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Monday, September 15, 2014

Discipline Unto Prayer # 13

Meekness Of the Man of God (continued)

Mercy of Answered Prayer

Think, also, of the wonderful way in which the Lord answered Moses' prayers. There were miracles of preservation, miracles of provision, miracles of progress. Every time when a new crisis of need came upon them, Moses turned to the secret place of prayer and called on the Name of the Lord. And on each occasion there were fresh blessings which could only have come by way of the trials. The people could not pray for themselves. More often than not they doubted and complained. Moses was the man who prayed, and so Moses had the full spiritual blessing which comes to those who see their prayers answered, especially if these prayers are for others rather than for themselves. After all, when the people lacked food, Moses was as hungry as any of them. He, too, could have died from thirst, just like the rest. When they were attacked by their enemies, Moses was as much in danger as any of them - possibly more. It seems, though, that as a true intercessor should, Moses forgot himself and his own needs in his shepherd-like concern for the people. He prayed for them, not for himself; and, as he did so, he could hardly ignore the fact that they were as unworthy as he. When the prayers were answered - and what a wonderful record of answered prayer the wilderness journey provided! - then anew he would be impressed with the greatness of God's mercy.

There were, of course, deeper spiritual needs than the physical and material perils of the wilderness way. There were times when the whole nation was likely to be destroyed, because of its disobedience and sin. There were individuals, like Aaron and Miriam, whose only hope of survival could be in the mercy of God. Moses was the man who prayed for that mercy, and God graciously responded to his selfless intercession. There are two ways of receiving answers to prayer. The wrong way is that of conceit, as though we or our prayers had some kind of merit in them. A prayer ministry will not continue for long, nor remain effective, if any such spirit is allowed a place in the heart of the intercessor. But there is the other way, when those concerned are humbled to the dust by the sheer goodness and grace of God. Even more than suffering, even more than chastening, the very abundance of God's mercy can melt our hearts in lowly gratitude. Such people do not have to try to be meek. They do not even have to pray to be made meek. It is the goodness of God, so amazing and so undeserved, which produces such meekness.

The Influence of A Meek Man

It was after the people's greatest sin, and God's gracious pardon, that the new promise was given: "My presence shall go with thee, and I will give thee rest (Exodus 33:14). The "rest" here spoken of was something more than comfort or easement: it implied that the expedition would reach its successful end, and that the people would be led into the land of promise, which was God's "rest". Moses had earlier lost all confidence in himself. He knew that he had failed God. Now, in a very thorough way, he had reason to lose confidence in the whole people who had sinned away all their prospects. Only one hope was left to him, and this was the hope now inspired by God's new promise. It was hope in the mercy of God.

We know that the nation did get through. Although Moses himself was not allowed to lead them into their inheritance. On the Divine side, this success was due solely to God's great mercy; on the human side, to the shepherding ministry of the man Moses. What was the secret? We are told: it was that he excelled in meekness. So we are left with this definite implication, that in any people who are in danger of breakdown and failure, the one contribution which has most value among them is meekness. If there be but one truly meek man or woman in that situation there is still hope. "The meek will He guide in judgement: and the meek He will teach His way" (Psalm 25:9). There are various qualifications for the man who would serve the Lord, but this is probably the most important. The one who excels in meekness will be the one who knows face-to-face communion with God, and proofs of the mighty hand of God which are denied to all others. May we, too, learn something of the meekness of the man of God.

~T. Austin-Sparks~

(continued with # 14 - (The Tragedy of the Unfinished Task)

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