Time for God to Work!
by James Smith, 1860
We may not dictate to the Lord — but we may plead with him, and bring before him our needs, wishes, and desires. We may lay before him the state of our souls, our families, our churches, our country, and the world. "Supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, should he made for all men." But there are special times of special prayer — and we have instances of this in Jeremiah, Daniel, Ezra, and Nehemiah. So also David, when he saw men become unusually profane and lawless, cried out, with intense fervor, "It is time for you, Lord, to work!" Psalm 119:126.
God Has Special Times of Working.
He has a time to favor his people — a set time.
Judgment is the Lord's strange work, and he often withholds his hand, in patience to his foes, for he is slow to anger.
There is a time also, to chastise his friends, whom he chastens with the rod of men. Mercy is his delight. He works in his people to will and to do; and he works by his people, accomplishing all the good pleasure of his will.
He sometimes ceases to work, or appears to do so —
and then we feel no power working within us, or working with us. We seem to
labor in vain, and spend our strength for nothing. This is to . . .
try our grace,
call forth our prayers, and
exercise our energies.
God loves to be pleaded with, and he will give us cause
and occasion to plead with him.
The Present Time Calls For God's Intervention.
Infidelity has put on a bold front, and has been stalking abroad in the open day.
Superstition has gathered strength and misled thousands of souls.
Crime is rampant, and criminals are numerous.
The cause of God in many places is low, for there have been few conversions.
Professors of religion are becoming worldly, and cold, and are at ease in Zion.
In some places error appears to make more impression than truth, and the multitude of the people are going astray.
It is time for God to work! For man has
tried and failed! Things will get worse and worse without God intervening —
and believers will become dispirited. Yes, we need that God should
work, for many of our sons and daughters, many of our wives and husbands,
many of our brothers and sisters — are in the gall of bitterness, and in the
bonds of iniquity. We desire God to work — for we long for . . .
the conversion of immortal souls,
the restoration of backsliders, and
the establishment of believers in faith and love.
We hear of God working elsewhere, for in several
places he has made bare his holy arm, in the eyes of all the nations. We
must have God work — or we shall . . .
dishonor God, and
sink into a carnal state!
If it is time for God to work — then it is time for us to pray, and entreat him to do so. He has promised to do so — but the promises are made to prayer. We should therefore plead with him in private prayer. We should meet together, and in union of heart and soul — entreat him to work. We should be earnest and fervent, as seeking the greatest blessing, as if we were pleading for our life!
If it is time for God to work — then it is time for us to work. Every one in his own sphere. Each in his own connection. Every Christian should be at work for God, at work to win souls, at work with a view to help forward God's good cause. All believers, as individuals, or as a band of men whose hearts God has touched — should be employed in the Lord's vineyard. Each, and all, should put forth their energies, and work to the utmost of their power.
If it is time for God to work — then it is time for lost sinners to bethink themselves, repent, and turn to God. He may work in wrath. He may whet his glittering sword, and his hands may take hold on judgment! The appeal of the Lord's people, may be taken as an application to a just judge, to execute his righteous sentence upon criminals, and cut them down in his wrath, and punish them in his sore displeasure. And if he should — how dreadful would the result be!
Reader, are you in an unreconciled state? Is your heart estranged from God? If so, how fearful it would be, if God was to stretch out his hand against you — and cut you down! Repent, therefore, and pray to God, that your enmity against him, and opposition to him — may be forgiven.
But we would rather view the appeal as made to a gracious Father, respecting his wayward and erring children — that he would work to reclaim, recover, and bring them back. O Lord, look on your church — it is in a low place, and needs your special intervention! Will you not arise and have mercy upon your people, for the time to favor them, yes, the set time has come!
It is time for the Lord to work, for lost sinners are getting hardened under the gospel!
It is time for the Lord to work, for . . .
your professing people are getting colder and colder;
the world is loved;
wealth is idolized;
ordinances are neglected;
congregations are thin;
souls by millions are perishing!
Is it not then, is it not time for you to work?
Spirit of the living God . . .
come down in power and great glory upon us,
rouse up our fellow countrymen,
crowd our houses of prayer,
revive all your churches, and
convert thousands, and tens of thousands to yourself!
Thus display your power,
thus fulfill your promises,
thus confound Satan,
thus gratify the desires of your people,
and thus glorify your wondrous grace!