Reminding and Pleading
James Smith, 1860
Sin is always odious, hateful, and provoking in the eyes of God — and yet we find Him at times, taking advantage of the sin, and sinfulness of his people — to display, illustrate, and glorify his own grace! The great antagonist of sin in man — is grace in God. The sin of finite man, shall never conquer, or frustrate — the designs of the grace of the Infinite God. "Where sin abounded — grace did much more abound."
Israel had sinned grievously, and the Lord brought a long list of heavy charges against them, showing how his heart had been grieved by them; but then instead of thundering out some tremendous threatening, or pouring down some burning curses upon them — he says, "I, even I, am he who blots out your transgressions for my own sake, and will not remember your sins!" And having made this gracious, this wondrous announcement — he calls them with loving words, and says, "Put me in remembrance; let us plead together; declare, that you may be justified." Isaiah 43:26.
"Put me in remembrance." God never forgets — but he loves to be reminded. He wishes us to remind him of our needs — what they are, and ask him to supply them — and also to remind him of his promises — entreating him to fulfill them. For there is no need felt, or need experienced by us — but he has promised the very thing we need, and waits to bestow it.
Then we are to put him in remembrance of what he has done for others — and beseech him to remember us with the favor he bears to his people; to look upon us and be gracious unto us, as he is accustomed to do unto those who love his name; and to give us the heritage of those who fear his name.
So also we should remind him of what he has said of himself: that he is gracious — that he delights in mercy — that he will have compassion — that he is ready to forgive — and that his mercy endures forever.
Especially should we put him in mind of his covenant relation — that he is our God, our God in Jesus. Not only our Creator — but our Father — and that we are the objects of his choice, as well as the subjects of his government. That he has loved us from eternity, and has promised to love us forever. O it is truly blessed sometimes, to put the Lord in remembrance of our numerous needs, and his own most precious promises — of what he has done for our forefathers — of what he has said of himself — but especially of his covenant relation to us in Jesus, as our God forever and ever!
"Let us plead together." Sweet invitation this! Will he plead against us with his great power? No — but he will put strength in us. He asks us to reason with him. He loves to hear us plead, poor pleaders though we are. Let us plead his nature — which is love; and his name — which is gracious and merciful; and his word — which is true from the beginning. Let us plead his beloved Son — his atoning sacrifice, his prevalent intercession, and his perfect work — all that he did, all that he said, and all that he suffered for us. Let us plead our relation to him, as his children us. Let us plead our desires for the blessings of his grace, which were kindled in us by his own most blessed Spirit us. Let us plead what he has already done for us, and promised to us. Such pleading cannot be in vain. It will be owned and honored, and crowned with success. O beloved, let us come near to God, let us plead with God — until we prevail with God! He wishes us to plead, and is prepared to honor our pleading.
"Declare, that you may be justified." Declare — what can we declare? That God has promised to forgive, to blot out our transgressions, and not to remember our sins; and to do so, not on account of anything we do, or say, or feel — but for his own sake. Finding the motive and cause entirely and solely in himself. Now if our transgression is forgiven, if our sin is covered, if God has made up his mind that he will not impute iniquity unto us — we must be justified: and it is this that he wishes us to believe, to state, and to plead before him.
We may plead thus, because God has bidden us, and has put the words into our mouths; and thus pleading, we shall enjoy our justification from all charges, as an act of free grace, righteously exercised through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus. Beloved, let us plead for a full acquittal from all charges in the sight of God, and let us plead for a sense of the same arising from the Spirit's testimony in the heart; and let us expect it too, for God's word justifies such an expectation.
Friends, God wishes us to remember his word, for our own comfort — and to remind him of it when we go to his throne. He loves earnest pleading, and always blesses earnest pleaders. He desires to justify us, and therefore he has provided a righteousness for us, imputes that righteousness to us, and confers that righteousness upon us. Let our prayers then be a reminding God of his own word, a pleading with God his own revelation, and let us expect that God will justify us, while his word authorizes the greatest confidence, courage, and boldness at his throne!