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IN TOUCH WITH GOD    by Edward Heppenstall

Christian Obedience JULY 16


And Hazael said, Why weepeth my lord? And he answered, Because I know the evil that thou will do unto the children of Israel . . . . And Hazael said, But what, is thy servant a dog, that he should do this great thing? 2 Kings 8:12, 13.

Elisha the prophet had left Israel and gone to Damascus, the capital of Syria. Benhadad the king was sick. When he heard of Elisha's coming, he sent Hazael, his trusted servant, with splendid gifts, to inquire whether he would recover. The prophet stated that there was no reason why the king should not recover his health. Then he gave Hazael a long and meaningful look, till the latter's eyes fell and his cheeks flushed with guilt. Elisha wept as he foretold what Hazael was about to do, beginning with the murder of the king. Hazael responded with horror. He denied he would ever do such things. But he did.

How can men come to do such things? No man comes to be a thief, a killer, a liar, in a day. He comes to it little by little. Undoubtedly Hazael had entertained an increasing ambition to be king. Lucifer started out this way when he declared his intention to be like the Most High. Eventually he was cast out of heaven to lead a rebellion against God.

If someone came to you and predicted that the time would come when you would leave the church, go the way of the world, become involved in all kinds of sin, you might respond with horror at such a thought. Or suppose you were told that one day you would betray your wife and children, that your home would then be broken up. You might reply: "Am I a dog; am I such a mean and contemptible person as to do such a thing? That is impossible."

No man is safe who does not keep his heart and mind true to God. We must abhor all evil and love uprightness. There are a thousand and one temptations to compromise, that wear away the edges of loyalty to God; thoughts and doubtful liberties that weaken the power of resistance, that lower the tone of morality. They are full of deadly peril.

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