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the temple of Jerusalem, when God had promised to hear and answer all prayer directed towards His Name in that place, whether in the time of pestilence, plague, or war, or any other evil. Lastly, he appealed to God as a God of love, for "all Judah stood before the Lord with their little ones, their wives, and their children." And he said, “we have no might in ourselves, but our eyes are upon thee.” To such a prayer an immediate answer
The spirit came upon Jahaziel a Levite, and he told them, “the battle was not their’s, but the Lord's," and that they need not to fight, for the Lord was with them.
Jehoshaphat's faith now shone forth brightly. He took an opportunity of speaking to all the people, and said, “Hear me, 0 Judah, and ye inhabitants of Jerusalem : Believe in the Lord your God, so shall
be established; believe his prophets, so shall ye prosper.”
But what even more showed his faith was his appointing singers that praised the “Lord, and the beauty of holiness," as they went before the army, and who said, “Praise the Lord, for his mercy endureth for ever.” So confident did they feel of an answer to
their prayers, that they exchanged prayer for praise, supplication for thanksgiving. Then came the great victory. “They
“ were smitten”—“every one helped to destroy another. And when Judah came toward the watch-tower in the wilderness, they looked unto the multitude, and behold, they were dead bodies fallen to the earth, and none escaped.” They were more than conquerors. For they found among them riches and precious jewels, more than they could carry away; and they were three days in gathering the spoil, it was so much. Besides this, there was the good effect on the countries around : “And the fear of God was on all the kingdoms of those countries, when they had heard that the Lord fought against the enemies of Israel.”
Here then is indeed encouragement to prayer, to prayer arising from a believing heart. Here you see what great things the believer can expect to receive in answer to simple and child-like confidence, which leads to simple and fervent prayer to a Father which seeth in secret.
Only let our prayers be faithful, and we see what mountains can be removed. It is remarkable that we read not here of any other preparation made by Jehoshaphat to withstand the enemy, than this of prayer.
It cannot be doubted that he also
gave orders about his army, and all the manner of defence and attack. But the chief thing he did, is only told us, and that is to show his main trust was in the Lord, and not in himself or his
army. As we read of these wonderful deliverances we are apt to think they belong not to our times or to us. But this is a great mistake. This is to lose sight of one of the greatest sources of comfort and encouragement which God has graciously given us. It is only written for us, that we through the Scriptures might have hope in the same God. God has no less means than then of helping his people. If we see not as marvellous deliverances, it is because we see seldom such great faith.
See also, what should be the foundation of our faith, and what the construction of our prayers. The mighty power of God, we should appeal to—not in words only, as “O Almighty God”—but really considering all that is said of this great God in His word, of whom we are permitted to ask what we wish : that He has all things in His hands, and that with Him “all things are possible.” And as we think over our difficulties, our troubles, our wants, our perplexities, let us often ask the question, “Is anything too hard
for the Lord ?" Is the thing I am asking as great a difficulty as it would be to remove a mountain into the sea ?—for this is what the Lord promises I can do, or have done for me,
if I ask Him in the name of Jesus Christ.
Nor ever forget this all-important point. What was the merit of Solomon's temple ? Why should prayer directed to that place never be unanswered ? Jehoshaphat's prayer tells us when he says of the temple, "For thy name is in this house.”
Where is the name of the Lord now? Not in the temple, for it is laid even with the dust: the name of the Lord is in the Person of Christ. The glory of God appeared in Him when He visited this earth. He was “God manifest in the flesh.” The glory of God shone in Him more brightly than in the Holy of Holies in the temple.
Like Jehoshaphat, we must appeal to this Name, and place all dependance on God's faithfulness to keep His covenant with His people. Abraham was called the friend of God. And the promise to him, supported Jehoshaphat's petitions. But Christ is the Son of God, will He not then with Him freely give us all things? Will He withhold any one good thing from them that ask Him? Wil He not rather, as it is written,
make “us more than conquerors through him that loved us. Good shall come out of our troubles. We shall grow rich by their means. And they who think to do us evil shall be made to minister to our good.
Go then often, and go in faith to the throne of grace. There will God meet you, and commune with you. There will you get mercy,
grace to help in time of need. Go with prayer, and return with praises, for the mercy of the Lord endureth for ever.
O LORD God of my fathers ! art not thou God in heaven, and rulest thou not over all this earth! In thine hand is all power and might, and none is able to withstand thee. I have no might against my enemies, or to deliver myself out of troubles. Mine eyes are upon thee. I plead thy promises. I plead the Name of Jesus Christ. For His sake give me whatsoever thou knowest to be good for me. Turn from me all evils I deserve. Send thy good Spirit into my heart. Make me more than a conqueror over all evils of this world ; and give me
i grace to fight the good fight of faith, and to finish my course with joy, for the same precious Name's sake. AMEN.