Lessons in Defeat
Solomon's ships had returned in safety, but Jehoshaphat's vessels never reached the land of gold. Providence prospers one and frustrates the desires of another, in the same business and at the same spot; yet the Great Ruler is as good and wise at one time as another. May we have grace today, in the remembrance of this text, to bless the Lord for ships broken at Ezion-geber as well as for vessels filled with temporal blessings; let us not envy the more successful, nor murmur at our losses as though we were singularly and specially tried. Like Jehoshaphat, we may be precious in the Lord's sight, although our schemes end in disappointment.
The secret cause of Jehoshaphat's loss is well worthy of notice, for it is the root of very much of the suffering of the Lord's people; it was his alliance with a sinful family, his fellowship with sinners. In 2 Chronicles 20:37 we are told that the Lord sent a prophet to declare, "Because you have joined with Ahaziah, the LORD will destroy what you have made." This was a fatherly chastisement, which appears to have been considered blessed to him; for in the verse which succeeds our morning's text we find him refusing to allow his servants to sail in the same vessels with those of the wicked king.
Would to God that Jehoshaphat's experience might be a warning to the rest of the Lord's people, to avoid being unequally yoked together with unbelievers! A life of misery is usually the lot of those who are united in marriage, or in any other way of their own choosing, with the men of the world. O for such love to Jesus that, like Him, we may be holy, harmless, undefiled, and separate from sinners; for if that is not the case with us, we may expect to hear it often said, "The Lord will destroy what you have made."
Family Bible reading plan
verse 1 Genesis 14
verse 2 Matthew 13
Confessing our sins might seem like a gloomy business—God already knows about them, so what's the point of dwelling on failure? But confession is more celebratory than we think. It does not simply remind us of our guilt, but points us to our great Savior, who has atoned for us and lovingly pursues us despite our wandering.
These prayers open with a scriptural call of confession, confess specific sins, thank the Father for Jesus' perfect life and death in our place, ask for the help of the Spirit in pursuing holiness, and close with an assurance of pardon.
Inspired by the Puritan classic The Valley of Vision, these prayers were developed for both personal devotions and church use.
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From Morning & Evening revised and edited by Alistair Begg copyright © 2003. Used by permission of Crossway Books, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers, Wheaton, IL 60187, www.crossway.org.