"As long as Moses held up the staff with his hands, the
Israelites had the advantage. But whenever he lowered his hands, the
Amalekites gained the upper hand." Exodus 17:11
Alarms soon trouble the advancing host. Amalek attacks
their rear. Esau's tribe has evil will against the house of Jacob. The
birthright sold, the blessing lost, had deeply laid the seeds of malice. And
now occasion ripens hatred into fierce assault. Believer, the race of Cain,
of Ishmael, of Esau still lives. Be ready. Their hate is sure. Their wily
steps are near. When least expected, they will plot their worst. How shall
such foes be met? He who follows Christ must neither flee nor yield nor
fear. He must stand fast in faith, and he must kneel in prayer. So Moses
teaches. He commands Joshua, 'Choose some men, and go out, fight.'
Heaven's crown sits only on a warrior's brow.
But carnal weapons are impotent alone. In fighting, by
not fighting, we prevail. So when Joshua struggles in the plain, Moses
wrestles on the hill. He seeks the summit, bearing the rod. Prayer brings
all heaven to the aid. Thus Israel's hands are strong or weak as those of
Moses rise or drop. Large Gospel lessons here expand before us. We may roam
up and down this field and find no end in gathering precious fruit. But one
especial tree calls us to shake its richly-laden boughs. Moses
interceding on the hill shows Jesus interceding on the higher heights.
Come then, my soul, with joyful wing fly upward. It is
good, it is wise, it is blessed, to be much with Jesus in the suffering
valley. Faith visits often the manger, the garden, and the cross. It seeks
all sin's remission in the stripes, the wounds, the agony, the death of the
bleeding Lamb. But these amazing truths are but the porch of more
amazing glories. Hence it delights to follow Jesus in His bright ascent,
to gaze undazzled on the throne, to mark His present doings by His Father's
What? Is He still engaged in work? Wondrous tidings!
Hear, all who call Him Lord—He ever loves you, and ever labors in your
cause. His eye is never turned away. His hands cannot hang down. His heavens
are the office-chamber of your soul's concerns. Do you ask, What is His
work? Listen, the Holy Spirit cries, 'He ever lives to make
Intercession.' His every day and every hour is ceaseless energy of
Do you add, But what is Intercession? An
intercessor stands between two parties, pleading for the one to look with
favor on the other. The parties here are God the Father, and poor worms of
earth. 'If any man sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ
the righteous.' Before the Father, then, the Mediator pleads. But is not the
Father an overflowing ocean of free grace? Is it not His grand delight to
crown His sons with all heaven's blessings? Why, then, shall prayers, like
constant incense, move Him to give what He is unwilling to withhold?
Salvation's scheme is wholly ordered to show forth love in brightest rays.
It is to aid this end, that Intercession has its place.
Believer, what kindles flames of comfort in your heart?
What decks your brow with smiles, when trials and temptations throng? Is it
not a view of Jesus pleading at God's right hand? The thought is
rapture, peace, and victory. Remove the Advocate, and all your hope goes
down in gloom. Christ prays, because He loves so much. He prays, because the
Father loves not less. Intercession is the fair fruit of their co-loving
Next, see for whom this Intercession strives.
Imagine a father begging for his much-loved son, a mother for her first-born
child, brother for brother, friend for friend, the ardent bridegroom for his
darling bride. What cries! What tears! What earnestness! What moving words!
What melting arguments! What strong appeals! What fervor of desire! What
bold resolve to gain the petition! But all these ties, with all their
warmth, converge in Jesus. In Him there is the father's deep
affection, the mother's tenderness, the brother's zeal, the
friend's devoted sympathy, the bridegroom's burning love. He
urges, These are My children—the travail of My soul—the offspring of My
wounds—My sister—My spouse—My beloved, around whom My heart has been
entwined forever—the bride of My Father's gift, and of My loving choice—My
portion—My jewels—My crown—the sheep of My pasture—My wealth—My delight—the
members of My mystic body—the very apple of My eye. Such prayer is as the
heart-strings strained. Reader! are you one with Christ? Then all day long,
and all time long, He wrestles thus for you.
Mark, also, how Jesus executes this office. Come,
see the proceedings of the heavenly court. Jesus appears. This is the
opening act. The Spirit teaches, 'Christ has not entered into the holy
places made with hands, which are the figures of the true, but into heaven
itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us.' He presents His
person. The Father's eye rests on Him. Oh! with what love, what rapture,
what delight! It is His son, His only begotten Son, His well-beloved Son,
His elect One, His beauty, His express image, His glory, His treasure,
compared with whom the heavens are an empty void, and all worlds' charms a
vacant nothingness. It is Jesus—even the Servant, who has performed all His
will—who has brought all honor to His attributes—who has ransomed all His
people—who has filled heaven with all its song. Jesus Himself appears. O my
soul, your cause is in good hands!
Jesus appears. But in what form? A LAMB is seen,
'looking as if it had been slain.' What, then, does He show? His wounds, His
bruises, His scars, His pierced hands and feet, His open side. There is
no eloquence like the eloquence of a slain Redeemer! There is no
argument like the argument of a God-man's death. The blood of Abel cries.
Much more the blood of Jesus. It loudly proves that His people are all
bought with a worthy price, that their sins are all washed away, that they
are all whiter than snow, that the covenant is all fulfilled, and that every
grace is their purchased due. Thus Christ appears as 'He that lives and was
dead.' O my soul, your cause is in good hands!
Jesus appears. But by what right? He comes as one
whom office and duty bring. He is called and appointed and ordained to this
especial work. He comes, because He must be faithful to the trust received.
He comes, because it is His privilege to pass the veil. The great day in
which atonement must be pleaded has arrived. The High Priest cannot be
absent. O my soul, your cause is in good hands!
He comes, also, with authority. He prays as one
who may command. Equal addresses equal. O wondrous thought! what can the
language be? 'Father, I will.' Yes! It is even so. 'Father, I will.' 'I
will,' is God's petition to a granting God. The kingly Priest with king-like
power prays. O my soul, your cause is in good hands!
He enters, also, as Advocate. As such, His
Intercession has judicial force. He states the laws of the realm, the
statutes of the empire, the decrees of the sovereign, the rights of the
subject, the justice of the case, the demands of equity and truth. He
unfolds the volume of the covenant of grace. He claims a judgment in
accordance with well-counseled compact. Righteousness fails, heaven's edicts
must be rewritten, if such pleadings be cast out. O my soul, your cause is
in good hands!
Believer, perhaps next you anxiously enquire, what is the
significance of such mighty Intercession? You sigh, Oh! that I surely
knew what are the blessings which He seeks for me. Draw near. His
interceding voice sounds in the Gospel-page. He cried boldly and clearly
from the cross, 'Father, forgive them.' He cries as boldly and as
clearly from the throne, 'Father, forgive them.' As king He reigns, taking
away sin. As quick as the sin-stain defiles, He spreads His wounded
hands. Pardon cannot linger. Sins and iniquities are remembered no more.
Listen! He pleads again. It is, that His flock may be
kept. 'Holy Father, keep through Your own name those whom You have given
Me.' The prayer is heard. Jehovah's wings become their shield. Omnipotence
defends them. Angels encamp around them. All things work together for their
good. Each foe is foiled. The chosen seed gets safely to heaven.
His word, also, is gone forth, 'I will ask the Father,
and He shall give you another Comforter, that He may abide with you
forever, even the Spirit of truth.' The eternal Spirit hastens to comply. He
flies with conquering wing into the willing heart. He shows the cross in its
attractive glory. He shines upon the sacred page. He lifts up Jesus to the
enraptured gaze. Without Christ's prayer the Spirit never comes. Without the
Spirit, there is no faith, no truth, no godliness on earth.
He next gains acceptance for our prayers. What
feeble babbling is our holiest worship? But answers come, surpassing our
largest hopes. How can it be? The incense of Christ's merits fills the
censer. Thus more is granted than the suppliant sought. We coldly plan, we
feebly work, to magnify His name. But we succeed, and He is glorified in us.
But how? His voice wins help and help we receive. Believer, pray much. Pray
more. Think whose prayers are mixed with yours. Work much—work more.
Think who obtains for you the strength to prosper.
Will Christ ask more? He surely asks, until God's
treasury is drained. He speaks again, 'Father, I will that those also, whom
You have given Me, be with Me where I am.' This is the summit of His love.
This is the summit of His people's joy. He has no heaven without them. They
have no heaven but with Him. His throne is for them. Their throne is by His
side. Believer, mark it, you must ever be with the Lord. This
Intercession is the golden chain which draws and binds you to Him. It is
uttered. It is continued. It is heard. It is granted.
His presence is your endless heritage.
It must be so. This Intercession must prevail.
Mark the ascending steps by which the Spirit leads up to the proof. Read
Romans 8:34. Christ's death is full redemption. 'Who is he that condemns? It
is Christ who died.' His resurrection rises higher. It manifests in
clearer light the acceptance of the finished work. 'Yes, rather, that has
risen again.' His ascension soars yet higher. It crowns assurance with a
heaven-high crown. 'Who is even at the right hand of God.' But
Intercession reaches heights more lofty. It consummates, it perfects, it
applies, it secures complete salvation. 'Who also makes Intercession for
us.' Blessed death! it reconciles. More blessed life! it much
more saves. Blessed blood! it redeems. More blessed Intercession!
It saves to the uttermost. O my soul, your cause is in good hands.
Let others seek their mediators many, who are mediators
none. Let others fly to intercessors many, who are intercessors none. Will
not you shout that Christ is enough—Christ is All!