Josiah Reigns over Judah (2 Chr 34.1—2)2 Kings 22:1 Josiah was eight years old when he began to reign; he reigned thirty-one years in Jerusalem. His mother’s name was Jedidah daughter of Adaiah of Bozkath. 2 He did what was right in the sight of the Lord, and walked in all the way of his father David; he did not turn aside to the right or to the left.
Hilkiah Finds the Book of the Law (2 Chr 34.8—28)3 In the eighteenth year of King Josiah, the king sent Shaphan son of Azaliah, son of Meshullam, the secretary, to the house of the Lord, saying, 4 “Go up to the high priest Hilkiah, and have him count the entire sum of the money that has been brought into the house of the Lord, which the keepers of the threshold have collected from the people; 5 let it be given into the hand of the workers who have the oversight of the house of the Lord; let them give it to the workers who are at the house of the Lord, repairing the house, 6 that is, to the carpenters, to the builders, to the masons; and let them use it to buy timber and quarried stone to repair the house. 7 But no accounting shall be asked from them for the money that is delivered into their hand, for they deal honestly.”
8 The high priest Hilkiah said to Shaphan the secretary, “I have found the book of the law in the house of the Lord.” When Hilkiah gave the book to Shaphan, he read it. 9 Then Shaphan the secretary came to the king, and reported to the king, “Your servants have emptied out the money that was found in the house, and have delivered it into the hand of the workers who have oversight of the house of the Lord.” 10 Shaphan the secretary informed the king, “The priest Hilkiah has given me a book.” Shaphan then read it aloud to the king.
11 When the king heard the words of the book of the law, he tore his clothes. 12 Then the king commanded the priest Hilkiah, Ahikam son of Shaphan, Achbor son of Micaiah, Shaphan the secretary, and the king’s servant Asaiah, saying, 13 “Go, inquire of the Lord for me, for the people, and for all Judah, concerning the words of this book that has been found; for great is the wrath of the Lord that is kindled against us, because our ancestors did not obey the words of this book, to do according to all that is written concerning us.”
14 So the priest Hilkiah, Ahikam, Achbor, Shaphan, and Asaiah went to the prophetess Huldah the wife of Shallum son of Tikvah, son of Harhas, keeper of the wardrobe; she resided in Jerusalem in the Second Quarter, where they consulted her. 15 She declared to them, “Thus says the Lord, the God of Israel: Tell the man who sent you to me, 16 Thus says the Lord, I will indeed bring disaster on this place and on its inhabitants—all the words of the book that the king of Judah has read. 17 Because they have abandoned me and have made offerings to other gods, so that they have provoked me to anger with all the work of their hands, therefore my wrath will be kindled against this place, and it will not be quenched. 18 But as to the king of Judah, who sent you to inquire of the Lord, thus shall you say to him, Thus says the Lord, the God of Israel: Regarding the words that you have heard, 19 because your heart was penitent, and you humbled yourself before the Lord, when you heard how I spoke against this place, and against its inhabitants, that they should become a desolation and a curse, and because you have torn your clothes and wept before me, I also have heard you, says the Lord. 20 Therefore, I will gather you to your ancestors, and you shall be gathered to your grave in peace; your eyes shall not see all the disaster that I will bring on this place.” They took the message back to the king.
Josiah’s Reformation (2 Chr 34.29—33)2 Kings 23:1 Then the king directed that all the elders of Judah and Jerusalem should be gathered to him. 2 The king went up to the house of the Lord, and with him went all the people of Judah, all the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the priests, the prophets, and all the people, both small and great; he read in their hearing all the words of the book of the covenant that had been found in the house of the Lord. 3 The king stood by the pillar and made a covenant before the Lord, to follow the Lord, keeping his commandments, his decrees, and his statutes, with all his heart and all his soul, to perform the words of this covenant that were written in this book. All the people joined in the covenant.
4 The king commanded the high priest Hilkiah, the priests of the second order, and the guardians of the threshold, to bring out of the temple of the Lord all the vessels made for Baal, for Asherah, and for all the host of heaven; he burned them outside Jerusalem in the fields of the Kidron, and carried their ashes to Bethel. 5 He deposed the idolatrous priests whom the kings of Judah had ordained to make offerings in the high places at the cities of Judah and around Jerusalem; those also who made offerings to Baal, to the sun, the moon, the constellations, and all the host of the heavens. 6 He brought out the image of Asherah from the house of the Lord, outside Jerusalem, to the Wadi Kidron, burned it at the Wadi Kidron, beat it to dust and threw the dust of it upon the graves of the common people. 7 He broke down the houses of the male temple prostitutes that were in the house of the Lord, where the women did weaving for Asherah. 8 He brought all the priests out of the towns of Judah, and defiled the high places where the priests had made offerings, from Geba to Beer-sheba; he broke down the high places of the gates that were at the entrance of the gate of Joshua the governor of the city, which were on the left at the gate of the city. 9 The priests of the high places, however, did not come up to the altar of the Lord in Jerusalem, but ate unleavened bread among their kindred. 10 He defiled Topheth, which is in the valley of Ben-hinnom, so that no one would make a son or a daughter pass through fire as an offering to Molech. 11 He removed the horses that the kings of Judah had dedicated to the sun, at the entrance to the house of the Lord, by the chamber of the eunuch Nathan-melech, which was in the precincts; then he burned the chariots of the sun with fire. 12 The altars on the roof of the upper chamber of Ahaz, which the kings of Judah had made, and the altars that Manasseh had made in the two courts of the house of the Lord, he pulled down from there and broke in pieces, and threw the rubble into the Wadi Kidron. 13 The king defiled the high places that were east of Jerusalem, to the south of the Mount of Destruction, which King Solomon of Israel had built for Astarte the abomination of the Sidonians, for Chemosh the abomination of Moab, and for Milcom the abomination of the Ammonites. 14 He broke the pillars in pieces, cut down the sacred poles, and covered the sites with human bones.
15 Moreover, the altar at Bethel, the high place erected by Jeroboam son of Nebat, who caused Israel to sin—he pulled down that altar along with the high place. He burned the high place, crushing it to dust; he also burned the sacred pole. 16 As Josiah turned, he saw the tombs there on the mount; and he sent and took the bones out of the tombs, and burned them on the altar, and defiled it, according to the word of the Lord that the man of God proclaimed, when Jeroboam stood by the altar at the festival; he turned and looked up at the tomb of the man of God who had predicted these things. 17 Then he said, “What is that monument that I see?” The people of the city told him, “It is the tomb of the man of God who came from Judah and predicted these things that you have done against the altar at Bethel.” 18 He said, “Let him rest; let no one move his bones.” So they let his bones alone, with the bones of the prophet who came out of Samaria. 19 Moreover, Josiah removed all the shrines of the high places that were in the towns of Samaria, which kings of Israel had made, provoking the Lord to anger; he did to them just as he had done at Bethel. 20 He slaughtered on the altars all the priests of the high places who were there, and burned human bones on them. Then he returned to Jerusalem.
The Passover Celebrated (2 Chr 35.1—19)21 The king commanded all the people, “Keep the passover to the Lord your God as prescribed in this book of the covenant.” 22 No such passover had been kept since the days of the judges who judged Israel, even during all the days of the kings of Israel and of the kings of Judah; 23 but in the eighteenth year of King Josiah this passover was kept to the Lord in Jerusalem.
24 Moreover Josiah put away the mediums, wizards, teraphim, idols, and all the abominations that were seen in the land of Judah and in Jerusalem, so that he established the words of the law that were written in the book that the priest Hilkiah had found in the house of the Lord. 25 Before him there was no king like him, who turned to the Lord with all his heart, with all his soul, and with all his might, according to all the law of Moses; nor did any like him arise after him.
26 Still the Lord did not turn from the fierceness of his great wrath, by which his anger was kindled against Judah, because of all the provocations with which Manasseh had provoked him. 27 The Lord said, “I will remove Judah also out of my sight, as I have removed Israel; and I will reject this city that I have chosen, Jerusalem, and the house of which I said, My name shall be there.”
Josiah Dies in Battle (2 Chr 35.20—36.1)28 Now the rest of the acts of Josiah, and all that he did, are they not written in the Book of the Annals of the Kings of Judah? 29 In his days Pharaoh Neco king of Egypt went up to the king of Assyria to the river Euphrates. King Josiah went to meet him; but when Pharaoh Neco met him at Megiddo, he killed him. 30 His servants carried him dead in a chariot from Megiddo, brought him to Jerusalem, and buried him in his own tomb. The people of the land took Jehoahaz son of Josiah, anointed him, and made him king in place of his father.
Reign and Captivity of Jehoahaz (2 Chr 36.1—4)31 Jehoahaz was twenty-three years old when he began to reign; he reigned three months in Jerusalem. His mother’s name was Hamutal daughter of Jeremiah of Libnah. 32 He did what was evil in the sight of the Lord, just as his ancestors had done. 33 Pharaoh Neco confined him at Riblah in the land of Hamath, so that he might not reign in Jerusalem, and imposed tribute on the land of one hundred talents of silver and a talent of gold. 34 Pharaoh Neco made Eliakim son of Josiah king in place of his father Josiah, and changed his name to Jehoiakim. But he took Jehoahaz away; he came to Egypt, and died there. 35 Jehoiakim gave the silver and the gold to Pharaoh, but he taxed the land in order to meet Pharaoh’s demand for money. He exacted the silver and the gold from the people of the land, from all according to their assessment, to give it to Pharaoh Neco.
Jehoiakim Reigns over Judah (2 Chr 36.5—8)36 Jehoiakim was twenty-five years old when he began to reign; he reigned eleven years in Jerusalem. His mother’s name was Zebidah daughter of Pedaiah of Rumah. 37 He did what was evil in the sight of the Lord, just as all his ancestors had done.
Reign of Josiah (2 Kings 22.1—2)2 Chronicles 34:1 Josiah was eight years old when he began to reign; he reigned thirty-one years in Jerusalem. 2 He did what was right in the sight of the Lord, and walked in the ways of his ancestor David; he did not turn aside to the right or to the left. 3 For in the eighth year of his reign, while he was still a boy, he began to seek the God of his ancestor David, and in the twelfth year he began to purge Judah and Jerusalem of the high places, the sacred poles, and the carved and the cast images. 4 In his presence they pulled down the altars of the Baals; he demolished the incense altars that stood above them. He broke down the sacred poles and the carved and the cast images; he made dust of them and scattered it over the graves of those who had sacrificed to them. 5 He also burned the bones of the priests on their altars, and purged Judah and Jerusalem. 6 In the towns of Manasseh, Ephraim, and Simeon, and as far as Naphtali, in their ruins all around, 7 he broke down the altars, beat the sacred poles and the images into powder, and demolished all the incense altars throughout all the land of Israel. Then he returned to Jerusalem.
Discovery of the Book of the Law (2 Kings 22.3—20)8 In the eighteenth year of his reign, when he had purged the land and the house, he sent Shaphan son of Azaliah, Maaseiah the governor of the city, and Joah son of Joahaz, the recorder, to repair the house of the Lord his God. 9 They came to the high priest Hilkiah and delivered the money that had been brought into the house of God, which the Levites, the keepers of the threshold, had collected from Manasseh and Ephraim and from all the remnant of Israel and from all Judah and Benjamin and from the inhabitants of Jerusalem. 10 They delivered it to the workers who had the oversight of the house of the Lord, and the workers who were working in the house of the Lord gave it for repairing and restoring the house. 11 They gave it to the carpenters and the builders to buy quarried stone, and timber for binders, and beams for the buildings that the kings of Judah had let go to ruin. 12 The people did the work faithfully. Over them were appointed the Levites Jahath and Obadiah, of the sons of Merari, along with Zechariah and Meshullam, of the sons of the Kohathites, to have oversight. Other Levites, all skillful with instruments of music, 13 were over the burden bearers and directed all who did work in every kind of service; and some of the Levites were scribes, and officials, and gatekeepers.
14 While they were bringing out the money that had been brought into the house of the Lord, the priest Hilkiah found the book of the law of the Lord given through Moses. 15 Hilkiah said to the secretary Shaphan, “I have found the book of the law in the house of the Lord”; and Hilkiah gave the book to Shaphan. 16 Shaphan brought the book to the king, and further reported to the king, “All that was committed to your servants they are doing. 17 They have emptied out the money that was found in the house of the Lord and have delivered it into the hand of the overseers and the workers.” 18 The secretary Shaphan informed the king, “The priest Hilkiah has given me a book.” Shaphan then read it aloud to the king.
19 When the king heard the words of the law he tore his clothes. 20 Then the king commanded Hilkiah, Ahikam son of Shaphan, Abdon son of Micah, the secretary Shaphan, and the king’s servant Asaiah: 21 “Go, inquire of the Lord for me and for those who are left in Israel and in Judah, concerning the words of the book that has been found; for the wrath of the Lord that is poured out on us is great, because our ancestors did not keep the word of the Lord, to act in accordance with all that is written in this book.”
The Prophet Huldah Consulted22 So Hilkiah and those whom the king had sent went to the prophet Huldah, the wife of Shallum son of Tokhath son of Hasrah, keeper of the wardrobe (who lived in Jerusalem in the Second Quarter) and spoke to her to that effect. 23 She declared to them, “Thus says the Lord, the God of Israel: Tell the man who sent you to me, 24 Thus says the Lord: I will indeed bring disaster upon this place and upon its inhabitants, all the curses that are written in the book that was read before the king of Judah. 25 Because they have forsaken me and have made offerings to other gods, so that they have provoked me to anger with all the works of their hands, my wrath will be poured out on this place and will not be quenched. 26 But as to the king of Judah, who sent you to inquire of the Lord, thus shall you say to him: Thus says the Lord, the God of Israel: Regarding the words that you have heard, 27 because your heart was penitent and you humbled yourself before God when you heard his words against this place and its inhabitants, and you have humbled yourself before me, and have torn your clothes and wept before me, I also have heard you, says the Lord. 28 I will gather you to your ancestors and you shall be gathered to your grave in peace; your eyes shall not see all the disaster that I will bring on this place and its inhabitants.” They took the message back to the king.
The Covenant Renewed (2 Kings 23.1—20)29 Then the king sent word and gathered together all the elders of Judah and Jerusalem. 30 The king went up to the house of the Lord, with all the people of Judah, the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the priests and the Levites, all the people both great and small; he read in their hearing all the words of the book of the covenant that had been found in the house of the Lord. 31 The king stood in his place and made a covenant before the Lord, to follow the Lord, keeping his commandments, his decrees, and his statutes, with all his heart and all his soul, to perform the words of the covenant that were written in this book. 32 Then he made all who were present in Jerusalem and in Benjamin pledge themselves to it. And the inhabitants of Jerusalem acted according to the covenant of God, the God of their ancestors. 33 Josiah took away all the abominations from all the territory that belonged to the people of Israel, and made all who were in Israel worship the Lord their God. All his days they did not turn away from following the Lord the God of their ancestors.
Celebration of the Passover (2 Kings 23.21—23)2 Chronicles 35:1 Josiah kept a passover to the Lord in Jerusalem; they slaughtered the passover lamb on the fourteenth day of the first month. 2 He appointed the priests to their offices and encouraged them in the service of the house of the Lord. 3 He said to the Levites who taught all Israel and who were holy to the Lord, “Put the holy ark in the house that Solomon son of David, king of Israel, built; you need no longer carry it on your shoulders. Now serve the Lord your God and his people Israel. 4 Make preparations by your ancestral houses by your divisions, following the written directions of King David of Israel and the written directions of his son Solomon. 5 Take position in the holy place according to the groupings of the ancestral houses of your kindred the people, and let there be Levites for each division of an ancestral house. 6 Slaughter the passover lamb, sanctify yourselves, and on behalf of your kindred make preparations, acting according to the word of the Lord by Moses.”
7 Then Josiah contributed to the people, as passover offerings for all that were present, lambs and kids from the flock to the number of thirty thousand, and three thousand bulls; these were from the king’s possessions. 8 His officials contributed willingly to the people, to the priests, and to the Levites. Hilkiah, Zechariah, and Jehiel, the chief officers of the house of God, gave to the priests for the passover offerings two thousand six hundred lambs and kids and three hundred bulls. 9 Conaniah also, and his brothers Shemaiah and Nethanel, and Hashabiah and Jeiel and Jozabad, the chiefs of the Levites, gave to the Levites for the passover offerings five thousand lambs and kids and five hundred bulls.
10 When the service had been prepared for, the priests stood in their place, and the Levites in their divisions according to the king’s command. 11 They slaughtered the passover lamb, and the priests dashed the blood that they received from them, while the Levites did the skinning. 12 They set aside the burnt offerings so that they might distribute them according to the groupings of the ancestral houses of the people, to offer to the Lord, as it is written in the book of Moses. And they did the same with the bulls. 13 They roasted the passover lamb with fire according to the ordinance; and they boiled the holy offerings in pots, in caldrons, and in pans, and carried them quickly to all the people.
14 Afterward they made preparations for themselves and for the priests, because the priests the descendants of Aaron were occupied in offering the burnt offerings and the fat parts until night; so the Levites made preparations for themselves and for the priests, the descendants of Aaron. 15 The singers, the descendants of Asaph, were in their place according to the command of David, and Asaph, and Heman, and the king’s seer Jeduthun. The gatekeepers were at each gate; they did not need to interrupt their service, for their kindred the Levites made preparations for them.
16 So all the service of the Lord was prepared that day, to keep the passover and to offer burnt offerings on the altar of the Lord, according to the command of King Josiah. 17 The people of Israel who were present kept the passover at that time, and the festival of unleavened bread seven days. 18 No passover like it had been kept in Israel since the days of the prophet Samuel; none of the kings of Israel had kept such a passover as was kept by Josiah, by the priests and the Levites, by all Judah and Israel who were present, and by the inhabitants of Jerusalem. 19 In the eighteenth year of the reign of Josiah this passover was kept.
Defeat by Pharaoh Neco and Death of Josiah (2 Kings 23.28—30)20 After all this, when Josiah had set the temple in order, King Neco of Egypt went up to fight at Carchemish on the Euphrates, and Josiah went out against him. 21 But Neco sent envoys to him, saying, “What have I to do with you, king of Judah? I am not coming against you today, but against the house with which I am at war; and God has commanded me to hurry. Cease opposing God, who is with me, so that he will not destroy you.” 22 But Josiah would not turn away from him, but disguised himself in order to fight with him. He did not listen to the words of Neco from the mouth of God, but joined battle in the plain of Megiddo. 23 The archers shot King Josiah; and the king said to his servants, “Take me away, for I am badly wounded.” 24 So his servants took him out of the chariot and carried him in his second chariot and brought him to Jerusalem. There he died, and was buried in the tombs of his ancestors. All Judah and Jerusalem mourned for Josiah. 25 Jeremiah also uttered a lament for Josiah, and all the singing men and singing women have spoken of Josiah in their laments to this day. They made these a custom in Israel; they are recorded in the Laments. 26 Now the rest of the acts of Josiah and his faithful deeds in accordance with what is written in the law of the Lord, 27 and his acts, first and last, are written in the Book of the Kings of Israel and Judah.
The Holy Bible: containing the Old and New Testaments with the Apocryphal / Deuterocanonical Books [New Revised Standard Version]
What I'm Reading
The Evidence Still Demands a Verdict
By J. Warner Wallace 10/15/2017
If you’re interested in apologetics (or “Christian Case Making,” as I like to call it), you probably own a copy of Josh McDowell’s classic work, Evidence That Demands a Verdict. Did you know that there is a brand-new edition of this great resource? My good friend, Sean McDowell, has co-authored the most recent version, and he agreed to talk a little bit about the latest edition of this important book:
J. Warner: | I remember how important the first Evidence That Demands a Verdict was for me in the first years I became a Christian. I didn’t find out about it until I spent hundreds of hours investigating the Gospels, but I was comforted by the fact your dad had examined the case so carefully. How important was your father’s work in your own life? Did he share his investigation with you as a child?
Sean: | My father’s story was probably the central narrative of my childhood (pointing towards the gospel, of course). His entire life and ministry has been an extension of his painful childhood, his surprise at the evidence for Christianity, his conversion, and then his changed life. He actually wrote the first version of Evidence That Demands a Verdict in 1972, four years before I was even born. And he had converted years before that, in 1959. So, unlike Lee Strobel, my father’s investigation and conversion was long before he was married or had kids.
But, when I was growing up, he was always talking about the evidence for Christianity over the dinner table, with strangers, and in his talks. He was careful not to overwhelm us kids, but he loved the manuscript evidence so much, he just couldn’t resist talking about it. There’s no doubt his passion for truth, and the evidence itself, have played a huge role in my life.
J. Warner: | Over the years as you were growing up with your dad, what role did Evidence That Demands a Verdict play in your own life? Why do you think it still stands the test of time?
J. Warner Wallace is a Cold-Case Detective, a Christian Case Maker, and the author of:
If You Want to Hear God, Quiet Your Mind
By Leslie Schmucker 8/1/2017
If you are past a certain age, or if you are averse to paying for cable or satellite television, you may be familiar with rabbit ears. They are those metal, V-shaped antennas that, when positioned just so, may or may not allow you to receive a few channels on your TV.
I can remember my father adjusting the ears and, when the desired channel appeared with as much clarity as he could finesse, gingerly letting go of the antenna only to have the static return with frustrating obscurity. Many nights we watched Ed Sullivan through the maddening distortion and sound of static.
Static muddles and clouds. The enemy uses the static of self-talk, cheap advice, societal pressures, social media, and busyness, which all make us strain to hear truth. If we are not careful, the static in our hearts and minds will make it difficult to hear God’s voice, especially since he often speaks in tones that are still and small. If we allow the static to persist, we just might give up and tune in to another channel.
Tormented by Static | Eve, in Genesis 3, experienced static in the garden. The serpent craftily obscured and distorted truth as he asked, “Did God really say . . . ?” And Eve lost satisfaction in her Creator. Cain, in Genesis 4, succumbed to static. Can you picture him, tilling the ground, sweat pouring off his brow, back sore, talking himself out of giving God his best? Then, when God naturally rejected his offering, the static grew louder and culminated in Cain killing his brother out of jealousy and anger. He had stopped revering his Creator.
Job was tormented by the static of his chattering friends and wife, who added more grief to his already sorrowful soul. They made it hard for him to trust his God. King Saul was paralyzed by the static of fear, jealousy, and paranoia, ultimately leading to his dethroning and death. He rejected his Creator. We can fall into strife, despair, and sin too when we allow the static in our minds to tune out the still, true, sure voice of God.
Devotionals, notes, poetry and more
Passing the fear test
(Oct 17) Bob Gass
‘God is my salvation, I will trust and not be afraid.’
(Is 12:2) 2 “Behold, God is my salvation; I will trust, and will not be afraid; for the LORD GOD is my strength and my song, and he has become my salvation.” ESV
How much of a factor is fear in your life? Go ahead, take the fear test. Circle the number that best corresponds to how you feel. 1) I don’t remember the last time I was really afraid. 2) I am afraid rarely, and only when I or someone close to me is in physical danger. 3) I am a little more fearful than I’d like to be. 4) Fear is a significant factor in my everyday life. I avoid anything risky or dangerous. 5) I’m afraid of many things on a daily basis, and it changes the way I live my life. If you circled number one you’re an unusual individual who doesn’t experience normal fear. You may have to temper your actions with greater discernment and wisdom. If you circled number two, you have a healthy attitude towards fear and you’ve got a handle on it. You should try to encourage others who have a more difficult time with fear than you do. If you circled number three or four, you’re in an excellent position to improve your life by changing your attitude. Begin by identifying the source of your fears, and determining to turn your fear into faith in God (see Romans 10:17). For each area of fear, figure out a positive opposite, and create a plan of action to cultivate that quality. Then focus on what you can control today. If you circled number five, chances are fear is getting the better of you and you’ll have a difficult time overcoming it on your own. So, pray and reprogram your mind with God’s Word (see 2 Timothy 2:15). And don’t be afraid to seek help from a trusted friend or counsellor.
(2 Ti 2:15) 15 Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth. ESV
(Rom 10:17) 17 So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ. ESV
See the article below under What I'm Reading, If You Want to Hear God, Quiet Your Mind.
1 Tim 6
UCB The Word For Today
by Bill Federer
Five thousand seven hundred British troops, under the command of General Burgoyne, surrendered this day, October 17, 1777, at Saratoga, New York, to the revolutionary forces led by General Gates. After swearing never to fight against America again, the British troops were boarded on ships at Boston and sent back to England. When this news reached Europe, it encouraged further support of the Revolution. In a letter to his brother, John Augustine Washington, General George Washington wrote of this victory, saying: “I most devoutly congratulate my country, and every well-wisher to the cause, on this signal stroke of Providence.”
by P.T. Forsyth, (1848-1921)
Prayer is for the religious life what original research is for science—by it we get direct contact with reality. The soul is brought into union with its own vaster nature—God. Therefore, also, we must use the Bible as an original; for indeed, the Bible is the most copious spring of prayer, and of power, and of range. If we learn to pray from the Bible, and avoid a mere cento of its phrases, we shall cultivate in our prayer the large humane note of a universal Gospel. Let us nurse our prayer on our study of our Bible; and let us, therefore, not be too afraid of theological prayer. True Christian prayer must have theology in it; no less than true theology must have prayer in it and must be capable of being prayed. “Your theology is too difficult,” said Charles V to the Reformers; “it cannot be understood without much prayer.” Yes, that is our arduous puritan way. Prayer and theology must interpenetrate to keep each other great, and wide, and mighty. The failure of the habit of prayer is at the root of much of our light distaste for theology. There is a conspiracy of influences round us whose effect is to belittle our great work. Earnest ministers suffer more from the smallness of their people than from their sins, and far more than from their unkindness. Our public may kill by its triviality a soul which could easily resist the assaults of opposition or wickedness. And our newspapers will greatly aid their work. Now, to resist this it is not enough to have recourse to prayer and to cultivate devotion. Unfortunately, there are signs in the religious world to show that prayer and piety alone do not save men from pettiness of interest, thinness of soul, spiritual volatility, the note of insincerity, or foolishness of judgment, or even vindictiveness. The remedy is not prayer alone, but prayer on the scale of the whole Gospel and at the depth of searching faith. It is considered prayer—prayer which rises above the childish petitions that disfigure much of our public pietism, prayer which issues from the central affairs of the kingdom of God. It is prayer with the profound Bible as its book of devotion, and a true theology of faith for half of its power. It is the prayer of a mind that moves in Bible passion, and ranges with Bible scope, even when it eschews Bible speech and “the language of Canaan.”
And yet, with all its range, it is prayer with concentration. It has not only thought but will in it. The great reason why so many will not decide for Christ is that Christ requires from the world concentration; not seclusion and not renunciation merely, but concentration. And we ministers have our special form of that need. I am speaking not of our share in the common troubles of life, but of those specially that arise from the ministerial office and care. No minister can live up to his work on the casual or interjectional kind of prayer that might be sufficient for many of his flock. He must think, of course, in his prayers—in his private prayers—and he must pray his faith’s thought. But, still more, in his praying he must act. Prayer is not a frame of mind, but a great energy. He must rise to conceive his work as an active function of the work of Christ; and he must link his faith, therefore, with the intercession which covers the whole energy of Christ in His kingdom. In this, as in many ways, he must remember, to his great relief and comfort, that it is not he who is the real pastor of his church, but Christ, and that he is but Christ’s curate. The final responsibility is not his, but Christ’s, who bears the responsibility of all the sins and frets, both of the world and, especially, of the Church.
--- Forsyth, P. T. (1848-1921).
The Soul of Prayer
Compiled by Richard S. Adams
I freed a thousand slaves
I could have freed a thousand more
if only they knew they were slaves.
--- Harriet Tubman
We must not think that faith itself is the soul’s rest; it is only the means of it. We cannot find rest in any work or duty of our own, but we may find it in Christ, whom faith apprehends for justification and salvation.
--- John Flavel
From the world’s perspective, there are many places you can go to find comfort. But there is only one place you will find a hand to catch your tears and a heart to listen to your every longing. True peace comes only from God. --- Charles Stanley ISBN-13: 978-0785280132
... from here, there and everywhere
Thanks to Meir Yona
When The Banks Were Completed And The Battering Rams Brought, And Could Do Nothing, Titus Gave Orders To Set Fire To The Gates Of The Temple; In No Long Time After Which The Holy House Itself Was Burnt Down, Even Against His Consent.
1. And now two of the legions had completed their banks on the eighth day of the month Lous [Ab]. Whereupon Titus gave orders that the battering rams should be brought, and set over against the western edifice of the inner temple; for before these were brought, the firmest of all the other engines had battered the wall for six days together without ceasing, without making any impression upon it; but the vast largeness and strong connexion of the stones were superior to that engine, and to the other battering rams also. Other Romans did indeed undermine the foundations of the northern gate, and after a world of pains removed the outermost stones, yet was the gate still upheld by the inner stones, and stood still unhurt; till the workmen, despairing of all such attempts by engines and crows, brought their ladders to the cloisters. Now the Jews did not interrupt them in so doing; but when they were gotten up, they fell upon them, and fought with them; some of them they thrust down, and threw them backwards headlong; others of them they met and slew; they also beat many of those that went down the ladders again, and slew them with their swords before they could bring their shields to protect them; nay, some of the ladders they threw down from above when they were full of armed men; a great slaughter was made of the Jews also at the same time, while those that bare the ensigns fought hard for them, as deeming it a terrible thing, and what would tend to their great shame, if they permitted them to be stolen away. Yet did the Jews at length get possession of these engines, and destroyed those that had gone up the ladders, while the rest were so intimidated by what those suffered who were slain, that they retired; although none of the Romans died without having done good service before his death. Of the seditious, those that had fought bravely in the former battles did the like now, as besides them did Eleazar, the brother's son of Simon the tyrant. But when Titus perceived that his endeavors to spare a foreign temple turned to the damage of his soldiers, and then be killed, he gave order to set the gates on fire.
2. In the mean time, there deserted to him Ananus, who came from Emmaus, the most bloody of all Simon's guards, and Archelaus, the son of Magadatus, they hoping to be still forgiven, because they left the Jews at a time when they were the conquerors. Titus objected this to these men, as a cunning trick of theirs; and as he had been informed of their other barbarities towards the Jews, he was going in all haste to have them both slain. He told them that they were only driven to this desertion because of the utmost distress they were in, and did not come away of their own good disposition; and that those did not deserve to be preserved, by whom their own city was already set on fire, out of which fire they now hurried themselves away. However, the security he had promised deserters overcame his resentments, and he dismissed them accordingly, though he did not give them the same privileges that he had afforded to others. And now the soldiers had already put fire to the gates, and the silver that was over them quickly carried the flames to the wood that was within it, whence it spread itself all on the sudden, and caught hold on the cloisters. Upon the Jews seeing this fire all about them, their spirits sunk together with their bodies, and they were under such astonishment, that not one of them made any haste, either to defend himself or to quench the fire, but they stood as mute spectators of it only. However, they did not so grieve at the loss of what was now burning, as to grow wiser thereby for the time to come; but as though the holy house itself had been on fire already, they whetted their passions against the Romans. This fire prevailed during that day and the next also; for the soldiers were not able to burn all the cloisters that were round about together at one time, but only by pieces.
3. But then, on the next day, Titus commanded part of his army to quench the fire, and to make a road for the more easy marching up of the legions, while he himself gathered the commanders together. Of those there were assembled the six principal persons: Tiberius Alexander, the commander [under the general] of the whole army; with Sextus Cerealis, the commander of the fifth legion; and Larcius Lepidus, the commander of the tenth legion; and Titus Frigius, the commander of the fifteenth legion: there was also with them Eternius, the leader of the two legions that came from Alexandria; and Marcus Antonius Julianus, procurator of Judea: after these came together all the rest of the procurators and tribunes. Titus proposed to these that they should give him their advice what should be done about the holy house. Now some of these thought it would be the best way to act according to the rules of war, [and demolish it,] because the Jews would never leave off rebelling while that house was standing; at which house it was that they used to get all together. Others of them were of opinion, that in case the Jews would leave it, and none of them would lay their arms up in it, he might save it; but that in case they got upon it, and fought any more, he might burn it; because it must then be looked upon not as a holy house, but as a citadel; and that the impiety of burning it would then belong to those that forced this to be done, and not to them. But Titus said, that "although the Jews should get upon that holy house, and fight us thence, yet ought we not to revenge ourselves on things that are inanimate, instead of the men themselves;" and that he was not in any case for burning down so vast a work as that was, because this would be a mischief to the Romans themselves, as it would be an ornament to their government while it continued. So Fronto, and Alexander, and Cerealis grew bold upon that declaration, and agreed to the opinion of Titus. Then was this assembly dissolved, when Titus had given orders to the commanders that the rest of their forces should lie still; but that they should make use of such as were most courageous in this attack. So he commanded that the chosen men that were taken out of the cohorts should make their way through the ruins, and quench the fire.
The War of the Jews: The History of the Destruction of Jerusalem (complete edition, 7 books)
by D.H. Stern
but to the hungry, any bitter thing is sweet.
Complete Jewish Bible : An English Version of the Tanakh (Old Testament) and B'Rit Hadashah (New Testament)
A Daily Devotional by Oswald Chambers
And greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto My Father. --- John 14:12.
Prayer does not fit us for the greater works; prayer is the greater work. We think of prayer as a commonsense exercise of our higher powers in order to prepare us for God’s work. In the teaching of Jesus Christ prayer is the working of the miracle of Redemption in me which produces the miracle of Redemption in others by the power of God. The way fruit remains is by prayer, but remember it is prayer based on the agony of Redemption, not on my agony. Only a child gets prayer answered; a wise man does not.
Prayer is the battle; it is a matter of indifference where you are. Whichever way God engineers circumstances, the duty is to pray. Never allow the thought—‘I am of no use where I am’; because you certainly can be of no use where you are not. Wherever God has dumped you down in circumstances, pray, ejaculate to Him all the time. “Whatsoever ye ask in My name, that will I do.” We won’t pray unless we get thrills, that is the intensest form of spiritual selfishness. We have to labour along the line of God’s direction, and He says pray. “Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that He will send forth labourers into His harvest.”
There is nothing thrilling about a labouring man’s work, but it is the labouring man who makes the conceptions of the genius possible; and it is the labouring saint who makes the conceptions of his Master possible. You labour at prayer and results happen all the time from God’s standpoint. What an astonishment it will be to find, when the veil is lifted, the souls that have been reaped by you, simply because you had been in the habit of taking your orders from Jesus Christ.
My Utmost for His Highest: Quality Paperback Edition
the Poetry of R.S. Thomas
God woke, but the nightmare
did not recede. Word by word
the tower of speech grew.
He looked at it from the air
he reclined on. One word more and
it would be on a level
with him; vocabulary
would have triumphed. He
measured the thin gap
with his mind. No, no, no,
wider than that! But the nearness
persisted. How to live with
the fact, that was the feat
now. How to take his rest
on the edge of a chasm a
word could bridge.
over and looked in the dictionary
they used. There was the blank still
by his name of the same
order as the territory
between them, the verbal hunger
for the thing in itself. And the darkness
that is a god's blood swelled
in him, and he let it
to make the sign in the space
on the page, that is in all languages
and none; that is the grammarian's
torment and the mystery
at the cell's core, and the equation
that will not come out, and is
the narrowness that we stare
over into the eternal
silence that is the repose of God.
Maimonides: Torah and Philosophic Quest
Maimonides’ treatment of philosophy in his legal works establishes that the rational approach to God can be understood within the categories of the legal and aggadic tradition of Judaism. Maimonides is not trying to show the Jewish universalist—embarrassed by Jewish particularity—that Judaism is compatible with the universal way of philosophy. Rather, he tries to show pious Jews how their commitment to Halakhah can be enriched by a philosophical understanding of God. Maimonides leads the halakhic Jew toward a unification of the particularity of Torah and the universality of philosophy. This goal constitutes the core of his concern as a Jewish philosopher.
Maimonides can be misunderstood in two ways. One may emphasize his concern and love for the Torah and minimize the importance he ascribes to the study of philosophy. Or one may emphasize his philosophic spiritual ideal and ignore his commitment to Halakhah as being essential for understanding his philosophic thought. In either case, one misses the important connection between his philosophic and legal thought.
The integration of philosophy and Judaism was made possible by the talmudic tradition. “Jerusalem” to Maimonides was not defined solely by the Bible but included the vast corpus of talmudic writings. To establish the incompatibility of Athens and Jerusalem exclusively on the basis of the Bible, would be to misconceive Maimonides’ understanding of Jerusalem; Maimonides employs numerous aggadot to support his non-literal approach to religious language. To Maimonides, the midrashic treatment of Abraham serves as a model of the way to God, based on philosophic reflection.
In chapter one it was noted that Maimonides took the talmudic model of the ḥasid as a paradigm of one who achieves the unity of the contemplative ideal and of halakhic observance. Maimonides made this seemingly exaggerated claim on behalf of both tradition and human reason: Without the perfection of theoretical virtue, as understood by the philosophers, one could not become a ḥasid. This conviction can be buttressed by proving that the theological model which emerges from reason’s understanding of nature makes the halakhic observance of the ḥasid intelligible.
In demonstrating a relationship between a person’s actions and his conception of God, one must not expect to discover the same rigorous connection which one finds in a deductive argument. Logical entailment is not the model with which to understand the relationship of thought to action. It is sufficient to show how conceptions of God influence and give direction to one’s life. “Influence” and “direction” are categories which make intelligible the life-patterns set into motion by one’s theoretical beliefs. Theoretical frameworks make some life-patterns more appropriate than others for an individual; they do not necessarily make alternate life-patterns logically untenable.
A religious man’s conception of God informs him of how to act in His presence. He seeks a community of existence with his God and thus proceeds to structure his actions in a way that makes this possible. Man’s understanding of his relationship to God, therefore, has an emphatic influence on the way he acts.
What an individual anticipates as a result of his observance of the commandments indicates how he perceives his relationship to God. If the world of philosophy is to be compatible with Judaism then the expectations of the religious Jew must be in keeping with the theocentric universe of reason. The Mishnah in Sanhedrin states that “All Israel have a share in the world to come.” This expectation of the world to come (olam ha-ba) provides Maimonides with a foundation from which to analyze the varying eschatological expectations of Jewish traditionalists.
Maimonides begins his introduction to Ḥelek by describing what people expect from God as a result of their commitment to Torah:
One class of thinkers holds that the hoped for good will be the Garden of Eden, a place where people eat and drink without bodily toil or faintness. Houses of costly stones are there, couches of silk, and rivers flowing with wine and perfumed oils, and many other things of this kind.… This set of thinkers on this principle of faith bring their proofs from many statements of the Sages, peace to them, whose literal interpretation forsooth accords with their contention or with the greater part of it.
The second class of thinkers firmly believes and imagines that the hoped for good will be the days of the Messiah, may he soon appear! They think that when that time comes all men will be kings forever. Their bodily frames will be mighty.… They also bring proofs for their statements from many remarks of the Sages, and from Scriptural texts which in their outward interpretation agree with their claim, or a portion of it.
The third class is of the opinion that the desired good will consist in the resurrection of the dead.… These thinkers also point for proof to the remarks of the Sages, and to certain verses of the Bible, whose literal sense tallies with their view.
The fourth class is of the opinion that the good which we shall reap from obedience to the Law will consist in the repose of the body and the attainment in this world of all worldly wishes, as, for example, the fertility of lands, abundant wealth, abundance of children.… The holders of this view point for proof to all the texts of Scripture which speak of blessings and curses and other matters, and to the whole body of narratives existing in Holy Writ.
The fifth set of thinkers is the largest. Its members combine all the aforesaid opinions, and declare the objects hoped for are the coming of the Messiah, the resurrection of the dead, their entry into the Garden of Eden, their eating and drinking and living in health there as long as heaven and earth endure.
How are we to understand these expectations? Are they the fantasies of deprived persons who spin dreams of glory, power, and endless material gratification to escape from the misery of the present? Is there any basis in Judaism for assuming that these expectations are based on reality?
Reality, as understood by the believing Jew, is not determined only by empirical conditions. The unseen power of divine governance enters into the domain of reality. The prophets taught the Jew to interpret his history in terms of his relationship to God. The Torah explicitly states that there is a direct relationship between man’s material well-being and his strict observance of the commandments. Crops grow or fail as a result of man’s response to God’s will. Jews fast and engage in deep introspection when faced with natural calamities. When they are defeated by the Romans they examine their past halakhic observance to discover reasons for their political humiliation. The religious Jew inhabits a world in which he was delivered from the oppressive might of Egypt even though he lacked a well-trained army and he survived in a desert for forty years. The conception of God and history which results from such literal reading of the biblical covenant and aggadic literature molded the historical self-understanding of the Jew and expressed itself in hopes and expectations which, to outsiders, appear as exaggerated fantasies.
What is common to all the views which Maimonides presents is their firm literal understanding of Torah and Aggadah. But this literalist viewpoint not only presented Maimonides with cognitive problems, but was as well responsible for a religious perspective of God as primarily the master of material benefits which He would bestow on man. The community’s lack of concern for what Maimonides believed to be the true end of Judaism, olam ha-ba, was symptomatic of the quality of relationship which existed between many members of the halakhic community and God. Maimonides attempted to change the community’s perception of its relationship to God by convincing his readers that exclusive concern with material expectations was not in keeping with the true telos of Jewish tradition. In order to achieve his goal, Maimonides had to convince his readers that by viewing olam ha-ba as the ultimate goal of Judaism, one came to somewhat different perceptions of the meaning and the significance of religious observances.
Maimonides: Torah and Philosophic Quest
For your sakes he became poor. --- 2 Corinthians 8:9.
There are a few [more] things we may take notice of as properly belonging to Christ’s humiliation: Samuel Willard, “Christ Humbled Himself,” preached May 12, 1696, the second in a series of twelve sermons on this question from the Westminster Shorter Catechism; downloaded from Fire and Ice, Puritan and Reformed Writings, at www.puritansermons.com, accessed Aug. 21, 2001.
4. The time of his birth is very important. There was a time when [Israel] enjoyed its liberty. But he was born when the nation was in slavery to the Roman Empire, when, in witness of his slavery, there was a proclamation of a tax, and everyone was required to appear at his city to submit. Therefore even in the circumstances of his birth, he not only took on himself human form, but the nature of a servant
(Phil. 2:7), because we by sin have become slaves, brought under the most cruel bondage.
5. The place and circumstances of his birth further set forth its humble condition. When we hear the report that the King of the world is to be born, we would picture the greatest preparations imaginable to be made for the occasion. But how far is it from this? Instead of a palace, he is content with a stable; for attendants, he is born among the beasts; for apparel, either some rags obtained by charity or whatever his poor parents could afford. Instead of a cradle richly prepared, he had a manger, with some hay for a pillow. The best attendants at this solemn occasion was a company of poor folks, who had better places to lodge than Joseph’s. Thus he came silently into the world; no bells rung, no bonfires, no proclamations inviting the world to come and pay homage. This was because we had turned ourselves out of all and forfeited our right to every blessing.
Learn from this how low sin had laid us and how much Christ has loved us. Truly everything Christ suffered in his humiliation points to this lesson. When we consider what Christ made himself, it shows us what we had made of ourselves by sin. When we reflect on the fact that he did it for us, it declares his unspeakable kindness to us. He is the Lord of heaven and earth, entering into his dominion in the lowest and most obscure situation imaginable. He who made both heaven and earth not accommodated with so much as a house to be born in but turned out among the beasts. And why? Our sins procured it; we lost our right to all, we deserved poverty and misery, we deserved to be turned out of house and home. We were under this curse. It was for this reason he was born. Wasn’t this condescension a disclosure of his great love? Let this stable and manger make him exceedingly precious to us.
--- Samuel Willard
Take Heart: Daily Devotions with the Church's Great Preachers
The Bishop’s Sepulcher
When the apostle John addressed his readers as “my children,” he perhaps had in mind his pupil Ignatius, a young man whose name doesn’t appear in the New Testament but who figures prominently in early church history. About 69 Ignatius became the third bishop of the church in Antioch (where the Lord’s followers were first called “Christians”—Acts 11:26), and he became the first to use the terms “Christianity” and “Catholic.”
We know little of his ministry, but he faithfully served the church at Antioch 40 years. When persecution arose Ignatius was arrested, chained, and entrusted to ten soldiers who treated him as if they were “leopards.” The story of his prison-voyage to Rome reads as though it leaped from the pages of the New Testament.
The party made its way overland and by the shipping routes, following the footsteps of Paul. As they passed Smyrna, Ephesus, Philippi, and Thessalonica, Christians gathered to ask his blessings. Along the way, Ignatius wrote seven letters that rank among the most famous documents in church history. In his letter to Rome, intended to precede his arrival, Ignatius begged the brothers there to avoid using their political connections to hinder his expected martyrdom. “You cannot do me a greater favor,” he wrote, “than allow me to be poured out as an offering to God while the altar is ready.” Not wanting to bother them with the burial of his remains, he desired to be entirely consumed by the beasts in the arena. “Entice the beasts to become my sepulcher,” he wrote, “that they may leave nothing of my body.”
And so were his prayers answered. He died, reportedly on October 17, 108, under the claws and teeth of lions or tigers as entertainment for Emperor Trajan. But his influence didn’t die. Fourteen hundred years later a young Spanish soldier was so moved by reading Ignatius’s story that he dedicated his life to God and changed his name to Ignatius—of Loyola.
My children, I am writing this so that you won’t sin. But if you do sin, Jesus Christ always does the right thing, and he will speak to the Father for us. Christ is the sacrifice that takes away our sins and the sins of all the world’s people.
--- 1 John 2:1-2.
On This Day 365 Amazing And Inspiring Stories About Saints, Martyrs And Heroes
Daily Readings / CHARLES H. SPURGEON
Morning - October 17
“And David said in his heart, I shall now perish one day by the hand of Saul.” --- 1 Samuel 27:1.
The thought of David’s heart at this time was a false thought, because he certainly had no ground for thinking that God’s anointing him by Samuel was intended to be left as an empty unmeaning act. On no one occasion had the Lord deserted his servant; he had been placed in perilous positions very often, but not one instance had occurred in which divine interposition had not delivered him. The trials to which he had been exposed had been varied; they had not assumed one form only, but many—yet in every case he who sent the trial had also graciously ordained a way of escape. David could not put his finger upon any entry in his diary, and say of it, “Here is evidence that the Lord will forsake me,” for the entire tenor of his past life proved the very reverse. He should have argued from what God had done for him, that God would be his defender still. But is it not just in the same way that we doubt God’s help? Is it not mistrust without a cause? Have we ever had the shadow of a reason to doubt our Father’s goodness? Have not his lovingkindnesses been marvellous? Has he once failed to justify our trust? Ah, no! our God has not left us at any time. We have had dark nights, but the star of love has shone forth amid the blackness; we have been in stern conflicts, but over our head he has held aloft the shield of our defence. We have gone through many trials, but never to our detriment, always to our advantage; and the conclusion from our past experience is, that he who has been with us in six troubles, will not forsake us in the seventh. What we have known of our faithful God, proves that he will keep us to the end. Let us not, then, reason contrary to evidence. How can we ever be so ungenerous as to doubt our God? Lord, throw down the Jezebel of our unbelief, and let the dogs devour it.
Evening - October 17
“He shall gather the lambs with his arm.” --- Isaiah 40:11.
Our good Shepherd has in his flock a variety of experiences, some are strong in the Lord, and others are weak in faith, but he is impartial in his care for all his sheep, and the weakest lamb is as dear to him as the most advanced of the flock. Lambs are wont to lag behind, prone to wander, and apt to grow weary, but from all the danger of these infirmities the Shepherd protects them with his arm of power. He finds new-born souls, like young lambs, ready to perish—he nourishes them till life becomes vigorous; he finds weak minds ready to faint and die—he consoles them and renews their strength. All the little ones he gathers, for it is not the will of our heavenly Father that one of them should perish. What a quick eye he must have to see them all! What a tender heart to care for them all! What a far- reaching and potent arm, to gather them all! In his lifetime on earth he was a great gatherer of the weaker sort, and now that he dwells in heaven, his loving heart yearns towards the meek and contrite, the timid and feeble, the fearful and fainting here below. How gently did he gather me to himself, to his truth, to his blood, to his love, to his church! With what effectual grace did he compel me to come to himself! Since my first conversion, how frequently has he restored me from my wanderings, and once again folded me within the circle of his everlasting arm! The best of all is, that he does it all himself personally, not delegating the task of love, but condescending himself to rescue and preserve his most unworthy servant. How shall I love him enough or serve him worthily? I would fain make his name great unto the ends of the earth, but what can my feebleness do for him? Great Shepherd, add to thy mercies this one other, a heart to love thee more truly as I ought.
Morning and Evening: A New Edition of the Classic Devotional Based on The Holy Bible, English Standard Version
MY SOUL, BE ON THY GUARD
George Heath, 1750–1822
Therefore I do not run like a man running aimlessly; I do not fight like a man beating the air. I beat my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize. (1 Corinthians 9:26, 27)
There is nothing more tragic than to see a Christian negate a lifetime of worthy living and service for God through some spiritual defeat and dishonor to the Gospel. Imagine the shame of Job when Eliphaz the Temanite rebuked him with these cutting words:
Think how you have instructed many, how you have strengthened feeble hands. Your words have supported those who stumbled; you have strengthened faltering knees, but now trouble comes to you, and you are discouraged; it strikes you, and you are dismayed. Should not your piety be your confidence and your blameless ways your hope? (Job 4:3–6)
The apostle Paul’s fervent concern for his life, that after he had preached to others he himself might be disqualified by God through careless living, seems to apply to the writer of this hymn text. George Heath was an English independent minister, who in 1770 became pastor of a Presbyterian church at Honiton, Devonshire. Later, proving himself unworthy of this office, he was deprived of his parish “for cause.” Eventually, it seems, he became a Unitarian minister. It is difficult to understand how a person could write such a stirring challenge on the subject of spiritual steadfastness and then change so drastically in later years. Yet the Scriptures are clear that the Christian life is a lifetime of perseverance, and whoever puts his hand to the plow and looks back is unfit for service in God’s kingdom (Luke 9:62). We must have the enabling power of the Holy Spirit each day if we intend to be on guard.
My soul, be on thy guard—ten thousand foes arise. The hosts of sin are pressing hard to draw thee from the skies.
O watch and fight and pray; the battle ne’er give o’er; renew it boldly ev’ry day, and help divine implore.
Ne’er think the vict’ry won, nor lay thine armor down; the work of faith will not be done till thou obtain thy crown.
Fight on, my soul, till death shall bring thee to thy God; He’ll take thee, at thy parting breath, to His divine abode.
For Today: Matthew 26:41; 1 Corinthians 15:58; 16:13; Hebrews 10:23
Be alert to the many distractions that can easily undermine your spiritual life. Resolve to keep short accounts with God. Depend on the Holy Spirit for your inner strength. Reflect on this musical message as you go ---
Amazing Grace: 366 Inspiring Hymn Stories for Daily Devotions
Tuesday, October 17, 2017 | After Pentecost
Proper 23, Tuesday
Psalms (Morning) Psalm 5, 6
Psalms (Evening) Psalm 10, 11
Old Testament Jeremiah 36:27–37:2
New Testament 1 Corinthians 14:1–12
Gospel Matthew 10:16–23
Index of Readings
Psalm 5, 6
To the leader: for the flutes. A Psalm of David.
1 Give ear to my words, O LORD;
give heed to my sighing.
2 Listen to the sound of my cry,
my King and my God,
for to you I pray.
3 O LORD, in the morning you hear my voice;
in the morning I plead my case to you, and watch.
4 For you are not a God who delights in wickedness;
evil will not sojourn with you.
5 The boastful will not stand before your eyes;
you hate all evildoers.
6 You destroy those who speak lies;
the LORD abhors the bloodthirsty and deceitful.
7 But I, through the abundance of your steadfast love,
will enter your house,
I will bow down toward your holy temple
in awe of you.
8 Lead me, O LORD, in your righteousness
because of my enemies;
make your way straight before me.
9 For there is no truth in their mouths;
their hearts are destruction;
their throats are open graves;
they flatter with their tongues.
10 Make them bear their guilt, O God;
let them fall by their own counsels;
because of their many transgressions cast them out,
for they have rebelled against you.
11 But let all who take refuge in you rejoice;
let them ever sing for joy.
Spread your protection over them,
so that those who love your name may exult in you.
12 For you bless the righteous, O LORD;
you cover them with favor as with a shield.
To the leader: with stringed instruments;
according to The Sheminith. A Psalm of David.
1 O LORD, do not rebuke me in your anger,
or discipline me in your wrath.
2 Be gracious to me, O LORD, for I am languishing;
O LORD, heal me, for my bones are shaking with terror.
3 My soul also is struck with terror,
while you, O LORD—how long?
4 Turn, O LORD, save my life;
deliver me for the sake of your steadfast love.
5 For in death there is no remembrance of you;
in Sheol who can give you praise?
6 I am weary with my moaning;
every night I flood my bed with tears;
I drench my couch with my weeping.
7 My eyes waste away because of grief;
they grow weak because of all my foes.
8 Depart from me, all you workers of evil,
for the LORD has heard the sound of my weeping.
9 The LORD has heard my supplication;
the LORD accepts my prayer.
10 All my enemies shall be ashamed and struck with terror;
they shall turn back, and in a moment be put to shame.
Psalm 10, 11
1 Why, O LORD, do you stand far off?
Why do you hide yourself in times of trouble?
2 In arrogance the wicked persecute the poor—
let them be caught in the schemes they have devised.
3 For the wicked boast of the desires of their heart,
those greedy for gain curse and renounce the LORD.
4 In the pride of their countenance the wicked say, “God will not seek it out”;
all their thoughts are, “There is no God.”
5 Their ways prosper at all times;
your judgments are on high, out of their sight;
as for their foes, they scoff at them.
6 They think in their heart, “We shall not be moved;
throughout all generations we shall not meet adversity.”
7 Their mouths are filled with cursing and deceit and oppression;
under their tongues are mischief and iniquity.
8 They sit in ambush in the villages;
in hiding places they murder the innocent.
Their eyes stealthily watch for the helpless;
9 they lurk in secret like a lion in its covert;
they lurk that they may seize the poor;
they seize the poor and drag them off in their net.
10 They stoop, they crouch,
and the helpless fall by their might.
11 They think in their heart, “God has forgotten,
he has hidden his face, he will never see it.”
12 Rise up, O LORD; O God, lift up your hand;
do not forget the oppressed.
13 Why do the wicked renounce God,
and say in their hearts, “You will not call us to account”?
14 But you do see! Indeed you note trouble and grief,
that you may take it into your hands;
the helpless commit themselves to you;
you have been the helper of the orphan.
15 Break the arm of the wicked and evildoers;
seek out their wickedness until you find none.
16 The LORD is king forever and ever;
the nations shall perish from his land.
17 O LORD, you will hear the desire of the meek;
you will strengthen their heart, you will incline your ear
18 to do justice for the orphan and the oppressed,
so that those from earth may strike terror no more.
To the leader. Of David.
1 In the LORD I take refuge; how can you say to me,
“Flee like a bird to the mountains;
2 for look, the wicked bend the bow,
they have fitted their arrow to the string,
to shoot in the dark at the upright in heart.
3 If the foundations are destroyed,
what can the righteous do?”
4 The LORD is in his holy temple;
the LORD’s throne is in heaven.
His eyes behold, his gaze examines humankind.
5 The LORD tests the righteous and the wicked,
and his soul hates the lover of violence.
6 On the wicked he will rain coals of fire and sulfur;
a scorching wind shall be the portion of their cup.
7 For the LORD is righteous;
he loves righteous deeds;
the upright shall behold his face.
27 Now, after the king had burned the scroll with the words that Baruch wrote at Jeremiah’s dictation, the word of the LORD came to Jeremiah: 28 Take another scroll and write on it all the former words that were in the first scroll, which King Jehoiakim of Judah has burned. 29 And concerning King Jehoiakim of Judah you shall say: Thus says the LORD, You have dared to burn this scroll, saying, Why have you written in it that the king of Babylon will certainly come and destroy this land, and will cut off from it human beings and animals? 30 Therefore thus says the LORD concerning King Jehoiakim of Judah: He shall have no one to sit upon the throne of David, and his dead body shall be cast out to the heat by day and the frost by night. 31 And I will punish him and his offspring and his servants for their iniquity; I will bring on them, and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and on the people of Judah, all the disasters with which I have threatened them—but they would not listen.
32 Then Jeremiah took another scroll and gave it to the secretary Baruch son of Neriah, who wrote on it at Jeremiah’s dictation all the words of the scroll that King Jehoiakim of Judah had burned in the fire; and many similar words were added to them.
37 Zedekiah son of Josiah, whom King Nebuchadrezzar of Babylon made king in the land of Judah, succeeded Coniah son of Jehoiakim. 2 But neither he nor his servants nor the people of the land listened to the words of the LORD that he spoke through the prophet Jeremiah.
1 Corinthians 14:1–12
14 Pursue love and strive for the spiritual gifts, and especially that you may prophesy. 2 For those who speak in a tongue do not speak to other people but to God; for nobody understands them, since they are speaking mysteries in the Spirit. 3 On the other hand, those who prophesy speak to other people for their upbuilding and encouragement and consolation. 4 Those who speak in a tongue build up themselves, but those who prophesy build up the church. 5 Now I would like all of you to speak in tongues, but even more to prophesy. One who prophesies is greater than one who speaks in tongues, unless someone interprets, so that the church may be built up.
6 Now, brothers and sisters, if I come to you speaking in tongues, how will I benefit you unless I speak to you in some revelation or knowledge or prophecy or teaching? 7 It is the same way with lifeless instruments that produce sound, such as the flute or the harp. If they do not give distinct notes, how will anyone know what is being played? 8 And if the bugle gives an indistinct sound, who will get ready for battle? 9 So with yourselves; if in a tongue you utter speech that is not intelligible, how will anyone know what is being said? For you will be speaking into the air. 10 There are doubtless many different kinds of sounds in the world, and nothing is without sound. 11 If then I do not know the meaning of a sound, I will be a foreigner to the speaker and the speaker a foreigner to me. 12 So with yourselves; since you are eager for spiritual gifts, strive to excel in them for building up the church.
16 “See, I am sending you out like sheep into the midst of wolves; so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves. 17 Beware of them, for they will hand you over to councils and flog you in their synagogues; 18 and you will be dragged before governors and kings because of me, as a testimony to them and the Gentiles. 19 When they hand you over, do not worry about how you are to speak or what you are to say; for what you are to say will be given to you at that time; 20 for it is not you who speak, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you. 21 Brother will betray brother to death, and a father his child, and children will rise against parents and have them put to death; 22 and you will be hated by all because of my name. But the one who endures to the end will be saved. 23 When they persecute you in one town, flee to the next; for truly I tell you, you will not have gone through all the towns of Israel before the Son of Man comes.
The Book of Common Prayer: And Administration of the Sacraments and Other Rites and Ceremonies of the Church