Study of the Old
Testament shows that men then had as keen of
right and wrong as men do now. They knew what
repentance and redemption meant, and most of
them were aware that their sacrificial system
was merely a temporary arrangement which
would eventually be abrogated and that peace
with God required more than bringing an
offering to the sanctuary. A few examples
will illustrate their grasp of religion and
The book of Job is
generally recognized as the oldest book in
the Bible, yet we find that Job had a clear
perception of God and of His requirements.
Job was the richest
man in the East and was signally blessed of
God. He had seven thousand sheep, three
thousand camels, five hundred yoke of oxen,
and a very great household. He also had seven
sons and three daughters. Job 1.
The children did not
follow in the footsteps of their father and,
when they established their own households,
spent their time feasting and drinking. There
being ten of them, they took turns in
entertaining, and feasted in their
houses, every one his day; and sent and
called for their three sisters to eat and
drink with them. Verse 4.
This caused great
concern to their father, and each time when
they had gone the rounds, Job sent and
sanctified them and offered burnt offerings
in their behalf; for Job said, It may
be that my sons have sinned, and cursed God
in their hearts. Thus did Job
continually. Verse 5.
The fact that Job
sent for them and that they came shows that
he had not lost control of them entirely. In
addition, the fact that he surmised that they
might have sinned and cursed God shows that
they had departed from the faith of their
father. Job could not do much for them, but
he did what he could.
opening account comes the story of Jobs
trials. When God called Job a good man and
said, There is none like him in the
earth, a perfect and upright man, one that
feareth God, and escheweth evil, Satan
responded to Gods challenge. Verse 8.
He sneeringly replied, Doth Job fear
God for nought? Verse 9.
He insisted that Job
was just like other men and served God
because it paid him to do so. God had blessed
and prospered Job; so why should he not serve
Him? If God would remove His blessing from
him, Job would soon lose his religion. Satan
said, Put forth Thine hand now and
touch all that he hath, and he will curse
Thee to Thy face. Verse 11.
God accepted the
proposal and Satan immediately began to
deprive Job of all his possessions, including
the children. However, none of these things
moved Job. He did not curse God as Satan said
he would, but fell down upon the
ground, and worshiped, and said, Naked came I
out of my mothers womb, and naked shall
I return thither: the Lord gave, and the Lord
hath taken away; blessed be the name of the
Lord. In all this Job sinned not, nor charged
God foolishly. Verse 20-22.
trial was harder than the first. To excuse
his first failure, Satan claimed that God had
not permitted him to touch Job, but only his
possessions. If God would only let him touch
Jobs body, Satan said, He will
curse Thee to Thy face. Job 2:5. With
this admonition, Save his life,
God permitted this proposal also, and Satan
lost no time in attacking Job. However, Satan
again lost out. Patiently Job endured the
torments of Satan and when counseled to curse
God and die, he replied, What? Shall we
receive good at the hand of God, and shall we
not receive evil? In all this did not Job sin
with his lips. Verse 10.
Intending to comfort
Job, three of his friends came to visit him.
They were so astonished when they saw the
calamity that had overtaken him that they
judged it to be a punishment from God for
some hidden wickedness. They counseled him to
repent so that God would again bless him.
This stirred up Job to defend himself. The
friends made so many unjust charges that Job
called them miserable comforters.
Where Satan had been defeated, Jobs
friends were about to succeed.
However, Job came to
himself, and instead of bringing
countercharges, he began to pray for his
friends. And the Lord turned the
captivity of Job, when he prayed for his
friends: also the Lord gave Job twice as much
as he had before. Job 42:10.
The book of Job
begins with Job praying for his children. It
ends with Job praying for his friends.
Moreover, in prayer Job found victory. It is
interesting that this oldest book in the
Bible stresses prayer. In addition, the
prayers are not for Job himself, but for
It was no easy task
God appointed Moses when He asked him to
become the leader of Israel. The people were
rebellious and continually murmured and
complained, wishing that they had never left
the fleshpots of Egypt. Somewhat bitterly,
Moses said, Ye have been rebellious
against the Lord from the day that I knew
you. Deuteronomy 9:24.
rebellious attitude of the people did not
deter Moses from praying continually for
them. Oh, this people have sinned a
great sin, he said to God, and
have made them gods of gold. Yet now, if Thou
wilt forgive their sin; and if not, blot me I
pray Thee, out of Thy book which Thou hast
written. Exodus 32:31,32.
To test Moses, God
made him a wonderful proposition. Let
Me alone, He said, that my wrath
may wax hot against them, and that I may
consume them: and I will make of thee a great
nation. Verse 10. Instead of accepting
Gods offer, Moses began to reason with
God, saying that the Egyptians would conclude
that God has led Israel out of the wilderness
to slay them in the mountains, and to
consume them from the face of the
earth. He counseled God, Turn
from Thy fierce wrath, and repent of this
evil against Thy people. Verse 12.
And the Lord repented of the evil which
He thought to do unto His people. Verse
One of Gods Habits
In the beginning of
the Bible we have the account of creation,
and how out of the ground the Lord God
formed every beast of the field, and every
fowl of the air; and brought them unto Adam
to see what he would call them. Genesis
2:19. Note the reading: God brought the
beasts and the fowls to Adam, to see
what he would call them. Each beast
had its particular characteristics, and had
been given a name corresponding to its
character. As God had tested Adams obedience
at the tree of knowledge of good and evil, so
now He tests his intellectual knowledge,
his powers of discernment. God wanted
to see what he would call them.
Could he discern character, was he observant?
In addition, Adam stood the test.
Whatsoever Adam called every living
creature, that was the name thereof.
Verse 19. Not, it became the name; it was the
name already. Adams judgment
corresponded to Gods, and thus Adam
received the credit for naming the animals.
Verse 20. He could read character.
When God decided to
destroy Sodom and Gomorrah because of their
wickedness, He followed His usual practice of
communicating His intent to His servants the
prophets. Amos 3:7. Therefore, He talked the
matter over with Abraham to get his reaction.
Abraham evidently had misunderstood
Gods intent, for he thought God would
destroy both the good and the wicked. Abraham
did not think God should do this, so he
rebuked God for intending to do such a thing.
He said, That be far from Thee to do
after this manner
Shall not the Judge
of all the earth do right? Genesis 18:25.
God, of course, had no such intention. He
wanted to get the reaction of Abraham; and He
Therefore, it was in
the case of Moses. God tested him, but not
for a moment did Moses consider Gods
proposition to make of him a great nation. He
does not even refer to the matter.
Christ followed the
same procedure as God. After His resurrection
two men were on the way to Emmaus, and Jesus
joined them, But their eyes were holden
that they should not know Him. Luke
24:16. They had the impression that Jesus was
a stranger and proceeded to tell Him of the
things that had happened, after He had asked,
What things? Verses 19-24. Even
when He answered them, He had so changed His
voice that they did not recognize Him. When
they came to the village, He made as
though He would have gone further. As
they invited Him to come in, He evidently
remonstrated with them, and only when they
persisted and constrained Him,
did He agree to stay. Verses 28,29.
Why did Christ do
this? To test them, as God had tested Adam,
Abraham, Moses, and others. Christ wanted to
visit with these two men, yet He made
as though He would have gone further.
Did they really want Him to stay, or was it a
courteous invitation that was not really
meant? Christ tested them, and they
demonstrated that the invitation came from
the heart. Many times afterward, the two
recalled this incident and thought: What a
loss it would have been had we not insisted
on Christs staying with us! This
experience holds a deep lesson for the
praying man today.
David was a man after
Gods heart. Naively he says of God,
Among the sons of my father He liked
me. 1 Chronicles 28:4.
From all accounts,
David must have been a man of great physical
charm, and also a wonderful character. For
years, he endured the unjust persecution of
Saul, and when he had the opportunity to kill
him, refused to do so, seeing he is the
anointed of the Lord. 1 Samuel 24:6.
It was this man who
was so sensitive that he felt condemned for
having cut off Sauls skirt (1 Samuel
24:5), that had not the least compunction of
conscience in killing a faithful husband
whose wife he had violated! This made his sin
so much greater. How could God ever forgive
confession: Have mercy upon me
Blot out my transgressions. Wash me
thoroughly from mine iniquity, and cleanse me
from my sin. For I acknowledge my
transgressions: and my sin is ever before
. Hide Thy face from my sins, and
blot out all mine iniquities
me from blood guiltiness.
Hear his prayers:
Create in me a clean heart;
renew a right spirit within me. Cast me not
take not Thy Holy Spirit from me.
Restore unto me the joy of Thy salvation; and
uphold me with Thy free Spirit.
Whatever view we take
of Davids sin, we are assured that he
repented deeply. He knew that he had sinned,
and he knew what are the wages of sin. He was
willing to have God dispose of the case as He
If David was ever
forgiven, and he was, his heartfelt
repentance, as expressed in his prayers,
availed much. Davids confessions give
evidence of his change of heart. That he
recorded them, so that they have become a
part of the Bible, shows that he did not
intend to hide anything. What would one not
give to have such a record forgotten? David
was willing to have it published, as it would
give hope to the vilest of sinners and show
God to be the merciful God that He is.
Therefore, what David suffered in reputation
has been a source of help to many another
poor soul. David did all he could to repair
From these examples
of men who prayed, we may learn much. The men
of old understood as much as we do of prayer,
perhaps more. From all of them we may learn
to be unselfish in prayer, to pray for
others, to be persistent in prayer. There may
be times even now, when Christ will do as He
did to the two men on the way to Emmaus,
making as though He would go further,
when He is merely testing us to see if
we really want Him to stay? It would be
dreadful to have Christ go on His way, when
He is anxious that we invite Him, and will
come in if we only constrain Him.
Create in me
a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast
spirit within me. Do not cast me from your
presence or take your Holy Spirit from me.
Restore to me the joy of your salvation and
grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.
Psalm 51: 10-12
1. Can a
mere mortal reason with Almighty God to
change a particular situation?
there any type of sin that the Lord cannot
forgive us of. Explain.