Making the Priestly GarmentsExodus 39 1 From the blue and purple and scarlet yarns they made finely woven garments, for ministering in the Holy Place. They made the holy garments for Aaron, as the LORD had commanded Moses.
2 He made the ephod of gold, blue and purple and scarlet yarns, and fine twined linen. 3 And they hammered out gold leaf, and he cut it into threads to work into the blue and purple and the scarlet yarns, and into the fine twined linen, in skilled design. 4 They made for the ephod attaching shoulder pieces, joined to it at its two edges. 5 And the skillfully woven band on it was of one piece with it and made like it, of gold, blue and purple and scarlet yarns, and fine twined linen, as the LORD had commanded Moses.
6 They made the onyx stones, enclosed in settings of gold filigree, and engraved like the engravings of a signet, according to the names of the sons of Israel. 7 And he set them on the shoulder pieces of the ephod to be stones of remembrance for the sons of Israel, as the LORD had commanded Moses.
8 He made the breastpiece, in skilled work, in the style of the ephod, of gold, blue and purple and scarlet yarns, and fine twined linen. 9 It was square. They made the breastpiece doubled, a span its length and a span its breadth when doubled. 10 And they set in it four rows of stones. A row of sardius, topaz, and carbuncle was the first row; 11 and the second row, an emerald, a sapphire, and a diamond; 12 and the third row, a jacinth, an agate, and an amethyst; 13 and the fourth row, a beryl, an onyx, and a jasper. They were enclosed in settings of gold filigree. 14 There were twelve stones with their names according to the names of the sons of Israel. They were like signets, each engraved with its name, for the twelve tribes. 15 And they made on the breastpiece twisted chains like cords, of pure gold. 16 And they made two settings of gold filigree and two gold rings, and put the two rings on the two edges of the breastpiece. 17 And they put the two cords of gold in the two rings at the edges of the breastpiece. 18 They attached the two ends of the two cords to the two settings of filigree. Thus they attached it in front to the shoulder pieces of the ephod. 19 Then they made two rings of gold, and put them at the two ends of the breastpiece, on its inside edge next to the ephod. 20 And they made two rings of gold, and attached them in front to the lower part of the two shoulder pieces of the ephod, at its seam above the skillfully woven band of the ephod. 21 And they bound the breastpiece by its rings to the rings of the ephod with a lace of blue, so that it should lie on the skillfully woven band of the ephod, and that the breastpiece should not come loose from the ephod, as the LORD had commanded Moses.
22 He also made the robe of the ephod woven all of blue, 23 and the opening of the robe in it was like the opening in a garment, with a binding around the opening, so that it might not tear. 24 On the hem of the robe they made pomegranates of blue and purple and scarlet yarns and fine twined linen. 25 They also made bells of pure gold, and put the bells between the pomegranates all around the hem of the robe, between the pomegranates— 26 a bell and a pomegranate, a bell and a pomegranate around the hem of the robe for ministering, as the LORD had commanded Moses.
27 They also made the coats, woven of fine linen, for Aaron and his sons, 28 and the turban of fine linen, and the caps of fine linen, and the linen undergarments of fine twined linen, 29 and the sash of fine twined linen and of blue and purple and scarlet yarns, embroidered with needlework, as the LORD had commanded Moses.
30 They made the plate of the holy crown of pure gold, and wrote on it an inscription, like the engraving of a signet, “Holy to the LORD.” 31 And they tied to it a cord of blue to fasten it on the turban above, as the LORD had commanded Moses.
32 Thus all the work of the tabernacle of the tent of meeting was finished, and the people of Israel did according to all that the LORD had commanded Moses; so they did. 33 Then they brought the tabernacle to Moses, the tent and all its utensils, its hooks, its frames, its bars, its pillars, and its bases; 34 the covering of tanned rams’ skins and goatskins, and the veil of the screen; 35 the ark of the testimony with its poles and the mercy seat; 36 the table with all its utensils, and the bread of the Presence; 37 the lampstand of pure gold and its lamps with the lamps set and all its utensils, and the oil for the light; 38 the golden altar, the anointing oil and the fragrant incense, and the screen for the entrance of the tent; 39 the bronze altar, and its grating of bronze, its poles, and all its utensils; the basin and its stand; 40 the hangings of the court, its pillars, and its bases, and the screen for the gate of the court, its cords, and its pegs; and all the utensils for the service of the tabernacle, for the tent of meeting; 41 the finely worked garments for ministering in the Holy Place, the holy garments for Aaron the priest, and the garments of his sons for their service as priests. 42 According to all that the LORD had commanded Moses, so the people of Israel had done all the work. 43 And Moses saw all the work, and behold, they had done it; as the LORD had commanded, so had they done it. Then Moses blessed them.
The Tabernacle ErectedExodus 40 1 The LORD spoke to Moses, saying, 2 “On the first day of the first month you shall erect the tabernacle of the tent of meeting. 3 And you shall put in it the ark of the testimony, and you shall screen the ark with the veil. 4 And you shall bring in the table and arrange it, and you shall bring in the lampstand and set up its lamps. 5 And you shall put the golden altar for incense before the ark of the testimony, and set up the screen for the door of the tabernacle. 6 You shall set the altar of burnt offering before the door of the tabernacle of the tent of meeting, 7 and place the basin between the tent of meeting and the altar, and put water in it. 8 And you shall set up the court all around, and hang up the screen for the gate of the court.
9 “Then you shall take the anointing oil and anoint the tabernacle and all that is in it, and consecrate it and all its furniture, so that it may become holy. 10 You shall also anoint the altar of burnt offering and all its utensils, and consecrate the altar, so that the altar may become most holy. 11 You shall also anoint the basin and its stand, and consecrate it. 12 Then you shall bring Aaron and his sons to the entrance of the tent of meeting and shall wash them with water 13 and put on Aaron the holy garments. And you shall anoint him and consecrate him, that he may serve me as priest. 14 You shall bring his sons also and put coats on them, 15 and anoint them, as you anointed their father, that they may serve me as priests. And their anointing shall admit them to a perpetual priesthood throughout their generations.”
16 This Moses did; according to all that the LORD commanded him, so he did. 17 In the first month in the second year, on the first day of the month, the tabernacle was erected. 18 Moses erected the tabernacle. He laid its bases, and set up its frames, and put in its poles, and raised up its pillars. 19 And he spread the tent over the tabernacle and put the covering of the tent over it, as the LORD had commanded Moses. 20 He took the testimony and put it into the ark, and put the poles on the ark and set the mercy seat above on the ark. 21 And he brought the ark into the tabernacle and set up the veil of the screen, and screened the ark of the testimony, as the LORD had commanded Moses. 22 He put the table in the tent of meeting, on the north side of the tabernacle, outside the veil, 23 and arranged the bread on it before the LORD, as the LORD had commanded Moses. 24 He put the lampstand in the tent of meeting, opposite the table on the south side of the tabernacle, 25 and set up the lamps before the LORD, as the LORD had commanded Moses. 26 He put the golden altar in the tent of meeting before the veil, 27 and burned fragrant incense on it, as the LORD had commanded Moses. 28 He put in place the screen for the door of the tabernacle. 29 And he set the altar of burnt offering at the entrance of the tabernacle of the tent of meeting, and offered on it the burnt offering and the grain offering, as the LORD had commanded Moses. 30 He set the basin between the tent of meeting and the altar, and put water in it for washing, 31 with which Moses and Aaron and his sons washed their hands and their feet. 32 When they went into the tent of meeting, and when they approached the altar, they washed, as the LORD commanded Moses. 33 And he erected the court around the tabernacle and the altar, and set up the screen of the gate of the court. So Moses finished the work.
The Glory of the LORD34 Then the cloud covered the tent of meeting, and the glory of the LORD filled the tabernacle. 35 And Moses was not able to enter the tent of meeting because the cloud settled on it, and the glory of the LORD filled the tabernacle. 36 Throughout all their journeys, whenever the cloud was taken up from over the tabernacle, the people of Israel would set out. 37 But if the cloud was not taken up, then they did not set out till the day that it was taken up. 38 For the cloud of the LORD was on the tabernacle by day, and fire was in it by night, in the sight of all the house of Israel throughout all their journeys.
ESV Study Bible
What I'm Reading
What’s So Special About Christianity?
By J. Warner Wallace 1/26/2018
Every world view takes a position regarding eternity. Even those who don’t believe in God, still believe something about death and the possibility of heaven. To disbelieve a claim requires a belief in something contrary. When I was an atheist, I believed something about eternity and the possibility of life after death:
1. If you’re an Atheist… | You deny that there is a God, have no belief in supernatural phenomena (or anything beyond the natural realm), and no belief in an afterlife.
All the world’s religious belief systems, on the other hand, posit that humans can work their way into God’s presence through some set of good behaviors. Regardless of religious system, all proclaim a similar truth: you, as a simple human, can control (or at least contribute to) your own eternal destiny.
2. If you’re a Jew… | You obey the Ten Commandments
3. If you’re Muslim… | You obey the Five Pillars of Faith
James "Jim" Warner Wallace (born June 16, 1961) is an American homicide detective and Christian apologist. Wallace is a Senior Fellow at the Colson Center for Christian Worldview and an Adjunct Professor of Apologetics at Biola University in La Mirada, California. He has authored several books, including Cold-Case Christianity, God’s Crime Scene, and Forensic Faith, in which he applies principles of cold case homicide investigation to apologetic concerns such as the existence of God and the reliability of the Gospels.
How Diverse Was Early Christianity? Clearing Up a Few Misconceptions
By Michael J. Kruger 1/18/2016
For some critical scholars, the most important fact about early Christianity was its radical theological diversity. Christians couldn’t agree on much of anything, we are told. All we have in the early centuries were a variety of Christian factions all claiming to be original and all claiming to be apostolic.
Sure, one particular group–the group we now know as “orthodox” Christianity–won those theological wars. But why (the argument goes) should we think this group is any more valid than the groups that lost? What if another group (say the Gnostic Christians) had won? If they had, then what we call “Christianity” would look radically different.
Thus, according to these critics, in the second and third centuries there really was no such thing as “Christianity.” Rather there were “Christiantities” (plural), all of which were locked in a battle for theological supremacy.
This entire line of thinking, of course, goes back to Walter Bauer’s 1934 book Orthodoxy and Heresy in Earliest Christianity. But, its most ardent supporter today is Bart Ehrman. Ehrman describes precisely this view of early Christianity:
"The wide diversity of early Christianity may be seen above all by the theological beliefs embraced by people who understood themselves to be followers of Jesus. In the second and third centuries there were, of course, Christians who believed in one God. But there were others that insisted there were two. Some said there were thirty. Others claimed there were 365 (Lost Christianities, 2).
Michael J. Kruger, President and Samuel C. Patterson Professor of New Testament and Early Christianity at Reformed Theological Seminary, Charlotte, NC. For more on my background and research interests, see here. Michael J. Kruger Books
Canon Revisited: Establishing the Origins and Authority of the New Testament Books
The Question of Canon: Challenging the Status Quo in the New Testament Debate
A Biblical-Theological Introduction to the New Testament: The Gospel Realized
The Heresy of Orthodoxy: How Contemporary Culture's Fascination with Diversity Has Reshaped Our Understanding of Early Christianity
The Early Text of the New Testament
Will Some People in Heaven Have More Joy Than Others?
By John Piper 1/30/2017
Let me clarify that I don’t mean to imply in talking that way that there are not other ways in the age to come that our rewards are experienced as different. Jesus says: You are going to reign over ten cities. I am going to reign over five cities (see Luke 19:17–19). And I think that means very concretely and specifically it may happen just that way: You may be the mayor of ten big cities, and I may be the mayor of five little cities. And I don’t mean to imply those specificities lose all their concreteness.
So, don’t take it that way. But what we find in the New Testament is that the greatness of our rewards in the age to come is said to correspond to the life of obedience that we have lived here. We don’t earn the rewards. They are graciously given by God. We don’t deserve them. And they will be evidences that God looks with favor upon his own work of grace in our lives, working through us. So, the rewards are intended not as evidences of being earned, but rather as occasions for happiness in heaven, not disappointment.
But if they are occasions for happiness and some people have greater rewards than others, will not some people be happier than others? Yet isn’t the picture of heaven where every tear is dried up and every sorrow will be removed (Revelation 21:4) and in God’s presence is fullness of joy for all believers (Psalm 16:11)? So, on the one hand, you have every saint promised fullness of joy. I think that is right. And on the other hand, we are promised differing rewards, which are occasions for greater or lesser joy. So, how does that work? That is the question.
Let me simply read a few passages so you get a real clear textual foundation for the issue here. These are texts that get at the differentiation in rewards in the age to come:
2 Corinthians 5:10, “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive what is due for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil.”
Revelation 2:23, “I will give to each of you according to your works.”
Ephesians 6:5–8, “Bondservants . . . [do] the will of God from the heart, rendering service with a good will as to the Lord and not to man, knowing that” — this is really important — “whatever good anyone does, this he will receive back from the Lord.” That is amazing. Every single good deed gets a special response from God in the age to come.
Luke 19:17, “Well done, good servant! Because you have been faithful in a very little, you shall have authority over ten cities.” And then another is over five (Luke 19:19).
Matthew 10:41, “The one who receives a prophet because he is a prophet will receive a prophet’s reward, and the one who receives a righteous person because he is a righteous person will receive a righteous person’s reward. And whoever gives one of these little ones even a cup of cold water because he is a disciple, truly, I say to you, he will by no means lose his reward.”
So, there will be all of these differences among us in the age to come. But all of us will have fullness of joy. So, what is the solution?
John Piper (@JohnPiper) is founder and teacher of desiringGod.org and chancellor of Bethlehem College & Seminary. For 33 years, he served as pastor of Bethlehem Baptist Church, Minneapolis, Minnesota.
John Piper Books | Go to Books Page
Thirty Seconds Alone with God
By Tony Reinke 1/30/2017
Our Twitter and Facebook habits make praying harder than ever.
But before we look at the stats, let’s take a moment to appreciate the magic of conscious life, the capacity to focus on one thing, like this article and this unfolding sentence, following it along until it ends with a little dot. No doubt, as a reader, you’re fighting the chronic digital urge to skim.
We give our attention because we have attention to give. With our attention we can attend to one thing and avert from another thing.
The power to fixate is part of God’s miracle in creation. Without attention, faith would be impossible. God not only created us to live and breathe and walk, like his other creatures; he wants us also to believe in him and to trust his word, to listen. The full scope of our affectional life becomes precious when we see it as our capacity to attend.
Mind-setting is the basis of our devotion to Christ, and it gives rise to every love and longing in our heart. What our eyes linger on, our hearts will learn to love. What our hearts love, our eyes will linger on. When by supernatural grace Christ becomes the highest prize in our life, then he becomes the supreme focus of our attention. Thus, Paul challenges us to “set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth” (Colossians 3:2).
Tony Reinke is senior writer for Desiring God and author of three books. He hosts the Ask Pastor John podcast and lives in the Twin Cities with his wife and three children.
Tony Reinke Books:
Read The Psalms In "1" Year
Psalm 17In the Shadow of Your Wings
17 A Prayer Of David.
1 Hear a just cause, O LORD; attend to my cry!
Give ear to my prayer from lips free of deceit!
2 From your presence let my vindication come!
Let your eyes behold the right!
3 You have tried my heart, you have visited me by night,
you have tested me, and you will find nothing;
I have purposed that my mouth will not transgress.
4 With regard to the works of man, by the word of your lips
I have avoided the ways of the violent.
5 My steps have held fast to your paths;
my feet have not slipped.
By Don Carson 3/29/2018
The closing lines of Exodus 40 tie together several important themes already introduced, and anticipate several others. Here the construction of the tabernacle is complete, along with the vestments and accoutrements for priestly service. “Then the cloud covered the Tent of Meeting, and the glory of the LORD filled the tabernacle”(40:34).
This must be the pillar of cloud (during the day) and the pillar of fire (during the night) that had accompanied them from the beginning. It signaled the very presence of God, and gave them direction as to when and where to move. Now that cloud rests over the newly constructed tabernacle or Tent of Meeting, settling in it, filling it. Indeed, in this inaugural filling, the presence of the Lord is so intense that not even Moses, let alone any other, can enter (40:35). Moreover, from now on the cloud of glory rests upon the tabernacle when the people are to stay put, and rises and leads the people when they are to move on (40:36-38). Six observations:
(1) For the pillar of cloud and fire to rest on the tabernacle is to link this structure with the visible symbol of the ongoing, guiding, powerful presence of God.
(2) At one point, after the wretched rebellion that resulted in the construction of a golden calf, God had refused to go up in the midst of his covenant community. Moses interceded (Ex. 32-34). Here is the fruit of his prayers. The tabernacle is now built, the presence of God hovers over it in the symbolic form with which the people have become familiar, and all of this right in the midst of the twelve tribes.
(3) This focus on the tabernacle at the end of Exodus prepares the way for the opening chapters of Leviticus, viz. the specification of the sacrifices and offerings to be performed in connection with tabernacle service.
(4) That tabernacle anticipates the temple. In fact, it is a kind of mobile temple. In the days of Solomon, when the permanent structure is complete, the glory of God likewise descends there, establishing the link with the tabernacle and with the pillar of cloud and fire of the wilderness years.
(5) To anticipate the future: nothing more powerfully symbolizes the impending destruction of Jerusalem than the vision of the departure of the glory of God (Ezek. 10-11).
(6) Nothing more powerfully attests the unique revelatory and mediating role of Jesus Christ than the insistence that he is the true temple (John 2:19-22); and nothing more powerfully portrays the sheer glory of heaven than the assertion that there is no temple there, for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are its temple (Rev. 21:22).
Don Carson is research professor of New Testament at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School in Deerfield, Illinois, and co-founder (with Tim Keller) of The Gospel Coalition. He has authored numerous books, and recently edited The Enduring Authority of the Christian Scriptures (Eerdmans, 2016).Don Carson Books | Go to Books Page
Scripture Memory Made Simple
By Tabor Laughlin
Whether we acknowledge it or not, we do have a lot of downtime in each day that we could be using to feed our souls. Often, we spend our spare minutes during the day doing other things like watching TV, playing on our phones, or surfing the internet. Maybe some of us are not seeing the spiritual growth we want because we don’t see the free minutes here and there throughout our day as a gift from God, but rather as a time for entertainment or productivity.
If you think about it, the accumulation of spare moments in our days quickly adds up. Getting dressed, eating breakfast, waiting at the bus stop, walking to class, waiting for the start of a meeting — usually our minds are unemployed during these moments, or occupied by social media. But for those who are looking to “make the best use of the time, because the days are evil” (Ephesians 5:16), there is a means of grace perfectly suited to these short pockets of time: Bible memorization.
Ten Minutes for Treasured Truth | Ten years ago, when I worked as a teacher in China, I decided to take advantage of my free time throughout the day by memorizing Bible verses. I’d write a verse or a passage on an index card and pull it out throughout the day whenever I wasn’t doing anything else. In just a few years’ time, I had memorized over a thousand verses from God’s word — whole passages and even chapters from the Bible were locked in memory and doing their work in my heart.
To this day, I would count those stacks of Bible verse index cards among my most valuable possessions. I take them with me and still use them every day.
I’ve found that whether one spends lots of time in Scripture memory, or just a little time, it is always an incredibly valuable thing to do. It’s easy to consider our short breaks in the day to be “our own time” to relax or surf the internet or watch TV. While these are by no means bad things, we should weigh the value of these activities against the great gift of time to learn God’s word. I can assure you, whether you can invest ten or fifteen minutes each day into Scripture memory, or longer (or shorter) than that, any effort we make is time well spent.
Tabor Laughlin has been serving in China for ten years and is now a doctoral student in intercultural studies at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School. He is president of a small missions agency in northwest China, writes occasionally at ChinaSource.org, and is author of Becoming Native to Win the Natives: Cross-Culturally Becoming All Things to All Men.
The Institutes of the Christian Religion
Translated by Henry Beveridge
4. Hence, also, we see the error of those who, in comparing the Law
with the Gospel, represent it merely as a comparison between the merit
of works, and the gratuitous imputation of righteousness. The contrast
thus made is by no means to be rejected, because, by the term Law, Paul
frequently understands that rule of holy living in which God exacts
what is his due, giving no hope of life unless we obey in every
respect; and, on the other hand, denouncing a curse for the slightest
failure. This Paul does when showing that we are freely accepted of
God, and accounted righteous by being pardoned, because that obedience
of the Law to which the reward is promised is nowhere to be found.
Hence he appropriately represents the righteousness of the Law and the
Gospel as opposed to each other. But the Gospel has not succeeded the
whole Law in such a sense as to introduce a different method of
salvation. It rather confirms the Law, and proves that every thing
which it promised is fulfilled. What was shadow, it has made substance.
When Christ says that the Law and the Prophets were until John, he does
not consign the fathers to the curse, which, as the slaves of the Law,
they could not escape. He intimates that they were only imbued with the
rudiments, and remained far beneath the height of the Gospel doctrine.
Accordingly Paul, after calling the Gospel "the power of God unto
salvation to every one that believeth," shortly after adds, that it was
"witnessed by the Law and the Prophets," (Rom. 1:16; 3:21). And in the
end of the same Epistle, though he describes "the preaching of Jesus
Christ" as "the revelation of the mystery which was kept secret since
the world began," he modifies the expression by adding, that it is "now
made manifest" "by the scriptures of the prophets," (Rom. 16:25, 26).
Hence we infer, that when the whole Law is spoken of, the Gospel
differs from it only in respect of clearness of manifestation. Still,
on account of the inestimable riches of grace set before us in Christ,
there is good reason for saying, that by his advent the kingdom of
heaven was erected on the earth (Mt. 12:28).
5. John stands between the Law and the Gospel, holding an intermediate office allied to both. For though he gave a summary of the Gospel when he pronounced Christ to be "the Lamb of God who taketh away the sin of the world," yet, inasmuch as he did not unfold the incomparable power and glory which shone forth in his resurrection, Christ says that he was not equal to the Apostles. For this is the meaning of the words: "Among them that are born of woman, there has not risen a greater than John the Baptist: notwithstanding, he that is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he," (Mt. 11:28). He is not there commending the persons of men, but after preferring John to all the Prophets, he gives the first place to the preaching of the Gospel, which is elsewhere designated by the kingdom of heaven. When John himself, in answer to the Jews, says that he is only "a voice," (John 1:23), as if he were inferior to the Prophets it is not in pretended humility but he means to teach that the proper embassy was not entrusted to him, that he only performed the office of a messenger, as had been foretold by Malachi, "Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophets before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord," (Mal. 4:5). And, indeed, during the whole course of his ministry, he did nothing more than prepare disciples for Christ. He even proves from Isaiah that this was the office to which he was divinely appointed. In this sense, he is said by Christ to have been "a burning and a shining light," (John 5:35), because full day had not yet appeared. And yet this does not prevent us from classing him among the preachers of the gospel, since he used the same baptism which was afterwards committed to the Apostles. Still, however, he only began that which had freer course under the Apostles, after Christ was taken up into the heavenly glory.
 "Sub custodia spei."--French, "sous la garde, et comme sous le cachet d'espoir;" under the guard, and as it were, under the seal of hope.
THE RESEMBLANCE BETWEEN THE OLD TESTAMENT AND THE NEW. 
This chapter consists of four parts. I. The sum, utility, and necessity of this discussion, sec. 1. II. A proof that, generally speaking, the old and new dispensations are in reality one, although differently administered. Three points in which the two dispensations entirely agree, sec. 2-4. III. The Old Testament, as well as the New, had regard to the hope of immortality and a future life, whence two other resemblances or points of agreement follow--viz. that both were established by the free mercy of God, and confirmed by the intercession of Christ. This proved by many arguments, passages of Scripture, and examples, see. 5-23. IV. Conclusion of the whole chapter, where, for fuller confirmation, certain passages of Scripture are produced. Refutation of the cavils of the Sadducees and other Jews.
1. Introduction, showing the necessity of proving the similarity of both dispensations in opposition to Servetus and the Anabaptists.
2. This similarity in general. Both covenants truly one, though differently administered. Three things in which they entirely agree.
3. First general similarity, or agreement--viz. that the Old Testament, equally with the New, extended its promises beyond the present life, and held out a sure hope of immortality. Reason for this resemblance. Objection answered.
4. The other two points of resemblance--viz. that both covenants were established in the mercy of God, and confirmed by the mediation of Christ.
5. The first of these points of resemblance being the foundation of the other two, a lengthened proof is given of it. The first argument taken from a passage, in which Paul, showing that the sacraments of both dispensations had the same meaning, proves that the condition of the ancient church was similar to ours.
6. An objection from John 6:49--viz. that the Israelites ate manna in the wilderness, and are dead, whereas Christians eat the flesh of Christ, and die not. Answer reconciling this passage of the Evangelist with that of the Apostle.
7. Another proof from the Law and the Prophets--viz. the power of the divine word in quickening souls before Christ was manifested. Hence the believing Jews were raised to the hope of eternal life.
8. Third proof from the form of the covenant, which shows that it was in reality one both before and after the manifestation of Christ in the flesh.
9. Confirmation of the former proof from the clear terms in which the form is expressed. Another confirmation derived from the former and from the nature of God.
10. Fourth proof from examples. Adam, Abel, and Noah, when tried with various temptations, neglecting the present, aspired with living faith and invincible hope to a better life. They, therefore, had the same aim as believers under the Gospel.
11. Continuation of the fourth proof from the example of Abraham, whose call and whole course of life shows that he ardently aspired to eternal felicity. Objection disposed of.
12. Continuation of the fourth proof from the examples of Isaac and Jacob.
13. Conclusion of the fourth proof. Adam, Abel, Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and others under the Law, looked for the fulfilment of the divine promises not on the earth, but in heaven. Hence they termed this life an earthly pilgrimage, and desired to be buried in the land of Canaan, which was a figure of eternal happiness.
14. A fifth proof from Jacob's earnestness to obtain the birth-right. This shows a prevailing desire of future life. This perceived in some degree by Balaam.
15. A sixth proof from David, who expects such great things from the Lord, and yet declares the present life to be mere vanity.
16. A seventh proof also from David. His descriptions of the happiness of believers could only be realised in a future state.
17. An eighth proof from the common feeling and confession of all the pious who sought by faith and hope to obtain in heaven what they did not see in the present shadowy life.
18. A continuation and confirmation of the former proof from the exultation of the righteous, even amid the destruction of the world.
19. A ninth proof from Job, who spoke most distinctly of this hope. Two objections disposed of.
20. A tenth proof from the later Prophets, who taught that the happiness of the righteous was placed beyond the limits of the present life.
21. This clearly established by Ezekiel's vision of the dry bones, and a passage in Isaiah.
22. Last proof from certain passages in the Prophets, which clearly show the future immortality of the righteous in the kingdom of heaven.
23. Conclusion of the whole discussion concerning the similarity of both dispensations. For fuller confirmation, four passages of Scripture produced. Refutation of the error of the Sadducees and other Jews, who denied eternal salvation and the sure hope of the Church.
Christian Classics Ethereal Library / Public Domain
Institutes of the Christian Religion
The Pilgrim's Progress From This World To That Which Is To Come;
Delivered Under The Similitude Of A Dream
By John Bunyan 1678
THE FOURTH STAGEThen he began to go forward; but Discretion, Piety, Charity, and Prudence would accompany him down to the foot of the hill. So they went on together, reiterating their former discourses, till they came to go down the hill. Then said Christian, As it was difficult coming up, so, so far as I can see, it is dangerous going down. Yes, said Prudence, so it is; for it is a hard matter for a man to go down into the valley of Humiliation, as thou art now, and to catch no slip by the way; therefore, said they, we are come out to accompany thee down the hill. So he began to go down, but very warily; yet he caught a slip or two.
Then I saw in my dream, that these good companions, when Christian was got down to the bottom of the hill, gave him a loaf of bread, a bottle of wine, and a cluster of raisins; and then he went on his way,
“Whilst Christian is among his godly friends,
Their golden mouths make him sufficient mends
For all his griefs; and when they let him go,
He’s clad with northern steel from top to toe.”
So he went on, and Apollyon met him. Now the monster was hideous to behold: he was clothed with scales like a fish, and they are his pride; he had wings like a dragon, and feet like a bear, and out of his belly came fire and smoke; and his mouth was as the mouth of a lion. When he was come up to Christian, he beheld him with a disdainful countenance, and thus began to question him.
APOL. Whence came you, and whither are you bound?
CHR. I am come from the city of Destruction, which is the place of all evil, and I am going to the city of Zion.
APOL. By this I perceive thou art one of my subjects; for all that country is mine, and I am the prince and god of it. How is it, then, that thou hast run away from thy king? Were it not that I hope thou mayest do me more service, I would strike thee now at one blow to the ground.
CHR. I was, indeed, born in your dominions, but your service was hard, and your wages such as a man could not live on; for the wages of sin is death,
Rom. 6:23 For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. ESV
therefore, when I was come to years, I did, as other considerate persons do, look out if perhaps I might mend myself.
APOL. There is no prince that will thus lightly lose his subjects, neither will I as yet lose thee; but since thou complainest of thy service and wages, be content to go back, and what our country will afford I do here promise to give thee.
CHR. But I have let myself to another, even to the King of princes; and how can I with fairness go back with thee?
APOL. Thou hast done in this according to the proverb, “changed a bad for a worse;” but it is ordinary for those that have professed themselves his servants, after a while to give him the slip, and return again to me. Do thou so to, and all shall be well.
CHR. I have given him my faith, and sworn my allegiance to him; how then can I go back from this, and not be hanged as a traitor.
APOL. Thou didst the same by me, and yet I am willing to pass by all, if now thou wilt yet turn again and go back.
CHR. What I promised thee was in my non-age: and besides, I count that the Prince, under whose banner I now stand, is able to absolve me, yea, and to pardon also what I did as to my compliance with thee. And besides, O thou destroying Apollyon, to speak truth, I like his service, his wages, his servants, his government, his company, and country, better than thine; therefore leave off to persuade me farther: I am his servant, and I will follow him.
APOL. Consider again, when thou art in cool blood, what thou art like to meet with in the way that thou goest. Thou knowest that for the most part his servants come to an ill end, because they are transgressors against me and my ways. How many of them have been put to shameful deaths! And besides, thou countest his service better than mine; whereas he never yet came from the place where he is, to deliver any that served him out of their enemies’ hands: but as for me, how many times, as all the world very well knows, have I delivered, either by power or fraud, those that have faithfully served me, from him and his, though taken by them! And so will I deliver thee.
CHR. His forbearing at present to deliver them, is on purpose to try their love, whether they will cleave to him to the end: and as for the ill end thou sayest they come to, that is most glorious in their account. For, for present deliverance, they do not much expect it; for they stay for their glory; and then they shall have it, when their Prince comes in his and the glory of the angels.
APOL. Thou hast already been unfaithful in thy service to him; and how dost thou think to receive wages of him?
CHR. Wherein, O Apollyon, have I been unfaithful to him?
APOL. Thou didst faint at first setting out, when thou wast almost choked in the gulf of Despond. Thou didst attempt wrong ways to be rid of thy burden, whereas thou shouldst have stayed till thy Prince had taken it off. Thou didst sinfully sleep, and lose thy choice things. Thou wast almost persuaded also to go back at the sight of the lions. And when thou talkest of thy journey, and of what thou hast seen and heard, thou art inwardly desirous of vainglory in all that thou sayest or doest.
CHR. All this is true, and much more which thou hast left out; but the Prince whom I serve and honor is merciful, and ready to forgive. But besides, these infirmities possessed me in thy country, for there I sucked them in, and I have groaned under them, been sorry for them, and have obtained pardon of my Prince.
APOL. Then Apollyon broke out into a grievous rage, saying, I am an enemy to this Prince; I hate his person, his laws, and people: I am come out on purpose to withstand thee.
CHR. Apollyon, beware what you do, for I am in the King’s highway, the way of holiness; therefore take heed to yourself.
APOL. Then Apollyon straddled quite over the whole breadth of the way, and said, I am void of fear in this matter. Prepare thyself to die; for I swear by my infernal den, that thou shalt go no farther: here will I spill thy soul. And with that he threw a flaming dart at his breast; but Christian had a shield in his hand, with which he caught it, and so prevented the danger of that.
Then did Christian draw, for he saw it was time to bestir him; and Apollyon as fast made at him, throwing darts as thick as hail; by the which, notwithstanding all that Christian could do to avoid it, Apollyon wounded him in his head, his hand, and foot. This made Christian give a little back: Apollyon, therefore, followed his work amain, and Christian again took courage, and resisted as manfully as he could. This sore combat lasted for above half a day, even till Christian was almost quite spent: for you must know, that Christian, by reason of his wounds, must needs grow weaker and weaker.
Then Apollyon, espying his opportunity, began to gather up close to Christian, and wrestling with him, gave him a dreadful fall; and with that Christian’s sword flew out of his hand. Then said Apollyon, I am sure of thee now: and with that he had almost pressed him to death, so that Christian began to despair of life. But, as God would have it, while Apollyon was fetching his last blow, thereby to make a full end of this good man, Christian nimbly reached out his hand for his sword, and caught it, saying, Rejoice not against me, O mine enemy: when I fall, I shall arise,
Mic. 7:8 Rejoice not over me, O my enemy;
when I fall, I shall rise;
when I sit in darkness,
the LORD will be a light to me. ESV
Rom. 8:37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. ESV
And with that Apollyon spread forth his dragon wings, and sped him away, that Christian saw him no more.
James 4:7 Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. ESV
In this combat no man can imagine, unless he had seen and heard, as I did, what yelling and hideous roaring Apollyon made all the time of the fight; he spake like a dragon: and on the other side, what sighs and groans burst from Christian’s heart. I never saw him all the while give so much as one pleasant look, till he perceived he had wounded Apollyon with his two-edged sword; then, indeed, he did smile, and look upward! But it was the dreadfullest sight that ever I saw.
So when the battle was over, Christian said, I will here give thanks to him that hath delivered me out of the mouth of the lion, to him that did help me against Apollyon. And so he did, saying,
“Great Beelzebub, the captain of this fiend,
Designed my ruin; therefore to this end
He sent him harness’d out; and he, with rage
That hellish was, did fiercely me engage:
But blessed Michael helped me, and I,
By dint of sword, did quickly make him fly:
Therefore to Him let me give lasting praise,
And thank and bless his holy name always.”
Devotionals, notes, poetry and more
How much do you love Jesus?
1/31/2018 Bob Gass
‘When he had found one pearl of great price…[he] sold all that he had and bought it.’
(Mt 13:46) who, on finding one pearl of great value, went and sold all that he had and bought it. ESV
In one of the most unique corporate take-overs ever, Stanley Tam legally transferred 51 per cent of the shares of his company to God. He started United States Plastic Corporation with thirty-seven dollars in capital. When he gave his business back to God, annual revenues were less than two hundred thousand dollars. But Stanley believed God would bless his business, and he wanted to honour God from the get-go. At that point, most of us would have been patting ourselves on the back. Not Stanley. He felt convicted for keeping 49 per cent to himself. After reading the parable of the merchant who sold everything to obtain the pearl of great price, he made a decision to divest himself of all his shares. He said, ‘A man can eat only one meal at a time, wear only one suit of clothes at a time, drive only one car at a time. All this I have. Isn’t that enough?’ So on January 15, 1955, every share of stock was transferred to God, and Stanley became a salaried employee of the company he started. Before he was through, Stanley gave away more than 120 million dollars to the cause of Christ. If you want to measure the depth of your love for Christ, look at your calendar and your credit card statement. They don’t lie. How you spend your time and money are the two best barometers of your true priorities. Is Christ your pearl of great price? He wants to be. He deserves to be.
UCB The Word For Today
by Bill Federer
Jacob Duche’ was born this day, January 31, 1738. He was the Anglican clergyman who, at the request of the Continental Congress, opened the first session of Congress with prayer. Conscious of the impending British attack, Rev. Jacob Duche’ read Psalm 35, which begins: “Plead my cause, Oh, Lord, with them that strive with me, fight against them that fight against me… Let those be turned back and humiliated who devise evil against me.” Of that reading, John Adams wrote in a letter to his wife: “I never saw a greater effect upon an audience. It seem as if heaven had ordained that Psalm to be read on that morning.”
Thomas R. Kelly
At first the practice of inward prayer is a process of alternation of attention between outer things and the Inner Light. Preoccupation with either brings the loss of the other. Yet what is sought is not alternation, but simultaneity, worship undergirding every moment, living prayer, the continuous current and background of all moments of life. Long practice indeed is needed before alternation yields to concurrent immersion in both levels at once. The "plateaus in the learning curve" are so long, and many falter and give up, assenting to alternation as the best that they can do. And no doubt in His graciousness God gives us His gifts, even in intermittent communion, and touches us into flame, far beyond our achievements and deserts. But the hunger of the committed one is for unbroken communion and adoration, and we may be sure He longs for us to find it and supplements our weakness. For our quest is of His initiation, and is carried forward in His tender power and completed by His grace.
The first signs of simultaneity are given when at the moment of recovery from a period of forgetting there is a certain sense that we have not completely forgotten Him. It is as though we are only coming, back into a state of vividness which had endured in dim and tenuous form throughout. What takes place now is not reinstatement of a broken prayer but return to liveliness of that which had endured, but mildly. The currents of His love have been flowing, but whereas we had been drifting in Him, now we swim. It is like the background of a picture which extends all the way across behind a tree in the foreground. It is not that we merely know intellectually that the background of the picture has an unbroken extension; we experience aesthetically that it does extend across. Again, it is like waking from sleep yet knowing, not by inference but by immediate awareness that we have lived even while we were asleep. For sole preoccupation with the world is sleep, but immersion in Him is life.
A Testament of Devotion
Compiled by Richard S. Adams
It’s the small choices we make in life
that determine whether the heart controls us
or whether we control the heart …
whether we become like those
who hunted down the innocent,
or become like those
who hid them.
--- M. Katz, & G. Schwartz
I believe in Christianity
as I believe that the sun has risen:
not only because I see it,
but because by it I see everything else.
--- C.S. Lewis
And the drawing near of Death, which alike levels all, alike impresses all with a last revelation, which only an author from the dead could adequately tell.
--- Herman Melville (1819-1891)
Seek first the Kingdom of God. Everything else must stand aside—personal, family or national interest—yea, life itself. No half-measures will ever succeed in efforts for that Kingdom which aims at turning the world upside down.
--- Max I. Reich, 1867-1945
... from here, there and everywhere
by D.H. Stern
from a loose woman’s seductive tongue.
25 Don’t let your heart lust after her beauty
or allow her glance to captivate you.
26 The price of a whore is a loaf of bread,
but the adulteress is hunting for a precious life.
27 Can a man carry fire inside his shirt
without burning his clothes?
28 Can a man walk [barefoot] on hot coals
without scorching his feet?
29 So is he who has sex with his neighbor’s wife;
anyone touching her will be punished.
30 A thief is not despised if he steals
only to satisfy his appetite when hungry;
31 but even he, if caught, must pay back sevenfold;
he may have to give up all the wealth that he owns.
32 He who commits adultery lacks sense;
he who does it destroys himself.
33 He will get nothing but blows and contempt,
and his disgrace will not be wiped away.
34 For jealousy drives a man into a rage;
he will show no mercy when he takes revenge;
35 he will not accept compensation;
he’ll refuse every bribe, no matter how large.
Complete Jewish Bible : An English Version of the Tanakh (Old Testament) and B'Rit Hadashah (New Testament)
A Daily Devotional by Oswald Chambers
Do you see your calling?
Separated unto the Gospel. --- Romans 1:1.
Our calling is not primarily to be holy men and women, but to be proclaimers of the Gospel of God. The one thing that is all important is that the Gospel of God should be realized as the abiding Reality. Reality is not human goodness, nor holiness, nor heaven, nor hell, but Redemption; and the need to perceive this is the most vital need of the Christian worker to-day. As workers we have to get used to the revelation that Redemption is the only Reality. Personal holiness is an effect, not a cause, and if we place our faith in human goodness, in the effect of Redemption, we shall go under when the test comes.
Our calling is not primarily to be holy men and women, but to be proclaimers of the Gospel of God. The one thing that is all important is that the Gospel of God should be realized as the abiding Reality. Reality is not human goodness, nor holiness, nor heaven, nor hell, but Redemption; and the need to perceive this is the most vital need of the Christian worker to-day. As workers we have to get used to the revelation that Redemption is the only Reality. Personal holiness is an effect, not a cause, and if we place our faith in human goodness, in the effect of Redemption, we shall go under when the test comes.
My Utmost for His Highest
the Poetry of R.S. Thomas
Listening to history's
babble; not understanding.
Interpreting it even so
for the sake of an audience.
Symphonies raise up
their fiery architecture.
Pages that were once white
carry the poet's rubric.
Man milks his tears
from a venomous tooth;
under a bi-sexual tree.
The desert annually
thickens its dry tide
under the loaded scapegoat's
too innocent cropping.
The Poems of R.S. Thomas
(Gen. 32:9–12). After 20 years with his father-in-law, Laban, Jacob took his wives and children and flocks to return to the Promised Land. God told him to return, but Jacob was frightened. The remembrance of the wrong he’d done Esau 20 years before as well as of Esau’s hatred combined to produce guilt and terror.
Now Jacob was about to meet his brother. Driven to the Lord, he prayed the longest recorded prayer up to this time. It’s fascinating to see what Jacob said. He reminded God of His covenant promise (v. 9). Then he denied any personal merit as a possible basis for God’s favor and reminded God (and himself) of the blessings from God he had enjoyed (v. 10). Then he honestly admitted his fear of Esau and begged God’s help (v. 11). Finally Jacob reminded God of His personal promise to him that his descendants would be the chosen people (v. 12).
In many ways this prayer of Jacob’s is a model for us. We have to give up all notion of personal merit as a basis for claiming God’s favor. We can and must rely on the character of God as a covenant-keeping God, one who keeps all His promises to His people. We need to be honest in expressing our fears and doubts and uncertainties to God, to face our own deep need of Him and Him alone for strength and provision. Also we need to remember God’s personal promises as one of the “whosoever” for whom Christ died. Because in Jesus God has freely given all things, we can know that He seeks only to do us good. Because of who God is, we can abandon everything to Him, and rest.
The wound of grace (Gen. 32:24–32). On the night Jacob prayed, he went out to plan his own way to gain Esau’s favor. He prepared a number of gifts for his brother and sent them on ahead. He trusted God—and then took out insurance.
That night a “Man” whom Jacob assumed to be an angel or theophany (a preincarnate appearance of God in human form, v. 30) wrestled with him. In the struggle the Man touched the back of Jacob’s thigh. Some commentators feel the ball and socket there were thrown out of joint. Others say that a ligament (sinew, or tendon) was torn. Jacob was left with a permanent limp.
Sometimes a wound is a very special act of God’s grace. Jacob struggled to hold onto the man, for after suffering the wound he must have realized how much more powerful this Visitor was than he himself, and he wanted His blessing.
How often we need to be wounded for the same reason! It’s easy for us to trust our own skills and abilities. But sometimes a wound (physically, or in a broken relationship, or in the failure of a much-loved plan) will remind us to cling to God again, totally dependent on Him for blessing. How good it is that God doesn’t hold back from hurting us—for our own good.
In this experience Jacob received a new name: Israel, “he who strives with God.” Jacob had struggled with God, refusing to give up until God blessed him. That name may well represent the transformation of character that had begun in Jacob. But now the wound remained, a constant reminder of Jacob’s need for God. A Jacob wholly dependent on God can become an Israel. What can we become if we let each wound draw us closer to the Lord and make us more dependent on Him?
The Teacher's Commentary
At home with the Lord. --- 2 Corinthians 5:8.
Deep in the human heart there is a homing instinct, profound, persistent, ineradicable, that we often ignore and might even deny. ( Classic Sermons on Heaven and Hell (Kregel Classic Sermons Series) )
There is something in us that earth can never satisfy. It is common for people to say and to believe that if they only had this or that thing they would always be happy, and some of them die believing it. But the evidence of those who obtain the treasure does not bear them out. It satisfied for a little while—and then there was the old, persistent hunger again, clamorous as ever.
Earth does not satisfy us. I cannot help but feel that that is an impressive fact. I believe that there is in us a homesickness for heaven, that that ache which earth cannot satisfy can be satisfied by God, that all feel it, but only some understand it.
God has put in the heart of everyone of us a longing for himself. The mass of humanity does not understand it. People just know that there are times when they want to be quiet, times when they want to be alone, times when the calendar or the stars or death speaks to them. They hunger and they thirst—but for what?
It is part of the service of religion to make the hunger of our souls clear to us.
You may have lost your way, but don’t lose your address. Don’t deny that hunger in your soul. Don’t say, “It isn’t there; earth satisfies me; when this life is over I will have had all that I want of life.”
The homesickness for God in your heart is a precious, divine gift. It won’t make you less keen to serve others here below, but it will be a constant reminder to you that the most permanent dwelling earth provides is a tent, and at any time the word may come to draw the pegs. We are, indeed, strangers and pilgrims here below.
Here we sojourn; there we belong. You will work with zest and skill and thoroughness in all that concerns the outworking of God’s purpose on this earth, and you will work the better because, by faith, you have the perfect always in view.
--- William E. Sangster
Take Heart: Daily Devotions with the Church's Great Preachers
The Waldensians are among history’s first evangelicals, pre-Protestants who sprang up in the 1200s in the Piedmont Alps of Italy. The movement apparently started when Peter Waldo (or Valdes) of Lyons, a wealthy French merchant, became involved in translating the Bible into his own French-Provencial. Jesus’ words in Mark 10:22—Go sell everything you own … Then come with me—so moved him that he did just that. His radical Christianity led to his expulsion from Lyons and his removal to the Italian Alps. There his message of simple discipleship took root among Alpine Christians.
The Waldensians stressed love of Christ and his Word and a life of poverty. But their nonconformity invited the wrath of the church, making them targets for extermination. In 1251, for example, the Waldensians in Toulouse, France, were massacred, their town burned.
Nevertheless, by 1600 20,000 Waldensians, mostly farmers and shepherds, filled the French/Italian Alps. On Easter week, 1655, 5,000 soldiers came against them, killing, torturing, raping, looting—1,712 were killed. The survivors escaped into the French mountains and claimed protection under the Edict of Nantes which granted freedom to French Protestants.
When King Henry XIV revoked the Edict of Nantes on October 18, 1685, the Waldensian communities swelled with Protestant refugees. The villages became armed camps of resistance. They found themselves caught between the Catholic forces of both France and Italy. On January 31, 1686, Louis XIV issued an edict to burn Waldensian churches to the ground. Protestant assemblies were forbidden, children were ordered baptized in the Catholic faith, and pastors deposed. The Waldensians were trapped and massacred—2,000 killed, 2,000 more “converted” to Catholicism, 8,000 imprisoned, half of whom soon died of starvation and sickness.
But the next several years saw a shifting in European politics, and eventually some of the Waldensians returned to their homeland. Others made their way from the Piedmont mountains of Europe to the Piedmont mountains of North Carolina. They established the town of Valdese where they live to this day, every summer presenting their story in the open-air drama From This Day Forward.
Jesus looked closely at the man. He liked him and said, “There’s one thing you still need to do. Go sell everything you own. Give the money to the poor, and you will have riches in heaven. Then come with me.”
--- Mark 10:21.
On This Day 365 Amazing And Inspiring Stories About Saints, Martyrs And Heroes
Daily Readings / CHARLES H. SPURGEON
Morning - January 31
“The Lord our Righteousness.” --- Jeremiah 23:6.
It will always give a Christian the greatest calm, quiet, ease, and peace, to think of the perfect righteousness of Christ. How often are the saints of God downcast and sad! I do not think they ought to be. I do not think they would if they could always see their perfection in Christ. There are some who are always talking about corruption, and the depravity of the heart, and the innate evil of the soul. This is quite true, but why not go a little further, and remember that we are “perfect in Christ Jesus.” It is no wonder that those who are dwelling upon their own corruption should wear such downcast looks; but surely if we call to mind that “Christ is made unto us righteousness,” we shall be of good cheer. What though distresses afflict me, though Satan assault me, though there may be many things to be experienced before I get to heaven, those are done for me in the covenant of divine grace; there is nothing wanting in my Lord, Christ hath done it all. On the cross he said, “It is finished!” and if it be finished, then am I complete in him, and can rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory, “Not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith.” You will not find on this side of heaven a holier people than those who receive into their hearts the doctrine of Christ’s righteousness. When the believer says, “I live on Christ alone; I rest on him solely for salvation; and I believe that, however unworthy, I am still saved in Jesus;” then there rises up as a motive of gratitude this thought—“Shall I not live to Christ? Shall I not love him and serve him, seeing that I am saved by his merits?” “The love of Christ constraineth us,” “that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves but unto him which died for them.” If saved by imputed righteousness, we shall greatly value imparted righteousness.
Evening - January 31
“Then Ahimaaz ran by the way of the plain, and overran Cushi.” --- 2 Samuel 18:23.
Running is not everything, there is much in the way which we select: a swift foot over hill and down dale will not keep pace with a slower traveller upon level ground. How is it with my spiritual journey, am I labouring up the hill of my own works and down into the ravines of my own humiliations and resolutions, or do I run by the plain way of “Believe and live”? How blessed is it to wait upon the Lord by faith! The soul runs without weariness, and walks without fainting, in the way of believing. Christ Jesus is the way of life, and he is a plain way, a pleasant way, a way suitable for the tottering feet and feeble knees of trembling sinners: am I found in this way, or am I hunting after another track such as priestcraft or metaphysics may promise me? I read of the way of holiness, that the wayfaring man, though a fool, shall not err therein: have I been delivered from proud reason and been brought as a little child to rest in Jesus’ love and blood? If so, by God’s grace I shall outrun the strongest runner who chooses any other path. This truth I may remember to my profit in my daily cares and needs. It will be my wisest course to go at once to my God, and not to wander in a roundabout manner to this friend and that. He knows my wants and can relieve them, to whom should I repair but to himself by the direct appeal of prayer, and the plain argument of the promise. “Straightforward makes the best runner.” I will not parlay with the servants, but hasten to their master.
In reading this passage, it strikes me that if men vie with each other in common matters, and one outruns the other, I ought to be in solemn earnestness so to run that I may obtain. Lord, help me to gird up the loins of my mind, and may I press forward towards the mark for the prize of my high calling of God in Christ Jesus.
Morning and Evening
TURN YOUR EYES UPON JESUS
Words and Music by Helen H. Lemmel, 1864–1961
Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfector of our faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. (Hebrews 12:2)
I’ve seen the face of Jesus … It was a wondrous sight!
Oh, glorious face of beauty, Oh gentle touch of care;
If here it is so blessed, what will it be up there?
--- W. Spencer Walton
In our fast-paced daily life, how easy it is to get caught up in the “things of earth” so that eternal values become blurred and almost forgotten. As we conclude the first month’s journey through this new year, we need today’s hymn to remind us that we must continue to make Christ the central core of our lives—to pursue the Kingdom of God and His righteousness—if we are to be victorious believers.
In 1918, Helen Howarth Lemmel, the author and composer of this hymn, was given a tract by a missionary friend. As she read it, Helen’s attention was focused on this line: “So then, turn your eyes upon Him, look full into His face, and you will find that the things of earth will acquire a strange new dimness.” She related:
Suddenly, as if commanded to stop and listen, I stood still, and singing in my soul and spirit was the chorus of the hymn with not one conscious moment of putting word to word to make rhyme, or note to note to make melody. The verses were written the same week, after the usual manner of composition, but none the less dictated by the Holy Spirit.
Since that day, Helen Lemmel’s hymn has been translated into many languages and used by God to challenge believers around the world with the necessity of living devoted lives for His glory.
O soul, are you weary and troubled? No light in the darkness you see? There’s light for a look at the Savior, and life more abundant and free!
Thru death into life everlasting He passed, and we follow Him there; over us sin no more hath dominion—For more than conq’rors we are!
His word shall not fail you—He promised; believe Him, and all will be well: Then go to a world that is dying, His perfect salvation to tell!
Chorus: Turn your eyes upon Jesus; look full in His wonderful face, and the things of earth will grow strangely dim in the light of His glory and grace.
For Today: Isaiah 45:22; Matthew 6:33; Colossians 3:1–4.
Purpose to enjoy more fully the fellowship of Christ now and throughout the remainder of this new year. Let these words remind you to face each situation with confidence ---
Amazing Grace: 366 Inspiring Hymn Stories for Daily Devotions