Sunday, March 6

Sunday's Sermon: From the Prayer of Jabez

No, not the recent best seller, but another Prayer of Jabez--a sermon preached in 1841 by Joseph Philpot:

"And God granted him that which he requested." That was the best of all. It is not prayer, but the answer to prayer that brings the blessing. "A man has joy by the answer of his mouth," Pr 15:23. And it was Jabez's mercy not merely to pray for spiritual blessings, but to have them richly bestowed. The Lord did bless him indeed, did enlarge his coast, guided him with his hand, and kept him from evil.

In drawing this feeble portrait of Jabez, I have also described, however faintly and imperfectly, the desires and breathings of the people of God. But remember that I have not said that they are always in this state. Had I said so, if I know any of these things by experience, I should have told a lie, and the very worst of all lies a pulpit lie. It is only at certain seasons, rare and solemn moments, under the special visitations and overshadowings of the blessed Spirit, that the people of God thus pour out their hearts before him.

There are many times when it seems as if this present world could satisfy us, when we build up our earthly paradises, and seek as it were ease and rest here below. But the voice soon comes, "Arise and depart, for this is not your rest." As the Holy Spirit brooded over the dark waters of chaos, so will he sometimes brood over the soul, infusing life and feeling, and drawing forth earnest desires such as passed through the soul of Jabez; and then it seems as if nothing would or could satisfy us but a blessed answer.

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