‘Strengthen ye the weak hands, and confirm the feeble knees.’—Isa. xxxv. 3.
‘T_TE that is not with Me is against Me: and he -ti- that gathereth not with Me scattereth.’1 So it is not enough merely not to hinder; we must help: for not helping generally amounts to hindering. Perhaps we tried yesterday not to be hinderers; today let us ‘go on to completeness,’ and try to be helpers.2
‘Strengthen ye the weak hands.’ Plenty of these around us; for where is one real worker who does not feel his weakness, even in very proportion to what seems to us his strength ?3 It does not the least follow that those who are altogether much stronger than ourselves are not perhaps realizing their weakness much more.4 We ‘ should not think of such a thing ‘ as aiming to strengthen their hands, and so very much mutual ministry is left undone. A little child may strengthen the hands of a giant and veteran in the faith, and it is just the giants and
1 Luke xi. 23. 2 Heb. vi. i (Gr,).
8 2 Cor. xii. 1. 4 I Cor. ii, 3,
veterans who do not say to the more feeble members, ‘I have no need of you.’1
‘David sent to comfort Hanun by the hand of his servants.’2 St. Paul received the comfort of God by the coming of Titus, his ‘own son ‘ in the faith ;3 and he seems to have had a great deal of both comfort and joy (which certainly are most strengthening), at second hand, by the ‘ fervent mind toward’ him of the Corinthians, so that ‘exceedingly the more joyed we.’ *
Again, those very near us often need strengthening; are we right if they have practically to look farther for the strengthening which it might be ours to give? There may be a spiritual application of providing specially for those of our own house.5
Again, are there not sometimes such very ‘ weak hands,’6 that we almost get tired of trying to strengthen them, and feel inclined to think it is no use dealing with such hopeless feebleness? What if our Master did this to us?
How shall we set about it? First, by prayer, as Aaron and Hur held up the hands of Moses.7 ‘Helping together by prayer.’8 This reaches all. Who knows how much of the weakness of hands, which distresses or even annoys us, may be laid at our door because we talked about it instead of praying about it? Very likely, names will occur to us now; then take those names at once to the Mighty One, and ask Him this morning to strengthen those weak hands and confirm those feeble knees.
1 I Cor. xii. 21, 22. 2 2 Sam. x. 2. ^7. Cor. vii. 6; Titus i. 4.
4 2 Cor. vii. 7. 61 Tim. v. 8. 6 Rom. xv. i.
T Ex. xvii. 13. 8 2 Cor. i. 11, • Jas. v. 16.
Secondly, by personal contact. I suppose we never come in contact with one who is really strong in the Lord1 without being strengthened, whether we feel it or not. But we should not be content with the unconscious influence which it is our singular privilege to radiate. ‘Jonathan arose, and went to David in the wood, and strengthened his hand in God.’2 Arising always implies a little effort. Then make it! What are our orders? ‘Comfort ye, comfort ye My people, saith your God.’3 How are we to do it? ‘Speak ye to the heart of Jerusalem.’ * What comes from the heart goes to the heart. ‘Speak;’ don’t hint and beat about the bush. When the arrow is feathered with love and weighted with wisdom, it must fly straight. What are we to say ?’ Say … Be strong, fear notj behold, your God will come with vengeance, even God with a recompense; He will come and save you.’ 5 ‘Cry unto her, that her warfare is accomplished, that her iniquity is pardoned.’6 Examine these two wonderful messages, and see if they do not actually include everything required for your fulfilment of this commandment. You may amplify them, but that is all. Take with you His words, and then you may say without presumption, ‘I would strengthen you with my mouth.’ *
Before we can really lift up other hands, our own must have been lifted up by His good Spirit,8 and our own feeble knees must have been confirmed by much bowing at His footstool.9 ‘When thou art
1 Eph. vi. 10. ‘ I Sam. xxiii. i6. sjsa. xl. i.
* Isa. xl. 2, margin, 6 Isa. xxxv. 4, 6 isa. xl. 2.
“f Job xvi. 5. 8 Heb. xii. 12, 13. 0 Eph. iii. 13, 16.
converted, strengthen thy brethren.” ‘Uphold me with Thy free Spirit. Then will I teach.” It is the climax of the grand procession of promises in that magnificent close of the words of Eliphaz. If we acquaint ourselves with God,3 receive His law, return to Him, and put away iniquity, then ‘when men are cast down, then thou shalt say, There is lifting up.’*
May our record on high be: ‘Thou hast strengthened the weak hands. Thy words have upholden him that was falling, and thou hast strengthened the feeble knees.’
Oh lead me, Lord, that I may lead The wandering and the wavering feet;
Oh feed me, Lord, that I may feed
Thy hungering ones with manna sweet
Oh strengthen me, that while I stand
Firm on the Rock, and strong in Thee,
I may stretch out a loving hand
To wrestlers with the troubled sea.
1 Luke xxii, 32. 2 Ps. U. 12, 13.
8 Job xxii. 3i’-t9. 4 Job iv. 4.