‘Marvelously helped.’—2 Chron. xxvi. 15.
UZZIAH seems to have been the type of a variously busy and successful man. He had all sorts of irons in the fire. So many energetic interests and tastes, with both faculty and opportunity for developing them, must have made his life much more agreeable and lively than most royal careers. His architecture and his agriculture, his war organizations and his engineering, spread his name far abroad. For ‘ as long as he sought the Lord, God made him to prosper.’ Yet the end of his story is a strange contrast—a leper, dwelling in a several house, and cut off from the house of the Lord.
Where was the turning-point? Probably in the words, ‘He strengthened himself exceedingly.’ It had been God’s help and strength before, and he had risen very high. Then he thought he was strong, and he was brought fearfully low.
‘Marvellously helped till he was strong.’ Then who would not be always weak, that they might be always ‘marvellously helped!’
* Marvellously!’ For is it not wonderful that God should help us at all? Have we not wondered hundreds of times at the singular help He has given? If we have not, what ungrateful blindness! For He has been giving it ever since we were helpless babies. ‘Through Thee have I been holden up ever since I was born.’1 How much of His help has been forgotten or altogether unnoticed.
The very little things, the microscopical helpings, often seem most marvellous of all, when we consider that it was Jehovah Himself who stooped to the tiny need of a moment. And the greater matters prove themselves to be the Lord’s doing, just because they are so marvellous in our eyes.
Why should we fear being brought to some depth of perplexity and trouble when we know He will be true to His name, and be ‘our Help,’ so that we shall be even ‘men wondered at’ because so marvellously helped!
It is not a mere expression. The Bible always means what it says; and so the help to Uzziah, and the same help with which God makes us to prosper, is literally ‘ marvellous.’ We do wonder at it, or ought to wonder at it. Wonder is one of the Godgiven faculties which distinguish us from the beasts that perish. And He gives us grand scope for its happy exercise not merely in His works in general, but in His dealings with us in particular. But wonder is always founded upon observation. We do not wonder at that which we do not observe. So, if we have not wondered very much at the help He has given us, it is because we have not noticed, nor considered very much, how great things He hath done for us.
Let us turn our special attention to it each day. We are wanting help of all kinds all day long ; now just observe how He gives it! Even if nothing the least unusual happens, the opened and watching eye will see that the whole day is one sweet story of marvellous help. And perhaps the greatest marvel will be, that He has helped us to see His help after very much practical blindness to it. And then the marvelling will rise into praising ‘the name of the Lord your God, that hath dealt wondrously with you.’1
The times of marvellous help are times of danger. ‘When thou hast eaten and art full, . . . and all that thou hast is multiplied,’ ‘beware lest’ ‘then thy heart be lifted up.’2 ‘When he was strong, his heart was lifted up to his destruction.’3 Unclasp the ivy from the elm, and it is prostrate at once. Thank God, if He keeps us realizing, amidst the busiest work, and the pleasantest success, that we have no power at all of ourselves to help ourselves! Then there will be nothing to hinder His ‘continual help.’ As long as we say quite unreservedly, ‘My help cometh from the Lord,’* the help will come. As long as we are saying, ‘Thou art my help,’ ‘He is our help,’ ‘a very present help.’ Then we shall not ‘be holpen with a little help,’ which is too often all we really expect from our omnipotent Helper, just because we do not feel that we have ‘no might.’ Peter was a good swimmer, but he did not say, ‘Lord, help me to swim!’ He said, ‘Lord, save me! ‘5 and so the Master’s help was instant and complete.
1 Joel ii. 26. 8 Deut. viii. 11-14. 3 2 Chron. xxvi. 16.
* Ps. cxxi. 2. 6 Matt. xiv. 30, 31.
‘Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.’1
The Lord hath done great things for thee!
All through the fleeted days
Jehovah hath dealt wondrously;
Lift up thy heart and praise!
For greater things thine eyes shall see,
Child of His loving choice!
The Lord will do great things for thee;
Fear not, be glad, rejoice!