He stationed troops in every fortified city of Judah and put garrisons in the land of Judah and in the cities of Ephraim that his father Asa had captured.
2 Chronicles 16:2) for help against Israel, he would have been open to just rebuke as Asa was; but in keeping his own fortresses in good sound condition, in seeing that they were well manned and fortified, he was simply acting with that practical sagacity which is not condemned but commended of God (Luke 16:9, 10). The words suggest to us some lessons concerning the wisdom of spiritual fortification.
I. THE SUPREME QUESTION. Are we in the enemy's country, in a strange land; or are we in our own true home? Are we in a state of spiritual bondage or dependence, or are we enjoying true spiritual liberty? Is God our only Sovereign, and are we rejoicing in his gracious, benignant sway?. Are our souls right with him, and, being right with him, are they free from the tyranny of all other lords? Is our spiritual estate one of honourable loyalty to God and of honourable freedom from all servitude and subjection?
II. THE NEXT VITAL CONSIDERATION. Are we taking wise measures to" strengthen ourselves" against our natural or probable enemies? It is most unwise to assume that, because it is well with us now, it must always be well with us. "Final perseverance" as a sacred obligation is an excellent doctrine, but not as a mere comforting assumption.
(2) the numerous well-attested facts we have read and those we have witnessed;
(3) the weakness of which we are conscious; - all these considerations urge us to consider what we should do to "strengthen ourselves," what steps we should take that the neighbouring enemy may not encroach, that the estate which God has given us to guard may be held inviolate. Of what kind shall be our -
III. SPIRITUAL FORTIFICATION. HOW shall we "place forces in our fenced cities," and "set garrisons in the land"? We shall do this:
1. By forming wise habits of devotion.
(1) Of public and also (and more particularly) of private devotion;
(2) such habits as will encourage the greatest possible measure of spontaneous and spiritual communion;
(3) such habits as will secure the twofold communication - God speaking to us and our speaking to him.
2. By entering on a course of sacred usefulness. Nothing is so likely to keep the flame of piety alight on the altar of our hearts, to preserve our own moral and spiritual integrity, as doing, regularly and methodically, some real service to other souls.
3. Maintaining a right attitude of soul. The attitude of humility, and therefore of conscious dependence on God; the attitude of wariness and watchfulness against the first uprising of evil against us or within us; the attitude of thoughtfulness; the disposition to let our mind go toward those things which are highest and worthiest, toward the truth of God, toward the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ. With such "fenced cities ' as these in the soul, we shall be strong against the enemy whom we have most to fear. - C.
And set garrisons in the laud of Judah, and in the cities of Ephraim.
I. I think the fortified and garrisoned city of A DISTINCT PLAN FOR LIFE. What do I propose to do with my life? That ought to be a question clearly conceived, and distinctly answered by every one of us. I have certain resources — time, talent, education, moral consciousness, etc. All sorts of sudden contingencies spring up in experience. All sorts of moral questions constantly occur. Shall I do this or that? Shall I enter into this or that business? Shall I allow myself in this or that pleasure, indulgence? They are at once met and, decided by the simple presence of the plan. This is Christ's suggestion of moral plan: "Seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness."
II. I think there ought to be such city, fortified and garrisoned, of AN ENNOBLING LOVE. Jehoshaphat loved Jehovah better than the Baalim, therefore he could stand out against the Baalim. A high, pure love can always hold out against lower ones. The highest, holiest love is that for Christ.
III. I think there ought to be such city, fortified and garrisoned, of QUICK VOLITION. Temporising, to save oneself from brave and instant choice of the right, is useless. It breaks down defences, scatters garrisons. In Thomas Carlyle's "Sartor Resartus" there is a very wonderful chapter on the "Everlasting No." There is a place where this "everlasting no" ought, even thunderously, to be uttered. That place is precisely where the tempting, urgent wrong begins to solicit.
IV. I think there ought to be such city, fortified and garrisoned, of THE DAILY PRAYER.
(W. Hoyt, D.D.)
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