James Smith, 1860
To act aright, we must seek divine wisdom, and depend on divine strength. If we aim at God's glory in any enterprise, we may claim all the encouraging promises of God's Word; and while we plead them at his throne, their fulfillment in our experience is sure. What God said to his ancient people, under similar circumstances, he says to us; and I love to take Old Testament promises as encouragements to duty in New Testament times. My mind is now fixed on one precious promise made to his people in deep distress,
"I will strengthen them in the Lord; and they shall walk up and down in his name, says the Lord." Zechariah 10:12
WHAT WILL GOD DO? "I will strengthen them." God's people are often few and weak. Few in number, and weak in comparison with his foes. They often find great difficulties lying in their way. God's promises are so framed as to meet their condition. Here he promises them strength. Strength to work in his vineyard. Strength to walk in his ways. Strength to do battle with his enemies. He says, "I will strengthen them by the Lord — by the presence, supports, and supplies brought by the Savior. I will strengthen them in the name of the Lord, the Messiah, who employs them in his work, who leads them to the war, and who is their friend in every time of need."
Beloved, if God strengthens us, it will be by Jesus, in his name, and for his sake. If the Lord strengthens us, we shall be strong enough to perform every duty, face every foe, and master every difficulty. As the Lord has promised strength, let us seek it from him.
WHAT WILL BE THE RESULT? "They shall walk up and down in his name." As his people, as enjoying he sanction, as his free men. They shall be spiritually healthy and active — able and willing to walk. They shall be diligent and devoted — the Lord's obedient children. They shall be happy and useful — working in peace and crowned with success.
"They shall walk up and down in his name."
As warranted by him,
as dependent upon him,
as acting for him,
as imitating him,
as aiming to honor him.
Or carrying out the apostle's admonition, "Whatever you do in word or deed — do all in the name of the Lord Jesus giving thanks unto God and the Father by him."
The believer unaided can do nothing to purpose. He is as weak as a bruised reed, and the longer he lives, the more he feels his weakness.
The Christian when strengthened by his God, can do all things God desires him to do. Difficulties there may be, will be — but not impossibilities; for "all things are possible to him that believes," and the Lord strengthens us, then we believe — and the more we believe, the more we are strengthened.
The strength promised, is for the performance of the precepts given. The precept directs — the promise enables. Or rather, the precept tells us what God requires us to do — and the promise reveals God as engaging to give us the strength requisite to do. Active industry proves that the promise is fulfilled. The Spirit's work within us, at once leads us to do the will of God, and to seek the grace from God that is requisite to do it. Whatever we seek from the Lord, or obtain from the Lord — should be used for the Lord. Grace is to fit us for glory in the end, and for every duty by the way.
Let us therefore, as Paul exhorted the Hebrews, "let us have grace whereby we may serve God acceptably, with reverence and godly fear." O to be strengthened in the Lord, that we may walk up and down in the name of the Lord our God!