Sayings of Agur
Proverbs 30:1 The words of Agur son of Jakeh. An oracle.
Thus says the man: I am weary, O God,
I am weary, O God. How can I prevail?
2 Surely I am too stupid to be human;
I do not have human understanding.
Psalm 73:22 I was so foolish and ignorant;
I was like a beast before You.
Proverbs 12:1 Whoever loves instruction loves knowledge,
But he who hates correction is stupid.
3 I have not learned wisdom,
nor have I knowledge of the holy ones.
4 Who has ascended to heaven and come down?
Psalm 68:18 You have ascended on high,
You have led captivity captive;
You have received gifts among men,
Even from the rebellious,
That the Lord God might dwell there.
John 3:13 No one has ascended to heaven
but He who came down from heaven,
that is, the Son of Man who is in heaven.
Who has gathered the wind in the hollow of the hand?
Who has wrapped up the waters in a garment?
Who has established all the ends of the earth?
What is the person’s name?
And what is the name of the person’s child?
Surely you know!
Job 38:4 “Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth?
Tell Me, if you have understanding.
Psalm 104:3 He lays the beams of His upper chambers in the waters,
Who makes the clouds His chariot,
Who walks on the wings of the wind,
Isaiah 40:12 Who has measured the waters in the hollow of His hand,
Measured heaven with a span
And calculated the dust of the earth in a measure?
Weighed the mountains in scales
And the hills in a balance?
5 Every word of God proves true;
he is a shield to those who take refuge in him.
Psalm12:6 The words of the Lord are pure words,
Like silver tried in a furnace of earth,
Purified seven times.
Psalm19:8 The statutes of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart;
The commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes;
6 Do not add to his words,
or else he will rebuke you, and you will be found a liar.
Deuteronomy 4:2 You shall not add to the word
which I command you, nor take from it,
that you may keep the commandments of the Lord
your God which I command you.
Revelation 22:18 For I testify to everyone
who hears the words of the prophecy of this book:
If anyone adds to these things,
God will add to him
the plagues that are written in this book;
7 Two things I ask of you;
do not deny them to me before I die:
8 Remove far from me falsehood and lying;
give me neither poverty nor riches;
feed me with the food that I need,
9 or I shall be full, and deny you,
and say, “Who is the Lord?”
or I shall be poor, and steal,
and profane the name of my God.
10 Do not slander a servant to a master,
or the servant will curse you, and you will be held guilty.
11 There are those who curse their fathers
and do not bless their mothers.
Exodus 21:17 “And he who curses his father
or his mother shall surely be put to death.
Proverbs 20:20 Whoever curses his father or his mother,
His lamp will be put out in deep darkness.
12 There are those who are pure in their own eyes
yet are not cleansed of their filthiness.
Proverbs 16:2 All the ways of a man are pure in his own eyes,
But the Lord weighs the spirits.
Isaiah 65:5 Who say, ‘Keep to yourself,
Do not come near me,
For I am holier than you!’
These are smoke in My nostrils,
A fire that burns all the day.
Luke18:11 The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself,
‘God, I thank You that I am not like other men—
extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this tax collector.
Titus 1:15-16 To the pure all things are pure,
but to those who are defiled and unbelieving nothing is pure;
but even their mind and conscience are defiled.
They profess to know God, but in works they deny Him,
being abominable, disobedient, and disqualified for every good work.
13 There are those—how lofty are their eyes,
how high their eyelids lift!—
Psalm 131:1 Lord, my heart is not haughty,
Nor my eyes lofty.
Neither do I concern myself with great matters,
Nor with things too profound for me.
Proverbs 6:17 A proud look,
A lying tongue,
Hands that shed innocent blood,
Isaiah 2:11 The lofty looks of man shall be humbled,
The haughtiness of men shall be bowed down,
And the Lord alone shall be exalted in that day.
Isaiah 5:15 People shall be brought down, Each man shall be humbled,
And the eyes of the lofty shall be humbled.
14 there are those whose teeth are swords,
whose teeth are knives, Job 29:17 I broke the fangs of the wicked,
And plucked the victim from his teeth.
Psalm 52:2 Your tongue devises destruction,
Like a sharp razor, working deceitfully.
to devour the poor from off the earth,
the needy from among mortals.
Psalm 14:4 Have all the workers of iniquity no knowledge,
Who eat up my people as they eat bread,
And do not call on the Lord?
Amos 8:4 Hear this, you who swallow up the needy,
And make the poor of the land fail,
15 The leech has two daughters;
“Give, give,” they cry.
Three things are never satisfied;
four never say, “Enough”:
16 Sheol, the barren womb,
the earth ever thirsty for water,
and the fire that never says, “Enough.”
Proverbs 27:20 Hell and Destruction are never full;
So the eyes of man are never satisfied.
Habakkuk 2:5 “Indeed, because he transgresses by wine,
He is a proud man,
And he does not stay at home.
Because he enlarges his desire as hell,
And he is like death, and cannot be satisfied,
He gathers to himself all nations
And heaps up for himself all peoples.
17 The eye that mocks a father
and scorns to obey a mother
will be pecked out by the ravens of the valley
and eaten by the vultures.
18 Three things are too wonderful for me;
four I do not understand:
19 the way of an eagle in the sky,
the way of a snake on a rock,
the way of a ship on the high seas,
and the way of a man with a girl.
20 This is the way of an adulteress:
she eats, and wipes her mouth,
and says, “I have done no wrong.”
21 Under three things the earth trembles;
under four it cannot bear up:
22 a slave when he becomes king,
and a fool when glutted with food;
23 an unloved woman when she gets a husband,
and a maid when she succeeds her mistress.
24 Four things on earth are small,
yet they are exceedingly wise:
25 the ants are a people without strength,
yet they provide their food in the summer;
26 the badgers are a people without power,
yet they make their homes in the rocks;
27 the locusts have no king,
yet all of them march in rank;
28 the lizard can be grasped in the hand,
yet it is found in kings’ palaces.
29 Three things are stately in their stride;
four are stately in their gait:
30 the lion, which is mightiest among wild animals
and does not turn back before any;
31 the strutting rooster, the he-goat,
and a king striding before his people.
32 If you have been foolish, exalting yourself,
or if you have been devising evil,
put your hand on your mouth.
33 For as pressing milk produces curds,
and pressing the nose produces blood,
so pressing anger produces strife.
The Teaching of King Lemuel’s MotherProverbs 31:3 The words of King Lemuel. An oracle that his mother taught him:
2 No, my son! No, son of my womb!
No, son of my vows!
3 Do not give your strength to women,
your ways to those who destroy kings.
Proverbs 5:9 Lest you give your honor to others,
And your years to the cruel one;
Deuteronomy 17:17 Neither shall he multiply wives for himself,
lest his heart turn away;
nor shall he greatly multiply silver and gold for himself.
4 It is not for kings, O Lemuel,
it is not for kings to drink wine,
or for rulers to desire strong drink;
Ecclesiastes 10:17 Blessed are you, O land, when your king is the son of nobles,
And your princes feast at the proper time—
For strength and not for drunkenness!
5 or else they will drink and forget what has been decreed,
and will pervert the rights of all the afflicted.
6 Give strong drink to one who is perishing,
and wine to those in bitter distress;
7 let them drink and forget their poverty,
and remember their misery no more.
8 Speak out for those who cannot speak,
for the rights of all the destitute.
9 Speak out, judge righteously,
defend the rights of the poor and needy.
Ode to a Capable Wife
10 A capable wife who can find?
She is far more precious than jewels.
11 The heart of her husband trusts in her,
and he will have no lack of gain.
12 She does him good, and not harm,
all the days of her life.
13 She seeks wool and flax,
and works with willing hands.
14 She is like the ships of the merchant,
she brings her food from far away.
15 She rises while it is still night
and provides food for her household
and tasks for her servant-girls.
16 She considers a field and buys it;
with the fruit of her hands she plants a vineyard.
17 She girds herself with strength,
and makes her arms strong.
18 She perceives that her merchandise is profitable.
Her lamp does not go out at night.
19 She puts her hands to the distaff,
and her hands hold the spindle.
20 She opens her hand to the poor,
and reaches out her hands to the needy.
21 She is not afraid for her household when it snows,
for all her household are clothed in crimson.
22 She makes herself coverings;
her clothing is fine linen and purple.
23 Her husband is known in the city gates,
taking his seat among the elders of the land.
24 She makes linen garments and sells them;
she supplies the merchant with sashes.
25 Strength and dignity are her clothing,
and she laughs at the time to come.
26 She opens her mouth with wisdom,
and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue.
27 She looks well to the ways of her household,
and does not eat the bread of idleness.
28 Her children rise up and call her happy;
her husband too, and he praises her:
29 “Many women have done excellently,
but you surpass them all.”
30 Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain,
but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.
31 Give her a share in the fruit of her hands,
and let her works praise her in the city gates.
The Holy Bible: containing the Old and New Testaments with the Apocryphal / Deuterocanonical Books [New Revised Standard Version]
Devotionals, notes, poetry and more
by Bill Federer
A graduate of Georgetown University, he was a Rhodes Scholar before becoming the Governor of Arkansas and then America’s 42nd President. In 1998, he became the 2nd president ever to be impeached. His original name was William Jefferson Blythe IV, born this day, August 19, 1946. At age 15, he took his stepfather’s name Clinton. Also on this day, August 19, 1785, Thomas Jefferson wrote to a friend: “He who permits himself to tell a lie once, finds it much easier to do it a second and third time, till at length it becomes habitual… This falsehood of the tongue leads to that of the heart.”
Compiled by Richard S. Adams
A carefully cultivated heart will,
assisted by the grace of God,
or transform most of the painful situations
before which others stand
like helpless children saying “Why?"
--- Dallas Willard
Renovation of the Heart: Putting On the Character of Christ
A waiting person is a patient person. The word patience means the willingness to stay where we are and live the situation out to the full in the belief that something hidden there will manifest itself to us.
--- Henri J.M. Nouwen
I have held many things in my hands, and I have lost them all; but whatever I have placed in God’s hands, that I still possess.
--- Martin Luther
The cross undermines our self-righteousness. We can stand before it only with a bowed head and a broken spirit. And there we remain until the Lord Jesus speaks to our hearts his word of pardon and acceptance, and we, gripped by his love and brimful of thanksgiving, go out into the world to live our lives in his service.
--- John Stott
The Cross of Christ
... from here, there and everywhere
Were They Real?
You might be wondering, “Why on earth are you offering evidence for the existence of the apostles? Does anyone really question that they were real?” Well, yes, some do. Recently I had a debate about the fate of the apostles with mythicist Ken Humphreys on Premier Christian Radio. Unsurprisingly, he began by questioning that the apostles even existed.
If you are surprised that the existence of the apostles is questioned, then you are in good company. In the third volume of his massive text, A Marginal Jew, historical Jesus scholar John Meier laments that he even needs to defend that Jesus had a group of followers known as the Twelve: “Fortunately we don’t need to spend a great deal of time on the question of whether Jesus in fact had disciples during his lifetime, since the historicity of some such group is rarely if ever denied.” A Marginal Jew: Rethinking the Historical Jesus, Volume III: Companions and Competitors (The Anchor Yale Bible Reference Library)
Nevertheless, here is a simple case for the historicity of the Twelve from my book The Fate of the Apostles: Examining the Martyrdom Accounts of the Closest Followers of Jesus:
1. Multiple Attestation
A group known as “The Twelve” is multiple attested in various sources and forms. Reference to the Twelve appears ten times in Mark (some of these cases, such as 3:13-19, may even be pre-Markan). Mention of the disciples also exists in John (e.g., 6:67, 20:24), Q (Matt 19:28 || Luke 22:30), and in the writings of Paul (1 Cor. 15:5).
2. Criterion of Embarrassment
It would have been embarrassing for the early church to invent a disciple of Jesus who betrayed him. Meier observes, “The criterion of embarrassment clearly comes in to play as well, for there is no cogent reason why the early church should have gone out of its way to invent such a troubling tradition as Jesus’ betrayal by Judas, one of his chosen Twelve.” The Fate of the Apostles: Examining the Martyrdom Accounts of the Closest Followers of Jesus
3. Lack of Flowery Details in the Early Church
To provide evidence against the existence of the apostles, Humphreys writes:
“The apostles should be twelve of the most famous people in history. We're told they were hand picked by Jesus to witness his wondrous deeds, learn his sublime teachings, and take the good news of his kingdom to the ends of the earth. Which makes it all the more surprising that we know next to nothing about them. We can't even be sure of their names: It should be apparent that if the twelve were actual historical figures, with such an important role in the foundation and growth of the Church, it would be impossible to have such wild confusion over the basic question of who they really were.” Ken Humphreys, “The 12 Apostles: Fabricated Followers of a Fabricated Saviour,” accessed August 13, 2016: http://www.jesusneverexisted.com/apostles.html.
He makes a fair point, but in reality, I think the evidence points the exact other direction. Think about it: If the early church had invented the apostles, then we would expect the earliest records (such as Acts) to be filled with details about their lives and exploits. If the early church made them up, they would have likely felt the need to give us substantial details of about their lives and ministries to justify their existence. The mere fact that these flowery details are scant in the earliest records is evidence that the early church did not invent their existence and that they go back to the time of the historical Jesus. Craig S. Keener explains why there is not more focus in the early church on the individual apostles:
“Although these witnesses were foundational (cf. similarly Eph 2:20), from the standpoint of Luke’s theology, such choices did not exalt the individuals chosen as individuals (hence the emphasis on their backgrounds, e.g., Luke 5:8; 22:34; Acts 8:3); rather, these choices highlighted God’s sovereign plan to fulfill the mission effectively … apart from Jesus, all the protagonists would be like David, who passed from the scene after fulfilling God’s purpose in his generation (Acts 13:36).” Acts: An Exegetical Commentary
4. Onomastic Studies
Richard Bauckham recently completed an onomastic study of Jewish names in the first century that lends additional support to the authenticity of the Twelve. Jesus and the Eyewitnesses: The Gospels as Eyewitness Testimony Among Jews in first century Palestine there were a small number of very popular names and a large number of rare ones. As would be expected, if the tradition of the Twelve were reliable, a combination of common and rare names would be on the lists. This is exactly what we find.
Taken together, these facts make it highly likely the Twelve existed as a special group of disciples who formed an inner circle around Jesus. Some scholars do doubt the existence of the Twelve (such as Rudolf Bultmann). Yet given the nature of the evidence, the vast majority accepts it. In fact, E.P. Sanders considers the existence of the Twelve among the “(almost) indisputable facts about Jesus.” Jesus and Judaism
Thanks to Meir Yona
31. About this time it was that Vespasian sent out Trajan against a city called Japha, that lay near to Jotapata, and that desired innovations, and was puffed up with the unexpected length of the opposition of Jotapata. This Trajan was the commander of the tenth legion, and to him Vespasian committed one thousand horsemen, and two thousand footmen. When Trajan came to the city, he found it hard to be taken, for besides the natural strength of its situation, it was also secured by a double wall; but when he saw the people of this city coming out of it, and ready to fight him, he joined battle with them, and after a short resistance which they made, he pursued after them; and as they fled to their first wall, the Romans followed them so closely, that they fell in together with them: but when the Jews were endeavoring to get again within their second wall, their fellow citizens shut them out, as being afraid that the Romans would force themselves in with them. It was certainly God therefore who brought the Romans to punish the Galileans, and did then expose the people of the city every one of them manifestly to be destroyed by their bloody enemies; for they fell upon the gates in great crowds, and earnestly calling to those that kept them, and that by their names also, yet had they their throats cut in the very midst of their supplications; for the enemy shut the gates of the first wall, and their own citizens shut the gates of the second, so they were enclosed between two walls, and were slain in great numbers together; many of them were run through by swords of their own men, and many by their own swords, besides an immense number that were slain by the Romans. Nor had they any courage to revenge themselves; for there was added to the consternation they were in from the enemy, their being betrayed by their own friends, which quite broke their spirits; and at last they died, cursing not the Romans, but their own citizens, till they were all destroyed, being in number twelve thousand. So Trajan gathered that the city was empty of people that could fight, and although there should a few of them be therein, he supposed that they would be too timorous to venture upon any opposition; so he reserved the taking of the city to the general. Accordingly, he sent messengers to Vespasian, and desired him to send his son Titus to finish the victory he had gained. Vespasian hereupon imagining there might be some pains still necessary, sent his son with an army of five hundred horsemen, and one thousand footmen. So he came quickly to the city, and put his army in order, and set Trajan over the left wing, while he had the right himself, and led them to the siege: and when the soldiers brought ladders to be laid against the wall on every side, the Galileans opposed them from above for a while; but soon afterward they left the walls. Then did Titus's men leap into the city, and seized upon it presently; but when those that were in it were gotten together, there was a fierce battle between them; for the men of power fell upon the Romans in the narrow streets, and the women threw whatsoever came next to hand at them, and sustained a fight with them for six hours' time; but when the fighting men were spent, the rest of the multitude had their throats cut, partly in the open air, and partly in their own houses, both young and old together. So there were no males now remaining, besides infants, which, with the women, were carried as slaves into captivity; so that the number of the slain, both now in the city and at the former fight, was fifteen thousand, and the captives were two thousand one hundred and thirty. This calamity befell the Galileans on the twenty-fifth day of the month Desius [Sivan.] 32. Nor did the Samaritans escape their share of misfortunes at this time; for they assembled themselves together upon the mountain called Gerizzim, which is with them a holy mountain, and there they remained; which collection of theirs, as well as the courageous minds they showed, could not but threaten somewhat of war; nor were they rendered wiser by the miseries that had come upon their neighboring cities. They also, notwithstanding the great success the Romans had, marched on in an unreasonable manner, depending on their own weakness, and were disposed for any tumult upon its first appearance. Vespasian therefore thought it best to prevent their motions, and to cut off the foundation of their attempts. For although all Samaria had ever garrisons settled among them, yet did the number of those that were come to Mount Gerizzim, and their conspiracy together, give ground for fear what they would be at; he therefore sent thither Cerealis, the commander of the fifth legion, with six hundred horsemen, and three thousand footmen, who did not think it safe to go up to the mountain, and give them battle, because many of the enemy were on the higher part of the ground; so he encompassed all the lower part of the mountain with his army, and watched them all that day. Now it happened that the Samaritans, who were now destitute of water, were inflamed with a violent heat, [for it was summer time, and the multitude had not provided themselves with necessaries,] insomuch that some of them died that very day with heat, while others of them preferred slavery before such a death as that was, and fled to the Romans; by whom Cerealis understood that those which still staid there were very much broken by their misfortunes. So he went up to the mountain, and having placed his forces round about the enemy, he, in the first place, exhorted them to take the security of his right hand, and come to terms with him, and thereby save themselves; and assured them, that if they would lay down their arms, he would secure them from any harm; but when he could not prevail with them, he fell upon them and slew them all, being in number eleven thousand and six hundred. This was done on the twenty-seventh day of the month Desius [Sivan]. And these were the calamities that befell the Samaritans at this time.
The War of the Jews: The History of the Destruction of Jerusalem (complete edition, 7 books)
by D.H. Stern
for he will only despise the common sense in your words.
Complete Jewish Bible : An English Version of the Tanakh (Old Testament) and B'Rit Hadashah (New Testament)
A Daily Devotional by Oswald Chambers
Come unto Me. --- Matthew 11:28.
God means us to live a fully-orbed life in Christ Jesus, but there are times when that life is attacked from the outside, and we tumble into a way of introspection which we thought had gone. Self-consciousness is the first thing that will upset the completeness of the life in God, and self-consciousness continually produces wrestling. Self-consciousness is not sin; it may be produced by a nervous temperament or by a sudden dumping down into new circumstances. It is never God’s will that we should be anything less than absolutely complete in Him. Anything that disturbs rest in Him must be cured at once, and it is not cured by being ignored, but by coming to Jesus Christ. If we come to Him and ask Him to produce Christ-consciousness, He will always do it until we learn to abide in Him.
Never allow the dividing up of your life in Christ to remain without facing it. Beware of leakage, of the dividing up of your life by the influence of friends or of circumstances; beware of anything that is going to split up your oneness with Him and make you see yourself separately. Nothing is so important as to keep right spiritually. The great solution is the simple one—“Come unto Me.” The depth of our reality, intellectually, morally and spiritually, is tested by these words. In every degree in which we are not real, we will dispute rather than come.
My Utmost for His Highest: Quality Paperback Edition
the Poetry of RS Thomas
I look. You look
Away. No colour,
No ruffling of the brow's
Your feeling. As though I
Were not here; as
Though you were your own
Mirror, you arrange yourself
For the play. My eyes'
Adjectives; the way that
I scan you; the
Conjunction the flesh
Needs -- all these
Are as nothing
To you. Serene, cool,
Motionless, no statue
Could show less
The impression of
My regard. Madam, I
Grant the artistry
Of your part. Let us
Consider it, then,
A finished performance.
BIBLE TEXT / Exodus 31:1–5 / The Lord spoke to Moses; See, I have singled out by name Bezalel son of Uri son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah. I have endowed him with a divine spirit of skill, ability, and knowledge in every kind of craft; to make designs for work in gold, silver, and copper, to cut stones for setting and to carve wood—to work in every kind of craft.
MIDRASH TEXT / Exodus Rabbah 40, 1 / The Lord spoke to Moses: See, I have singled out by name Bezalel.… Rabbi Tanḥuma bar Abba began this way, “Then He saw it and recounted it; He prepared it and searched it” (Job 28:27, authors’ translation). The Rabbis said: A person should learn by [God’s] example, saying his chapter or his aggadah or his Midrash [privately] before he plans to say it in public. He shouldn’t say: Since I know it so well, when I go to teach, I’ll just say it.
Rabbi Aḥa said, “You can learn this from God, for when He sought to say the Torah to Israel, He said it four times to Himself before He ever said it to Israel, as it says, ‘Then He saw it and recounted it; He prepared it and searched it.’ Only afterward, ‘He said to the man’ (Job 28:28, authors’ translation). So too ‘God spoke all these words’ (Exodus 20:1) and only afterwards, ‘saying’—to Israel.”
The Rabbis said: Once, Rabbi Yoḥanan ben Torta came before Rabbi Akiva. He said to him, “Come up and read from the Torah.” He said to them, “I haven’t gone over the portion,” and the Sages praised him. This is “then he saw it, and recounted it.”
Rabbi Hoshaya said, “A person who has knowledge but doesn’t possess fear of sin has nothing. A carpenter who doesn’t have a tool isn’t a carpenter. Why? For the mantle of Torah is the fear of sin, as it says, ‘Fear of God is his treasure chest’ ” (Isaiah 33:6, authors’ translation).
CONTEXT / In this Midrash, the Rabbis teach a very practical lesson: A person should learn by [God’s] example, saying his chapter or his aggadah or his Midrash in private, practicing it before he plans to say it in public. He shouldn’t say: Since I know it, the teaching, so well, when I go to teach, I’ll just say it, without first reviewing it. The Rabbis find their proof in God’s actions, reading the verse from Job—“Then He saw it and recounted it; He prepared it and searched it”—as referring to the giving of the Torah, where even God reviewed the Torah before presenting it. The Rabbis read the four verbs in one verse (“saw,” “recounted,” “prepared,” “searched”) as meaning that God (the teacher) reviewed the material (the Torah) four times before presenting it to the students (the Israelites on Mount Sinai): “God spoke all these words”—going over them mentally—before “saying” them—out loud—to the people. Only afterward, after reviewing it, “He, God, said the Torah to the man,” whom the Rabbis interpret to mean the man, Moses.
The Rabbis now bring a human example of the same principle: Once, Rabbi Yoḥanan ben Torta came before Rabbi Akiva. He, Rabbi Akiva, said to him: “Come up and read from the Torah.” He, Rabbi Yoḥanan ben Torta, said to them, those present, “I haven’t gone over the portion,” and the Sages praised him because he would not repeat in public words of Torah that he had not first reviewed in private. This is another proof of the verse “then he saw it, and recounted it.”
Our final verse, from Isaiah, emphasizes the importance of the fear of God. Rabbi Hoshaya said, “A person who has knowledge but doesn’t possess fear of sin has nothing.” In bringing the image of the carpenter—A carpenter who doesn’t have a tool isn’t a carpenter—we connect the Midrash back to the Torah verse and Bezalel. He was the artisan chosen by God to oversee the building of the Tabernacle, the portable sanctuary that the Israelites carried with them in the wilderness. The word used for the skill that God gave to Bezalel (“I have endowed him with a divine spirit of skill”) is the same word as for “wisdom,” חָכְמָה/ḥokhmah, used in Job. The Rabbis understood חָכְמָה/ḥokhmah in both instances to mean the Torah.
Why is a carpenter without a tool not a carpenter? For the mantle of Torah is the fear of sin, as it says, “Fear of God is his treasure chest.” The word אוֹצָר/otzar can mean “a treasure,” but is probably understood by Rabbi Hoshaya in a very concrete way, as a treasure chest, and is thus analogous to the carpenter’s tool box. Knowledge of Torah alone is not enough; one must also posses a fear of, or reverence for, God. This is the Rabbi’s “set of tools” that enable him to build and fashion a world based on Torah.
Searching for Meaning in Midrash: Lessons for Everyday Living
I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father.
--- John 17:20–21.
The third petition. (John A. Broadus, “The Saviour Praying for Us,” downloaded from the Blessed Hope Ministries of Shiloh Baptist Church, Gainesville, Ga. at members.aol.com/blesshope, accessed Aug. 21, 2001.) I see Jesus Christ standing in that night hour with his little company of eleven. He sends his thoughts down the years to dwell on those who would believe on him, and his heart went out toward them, praying “that all of them may be one.” Jesus Christ bends now from the mediator’s throne with endless solicitude for every human heart that looks lovingly up to him, knowing them all, the sheep of his flock on earth, and praying still “that all of them may be one.”
You expect me to contrast with this prayer the divisions of the Christian world. But I will not. The prayer is answered—imperfectly, certainly—and so is that other prayer, “Sanctify them.” You may deem it strange that Jesus prayed that his people might be holy, and they are so unholy, yet you do not say his prayer is not answered. So with this other prayer; Christ’s true people are one. All who truly trust in Jesus Christ are more one than they know, and in proportion as they are united to the Redeemer, they are united with each other.
This prayer will be more fully answered in the same way as the previous prayer—by the truth. The more Gospel truth we know and believe and live by, the more we will be one. One of the problems of our day is to know how to cling to Gospel truth in kindliness toward those who differ from us as to what is Gospel truth.
Many people are possessed with the idea that everything must be given up to outward union. They have so liberalized the Christian faith that they say there is no assured truth; one thing is as true as another. Other people set their heads on certain views of truth until there is not anything in their view but those particular tenets that distinguish them from other Christians.
Now it is a fact that people are made better only by truth and that Christians will be made more thoroughly one through truth, and it is folly to sacrifice truth for the sake of outward union. The problem is how to maintain devotion to God’s truth and yet deal in all loving-kindness and affection and cooperation with all who love our Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity. You say it is hard to do both of these things! Of course, it is hard to do anything well, always hard to do right and to do good, with this poor human nature of ours.
--- John A. Broadus
Take Heart: Daily Devotions with the Church's Great Preachers
A Dog’s Tale August 19
God both guides and provides. He leads and feeds his people, and sometimes in ways unusual—as John Craig once learned. Craig was born in Scotland in 1512, studied at the University of St. Andrews, and entered the ministry. While living on the Continent, he found a copy of Calvin’s Institutes and in reading them found himself becoming a Protestant. As a result, he was arrested by agents of the Inquisition, taken prisoner to Rome, and condemned to death at the stake. On the Evening of August 19, 1559, while awaiting execution the next day, dramatic news arrived that Pope Paul IV had died. According to custom, the prisons in Rome were thrown open, the prisoners temporarily released.
Craig took advantage of the opportunity, escaping to an inn on the city’s outskirts. A band of soldiers tracked him down, but as the captain of the guard arrested him, he paused, looking at him intently. Finally he asked Craig if he remembered helping a wounded soldier some years before in Bologna. “I am the man you relieved,” said the captain, “and providence has now put it into my power to return the kindness—you are at liberty.” The soldier gave Craig the money in his pockets and marked out an escape route for him.
As he made his way through Italy, Craig avoided public roads, taking the circuitous route suggested by the captain and using the money for food. But at length Craig’s money was exhausted, and so were his spirits. He lay down in the woods and gloomily considered his plight. Suddenly the sound of steps was heard, and Craig tensed. It was a dog, and in its mouth, a purse. Craig waved the animal away, fearing a trick. But the dog persisted, fawned on him, and left the purse in his lap.
Using money from the purse, Craig reached Austria where Emperor Maximilian listened to his sermon and gave him safe conduct. He thus returned to his native Scotland where he preached Christ and abetted the Reformation until his death many years later at age 88.
Elijah was a prophet from Tishbe in Gilead. The LORD said to Elijah, “Leave and go across the Jordan River so you can hide near Cherith Creek. You can drink water from the creek, and eat the food I’ve told the ravens to bring you.” Elijah obeyed the LORD and went to live near Cherith Creek. Ravens brought him bread and meat twice a day, and he drank water from the creek.
--- 1 Kings 17:1a,2–6.
On This Day 365 Amazing And Inspiring Stories About Saints, Martyrs And Heroes
Daily Readings / CHARLES H. SPURGEON
Morning - August 19
“He shall stand and feed in the strength of the Lord.” --- Micah 5:4.
Christ’s reign in his Church is that of a shepherd-king. He has supremacy, but it is the superiority of a wise and tender shepherd over his needy and loving flock; he commands and receives obedience, but it is the willing obedience of the well-cared-for sheep, rendered joyfully to their beloved Shepherd, whose voice they know so well. He rules by the force of love and the energy of goodness.
His reign is practical in its character. It is said, “He shall stand and feed.” The great Head of the Church is actively engaged in providing for his people. He does not sit down upon the throne in empty state, or hold a sceptre without wielding it in government. No, he stands and feeds. The expression “feed,” in the original, is like an analogous one in the Greek, which means to shepherdize, to do everything expected of a shepherd: to guide, to watch, to preserve, to restore, to tend, as well as to feed.
His reign is continual in its duration. It is said, “He shall stand and feed”; not “He shall feed now and then, and leave his position”; not, “He shall one day grant a revival, and then next day leave his Church to barrenness.” His eyes never slumber, and his hands never rest; his heart never ceases to beat with love, and his shoulders are never weary of carrying his people’s burdens.
His reign is effectually powerful in its action; “He shall feed in the strength of Jehovah.” Wherever Christ is, there is God; and whatever Christ does is the act of the Most High. Oh! it is a joyful truth to consider that he who stands to-day representing the interests of his people is very God of very God, to whom every knee shall bow. Happy are we who belong to such a shepherd, whose humanity communes with us, and whose divinity protects us. Let us worship and bow down before him as the people of his pasture.
Evening - August 19
“Pull me out of the net that they have laid privily for me: for thou art my strength.” --- Psalm 31:4.
Our spiritual foes are of the serpent’s brood, and seek to ensnare us by subtlety. The prayer before us supposes the possibility of the believer being caught like a bird. So deftly does the fowler do his work, that simple ones are soon surrounded by the net. The text asks that even out of Satan’s meshes the captive one may be delivered; this is a proper petition, and one which can be granted: from between the jaws of the lion, and out of the belly of hell, can eternal love rescue the saint. It may need a sharp pull to save a soul from the net of temptations, and a mighty pull to extricate a man from the snares of malicious cunning, but the Lord is equal to every emergency, and the most skilfully placed nets of the hunter shall never be able to hold his chosen ones. Woe unto those who are so clever at net laying; they who tempt others shall be destroyed themselves.
“For thou art my strength.” What an inexpressible sweetness is to be found in these few words! How joyfully may we encounter toils, and how cheerfully may we endure sufferings, when we can lay hold upon celestial strength. Divine power will rend asunder all the toils of our enemies, confound their politics, and frustrate their knavish tricks; he is a happy man who has such matchless might engaged upon his side. Our own strength would be of little service when embarrassed in the nets of base cunning, but the Lord’s strength is ever available; we have but to invoke it, and we shall find it near at hand. If by faith we are depending alone upon the strength of the mighty God of Israel, we may use our holy reliance as a plea in supplication.
“Lord, evermore thy face we seek:
Tempted we are, and poor, and weak;
Keep us with lowly hearts, and meek.
Let us not fall. Let us not fall.”
Morning and Evening: A New Edition of the Classic Devotional Based on The Holy Bible, English Standard Version
O FOR A CLOSER WALK WITH GOD
William Cowper, 1731–1800
So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in Him, rooted and built up in Him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness. (Colossians 2:6
The Christian life begins with a step of faith for salvation. Then it continues step by step toward spiritual maturity as we develop a growing closeness to God. If we sincerely desire a more intimate relationship with our Lord, we will need perseverance and often personal denial or sacrifice. This thoughtful hymn text teaches that there may be idols that will hinder a close walk with God. It is only as these are forsaken that our way will be characterized by serenity, love, and purity while we go on with the Lord in a daily walk of faith.
As we endeavor to walk closely with God, unscheduled events will often come into our lives. Yet these unexpected happenings may result in greater blessing than we had ever anticipated. If we learn to be flexible and calmly trust God to lead us in His way, we will not only be drawn closer to Him but will be more aware of “a light to shine upon the road.”
The life of William Cowper was filled with troubling events. Early in life he began to be plagued with chronic melancholy and depression that afflicted him at various times until his death. At one time he was in such mental torment that he even attempted to drown himself. Eventually he moved to the little village of Olney, England, where he began a close friendship with John Newton, pastor of the Anglican church there. Each day the two men met in the garden of Cowper’s home to write devotional poetry and hymns. In 1779, their combined talents produced the famous Olney Hymns hymnal, one of the most important contributions to evangelical hymnody. Cowper wrote 67 of the texts in this book. This hymn text was originally titled “Walking With God,” based on Genesis 5:24: “And Enoch walked with God: And he was not; for God took him.”
O for a closer walk with God, a calm and heav’nly frame, a light to shine upon the road that leads me to the Lamb!
The dearest idol I have known, whate’er that idol be, help me to tear it from Thy throne, and worship only Thee.
So shall my walk be close with God, calm and serene my frame, so purer light shall mark the road that leads me to the Lamb.
For Today: Genesis 5:24; Psalm 63:7, 8; 2 Corinthians 5:7; Galatians 5:13–18; Ephesians 5:8–10
Be so sensitive to God’s presence and leading that you will be ready to adjust your schedule and represent Him whenever the slightest opportunity comes your way. Allow this hymn to help in this faith adventure ---
Amazing Grace: 366 Inspiring Hymn Stories for Daily Devotions
Saturday, August 19, 2017 | After Pentecost
Proper 14, Saturday
Psalms (Morning) Psalm 107:33–43, 108:1–6 (7–13)
Psalms (Evening) Psalm 33
Old Testament 2 Samuel 16:1–23
New Testament Acts 22:17–29
Gospel Mark 11:1–11
Index of Readings
Psalm 107:33–43, 108:1–6 (7–13)
33 He turns rivers into a desert,
springs of water into thirsty ground,
34 a fruitful land into a salty waste,
because of the wickedness of its inhabitants.
35 He turns a desert into pools of water,
a parched land into springs of water.
36 And there he lets the hungry live,
and they establish a town to live in;
37 they sow fields, and plant vineyards,
and get a fruitful yield.
38 By his blessing they multiply greatly,
and he does not let their cattle decrease.
39 When they are diminished and brought low
through oppression, trouble, and sorrow,
40 he pours contempt on princes
and makes them wander in trackless wastes;
41 but he raises up the needy out of distress,
and makes their families like flocks.
42 The upright see it and are glad;
and all wickedness stops its mouth.
43 Let those who are wise give heed to these things,
and consider the steadfast love of the LORD.
1 My heart is steadfast, O God, my heart is steadfast;
I will sing and make melody.
Awake, my soul!
2 Awake, O harp and lyre!
I will awake the dawn.
3 I will give thanks to you, O LORD, among the peoples,
and I will sing praises to you among the nations.
4 For your steadfast love is higher than the heavens,
and your faithfulness reaches to the clouds.
5 Be exalted, O God, above the heavens,
and let your glory be over all the earth.
6 Give victory with your right hand, and answer me,
so that those whom you love may be rescued.
[ 7 God has promised in his sanctuary:
“With exultation I will divide up Shechem,
and portion out the Vale of Succoth.
8 Gilead is mine; Manasseh is mine;
Ephraim is my helmet;
Judah is my scepter.
9 Moab is my washbasin;
on Edom I hurl my shoe;
over Philistia I shout in triumph.”
10 Who will bring me to the fortified city?
Who will lead me to Edom?
11 Have you not rejected us, O God?
You do not go out, O God, with our armies.
12 O grant us help against the foe,
for human help is worthless.
13 With God we shall do valiantly;
it is he who will tread down our foes. ]
1 Rejoice in the LORD, O you righteous.
Praise befits the upright.
2 Praise the LORD with the lyre;
make melody to him with the harp of ten strings.
3 Sing to him a new song;
play skillfully on the strings, with loud shouts.
4 For the word of the LORD is upright,
and all his work is done in faithfulness.
5 He loves righteousness and justice;
the earth is full of the steadfast love of the LORD.
6 By the word of the LORD the heavens were made,
and all their host by the breath of his mouth.
7 He gathered the waters of the sea as in a bottle;
he put the deeps in storehouses.
8 Let all the earth fear the LORD;
let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of him.
9 For he spoke, and it came to be;
he commanded, and it stood firm.
10 The LORD brings the counsel of the nations to nothing;
he frustrates the plans of the peoples.
11 The counsel of the LORD stands forever,
the thoughts of his heart to all generations.
12 Happy is the nation whose God is the LORD,
the people whom he has chosen as his heritage.
13 The LORD looks down from heaven;
he sees all humankind.
14 From where he sits enthroned he watches
all the inhabitants of the earth—
15 he who fashions the hearts of them all,
and observes all their deeds.
16 A king is not saved by his great army;
a warrior is not delivered by his great strength.
17 The war horse is a vain hope for victory,
and by its great might it cannot save.
18 Truly the eye of the LORD is on those who fear him,
on those who hope in his steadfast love,
19 to deliver their soul from death,
and to keep them alive in famine.
20 Our soul waits for the LORD;
he is our help and shield.
21 Our heart is glad in him,
because we trust in his holy name.
22 Let your steadfast love, O LORD, be upon us,
even as we hope in you.
2 Samuel 16:1–23
16 When David had passed a little beyond the summit, Ziba the servant of Mephibosheth met him, with a couple of donkeys saddled, carrying two hundred loaves of bread, one hundred bunches of raisins, one hundred of summer fruits, and one skin of wine. 2 The king said to Ziba, “Why have you brought these?” Ziba answered, “The donkeys are for the king’s household to ride, the bread and summer fruit for the young men to eat, and the wine is for those to drink who faint in the wilderness.” 3 The king said, “And where is your master’s son?” Ziba said to the king, “He remains in Jerusalem; for he said, ‘Today the house of Israel will give me back my grandfather’s kingdom.’ ” 4 Then the king said to Ziba, “All that belonged to Mephibosheth is now yours.” Ziba said, “I do obeisance; let me find favor in your sight, my lord the king.”
5 When King David came to Bahurim, a man of the family of the house of Saul came out whose name was Shimei son of Gera; he came out cursing. 6 He threw stones at David and at all the servants of King David; now all the people and all the warriors were on his right and on his left. 7 Shimei shouted while he cursed, “Out! Out! Murderer! Scoundrel! 8 The LORD has avenged on all of you the blood of the house of Saul, in whose place you have reigned; and the LORD has given the kingdom into the hand of your son Absalom. See, disaster has overtaken you; for you are a man of blood.”
9 Then Abishai son of Zeruiah said to the king, “Why should this dead dog curse my lord the king? Let me go over and take off his head.” 10 But the king said, “What have I to do with you, you sons of Zeruiah? If he is cursing because the LORD has said to him, ‘Curse David,’ who then shall say, ‘Why have you done so?’ ” 11 David said to Abishai and to all his servants, “My own son seeks my life; how much more now may this Benjaminite! Let him alone, and let him curse; for the LORD has bidden him. 12 It may be that the LORD will look on my distress, and the LORD will repay me with good for this cursing of me today.” 13 So David and his men went on the road, while Shimei went along on the hillside opposite him and cursed as he went, throwing stones and flinging dust at him. 14 The king and all the people who were with him arrived weary at the Jordan; and there he refreshed himself.
15 Now Absalom and all the Israelites came to Jerusalem; Ahithophel was with him. 16 When Hushai the Archite, David’s friend, came to Absalom, Hushai said to Absalom, “Long live the king! Long live the king!” 17 Absalom said to Hushai, “Is this your loyalty to your friend? Why did you not go with your friend?” 18 Hushai said to Absalom, “No; but the one whom the LORD and this people and all the Israelites have chosen, his I will be, and with him I will remain. 19 Moreover, whom should I serve? Should it not be his son? Just as I have served your father, so I will serve you.”
20 Then Absalom said to Ahithophel, “Give us your counsel; what shall we do?” 21 Ahithophel said to Absalom, “Go in to your father’s concubines, the ones he has left to look after the house; and all Israel will hear that you have made yourself odious to your father, and the hands of all who are with you will be strengthened.” 22 So they pitched a tent for Absalom upon the roof; and Absalom went in to his father’s concubines in the sight of all Israel. 23 Now in those days the counsel that Ahithophel gave was as if one consulted the oracle of God; so all the counsel of Ahithophel was esteemed, both by David and by Absalom.
17 “After I had returned to Jerusalem and while I was praying in the temple, I fell into a trance 18 and saw Jesus saying to me, ‘Hurry and get out of Jerusalem quickly, because they will not accept your testimony about me.’ 19 And I said, ‘Lord, they themselves know that in every synagogue I imprisoned and beat those who believed in you. 20 And while the blood of your witness Stephen was shed, I myself was standing by, approving and keeping the coats of those who killed him.’ 21 Then he said to me, ‘Go, for I will send you far away to the Gentiles.’ ”
22 Up to this point they listened to him, but then they shouted, “Away with such a fellow from the earth! For he should not be allowed to live.” 23 And while they were shouting, throwing off their cloaks, and tossing dust into the air, 24 the tribune directed that he was to be brought into the barracks, and ordered him to be examined by flogging, to find out the reason for this outcry against him. 25 But when they had tied him up with thongs, Paul said to the centurion who was standing by, “Is it legal for you to flog a Roman citizen who is uncondemned?” 26 When the centurion heard that, he went to the tribune and said to him, “What are you about to do? This man is a Roman citizen.” 27 The tribune came and asked Paul, “Tell me, are you a Roman citizen?” And he said, “Yes.” 28 The tribune answered, “It cost me a large sum of money to get my citizenship.” Paul said, “But I was born a citizen.” 29 Immediately those who were about to examine him drew back from him; and the tribune also was afraid, for he realized that Paul was a Roman citizen and that he had bound him.
11 When they were approaching Jerusalem, at Bethphage and Bethany, near the Mount of Olives, he sent two of his disciples 2 and said to them, “Go into the village ahead of you, and immediately as you enter it, you will find tied there a colt that has never been ridden; untie it and bring it. 3 If anyone says to you, ‘Why are you doing this?’ just say this, ‘The Lord needs it and will send it back here immediately.’ ” 4 They went away and found a colt tied near a door, outside in the street. As they were untying it, 5 some of the bystanders said to them, “What are you doing, untying the colt?” 6 They told them what Jesus had said; and they allowed them to take it. 7 Then they brought the colt to Jesus and threw their cloaks on it; and he sat on it. 8 Many people spread their cloaks on the road, and others spread leafy branches that they had cut in the fields. 9 Then those who went ahead and those who followed were shouting,
Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord!
10 Blessed is the coming kingdom of our ancestor David!
Hosanna in the highest heaven!”
11 Then he entered Jerusalem and went into the temple; and when he had looked around at everything, as it was already late, he went out to Bethany with the twelve.
The Book of Common Prayer: And Administration of the Sacraments and Other Rites and Ceremonies of the Church