2 Chronicles 6:40-41
Now, my God, let, I beseech you, your eyes be open, and let your ears be attentive to the prayer that is made in this place.…
Throughout the inspired volume one uniform representation prevails touching the dignity, importance, and responsibility of the sacred ministry; Moses (Exodus 33:15); Elijah (1 Kings 19:4-14); Paul (2 Corinthians 5:18-20; 1 Timothy 1:11, 12; 2 Timothy 1:11); and Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and other "watchmen of Israel" were keenly alive to the weight of the "burden of the Lord" which was laid upon them. If we would be upheld in our work, and labour for the Divine glory and the welfare of the Church of Christ, let us enter into the prayer of Solomon at the consecration of the temple.
I. THE INVOCATION OF THE LORD'S PRESENCE SUGGESTS HOW NECESSARY THAT PRESENCE IS FOR THE PROSPERITY OF HIS CHURCH.
1. It was manifested in those times by a visible symbol.
2. If the ark be regarded as typical of the Lord Jesus, as undoubtedly it is to be, then we may identify Christ with Jehovah and we may see in the entrance of the ark of God's strength into the temple and into its most holy place a prefiguration of the abode of Christ in His Church, and of His entrance as our Great High Priest into the most holy place in the heavens, from which He manifests Himself to His people by His Spirit (Psalm 68:18).
3. This is the presence of God for which we are to look in the present state of the Church. All our endeavours will be in vain, all our labours abortive, unless attended by the grace and influence of the Spirit. "It is necessary," says , "that the Holy Spirit should work inwardly, that the medicine that is applied from without may take effect. Unless He be present to the heart of the hearer, the word of the preacher is idle and vain." "I once," observes Cecil, "said to myself, in the foolishness of my heart, what sort of sermon must that have been which was preached by Peter when three thousand souls were converted at once? What sort of sermon? Such as other sermons. There is nothing to be found in it extraordinary. The effect was not produced by his eloquence, but by the mighty power of God present with His Word.
II. IN CONNECTION WITH THIS BLESSING, AND DEPENDENT UPON IT, WE SHOULD FRAY FOR MINISTERIAL QUALIFICATION. "Let Thy priests be clothed with salvation," or "righteousness" (Psalm 132:9).
1. The beautiful garments of the sanctuary would not be sufficient without the inward endowment of truth and holiness. Still more should the ministers of the gospel be qualified for their office by an experimental knowledge of the great salvation and the adornment of a holy life (2 Corinthians 6:4-7; 1 John 1:3). It is a striking observation of Bishop Bull: "The priest who is not clothed with righteousness, though otherwise richly adorned with all the ornaments of human and Divine literature, and those gilded over with the rays of seraphic prudence, is yet but a naked, beggarly, despicable creature, of no authority, no use, no service in the Church of God." "I will be sure to live well," was the remark of G. Herbert when he entered upon his living at Bemerton, "because the virtuous life of a clergyman is the most persuasive eloquence to persuade all that see it to reverence and love."
2. To be thus "clothed with salvation" will most effectually fit the Christian minister for the various departments of labour and trial through which he will have to pass (2 Corinthians 4:1, 2, 5-7).
3. The habitual clothing of salvation and righteousness, for which we should pray, will indeed conduce to ministerial efficiency. Putting on Christ, arrayed in the garments of purity and truth, of meekness and love, we shall best "magnify our office." Cecil says: "The zeal of some men is of a haughty, unbending, ferocious character. They have the letter of truth, but they mount the pulpit like prizefighters. It is with them a perpetual scold. This spirit is a reproach to the gospel; it is not the spirit of Jesus Christ. He seems to have laboured to win men. But there is an opposite extreme: the love of some men is all milk and mildness; there is so much delicacy and so much fastidiousness — they touch with so much tenderness; and, if the patient shrinks, they will touch no more. The times are too flagrant for such a disposition. The gospel is sometimes preached in this way till all the people agree with the preacher: he gives no offence; he does no good." In "speaking the truth" we should do it "in love," yet always maintaining its supremacy end never sparing the sin in our desire to spare the sinner.
III. THE EFFICIENCY OF THE MINISTRY WILL CONDUCE TO THE PROSPERITY AND JOY OF THE CHURCH AND PEOPLE OF GOD.
(J. T. Broad, M.A.).
Parallel VersesKJV: Now, my God, let, I beseech thee, thine eyes be open, and let thine ears be attent unto the prayer that is made in this place.