Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Filling our Mouths with Arguments in Prayers

"Oh that I knew where I might find Him! that I might come even to His seat! I would order my cause before Him, and fill my mouth with arguments." – Job 23:3,4
Charles Spurgeon in his sermon on Effective Prayer, and then again John Piper as an exegesis of Psalm 143 in his sermon titled How to argue with God Both sited Job 23:3-:4 as a starting point for their tremendously powerful sermons on prayer.

Where the goal of Charles Spurgeon’s was to develop in the members of his church, an effective prayer life, John Piper’s goal, seemed to be to teach on how to argue with God.
So powerful in fact are the lessons taught by these two men that I wanted to address this most complicated and off-times ignored practice of “filling our mouths with argument to God”. In fact a deeper understanding of filling our mouths with arguments is naturally the next level of intensity concerning this subject.

Filling our mouths with arguments to God is not the same thing as arguing with God. I was always taught and I’m sure that most people will agree that arguing with God is foolish! God is right. You (or I) are wrong, argument complete.

In the above passage (Job 23:3-4) it is the intentions of Job to order his cause before God, to give reason for God to intercede on a situation or circumstance in his life, much like we would order our cause before a judge in court. Preparing our arguments (reasons) why the judge should see things our way or make a favorable decision for us.

Filling our mouths with arguments, are prayers of lament, and anguish, with contrite heart, when the passion of our desire in prayer is so great, and the need so important that we beg that God will provide our salvation.

Now at first you may say that this is foolish to think that we can reason with God but to a limited extent this very thing is taught in today’s churches. We are taught to “give God’s word back to God in prayer” for example we say in prayer “ God your word says you will not forsake me…..” or “Jesus says that what ever we ask in his name…..” All of these are acceptable methods of reasoning with God.

Take a minute to ingest the level of the arguments Abraham put before God concerning Sodom and Gomorrah where his nephew Lot and his family lived.

(Genesis 18:24-25) Peradventure there be fifty righteous within the city: wilt thou also destroy and not spare the place for the fifty righteous that are therein? That be far from thee to do after this manner, to slay the righteous with the wicked: and that the righteous should be as the wicked, that be far from thee: Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?
In this passage the patriarch wrestles with God’s will by pleading his case, in a desperate effort to save his nephew. Abraham “orders his cause before God” and fills his mouth with arguments, saying if there be fifty righteous will you destroy the fifty unjustly for the sake of the wicked? That is not the attributes of the creator of the world to do judge unjustly.

When we are filling our mouths with arguments we have after seriously assessed the situations and are pleading with God with passion with fervency, with the knowledge that unless God help us there is nothing or no one else that can help us, we are falling at the feet of God to show his Grace toward us.

Charles H Spurgeon in his sermon on Effective Prayer says “The best prayers I have ever heard in our prayer meetings have been those which have been fullest of argument. Sometimes my soul has been fairly melted down when I have listened to brethren who have come before God feeling the mercy to be really needed, and that they must have it, for they first pleaded with God to give it for this reason, and then for a second, and then for a third, and then for a fourth and a fifth, until they have awakened the fervency of the entire assembly.

In Psalm 143 we have David giving his argument to God for not entering into judgment against him. In verse 5 and 6 David argues that his past servitude to God was upright and unquenchable; this is important in that David understood that these things he had done in the past were pleasing to God and therefore were good argument on the quality of his love for God.

In verse 11 David place the hope of his arguments on the promises of God resting his faith on the scriptures (Numbers 23:19) and God’s faithfulness to God’s word, and that God Grace and love for him will be and additional argument for interceding in David condition.

I think we must understand in the end its about God's Grace which must be the foundation of all arguments, a successful arguments toward God are always founded upon God's Grace. If we think for a moment that we can stand on our own merit we will fail before God. When we come before God with a contrite heart, fully aware of our unworthiness, of our sinful state, our realization that without God we will spend eternity in hell; then we can began to understand the intense lifesaving importance of God's Grace, and that by Grace alone and nothing of ourselves that we obtain anything from God and our heart becomes contrite and our arguments become acceptable unto God.

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Your Brother In Christ

Soli Deo Gloria

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