Morning Reading for December 14

Luke 24:28-35
Suggested further reading: James 4:1-10

We are told that when the disciples drew nigh to Emmaus our Lord made as though he would have gone further (v. 28). It seems surprising that anyone can stumble at the expression before us or can find ground for supposing that our Lord meant to deceive. Our Lord used the readiest and most natural means to draw out the feelings of the disciples to see if they were weary of his conversation.

They were not weary of him but constrained him to stay with them (v. 29). Cases like this are not uncommon in Scripture. Our Lord sees it good for us to prove our love by withholding mercies till we ask for them. He does not always force his gifts upon us unsought and unsolicited. He loves to draw out our desires and compel us to exercise our spiritual affections by waiting for our prayers. He dealt so with Jacob at Peniel. He desires to go and is constrained to stay (Gen. 32:26). Abraham, Gideon and Manoah all detained God (Gen. 18:3; Judg. 6:18; 13:15). The story of the Canaanite mother, the story of the healing of the two blind men at Jericho, the story of the nobleman at Capernaum, the parables of the unjust judge and the friend at midnight are all meant to teach us the same lesson. All show that our Lord loves to be entreated of his people and that those who would have much must ask much and even use a holy violence.

Let us act on this principle in all our prayers if we know anything of prayer. Let us ask much and ask often and lose nothing for lack of asking. Let us not be like the Jewish king who smote three times on the ground and then stayed his hand (2 Kings 13:18). Let us rather remember the words of David's psalm (Ps. 81:10). It is the man who puts a holy constraint on Christ in prayer who enjoys much of Christ's manifested presence.

For meditation: Is it true of you that you receive so little from God because you ask for so little? Faith involves an earnest seeking after God in the conviction that he rewards earnest seekers
(Heb. 11:6).

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