02 July 2006

An Humble Blog

For your encouragement to pray together corporately here are some key points taken from Jonathan Edward's exposition of Zech 8:20-22 in his "An Humble Attempt . . .".
May we all be incurable God-seekers as we pursue Him through prayer!
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Text: Thus saith the Lord of hosts; [It shall yet come to pass,] that there shall come people, and the inhabitants of many cities: And the inhabitants of one city shall go to another, saying, Let us go speedily to pray before the Lord, and to seek the Lord of hosts: I will go also. Yea, many people and strong nations shall come to seek the LORD of hosts in Jerusalem, and to pray before the Lord.” Zech 8:20-22
Prayer is here expressly and repeatedly mentioned; and also considering how parallel this place is with many other prophecies, that speak of an extraordinary spirit of prayer, as preceding and introducing that glorious day of religious revival, and advancement of the church’s peace and prosperity, so often foretold. Add to this, the agreeableness of what is here said, with what is said afterwards by the same prophet, of the pouring out of a spirit of grace and supplication, as that with which this great revival of religion shall begin. (chap. 12:10.) . . .
The GOOD, that shall be sought by prayer, which is God Himself. It is said once and again, “They shall go to pray before the Lord, and to seek the Lord of hosts.” This is the good they ask for, and seek by prayer: The Lord of hosts Himself. . .
it implies that God Himself is the great good desired and sought after; that the blessings pursued are God’s gracious presence, the blessed manifestations of Him, union and intercourse with Him; or, in short, God’s manifestations and communications of Himself by His Holy Spirit. Thus the psalmist desired God, thirsted after Him, and sought Him. Psalm 63:1,2,8 “O God, Thou art my God; early will I seek Thee. My flesh longeth for Thee, in a dry and thirsty land where no water is; to see thy power and thy glory, so as I have seen Thee in the sanctuary. My soul followeth hard after Thee.” Psalm 73:25 “Whom have I in Heaven but Thee? And there is none upon earth that I desire besides Thee.” The psalmist earnestly pursued after God, his soul thirsted after Him, he stretched forth His hands unto Him, etc. (Psalm 143:6) And therefore it is in Scripture the peculiar character of the saints, that they are those who seek God. Psalm 24:6 “This is the generation of them that seek Him Psalm 69:32 “Your heart shall live that seek GodIf the expression in the text be understood agreeably to this sense, then by seeking the Lord of hosts, we must understand a seeking, that God who had withdrawn, or as it were hid Himself for a long time, would return to His church, and grant the tokens and fruits of His gracious presence, and those blessed communications of His Spirit to His people, and to mankind on earth, which He had often promised, and which His church had long waited for. . . . And when God, in answer to their prayers and succeeding their endeavours, delivers, restores, and advances His church, according to His promise, then He is said to answer, and come, and say, Here am I, and to show Himself; and they are said to find Him, and see Him plainly. Isa 58:9 “Then shalt Thou cry, and He shall say, Here I am Isa 45:19 “I said not unto the seed of Jacob, Seek ye Me in vain.” Isa 25:8,9 “The Lord will wipe away the tears from off all faces, and the rebuke of His people shall He take away from off the earth. And it shall be said in that day, Lo, this is our God, we have waited for Him, and He will save us: This is the Lord, we have waited for Him; we will be glad, and rejoice in His salvation.” Together with the next chapter, verses 8,9 “We have waited for Thee; the desire of our soul is to Thy name, and to the remembrance of Thee. With my soul have I desired Thee in the night, yea, with my spirit within me will I seek Thee early. For when Thy judgements are in the earth, the inhabitants of the world will learn righteousness.” Isa 52:6-8. “Therefore My people shall know My name; therefore they shall know in that day, that I am He that doth speak: behold, it is I. How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of Him that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth peace, that bringeth good tidings of good, that publisheth salvation, that saith unto Zion, Thy God reigneth! Thy watchmen shall lift up the voice, together shall they sing; for they shall see eye to eye, when the Lord shall bring again Zion.” . . . .
We may observe WHO THEY ARE that shall be united in thus seeking the Lord of hosts: the inhabitants of many cities, and of many countries, yea, many people, and strong nations, great multitudes in different parts of the world shall conspire in this business. . . . There shall be given much of a spirit of prayer to God’s people, in many places, disposing them to come into an express agreement, unitedly to pray to God in an extraordinary manner, that He would appear for the help of His church, and in mercy to mankind, and pour out His Spirit, revive His work, and advance His spiritual kingdom in the world, as He promised. This disposition to prayer, and union in it, will gradually spread more and more, and increase to greater degrees; with which at length will gradually be introduced a revival of religion, and a disposition to greater engagedness in the worship and service of God, amongst His professing people. This being observed, will be the means of awakening others, making them sensible of the wants of their souls, and exciting in them a great concern for their spiritual and everlasting good, and putting them upon earnestly crying to God for spiritual mercies, and disposing them to join in that extraordinary seeking and serving of God. . . . In this manner religion shall be propagated, till the awakening reaches those that are in the highest stations, and till whole nations be awakened, and there be at length an accession of many of the chief nations of the world to the church of God. Thus after the inhabitants of many cities of Israel, or of God’s professing people, have taken up and pursued a joint resolution, to go and pray before the Lord, and seek the Lord of hosts, others shall be drawn to worship and serve Him with them; till at length many people and strong nations shall join themselves to them; and there shall, in process of time, be a vast accession to the church, so that it shall be ten times as large as it was before; yea, at length, all nations shall be converted unto God. Thus Zech 8:23, “ten men shall take hold, out of all languages of the nations, of the skirt of Him that is a Jew,” (in the sense of the apostle, Rom 2:28-29 i.e. Christians) “saying, We will go with you; for we have heard, that God is with you.” And thus shall be fulfilled, Psalm 65:2, “O Thou that hearest prayer, unto Thee shall all flesh come.” . . .
We may observe, THE MODE OF THEIR UNION in this duty. It is a visible union, an union by explicit agreement, a joint resolution declared by one to another, being first proposed by some, and readily and expressly followed by others. The inhabitants of one city shall apply themselves to the inhabitants of another, saying, Let us go, etc. . . .
We may observe the manner of prayer agreed on, or the manners in which they agree, to engage in and perform the duty. Let us go speedily to pray; or as it is in the margin, Let us go continually. The words literally translated are, Let us go in going. Such an ingemination (doubling of words), is very common in the Hebrew language, when it is intended that a thing shall be very strongly expressed. . .
We may learn from the tenor of this prophecy, together with the context, that this union in such prayer is foretold as a becoming and happy thing, what would be acceptable to God, and attended with glorious success. . .From the whole we may infer, that it is a very suitable thing, and well-pleasing to God, for many people, in different parts of the world, by express agreement, to come into a visible union in extraordinary, speedy, fervent, and constant prayer, for those great effusions of the Holy Spirit, which shall bring on that advancement of Christ’s church and kingdom, that God has so often promised shall be in the latter ages of the world.
"Let us go speedily to pray before the Lord, and to seek the Lord of hosts".
Your brother in Christ-
O LORD, revive Your work in the midst of the years! . . .
His glory covered the heavens, And the earth was full of His praise
(Hab 3)


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