender love of the Great Physician, who came to seek and to save poor lost souls, sought out her! Of the living waters of which He spoke, she knew nothing; her degraded life had almost seared her conscience; but, there was yet a spot which could be touched, and the penetrating eye of Jesus discerned it.

To kindle this dying ember, He sat on the well and rested on His journey, until the woman came upon her usual service to draw water. That this smoking flax was not quenched was shown in that it flickered up as the "live coal touched it," and the arrow of conviction pierced its hiding place. "Go, call thy husband."

She sought to cover it under the plea of concern as to the accepted place of worship.

But Jesus would not let this hidden spark be quenched. He came to Sychar to save a poor lost one, to show her the depth of her disease, and thus to heal.

He would not let her go-He was Jehovah Rophi!

Friend of the lost, O Lord in Thee,
Samaria's daughter there,
Found one whom love had drawn to earth
Her weight of guilt to bear.
Her thoughtless heart that never knew
The pulse of life before,
There learned to love-was taught to sigh
For earthly joys no more.

And she who came to Jacob's well to draw water in her earthly pitcher, returned to draw water henceforth from the wells of salvation, ever springing up into everlasting life.

In almost every chapter of the Gospels may we see that tender, healing hand.

Who touched that leper, that outcast loathsome object, that type of sin, which none could touch without defilement, and which no earthly art could heal?

Who spake the word to the Centurion? "Go thy way, as thou hast believed so be it done unto thee" (Matthew 8:13). And his servant was made whole in that same hour.

On Whom was the healing garment, the touch of which made the sick one whole?

But can we have a more affecting instance of the love of the Divine Healer, than is recorded of the poor Syrophenician woman (Mark 7:26), who had heard of and who believed His power, and besought His help to heal her child. And lowly did she bend, even to be called a dog, so that she might catch the crumb falling from the Master's table. Say, did she go empty away? Her faith was tried, but she knew Jehovah Rophi was His name.

See again, His tender care for His disciples lest they should be over tired: "Come ye yourselves apart into a desert place, and rest awhile" (Mark 6:31). And they departed by ship, privately. But did Jesus rest? No; He saw the eager multitude, and was moved with compassion towards them, because they were as sheep not having a shepherd, and He taught them many things, until the disciples returned from their rest, at eventide.

Yet more, were the dead beyond His power? Oh, no! He raised them from the bier-He called them from the sepulchre. But there are worse than in the grave! Oh, Power Supreme to heal!-canst Thou revive the lifeless soul? Yea!

"You hath He quickened who were dead in trespasses and sins" (Ephesians 2:1). Oh, Thou Great Physician, send forth Thy word into all lands and gather in the sick, the dead, from the east and the west, and from the north and the south. And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so now may the lifting up of the Son of Man be proclaimed, "with all Thy healing powers," for there is none to heal but Thou. "Neither is there any other name under Heaven given among men whereby we must be saved" (Acts 4:12).

We read: "When Ephraim saw his sickness, and Judah saw his wound-then went Ephraim to the Assyrian, and sent to king Jareb: yet could he not heal you, nor cure you of your wound" (Hosea 5:13).

And to Jacob: "Thus saith the Lord, thy bruise is incurable, and thy wound is grievous. There is none to plead thy cause, that thou mayest be bound up: thou hast no healing medicines" (Jeremiah 30:12-13). "I will restore health unto thee and heal thee of thy wounds, saith the Lord" (Jeremiah 30:17).

These things are written for our learning, and we are to apply all scripture to ourselves, and we know, indeed, that we have no "healing medicines," the putrifying sore of sin is to us incurable. There is but One who can heal that wound-there is but one Jehovah Rophi.

Ah, dear friend, as we contemplate all the marvellous provisions of salvation, let us think what a child of God is privileged to do. He has constant access to his Father's throne, through Christ, who sitteth at His right hand, ever living to intercede for him. He is invited to "come boldly that he may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need" (Hebrews 4:16), to lay before Him the sorrows of the daily defilement, the soul's disease; and beseech Him to "cleanse from secret faults, and keep him back from presumptuous sins" (Psalm 19:12-13). Oh, better than the balm of Gilead is the healing power of Jesu's name.

It was when the waters of Marah were healed, and the Lord revealed Himself as Jehovah Rophi, that the people were led to Elim, where flowing wells and shady palm trees were in abundance, and where they for awhile encamped and were refreshed.

And do we not find an Elim when the bitterness of our sin is removed from us by our "Tree of Life." Oh, then is the Spirit like a well of water in us springing up into everlasting life (John 4:14). Then is our Elim indeed a place of palm trees where times of refreshment never fail.

But we must not always rest. Earth has no long resting-place for the servant of the Lord. We must be up and doing, the Lord has work for us all.

The Israelites, when strengthened, rose up and went on their journey, they did but encamp for awhile-and so must we. We may sit at the feet of Jesus to hear and learn His word, but it is that we may declare it to others as David. "I have not hid Thy righteousness within my heart; I have declared Thy faithfulness and Thy salvation; I have not concealed Thy loving kindness and Thy truth from the great congregation" (Psalm 40:10). "Ye that fear the Lord, praise Him, glorify Him all ye seed of Israel" (Psalm 22:23). "My soul shall make her boast in the Lord; the humble shall hear thereof and be glad" (Psalm 34:2). If Jesus has rooted us up from the soil of this world, and planted us as trees in the Lord's vineyard we may not live in idleness, we must bring forth fruit to the praise of His glory. It is by the fruit that the tree is known. How can any take notice of us that we have been with Jesus, excepting by our fruits. But it may be that in healing the soul, the Lord may see it good to afflict the body; it is often so, and oftentimes the sickness of the latter is the means used to bring healing to the former. What does Elihu teach Job? "He is chastened with pain upon his bed, and the multitude of his bones with strong pain. Yea, his soul draweth near unto the grave, and his life to the destroyers. He shall pray unto God, and He will be favourable unto him, and he shall see His face with joy; for He will render unto man His righteousness" (Job 33:19; 33:22; 33:26).

Indeed, it is often on a suffering bed, that we can glorify God the most, and show what He hath done for our soul, and that by, and through the suffering of Jesus Himself, which exceeded anything that we can endure.

Where Christ displays His healing power,
Death and the curse are known no more.
In Him the tribes of Adam boast,
More blessings than their fathers lost.

Clear spring of life! flow on and roll,
With growing swell from pole to pole.
Till flowers and fruits of Paradise,
Round all thy winding current rise.




Part II. JEHOVAH ROPHI-I AM THE LORD THAT HEALETH THEE

SICKNESS-PERSONAL APPLICATION

What shall I say to my sick and suffering friend? Ah! it is easy to have "Repine not" on our lips when we ourselves feel not the ceaseless pain and aching weariness!

Nevertheless to speak "often one to another" (Malachi 3:16) of the love of God, the compassion of Jesus, and all His sufferings for us brings the Lord Himself in our midst-and His book of remembrance is a book of comfort and love; and we realize that such an hour with Jesus causes the body to forget its pain, and fills the heart and mind with joy!

It is when we are sick that we need the physician, and is not "Jehovah Rophi, the Lord that healeth thee," the name of Him who when on earth, in the time of His sojourn among men went about healing all their diseases, and all their sicknesses?

Oh! remember, He is the same to-day, as yesterday, and His power to heal the same now as then; but He has left us an example of suffer-"For it became Him in bringing many sons to glory to make the Captain of their salvation perfect through suffering" (Hebrews 2:10), "and being made perfect He became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey Him" (Hebrews 5:9). He calls us therefore to "follow" Him and we are tenderly and lovingly chastened, that we may be brought more into conformity to Him, and He would have us glorify Him in suffering as He glorified the Father in the perfect fulfilment of His will.

Therefore, dear friend, it has pleased the Lord to lay you on a suffering bed; but look upon it as a trial of faith which is "more precious than gold which perisheth, if it be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ" (1 Peter 1:7).

It is not, perhaps, now in these days that we may be called upon to suffer persecution or any fiery trial such as the Apostles and martyrs of a past time did; but if the Lord call you to suffer where you are, rejoice that you are in a measure, and for His sake, a partaker of sufferings in which you can glorify Him, and try to realize more and more how loving is the Hand that is laid upon you for that very purpose.

One thing be assured of, "The Lord does not willingly afflict the children of men" (Lamentations 3:33). To us all there is a "need be." "And without chastisement whereof all are partakers" (Hebrews 12:8), we should not be the children of God.

Child of God! believe His promise,
How dark soever be thy day;
That which seemeth most perplexing,
Shall thy Father's love display.

Child of God has sickness laid thee
On a weary bed of pain?
He who chastens, He has saved thee;
Thy Father's grace will thee sustain.

Child of God! soon soon in glory
Thou shalt His truth and wisdom see;
And with saints shall tell the story
Of all the love He spent on thee.*

* Song in Sorrow and in Joy. By C. H. Published by James Taylor-Edinburgh.

Ah! dear friend, "the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us" (Romans 8:18). "In us." Oh think of that, and you will not say, "Is there no balm in Gilead?"

"Is there no Physician there?" (Jeremiah 8:22).

Hearken to Jehovah Rophi-"I am the Lord that healeth thee" (Exodus 15:26),"I will not leave you comfortless" (John 14:18).

"The Lord will keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on Him, because he trusteth in Him." (Isaiah 26:3).

Therefore count it all joy if He deem you worthy to show forth His loving-kindness and faithfulness. In your suffering you will hear the tender voice, "my grace is sufficient for thee, my strength is made perfect in weakness" (2 Corinthians 12:9).

They that remember the Lord, and see Him in the poor and needy around them, such will "He strengthen upon the bed of languishing, and make all their bed in their sickness" (Psalm 41:1-3). Then will He enable you to say unto Him:-

"Lord all my desire is before Thee; in Thee O Lord do I hope" (Psalm 38:9; 38:15). "In the multitude of my thoughts within me Thy comforts delight my soul (Psalm 94:19), for "I know O Lord that Thy judgments are right and that Thou in faithfulness hast afflicted me. Let I pray Thee, Thy merciful kindness be for my comfort, according to Thy word unto Thy servant" (Psalm 119:75-76).

Thus richly are we provided in the Scriptures with healing balms, of prayers and praises, suitable for every circumstance especially in the utterances of David whose sufferings and trials were frequently typical of our Lord. And happy is it when in health we have stored them up in our memories, for often it is hard to find words to express ourselves, when we are laden with sickness and prostrate with pain. It is then that the Lord's own inspired words come to us so forcibly and comfort us. "I remember Thee upon my bed, and meditate on Thee in the night watches" (Psalm 63:6). "Oh God, Thou art my God; my soul thirsteth for Thee in a dry and weary land, where no water is" (Psalm 63:1). The soul will not be left to thirst long for Jehovah Rophi is near-ever near His seeking ones in their weakness; and "when the poor and needy seek water, and there is none, and their tongue faileth for thirst, I the Lord will hear them, I the God of Israel will not forsake them. I will open rivers in high places, and fountains in the midst of the valleys: I will make the wilderness a pool of water, and the dry land springs of water…That they may see and consider,…the hand of the Lord hath done this" (Isaiah 41:17-18; 41:20).

But perhaps you say, "Ah! weak and weary and helpless I am indeed! once I could be active and helpful, but now upon this suffering bed what can I do? How can I serve my God?" Hark, dear friend, say not so, such is as the echo of the youth "what good thing shall I do that I may have eternal life?" (Matthew 19:16). or "what shall we do, that we might work the works of God?" (John 6:28). Listen, dear friend, will you let me tell of one, now with her loving Lord-but who for many years lay helpless on her bed. From her own lips I had the following:-

"I never really knew my Saviour until He laid me here! My desire in life was to do the works of God, and to glorify Him. And the Lord who knew my heart, has given me my desire, but not as I expected. My deceitful heart had often praised myself for being so useful, going here and there, with my stores and my tracts, and the Word of God on my tongue, and I had many thanks-and many a flattering unction I took to heart, and was happy."

"But the Lord Jesus, one day, showed me it was myself I glorified, not God. I set out as usual with my basket on my arm-but at the threshold of my door I slipped on ice, and injured my spine-from that day when I was carried up here, I have never left my room. It is some years now since I was laid aside as you see, helpless!"

"At first I murmured, I could not see why the Lord contended with me? A dear and faithful friend and minister, once coming up the stairs to comfort me, heard my complaining, and he greeted me with these words: 'Dear friend, is that the way you glorify God?'"

"Oh! it was an arrow in my soul, under which I fell! and shame covered me. But the Lord of mercy was at hand. He had sent the arrow! He had wounded, and would heal. He was Jehovah Rophi. He took my work from me, to give me His."

"He led me aside to be taught of Him, and oh! how near He is to me! I could not think such love could ever be. I would not now exchange my hours with Him, as I lie here with my constant pain, for all the activity I once so enjoyed! My work now is to show forth His loving-kindness and tell of all His wondrous love, and to glorify Him in submission to His holy will, trusting Him with all my heart, in all that He sees needful to lay upon me."

I may add, the Lord did not forget her prayer, for on that bed of suffering He made her a blessing to many. She wished to glorified God, and He gave her her heart's desire.

And this will He do for you, dear friend. It may be He has laid you here in suffering to show you the same mercies, for if your name be registered in heaven among His children, be assured the banner over you is love. And He is teaching you as "all His children are taught of Him, and great shall be their peace" (Isaiah 54:13). The Lord would have you to choose Mary's part rather than Martha's, therefore "let His word dwell in you richly" (Colossians 3:16), for your comfort, your strength, your peace and joy-His promises abound-they are as a casket of jewels. "If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed, ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free" (John 8:31-32). Oh repeat the words for they are rich with consolation, rich in love "my disciples indeed" "and ye shall know the truth" and be free indeed. "Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth" (John 17:17).

And this prayer is for you! All is spoken to you, all the promises are for you, and it is for you to spread them all out again before the Lord, and to put Him in remembrance of His loving words and plead with Him for more faith, more love towards Him, and perfect resignation to His will.

But if He be ready to heal the poor perishing body as when of old the parents brought their afflicted ones to Jesus, oh how much more are His arms stretched out to heal the perishing souls for whom He laid down His own life! Oh bring then the spiritually blind, and deaf, and halting, that the Lord may say "Be of good cheer thy sins be forgiven thee, go in peace." Jesus only is the Physician that can heal the soul and touch the polluting leprosy of sin. Jesus is Jehovah Rophi.

So tired, Lord, but not too tired,
To place my hand in Thine,
To lay my head upon Thy breast,
And know Thy love is mine.

So tired, Lord, I cannot speak,
But silence is more sweet;
I am too weak to pray, or think,
Or rouse my throbbing brain.

So tired, Lord, I need not speak
I know that Thou art near,
But I am weak, so weak, dear Lord,
Too weak to shed a tear.

So tired, Lord,
Thou hast been tired;
Ah! when I think of Thee,
My keenest anguish melts away
In Thy deep love for me.




Part III. JEHOVAH ROPHI

PERSONAL APPLICATION-TRIAL

Are you, dear friend, in sorrow for a wayward, wandering child, one whom you have sought to train from infancy, to love the Lord? Has he gone astray, choosing the broad road leading to destruction, not caring for his priceless soul? Has the world allured him from the path of duty, and the peaceful ways of wisdom?

And can your anguished heart find "no balm in Gilead?" (Jeremiah 8:22).

Has the Lord given you no word to meet your case? Are there no rebellious sons brought back to God? Can we have a more marvellous example than in Manasseh? True, in deep affliction he was called, but the Lord brought him to know that He was his God (2 Chronicles 33:11; 33:13). Oh! can we not see Hezekiah spreading out his grief for his son before God, for, being young when succeeding to the throne, he must have been an evil child from infancy.

True, Hezekiah did not live to see the fulfilment of his wish; but when the Lord inclines His ear, we may be sure our prayer is heard.

And think of the parable of the Prodigal. Oh! Jesus there teaches us the love of the Father to the wayward son; though it may be through the deepest chastening, he is reclaimed. You, dear friend, have endeavoured to train your child in the way he should go.

"Ah! but he has left that path, and turned to his own way." Perhaps your training was not wise, though you meant it to be right; perhaps you were forgetful that "there is first that which is natural, then that which is spiritual" (1 Corinthians 15:46)-a mistake too often made by anxious parents who, in their earliest desire for their children's welfare, press the spiritual before training the natural; forgetful of the long legal dispensation of obedience under which Jehovah trained His chosen people, ere the Saviour came and revealed the spiritual. From the Lord Jesus we learn, "Verily, verily, I say unto you, except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God; for that which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the spirit is spirit" (John 3:3; 3:6).

This is the great lesson Jesus would have us all learn; He taught it to the ruler who came to Him by night; He equally teaches it to us. All flesh is corrupt, and can only produce corruption; therefore a new nature must be given, and that must come from God only-He only is Jehovah Rophi.

"Grace," dear friend, "is not hereditary;" you cannot impart to your child the spirit which fills your heart, and guides it to the Saviour. You were born again, before you knew the value of that prize yourself; and so must he be born again. Pray for this-pray for it earnestly.

We must train up our child in wisdom's ways, and we have the promise, "When he is old he will not depart from it" (Proverbs 22:6). Let obedience be our rule, enforced with gentleness and love. And though until that new birth be given our children may go astray, yet the Lord will remember our prayer, and the exercise of our faith will show us "The Lord will bring the blind by a way that they knew not: He will lead them in paths that they have not known: and He will make darkness light before them, and crooked things straight. These things will He do unto them, and not forsake them" (Isaiah 42:16).

A blessed promise to seize upon, dear friend. The seed sown with earnest prayer may long lie dormant; we may watch for its germinating, and expect to see it burst forth, as children watch the seed they put in their gardens; but it is the Lord's time, that we must bide. We may plant, and Apollos may water, but we cannot give the increase. No. We must sow in faith, and wait in faith, and pray in faith-"in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving, let our requests be made known unto God" (Philippians 4:6).

Yes, dear friend, the Great Physician, who watches over us, knows all that our souls need to bring them into healthy communion with Himself. Perhaps He has seen that you needed that grace of patience, and to be reminded, that "the husbandman waiteth for the precious fruit of the earth, and hath long patience for it until he receive the early and the latter rain" (James 5:7). Therefore be ye also patient.

Indeed, too often in our eagerness to train others, we forget our own needful training. We may be made keepers of the vineyards, and yet have to lament, "Mine own vineyard have I not kept" (Song of Songs 1:6).

Then it is that the Lord sends a trial to show us this, and brings to our remembrance His own repeated knocking at our door, and how little we regarded it. Ah! indeed how often has our ear been deaf to that tender voice, "Open to me, my sister, my love!" And how have we delayed to answer that call until the "Beloved One had withdrawn Himself, and we sought Him, but could not find Him. We called, but for a while He gave no answer" (Song of Songs 5:2; 5:6).

Thus in striving to lead others, even our own children, to the Saviour, it is well to look back and remember our own difficulties, our many backslidings, then shall we rather marvel at the patience and love with which the Lord taught us, and allured us again and again to return to Him, when the world and its attractions would have snatched us hence; indeed we have all needed the teaching of the Lord, "Precept upon precept, precept upon precept, line upon line, line upon line, here a little and there a little" (Isaiah 28:10); and think of the many times the still, small voice whispered, "This is the rest, and this is the refreshing," (Isaiah 28:12). "Yet we would not hear."

This retrospect should be not to restrain our efforts, but to regulate them; it will induce patience and tender discretion with entire dependence on the Lord for help, and less on our own wisdom. No doubt, since our eyes have been opened, it seems strange that what is so precious to us is so unheeded, so cast aside by many. We forget the blind cannot discern jewels, and that we ourselves once saw no beauty in that Saviour that we should desire Him.

Marvel not then that your child has disobeyed your precepts, and sought to follow his own will.

The Word of God is full of lamentations. "Hear, O Heavens, and give ear, O earth! for the Lord hath spoken: I have nourished and brought up children, and they have rebelled against me" (Isaiah 1:2). "What could have been done more to my vineyard, that I have not done in it; wherefore when I looked that it should bring forth grapes, brought it forth wild grapes?" (Isaiah 5:4).

Are your children better than they to whom the Lord spoke? Ah, no! in no wise, for we are all under sin; "there is none that doeth good-no, not one" (Psalm 14:3). The lamentation is against us all. "What shall I do unto thee, for your goodness is as a morning cloud, and as the early dew it goeth away" (Hosea 6:4).

You also ask, "What shall I do?" Seek the great Physician, and cast your burden upon Him. Seek that tree of life, for He is the Lord that healeth. And be assured of this most precious promise: "Whatsoever ye shall ask in My name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If ye shall ask anything in My name I will do it" (John 14:13-14). This is a promise that can never fail. How readily do we believe the promises of an earthly tried and trusted friend, and yet how many unforeseen circumstances may hinder their performance; but with the Lord are no imposibilities and yet, alas! how often by our actions do we mistrust Him! How little do we confide in His promises!

Oh! He sees how needful it is to exercise our faith; He will be sanctified by us, and He wills that we should be sanctified through faith in Him. And in proportion as we put our trust in Him, will calm and peace be returned into our own bosom.

Think of the prayer of Zacharias-long forgotten by him, but not by the Lord-"Fear not Zacharias, thy prayer is heard. Thy wife, Elizabeth, shall bear thee a son" (Luke 1:13).

Oh! there is nothing too hard for the Lord. He can give the second birth, who gave the first birth. "Behold, the Lord's hand is not shortened that it cannot save, neither His ear heavy that it cannot hear" (Isaiah 59:1). Therefore "wait on the Lord, be of good courage, and He shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the Lord" (Psalm 27:14), and soon your song will be, "I love the Lord because He hath heard my voice and my supplications; because He hath inclined His ear unto me, therefore will I call upon Him as long as I live." He is my Jehovah Rophi" (Psalm 116:1).

But it may be you are to be the sower only; it may be that another shall reap. Yes, it has ever been so: "Herein is that saying true, one soweth and another reapeth" (John 4:37). But if there be whereof to reap, has not your prayer been heard?

Oh, be not faithless, but believing; let the trial of your faith be precious; never, never waver. Be assured the Lord will hear your earnest prayer, nevertheless He will also try your faith. Wherefore fear not, but "trust in the mercy of the Lord for ever and ever" (Psalm 52:8).

Trust in the Lord, and the promise to Israel shall be yours: "Thou shalt not be forgotten of Me" (Isaiah 44:21). And the time will come (perhaps you may not realise it while here on earth) when joy shall be without alloy; when the full corn in the ear shall be gathered into the Heavenly garner; when he that soweth, and he that reapeth, and he that is reaped "may rejoice" (John 4:36) together, singing, "I will praise Thee for ever, because Thou, O Lord, hast done it!" (Psalm 52:9) and "Thy right hand and Thy holy arm hath gotten us the victory" (Psalm 98:1).

Lord, speak to me, that I may speak
In living echoes of Thy tone,
As Thou hast sought, so let me seek
Thy erring children lost and lone.

O lead me, Lord, that I may lead
The wandering and the wavering feet;
O feed me, Lord, that I may feed
Thy hungering ones with manna sweet.

O strengthen me, that while I stand
Firm on the Rock and strong in Thee,
I may stretch out a loving hand
To wrestlers with a troubled sea.

O teach me, Lord, that I may teach
The precious things Thou dost impart,
And wing my words that they may reach
The hidden depths of many a heart.

O give Thine own sweet rest to me,
That I may speak with soothing power
A word in season, as from Thee,
To weary ones in needful hour.

O fill me with Thy fulness, Lord,
Until my very heart o'erflow
In kindling thought and glowing word
Thy love to tell, Thy praise to show.

O use me, Lord, use even me
Just as Thou wilt, and when, and where;
Until Thy blessed face I see,
Thy rest, Thy joy, Thy glory share.

CONTENT DISCLAIMER:

The Blue Letter Bible ministry and the BLB Institute hold to the historical, conservative Christian faith, which includes a firm belief in the inerrancy of Scripture. Since the text and audio content provided by BLB represent a range of evangelical traditions, all of the ideas and principles conveyed in the resource materials are not necessarily affirmed, in total, by this ministry.

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