‘O Lord, thou has pleaded the causes of my soul; thou hast redeemed my life.’ Lamentations 3:58
Suggested Further Reading: Psalm 126:1–6
A man went to preach for seven summers on the village green, and good was done. Joseph sometimes listened to the preacher, but he remained as hard as ever. A certain John who had felt the power of truth, worked with him in the barn, and one day, between the strokes of the flail, John spoke a word for truth and for God, but Joseph laughed at him. Now, John was very sensitive, and his whole soul was filled with grief at Joseph’s banter; so after he had spoken, he turned to the corner of the barn and hid his face, while a flood of tears came streaming from his eyes. He wiped them away with the corner of his smock-frock, and came back to his flail; but Joseph had noticed the tears though the other tried to hide them; and what argument could not do, those tears through God the Holy Spirit did effectually, for Joseph thought, ‘What! does John care for my soul, and weep for my soul? then it is time I should care and weep for it too.’ Beloved, witness thus for Christ! Be it mine to weep for the sins of the times, and prophesy against them. Be it yours in your own private walk and conversation to rebuke private sin; and by your loving earnestness to make Jesus Christ dear to many souls! Tell them that Jesus Christ came to save sinners; that he is able to save to the uttermost all who come to him, and that ‘whosoever believeth on him should not perish, but have everlasting life;’ and in this way you shall plead the cause of God, who has pleaded the causes of your soul.
For meditation: Apparently insignificant people often have a disproportionately significant role to play in God’s work. The curing of Naaman’s leprosy resulted from his obedience to the word of the famous prophet Elisha (2 Kings 5:10,14); but this would not have happened without him being invited by a little maid (2 Kings 5:2–4) and being followed up by his servants (2 Kings 5:13) after he had initially poured scorn upon Elisha’s message (2 Kings 5:11–12).
Sermon no. 579
10 July (1864)