Is not this the fast that I have chosen? To loose the bands of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, and to let the oppressed go free, and that ye break every yoke.
And the Lord said unto Joshua, Get thee up: wherefore liest thou thus upon thy face? Israel hath sinned…. Neither will I be with you any more, except ye destroy the accursed from among you.
The hands which are sometimes lifted up in prayer, must at other times be put to the plow, or the husbandman must expect no crop.
Someone has told the story of a little girl who “put feet to her prayers”. This child was a great lover of feathered singers, but her brother had set traps to catch birds. One day she was telling a friend about the cruel plan. “I prayed that he would not catch any birds,” she volunteered.
“Did God hear your prayer?” the lady asked.
“Oh yes,” was the reply. “After I prayed, I went and kicked the traps to pieces.”
Very often we, too, need to rise from our knees as Joshua of old, and do something about the sin that is holding back the blessing of God from the Church of Jesus Christ.
John Wesley constantly enjoined his people to show forth the praises of God by “good works” resulting from their close walk with God.
Thomas Cook, writer of New Testament Holiness, says “True devotion will never displace duty. It always leads to earnest effort for the world’s good and God’s glory. We have no sympathy with the easy-going, lazy optimism which sits down with folder arms, indifferent to the gigantic moral and social evils by which we are surrounded. None are so ready and well fitted to carry God’s message of comfort to weary, burdened hearts as those whose lips have been newly touched with the live coal from God’s altar.”
…..Our home, our life, our duties lie below.
While here we kneel upon the mount of prayer,
The plow lies waiting in the furrow there.
Here we sought God that we might know His will;
There we must do it, serve Him, seek Him still. – Unknown
Times of great spiritual abundance have their very deep and subtle dangers….. Many a Christian has failed just there. Soon the great light, unused, has faded and left the soul in darkness. Soon peace which was not vitalized to power has decayed to pride. Something of this kind has come, I think, to whole generations, to whole periods of Christianity.
But see! If you lift up your head, if you put out your hand and take your task, which certainly is waiting for you, then instantly your emotions know their place. They turn themselves to motives. They become the necessary habits of the life. They prove their reality by what they can make you strong to do…..
Let no spiritual exaltation come to you without your lifting yourself up to its present power, and doing some work for God which in your weaker moments and lower moods has scared you with its difficulty.
For duty is the only tabernacle within which a man can always make his home upon the transfiguration mountain. – Phillips Brooks.
– READING: Isaiah 58
– Royal Exchange: E.F. & L. Harvey