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common thing, and something contrary to nature? Thus, if you are in a strait and difficulty, and you see no earthly way by which you can be helped, but you cry to God, and in a wonderful and unlooked for way God brings things round, and your difficulty vanishes,—is not this as good as a miracle? Is it not a wonder? Is it not a thing which only God "that ordereth all things in heaven and earth" could have done?
Thus we see it requires God's power to help us, without what we call a miracle, as truly as by a miracle; and to make things work naturally for our good, as to make a new thing contrary to nature. We know that for wise reasons, it pleases God to work in this way, oftener than in that way. It is His rule to work simply, and after a natural order of things. It is the exception to His rule to work by extraordinary means, as He did at times by His prophets and apostles, and as did the Lord Jesus Christ. But at all times He works wonderfully in answer to prayer. The sons of the prophets had Elisha to help them. The sons of God have Christ. Let us ever apply to Him as they to Elisha. They went not to their work of building without him. So let us say to Jesus in every work we take in hand,
and every day we go forth to business, "Be content I pray thee, and go with thy servant." Then when troubles arise, He is near to help. Is the poison of this world's curse in our cup, He can remove it. The cup of sorrow we drink shall become the cup of joy and peace. The cup of suffering, the cup of health and blessing to the soul. Are we in trouble with the thoughts of a friend we have wronged, or through our fault are we injuring any one. He can set us right, supplying the wherewithal to restore what we owe, to repay what we have borrowed, or otherwise to prevent another suffering from our fault.
The feeding of the hundred with the twenty loaves, and the having fragments remaining, reminds us indeed of the still greater wonder performed by Jesus when He fed the five thousand with the five loaves, and there were twelve baskets-full over, and the four thousand with the seven and the seven baskets over. The wonder of the servitor, who said, "What! should I set this before a hundred men," reminds us of the surprise of those who said, "Two hundred pennyworth of bread is not sufficient," and who said of the five loaves, "What are they among so many!" The words of Elisha were,
"Give the people that they may eat, for thus saith the Lord, they shall eat and leave thereof," the words of Jesus, "Give ye them to eat;" His blessing and breaking being enough to work the miracle, for He wrought it by His own power. The result of the miracle on the people fed was no doubt to exalt Elisha as a prophet of the Lord. The result on the followers of Jesus was this, the "men who had seen the miracle said, this is of a truth that prophet that should come into the world." (John vi. 14.)
These miracles of feeding a multitude with a little, are to teach us the great lesson of trust in God for the provision of the body. Proofs they are of the great truth, "man doth not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God." That is, unless God wills it, much food will not nourish us. But if God wills it, little or no food shall be made sufficient to satisfy us. Thus, the multitude in the wilderness, who walked in the way God sent them, and who had God's servant with them, were in no fear of starving or being left hungry, although a barren wilderness surrounded them, because God was with them, and would, as He did, create bread rather than break His promise.
So too with the prophets following Elisha. So then will God now in these days not fail to supply the wants of His people. "Trust in the Lord and do good; so shalt thou dwell in the land, and verily thou shalt be fed." (Psalm xxxvii. 3.) No word of God can fall to the ground. The difficulty of help can never be too great for Him. Let us not doubt Him who hath said, "Seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you."
O LORD GOD, who didst show Thy power and Thy goodness by the hand of Thy servant Elisha, and didst enable him to do great wonders. Do thou assist me to believe more in Thy power to do all things, however impossible to man. May Jesus be my neverfailing friend! May I trust Him for all things temporal and spiritual! May I never doubt His power to save me from sin; to deliver me from the power of Satan and the world; to give me all I need in this wilderness; and at the last day to raise me up and cause me to inherit eternal glory. For Jesus sake, hear me, O my God! AMEN.
ELISHA AND THE MOABITES.
"And he said, Thus saith the Lord, Make this valley full of ditches.
"For thus saith the Lord, Ye shall not see wind,
neither shall ye see rain; yet that valley shall be filled with water, that ye may drink, both ye, and your cattle, and your beasts.
"And this is but a light thing in the sight of the Lord: he will deliver the Moabites also into your hand." 2 KINGS III. 16—18.
WICKED men will sometimes seek in their distress to that God, whom in their prosperity they have neglected. This was the case with many of the wicked kings of Israel. As Saul and Ahab, and this Jehoram of whom we read here. He was king of Israel, son of Ahab. He was not quite so bad as his father. So it is said, "He wrought evil in the sight of the Lord; but not like his father and like his mother; for he put away the image of Baal which his father had made."
He put away the images of the false gods. But he kept and worshipped the images of the true God. (Chap. iii. 2, 3.) He went not into all the sins of Ahab, "nevertheless he cleaved unto the sins of