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Exodus 24     John 3     Job 42     2 Corinthians 12

Exodus 24

The Covenant Confirmed

Exodus 24:1 Then he said to Moses, “Come up to the LORD, you and Aaron, Nadab, and Abihu, and seventy of the elders of Israel, and worship from afar. 2 Moses alone shall come near to the LORD, but the others shall not come near, and the people shall not come up with him.”

3 Moses came and told the people all the words of the LORD and all the rules. And all the people answered with one voice and said, “All the words that the LORD has spoken we will do.” 4 And Moses wrote down all the words of the LORD. He rose early in the morning and built an altar at the foot of the mountain, and twelve pillars, according to the twelve tribes of Israel. 5 And he sent young men of the people of Israel, who offered burnt offerings and sacrificed peace offerings of oxen to the LORD. 6 And Moses took half of the blood and put it in basins, and half of the blood he threw against the altar. 7 Then he took the Book of the Covenant and read it in the hearing of the people. And they said, “All that the LORD has spoken we will do, and we will be obedient.” 8 And Moses took the blood and threw it on the people and said, “Behold the blood of the covenant that the LORD has made with you in accordance with all these words.”

9 Then Moses and Aaron, Nadab, and Abihu, and seventy of the elders of Israel went up, 10 and they saw the God of Israel. There was under his feet as it were a pavement of sapphire stone, like the very heaven for clearness. 11 And he did not lay his hand on the chief men of the people of Israel; they beheld God, and ate and drank.

12 The LORD said to Moses, “Come up to me on the mountain and wait there, that I may give you the tablets of stone, with the law and the commandment, which I have written for their instruction.” 13 So Moses rose with his assistant Joshua, and Moses went up into the mountain of God. 14 And he said to the elders, “Wait here for us until we return to you. And behold, Aaron and Hur are with you. Whoever has a dispute, let him go to them.”

15 Then Moses went up on the mountain, and the cloud covered the mountain. 16 The glory of the LORD dwelt on Mount Sinai, and the cloud covered it six days. And on the seventh day he called to Moses out of the midst of the cloud. 17 Now the appearance of the glory of the LORD was like a devouring fire on the top of the mountain in the sight of the people of Israel. 18 Moses entered the cloud and went up on the mountain. And Moses was on the mountain forty days and forty nights.

John 3

You Must Be Born Again

John 3:1 Now there was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews. 2 This man came to Jesus by night and said to him, “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher come from God, for no one can do these signs that you do unless God is with him.” 3 Jesus answered him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.” 4 Nicodemus said to him, “How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born?” 5 Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.”

9 Nicodemus said to him, “How can these things be?” 10 Jesus answered him, “Are you the teacher of Israel and yet you do not understand these things? 11 Truly, truly, I say to you, we speak of what we know, and bear witness to what we have seen, but you do not receive our testimony. 12 If I have told you earthly things and you do not believe, how can you believe if I tell you heavenly things? 13 No one has ascended into heaven except he who descended from heaven, the Son of Man. 14 And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, 15 that whoever believes in him may have eternal life.

(Eze 36:23–32) 23 And I will vindicate the holiness of my great name, which has been profaned among the nations, and which you have profaned among them. And the nations will know that I am the LORD, declares the Lord GOD, when through you I vindicate my holiness before their eyes. 24 I will take you from the nations and gather you from all the countries and bring you into your own land. 25 I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you shall be clean from all your uncleannesses, and from all your idols I will cleanse you. 26 And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. 27 And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to obey my rules. 28 You shall dwell in the land that I gave to your fathers, and you shall be my people, and I will be your God. 29 And I will deliver you from all your uncleannesses. And I will summon the grain and make it abundant and lay no famine upon you. 30 I will make the fruit of the tree and the increase of the field abundant, that you may never again suffer the disgrace of famine among the nations. 31 Then you will remember your evil ways, and your deeds that were not good, and you will loathe yourselves for your iniquities and your abominations. 32 It is not for your sake that I will act, declares the Lord GOD; let that be known to you. Be ashamed and confounded for your ways, O house of Israel.

For God So Loved the World

16 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.

... is the principle that the implicit must be interpreted by the explicit, rather than the explicit interpreted by the implicit. This particular rule of interpretation is violated constantly. For example, we read in John 3:16 that “whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life,” and many of us conclude that since the Bible teaches that anyone who believes shall be saved, it therefore implies that anyone can, without the prior regenerative work of the Holy Spirit, exercise belief. That is, since the call to believe is given to everyone, it implies that everyone has the natural ability to fulfill the call. Yet the same gospel writer has Jesus explaining to us three chapters later that no one can come to Jesus unless it is given to him of the Father (6:65). That is, our moral ability to come to Christ is explicitly and specifically taught to be lacking apart from the sovereign grace of God. Therefore, all of the implications that suggest otherwise must be subsumed under the explicit teaching, rather than forcing the explicit teaching into conformity to implications that we draw from the text.  Knowing Scripture, R.C. Sproul
17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. 18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God. 19 And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil. 20 For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his works should be exposed. 21 But whoever does what is true comes to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that his works have been carried out in God.”

John the Baptist Exalts Christ

22 After this Jesus and his disciples went into the Judean countryside, and he remained there with them and was baptizing. 23 John also was baptizing at Aenon near Salim, because water was plentiful there, and people were coming and being baptized 24 (for John had not yet been put in prison).

25 Now a discussion arose between some of John’s disciples and a Jew over purification. 26 And they came to John and said to him, “Rabbi, he who was with you across the Jordan, to whom you bore witness—look, he is baptizing, and all are going to him.” 27 John answered, “A person cannot receive even one thing unless it is given him from heaven. 28 You yourselves bear me witness, that I said, ‘I am not the Christ, but I have been sent before him.’ 29 The one who has the bride is the bridegroom. The friend of the bridegroom, who stands and hears him, rejoices greatly at the bridegroom’s voice. Therefore this joy of mine is now complete. 30 He must increase, but I must decrease.”

31 He who comes from above is above all. He who is of the earth belongs to the earth and speaks in an earthly way. He who comes from heaven is above all. 32 He bears witness to what he has seen and heard, yet no one receives his testimony. 33 Whoever receives his testimony sets his seal to this, that God is true. 34 For he whom God has sent utters the words of God, for he gives the Spirit without measure. 35 The Father loves the Son and has given all things into his hand. 36 Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him.

Job 42

Job’s Confession and Repentance

Job 42:1 Then Job answered the LORD and said:

2  “I know that you can do all things,
and that no purpose of yours can be thwarted.
3  ‘Who is this that hides counsel without knowledge?’
Therefore I have uttered what I did not understand,
things too wonderful for me, which I did not know.
4  ‘Hear, and I will speak;
I will question you, and you make it known to me.’
5  I had heard of you by the hearing of the ear,
but now my eye sees you;
6  therefore I despise myself,
and repent in dust and ashes.”

The LORD Rebukes Job’s Friends

7 After the LORD had spoken these words to Job, the LORD said to Eliphaz the Temanite: “My anger burns against you and against your two friends, for you have not spoken of me what is right, as my servant Job has. 8 Now therefore take seven bulls and seven rams and go to my servant Job and offer up a burnt offering for yourselves. And my servant Job shall pray for you, for I will accept his prayer not to deal with you according to your folly. For you have not spoken of me what is right, as my servant Job has.” 9 So Eliphaz the Temanite and Bildad the Shuhite and Zophar the Naamathite went and did what the LORD had told them, and the LORD accepted Job’s prayer.

The LORD Restores Job’s Fortunes

10 And the LORD restored the fortunes of Job, when he had prayed for his friends. And the LORD gave Job twice as much as he had before. 11 Then came to him all his brothers and sisters and all who had known him before, and ate bread with him in his house. And they showed him sympathy and comforted him for all the evil that the LORD had brought upon him. And each of them gave him a piece of money and a ring of gold.

12 And the LORD blessed the latter days of Job more than his beginning. And he had 14,000 sheep, 6,000 camels, 1,000 yoke of oxen, and 1,000 female donkeys. 13 He had also seven sons and three daughters. 14 And he called the name of the first daughter Jemimah, and the name of the second Keziah, and the name of the third Keren-happuch. 15 And in all the land there were no women so beautiful as Job’s daughters. And their father gave them an inheritance among their brothers. 16 And after this Job lived 140 years, and saw his sons, and his sons’ sons, four generations. 17 And Job died, an old man, and full of days.

2 Corinthians 12

Paul’s Visions and His Thorn

2 Corinthians 12:1 I must go on boasting. Though there is nothing to be gained by it, I will go on to visions and revelations of the Lord. 2 I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago was caught up to the third heaven—whether in the body or out of the body I do not know, God knows. 3 And I know that this man was caught up into paradise—whether in the body or out of the body I do not know, God knows— 4 and he heard things that cannot be told, which man may not utter. 5 On behalf of this man I will boast, but on my own behalf I will not boast, except of my weaknesses— 6 though if I should wish to boast, I would not be a fool, for I would be speaking the truth; but I refrain from it, so that no one may think more of me than he sees in me or hears from me. 7 So to keep me from becoming conceited because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, a thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to harass me, to keep me from becoming conceited. 8 Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me. 9 But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 10 For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

Concern for the Corinthian Church

11 I have been a fool! You forced me to it, for I ought to have been commended by you. For I was not at all inferior to these super-apostles, even though I am nothing. 12 The signs of a true apostle were performed among you with utmost patience, with signs and wonders and mighty works. 13 For in what were you less favored than the rest of the churches, except that I myself did not burden you? Forgive me this wrong!

14 Here for the third time I am ready to come to you. And I will not be a burden, for I seek not what is yours but you. For children are not obligated to save up for their parents, but parents for their children. 15 I will most gladly spend and be spent for your souls. If I love you more, am I to be loved less? 16 But granting that I myself did not burden you, I was crafty, you say, and got the better of you by deceit. 17 Did I take advantage of you through any of those whom I sent to you? 18 I urged Titus to go, and sent the brother with him. Did Titus take advantage of you? Did we not act in the same spirit? Did we not take the same steps?

19 Have you been thinking all along that we have been defending ourselves to you? It is in the sight of God that we have been speaking in Christ, and all for your upbuilding, beloved. 20 For I fear that perhaps when I come I may find you not as I wish, and that you may find me not as you wish—that perhaps there may be quarreling, jealousy, anger, hostility, slander, gossip, conceit, and disorder. 21 I fear that when I come again my God may humble me before you, and I may have to mourn over many of those who sinned earlier and have not repented of the impurity, sexual immorality, and sensuality that they have practiced.

ESV Study Bible

What I'm Reading

The Stuff We All Agree on When It Comes to Origins

By J. Warner Wallace 9/19/2016

     I get the chance to speak around the country and talk about how we, as Christians, assemble circumstantial evidence related to the reliability of the Gospels and the existence of God. As a result, I meet all kinds of Christians who hold a variety of views related to the Genesis creation account. Many are “Literal Day” creationists, while others lean toward some version of “Gap Theory”, “Day-Age Creation Theory”, “Creation Revelation Theory”, “Progressive Creation Theory”, “Genesis Creation Day Theory” or “Genesis Literary Theory” Creationism. Some believe that the universe is very young, others that it is very old. Some believe that God created everything in the form we see it in today (as the result of some form of “instantaneous” creation); others that God shaped His creation through some process of progressive interaction. When you ask these folks about the Bible, all of them will tell you that they believe the Bible to be the inspired word of God. All will agree that the Bible is the final authority. All will tell you that they believe what the Bible teaches. Christians simply disagree on how to interpret the first book of Moses.

     I’m sensitive to the variety of views held by Christians on this matter. I see the reasonable nature of every view; I recognize that each approach to Genesis chapter one has its own virtues and its own liabilities. I’m not discouraged by this reality, but encouraged that there are so many reasonable resolutions. I am discouraged, however, when we allow our fallen human nature to get the best of us. Rather than finding areas of agreement, most of us choose to divide over areas of divergence. Regardless of your position related to the Genesis account, I’d like to point out the areas where all of us, regardless of creation theory, agree. As Christians, we all affirm the following premises:

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J. Warner Wallace is a Cold-Case Detective, a Christian Case Maker, and the author of:

Cold Case Christianity

RE: John 3:16

     God’s love is ‘expended in self-giving, wholly expended, without residue or reserve, drained, exhausted, spent’. That is, in giving his Son, he gave himself. Next, God’s love is ‘expended in precarious endeavour, ever poised upon the brink of failure...’. (Failure? I don't agree) For he gave his Son to die, taking the risk (Risk? I don't agree) of yielding up control over himself. Thirdly, God’s love is seen ‘waiting in the end, helpless (Helpless? I don't agree) before that which it loves, for the response which shall be its tragedy or its triumph’. For in giving his Son to die for sinners, God made himself vulnerable to the possibility that they would snub him and turn away. (I do not see God's sovereignty this way. This was in God's mind before God created this world. God knows the end from the beginning. Even now as our culture self-destructs God is neither surprised or concerned. God's will ... will be done.)   Love's Endeavour, Love's Expense

     No theology is genuinely Christian which does not arise from and focus on the cross. In particular, by ‘the cross’ Professor Moltmann means more than anything else the cry of dereliction. It shows, he writes, that Jesus was not only rejected by the Jews as a blasphemer and executed by the Romans as a rebel, but actually condemned and abandoned by his Father (pp.149–152 The Crucified God ). It therefore prompts the question: ‘Who is God in the cross of the Christ who is abandoned by God?

     All Christian theology and all Christian life is basically an answer to the question which Jesus asked as he died’ (p.4). That is why theology has to be developed ‘within earshot of the dying cry of Jesus’ (p.201). What, then, do we understand of God when we see the crucified Jesus and hear his derelict cry? We certainly see his willingness in love to identify with human rejects. For ‘the symbol of the cross in the church points to the God who was crucified not between two candles on an altar, but between two thieves in the place of the skull, where the outcasts belong, outside the gates of the city’ (p.40). And in that awful experience which ‘divides God from God to the utmost degree of enmity and distinction’ (p.152) we have to recognize that both Father and Son suffer the cost of their surrender, though differently. ‘The Son suffers dying, the Father suffers the death of the Son. The grief of the Father here is just as important as the death of the Son. The Fatherlessness of the Son is matched by the Sonlessness of the Father’ (p.243). It is an arresting phrase. My own wish, I confess, is that Professor Moltmann had emphasized more strongly that it was with the spiritually outcast, not just the socially outcast, that is to say, with sinners not just criminals, that Jesus identified on the cross. He could then have clarified both the nature and the cause of the terrible God-forsakenness. Nevertheless, his outspoken acceptance that the dereliction was real, and is the greatest evidence of God’s love, is moving.   The Cross of Christ

A Big, Dangerous Universe is NOT Evidence Against God

By Lenny Esposito 3/3/2017

     The recent discovery of the seven planets orbiting the TRAPPIST star has a lot of folks talking. As I wrote last week, even though they're labeled as "earth-like" and reside in what astronomers call the habitable zone, the idea that life could exist on them is remote in the extreme. The fact that our planet is so uniquely situated in just the right spot with just the right conditions around just the right kind of star provides strong evidence for design, like finding a cabin in the middle of an unpopulated forest.

     Of course, others won't admit that our world shows marks of design. Some even offer the uniqueness of the earth as evidence against its design. I had one such interaction on Facebook where a gentleman names Simeon responded to my article by saying, "The rarity of habitable planets in the universe is actually evidence for a universe not designed for human habitation." After some interaction, he went on to claim "An all-powerful deity would not need to create an entire universe to support a single planet. He could have just made a single flat Earth with a dome over it, like some of the ancients believed." He finally summarized his position by writing "I think you are demonstrably wrong that the entire universe, as is, is required to support a single life-bearing planet. There is no way for planets around a distant star to have any bearing on Earth's habitability."

     I don't know if Simeon holds is a theist or not; we never discussed that issue. However, I've met many atheists who argue along similar lines, holding the vastness of space as evidence against a universe created to sustain human life. Couldn't God create any old kind of universe he wanted? Why would he need to make the universe so big just for one "pale blue dot" as Carl Sagan put it? 

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     Lenny Esposito is president and founder of Come Reason Ministries, a Christian apologetics organization, and author of the popular www.comereason.org Web site. He has taught apologetics and Christian worldview for over 17 years and has authored hundreds articles dealing with intellectually strenuous topics such as the existence of God, theology, philosophy, social issues and Biblical difficulties.

     Lenny is an in-demand speaker, teaching at conferences, churches, and schools across the nation. He is a contributor to the popular Apologetics Study Bible for Students and his articles have appeared in the Los Angeles Times and the Southern California Christian Times. He has debated many topics on faith and reason and the rationality of the Christian worldview; his most recent debate being against well-known atheists and author Dr. Richard Carrier on the question "Does God Exist?"

     Lenny is a pioneer in online ministry efforts when he began using the Web to reach others near its beginnings in 1995. He produces one of the top 16 apologetics podcasts according to Apologetics 315 and his site has been viewed millions of times by visitors from nearly every country in the world.

     Lenny is a member of the Evangelical Philosophical Society and the Evangelical Theological Society.

How Christianity Makes Sense of This Gerber Baby

By J. Warner Wallace 2/24/2018

     A recent Washington Post article celebrated Lucas Warren being named as the 2018 Gerber baby. Every year, the Gerber Products Company selects an infant “who best exemplifies Gerber’s long-standing heritage of recognizing that every baby is a Gerber baby.”

     What makes Lucas especially newsworthy is the fact that he has Down syndrome. Lucas is the first such baby to be selected for the honor. He’s a welcome reminder of the importance of a Christian worldview. In fact, Lucas’ very existence represents the Christian faith’s triumph in shaping our view of human dignity and identity.

     Christianity and Sanctity of Life | Lucas’s selection could be viewed as a uniquely American choice. Other, more secular countries are setting aside the Christian notion that humans are designed in the image of God. As nations move away from a Christian view of human dignity and identity, more and more babies with Down syndrome are being aborted. In the United Kingdom, advanced screening allows parents to find out if their unborn babies will have Down syndrome as early as 10-14 weeks into their pregnancy. As a result, nearly 90 percent of Down syndrome babies are aborted in the U.K.

     Iceland has become a prime example of a fading Christian worldview and a culture that increasingly aborts its Down syndrome babies. According to reports, “few countries have come as close to eradicating Down syndrome births as Iceland.” Most women in Iceland (close to 100 percent, according to the reports) abort their babies if their Down syndrome screening yields a positive result.

     Iceland was once a Christian nation, but that has changed drastically in the last generation. “Twenty years ago, nearly 90 percent of all Icelanders were religious believers. Today, less than 50 percent are.” Icelanders seldom attend church to learn their Christian heritage and its worldview. Only 10 percent of Icelanders attend church on a monthly basis.

     A recent survey stunningly revealed that none — none! — of these religious Icelanders believe that God created the Earth. It shouldn’t surprise us, then, to find Icelanders treating babies with Down syndrome as something other than God’s image-bearers.

     Affirming a Christian Worldview | When a culture takes Christianity seriously, it takes its babies seriously. That includes those born with Down syndrome. Americans have allowed a Christian worldview to shape our view of human dignity in the past.

     But we may not be so inclined in the future. Abortion statistics for Down syndrome babies are rising in the United States. Far fewer such babies are aborted here than in the U.K., but a battlefield is developing. Ohio recently enacted a law “prohibiting doctors from performing abortions in cases where tests reveal the fetus has or likely has Down syndrome.” The ACLU has responded by filing a suit in Federal court.

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J. Warner Wallace is a Cold-Case Detective, a Christian Case Maker, and the author of:

Cold Case Christianity

Read The Psalms In "1" Year

Psalm 31

Into Your Hand I Commit My Spirit
31 To The Choirmaster. A Psalm Of David.

1 In you, O LORD, do I take refuge;
let me never be put to shame;
in your righteousness deliver me!
2 Incline your ear to me;
rescue me speedily!
Be a rock of refuge for me,
a strong fortress to save me!

ESV Reformation Study

Exodus 24; John 3; Job 42; 2 Corinthians 12

By Don Carson 3/13/2018

     It is not easy to sort out some of the sequence of events in these chapters of Exodus. What is clear is that God graciously provides enough of the revelation of his covenant that the people agree to its terms (Ex. 24). More of its stipulations, especially with respect to the tabernacle and priestly arrangements, are spelled out in the next chapters. Moses’ long departure on the mountain begins about this time, and precipitates the fickle rebellion that produces the idol of the golden calf (Ex. 32), which brings Moses down the mountain, smashing the tablets of the Ten Commandments. We shall reflect on those events in due course.

     Here we must think through several elements of this covenant ratification.

     (1) The Israelites would have already been familiar with suzerainty covenants that were not uncommon in the ancient world. A regional power or a superpower would impose such a treaty on lesser nations. Both sides would agree to certain obligations. The lesser power agreed to abide by the rules set down by the stronger power, pay certain taxes, maintain proper allegiance; the greater power would promise protection, defense, and loyalty. Often there was an introduction that spelled out the past history, and a postscript that threatened curses and judgments on whichever side broke the covenant.

     (2) Parts of Exodus and Deuteronomy in particular mirror these covenants. Some elements in this chapter are unique. What is clear, however, is that the people themselves agree to the covenantal stipulations that Moses carefully writes out: “We will do everything the LORD has said; we will obey” (24:7). Thus later rebellion reflects not merely a flighty independent spirit, but the breaking of an oath, the trashing of a covenant. They are thumbing their nose at the treaty of the great King.

     (3) To strengthen the allegiance of the covenantal community, God graciously discloses himself not only to Moses but to Aaron and his sons, and to seventy elders. Whenever Old Testament writers say that certain people “saw God” (24:10-11) or the like, inevitably there are qualifications, for as this book says elsewhere, no one can look on the face of God and live (33:20). Thus when we are told that the elders saw the God of Israel, the only description is “something like” a pavement “under his feet” (24:10). God remains distanced. Yet this is a glorious display, graciously given to deepen allegiance, while a special mediating role is preserved for Moses, who alone goes all the way up the mountain.

     (4) The covenant is sealed with the shedding of blood (24:4-6).

     (5) Throughout the forty days Moses remains on the mountain, the glory of the Lord is visibly displayed (24:15-18). This anticipates developments in later chapters.

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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).

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Isaiah’s Signature Uncovered in Jerusalem

By Megan Sauter 2/22/2018

     Excavations in Jerusalem have unearthed what may be the first extra-Biblical evidence of the prophet Isaiah. Just south of the Temple Mount, in the Ophel excavations, archaeologist Eilat Mazar and her team have discovered a small seal impression that reads “[belonging] to Isaiah nvy.” The upper portion of the impression is missing, and its left side is damaged. Reconstructing a few Hebrew letters in this damaged area would cause the impression to read, “[belonging] to Isaiah the prophet.”

     If the reconstruction stands, this may be the signature of the Biblical prophet Isaiah—the figure we encounter in the Books of 2 Kings, 2 Chronicles, and Isaiah. Eilat Mazar of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem announces this exciting discovery in her article “Is This the Prophet Isaiah’s Signature?” published in the special March/April/May/June 2018 double issue of Biblical Archaeology Review.

     Mazar’s team found the seal impression in an undisturbed area of Iron Age debris (dated to the eighth–seventh centuries B.C.E.) right outside the southeastern wall of the royal bakery, a structure that had been integrated into the city’s fortifications and had operated until the Babylonian destruction of Jerusalem in 586 B.C.E. All of the excavated dirt from this area of the Ophel was wet-sifted, meaning that it was placed on a sifting screen and washed with water. This process revealed multiple finds—including Isaiah’s seal impression and an impression of the Judahite king Hezekiah—which had been missed during traditional excavation methods. Since each of these impressions has a diameter of about half an inch and is the same color as the dirt, it is easy to understand why they were not spotted in the field.

     Isaiah’s seal impression—called a bulla—was created by first placing a soft piece of clay on top of a ligature tied around a linen bag. Isaiah’s seal was then pressed into the clay, thereby sealing the parcel with his personal signature. The clay hardened and survived through the centuries, thereby preserving Isaiah’s signature.

     Although most of the upper half of Isaiah’s bulla is now missing and its left side is damaged, archaeologists have been able to identify its imagery and inscription from what remains. The bulla is divided into three registers. The remains of a grazing doe, a symbol of blessing, can be seen in the top register. Written in ancient Hebrew, the name Yesha‘yah[u] (the Hebrew form of Isaiah) appears in the middle register, and the letters nvy are visible in the lower register. If the Hebrew letter aleph were added to the end of the word nvy, it would then become the word nvy’ (“navy’”), which means “prophet” in Hebrew. It is likely that the Hebrew letter vav appeared at the end of the middle register, representing the final letter of “Isaiah” (the “u” of “Yesha‘yahu”). Further, if the definite article heh (“the”) were added to the end of the name Isaiah (after the vav), the seal impression would read “[belonging] to Isaiah the prophet.”

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     Megan Sauter is the Associate Editor at the Biblical Archaeology Society. She holds a Master’s in Biblical archaeology from Wheaton College and was a staff member of the Leon Levy Expedition to Ashkelon, most recently completing editorial work on Ashkelon V: The Land behind Ashkelon (Eisenbrauns, 2015).

The Institutes of the Christian Religion

Translated by Henry Beveridge

     31. But since they also arm themselves with passages of Scripture, let us see what the arguments are which they employ. David, they say, when upbraided by Nathan the Prophet for adultery and murder, receives pardon of the sin, and yet by the death of the son born of adultery is afterwards punished (2 Sam. 12:13, 14). Such punishments which were to be inflicted after the remission of the guilt, we are taught to ransom by satisfactions. For Daniel exhorted Nebuchadnezzar: "Break off thy sins by righteousness, and thine iniquities by showing mercy to the poor," (Dan. 4:27). And Solomon says, "by mercy and truth iniquity is purged" (Prov. 16:6); and again, "love covereth all sins," (Prov. 10:12). This sentiment is confirmed by Peter (1 Pet. 4:8). Also in Luke, our Lord says of the woman that was a sinner, "Her sins, which are many, are forgiven; for she loved much," (Luke 7:47). How perverse and preposterous the judgment they ever form of the doings of God! [369] Had they observed, what certainly they ought not to have overlooked, that there are two kinds of divine judgment, they would have seen in the correction of David a very different form of punishment from that which must be thought designed for vengeance. But since it in no slight degree concerns us to understand the purpose of God in the chastisements by which he animadverts upon our sins and how much they differ from the exemplary punishments which he indignantly inflicts on the wicked and reprobate, I think it will not be improper briefly to glance at it. For the sake of distinction, we may call the one kind of judgment punishment, the other chastisement. In judicial punishment, God is to be understood as taking vengeance on his enemies, by displaying his anger against them, confounding, scattering, and annihilating them. By divine punishment, properly so called, let us then understand punishment accompanied with indignation. In judicial chastisement, he is offended, but not in wrath; he does not punish by destroying or striking down as with a thunderbolt. Hence it is not properly punishment or vengeance, but correction and admonition. The one is the act of a judge, the other of a father. When the judge punishes a criminal, he animadverts upon the crime, and demands the penalty. When a father corrects his son sharply, it is not to mulct or avenge, but rather to teach him, and make him more cautious for the future. Chrysostom in his writings employs a simile which is somewhat different, but the same in purport. He says, "A son is whipt, and a slave is whipt, but the latter is punished as a slave for his offense: the former is chastised as a free-born son, standing in need of correction." The correction of the latter is designed to prove and amend him; that of the former is scourging and punishment.

32. To have a short and clear view of the whole matter, we must make two distinctions. First, whenever the infliction is designed to avenge, then the curse and wrath of God displays itself. This is never the case with believers. On the contrary, the chastening of God carries his blessing with it, and is an evidence of love, as Scripture teaches. [370] This distinction is plainly marked throughout the word of God. All the calamities which the wicked suffer in the present life are depicted to us as a kind of anticipation of the punishment of hell. In these they already see, as from a distance, their eternal condemnation; and so far are they from being thereby reformed, or deriving any benefit, that by such preludes they are rather prepared for the fearful doom which finally awaits them. The Lord chastens his servants sore, but does not give them over unto death (Ps. 118:18). When afflicted, they acknowledge it is good for them, that they may learn his statutes (Ps. 119:71). But as we everywhere read that the saints received their chastisements with placid mind, so inflictions of the latter kind they always most earnestly deprecated. "O Lord, correct me," says Jeremiah, "but with judgment; not in thine anger, lest thou bring me to nothing. Pour out thy furry upon the heathen that know thee not, and upon the families that call not on thy name," (Jer. 10:24-25). David says "O Lord, rebuke me not in thine anger, neither chasten me in thy hot displeasure" (Ps. 6:1). There is nothing inconsistent with this in its being repeatedly said, that the Lord is angry with his saints when he chastens them for their sins (Ps. 38:7). In like manner, in Isaiah, "And in that day thou shalt say, O Lord, I will praise thee: though thou west angry with me, thine anger is turned away, and thou comfortedst me," (Isa. 12:1). Likewise in Habakkuk, "In wrath remember mercy," (Hab. 3:2); and in Micah, "I will bear the indignation of the Lord, because I have sinned against him," (Mic. 7:9). Here we are reminded not only that those who are justly punished gain nothing by murmuring, but that believers obtain a mitigation of their pain by reflecting on the divine intention. For the same reason, he is said to profane his inheritance; and yet we know that he will never profane it. The expression refers not to the counsel or purpose of God in punishing, but to the keen sense of pain, endured by those who are visited with any measure of divine severity. For the Lord not only chastens his people with a slight degree of austerity, but sometimes so wounds them, that they seem to themselves on the very eve of perdition. He thus declares that they have deserved his anger, and it is fitting so to do, that they may be dissatisfied with themselves for their sins, may be more careful in their desires to appease God, and anxiously hasten to seek his pardon; still, at this very time, he gives clearer evidence of his mercy than of his anger. For He who cannot deceive has declared, that the covenant made with us in our true Solomon [371] stands fast and will never be broken, "If his children forsake my law, and walk not in my judgments; if they break my statutes, and keep not my commandments; then will I visit their transgressions with the rod, and their iniquity with stripes. Nevertheless, my loving-kindness will I not utterly take from him, nor suffer my faithfulness to fail," (Ps. 89:31-34). To assure us of this mercy, he says, that the rod with which he will chastise the posterity of Solomon will be the "rod of men," and "the stripes of the children of men," (2 Sam. 7:14). While by these terms he denotes moderation and levity, he, at the same time, intimates, that those who feel the hand of God opposed to them cannot but tremble and be confounded. How much regard he has to this levity in chastening his Israel he shows by the Prophet, "Behold, I have refined thee, but not with silver; I have chosen thee in the furnace of affliction," (Isa. 48:10). Although he tells them that they are chastisements with a view to purification, he adds, that even these are so tempered, that they are not to be too much crushed by them. And this is very necessary, for the more a man reveres God, and devotes himself to the cultivation of piety, the more tender he is in bearing his anger (Ps. 90:11; and ibid. Calv). The reprobate, though they groan under the lash, [372] yet because they weigh not the true cause, but rather turn their back, as well upon their sins as upon the divine judgment, become hardened in their stupor; or, because they murmur and kick, and so rebel against their judge, their infatuated violence fills them with frenzy and madness. Believers, again, admonished by the rod of God, immediately begin to reflect on their sins, and, struck with fear and dread, retake themselves as suppliants to implore mercy. Did not God mitigate the pains by which wretched souls are excruciated, they would give way a hundred times, even at slight signs of his anger.

33. The second distinction is, that when the reprobate are brought under the lash of God, they begin in a manner to pay the punishment due to his justice; and though their refusal to listen to these proofs of the divine anger will not escape with impunity, still they are not punished with the view of bringing them to a better mind, but only to teach them by dire experience that God is a judge and avenger. The sons of God are beaten with rods, not that they may pay the punishment due to their faults, but that they may thereby be led to repent. Accordingly, we perceive that they have more respect to the future than to the past. I prefer giving this in the words of Chrysostom rather than my own: "His object in imposing a penalty upon us, is not to inflict punishment on our sins but to correct us for the future," (Chrysost. Serm. de Poenit. et Confess). So also Augustine, "The suffering at which you cry, is medicine, not punishment; chastisement, not condemnation. Do not drive away the rod, if you would not be driven away from the inheritance. Know, brethren, that the whole of that misery of the human race, under which the world groans, is a medicinal pain, not a penal sentence," (August. in Psal. 102, circa finem). It seemed proper to quote these passages, lest any one should think the mode of expression which I have used to be novel or uncommon. To the same effect are the indignant terms in which the Lord expostulates with his people, for their ingratitude in obstinately despising all his inflictions. In Isaiah he says, "Why should ye be stricken any more? ye will revolt more and more. The whole head is sick and the whole heart faint," (Isa. 1:5, 6). But as such passages abound in the Prophets, it is sufficient briefly to have shown, that the only purpose of God in punishing his Church is to subdue her to repentance. Thus, when he rejected Saul from the kingdoms he punished in vengeance (1 Sam. 15:23); when he deprived David of his child, he chastised for amendment (2 Sam. 12:18). In this sense Paul is to be understood when he says, "When we are judged, we are chastened of the Lord, that we should not be condemned with the world," (1 Cor. 11:32); that is, while we as sons of God are afflicted by our heavenly Father's hand, it is not punishment to confound, but only chastisement to train us. On this subject Augustine is plainly with us (De Peccator. Meritis ac Remiss. Lib. 2 cap. 33, 34). For he shows that the punishments with which men are equally chastened by God are to be variously considered; because the saints after the forgiveness of their sins have struggles and exercises, the reprobate without forgiveness are punished for their iniquity. Enumerating the punishments inflicted on David and other saints, he says, it was designed, by thus humbling them, to prove and exercise their piety. The passage in Isaiah, in which it is said, "Speak ye comfortably to Jerusalem, and cry unto her, that her warfare is accomplished that her iniquity is pardoned; for she has received of the Lord's hands double for all her sins," (Isa. 40:2), proves not that the pardon of sin depends on freedom from punishment. It is just as if he had said, Sufficient punishment has now been exacted; as for their number and heinousness you have long been oppressed with sorrow and mourning, it is time to send you a message of complete mercy, that your minds may be filled with joy on feeling me to be a Father. For God there assumes the character of a father who repents even of the just severity which he has been compelled to us, towards his son.

34. These are the thoughts with which the believer ought to be provided in the bitterness of affliction, "The time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God," "the city which is called by my name," (1 Pet. 4:17; Jer. 25:29). What could the sons of God do, if they thought that the severity which they feel was vengeance? He who, smitten by the hand of God, thinks that God is a judge inflicting punishment, cannot conceive of him except as angry and at enmity with him; cannot but detest the rod of God as curse and condemnation; in short, Can never persuade himself that he is loved by God, while he feels that he is still disposed to inflict punishment upon him. He only profits under the divine chastening who considers that God, though offended with his sins, is still propitious and favorable to him. Otherwise, the feeling must necessarily be what the Psalmist complains that he had experienced, "Thy wrath lieth hard upon me, and thou hast afflicted me with all thy waves." Also what Moses says, "For we are consumed by thine anger, and by thy wrath we are troubled. Thou hast set our iniquities before thee, our secret sins in the light of thy countenance. For all our days are passed away in thy wrath; we spend our years as a tale that is told," (Ps. 90:7-9). On the other hand, David speaking of fatherly chastisements, to show how believers are more assisted than oppressed by them, thus sings "Blessed is the man whom thou chastenest, O Lord, and teachest him out of thy law; that thou mayest give him rest from the days of adversity, until the pit be digged for the wicked," (Ps. 94:12, 13). It is certainly a sore temptation, when God, sparing unbelievers and overlooking their crimes, appears more rigid towards his own people. Hence, to solace them, he adds the admonition of the law which teaches them, that their salvation is consulted when they are brought back to the right path, whereas the wicked are borne headlong in their errors, which ultimately lead to the pit. It matters not whether the punishment is eternal or temporary. For disease, pestilence, famine, and war, are curses from God, as much as even the sentence of eternal death, whenever their tendency is to operate as instruments of divine wrath and vengeance against the reprobate.

35. All, if I mistake not, now see what view the Lord had in chastening David, namely, to prove that murder and adultery are most offensive to God, and to manifest this offensiveness in a beloved and faithful servant, that David himself might be taught never again to dare to commit such wickedness; still, however, it was not a punishment designed in payment of a kind of compensation to God. In the same way are we to judge of that other correction, in which the Lord subjects his people to a grievous pestilence, for the disobedience of David in forgetting himself so far as to number the people. He indeed freely forgave David the guilt of his sin; but because it was necessary, both as a public example to all ages and also to humble David himself, not to allow such an offense to go unpunished, he chastened him most sharply with his whip. We ought also to keep this in view in the universal curse of the human race. For since after obtaining grace we still continue to endure the miseries denounced to our first parent as the penalty of transgression, we ought thereby to be reminded, how offensive to God is the transgression of his law, that thus humbled and dejected by a consciousness of our wretched condition, we may aspire more ardently to true happiness. But it were most foolish in any one to imagine, that we are subjected to the calamities of the present life for the guilt of sin. This seems to me to have been Chrysostom's meaning when he said, "If the purpose of God in inflicting punishment is to bring those persisting in evil to repentance, when repentance is manifested punishment would be superfluous," (Chrysos. Homily. 3 de Provid.). Wherefore, as he knows what the disposition of each requires, he treats one with greater harshness and another with more indulgence. Accordingly, when he wishes to show that he is not excessive in exacting punishment, he upbraids a hard hearted and obstinate people, because, after being smitten, they still continued in sin (Jer. 5:3). In the same sense he complains, that "Ephraim is a cake not turned" (Hos. 7:8), because chastisement did not make a due impression on their minds, and, correcting their vices, make them fit to receive pardon. Surely he who thus speaks shows, that as soon as any one repents he will be ready to receive him, and that the rigor which he exercises in chastising faults is wrung from him by our perverseness, since we should prevent him by a voluntary correction. Such, however, being the hardness and rudeness of all hearts, that they stand universally in need of castigation, our infinitely wise Parent has seen it meet to exercise all without exception, during their whole lives, with chastisement. It is strange how they fix their eyes so intently on the one example of David, and are not moved by the many examples in which they might have beheld the free forgiveness of sins. The publican is said to have gone down from the temple justified (Luke 18:14); no punishment follows. Peter obtained the pardon of his sin (Luke 22:61). "We read of his tears," says Ambrose (Serm. 46, De Poenit. Petri), "we read not of satisfaction." To the paralytic it is said, "Son, be of good cheer; thy sina be forgiven thee," (Mt. 9:2); no penance is enjoined. All the acts of forgiveness mentioned in Scripture are gratuitous. The rule ought to be drawn from these numerous examples, rather than from one example which contains a kind of specialty.

     Christian Classics Ethereal Library / Public Domain      Institutes of the Christian Religion

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     Devotionals, notes, poetry and more

UCB The Word For Today
     Break your alabaster jar (2)
     3/13/2018    Bob Gass

     ‘More than a year’s wages.’

(Mk 14:5) For this ointment could have been sold for more than three hundred denarii and given to the poor.” And they scolded her. ESV

     It’s possible the alabaster jar of perfume represented every penny of this woman’s life savings. The value is evidenced by the fact that two gospel writers find it noteworthy enough to give us a written estimate: three hundred denarii – the equivalent of an entire year’s salary. Let’s get down to brass tacks. For most of us, the alabaster jar of perfume is money. It’s our nest egg. It’s our pay cheque. It’s our retirement fund. And the question is this: are you willing to give it all away? We’re not suggesting you should not pay your bills or plan for your future or take care of your family. But if God prompted you to give it all away, would you be willing to break your alabaster jar and pour it all at the feet of Jesus? During his lifetime, John Wesley gave away approximately thirty thousand pounds. Adjusted for inflation, that’s more than £1,350,000 in today’s money. Wesley made a covenant with God in 1731 to limit his income to twenty-eight pounds a year. But the first year he made only thirty pounds, so he gave just two pounds. The next year his income doubled, and because he managed to continue living on twenty-eight pounds, he gave away thirty-two pounds. He never had more than one hundred pounds in his possession because he was afraid of storing up earthly treasure. He believed God’s blessing should result in raising our standard of giving, not our standard of living. Even when his income rose to thousands of pounds, he lived simply and gave away all surplus money. He died with a few coins in his pocket, but a storehouse of treasure in heaven. Think about it!

Numbers 23-25
Mark 8:1-30

UCB The Word For Today
American Minute
     by Bill Federer

     Susan B. Anthony, whose face is on the U.S. dollar coin, died this day, March 13, 1906. She was raised in a Quaker home, known properly as the Society of Friends, she was taught individuals could have a personal relationship with God and that armed conflict and slavery were wrong. The self-reliance instilled in her upbringing aided Susan in her crusade against slavery and alcohol and to give women the right to vote. Susan B. Anthony was arrested for voting in the 1872 Presidential Election and fined. Finally, in 1920, all women in America were given the right to vote.

American Minute

Lean Into God
     Compiled by Richard S. Adams

People have a peculiar pleasure in making converts; that is, in causing others to enjoy what they enjoy, thus finding their own likeness represented and reflected back to them.
--- Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe   Maxims and Reflections

If when I am able to discover something which has baffled others, I forget Him who revealeth the deep and secret things, and knoweth what is in the darkness and showeth it to us; if I forget that it was He who granted that ray of light to His most unworthy servant, then I know nothing of Calvary love.
--- Amy Carmichael   If

[Your] dream will challenge, prod and haunt you until you surrender to its call.
--- Wayne Cordeiro   The Divine Mentor: Growing Your Faith as You Sit at the Feet of the Savior

I cannot and will not recant anything, for to go against conscience is neither right nor safe. Here I stand, I can do no other, so help me God. Amen.
--- Martin Luther

... from here, there and everywhere

Journal of John Woolman 3/13
     University of Virginia Library 1994

     After the Yearly Meeting we were at meetings at New-town, Cushnet, Long Plain, Rochester, and Dartmouth. >From thence we sailed for Nantucket, in company with Ann Gaunt, Mercy Redman, and several other Friends. The wind being slack we only reached Tarpawling Cove the first day; where, going on shore, we found room in a public-house, and beds for a few of us, -- the rest slept on the floor. We went on board again about break of day, and though the wind was small, we were favored to come within about four miles of Nantucket; and then about ten of us got into our boat and rowed to the harbor before dark; a large boat went off and brought in the rest of the passengers about midnight. The next day but one was their Yearly Meeting, which held four days, the last of which was their Monthly Meeting for business. We had a laborious time amongst them; our minds were closely exercised, and I believe it was a time of great searching of heart. The longer I was on the Island the more I became sensible that there was a considerable number of valuable Friends there, though an evil spirit, tending to strife, had been at work amongst them. I was cautious of making any visits except as my mind was particularly drawn to them; and in that way we had some sittings in Friends' houses, where the heavenly wing was at times spread over us, to our mutual comfort. My beloved companion had very acceptable service on this island.

     When meeting was over we all agreed to sail the next day if the weather was suitable and we were well; and being called up the latter part of the night, about fifty of us went on board a vessel; but, the wind changing, the seamen thought best to stay in the harbor till it altered, so we returned on shore. Feeling clear as to any further visits, I spent my time in my chamber, chiefly alone; and after some hours, my heart being filled with the spirit of supplication, my prayers and tears were poured out before my Heavenly Father for his help and instruction in the manifold difficulties which attended me in life. While I was waiting upon the Lord, there came a messenger from the women Friends who lodged at another house, desiring to confer with us about appointing a meeting, which to me appeared weighty, as we had been at so many before; but after a short conference, and advising with some elderly Friends, a meeting was appointed, in which the Friend who first moved it, and who had been much shut up before, was largely opened in the love of the gospel. The next morning about break of day going again on board the vessel, we reached Falmouth on the Main before night, where our horses being brought, we proceeded towards Sandwich Quarterly Meeting.

     Being two days in going to Nantucket, and having been there once before, I observed many shoals in their bay, which make sailing more dangerous, especially in stormy nights; also, that a great shoal, which encloses their harbor, prevents the entrance of sloops except when the tide is up. Waiting without for the rising of the tide is sometimes hazardous in storms, and by waiting within they sometimes miss a fair wind. I took notice that there was on that small island a great number of inhabitants, and the soil not very fertile, the timber being so gone that for vessels, fences, and firewood, they depend chiefly on buying from the Main, for the cost whereof, with most of their other expenses, they depend principally upon the whale fishery. I considered that as towns grew larger, and lands near navigable waters were more cleared, it would require more labor to get timber and wood. I understood that the whales, being much hunted and sometimes wounded and not killed, grow more shy and difficult to come at. I considered that the formation of the earth, the seas, the islands, bays, and rivers, the motions of the winds, and great waters, which cause bars and shoals in particular places, were all the works of Him who is perfect wisdom and goodness; and as people attend to his heavenly instruction, and put their trust in him, he provides for them in all parts where he gives them a being; and as in this visit to these people I felt a strong desire for their firm establishment on the sure foundation, besides what was said more publicly, I was concerned to speak with the women Friends in their Monthly Meeting of business, many being present, and in the fresh spring of pure love to open before them the advantage, both inwardly and outwardly, of attending singly to the pure guidance of the Holy Spirit, and therein to educate their children in true humility and the disuse of all superfluities. I reminded them of the difficulties their husbands and sons were frequently exposed to at sea, and that the more plain and simple their way of living was the less need there would be of running great hazards to support them. I also encouraged the young women to continue their neat, decent way of attending themselves on the affairs of the house; showing, as the way opened, that where people were truly humble, used themselves to business, and were content with a plain way of life, they had ever had more true peace and calmness of mind than they who, aspiring to greatness and outward show, have grasped hard for an income to support themselves therein. And as I observed they had so few or no slaves, I had to encourage them to be content without them, making mention of the numerous troubles and vexations which frequently attended the minds of the people who depend on slaves to do their labor.

John Woolman's Journal

Proverbs 12:15-17
     by D.H. Stern

15     Fools suppose their way is straight,
but the wise pay attention to advice.
16     A fool’s anger is known at once,
but a cautious person slighted conceals his feelings.

17     He who tells the truth furthers justice,
but a false witness furthers deceit.

Complete Jewish Bible : An English Version of the Tanakh (Old Testament) and B'Rit Hadashah (New Testament)
The Great Divorce - A Dream
     C.S. Lewis


     ‘You mean, if they had to live together they’d gradually learn to quarrel less?’

     ‘Well, I don’t know about that. I daresay they could be kept a bit quieter. You’d have a chance to build up a police force. Knock some kind of discipline into them. Anyway’ (here he dropped his voice) ‘it’d be better, you know. Everyone admits that. Safety in numbers.’

     ‘Safety from what?’ I began, but my companion nudged me to be silent. I changed my question.

     ‘But look here,’ said I, ‘if they can get everything just by imagining it, why would they want any real things, as you call them?’

     ‘Eh? Oh well, they’d like houses that really kept out the rain.’

     ‘Their present houses don’t?’

     ‘Well, of course not. How could they?’

     ‘What the devil is the use of building them, then?’ The Intelligent Man put his head closer to mine. ‘Safety again,’ he muttered. ‘At least, the feeling of safety. It’s all right now: but later on … you understand.’

     ‘What?’ said I, almost involuntarily sinking my own voice to a whisper.

     He articulated noiselessly as if expecting that I understood lipreading. I put my ear up close to his mouth. ‘Speak up,’ I said. ‘It will be dark presently,’ he mouthed.

     ‘You mean the evening is really going to turn into a night in the end?’

     He nodded.

     ‘What’s that got to do with it?’ said I.

     ‘Well … no one wants to be out of doors when that happens.’


     His reply was so furtive that I had to ask him several times to repeat it. When he had done so, being a little annoyed (as one so often is with whisperers), I replied without remembering to lower my voice.

     ‘Who are “They”?’ I asked. ‘And what are you afraid they’ll do to you? And why should they come out when it’s dark? And what protection could an imaginary house give if there was any danger?’

     ‘Here!’ shouted the Big Man. ‘Who’s talking all that stuff? You stop your whispering, you two, if you don’t want a hiding, see? Spreading rumours, that’s what I call it. You shut your face, Ikey, see?’

     ‘Quite right. Scandalous. Ought to be prosecuted. How did they get on the bus?’ growled the passengers.

     A fat clean-shaven man who sat on the seat in front of me leaned back and addressed me in a cultured voice.

     ‘Excuse me,’ he said, ‘but I couldn’t help overhearing parts of your conversation. It is astonishing how these primitive superstitions linger on. I beg your pardon? Oh, God bless my soul, that’s all it is. There is not a shred of evidence that this twilight is ever going to turn into a night. There has been a revolution of opinion on that in educated circles. I am surprised that you haven’t heard of it. All the nightmare fantasies of our ancestors are being swept away. What we now see in this subdued and delicate half-light is the promise of the dawn: the slow turning of a whole nation towards the light. Slow and imperceptible, of course. “And not through Eastern windows only, When daylight comes, comes in the light.” And that passion for “real” commodities which our friend speaks of is only materialism, you know. It’s retrogressive. Earth-bound! A hankering for matter. But we look on this spiritual city—for with all its faults it is spiritual—as a nursery in which the creative functions of man, now freed from the clogs of matter, begin to try their wings. A sublime thought.’

     Hours later there came a change. It began to grow light in the bus. The greyness outside the windows turned from mud-colour to mother of pearl, then to faintest blue, then to a bright blueness that stung the eyes. We seemed to be floating in a pure vacancy. There were no lands, no sun, no stars in sight: only the radiant abyss. I let down the window beside me. Delicious freshness came in for a second, and then—

     ‘What the hell are you doing?’ shouted the Intelligent Man, leaning roughly across me and pulling the window sharply up. ‘Want us all to catch our death of cold?’

     ‘Hit him a biff,’ said the Big Man.

     I glanced round the bus. Though the windows were closed, and soon muffed, the bus was full of light. It was cruel light. I shrank from the faces and forms by which I was surrounded. They were all fixed faces, full not of possibilities but impossibilities, some gaunt, some bloated, some glaring with idiotic ferocity, some drowned beyond recovery in dreams; but all, in one way or another, distorted and faded. One had a feeling that they might fall to pieces at any moment if the light grew much stronger. Then—there was a mirror on the end wall of the bus—I caught sight of my own.

     And still the light grew.

The Great Divorce   or   The Great Divorce

My Utmost For The Highest
     A Daily Devotional by Oswald Chambers

                The abandonment of God

God so loved the world that He gave … --- John 3:16.

     Salvation is not merely deliverance from sin, nor the experience of personal holiness; the salvation of God is deliverance out of self entirely into union with Himself. My experimental knowledge of salvation will be along the line of deliverance from sin and of personal holiness; but salvation means that the Spirit of God has brought me into touch with God’s personality, and I am thrilled with something infinitely greater than myself; I am caught up into the abandonment of God.

     To say that we are called to preach holiness or sanctification, is to get into a side-eddy. We are called to proclaim Jesus Christ. The fact that He saves from sin and makes us holy is part of the effect of the wonderful abandonment of God.

     Abandonment never produces the consciousness of its own effort, because the whole life is taken up with the One to Whom we abandon. Beware of talking about abandonment if you know nothing about it, and you will never know anything about it until you have realized what John 3:16 means, that God gave Himself absolutely. In our abandonment we give ourselves over to God just as God gave Himself for us, without any calculation. The consequence of abandonment never enters into our outlook because our life is taken up with Him.

My Utmost for His Highest

The Survivors
     the Poetry of R.S. Thomas

           The Survivors

I never told you this.
He told me about it often:
Seven days in an open boat - burned out,
No time to get food:
Biscuits and water and the unwanted sun,
With only the oars' wing-beats for motion,
Labouring heavily towards land
That existed on a remembered chart,
Never on the horizon
Seven miles from the boat's bow.

After two days song dried on their lips;
After four days speech.
On the fifth cracks began to appear
In the faces' masks; salt scorched them.
They began to think about death,
Each man to himself, feeding it
On what the rest could not conceal.
The sea was as empty as the sky,
A vast disc under a dome
Of the same vastness, perilously blue.

But on the sixth day towards evening
A bird passed. No one slept that night;
The boat had become an ear
Straining for the desired thunder
Of the wrecked waves. It was dawn when it came
Ominous as the big guns
Of enemy shores. The men cheered it.
From the swell's rise one of them saw the ruins
Of all that sea, where a lean horseman
Rode towards them and with a rope
Galloped them up on to the curt sand.

Collected Later Poems: 1988-2000

Teacher's Commentary
     Numbers Overview

     With the Law given, the priests ordained, and the sacrificial system which provided for forgiveness of sin instituted, it was time for God’s people to move on.

     Israel had come to Sinai exactly three months after leaving Egypt. On the twentieth day of the second month of the second year out of Egypt they would set out again (Numbers 10:11).

     From this point on, Israel would be responsible to God for the choices individuals, groups, and the whole community made. Despite punishments for disobedience along the way, this generation did not learn the vital lesson of obedience. When the time came to make life’s most significant choice, these people would hear God’s voice, and turn away.


     I. At Sinai 1–9

         A. Organizing the people 1–4
         B. Culminating worship 5–9
     II The Lost Generation 10–20

         A. The journey 10–12
         B. Israel’s disobedience 13–14
         C. Years of wandering 15–19
     III. Prelude to Victory 20–36

         A. Warfare 20–21
         B. Baalam 22–25
         C. The new generation 26–31
         D. Victory preview 32–36

     A most significant statement about God is found in this section of Scripture: “The Lord is slow to anger, abounding in love and forgiving sin and rebellion. Yet He does not leave the guilty unpunished” (Numbers 14:18). God is love. But persons are responsible to Him for their choices.

The Teacher's Commentary

Epilogue: Job 42
     Teacher's Commentary

     The conclusion of the story (42:7–16) seems to many to be an anticlimax. Job’s wealth is restored double. He has seven more sons and three more daughters. And Job is told to pray for his three friends because, God said to them, “You have not spoken of Me what is right, as My servant Job has” (v. 7).

     Thus the Book of Job leaves us with more questions than when we began. But perhaps it suggests answers.

     How did Job speak what was right, and his friends incur God’s anger in the dialogue? Perhaps because only Job was willing to test his concept of God against his own experience and observation. True faith is no retreat from reality, but a willingness to face mystery. Job’s three friends were unwilling to admit the possibility that their understanding of God might be imperfect. Is it possible that their trust was not in God but in in His likeness?

     Why did Job suffer? No answer is given in the text. But there are clues. For instance, at the beginning Job cries out that what he feared has come upon him (3:25). Can it be that Job’s relationship with God was flawed by a fear that blocked full trust and love? Certainly Job’s meeting with God replaced hearing with sight. Job lost all trust in his own righteousness as the basis for a standing with God (42:6), and simply bowed down before the Lord.

     Deep release and freedom are available for us too when we let God’s perfect love cast out our fear and no longer think of what we do as having merit in God’s eyes. Like Job we need to trust in the Lord and to abandon reliance on any righteousness of ours.

     What do we learn about our suffering? One message is clear. We wrong God if we fall into the way of thinking of Job’s three friends. We wrong God if each trial of ours is excused by condemning ourselves for supposed sins. Instead, we need to approach God with trust in His love and His righteousness. His purposes will be just and what He does in our lives will be for our good.

     The New Testament adds special insight here. In 1 Peter God assures those who suffer for doing right that, when such suffering does come, it is a special purposive act of the Lord. Christ also suffered though He was innocent, and through that suffering accomplished the wonderful purpose of bringing us to God (1 Peter 3:13–18).

     We may not know exactly why Job suffered, or why we sometimes suffer. But we can know that the suffering of God’s own is purposive, intended for good. Like Job, and like Jesus, when suffering comes we must simply trust.

The Teacher's Commentary

Swimming In The Sea of Talmud
     Berakhot 51b


     There is much to be said against any mitzvah performed by means of a transgression, of doing a good deed in a way that breaks the law. Robin Hood stole from the rich and gave to the poor. While aiding the needy is a laudable act, accomplishing this act by defrauding others is less than praiseworthy. After all, we still express our moral disapproval by saying that Robin Hood “stole” from the rich—not “borrowed,” “recovered,” or even “took.”

     Thus, we are aware that we must be careful not only that we do mitzvot, but also how we perform them. The power of this rule is attested to by the fact that all of us know of those who perform mitzvot through a transgression and thus bring shame to God, the Torah, and the Jewish people. The slumlord who keeps his tenants living in squalor, who denies them heat in the winter and running water all year long, yet gives generously to many worthy causes has performed a mitzvah by means of a transgression.

     Surprisingly, the Gemara does not come down unequivocally against the mitzvah performed by a transgression. It seems that if the transgression is insignificant (freeing a slave) or the need is great (a minyan to fulfill the prayer obligation), then the general rule is waived, and the mitzvah is allowed even though a minor transgression is involved.

     But what is a minor transgression? What constitutes the “public good” or a “great need?” The answers to these questions are surely debatable and subjective. Perhaps this is the point of the Gemara. There are no hard-and-fast rules for conduct that will cover every possible case. This text, like much of the Gemara, forces us to think without thinking for us.

     Every one of us will undoubtedly face issues where we see good happening via corruption. We can then recall this Gemara and ask ourselves: Is the need that great that we can allow the transgression? And is the sin so awful that we have to speak out against the good that will be done? Some would prefer a legal system that gives us every answer and covers each conceivable situation. Halakhah, Jewish law, does not do this, not only for practical reasons (it’s impossible), but also for philosophical reasons (it’s unhealthy). Though we are made uncomfortable by the situation, and by our need to work out a suitable answer, we are reassured by our texts which limit the choices and bring the values into focus, while not totally limiting our free will and personal involvement.

     The frequent and the infrequent—the frequent takes precedence.

     Text / Our Rabbis taught: “The differences between Bet Shammai and Bet Hillel regarding a meal—Bet Shammai says: ‘The blessing is first said over the day and then over the wine, because it is on account of the day that the wine is used; and the day already was sanctified before the wine was brought.’ Bet Hillel says: ‘The blessing is first said over the wine and then over the day, because the wine provides the opportunity for the prayer of sanctification to be said.’ Another explanation: ‘The blessing over the wine is said frequently, while the blessing over the day is said only infrequently, and [in a case of] the frequent and the infrequent—the frequent takes precedence.’ ”

     Context / The text of kiddush recited Friday evening: Praised are You, Lord our God, King of the universe who creates fruit of the vine. Praised are You, Lord our God, King of the Universe whose mitzvot add holiness to our lives, cherishing us through the gift of His holy Shabbat granted lovingly, gladly, a reminder of Creation. It is the first among our days of sacred assembly which recall the Exodus from Egypt. Thus You have chosen us, endowing us with holiness, from among all peoples by granting us Your holy Shabbat lovingly and gladly. Praised are You, Lord who hallows Shabbat. (Translation, Siddur Sim Shalom)

     At the beginning of Shabbat and festivals, a special prayer, kiddush (“sanctification”), is recited over a cup of wine at the evening meal. Kiddush is composed of two parts: A one-line blessing for the wine, and a longer blessing praising God for having created the special day. The question that Bet Shammai and Bet Hillel are discussing is which of the two blessings is recited first. Bet Shammai holds that Shabbat begins Friday at sunset; only afterwards do we sit down to a meal and recite the kiddush over the wine. Therefore, the blessing over the day (“Praised are You, O Lord, Who hallows Shabbat”) is recited first. It is then followed by the blessing over the wine (“Praised are You, O Lord … Who creates fruit of the vine”).

     Bet Hillel takes the opposite position: The prayer praising God for having created the special day is recited only by virtue of our drinking wine in celebration of the day. Therefore, the blessing over the wine should come first. Another reason is offered by the Gemara for this position: We drink wine quite often, and the blessing over wine is recited each time we do so. But the blessing “over the day” is recited only at the onset of that special occasion. Bet Hillel follows the principle that things which comes frequently take precedence over things which come infrequently.

     The halakhah today follows the opinion of Bet Hillel: We begin with the blessing over the wine and follow with the blessing over the day.

Swimming in the Sea of Talmud: Lessons for Everyday Living

The Imitation Of Christ
     Thomas A Kempis

     Book Three - Internal Consolation

     The Fourth Chapter / We Must Walk Before God In Humility And Truth

          The Voice Of Christ

     MY CHILD, walk before Me in truth, and seek Me always in the simplicity of your heart. He who walks before Me in truth shall be defended from the attacks of evil, and the truth shall free him from seducers and from the slanders of wicked men. For if the truth has made you free, then you shall be free indeed, and you shall not care for the vain words of men.

          THE DISCIPLE

     O Lord, it is true. I ask that it be with me as You say. Let your truth teach me. Let it guard me, and keep me safe to the end. Let it free me from all evil affection and badly ordered love, and I shall walk with You in great freedom of heart.


     I shall teach you those things which are right and pleasing to Me. Consider your sins with great displeasure and sorrow, and never think yourself to be someone because of your good works. You are truly a sinner. You are subject to many passions and entangled in them. Of yourself you always tend to nothing. You fall quickly, are quickly overcome, quickly troubled, and quickly undone. You have nothing in which you can glory, but you have many things for which you should think yourself vile, for you are much weaker than you can comprehend. Hence, let none of the things you do seem great to you. Let nothing seem important or precious or desirable except that which is everlasting. Let the eternal truth please you above all things, and let your extreme unworthiness always displease you. Fear nothing, abhor nothing, and fly nothing as you do your own vices and sins; these should be more unpleasant for you than any material losses.

     Some men walk before Me without sincerity. Led on by a certain curiosity and arrogance, they wish to know My secrets and to understand the high things of God, to the neglect of themselves and their own salvation. Through their own pride and curiosity, and because I am against them, such men often fall into great temptations and sins.

     Fear the judgments of God! Dread the wrath of the Almighty! Do not discuss the works of the Most High, but examine your sins—in what serious things you have offended and how many good things you have neglected.

     Some carry their devotion only in books, some in pictures, some in outward signs and figures. Some have Me on their lips when there is little of Me in their hearts. Others, indeed, with enlightened understanding and purified affections, constantly long for everlasting things; they are unwilling to hear of earthly affairs and only with reluctance do they serve the necessities of nature. These sense what the Spirit of truth speaks within them: for He teaches them to despise earthly things and to love those of heaven, to neglect the world, and each day and night to desire heaven.

The Imitation Of Christ

Take Heart
     March 13

     We are confident, I say, and would prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord.
2 Corinthians 5:8.

     The souls of true saints, when they leave their bodies at death, go to be with Christ. ( The Works of Jonathan Edwards, 2 Volumes ) They are brought into perfect conformity to and union with him. Their spiritual conformity is begun while they are in the body, but when they see him as he is in heaven, then they become like him in another manner. That perfect sight will abolish all remains of deformity, disagreement, and sinful unlikeness, as all darkness is abolished before the blaze of the sun. It is impossible that the least degree of obscurity should remain before such light; so it is impossible the least degree of sin and spiritual deformity should remain before the beauty and glory of Christ. When saints see that Sun of righteousness, they themselves shine forth as little suns, without spot.

     And then the saints’ union with Christ is perfected. This also is begun in this world. The union of a heart to Christ is begun when that heart is drawn to Christ at conversion, and consequent to this a vital union is established with Christ, by which the believer becomes a living branch of the true vine, living by a communication of the vital juice of the root, and a member of Christ’s mystical body, living by a communication of spiritual influences from the Head and by a kind of participation in Christ’s own life. But while the saints are in the body, there is much remaining distance between Christ and them: there are remainders of alienation, and the union is very imperfect and so, consequently, is the communication of spiritual influences. There is much between Christ and believers to keep them apart—sin, temptation, a world of carnal objects to keep the soul from Christ and hinder a perfect coming together.

     But when the soul leaves the body, all these clogs and hindrances will be removed, every separating wall will be broken down and every impediment taken out of the way, and all distance will cease. The heart will be wholly and forever bound to him by a perfect view of his glory. And the vital union will then be brought to perfection; the soul will live perfectly in and on Christ, being perfectly filled with his spirit and animated by his vital influences—living, as it were, only by Christ’s life, without any remainder of spiritual death or carnal life.
--- Jonathan Edwards

Take Heart: Daily Devotions with the Church's Great Preachers

On This Day   March 13
     Gutenberg’s Bible

     Johann Gutenberg grew up in Mainz, Germany. He devoured books, reading all that his wealthy father ordered. The volumes were outrageously expensive, sometimes costing as much as a farm. Local scribes copied the texts by hand, illuminators decorated the margins, and binders made the covers. Finally the title was stamped into the leather cover by brass punches. It was the punches that suggested an idea to Johann. Why not make separate metal letters and arrange them into words? Why not set up a page and print it using a press?

     Johann moved to Strasbourg and set up a secret workshop near an old monastery. Though beset by problems, he toiled for years to get his invention to work. Finally, Johann returned to Mainz where he was assured an income by inheritance.

     He set up a printing shop, and in 1450, after 30 years, he was ready to begin. He chose the Bible as his first book. Such a project required he borrow 800 guldens from Johann Fust, but if he wasn’t repaid with interest in five years, Fust demanded, all the equipment and materials would revert to him.

     It took Johann two years to set up a workshop. He hired workers, had presses built, and taught laborers to grind and mix ink. Then he was ready to begin printing. Two more years went by, and the invention wasn’t working well. Another year passed, and two months before the Bible was completed, Fust sued. On November 6, 1455 the judge ruled in his favor.

     Gutenberg angrily turned over his presses and almost-completed Bibles to Fust. The Bible was reportedly first published on March 13, 1456, and for many years the credit went to Fust and his partner, Peter Schoffer. But after Gutenberg died on February 3, 1469, Schoffer admitted that, after all, Johann Gutenberg had invented printing.

     What God has said isn’t only active and alive! It is sharper than any double-edged sword. His word can cut through our spirits and souls and through our joints and marrow, until it discovers the desires and thoughts of our hearts.
--- Hebrews 4.12.

On This Day 365 Amazing And Inspiring Stories About Saints, Martyrs And Heroes

Morning and Evening
     Daily Readings / CHARLES H. SPURGEON

          Morning - March 13

     “Why sit we here until we die?” --- 2 Kings 7:3.

     Dear reader, this little book was mainly intended for the edification of believers, but if you are yet unsaved, our heart yearns over you: and we would fain say a word which may be blessed to you. Open your Bible, and read the story of the lepers, and mark their position, which was much the same as yours. If you remain where you are you must perish; if you go to Jesus you can but die. “Nothing venture, nothing win,” is the old proverb, and in your case the venture is no great one. If you sit still in sullen despair, no one can pity you when your ruin comes; but if you die with mercy sought, if such a thing were possible, you would be the object of universal sympathy. None escape who refuse to look to Jesus; but you know that, at any rate, some are saved who believe in him, for certain of your own acquaintances have received mercy: then why not you? The Ninevites said, “Who can tell?” Act upon the same hope, and try the Lord’s mercy. To perish is so awful, that if there were but a straw to catch at, the instinct of self-preservation should lead you to stretch out your hand. We have thus been talking to you on your own unbelieving ground, we would now assure you, as from the Lord, that if you seek him he will be found of you. Jesus casts out none who come unto him. You shall not perish if you trust him; on the contrary, you shall find treasure far richer than the poor lepers gathered in Syria’s deserted camp. May the Holy Spirit embolden you to go at once, and you shall not believe in vain. When you are saved yourself, publish the good news to others. Hold not your peace; tell the King’s household first, and unite with them in fellowship; let the porter of the city, the minister, be informed of your discovery, and then proclaim the good news in every place. The Lord save thee ere the sun goes down this day.

          Evening - March 13

     “Then he put forth his hand, and took her, and pulled her in unto him into the ark.” --- Genesis 8:9.

     Wearied out with her wanderings, the dove returns at length to the ark as her only resting place. How heavily she flies—she will drop—she will never reach the ark! But she struggles on. Noah has been looking out for his dove all day long, and is ready to receive her. She has just strength to reach the edge of the ark, she can hardly alight upon it, and is ready to drop, when Noah puts forth his hand and pulls her in unto him. Mark that: “pulled her in unto him.” She did not fly right in herself, but was too fearful, or too weary to do so. She flew as far as she could, and then he put forth his hand and pulled her in unto him. This act of mercy was shown to the wandering dove, and she was not chidden for her wanderings. Just as she was she was pulled into the ark. So you, seeking sinner, with all your sin, will be received. “Only return”—those are God’s two gracious words—“only return.” What! nothing else? No, “only return.” She had no olive branch in her mouth this time, nothing at all but just herself and her wanderings; but it is “only return,” and she does return, and Noah pulls her in. Fly, thou wanderer; fly thou fainting one, dove as thou art, though thou thinkest thyself to be black as the raven with the mire of sin, back, back to the Saviour. Every moment thou waitest does but increase thy misery; thine attempts to plume thyself and make thyself fit for Jesus are all vanity. Come thou to him just as thou art. “Return, thou backsliding Israel.” He does not say, “Return, thou repenting Israel” (there is such an invitation doubtless), but “thou backsliding one,” as a backslider with all thy backslidings about thee, Return, return, return! Jesus is waiting for thee! He will stretch forth his hand and “pull thee in”—in to himself, thy heart’s true home.

Morning and Evening

Amazing Grace
     March 13


     Words and Music by Horatio R. Palmer, 1834–1907

     Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. (Matthew 26:41)

     Temptations are common to everyone, even mature Christians. The noblest souls are often the ones most tempted. It seems that Satan assaults Christians in positions of leadership with his strongest weapons. Therefore, we must all be on our constant spiritual guard.

     Jesus’ 40 day temptation in the wilderness dramatically instructs us how to overcome Satan’s attacks. In each temptation, Jesus answered the devil with Scripture. All of the scriptural quotations Jesus used were from the book of Deuteronomy, an indication of the importance of being well-acquainted with the Old Testament (Deuteronomy 8:3; Matthew 4:4).

     It is impossible to isolate ourselves from all of life’s temptations. The allurements of modern living are ever near. But we are not alone in this struggle. “We have One who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet without sin” (Hebrews 4:15). And “because He Himself suffered when He was tempted, He is able to help those who are being tempted” (Hebrews 2:18). Regardless of the temptation, our Lord understands what we are facing and stands ready to provide the strength to resist and to emerge victorious.

     Horatio R. Palmer, author and composer, was an American musician. One day while he was working on a music theory exercise, the idea for this hymn suddenly came to him. He wrote it down as quickly as possible and with few exceptions the hymn has remained as it was written. The hymn has been an excellent teaching song for both young and old in learning how to face the daily temptations of life.

     Yield not to temptations for yielding is sin; each vict’ry will help you some other to win; fight manfully onward, dark passions subdue; look ever to Jesus—He’ll carry you through.
     Shun evil companions, bad language disdain; God’s name hold in rev’rence, nor take it in vain; be thoughtful and earnest, kind-hearted and true; look ever to Jesus—He’ll carry you through.
     To him that o’er-cometh God giveth a crown; thru faith we will conquer tho often cast down; He who is our Savior our strength will renew; look ever to Jesus—He’ll carry you through.
     Chorus: Ask the Savior to help you, comfort, strengthen and keep you; He is willing to aid you—He will carry you through.

     For Today: Psalm 97:10; Matthew 6:13; 1 Corinthians 10:13; James 1:14, 15, 2 Peter 2:9; Revelation 3:10.

     Ask God to make you a victor over all temptations that may come your way. Carry this musical reminder to help you ---

Amazing Grace: 366 Inspiring Hymn Stories for Daily Devotions

Book Of Common Prayer
     Tuesday, March 13, 2018 | Lent

Tuesday Of The Fourth Week In Lent
Year 2

Psalms (Morning)     Psalm 97, 99 (100)
Psalms (Evening)     Psalm 94 (95)
Old Testament     Genesis 49:29–50:14
New Testament     1 Corinthians 11:17–34
Gospel     Mark 8:1–10

Index of Readings

Psalms (Morning)
Psalm 97, 99 (100)

97 The LORD reigns, let the earth rejoice;
let the many coastlands be glad!
2 Clouds and thick darkness are all around him;
righteousness and justice are the foundation of his throne.
3 Fire goes before him
and burns up his adversaries all around.
4 His lightnings light up the world;
the earth sees and trembles.
5 The mountains melt like wax before the LORD,
before the Lord of all the earth.

6 The heavens proclaim his righteousness,
and all the peoples see his glory.
7 All worshipers of images are put to shame,
who make their boast in worthless idols;
worship him, all you gods!

8 Zion hears and is glad,
and the daughters of Judah rejoice,
because of your judgments, O LORD.
9 For you, O LORD, are most high over all the earth;
you are exalted far above all gods.

10 O you who love the LORD, hate evil!
He preserves the lives of his saints;
he delivers them from the hand of the wicked.
11 Light is sown for the righteous,
and joy for the upright in heart.
12 Rejoice in the LORD, O you righteous,
and give thanks to his holy name!

99 The LORD reigns; let the peoples tremble!
He sits enthroned upon the cherubim; let the earth quake!
2 The LORD is great in Zion;
he is exalted over all the peoples.
3 Let them praise your great and awesome name!
Holy is he!
4 The King in his might loves justice.
You have established equity;
you have executed justice
and righteousness in Jacob.
5 Exalt the LORD our God;
worship at his footstool!
Holy is he!

6 Moses and Aaron were among his priests,
Samuel also was among those who called upon his name.
They called to the LORD, and he answered them.
7 In the pillar of the cloud he spoke to them;
they kept his testimonies
and the statute that he gave them.

8 O LORD our God, you answered them;
you were a forgiving God to them,
but an avenger of their wrongdoings.
9 Exalt the LORD our God,
and worship at his holy mountain;
for the LORD our God is holy!


1 Make a joyful noise to the LORD, all the earth!
2 Serve the LORD with gladness!
Come into his presence with singing!

3 Know that the LORD, he is God!
It is he who made us, and we are his;
we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.

4 Enter his gates with thanksgiving,
and his courts with praise!
Give thanks to him; bless his name!

5 For the LORD is good;
his steadfast love endures forever,
and his faithfulness to all generations. ]

Psalms (Evening)
Psalm 94 (95)

94 O LORD, God of vengeance,
O God of vengeance, shine forth!
2 Rise up, O judge of the earth;
repay to the proud what they deserve!
3 O LORD, how long shall the wicked,
how long shall the wicked exult?
4 They pour out their arrogant words;
all the evildoers boast.
5 They crush your people, O LORD,
and afflict your heritage.
6 They kill the widow and the sojourner,
and murder the fatherless;
7 and they say, “The LORD does not see;
the God of Jacob does not perceive.”

8 Understand, O dullest of the people!
Fools, when will you be wise?
9 He who planted the ear, does he not hear?
He who formed the eye, does he not see?
10 He who disciplines the nations, does he not rebuke?
He who teaches man knowledge—
11 the LORD—knows the thoughts of man,
that they are but a breath.

12 Blessed is the man whom you discipline, O LORD,
and whom you teach out of your law,
13 to give him rest from days of trouble,
until a pit is dug for the wicked.
14 For the LORD will not forsake his people;
he will not abandon his heritage;
15 for justice will return to the righteous,
and all the upright in heart will follow it.

16 Who rises up for me against the wicked?
Who stands up for me against evildoers?
17 If the LORD had not been my help,
my soul would soon have lived in the land of silence.
18 When I thought, “My foot slips,”
your steadfast love, O LORD, held me up.
19 When the cares of my heart are many,
your consolations cheer my soul.
20 Can wicked rulers be allied with you,
those who frame injustice by statute?
21 They band together against the life of the righteous
and condemn the innocent to death.
22 But the LORD has become my stronghold,
and my God the rock of my refuge.
23 He will bring back on them their iniquity
and wipe them out for their wickedness;
the LORD our God will wipe them out.

[ 95 Oh come, let us sing to the LORD;
let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation!
2 Let us come into his presence with thanksgiving;
let us make a joyful noise to him with songs of praise!
3 For the LORD is a great God,
and a great King above all gods.
4 In his hand are the depths of the earth;
the heights of the mountains are his also.
5 The sea is his, for he made it,
and his hands formed the dry land.

6 Oh come, let us worship and bow down;
let us kneel before the LORD, our Maker!
7 For he is our God,
and we are the people of his pasture,
and the sheep of his hand.
Today, if you hear his voice,
8 do not harden your hearts, as at Meribah,
as on the day at Massah in the wilderness,
9 when your fathers put me to the test
and put me to the proof, though they had seen my work.
10 For forty years I loathed that generation
and said, “They are a people who go astray in their heart,
and they have not known my ways.”
11 Therefore I swore in my wrath,
“They shall not enter my rest.” ]

Old Testament
Genesis 49:29–50:14

29 Then he commanded them and said to them, “I am to be gathered to my people; bury me with my fathers in the cave that is in the field of Ephron the Hittite, 30 in the cave that is in the field at Machpelah, to the east of Mamre, in the land of Canaan, which Abraham bought with the field from Ephron the Hittite to possess as a burying place. 31 There they buried Abraham and Sarah his wife. There they buried Isaac and Rebekah his wife, and there I buried Leah— 32 the field and the cave that is in it were bought from the Hittites.” 33 When Jacob finished commanding his sons, he drew up his feet into the bed and breathed his last and was gathered to his people.

50 Then Joseph fell on his father’s face and wept over him and kissed him. 2 And Joseph commanded his servants the physicians to embalm his father. So the physicians embalmed Israel. 3 Forty days were required for it, for that is how many are required for embalming. And the Egyptians wept for him seventy days.

4 And when the days of weeping for him were past, Joseph spoke to the household of Pharaoh, saying, “If now I have found favor in your eyes, please speak in the ears of Pharaoh, saying, 5 ‘My father made me swear, saying, “I am about to die: in my tomb that I hewed out for myself in the land of Canaan, there shall you bury me.” Now therefore, let me please go up and bury my father. Then I will return.’ ” 6 And Pharaoh answered, “Go up, and bury your father, as he made you swear.” 7 So Joseph went up to bury his father. With him went up all the servants of Pharaoh, the elders of his household, and all the elders of the land of Egypt, 8 as well as all the household of Joseph, his brothers, and his father’s household. Only their children, their flocks, and their herds were left in the land of Goshen. 9 And there went up with him both chariots and horsemen. It was a very great company. 10 When they came to the threshing floor of Atad, which is beyond the Jordan, they lamented there with a very great and grievous lamentation, and he made a mourning for his father seven days. 11 When the inhabitants of the land, the Canaanites, saw the mourning on the threshing floor of Atad, they said, “This is a grievous mourning by the Egyptians.” Therefore the place was named Abel-mizraim; it is beyond the Jordan. 12 Thus his sons did for him as he had commanded them, 13 for his sons carried him to the land of Canaan and buried him in the cave of the field at Machpelah, to the east of Mamre, which Abraham bought with the field from Ephron the Hittite to possess as a burying place. 14 After he had buried his father, Joseph returned to Egypt with his brothers and all who had gone up with him to bury his father.

New Testament
1 Corinthians 11:17–34

17 But in the following instructions I do not commend you, because when you come together it is not for the better but for the worse. 18 For, in the first place, when you come together as a church, I hear that there are divisions among you. And I believe it in part, 19 for there must be factions among you in order that those who are genuine among you may be recognized. 20 When you come together, it is not the Lord’s supper that you eat. 21 For in eating, each one goes ahead with his own meal. One goes hungry, another gets drunk. 22 What! Do you not have houses to eat and drink in? Or do you despise the church of God and humiliate those who have nothing? What shall I say to you? Shall I commend you in this? No, I will not.

23 For I received from the Lord what I also delivered to you, that the Lord Jesus on the night when he was betrayed took bread, 24 and when he had given thanks, he broke it, and said, “This is my body, which is for6 you. Do this in remembrance of me.”7 25 In the same way also he took the cup, after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.” 26 For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.

27 Whoever, therefore, eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty concerning the body and blood of the Lord. 28 Let a person examine himself, then, and so eat of the bread and drink of the cup. 29 For anyone who eats and drinks without discerning the body eats and drinks judgment on himself. 30 That is why many of you are weak and ill, and some have died. 31 But if we judged ourselves truly, we would not be judged. 32 But when we are judged by the Lord, we are disciplined so that we may not be condemned along with the world.

33 So then, my brothers, when you come together to eat, wait for one another— 34 if anyone is hungry, let him eat at home—so that when you come together it will not be for judgment. About the other things I will give directions when I come.

Mark 8:1–10

8 In those days, when again a great crowd had gathered, and they had nothing to eat, he called his disciples to him and said to them, 2 “I have compassion on the crowd, because they have been with me now three days and have nothing to eat. 3 And if I send them away hungry to their homes, they will faint on the way. And some of them have come from far away.” 4 And his disciples answered him, “How can one feed these people with bread here in this desolate place?” 5 And he asked them, “How many loaves do you have?” They said, “Seven.” 6 And he directed the crowd to sit down on the ground. And he took the seven loaves, and having given thanks, he broke them and gave them to his disciples to set before the people; and they set them before the crowd. 7 And they had a few small fish. And having blessed them, he said that these also should be set before them. 8 And they ate and were satisfied. And they took up the broken pieces left over, seven baskets full. 9 And there were about four thousand people. And he sent them away. 10 And immediately he got into the boat with his disciples and went to the district of Dalmanutha.

The Book of Common Prayer

Book Of Common Prayer
     On The Same Date | Confession of St. Peter

Evening Prayer
Years 1 & 2

On the same date: Confession of St. Peter, Morning Prayer

Psalms     Psalm 118
Old Testament     Ezekiel 34:11–16
New Testament     John 21:15–22

Index of Readings

Psalm 118

118 Oh give thanks to the LORD, for he is good;
for his steadfast love endures forever!

2 Let Israel say,
“His steadfast love endures forever.”
3 Let the house of Aaron say,
“His steadfast love endures forever.”
4 Let those who fear the LORD say,
“His steadfast love endures forever.”

5 Out of my distress I called on the LORD;
the LORD answered me and set me free.
6 The LORD is on my side; I will not fear.
What can man do to me?
7 The LORD is on my side as my helper;
I shall look in triumph on those who hate me.

8 It is better to take refuge in the LORD
than to trust in man.
9 It is better to take refuge in the LORD
than to trust in princes.

10 All nations surrounded me;
in the name of the LORD I cut them off!
11 They surrounded me, surrounded me on every side;
in the name of the LORD I cut them off!
12 They surrounded me like bees;
they went out like a fire among thorns;
in the name of the LORD I cut them off!
13 I was pushed hard, so that I was falling,
but the LORD helped me.

14 The LORD is my strength and my song;
he has become my salvation.
15 Glad songs of salvation
are in the tents of the righteous:
“The right hand of the LORD does valiantly,
16 the right hand of the LORD exalts,
the right hand of the LORD does valiantly!”

17 I shall not die, but I shall live,
and recount the deeds of the LORD.
18 The LORD has disciplined me severely,
but he has not given me over to death.

19 Open to me the gates of righteousness,
that I may enter through them
and give thanks to the LORD.
20 This is the gate of the LORD;
the righteous shall enter through it.
21 I thank you that you have answered me
and have become my salvation.
22 The stone that the builders rejected
has become the cornerstone.
23 This is the LORD’s doing;
it is marvelous in our eyes.
24 This is the day that the LORD has made;
let us rejoice and be glad in it.

25 Save us, we pray, O LORD!
O LORD, we pray, give us success!

26 Blessed is he who comes in the name of the LORD!
We bless you from the house of the LORD.
27 The LORD is God,
and he has made his light to shine upon us.
Bind the festal sacrifice with cords,
up to the horns of the altar!

28 You are my God, and I will give thanks to you;
you are my God; I will extol you.
29 Oh give thanks to the LORD, for he is good;
for his steadfast love endures forever!

Old Testament
Ezekiel 34:11–16

11 “For thus says the Lord GOD: Behold, I, I myself will search for my sheep and will seek them out. 12 As a shepherd seeks out his flock when he is among his sheep that have been scattered, so will I seek out my sheep, and I will rescue them from all places where they have been scattered on a day of clouds and thick darkness. 13 And I will bring them out from the peoples and gather them from the countries, and will bring them into their own land. And I will feed them on the mountains of Israel, by the ravines, and in all the inhabited places of the country. 14 I will feed them with good pasture, and on the mountain heights of Israel shall be their grazing land. There they shall lie down in good grazing land, and on rich pasture they shall feed on the mountains of Israel. 15 I myself will be the shepherd of my sheep, and I myself will make them lie down, declares the Lord GOD. 16 I will seek the lost, and I will bring back the strayed, and I will bind up the injured, and I will strengthen the weak, and the fat and the strong I will destroy. I will feed them in justice.

New Testament
John 21:15–22

15 When they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” He said to him, “Feed my lambs.” 16 He said to him a second time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” He said to him, “Tend my sheep.” 17 He said to him the third time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” Peter was grieved because he said to him the third time, “Do you love me?” and he said to him, “Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Feed my sheep. 18 Truly, truly, I say to you, when you were young, you used to dress yourself and walk wherever you wanted, but when you are old, you will stretch out your hands, and another will dress you and carry you where you do not want to go.” 19 (This he said to show by what kind of death he was to glorify God.) And after saying this he said to him, “Follow me.”

20 Peter turned and saw the disciple whom Jesus loved following them, the one who also had leaned back against him during the supper and had said, “Lord, who is it that is going to betray you?” 21 When Peter saw him, he said to Jesus, “Lord, what about this man?” 22 Jesus said to him, “If it is my will that he remain until I come, what is that to you? You follow me!”

The Book of Common Prayer

Dark Ages 3
Donald Kagan   Yale

Rise of the Polis 4
Donald Kagan   Yale

Rise of the Polis 5
Donald Kagan   Yale

Greek "Renaissance"
Colonization and Tyranny 6
Donald Kagan   Yale

Colonization and Tyranny 7
Donald Kagan   Yale

Sparta 8
Donald Kagan   Yale

Sparta 9
Donald Kagan   Yale

Doing the Right Things
Starts with Knowing the Right Things
Greg Love   Dallas Theological Seminary


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2 Corinthians 12:7-10
Brett Meador | Athey Creek