The Revolt against Rehoboam (1 Kings 12:1–19)2 Chronicles 10:1 Rehoboam went to Shechem, for all Israel had come to Shechem to make him king. 2 When Jeroboam son of Nebat heard of it (for he was in Egypt, where he had fled from King Solomon), then Jeroboam returned from Egypt. 3 They sent and called him; and Jeroboam and all Israel came and said to Rehoboam, 4 “Your father made our yoke heavy. Now therefore lighten the hard service of your father and his heavy yoke that he placed on us, and we will serve you.” 5 He said to them, “Come to me again in three days.” So the people went away.
6 Then King Rehoboam took counsel with the older men who had attended his father Solomon while he was still alive, saying, “How do you advise me to answer this people?” 7 They answered him, “If you will be kind to this people and please them, and speak good words to them, then they will be your servants forever.” 8 But he rejected the advice that the older men gave him, and consulted the young men who had grown up with him and now attended him. 9 He said to them, “What do you advise that we answer this people who have said to me, ‘Lighten the yoke that your father put on us’?” 10 The young men who had grown up with him said to him, “Thus should you speak to the people who said to you, ‘Your father made our yoke heavy, but you must lighten it for us’; tell them, ‘My little finger is thicker than my father’s loins. 11 Now, whereas my father laid on you a heavy yoke, I will add to your yoke. My father disciplined you with whips, but I will discipline you with scorpions.’ ”
12 So Jeroboam and all the people came to Rehoboam the third day, as the king had said, “Come to me again the third day.” 13 The king answered them harshly. King Rehoboam rejected the advice of the older men; 14 he spoke to them in accordance with the advice of the young men, “My father made your yoke heavy, but I will add to it; my father disciplined you with whips, but I will discipline you with scorpions.” 15 So the king did not listen to the people, because it was a turn of affairs brought about by God so that the Lord might fulfill his word, which he had spoken by Ahijah the Shilonite to Jeroboam son of Nebat.
16 When all Israel saw that the king would not listen to them, the people answered the king,
“What share do we have in David?
We have no inheritance in the son of Jesse.
Each of you to your tents, O Israel!
Look now to your own house, O David.”
18 When King Rehoboam sent Hadoram, who was taskmaster over the forced labor, the people of Israel stoned him to death. King Rehoboam hurriedly mounted his chariot to flee to Jerusalem. 19 So Israel has been in rebellion against the house of David to this day.
Judah and Benjamin Fortified (1 Kings 12:20–24)2 Chronicles 11:1 When Rehoboam came to Jerusalem, he assembled one hundred eighty thousand chosen troops of the house of Judah and Benjamin to fight against Israel, to restore the kingdom to Rehoboam. 2 But the word of the Lord came to Shemaiah the man of God: 3 Say to King Rehoboam of Judah, son of Solomon, and to all Israel in Judah and Benjamin, 4 “Thus says the Lord: You shall not go up or fight against your kindred. Let everyone return home, for this thing is from me.” So they heeded the word of the Lord and turned back from the expedition against Jeroboam.
5 Rehoboam resided in Jerusalem, and he built cities for defense in Judah. 6 He built up Bethlehem, Etam, Tekoa, 7 Beth-zur, Soco, Adullam, 8 Gath, Mareshah, Ziph, 9 Adoraim, Lachish, Azekah, 10 Zorah, Aijalon, and Hebron, fortified cities that are in Judah and in Benjamin. 11 He made the fortresses strong, and put commanders in them, and stores of food, oil, and wine. 12 He also put large shields and spears in all the cities, and made them very strong. So he held Judah and Benjamin.
Priests and Levites Support Rehoboam (1 Kings 14:21–24)13 The priests and the Levites who were in all Israel presented themselves to him from all their territories. 14 The Levites had left their common lands and their holdings and had come to Judah and Jerusalem, because Jeroboam and his sons had prevented them from serving as priests of the Lord, 15 and had appointed his own priests for the high places, and for the goat-demons, and for the calves that he had made. 16 Those who had set their hearts to seek the Lord God of Israel came after them from all the tribes of Israel to Jerusalem to sacrifice to the Lord, the God of their ancestors. 17 They strengthened the kingdom of Judah, and for three years they made Rehoboam son of Solomon secure, for they walked for three years in the way of David and Solomon.
Rehoboam’s Marriages18 Rehoboam took as his wife Mahalath daughter of Jerimoth son of David, and of Abihail daughter of Eliab son of Jesse. 19 She bore him sons: Jeush, Shemariah, and Zaham. 20 After her he took Maacah daughter of Absalom, who bore him Abijah, Attai, Ziza, and Shelomith. 21 Rehoboam loved Maacah daughter of Absalom more than all his other wives and concubines (he took eighteen wives and sixty concubines, and became the father of twenty-eight sons and sixty daughters). 22 Rehoboam appointed Abijah son of Maacah as chief prince among his brothers, for he intended to make him king. 23 He dealt wisely, and distributed some of his sons through all the districts of Judah and Benjamin, in all the fortified cities; he gave them abundant provisions, and found many wives for them.
Egypt Attacks Judah (1 Kings 14:25–28)2 Chronicles 12:1 When the rule of Rehoboam was established and he grew strong, he abandoned the law of the Lord, he and all Israel with him. 2 In the fifth year of King Rehoboam, because they had been unfaithful to the Lord, King Shishak of Egypt came up against Jerusalem 3 with twelve hundred chariots and sixty thousand cavalry. A countless army came with him from Egypt—Libyans, Sukkiim, and Ethiopians. 4 He took the fortified cities of Judah and came as far as Jerusalem. 5 Then the prophet Shemaiah came to Rehoboam and to the officers of Judah, who had gathered at Jerusalem because of Shishak, and said to them, “Thus says the Lord: You abandoned me, so I have abandoned you to the hand of Shishak.” 6 Then the officers of Israel and the king humbled themselves and said, “The Lord is in the right.” 7 When the Lord saw that they humbled themselves, the word of the Lord came to Shemaiah, saying: “They have humbled themselves; I will not destroy them, but I will grant them some deliverance, and my wrath shall not be poured out on Jerusalem by the hand of Shishak. 8 Nevertheless they shall be his servants, so that they may know the difference between serving me and serving the kingdoms of other lands.”
9 So King Shishak of Egypt came up against Jerusalem; he took away the treasures of the house of the Lord and the treasures of the king’s house; he took everything. He also took away the shields of gold that Solomon had made; 10 but King Rehoboam made in place of them shields of bronze, and committed them to the hands of the officers of the guard, who kept the door of the king’s house. 11 Whenever the king went into the house of the Lord, the guard would come along bearing them, and would then bring them back to the guardroom. 12 Because he humbled himself the wrath of the Lord turned from him, so as not to destroy them completely; moreover, conditions were good in Judah.
Death of Rehoboam (1 Kings 14:21–22, 29–31)13 So King Rehoboam established himself in Jerusalem and reigned. Rehoboam was forty-one years old when he began to reign; he reigned seventeen years in Jerusalem, the city that the Lord had chosen out of all the tribes of Israel to put his name there. His mother’s name was Naamah the Ammonite. 14 He did evil, for he did not set his heart to seek the Lord.
15 Now the acts of Rehoboam, from first to last, are they not written in the records of the prophet Shemaiah and of the seer Iddo, recorded by genealogy? There were continual wars between Rehoboam and Jeroboam. 16 Rehoboam slept with his ancestors and was buried in the city of David; and his son Abijah succeeded him.
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
He served in Vietnam and commanded the U.S. invasion of Grenada. A four star general, he was commander in Desert Storm. After the war, he was awarded the Congressional Gold Medal and knighted by the Queen of England. His name: General Norman Schwarzkopf, born this day, August 22, 1934. In an interview, he described an extreme flanking maneuver to cut off the Iraqi retreat: “When my forward commander radioed that they had reached the Euphrates River… I waited… ‘General,’ he said, ‘I’ve got to tell you about the casualties.’ I braced myself. ‘One man was slightly wounded.’ That’s when I knew God was with us.”
Compiled by Richard S. Adams
How fast we learn in a day of sorrow!
Scripture shines out in a new effulgence;
every verse seems to contain a sunbeam,
every promise stands out in illuminated splendor;
things hard to be understood
become in a moment plain.
--- Horatius Bonar
Somewhere we know that without silence words lose their meaning, that without listening speaking no longer heals, that without distance closeness cannot cure.
--- Henri J.M. Nouwen
In the home Christ-likeness is kindness;
In business it is honesty;
Toward the weak it is burden bearing;
Toward the sinner it is evangelism;
Toward ourselves it is self-control;
Toward God it is reverence, love and worship.
... from here, there and everywhere
Of The Cross?
Hippolytus, the scholar-presbyter of Rome, is a particularly interesting witness, because he is known to have been ‘an avowed reactionary who in his own generation stood for the past rather than the future’. His famous treatise The Apostolic Tradition (c. AD 215) ‘claims explicitly to be recording only the forms and models of rites already traditional and customs already long-established, and to be written in deliberate protest against innovations’. The Creed: The Apostolic Faith in Contemporary Theology When he describes certain ‘church observances’, therefore, we may be sure that they were already being practised a generation or more previously. He mentions that the sign of the cross was used by the bishop when anointing the candidate’s forehead at Confirmation, and he recommends it in private prayer: ‘imitate him (Christ) always, by signing thy forehead sincerely: for this is the sign of his passion.’ It is also, he adds, a protection against evil: ‘When tempted, always reverently seal thy forehead with the sign of the cross. For this sign of the passion is displayed and made manifest against the devil if thou makest it in faith, not in order that thou mayest be seen of men, but by thy knowledge putting it forth as a shield.’
The Cross of Christ
Thanks to Meir Yona
How Joppa Was Taken, And Tiberias Delivered Up.
1. Now Vespasian returned to Ptolemais on the fourth day of the month Panemus, [Tamus] and from thence he came to Cesarea, which lay by the sea-side. This was a very great city of Judea, and for the greatest part inhabited by Greeks: the citizens here received both the Roman army and its general, with all sorts of acclamations and rejoicings, and this partly out of the good-will they bore to the Romans, but principally out of the hatred they bore to those that were conquered by them; on which account they came clamoring against Josephus in crowds, and desired he might be put to death. But Vespasian passed over this petition concerning him, as offered by the injudicious multitude, with a bare silence. Two of the legions also he placed at Cesarea, that they might there take their winter-quarters, as perceiving the city very fit for such a purpose; but he placed the tenth and the fifth at Scythopolis, that he might not distress Cesarea with the entire army. This place was warm even in winter, as it was suffocating hot in the summer time, by reason of its situation in a plain, and near to the sea [of Galilee].
2. In the mean time, there were gathered together as well such as had seditiously got out from among their enemies, as those that had escaped out of the demolished cities, which were in all a great number, and repaired Joppa, which had been left desolate by Cestius, that it might serve them for a place of refuge; and because the adjoining region had been laid waste in the war, and was not capable of supporting them, they determined to go off to sea. They also built themselves a great many piratical ships, and turned pirates upon the seas near to Syria, and Phoenicia, and Egypt, and made those seas unnavigable to all men. Now as soon as Vespasian knew of their conspiracy, he sent both footmen and horsemen to Joppa, which was unguarded in the night time; however, those that were in it perceived that they should be attacked, and were afraid of it; yet did they not endeavor to keep the Romans out, but fled to their ships, and lay at sea all night, out of the reach of their darts.
3. Now Joppa is not naturally a haven, for it ends in a rough shore, where all the rest of it is straight, but the two ends bend towards each other, where there are deep precipices, and great stones that jut out into the sea, and where the chains wherewith Andromeda was bound have left their footsteps, which attest to the antiquity of that fable. But the north wind opposes and beats upon the shore, and dashes mighty waves against the rocks which receive them, and renders the haven more dangerous than the country they had deserted. Now as those people of Joppa were floating about in this sea, in the Morning there fell a violent wind upon them; it is called by those that sail there "the black north wind," and there dashed their ships one against another, and dashed some of them against the rocks, and carried many of them by force, while they strove against the opposite waves, into the main sea; for the shore was so rocky, and had so many of the enemy upon it, that they were afraid to come to land; nay, the waves rose so very high, that they drowned them; nor was there any place whither they could fly, nor any way to save themselves; while they were thrust out of the sea, by the violence of the wind, if they staid where they were, and out of the city by the violence of the Romans. And much lamentation there was when the ships were dashed against one another, and a terrible noise when they were broken to pieces; and some of the multitude that were in them were covered with waves, and so perished, and a great many were embarrassed with shipwrecks. But some of them thought that to die by their own swords was lighter than by the sea, and so they killed themselves before they were drowned; although the greatest part of them were carried by the waves, and dashed to pieces against the abrupt parts of the rocks, insomuch that the sea was bloody a long way, and the maritime parts were full of dead bodies; for the Romans came upon those that were carried to the shore, and destroyed them; and the number of the bodies that were thus thrown out of the sea was four thousand and two hundred. The Romans also took the city without opposition, and utterly demolished it.
4. And thus was Joppa taken twice by the Romans in a little time; but Vespasian, in order to prevent these pirates from coming thither any more, erected a camp there, where the citadel of Joppa had been, and left a body of horse in it, with a few footmen, that these last might stay there and guard the camp, and the horsemen might spoil the country that lay round it, and might destroy the neighboring villages and smaller cities. So these troops overran the country, as they were ordered to do, and every day cut to pieces and laid desolate the whole region.
5. But now, when the fate of Jotapata was related at Jerusalem, a great many at the first disbelieved it, on account of the vastness of the calamity, and because they had no eye-witness to attest the truth of what was related about it; for not one person was saved to be a messenger of that news, but a fame was spread abroad at random that the city was taken, as such fame usually spreads bad news about. However, the truth was known by degrees, from the places near Jotapata, and appeared to all to be too true. Yet were there fictitious stories added to what was really done; for it was reported that Josephus was slain at the taking of the city, which piece of news filled Jerusalem full of sorrow. In every house also, and among all to whom any of the slain were allied, there was a lamentation for them; but the mourning for the commander was a public one; and some mourned for those that had lived with them, others for their kindred, others for their friends, and others for their brethren, but all mourned for Josephus; insomuch that the lamentation did not cease in the city before the thirtieth day; and a great many hired mourners, with their pipes, who should begin the melancholy ditties for them.
The Project Gutenberg EBook of The Wars of the Jews or History of the Destruction of Jerusalem, by Flavius Josephus Translator: William Whiston
The War of the Jews: The History of the Destruction of Jerusalem (complete edition, 7 books)
by D.H. Stern
if you beat him with a stick, he won’t die!
14 If you beat him with a stick,
you will save him from Sh’ol.
Complete Jewish Bible : An English Version of the Tanakh (Old Testament) and B'Rit Hadashah (New Testament)
A Daily Devotional by Oswald Chambers
“I indeed … but He”
I indeed baptize you with water … but He … shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost and fire. --- Matthew 3:11.
Have I ever come to a place in my experience where I can say—“I indeed … but He”? Until that moment does come, I will never know what the baptism of the Holy Ghost means. “I indeed” am at an end, I cannot do a thing: “but He” begins just there—He does the things no one else can ever do. Am I prepared for His coming? Jesus cannot come as long as there is anything in the way either of goodness or badness. When He comes am I prepared for Him to drag into the light every wrong thing I have done? It is just there that He comes. Wherever I know I am unclean, He will put His feet; wherever I think I am clean, He will withdraw them. Repentance does not bring a sense of sin, but a sense of unutterable unworthiness. When I repent, I realize that I am utterly helpless; I know all through me that I am not worthy even to bear His shoes. Have I repented like that? Or is there a lingering suggestion of standing up for myself? The reason God cannot come into my life is because I am not through into repentance.
“He shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost and fire.” John does not speak of the baptism of the Holy Ghost as an experience, but as a work performed by Jesus Christ, “He shall baptize you.” The only conscious experience those who are baptized with the Holy Ghost ever have is a sense of absolute unworthiness.
“I indeed” was this and that;”but He” came, and a marvellous thing happened. Get to the margin where He does everything.
My Utmost for His Highest: Quality Paperback Edition
the Poetry of RS Thomas
Nocturne By Ben Shahn
'Why look at me like that?'
'Well -- it's your hand on the guitar.'
'Don't touch it; there is fire in it.'
'But why doesn't it burn you?'
'It does, it does; but inside me.'
'I see no smoke at your nostrils.'
'But I see green leaves at your lips.'
'They are the thoughts I would conceal.'
'You are the music that I compose.'
'Play me, then, back to myself.'
'It is too late; your face forbids it.'
'The arteries of the tall trees--'
'Are electric, charged with your blood.'
'But my hand now sleeps in my lap.'
"Let it remain so, clawed like my own.'
H'm: Poems by R. S. Thomas
The thing about “hanging” (a euphemism for the Roman punishment of crucifixion) is that it was very public. The purpose was not only to kill but also to send a message: “This same fate awaits anyone who crosses us” (pun intended). The victim was left hanging for some time so that no one would miss the point.
To Rabbi Ammi, in times of religious persecution, there were only two options for the Jew: Defy the oppressors and continue to live publicly and proudly as a Jew, or die, giving one’s life publicly and proudly for “the Sanctification of the Name of God.” There were no other choices.
The most famous case of Jewish martyrdom is the legend of Rabbi Akiva, who lived about a century before Rabbi Ammi. According to Rabbinic tradition, Akiva defied the Roman decree to cease and desist from publicly teaching Torah; he was also a proud supporter of Shimon bar Kokhba, who led an uprising against Roman rule in 132 C.E. When asked why he continued to live openly as a Jew when it could cost him his life, Akiva responded with a parable:
Fishermen were out casting their nets for a catch. A fox saw a school of fish frantically swim by. “Why not come here with me on dry land and escape the nets?” the fox asked. The fish replied: “Water is our element. If we leave it, we die. We’ll take our chances with the nets here in the water; the fishermen might catch us, but they might not. Out there, with you, we will surely die.” (Berakhot 61b)
For Akiva, living by Torah was the Jew’s element; living outside of it was not thinkable. Thus, “either a Jew or hanged” encapsulates Rabbi Akiva’s life—and his death. Akiva’s execution was not by crucifixion, but it is reported that the skin of his body was seen hanging in a public square. He went to his death reciting the Sh’ma, both as a proud declaration of his faith and a public defiance of his killers. Since his time, many have followed his example, dying with the Sh’ma on their lips.
Rabbi Ammi’s words aside, there was, of course, a third possibility in times of persecution: renouncing one’s religion and embracing the faith of the oppressor. The most famous case of apostasy in Jewish history occurred in the seventeenth century. It was a period of great messianic speculation. After the Chmielnicki massacres of 1648, word swept the Jewish world that the long-awaited Messiah had finally appeared to bring about the final redemption. A Turkish Jew named Shabbetai Zevi was hailed as and proclaimed the “Anointed One.” Jews throughout the world prepared for the “end of days.” Shabbetai Zevi traveled to the sultan to make his demand that the land of Israel be turned over to the Jewish people. Instead, the Turkish ruler offered a choice: Convert or die. Shabbetai Zevi donned a turban, took the name Mehemet Effendi, and became a Muslim.
We have to admire those Jews who, when faced with terrible choices, opted proudly and publicly to be Jewish. We have to be thankful that we don’t have to make such choices. And we have to ask ourselves if we are as proudly and publicly devoted to Judaism today, when “hanging” is not the only other option.
ANOTHER D’RASH / In the context of the story in Exodus, “stiffnecked” is a negative characteristic. When God tells Moses “I see that this is a stiffnecked people,” there is certainly no compliment intended. Yet, Rabbi Yitzḥak bar Radifa takes a negative and turns it into a positive. The Jews are “stiffnecked,” and this is now praise! Rabbi Yitzḥak reframes a criticism as a compliment.
Perhaps we too can do that with the people we meet:
• The young woman whom everyone criticizes as “timid” can actually be seen as deliberate and pensive. In a world where talk is cheap and where people often speak before they think, her reticence may work to her advantage. When she finally speaks, though her words are few, they are well thought out and measured.
• The man who is “aggressive” can be seen as passionate for his cause. That he advocates on behalf of what he believes in and pushes his agenda is a reminder of just how seriously he takes his cause.
• The couple that is called “spendthrift,” hoarding their wealth, may actually be quite generous if we see the broad picture. Rather than squandering their fortune, they mete it out slowly and thoughtfully. In this way, their altruism will last longer, and the impact of their generosity will be even greater.
Not every cloud has a silver lining. Still, we would get along better with people, and would find this world a much brighter and uplifting place, if we reframed negatives as positives. By seeing “stiffnecked” as a compliment, Rabbi Yitzḥak bar Radifa has shown us a way of bettering both the world around us and ourselves.
Searching for Meaning in Midrash: Lessons for Everyday Living
The Father loves the Son and has placed everything in his hands. --- John 3:35.
If Christ can satisfy all the desires, suit all the conditions, and answer all the objections of sinners, then he must have everything, [and] so it is.
(The RS Thomas And Other Practical Works Of The Late Reverend And Learned Mr. Ralph Erskine V9)
He can satisfy all desires of sinners, for everything desirable is in him. Is wisdom desirable? In him “are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge”
(Col. 2:3). “Wisdom has built her house” (Prov. 9:1); it is in the plural, wisdoms. Christ is a compound of wisdom.
There is no condition you can be in but he has a promise suited to it, so that in Christ there is what suits all cases, for the promises are the veins where the blood and fullness of Christ run.
Are you wandering? Christ says, I am the way. Are you in darkness? Christ says, I am the light of the world. Are you guilty? Christ is the Lord our righteousness. Are you polluted? Christ says he is the fountain opened for sin and for uncleanness. Are you dejected? Christ will send the Comforter. Do you need direction? Christ is the wonderful Counselor, and he says, “I will lead the blind by ways they have not known” (Isa. 42:16).
Christ can answer all objections. If anyone says, “Alas! I am lost,” then Christ says, “I came to seek and to save what was lost.” Says another, “I am a great sinner.” Well, Christ says, “I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners”
(Matt. 9:13). Cries another, “I cannot turn from sin.” It is Christ’s work to turn you “from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God” (Acts 26:18).
“But I have no might or ability to go to Christ.” It is answered, “He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak” (Isa. 40:29). He is the author of faith. “Oh! but I have sinned to the uttermost.” Why, then, he tells you he is able to save to the uttermost. “Alas! I am wayward.” It is answered, “I will heal their waywardness and love them freely” (Hos. 14:4).
Whatever the objection is, he can answer it; whatever the case is, he can remedy it; whatever the desire is, he can satisfy it. Why, then, everything must be in his hands, and no wonder, for all the treasures of divine plenty and fullness are in his hands.
--- Ralph Erskine
Take Heart: Daily Devotions with the Church's Great Preachers
Twenty-Three Days August 22
He was a has-been, a fossil, a relic, an old fogey … but as a child, George Frideric Handel had accompanied his father to the court of Duke Johann Adolf. Idly wandering into the chapel, the boy found the organ and started improvising, causing Duke Adolf to exclaim, “Who is this remarkable child?”
This “remarkable child” soon began composing operas, first in Italy, then in London. By his 20s he was the talk of England and the best paid composer on earth. He opened the Royal Academy of Music. Londoners fought for seats at his every performance, and his fame soared around the world.
But the glory passed. Audiences dwindled. His music became outdated. The academy went bankrupt, and newer artists eclipsed the aging composer. One project after another failed, and Handel grew depressed. The stress brought on a case of palsy that crippled some of his fingers. “Handel’s great days are over,” wrote Frederick the Great, “his inspiration is exhausted.”
Yet his troubles also matured him, softening his sharp tongue. His temper mellowed, and his music became more heartfelt. One Morning Handel received by post a script from Charles Jennens. It was a word-for-word collection of various biblical texts about Christ. The opening words from Isaiah 40 moved Handel: Comfort ye my people. …
On August 22, 1741 he shut the door of his London home and started composing music for the words. Twenty-three days later, the world had Messiah. “Whether I was in the body or out of the body when I wrote it, I know not,” Handel later said, trying to describe the experience. Messiah opened in London to enormous crowds on March 23, 1743. Handel led from his harpsichord, and King George II, who was present that night, surprised everyone by leaping to his feet during the Hallelujah Chorus. No one knows why. Some believe the king, being hard of hearing, thought it the national anthem. No matter—from that day audiences everywhere have stood in reverence during the stirring words: Hallelujah! For He shall reign forever and ever.
Then I heard what seemed to be a large crowd. … They were saying, “Praise the Lord! Our Lord God All-Powerful now rules as king. So we will be glad and happy and give him praise.”
--- Revelation 19:6,7a.
On This Day 365 Amazing And Inspiring Stories About Saints, Martyrs And Heroes
Daily Readings / CHARLES H. SPURGEON
Morning - August 22
“I charge you, O daughters of Jerusalem, if ye find my beloved, that ye tell him, that I am sick of love.”
--- Song of Solomon 5:8.
Such is the language of the believer panting after present fellowship with Jesus, he is sick for his Lord. Gracious souls are never perfectly at ease except they are in a state of nearness to Christ; for when they are away from him they lose their peace. The nearer to him, the nearer to the perfect calm of heaven; the nearer to him, the fuller the heart is, not only of peace, but of life, and vigour, and joy, for these all depend on constant intercourse with Jesus. What the sun is to the day, what the moon is to the night, what the dew is to the flower, such is Jesus Christ to us. What bread is to the hungry, clothing to the naked, the shadow of a great rock to the traveller in a weary land, such is Jesus Christ to us; and, therefore, if we are not consciously one with him, little marvel if our spirit cries in the words of the Song, “I charge you, O ye daughters of Jerusalem, if ye find my beloved, tell him that I am sick of love.” This earnest longing after Jesus has a blessing attending it: “Blessed are they that do hunger and thirst after righteousness”; and therefore, supremely blessed are they who thirst after the Righteous One. Blessed is that hunger, since it comes from God: if I may not have the full-blown blessedness of being filled, I would seek the same blessedness in its sweet bud-pining in emptiness and eagerness till I am filled with Christ. If I may not feed on Jesus, it shall be next door to heaven to hunger and thirst after him. There is a hallowedness about that hunger, since it sparkles among the beatitudes of our Lord. But the blessing involves a promise. Such hungry ones “shall be filled” with what they are desiring. If Christ thus causes us to long after himself, he will certainly satisfy those longings; and when he does come to us, as come he will, oh, how sweet it will be!
Evening - August 22
“The unsearchable riches of Christ.” --- Ephesians 3:8.
My Master has riches beyond the count of arithmetic, the measurement of reason, the dream of imagination, or the eloquence of words. They are unsearchable! You may look, and study, and weigh, but Jesus is a greater Saviour than you think him to be when your thoughts are at the greatest. My Lord is more ready to pardon than you to sin, more able to forgive than you to transgress. My Master is more willing to supply your wants than you are to confess them. Never tolerate low thoughts of my Lord Jesus. When you put the crown on his head, you will only crown him with silver when he deserves gold. My Master has riches of happiness to bestow upon you now. He can make you to lie down in green pastures, and lead you beside still waters. There is no music like the music of his pipe, when he is the Shepherd and you are the sheep, and you lie down at his feet. There is no love like his, neither earth nor heaven can match it. To know Christ and to be found in him—oh! this is life, this is joy, this is marrow and fatness, wine on the lees well refined. My Master does not treat his servants churlishly; he gives to them as a king giveth to a king; he gives them two heavens—a heaven below in serving him here, and a heaven above in delighting in him for ever. His unsearchable riches will be best known in eternity. He will give you on the way to heaven all you need; your place of defence shall be the munitions of rocks, your bread shall be given you, and your waters shall be sure; but it is there, THERE, where you shall hear the song of them that triumph, the shout of them that feast, and shall have a face-to-face view of the glorious and beloved One. The unsearchable riches of Christ! This is the tune for the minstrels of earth, and the song for the harpers of heaven. Lord, teach us more and more of Jesus, and we will tell out the good news to others.
Morning and Evening: A New Edition of the Classic Devotional Based on The Holy Bible, English Standard Version
WHITER THAN SNOW
James Nicholson, c. 1828–1876
Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow. (Psalm 51:7)
God’s people have been placed in their particular circle of influence so they can demonstrate purity and a concern for righteousness. If we do not fulfill this role, who will? It is easy, however, to become so accustomed and hardened to the lust and sin all about us that we lose that fine edge of our Christian witness. In fact, without God’s daily cleansing and renewal, we are easily infiltrated with and influenced by the very lifestyle that we reject in others.
Unconfessed sin becomes a destructive poison in our lives, not only spiritually but also emotionally and physically. Repentance and confession are always the starting points for a restored fellowship with God. Like the psalmist David did in his prayer in Psalm 51, we all need to experience God’s cleansing and forgiveness. Only then will we be effective for God in helping others and directing sinners to Him
This is another fine hymn text written by a Christian layman. James Nicholson spent his entire life as a clerk in the post office in Philadelphia, yet he was always active in the work of the Wharton Street Methodist Episcopal Church. The hymn was first published in a pamphlet titled “Joyful Songs” in 1872. The hymn’s popularity greatly increased with its inclusion in the well-known Gospel Hymns series published by Sankey and Bliss. It has since provided a musical prayer that needs to be expressed by every Christian on a daily basis:
Lord Jesus, I long to be perfectly whole; I want thee forever to live in my soul, break down ev’ry idol, cast out ev’ry foe—Now wash me and I shall be whiter than snow.
Lord Jesus, look down from Thy throne in the skies and help me to make a complete sacrifice. I give up myself and whatever I know—Now wash me and I shall be whiter than snow.
Lord Jesus, for this I most humbly entreat; I wait, blessed Lord, at Thy crucified feet. By faith, for my cleansing I see Thy blood flow—Now wash me and I shall be whiter than snow.
Lord Jesus, Thou seest I patiently wait; come now and within me a new heart create. To those who have sought Thee Thou never saidst “No”—Now wash me and I shall be whiter than snow.
Refrain: Whiter than snow, yes, whiter than snow—Now wash me and I shall be whiter than snow.
For Today: Psalm 32:3; Isaiah 1:18; Romans 3:24, 25; 1 Corinthians 6:11
Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal any area of sin. Confess it to God and claim His forgiving grace. Pray this prayer with the hymnwriter ---
Amazing Grace: 366 Inspiring Hymn Stories for Daily Devotions
Tuesday, August 22, 2017 | After Pentecost
Proper 15, Tuesday
Psalms (Morning) (Psalm 120) 121, 122, 123
Psalms (Evening) Psalm 124, 125, 126 (127)
Old Testament 2 Samuel 18:9–18
New Testament Acts 23:12–24
Gospel Mark 11:27–12:12
Index of Readings
(Psalm 120) 121, 122, 123
A Song of Ascents.
1 In my distress I cry to the LORD,
that he may answer me:
2 “Deliver me, O LORD,
from lying lips,
from a deceitful tongue.”
3 What shall be given to you?
And what more shall be done to you,
you deceitful tongue?
4 A warrior’s sharp arrows,
with glowing coals of the broom tree!
5 Woe is me, that I am an alien in Meshech,
that I must live among the tents of Kedar.
6 Too long have I had my dwelling
among those who hate peace.
7 I am for peace;
but when I speak,
they are for war.
A Song of Ascents.
1 I lift up my eyes to the hills—
from where will my help come?
2 My help comes from the LORD,
who made heaven and earth.
3 He will not let your foot be moved;
he who keeps you will not slumber.
4 He who keeps Israel
will neither slumber nor sleep.
5 The LORD is your keeper;
the LORD is your shade at your right hand.
6 The sun shall not strike you by day,
nor the moon by night.
7 The LORD will keep you from all evil;
he will keep your life.
8 The LORD will keep
your going out and your coming in
from this time on and forevermore.
A Song of Ascents. Of David.
1 I was glad when they said to me,
“Let us go to the house of the LORD!”
2 Our feet are standing
within your gates, O Jerusalem.
3 Jerusalem—built as a city
that is bound firmly together.
4 To it the tribes go up,
the tribes of the LORD,
as was decreed for Israel,
to give thanks to the name of the LORD.
5 For there the thrones for judgment were set up,
the thrones of the house of David.
6 Pray for the peace of Jerusalem:
“May they prosper who love you.
7 Peace be within your walls,
and security within your towers.”
8 For the sake of my relatives and friends
I will say, “Peace be within you.”
9 For the sake of the house of the LORD our God,
I will seek your good.
A Song of Ascents.
1 To you I lift up my eyes,
O you who are enthroned in the heavens!
2 As the eyes of servants
look to the hand of their master,
as the eyes of a maid
to the hand of her mistress,
so our eyes look to the LORD our God,
until he has mercy upon us.
3 Have mercy upon us, O LORD, have mercy upon us,
for we have had more than enough of contempt.
4 Our soul has had more than its fill
of the scorn of those who are at ease,
of the contempt of the proud.
Psalm 124, 125, 126 (127)
A Song of Ascents. Of David.
1 If it had not been the LORD who was on our side
—let Israel now say—
2 if it had not been the LORD who was on our side,
when our enemies attacked us,
3 then they would have swallowed us up alive,
when their anger was kindled against us;
4 then the flood would have swept us away,
the torrent would have gone over us;
5 then over us would have gone
the raging waters.
6 Blessed be the LORD,
who has not given us
as prey to their teeth.
7 We have escaped like a bird
from the snare of the fowlers;
the snare is broken,
and we have escaped.
8 Our help is in the name of the LORD,
who made heaven and earth.
A Song of Ascents.
1 Those who trust in the LORD are like Mount Zion,
which cannot be moved, but abides forever.
2 As the mountains surround Jerusalem,
so the LORD surrounds his people,
from this time on and forevermore.
3 For the scepter of wickedness shall not rest
on the land allotted to the righteous,
so that the righteous might not stretch out
their hands to do wrong.
4 Do good, O LORD, to those who are good,
and to those who are upright in their hearts.
5 But those who turn aside to their own crooked ways
the LORD will lead away with evildoers.
Peace be upon Israel!
A Song of Ascents.
1 When the LORD restored the fortunes of Zion,
we were like those who dream.
2 Then our mouth was filled with laughter,
and our tongue with shouts of joy;
then it was said among the nations,
“The LORD has done great things for them.”
3 The LORD has done great things for us,
and we rejoiced.
4 Restore our fortunes, O LORD,
like the watercourses in the Negeb.
5 May those who sow in tears
reap with shouts of joy.
6 Those who go out weeping,
bearing the seed for sowing,
shall come home with shouts of joy,
carrying their sheaves.
[ A Song of Ascents. Of Solomon.
1 Unless the LORD builds the house,
those who build it labor in vain.
Unless the LORD guards the city,
the guard keeps watch in vain.
2 It is in vain that you rise up early
and go late to rest,
eating the bread of anxious toil;
for he gives sleep to his beloved.
3 Sons are indeed a heritage from the LORD,
the fruit of the womb a reward.
4 Like arrows in the hand of a warrior
are the sons of one’s youth.
5 Happy is the man who has
his quiver full of them.
He shall not be put to shame
when he speaks with his enemies in the gate. ]
2 Samuel 18:9–18
9 Absalom happened to meet the servants of David. Absalom was riding on his mule, and the mule went under the thick branches of a great oak. His head caught fast in the oak, and he was left hanging between heaven and earth, while the mule that was under him went on. 10 A man saw it, and told Joab, “I saw Absalom hanging in an oak.” 11 Joab said to the man who told him, “What, you saw him! Why then did you not strike him there to the ground? I would have been glad to give you ten pieces of silver and a belt.” 12 But the man said to Joab, “Even if I felt in my hand the weight of a thousand pieces of silver, I would not raise my hand against the king’s son; for in our hearing the king commanded you and Abishai and Ittai, saying: For my sake protect the young man Absalom! 13 On the other hand, if I had dealt treacherously against his life (and there is nothing hidden from the king), then you yourself would have stood aloof.” 14 Joab said, “I will not waste time like this with you.” He took three spears in his hand, and thrust them into the heart of Absalom, while he was still alive in the oak. 15 And ten young men, Joab’s armor-bearers, surrounded Absalom and struck him, and killed him.
16 Then Joab sounded the trumpet, and the troops came back from pursuing Israel, for Joab restrained the troops. 17 They took Absalom, threw him into a great pit in the forest, and raised over him a very great heap of stones. Meanwhile all the Israelites fled to their homes. 18 Now Absalom in his lifetime had taken and set up for himself a pillar that is in the King’s Valley, for he said, “I have no son to keep my name in remembrance”; he called the pillar by his own name. It is called Absalom’s Monument to this day.
12 In the morning the Jews joined in a conspiracy and bound themselves by an oath neither to eat nor drink until they had killed Paul. 13 There were more than forty who joined in this conspiracy. 14 They went to the chief priests and elders and said, “We have strictly bound ourselves by an oath to taste no food until we have killed Paul. 15 Now then, you and the council must notify the tribune to bring him down to you, on the pretext that you want to make a more thorough examination of his case. And we are ready to do away with him before he arrives.”
16 Now the son of Paul’s sister heard about the ambush; so he went and gained entrance to the barracks and told Paul. 17 Paul called one of the centurions and said, “Take this young man to the tribune, for he has something to report to him.” 18 So he took him, brought him to the tribune, and said, “The prisoner Paul called me and asked me to bring this young man to you; he has something to tell you.” 19 The tribune took him by the hand, drew him aside privately, and asked, “What is it that you have to report to me?” 20 He answered, “The Jews have agreed to ask you to bring Paul down to the council tomorrow, as though they were going to inquire more thoroughly into his case. 21 But do not be persuaded by them, for more than forty of their men are lying in ambush for him. They have bound themselves by an oath neither to eat nor drink until they kill him. They are ready now and are waiting for your consent.” 22 So the tribune dismissed the young man, ordering him, “Tell no one that you have informed me of this.”
23 Then he summoned two of the centurions and said, “Get ready to leave by nine o’clock tonight for Caesarea with two hundred soldiers, seventy horsemen, and two hundred spearmen. 24 Also provide mounts for Paul to ride, and take him safely to Felix the governor.”
27 Again they came to Jerusalem. As he was walking in the temple, the chief priests, the scribes, and the elders came to him 28 and said, “By what authority are you doing these things? Who gave you this authority to do them?” 29 Jesus said to them, “I will ask you one question; answer me, and I will tell you by what authority I do these things. 30 Did the baptism of John come from heaven, or was it of human origin? Answer me.” 31 They argued with one another, “If we say, ‘From heaven,’ he will say, ‘Why then did you not believe him?’ 32 But shall we say, ‘Of human origin’?”—they were afraid of the crowd, for all regarded John as truly a prophet. 33 So they answered Jesus, “We do not know.” And Jesus said to them, “Neither will I tell you by what authority I am doing these things.”
12 Then he began to speak to them in parables. “A man planted a vineyard, put a fence around it, dug a pit for the wine press, and built a watchtower; then he leased it to tenants and went to another country. 2 When the season came, he sent a slave to the tenants to collect from them his share of the produce of the vineyard. 3 But they seized him, and beat him, and sent him away empty-handed. 4 And again he sent another slave to them; this one they beat over the head and insulted. 5 Then he sent another, and that one they killed. And so it was with many others; some they beat, and others they killed. 6 He had still one other, a beloved son. Finally he sent him to them, saying, ‘They will respect my son.’ 7 But those tenants said to one another, ‘This is the heir; come, let us kill him, and the inheritance will be ours.’ 8 So they seized him, killed him, and threw him out of the vineyard. 9 What then will the owner of the vineyard do? He will come and destroy the tenants and give the vineyard to others. 10 Have you not read this scripture:
‘The stone that the builders rejected
has become the cornerstone;
11 this was the Lord’s doing,
and it is amazing in our eyes’?”
12 When they realized that he had told this parable against them, they wanted to arrest him, but they feared the crowd. So they left him and went away.
The Book of Common Prayer: And Administration of the Sacraments and Other Rites and Ceremonies of the Church