“O Ephraim, what shall I do unto thee?”
Most of the Lord’s people have some peculiar thing that they want to have granted. Most living souls have some peculiar temptation from which they want to be delivered. If some of the Lord’s family could sum up all their desires in one petition, it would be to have the pardon of their sins sealed upon the conscience. If others of God’s people could crowd up in one sentence all the wants of their soul, it would be to be brought into the enjoyment of gospel liberty. If others could condense in one short prayer the chief desire of their heart, it would be to be delivered from some powerful temptation, or be preserved from some peculiar besetment. And if others could get into one request the longings that heave in their bosom, it would be to be relieved from some special trial or trouble that at times seems as though it would weigh them down to the dust.
When the Lord, then, does but enable them to come before him and tell him what is working in their hearts, it is as though he said, ‘Be not afraid to tell me: I know it already: I have the power to grant thy request: I have the will to bestow the desired answer. “What shall I do unto thee?” Tell me what it is!’ The Lord encourages and enables every one that he thus draws near to himself to tell him what he most needs; and when he is enabled to lay it before his throne, it is half answered. The needed blessing is on its way: like Gabriel, it has left the palace, and is speeding its course to the soul.
J. C. Philpot 1802-1869