Relationship and Attention
God's promises are especially intended for trying times. They are presented to us, that we may . . .
draw comfort from them,
plead them with God,
and obtain their fulfillment.
Whenever God made a promise, he called his people to prayer; and in answer to prayer, he condescends to make it good. Trying, very trying, were the circumstances of Israel, when they came up out of the Babylonish captivity — but the promises God gave them, and the messages he sent to them, were very precious. How sweetly he says, owning them in their low estate, "I am the Lord their God, and will hear them." Zechariah 10:6.
THE RELATION. "I am the Lord their God." Whose God? The God of Israel — the poor, scattered, and afflicted remnant, who for seventy years had been in bondage in a strange land. They had been great sinners — but in such the Lord displays great grace: for where sin abounded — grace did much more abound. They were gross backsliders, they had forsaken the Lord, and had fallen by their iniquity: but most lovingly he addresses them, and calls them back. They were now few in number, poor in their circumstances, and despised and persecuted by men. Yet the Lord says, "I am their God."
What was he? Their God who had corrected them for their waywardness and follies. Who had watched over them in the enemy's country, and preserved them from being swallowed up. Who had now brought them back to the land of their fathers, that they might dwell there and have it in possession. Whose heart was full of pure and holy love to them, for never did he love them more. Who was now waiting to bless them, and to do them good in a way that was worthy of a God.
THE DETERMINATION. "I will hear them." Men may turn a deaf ear to them — but God will not. Man may forget or neglect them — but God will not. He will hear them, though Satan may accuse and resist them, as he did Joshua their high priest. Though their sin testifies against them, and calls for judgments upon them. Though doubts and fears harass them, desolating their faith, and weakening their souls in prayer. Though a sense of unworthiness depresses them, and casts a gloom over their mind.
Yes, out of his own love, he will hear their prayers — and glorify himself in doing so.
He will hear them — and pardon their sins, however numerous, or however aggravated.
He will hear them — and revive their graces, however feeble and drooping they may be.
He will hear them — and increase their numbers, making them like a fruitful flock.
He will hear them — and restore the privileges, which by sin and folly they bad lost.
He will hear them — and disperse their foes, however numerous or mighty they may be.
He will hear them — and be a wall of fire roundabout, and the glory in the midst of them.
Covenant relationship remains the same under all circumstances. If the Lord is once our God — then he is our God forever. The relation which God sustains to us, he will acknowledge and honor; nor will he turn away from us, from doing us good. The prayer which God produces by his Spirit — he answers in the exercise of his grace. The blessings he has promised — he will give, however costly, or numerous they may be. The people whom he loves — he will save, and save with an everlasting salvation. What encouragement for poor, sinful, unworthy creatures!
Reader, is the Lord your God? Have you had personal dealings with him on the throne of grace? Has he ever been revealed to your soul, as — the Lord, the Lord God, merciful and gracious, pardoning iniquity, transgression and sin? If so, however you may feel at present, whatever your circumstances may be — he will hear you. Therefore call upon him, lay your whole case before him, if he appears to delay — plead with him, for he is the Lord your God, and he will hear you.
If you are a stranger to his grace, if you have never felt the power of his love — yet seek him, seek him in Jesus, and he will befriend you.
In you — he will glorify his grace.
In you — he will make good his word.
In you — he will exhibit the saving power of the Redeemer's blood.
In you — he will prove that he is able to do exceeding and abundantly above all that we ask or think.
O what a mercy to have Jehovah for our God, and to know that in all times of trouble, sorrow, pain, grief, and woe — that he will hear us! O blessed privilege, to have the promises to plead, and grace to plead them, and to be assured of their fulfillment!
Thus says the Lord to all his saints,
Who on his grace rely;
I will attend to your complaints
And all your needs supply.
I will in providence appear
Crosses shall blessings prove;
And you shall find me ever near;
The objects of my love.
I will your numerous sins forgive,
And keep you day and night,
You shall upon my fullness live,
And in your God delight.
I will complete what I begin,
My work I'll not forsake;
You shall the prize of glory win,
And of my bliss partake!