I have walked before Thee with a Perfect Heart.
'Then Hezekiah prayed unto the- Lord, saying, I beseech Thee, 0 Lord, remember now how I have walked before Thee in truth, and with a perfect heart, and have done that which is good in Thy sight. And the word of the Lord came to Isaiah, saying, Tell Hezekiah, thus saith the Lord, I have heard thy prayer: behold, I will heal thee.'—2 Kings Xx. 2-5.
WHAT a childlike simplicity of intercourse with God. When the Son was about to die, He spake, 'I have glorified Thee on earth, I have finished the work which Thou gavest Me to do. And now, 0 Eather, glorify Thou Me.' He pleaded His life and work as the ground for expecting an answer to His prayer. And so Hezekiah, the servant of God, also pleaded, not as a matter of merit, but in the confidence that 'God is not unrighteous to forget our work of faith and labour of love,' that God should remember how he had walked before Him with a perfect heart.
The words first of all suggest to us this thought, that the man who walks before God with a perfect heart can know it—it may be a matter of consciousness. Let us look at the testimony Scripture gives of him (2 Kings xviii. 3-6), 'He did that which was right in the sight of the Lord, according to all that David his father did.' Then follow the different elements of this life that was right in God'3 sight. 'He trusted in the Lord God of Israel. He clave to the Lord. He departed not from following Him. He kept His commandments, which the Lord commanded Moses. And the Lord was with Him.' His life was one of trust and love, of steadfastness and obedience. And the Lord was with him. He was one of the saints of whom we read,'By faith they obtained a good report.' They had the witness that they were righteous, that they were pleasing to God.
Let us seek to have this blessed consciousness. Paul had it when he wrote, 'Our glorying is, the testimony of our conscience, that in holiness and sincerity of God, not in fleshly wisdom, but in the grace of God, we beliaved ourselves' (2 Cor. i. 12). John had it when he said, 'Beloved, if our heart condemn us not, we have boldness toward God; and whatever we ask we receive, becauso we keep His commandments, and do the things that are pleasing in His sight' (1 John iii. 21, 22). If we are to have perfect peace and confidence, if we are to walk in the holy boldness and the blessed glorying of which Scripture speaks, we must know that our heart is perfect with God.
Hezekiah's prayer suggests a second lesson — that the consciousness of a perfect heart gives wonderful power in prayer. Eead over again the words of his prayer, and notice how distinctly this walk with a perfect heart is his plea. Head over again the words just quoted from John, and see how clearly he says that 'because we keep His commandments we receive what we ask.' It is a heart that does not condemn us, that knows that it is perfect toward God, that gives us boldness.
There is most probably not a single reader of these lines who cannot testify how painfully at some time or other the consciousness of the heart not being perfect with God has hindered confidence and prayer. And mistaken views as to what the perfect heart means, and as to the danger of self-righteousness in praying Hezekiah's prayer, have in very many cases banished all idea of its ever being possible to attain to that boldness and confident assurance of an answer to prayer which John connects with a heart that does not condemn us. Oh! that we would give up all our prejudices, and learn to tako God's Word as it stands as the only rule of our faith, the only measure of our expectations. Our daily prayers would be a new reminder that God asks the perfect heart; a new occasion of childlike confession as to our walking or not walking with a perfect heart before God; a new motive to make nothing less the standard of our intercourse with our Father in heaven. How our boldness in God's presence would bo ever clearer; how our consciousness of His acceptance would be brighter; how the humbling thought of our nothingness would be quickened, and our assurance of His strength in our weakness, and His answer to our prayer, become tho joy of our life.
Oh! the comfort, amid all consciousness of imperfection of attainment, of being able to say, in childlike simplicity, 'Remember, 0 Lord, how I have walked before Thee with a perfect heart.'