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10/2/2017
2 Kings 18:13-19:37
2 Chronicles 32:9-22
Isaiah 36-37
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Sennacherib Attacks Judah

Video     2 Kings 18:13     13 In the fourteenth year of King Hezekiah, Sennacherib king of Assyria came up against all the fortified cities of Judah and took them. 14 And Hezekiah king of Judah sent to the king of Assyria at Lachish, saying, “I have done wrong; withdraw from me. Whatever you impose on me I will bear.” And the king of Assyria required of Hezekiah king of Judah three hundred talents of silver and thirty talents of gold. 15 And Hezekiah gave him all the silver that was found in the house of the LORD and in the treasuries of the king’s house. 16 At that time Hezekiah stripped the gold from the doors of the temple of the LORD and from the doorposts that Hezekiah king of Judah had overlaid and gave it to the king of Assyria. 17 And the king of Assyria sent the Tartan, the Rab-saris, and the Rabshakeh with a great army from Lachish to King Hezekiah at Jerusalem. And they went up and came to Jerusalem. When they arrived, they came and stood by the conduit of the upper pool, which is on the highway to the Washer’s Field. 18 And when they called for the king, there came out to them Eliakim the son of Hilkiah, who was over the household, and Shebnah the secretary, and Joah the son of Asaph, the recorder.

     19 And the Rabshakeh said to them, “Say to Hezekiah, ‘Thus says the great king, the king of Assyria: On what do you rest this trust of yours? 20 Do you think that mere words are strategy and power for war? In whom do you now trust, that you have rebelled against me? 21 Behold, you are trusting now in Egypt, that broken reed of a staff, which will pierce the hand of any man who leans on it. Such is Pharaoh king of Egypt to all who trust in him. 22 But if you say to me, “We trust in the LORD our God,” is it not he whose high places and altars Hezekiah has removed, saying to Judah and to Jerusalem, “You shall worship before this altar in Jerusalem”? 23 Come now, make a wager with my master the king of Assyria: I will give you two thousand horses, if you are able on your part to set riders on them. 24 How then can you repulse a single captain among the least of my master’s servants, when you trust in Egypt for chariots and for horsemen? 25 Moreover, is it without the LORD that I have come up against this place to destroy it? The LORD said to me, “Go up against this land and destroy it.” ’ ”

     26 Then Eliakim the son of Hilkiah, and Shebnah, and Joah, said to the Rabshakeh, “Please speak to your servants in Aramaic, for we understand it. Do not speak to us in the language of Judah within the hearing of the people who are on the wall.” 27 But the Rabshakeh said to them, “Has my master sent me to speak these words to your master and to you, and not to the men sitting on the wall, who are doomed with you to eat their own dung and to drink their own urine?”

     28 Then the Rabshakeh stood and called out in a loud voice in the language of Judah: “Hear the word of the great king, the king of Assyria! 29 Thus says the king: ‘Do not let Hezekiah deceive you, for he will not be able to deliver you out of my hand. 30 Do not let Hezekiah make you trust in the LORD by saying, The LORD will surely deliver us, and this city will not be given into the hand of the king of Assyria.’ 31 Do not listen to Hezekiah, for thus says the king of Assyria: ‘Make your peace with me and come out to me. Then each one of you will eat of his own vine, and each one of his own fig tree, and each one of you will drink the water of his own cistern, 32 until I come and take you away to a land like your own land, a land of grain and wine, a land of bread and vineyards, a land of olive trees and honey, that you may live, and not die. And do not listen to Hezekiah when he misleads you by saying, “The LORD will deliver us.” 33 Has any of the gods of the nations ever delivered his land out of the hand of the king of Assyria? 34 Where are the gods of Hamath and Arpad? Where are the gods of Sepharvaim, Hena, and Ivvah? Have they delivered Samaria out of my hand? 35 Who among all the gods of the lands have delivered their lands out of my hand, that the LORD should deliver Jerusalem out of my hand?’ ”

     36 But the people were silent and answered him not a word, for the king’s command was, “Do not answer him.” 37 Then Eliakim the son of Hilkiah, who was over the household, and Shebna the secretary, and Joah the son of Asaph, the recorder, came to Hezekiah with their clothes torn and told him the words of the Rabshakeh.

Isaiah Reassures Hezekiah

Video     2 Kings 19     1 As soon as King Hezekiah heard it, he tore his clothes and covered himself with sackcloth and went into the house of the LORD. 2 And he sent Eliakim, who was over the household, and Shebna the secretary, and the senior priests, covered with sackcloth, to the prophet Isaiah the son of Amoz. 3 They said to him, “Thus says Hezekiah, This day is a day of distress, of rebuke, and of disgrace; children have come to the point of birth, and there is no strength to bring them forth. 4 It may be that the LORD your God heard all the words of the Rabshakeh, whom his master the king of Assyria has sent to mock the living God, and will rebuke the words that the LORD your God has heard; therefore lift up your prayer for the remnant that is left.” 5 When the servants of King Hezekiah came to Isaiah, 6 Isaiah said to them, “Say to your master, ‘Thus says the LORD: Do not be afraid because of the words that you have heard, with which the servants of the king of Assyria have reviled me. 7 Behold, I will put a spirit in him, so that he shall hear a rumor and return to his own land, and I will make him fall by the sword in his own land.’ ”

Sennacherib Defies the LORD

     8 The Rabshakeh returned, and found the king of Assyria fighting against Libnah, for he heard that the king had left Lachish. 9 Now the king heard concerning Tirhakah king of Cush, “Behold, he has set out to fight against you.” So he sent messengers again to Hezekiah, saying, 10 “Thus shall you speak to Hezekiah king of Judah: ‘Do not let your God in whom you trust deceive you by promising that Jerusalem will not be given into the hand of the king of Assyria. 11 Behold, you have heard what the kings of Assyria have done to all lands, devoting them to destruction. And shall you be delivered? 12 Have the gods of the nations delivered them, the nations that my fathers destroyed, Gozan, Haran, Rezeph, and the people of Eden who were in Telassar? 13 Where is the king of Hamath, the king of Arpad, the king of the city of Sepharvaim, the king of Hena, or the king of Ivvah?’ ”

Hezekiah’s Prayer

     14 Hezekiah received the letter from the hand of the messengers and read it; and Hezekiah went up to the house of the LORD and spread it before the LORD. 15 And Hezekiah prayed before the LORD and said: “O LORD, the God of Israel, enthroned above the cherubim, you are the God, you alone, of all the kingdoms of the earth; you have made heaven and earth. 16 Incline your ear, O LORD, and hear; open your eyes, O LORD, and see; and hear the words of Sennacherib, which he has sent to mock the living God. 17 Truly, O LORD, the kings of Assyria have laid waste the nations and their lands 18 and have cast their gods into the fire, for they were not gods, but the work of men’s hands, wood and stone. Therefore they were destroyed. 19 So now, O LORD our God, save us, please, from his hand, that all the kingdoms of the earth may know that you, O LORD, are God alone.”

Isaiah Prophesies Sennacherib’s Fall

     20 Then Isaiah the son of Amoz sent to Hezekiah, saying, “Thus says the LORD, the God of Israel: Your prayer to me about Sennacherib king of Assyria I have heard. 21 This is the word that the LORD has spoken concerning him:

“She despises you, she scorns you—
the virgin daughter of Zion;
she wags her head behind you—
the daughter of Jerusalem.

22  “Whom have you mocked and reviled?
Against whom have you raised your voice
and lifted your eyes to the heights?
Against the Holy One of Israel!
23  By your messengers you have mocked the Lord,
and you have said, ‘With my many chariots
I have gone up the heights of the mountains,
to the far recesses of Lebanon;
I felled its tallest cedars,
its choicest cypresses;
I entered its farthest lodging place,
its most fruitful forest.
24  I dug wells
and drank foreign waters,
and I dried up with the sole of my foot
all the streams of Egypt.’

25  “Have you not heard
that I determined it long ago?
I planned from days of old
what now I bring to pass,
that you should turn fortified cities
into heaps of ruins,
26  while their inhabitants, shorn of strength,
are dismayed and confounded,
and have become like plants of the field
and like tender grass,
like grass on the housetops,
blighted before it is grown.

27  “But I know your sitting down
and your going out and coming in,
and your raging against me.
28  Because you have raged against me
and your complacency has come into my ears,
I will put my hook in your nose
and my bit in your mouth,
and I will turn you back on the way
by which you came.

     29 “And this shall be the sign for you: this year eat what grows of itself, and in the second year what springs of the same. Then in the third year sow and reap and plant vineyards, and eat their fruit. 30 And the surviving remnant of the house of Judah shall again take root downward and bear fruit upward. 31 For out of Jerusalem shall go a remnant, and out of Mount Zion a band of survivors. The zeal of the LORD will do this.

     32 “Therefore thus says the LORD concerning the king of Assyria: He shall not come into this city or shoot an arrow there, or come before it with a shield or cast up a siege mound against it. 33 By the way that he came, by the same he shall return, and he shall not come into this city, declares the LORD. 34 For I will defend this city to save it, for my own sake and for the sake of my servant David.”

     35 And that night the angel of the LORD went out and struck down 185,000 in the camp of the Assyrians. And when people arose early in the morning, behold, these were all dead bodies. 36 Then Sennacherib king of Assyria departed and went home and lived at Nineveh. 37 And as he was worshiping in the house of Nisroch his god, Adrammelech and Sharezer, his sons, struck him down with the sword and escaped into the land of Ararat. And Esarhaddon his son reigned in his place.


Sennacherib Blasphemes

Video     2 Chronicles 32:9     After this, Sennacherib king of Assyria, who was besieging Lachish with all his forces, sent his servants to Jerusalem to Hezekiah king of Judah and to all the people of Judah who were in Jerusalem, saying, 10 “Thus says Sennacherib king of Assyria, ‘On what are you trusting, that you endure the siege in Jerusalem? 11 Is not Hezekiah misleading you, that he may give you over to die by famine and by thirst, when he tells you, “The LORD our God will deliver us from the hand of the king of Assyria”? 12 Has not this same Hezekiah taken away his high places and his altars and commanded Judah and Jerusalem, “Before one altar you shall worship, and on it you shall burn your sacrifices”? 13 Do you not know what I and my fathers have done to all the peoples of other lands? Were the gods of the nations of those lands at all able to deliver their lands out of my hand? 14 Who among all the gods of those nations that my fathers devoted to destruction was able to deliver his people from my hand, that your God should be able to deliver you from my hand? 15 Now, therefore, do not let Hezekiah deceive you or mislead you in this fashion, and do not believe him, for no god of any nation or kingdom has been able to deliver his people from my hand or from the hand of my fathers. How much less will your God deliver you out of my hand!’ ”

     16 And his servants said still more against the LORD God and against his servant Hezekiah. 17 And he wrote letters to cast contempt on the LORD, the God of Israel, and to speak against him, saying, “Like the gods of the nations of the lands who have not delivered their people from my hands, so the God of Hezekiah will not deliver his people from my hand.” 18 And they shouted it with a loud voice in the language of Judah to the people of Jerusalem who were on the wall, to frighten and terrify them, in order that they might take the city. 19 And they spoke of the God of Jerusalem as they spoke of the gods of the peoples of the earth, which are the work of men’s hands.

The LORD Delivers Jerusalem

     20 Then Hezekiah the king and Isaiah the prophet, the son of Amoz, prayed because of this and cried to heaven. 21 And the LORD sent an angel, who cut off all the mighty warriors and commanders and officers in the camp of the king of Assyria. So he returned with shame of face to his own land. And when he came into the house of his god, some of his own sons struck him down there with the sword. 22 So the LORD saved Hezekiah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem from the hand of Sennacherib king of Assyria and from the hand of all his enemies, and he provided for them on every side. 23 And many brought gifts to the LORD to Jerusalem and precious things to Hezekiah king of Judah, so that he was exalted in the sight of all nations from that time onward.


Sennacherib Invades Judah

Video     Isaiah 36     1 In the fourteenth year of King Hezekiah, Sennacherib king of Assyria came up against all the fortified cities of Judah and took them. 2 And the king of Assyria sent the Rabshakeh from Lachish to King Hezekiah at Jerusalem, with a great army. And he stood by the conduit of the upper pool on the highway to the Washer’s Field. 3 And there came out to him Eliakim the son of Hilkiah, who was over the household, and Shebna the secretary, and Joah the son of Asaph, the recorder.

     4 And the Rabshakeh said to them, “Say to Hezekiah, ‘Thus says the great king, the king of Assyria: On what do you rest this trust of yours? 5 Do you think that mere words are strategy and power for war? In whom do you now trust, that you have rebelled against me? 6 Behold, you are trusting in Egypt, that broken reed of a staff, which will pierce the hand of any man who leans on it. Such is Pharaoh king of Egypt to all who trust in him. 7 But if you say to me, “We trust in the LORD our God,” is it not he whose high places and altars Hezekiah has removed, saying to Judah and to Jerusalem, “You shall worship before this altar”? 8 Come now, make a wager with my master the king of Assyria: I will give you two thousand horses, if you are able on your part to set riders on them. 9 How then can you repulse a single captain among the least of my master’s servants, when you trust in Egypt for chariots and for horsemen? 10 Moreover, is it without the LORD that I have come up against this land to destroy it? The LORD said to me, “Go up against this land and destroy it.” ’ ”

     11 Then Eliakim, Shebna, and Joah said to the Rabshakeh, “Please speak to your servants in Aramaic, for we understand it. Do not speak to us in the language of Judah within the hearing of the people who are on the wall.” 12 But the Rabshakeh said, “Has my master sent me to speak these words to your master and to you, and not to the men sitting on the wall, who are doomed with you to eat their own dung and drink their own urine?”

     13 Then the Rabshakeh stood and called out in a loud voice in the language of Judah: “Hear the words of the great king, the king of Assyria! 14 Thus says the king: ‘Do not let Hezekiah deceive you, for he will not be able to deliver you. 15 Do not let Hezekiah make you trust in the LORD by saying, “The LORD will surely deliver us. This city will not be given into the hand of the king of Assyria.” 16 Do not listen to Hezekiah. For thus says the king of Assyria: Make your peace with me and come out to me. Then each one of you will eat of his own vine, and each one of his own fig tree, and each one of you will drink the water of his own cistern, 17 until I come and take you away to a land like your own land, a land of grain and wine, a land of bread and vineyards. 18 Beware lest Hezekiah mislead you by saying, “The LORD will deliver us.” Has any of the gods of the nations delivered his land out of the hand of the king of Assyria? 19 Where are the gods of Hamath and Arpad? Where are the gods of Sepharvaim? Have they delivered Samaria out of my hand? 20 Who among all the gods of these lands have delivered their lands out of my hand, that the LORD should deliver Jerusalem out of my hand?’ ”

     21 But they were silent and answered him not a word, for the king’s command was, “Do not answer him.” 22 Then Eliakim the son of Hilkiah, who was over the household, and Shebna the secretary, and Joah the son of Asaph, the recorder, came to Hezekiah with their clothes torn, and told him the words of the Rabshakeh.

Hezekiah Seeks Isaiah’s Help

Video     Isaiah 37     1 As soon as King Hezekiah heard it, he tore his clothes and covered himself with sackcloth and went into the house of the LORD. 2 And he sent Eliakim, who was over the household, and Shebna the secretary, and the senior priests, covered with sackcloth, to the prophet Isaiah the son of Amoz. 3 They said to him, “Thus says Hezekiah, ‘This day is a day of distress, of rebuke, and of disgrace; children have come to the point of birth, and there is no strength to bring them forth. 4 It may be that the LORD your God will hear the words of the Rabshakeh, whom his master the king of Assyria has sent to mock the living God, and will rebuke the words that the LORD your God has heard; therefore lift up your prayer for the remnant that is left.’ ”

     5 When the servants of King Hezekiah came to Isaiah, 6 Isaiah said to them, “Say to your master, ‘Thus says the LORD: Do not be afraid because of the words that you have heard, with which the young men of the king of Assyria have reviled me. 7 Behold, I will put a spirit in him, so that he shall hear a rumor and return to his own land, and I will make him fall by the sword in his own land.’ ”

     8 The Rabshakeh returned, and found the king of Assyria fighting against Libnah, for he had heard that the king had left Lachish. 9 Now the king heard concerning Tirhakah king of Cush, “He has set out to fight against you.” And when he heard it, he sent messengers to Hezekiah, saying, 10 “Thus shall you speak to Hezekiah king of Judah: ‘Do not let your God in whom you trust deceive you by promising that Jerusalem will not be given into the hand of the king of Assyria. 11 Behold, you have heard what the kings of Assyria have done to all lands, devoting them to destruction. And shall you be delivered? 12 Have the gods of the nations delivered them, the nations that my fathers destroyed, Gozan, Haran, Rezeph, and the people of Eden who were in Telassar? 13 Where is the king of Hamath, the king of Arpad, the king of the city of Sepharvaim, the king of Hena, or the king of Ivvah?’ ”

Hezekiah’s Prayer for Deliverance

     14 Hezekiah received the letter from the hand of the messengers, and read it; and Hezekiah went up to the house of the LORD, and spread it before the LORD. 15 And Hezekiah prayed to the LORD: 16 “O LORD of hosts, God of Israel, enthroned above the cherubim, you are the God, you alone, of all the kingdoms of the earth; you have made heaven and earth. 17 Incline your ear, O LORD, and hear; open your eyes, O LORD, and see; and hear all the words of Sennacherib, which he has sent to mock the living God. 18 Truly, O LORD, the kings of Assyria have laid waste all the nations and their lands, 19 and have cast their gods into the fire. For they were no gods, but the work of men’s hands, wood and stone. Therefore they were destroyed. 20 So now, O LORD our God, save us from his hand, that all the kingdoms of the earth may know that you alone are the LORD.”

Sennacherib’s Fall

     21 Then Isaiah the son of Amoz sent to Hezekiah, saying, “Thus says the LORD, the God of Israel: Because you have prayed to me concerning Sennacherib king of Assyria, 22 this is the word that the LORD has spoken concerning him:

“ ‘She despises you, she scorns you—
the virgin daughter of Zion;
she wags her head behind you—
the daughter of Jerusalem.

23  “ ‘Whom have you mocked and reviled?
Against whom have you raised your voice
and lifted your eyes to the heights?
Against the Holy One of Israel!
24  By your servants you have mocked the Lord,
and you have said, With my many chariots
I have gone up the heights of the mountains,
to the far recesses of Lebanon,
to cut down its tallest cedars,
its choicest cypresses,
to come to its remotest height,
its most fruitful forest.
25  I dug wells
and drank waters,
to dry up with the sole of my foot
all the streams of Egypt.

26  “ ‘Have you not heard
that I determined it long ago?
I planned from days of old
what now I bring to pass,
that you should make fortified cities
crash into heaps of ruins,
27  while their inhabitants, shorn of strength,
are dismayed and confounded,
and have become like plants of the field
and like tender grass,
like grass on the housetops,
blighted before it is grown.

28  “ ‘I know your sitting down
and your going out and coming in,
and your raging against me.
29  Because you have raged against me
and your complacency has come to my ears,
I will put my hook in your nose
and my bit in your mouth,
and I will turn you back on the way
by which you came.’

     30 “And this shall be the sign for you: this year you shall eat what grows of itself, and in the second year what springs from that. Then in the third year sow and reap, and plant vineyards, and eat their fruit. 31 And the surviving remnant of the house of Judah shall again take root downward and bear fruit upward. 32 For out of Jerusalem shall go a remnant, and out of Mount Zion a band of survivors. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will do this.

     33 “Therefore thus says the LORD concerning the king of Assyria: He shall not come into this city or shoot an arrow there or come before it with a shield or cast up a siege mound against it. 34 By the way that he came, by the same he shall return, and he shall not come into this city, declares the LORD. 35 For I will defend this city to save it, for my own sake and for the sake of my servant David.”

     36 And the angel of the LORD went out and struck down 185,000 in the camp of the Assyrians. And when people arose early in the morning, behold, these were all dead bodies. 37 Then Sennacherib king of Assyria departed and returned home and lived at Nineveh. 38 And as he was worshiping in the house of Nisroch his god, Adrammelech and Sharezer, his sons, struck him down with the sword. And after they escaped into the land of Ararat, Esarhaddon his son reigned in his place.

English Standard Version Bible with Apocrypha



  • L11 Ezk 20:45-23:49
  • L12 Ezk 24:1-27
  • L13 Ezk 25:1-28:26


   Devotionals, notes, poetry and more

UCB The Word For Today
     Listen carefully without interrupting!
     (Oct 2)    Bob Gass

     ‘Look with your eyes…hear with your ears, and fix your mind on everything I show you.’

(Eze 40:4) 4 And the man said to me, “Son of man, look with your eyes, and hear with your ears, and set your heart upon all that I shall show you, for you were brought here in order that I might show it to you. Declare all that you see to the house of Israel.” ESV

     If you train yourself to listen carefully to what someone is saying, they will generally tell you who and what they are before you get into a relationship with them. Prevention is better than cure! But more times than not, when someone begins to warn us of their weaknesses and what to expect, we jump in with our motivational ‘Oh no, that can’t be true’ thoughts, and encourage them to move forward with us. We need to learn the priceless art of listening without interrupting. If you do, you’ll save yourself years of tears, secret disappointments, and negative experiences. Rather than using your optimism and persuasive style to coerce somebody into accepting your goals and objectives, you need to know when a person can’t become something just because you want them to or believe they can. They can’t run on your fuel! Your character and maturity won’t make up for their lack of it. Without your awareness of this principle, these high-maintenance relationships can weary you and drain your strength for years. In private or professional relationships, if you have to keep motivating to get started, you’ll have to keep motivating to maintain. On the other hand, if you look, listen, pray, and observe, you can decide whether it’s worth the effort to engage in the relationship in the first place. And if you ask God, He will guide you in this: His Word says, ‘Look with your eyes…hear with your ears, and fix your mind on everything I show you; for you were brought here…that I might show them to you.’

Is 59-61
1 Thess 1

UCB The Word For Today

American Minute
     by Bill Federer

     “Oxford historian Arnold Joseph Toynbee died this day, October 2, 1975. He had worked for the British government doing foreign intelligence and research and was a delegate to the Paris Peace Conferences following World Wars I and II. Gaining international acclaim for his history books, Arnold Joseph Toynbee wrote: “The course of human history consists of a series of encounters… in which each man or woman or child… is challenged by God to make [the] free choice between doing God’s will and refusing to do it. When Man refuses, he is free to make his refusal and to take the consequences.”

American Minute

The Soul of Prayer
     by P.T. Forsyth, (1848-1921)


     CHAPTER III / The Moral Reactions of Prayer

     All religion is founded on prayer, and in prayer it has its test and measure. To be religious is to pray, to be irreligious is to be incapable of prayer. The theory of religion is really the philosophy of prayer; and the best theology is compressed prayer. The true theology is warm, and it steams upward into prayer. Prayer is access to whatever we deem God, and if there is no such access there is no religion; for it is not religion to resign ourselves to be crushed by a brute power so that we can no more remonstrate than resist. It is in prayer that our real idea of God appears, and in prayer that our real relation to God shows itself. On the first levels of our religion we go to our God for help and boon in the junctures of our natural life; but, as we rise to supernatural religion, gifts becomes less to us than the Giver; they are not such as feed our egoism. We forget ourselves in a godly sort; and what we court and what we receive in our prayer is not simply a boon but communion—or if a boon, it is the boon which Christians call the Holy Spirit, and which means, above all else, communion with God. But lest communion subside into mere meditation it must concentrate in prayer. We must keep acquiring by such effort the grace so freely given. There is truly a subconscious communion, and a godliness that forgets God well, in the hourly life of taxing action and duty; but it must rise to seasons of colloquy, when our action is wholly with the Father, and the business even of His kingdom turns into heart converse, where the yoke is easy and the burden light. Duty is then absorbed in love—the deep, active union of souls outwardly distinct. Their connection is not external and (as we might say) inorganic; it is inward, organic, and reciprocal. There is not only action but interplay, not only need and gift but trust and love. The boon is the Giver Himself, and its answer is the self of the receiver. Cor ad cor loquitor. All the asking and having goes on in a warm atmosphere, where soul passes into soul without fusion, person is lost in person without losing personality, and thought about prayer becomes thought in prayer. The greatest, deepest, truest thought of God is generated in prayer, where right thought has its essential condition in a right will. The state and act of true prayer contains the very substance and summit of Christian truth, which is always there in solution, and becomes increasingly explicit and conscious. To grow in grace is to become more understanding in prayer. We make for the core of Christian reality and the source of Christian power.

     Our atonement with God is the pregnant be-all and end-all of Christian peace and life; and what is that atonement but the head and front of the Saviour’s perpetual intercession, of the outpouring of His sin-laden soul unto death? Unto death! That is to say, it is its outpouring utterly. So that His entire self-emptying and His perfect and prevailing prayer is one. In this intercession our best prayer, broken, soiled, and feeble as it is, is caught up and made prayer indeed and power with God. This intercession prays for our very prayer, and atones for the sin in it. This is praying in the Holy Ghost, which is not necessarily a matter either of intensity or elation. This is praying “for Christ’s sake.” If it be true that the whole Trinity is in the Gospel of our salvation, it is also true that all theology lies hidden in the prayer which is our chief answer to the Gospel. And the bane of so much theology, old and new, is that it has been denuded of prayer and prepared in a vacuum.

     Prayer draws on our whole personality; and not only so, but on the whole God.And it draws on a God who really comes home nowhere else. God is here, not as a mere presence as He is in Nature, nor is He a mere pressure as He closes in upon us in the sobering of life. We do not face Him in mere meditation, nor do we cultivate Him as life’s most valuable asset. But He is here as our Lover, our Seeker, our Visitant, our Interlocutor; He is our Saviour, our Truth, our Power, nay, our Spiritual World. In this supreme exercise of our personality He is at once our Respondent and our Spiritual Universe. Nothing but the experience of prayer can solve paradoxes like these. On every other level they are absurd. But here deep answers deep. God becomes the living truth of our most memorable and shaping experience, not its object only but its essence. He who speaks to us also hears in us, because He opens our inward ear (
Rom. viii. 15; Gal. iv. 6). And yet He is Another, who so fully lives in us as to give us but the more fully to ourselves. So that our prayer is a soliloquy with God, a monologue a deux.

     There is no such engine for the growth and command of the moral soul, single, or social, as prayer. Here, above all, he who will do shall know. It is the great organ of Christian knowledge and growth. It plants us at the very centre of our own personality, which gives the soul the true perspective of itself; it sets us also at the very centre of the world in God, which gives us the true hierarchy of things. Nothing, therefore, develops such “inwardness” and yet such self-knowledge and self-control. Private prayer, when it is made a serious business, when it is formed prayer, when we pray audibly in our chamber, or when we write our prayers, guided always by the day’s record, the passion of piety, and above all the truths of Scripture, is worth more for our true and grave and individual spirituality than gatherings of greater unction may be. Bible searching and searching prayer go hand in hand. What we receive from God in the Book’s message we return to Him with interest in prayer. Nothing puts us in living contact with God but prayer, however facile our mere religion may be. And therefore nothing does so much for our originality, so much to make us our own true selves, to stir up all that is in us to be, and hallow all we are. In life it is not hard work; it is faculty, insight, gift, talent, genius. And what genius does in the natural world prayer does in the spiritual. Nothing can give us so much power and vision. It opens a fountain perpetual and huminous at the centre of our personality, where we are sustained because we are created anew and not simply refreshed. For here the springs of life continually rise. And here also the eye discerns a new world because it has second sight. It sees two worlds at once. Hence, the paradoxes I spoke of. Here we learn to read the work of Christ which commands the world unseen. And we learn to read even the strategy of Providence in the affairs of the world. To pray to the Doer must help us to understand what is done. Prayer, as our greatest work, breeds in us the flair for the greatest work of God, the instinct of His kingdom and the sense of His track in Time.


--- Forsyth, P. T. (1848-1921).

The Soul of Prayer

Lean Into God
     Compiled by Richard S. Adams


We quicken or deaden everything we see
by the life we live
and the sins that we commit.
--- George H. Morrison


Of the twenty-two civilizations that have appeared in history, nineteen of them collapsed when they reached the moral state the United States is in now.
--- Arnold J. Toynbee


No one can read the Gospels without feeling the actual presence of Jesus. His personality pulsates in every word. No myth is filled with such life.
--- Albert Einstein, in an interview by George Sylvester Viereck for The Saturday Evening Post (10/26/29)


The Christian may grow drowsy in the sun but will not fall asleep in the fire or the flood.
--- Alistair Begg

... from here, there and everywhere

History of the Destruction of Jerusalem
     Thanks to Meir Yona

     CHAPTER 9.

     Titus When The Jews Were Not At All Mollified By His Leaving Off The Siege For A While, Set Himself Again To Prosecute The Same; But Soon Sent Josephus To Discourse With His Own Countrymen About Peace.

     1. A Resolution was now taken by Titus to relax the siege for a little while, and to afford the seditious an interval for consideration, and to see whether the demolishing of their second wall would not make them a little more compliant, or whether they were not somewhat afraid of a famine, because the spoils they had gotten by rapine would not be sufficient for them long; so he made use of this relaxation in order to compass his own designs. Accordingly, as the usual appointed time when he must distribute subsistence money to the soldiers was now come, he gave orders that the commanders should put the army into battle-array, in the face of the enemy, and then give every one of the soldiers their pay. So the soldiers, according to custom, opened the cases wherein their arms before lay covered, and marched with their breastplates on, as did the horsemen lead their horses in their fine trappings. Then did the places that were before the city shine very splendidly for a great way; nor was there any thing so grateful to Titus's own men, or so terrible to the enemy, as that sight. For the whole old wall, and the north side of the temple, were full of spectators, and one might see the houses full of such as looked at them; nor was there any part of the city which was not covered over with their multitudes; nay, a very great consternation seized upon the hardiest of the Jews themselves, when they saw all the army in the same place, together with the fineness of their arms, and the good order of their men. And I cannot but think that the seditious would have changed their minds at that sight, unless the crimes they had committed against the people had been so horrid, that they despaired of forgiveness from the Romans; but as they believed death with torments must be their punishment, if they did not go on in the defense of the city, they thought it much better to die in war. Fate also prevailed so far over them, that the innocent were to perish with the guilty, and the city was to be destroyed with the seditious that were in it.

     2. Thus did the Romans spend four days in bringing this subsistence-money to the several legions. But on the fifth day, when no signs of peace appeared to come from the Jews, Titus divided his legions, and began to raise banks, both at the tower of Antonia and at John's monument. Now his designs were to take the upper city at that monument, and the temple at the tower of Antonia; for if the temple were not taken, it would be dangerous to keep the city itself; so at each of these parts he raised him banks, each legion raising one. As for those that wrought at John's monument, the Idumeans, and those that were in arms with Simon, made sallies upon them, and put some stop to them; while John's party, and the multitude of zealots with them, did the like to those that were before the tower of Antonia. These Jews were now too hard for the Romans, not only in direct fighting, because they stood upon the higher ground, but because they had now learned to use their own engines; for their continual use of them one day after another did by degrees improve their skill about them; for of one sort of engines for darts they had three hundred, and forty for stones; by the means of which they made it more tedious for the Romans to raise their banks. But then Titus, knowing that the city would be either saved or destroyed for himself, did not only proceed earnestly in the siege, but did not omit to have the Jews exhorted to repentance; so he mixed good counsel with his works for the siege. And being sensible that exhortations are frequently more effectual than arms, he persuaded them to surrender the city, now in a manner already taken, and thereby to save themselves, and sent Josephus to speak to them in their own language; for he imagined they might yield to the persuasion of a countryman of their own.

     3. So Josephus went round about the wall, and tried to find a place that was out of the reach of their darts, and yet within their hearing, and besought them, in many words, to spare themselves, to spare their country and their temple, and not to be more obdurate in these cases than foreigners themselves; for that the Romans, who had no relation to those things, had a reverence for their sacred rites and places, although they belonged to their enemies, and had till now kept their hands off from meddling with them; while such as were brought up under them, and, if they be preserved, will be the only people that will reap the benefit of them, hurry on to have them destroyed. That certainly they have seen their strongest walls demolished, and that the wall still remaining was weaker than those that were already taken. That they must know the Roman power was invincible, and that they had been used to serve them; for, that in case it be allowed a right thing to fight for liberty, that ought to have been done at first; but for them that have once fallen under the power of the Romans, and have now submitted to them for so many long years, to pretend to shake off that yoke afterward, was the work of such as had a mind to die miserably, not of such as were lovers of liberty. Besides, men may well enough grudge at the dishonor of owning ignoble masters over them, but ought not to do so to those who have all things under their command; for what part of the world is there that hath escaped the Romans, unless it be such as are of no use for violent heat, or for violent cold? And evident it is that fortune is on all hands gone over to them; and that God, when he had gone round the nations with this dominion, is now settled in Italy. That, moreover, it is a strong and fixed law, even among brute beasts, as well as among men, to yield to those that are too strong for them; and to suffer those to have the dominion who are too hard for the rest in war; for which reason it was that their forefathers, who were far superior to them, both in their souls and bodies, and other advantages, did yet submit to the Romans, which they would not have suffered, had they not known that God was with them. As for themselves, what can they depend on in this their opposition, when the greatest part of their city is already taken? and when those that are within it are under greater miseries than if they were taken, although their walls be still standing? For that the Romans are not unacquainted with that famine which is in the city, whereby the people are already consumed, and the fighting men will in a little time be so too; for although the Romans should leave off the siege, and not fall upon the city with their swords in their hands, yet was there an insuperable war that beset them within, and was augmented every hour, unless they were able to wage war with famine, and fight against it, or could alone conquer their natural appetites. He added this further, how right a thing it was to change their conduct before their calamities were become incurable, and to have recourse to such advice as might preserve them, while opportunity was offered them for so doing; for that the Romans would not be mindful of their past actions to their disadvantage, unless they persevered in their insolent behavior to the end; because they were naturally mild in their conquests, and preferred what was profitable, before what their passions dictated to them; which profit of theirs lay not in leaving the city empty of inhabitants, nor the country a desert; on which account Caesar did now offer them his right hand for their security. Whereas, if he took the city by force, he would not save any of them, and this especially, if they rejected his offers in these their utmost distresses; for the walls that were already taken could not but assure them that the third wall would quickly be taken also. And though their fortifications should prove too strong for the Romans to break through them, yet would the famine fight for the Romans against them.

          The Project Gutenberg EBook of The Wars of the Jews or History of the Destruction of Jerusalem, by Flavius Josephus Translator: William Whiston

The War of the Jews: The History of the Destruction of Jerusalem (complete edition, 7 books)

Proverbs 26:2
     by D.H. Stern

2     Like a fluttering sparrow or a flying swallow,
     an undeserved curse will come home to roost.

Complete Jewish Bible : An English Version of the Tanakh (Old Testament) and B'Rit Hadashah (New Testament)
My Utmost For The Highest
     A Daily Devotional by Oswald Chambers


                The sphere of humiliation

     If Thou canst do any thing, have compassion on us, and help us. --- Mark 9:22.

     After every time of exaltation we are brought down with a sudden rush into things as they are, where it is neither beautiful nor poetic nor thrilling. The height of the mountain top is measured by the drab drudgery of the valley; but it is in the valley that we have to live for the glory of God. We see His glory on the mount, but we never live for His glory there. It is in the sphere of humiliation that we find our true worth to God, that is where our faithfulness is revealed. Most of us can do things if we are always at the heroic pitch because of the natural selfishness of our hearts, but God wants us at the drab commonplace pitch, where we live in the valley according to our personal relationship to Him. Peter thought it would be a fine thing for them to remain on the mount, but Jesus Christ took the disciples down from the mount into the valley—the place where the meaning of the vision is explained.

     “If Thou canst do anything …” It takes the valley of humiliation to root the scepticism out of us. Look back at your own experience, and you will find that until you learned Who Jesus was, you were a cunning sceptic about His power. When you were on the mount, you could believe anything, but what about the time when you were up against facts in the valley? You may be able to give a testimony to sanctification, but what about the thing that is a humiliation to you just now? The last time you were on the mount with God, you saw that all power in heaven and in earth belonged to Jesus—will you be sceptical now in the valley of humiliation?


My Utmost for His Highest: Quality Paperback Edition

Look
     the Poetry of RS Thomas


                Look

Look, here are two cronies, let's
  Listen to them as the wind
  Creeps under their clothes and the rain
  Mixes with the bright moisture
  Of their noses. They are saying,
  Each in his own way, 'I am dying
  And want to live. I am alive
  And wish to die'. And for the same
  Reason, that they have no belief
  In a God who made the world
  For misery and for the streams of pain
  To flow in. Mildew and pus and decay
  They deal in, and feed on mucous
  And wind, diet of a wet land. So
  They fester and, met now by this tree,
  Complain, voices of the earth, talking,
  Not as we wanted it to talk,
  Who have been reared on its reflections
  In art or had its behaviour
  Seen to. We must dip belief
  Not in dew nor in the cool fountain
  Of beech buds, but in seas
  Of manure through which they squelch
  To the bleakness of their assignations.


Selected poems, 1946-1968

Micah 6:8, one of my favorite passages
     Teaacher's Commentary

     He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and walk humbly with your God. --- Micah 6:8.

     When, in England, William Wilberforce initiated his long campaign to outlaw slavery in the British empire, he did not act as a social reformer. He was moved by Christian compassion: he acted because he cared about those helpless chattels that the majority in his day viewed as scarcely human. In working for justice, in showing loving-kindness, in committing his health and fortune to the betterment of his oppressed fellowman, this man uniquely pleased and honored God.

     It is not some utopian dream but a practical concern for people that drives us to seek justice.

     2. It is tragically wrong to view the Christian’s concern for justice as something to be valued or devalued on the basis of its contribution to evangelism. The church has often done this. We have said, “Send doctors—that we might break the power of the witch doctor and win the lost.”

     These statements implicitly assign to justice a value based on the end it is supposed to achieve. Thus “doing justice” is viewed as a means to an end, and when it does not seem to promote that end (evangelism), it is roughly thrust aside.

     But is concern for the oppressed and the hungry a tool? How do we differ from the Pharisees if our commitment to do right by all men is conditional on whether we believe our actions will help us gain other ends? No, we “do justice” because it is right.

     3. It’s an amazing thing that concern for people’s social and material needs is conceived as somehow intrinsically different from concern for their souls. But the Bible does not describe man as composed of an immaterial “soul” captured in a physical body. Instead it speaks of the breath of life breathed into the body God prepared so that “man became a living soul” (
Gen. 2:7, kjv). Human beings experience life as a unity: we do not separate our selves from our bodies, or from our souls.

     It follows that when we come in contact with others, we are to reach out to them in love and love them fully. We are to care about their every need. There may be little we can do to change basic conditions in our society. But we are not to hold back in loving because one sort of need is “social” and another “spiritual.” If minority children in our neighborhood need tutoring, we do not ignore that need because such a thing in our church would not be “religious.” If an inner-city store gouges the poor who cannot shop elsewhere, we don’t keep silent because the injustice is only bodily and not related to the soul. If pornography is openly sold in a shop near a school, we don’t just ignore it.

     Simply put, the Christian has a commitment to justice, simply because doing justice is right.

     4. Probably the most compelling reason that Christians today need to be committed to doing right by others is this: that’s the kind of person God is. God Himself is just. He is committed to doing right by all. God, as the Old Testament clearly reveals, does care deeply when injustice and indifference to others are accepted elements in an individual’s or society’s lifestyle.

     As the New Testament adds, “Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world” (James 1:27).

     Our study of the Old Testament prophets brings us face-to-face with a dimension of faith that our generation has tended to overlook. The prophets’ constant emphasis and God’s constant call to Israel teaches us that we need to have a concern for the whole person. A concern that God feels deeply, as He calls us today as then to “hate evil, love good, and maintain justice in the courts” (Amos 5:15).


The Teacher's Commentary

Searching For Meaning In Midrash
     Psalm 1:1–2 Deuteronomy 30:11–14


     EPILOGUE

     BIBLE TEXT /
Psalm 1:1–2 / Happy is the man who has not walked in the counsel of the wicked, or stood in the path of sinners, or sat in the company of the insolent; Rather, the Torah of the Lord is his desire, and he studies that Torah day and night. [authors’ translation]

     MIDRASH TEXT / Avodah Zarah 19a / Rabbi Avdimi son of Ḥama said: “All who are occupied with the Torah, the Holy One, praised is He, will fulfill their desires.”

     BIBLE TEXT /
Deuteronomy 30:11–14 / Surely, this Instruction which I enjoin upon you this day is not too baffling for you, nor is it beyond reach. It is not in the heavens, that you should say, “Who among us can go up to the heavens and get it for us and impart it to us, that we maya observe it?” Neither is it beyond the sea, that you should say, “Who among us can cross to the other side of the sea and get it for us and impart it to us, that we may observe it?” No, the thing is very close to you, in your mouth and in your heart, to observe it.

     MIDRASH TEXT / Eruvin 55a / Rabbi Avdimi son of Ḥama said: “What is the significance of the text ‘It is not in the heavens, that you should say, “Who among us can go up to the heavens and get it for us and impart it to us, that we may observe it?” (
Deuteronomy 30:12) ‘It is not in heaven’—for if it were in heaven, you would have to go up there to get it.”

     D’RASH

     Having heard our Master, Rabbi Avdimi, speak so brilliantly in his Shabbat D’rashah about God holding Mount Sinai over the heads of the Israelites and forcing them to accept the Torah, I decided to sit in on his lecture in the study house.

     I came in and slipped quietly into the last row of seats. Suddenly, everyone rose to their feet as the Rabbi entered; he smiled and motioned for us to sit down.

     Rabbi Avdimi began the lesson by closing his eyes and quoting the first two verses of the Book of Psalms:

  Happy is the man who has not walked
in the counsel of the wicked,
  or stood in the path of sinners,
  or sat in the company of the insolent;
  Rather, the Torah of the Lord is his desire,
  and he studies that Torah day and night. [
Psalm 1:1–2, authors’ translation]

     From the outset, a sense of inadequacy swept over me. First, that the Master could quote from memory these verses from the Bible that were so foreign to me. And second, that the verses seemed to say: You can either be a follower of the wicked, or a desirer of the Torah, and if the latter, you have to study it day and night. “I don’t belong here,” I told myself, and the only thing that kept me in my seat was the fear of being noticed and embarrassed were I to stand up and walk out.

     But as if he were reading my mind, Rabbi Avdimi then asked: “Who among us is able to spend all day, every day, studying the Torah of the Lord, as the Psalmist implies?” The other listeners lowered their heads or grinned sheepishly, acknowledging their own limitations. The Master continued: “Rabbi Eliezer taught: ‘Israel said to the Holy One, praised is He: “Master of the World! We want to labor in the Torah day and night, but we don’t have the time!’ ” The Holy One, praised is He, said to them: ‘Fulfill the mitzvah of tefillin, and I will count it as if you labored night and day!’ ” [Midrash Tehillim 1, 17]

     “Sometimes human beings, like the Psalmist, seem to expect a lot more of us than God does!”

     All of us laughed, not only at the irony of the Rabbi’s statement, but in relief that we were not “wicked, insolent sinners.”

     “What is the significance of the text in Deuteronomy where Moses tells Israel about the Torah, ‘It is not in heaven, that you should say, “Who among us can go up to the heavens and get it for us and impart it to us, that we may observe it.’ ” If it were in heaven, you would have to go up there to get it. That’s how important the Torah is. But it is not in heaven, it is not beyond our reach!”

     One of the men in the first row called out a question: “Rabbi Avdimi, will this devotion to the Torah be worth all of the effort that we put in to it?”

     The Master smiled. “Go back to the verses from the Book of Psalms. It says: תּוֹרַת יי הֶפְצוֹ/ torat Adonai ḥeftzo, three words in the Hebrew that literally mean ‘The Torah of the Lord is His desire.’ But when we read the Bible, we have to look at more than just the letters and words that we see. Sometimes we have to read the spaces between the letters; sometimes we have to fill in the blanks between the words. That is the purpose of Midrash.

     “I would re-read the verse this way:

  All who are occupied with the Torah
  the Holy One, praised is He—the Lord
  will fulfill their desires.

     “The P’shat of the text is: A good person desires the Lord’s Torah. The D’rash of the verse tells us more: The Lord will reward such a person.”

     “Rabbi,” a man in the second row called out. “It sounds like magic. Study Torah and the Holy One, praised is He, will grant all that you desire. Is it that simple?”

     “Yes …” the Rabbi replied, pausing as we stared at him in surprise, sitting on the edge of our benches. “The Torah is magic. And no, it’s not that simple. If your desire is Torah, then God will fulfill that desire. If you want to study, if you want to learn with all of your heart, all of your soul, and all of your might (the very words that are in the tefillin, the same mitzvah that the Holy One, praised is He, told us to fulfill!), then you will get it. As difficult as Torah may sometimes seem, it is yours. All you have to do is want it.”

     As our lesson in Torah and Midrash came to an end, we all stood and recited the traditional prayer in praise of God, and in appreciation of the great gift that God had given us:

May God’s great name be praised.
  May there be upon the people Israel,
  their teachers,
  their students,
  and the students of their students,
  and upon all those who engage in the study of Torah
  in this place and in every other place,
  upon them and upon you:
  great peace,
  grace, kindness, and mercy,
  long life, abundant sustenance and salvation
  from their Father who is in heaven,
  and let us say: Amen!


Searching for Meaning in Midrash: Lessons for Everyday Living

Take Heart
     October 2

     Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.
--- Romans 12:2. KJV

     Having shown that each of us is a priest of our own flesh by our way of life, [Paul] mentions also the way we may accomplish all this. (A SELECT LIBRARY OF THE NICENE AND POST-NICENE FATHERS OF THE CHRISTIAN CHURCH Volume XI: Saint Chrysostom: Homilies on the Acts of the Apostles and the Epistle to the Romans.) What then is the way?

     Do not be fashioned after this world, for the pattern of this world is groveling and worthless and only temporary, neither does it have anything of loftiness or lastingness or straightforwardness but is wholly perverted. If then you would walk upright (or aright), do not pattern yourself after the fashion of this present life. For in it there is nothing abiding or stable. For speak of riches, glory, beauty of person, luxury, or of whatever other of its seemingly great things you will, it is a fashion only, not reality, a show and a mask, not any abiding substance. But you, he says, do not conform, but be transformed, by the renewing of your mind. Virtue’s not an appearance but a kind of real form, with a natural beauty of its own, not the trickeries and fashions of outward things, which no sooner appear than they go to nothing. For all these things, even before they come to light, are dissolving. If then you throw the appearance aside, you will speedily come to the form. For nothing is more strengthless than vice, nothing so easily wears old. Then since it is likely that being human his hearers would sin every day, he consoles them by saying, renew yourself from day to day. This is what we do with houses, we keep constantly repairing them as they wear old, and so you do to yourself. Have you sinned today? Have you made your soul old? Do not despair, do not despond, but renew it by repentance and tears and confession and by doing good things. And never stop doing this.
--- John Chrysostom


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

On This Day   October 2
     Four Centuries


     Protestants were slow to embrace the missionary cause. In the sixteenth century, they struggled to liberate themselves from moribund Catholicism. The seventeenth century was consumed with bloody efforts for liberty within the state. Not until the eighteenth century could their attention be drawn overseas. The Moravians were the first, sending missionaries to such fields as the West Indies and Labrador. But still there was no organized missionary enterprise supported by a strong home base.

     Then came a failure-prone shoemaker named William Carey. His RS Thomas, conversations, and his book, Enquiry, finally nudged his fellow Baptists to adopt this resolution at an associational meeting: Resolved that a plan be prepared against the next Ministers’ meeting at Kettering, for forming a Baptist Society for propagating the Gospel among the Heathen.

     Five months later, on Tuesday, October 2, 1792, 14 men huddled in the back parlor of widow Wallis’s house in Kettering, in a room 12 feet by 10. There were 12 ministers, a student, and a deacon. Carey, 31, reviewed the achievements of the Moravians and recounted the Bible’s missionary mandate. By and by, a resolution was worded: Humbly desirous of making an effort for the propagation of the Gospel amongst the Heathen, according to the recommendations of Carey’s Enquiry, we unanimously resolve to act in Society together for this purpose; and as, in the divided state of Christendom, each denomination, by exerting itself separately, seems likeliest to accomplish the great end, we name this the Particular Baptist Society for the Propagation of the Gospel among the Heathen.

     Andrew Fuller passed around his snuff box with its picture of Paul’s conversion on the lid, taking up history’s first collection of pledges for organized, home-supported Protestant missions.

     Suddenly missionary societies popped up everywhere, especially in London: in 1792 the British Missionary Society; in 1795 the London Missionary Society; in 1799 the Religious Tract Society and the Church Missionary Society. In 1804 the British and Foreign Bible Society came into being. The era of missions had begun, making the nineteenth century the “Great Century” in the advancement of the Gospel around the globe.
|
     Afterwards, Jesus appeared to his eleven disciples as they were eating. He scolded them because they were too stubborn to believe the ones who had seen him after he had been raised to life. Then he told them: Go and preach the good news to everyone in the world.
--- Mark 16:14,15.


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

Morning and Evening
     Daily Readings / CHARLES H. SPURGEON

          Morning - October 2

     “The hope which is laid up for you in heaven.” --- Colossians 1:5.

     Our hope in Christ for the future is the mainspring and the mainstay of our joy here. It will animate our hearts to think often of heaven, for all that we can desire is promised there. Here we are weary and toilworn, but yonder is the land of rest where the sweat of labour shall no more bedew the worker’s brow, and fatigue shall be for ever banished. To those who are weary and spent, the word “rest” is full of heaven. We are always in the field of battle; we are so tempted within, and so molested by foes without, that we have little or no peace; but in heaven we shall enjoy the victory, when the banner shall be waved aloft in triumph, and the sword shall be sheathed, and we shall hear our Captain say, “Well done, good and faithful servant.” We have suffered bereavement after bereavement, but we are going to the land of the immortal where graves are unknown things. Here sin is a constant grief to us, but there we shall be perfectly holy, for there shall by no means enter into that kingdom anything which defileth. Hemlock springs not up in the furrows of celestial fields. Oh! is it not joy, that you are not to be in banishment for ever, that you are not to dwell eternally in this wilderness, but shall soon inherit Canaan? Nevertheless let it never be said of us, that we are dreaming about the future and forgetting the present, let the future sanctify the present to highest uses. Through the Spirit of God the hope of heaven is the most potent force for the product of virtue; it is a fountain of joyous effort, it is the corner stone of cheerful holiness. The man who has this hope in him goes about his work with vigour, for the joy of the Lord is his strength. He fights against temptation with ardour, for the hope of the next world repels the fiery darts of the adversary. He can labour without present reward, for he looks for a reward in the world to come.


          Evening - October 2

     “A man greatly beloved.” --- Daniel 10:11.

     Child of God, do you hesitate to appropriate this title? Ah! has your unbelief made you forget that you are greatly beloved too? Must you not have been greatly beloved, to have been bought with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot? When God smote his only begotten Son for you, what was this but being greatly beloved? You lived in sin, and rioted in it, must you not have been greatly beloved for God to have borne so patiently with you? You were called by grace and led to a Saviour, and made a child of God and an heir of heaven. All this proves, does it not, a very great and superabounding love? Since that time, whether your path has been rough with troubles, or smooth with mercies, it has been full of proofs that you are a man greatly beloved. If the Lord has chastened you, yet not in anger; if he has made you poor, yet in grace you have been rich. The more unworthy you feel yourself to be, the more evidence have you that nothing but unspeakable love could have led the Lord Jesus to save such a soul as yours. The more demerit you feel, the clearer is the display of the abounding love of God in having chosen you, and called you, and made you an heir of bliss. Now, if there be such love between God and us let us live in the influence and sweetness of it, and use the privilege of our position. Do not let us approach our Lord as though we were strangers, or as though he were unwilling to hear us—for we are greatly beloved by our loving Father. “He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?” Come boldly, O believer, for despite the whisperings of Satan and the doubtings of thine own heart, thou art greatly beloved. Meditate on the exceeding greatness and faithfulness of divine love this Evening, and so go to thy bed in peace.


Morning and Evening: A New Edition of the Classic Devotional Based on The Holy Bible, English Standard Version

Amazing Grace
     October 2

          RESCUE THE PERISHING

     Fanny J. Crosby, 1820–1915

     The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me; because the Lord hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; He hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives … (Isaiah 61:1 KJV)

     One of the most tragic words in our vocabulary is the word perishing. Yet it was a word that Jesus Himself often used (Matthew 18:14; Luke 13:3, 5) to describe people who are spiritually alienated from God.

     Fanny Crosby, often called the “queen of Gospel music,” recalled how she wrote this challenging hymn:

     I remember writing that hymn in the year 1869. Like many of my hymns, it was written following a personal experience at the New York City Bowery Mission. I usually tried to get to the mission at least one night a week to talk to “my boys.” I was addressing a large company of working men one hot summer Evening, when the thought kept forcing itself on my mind that some mother’s boy must be rescued that night or he might be eternally lost. So I made a pressing plea that if there was a boy present who had wandered from his mother’s home and teaching, he should come to me at the end of the service. A young man of 18 came forward ---

     “Did you mean me, Miss Crosby? I promised my mother to meet her in heaven, but as I am now living, that will be impossible.”

     We prayed for him and suddenly he arose with a new light in his eyes— “Now I am ready to meet my mother in heaven, for I have found God.”

     A few days before, William Doane, composer of the music, had sent Fanny Crosby a tune for a new song to be titled “Rescue the Perishing.” It was to be based on the text “Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in, that my house may be filled” (Luke 14:23).

     Rescue the perishing, care for the dying, snatch them in pity from sin and the grave; weep o’er the erring one, lift up the fallen, tell them of Jesus, the mighty to save.
     Down in the human heart, crushed by the tempter, feelings lie buried that grace can restore; touched by a loving heart, wakened by kindness, chords that are broken will vibrate once more.
     Rescue the perishing, duty demands it; strength for thy labor the Lord will provide; back to the narrow way patiently win them; tell the poor wand’rer a Savior has died.
     Refrain: Rescue the perishing, care for the dying; Jesus is merciful, Jesus will save.


     For Today: Ezekiel 18:32; Luke 14:23; Romans 9:2, 3; 2 Peter 3:9

     Reflect seriously that it is the divine image in every person (Genesis 1:26, 27) that gives life an intrinsic dignity and worth—regardless of race, color, sex, age, or social standing. That’s what makes each person worthy of being rescued from eternal damnation. Sing this musical challenge as you go ---

Amazing Grace: 366 Inspiring Hymn Stories for Daily Devotions

Book Of Common Prayer
     Monday, October 2, 2017 | After Pentecost


Proper 21, Monday
Year 1
Psalms (Morning)     Psalm 89:1–18
Psalms (Evening)     Psalm 89:19–52
Old Testament     2 Kings 17:24–41
New Testament     1 Corinthians 7:25–31
Gospel     Matthew 6:25–34

Index of Readings

Psalms (Morning)
Psalm 89:1–18

1 I will sing of your steadfast love, O LORD, forever;
with my mouth I will proclaim your faithfulness to all generations.
2 I declare that your steadfast love is established forever;
your faithfulness is as firm as the heavens.

3 You said, “I have made a covenant with my chosen one,
I have sworn to my servant David:
4 ‘I will establish your descendants forever,
and build your throne for all generations.’ ”     Selah

5 Let the heavens praise your wonders, O LORD,
your faithfulness in the assembly of the holy ones.
6 For who in the skies can be compared to the LORD?
Who among the heavenly beings is like the LORD,
7 a God feared in the council of the holy ones,
great and awesome above all that are around him?
8 O LORD God of hosts,
who is as mighty as you, O LORD?
Your faithfulness surrounds you.
9 You rule the raging of the sea;
when its waves rise, you still them.
10 You crushed Rahab like a carcass;
you scattered your enemies with your mighty arm.
11 The heavens are yours, the earth also is yours;
the world and all that is in it—you have founded them.
12 The north and the south—you created them;
Tabor and Hermon joyously praise your name.
13 You have a mighty arm;
strong is your hand, high your right hand.
14 Righteousness and justice are the foundation of your throne;
steadfast love and faithfulness go before you.
15 Happy are the people who know the festal shout,
who walk, O LORD, in the light of your countenance;
16 they exult in your name all day long,
and extol your righteousness.
17 For you are the glory of their strength;
by your favor our horn is exalted.
18 For our shield belongs to the LORD,
our king to the Holy One of Israel.

Psalms (Evening)
Psalm 89:19–52

19 Then you spoke in a vision to your faithful one, and said:
“I have set the crown on one who is mighty,
I have exalted one chosen from the people.
20 I have found my servant David;
with my holy oil I have anointed him;
21 my hand shall always remain with him;
my arm also shall strengthen him.
22 The enemy shall not outwit him,
the wicked shall not humble him.
23 I will crush his foes before him
and strike down those who hate him.
24 My faithfulness and steadfast love shall be with him;
and in my name his horn shall be exalted.
25 I will set his hand on the sea
and his right hand on the rivers.
26 He shall cry to me, ‘You are my Father,
my God, and the Rock of my salvation!’
27 I will make him the firstborn,
the highest of the kings of the earth.
28 Forever I will keep my steadfast love for him,
and my covenant with him will stand firm.
29 I will establish his line forever,
and his throne as long as the heavens endure.
30 If his children forsake my law
and do not walk according to my ordinances,
31 if they violate my statutes
and do not keep my commandments,
32 then I will punish their transgression with the rod
and their iniquity with scourges;
33 but I will not remove from him my steadfast love,
or be false to my faithfulness.
34 I will not violate my covenant,
or alter the word that went forth from my lips.
35 Once and for all I have sworn by my holiness;
I will not lie to David.
36 His line shall continue forever,
and his throne endure before me like the sun.
37 It shall be established forever like the moon,
an enduring witness in the skies.”     Selah

38 But now you have spurned and rejected him;
you are full of wrath against your anointed.
39 You have renounced the covenant with your servant;
you have defiled his crown in the dust.
40 You have broken through all his walls;
you have laid his strongholds in ruins.
41 All who pass by plunder him;
he has become the scorn of his neighbors.
42 You have exalted the right hand of his foes;
you have made all his enemies rejoice.
43 Moreover, you have turned back the edge of his sword,
and you have not supported him in battle.
44 You have removed the scepter from his hand,
and hurled his throne to the ground.
45 You have cut short the days of his youth;
you have covered him with shame.     Selah

46 How long, O LORD? Will you hide yourself forever?
How long will your wrath burn like fire?
47 Remember how short my time is—
for what vanity you have created all mortals!
48 Who can live and never see death?
Who can escape the power of Sheol?     Selah

49 Lord, where is your steadfast love of old,
which by your faithfulness you swore to David?
50 Remember, O Lord, how your servant is taunted;
how I bear in my bosom the insults of the peoples,
51 with which your enemies taunt, O LORD,
with which they taunted the footsteps of your anointed.

52 Blessed be the LORD forever.
Amen and Amen.

Old Testament
2 Kings 17:24–41

24 The king of Assyria brought people from Babylon, Cuthah, Avva, Hamath, and Sepharvaim, and placed them in the cities of Samaria in place of the people of Israel; they took possession of Samaria, and settled in its cities. 25 When they first settled there, they did not worship the LORD; therefore the LORD sent lions among them, which killed some of them. 26 So the king of Assyria was told, “The nations that you have carried away and placed in the cities of Samaria do not know the law of the god of the land; therefore he has sent lions among them; they are killing them, because they do not know the law of the god of the land.” 27 Then the king of Assyria commanded, “Send there one of the priests whom you carried away from there; let him go and live there, and teach them the law of the god of the land.” 28 So one of the priests whom they had carried away from Samaria came and lived in Bethel; he taught them how they should worship the LORD.

29 But every nation still made gods of its own and put them in the shrines of the high places that the people of Samaria had made, every nation in the cities in which they lived; 30 the people of Babylon made Succoth-benoth, the people of Cuth made Nergal, the people of Hamath made Ashima; 31 the Avvites made Nibhaz and Tartak; the Sepharvites burned their children in the fire to Adrammelech and Anammelech, the gods of Sepharvaim. 32 They also worshiped the LORD and appointed from among themselves all sorts of people as priests of the high places, who sacrificed for them in the shrines of the high places. 33 So they worshiped the LORD but also served their own gods, after the manner of the nations from among whom they had been carried away. 34 To this day they continue to practice their former customs.

They do not worship the LORD and they do not follow the statutes or the ordinances or the law or the commandment that the LORD commanded the children of Jacob, whom he named Israel. 35 The LORD had made a covenant with them and commanded them, “You shall not worship other gods or bow yourselves to them or serve them or sacrifice to them, 36 but you shall worship the LORD, who brought you out of the land of Egypt with great power and with an outstretched arm; you shall bow yourselves to him, and to him you shall sacrifice. 37 The statutes and the ordinances and the law and the commandment that he wrote for you, you shall always be careful to observe. You shall not worship other gods; 38 you shall not forget the covenant that I have made with you. You shall not worship other gods, 39 but you shall worship the LORD your God; he will deliver you out of the hand of all your enemies.” 40 They would not listen, however, but they continued to practice their former custom.

41 So these nations worshiped the LORD, but also served their carved images; to this day their children and their children’s children continue to do as their ancestors did.

New Testament
1 Corinthians 7:25–31

25 Now concerning virgins, I have no command of the Lord, but I give my opinion as one who by the Lord’s mercy is trustworthy. 26 I think that, in view of the impending crisis, it is well for you to remain as you are. 27 Are you bound to a wife? Do not seek to be free. Are you free from a wife? Do not seek a wife. 28 But if you marry, you do not sin, and if a virgin marries, she does not sin. Yet those who marry will experience distress in this life, and I would spare you that. 29 I mean, brothers and sisters, the appointed time has grown short; from now on, let even those who have wives be as though they had none, 30 and those who mourn as though they were not mourning, and those who rejoice as though they were not rejoicing, and those who buy as though they had no possessions, 31 and those who deal with the world as though they had no dealings with it. For the present form of this world is passing away.

Gospel
Matthew 6:25–34

25 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? 26 Look at the birds of the air; they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? 27 And can any of you by worrying add a single hour to your span of life? 28 And why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they neither toil nor spin, 29 yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not clothed like one of these. 30 But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? 31 Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear?’ 32 For it is the Gentiles who strive for all these things; and indeed your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. 33 But strive first for the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.

34 “So do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring worries of its own. Today’s trouble is enough for today.


The Book of Common Prayer: And Administration of the Sacraments and Other Rites and Ceremonies of the Church



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