The Song of the Unfruitful Vineyard
Isaiah 5:1 Let me sing for my beloved
my love-song concerning his vineyard:
My beloved had a vineyard
on a very fertile hill.
2 He dug it and cleared it of stones,
and planted it with choice vines;
he built a watchtower in the midst of it,
and hewed out a wine vat in it;
he expected it to yield grapes,
but it yielded wild grapes.
3 And now, inhabitants of Jerusalem
and people of Judah,
judge between me
and my vineyard.
4 What more was there to do for my vineyard
that I have not done in it?
When I expected it to yield grapes,
why did it yield wild grapes?
5 And now I will tell you
what I will do to my vineyard.
I will remove its hedge,
and it shall be devoured;
I will break down its wall,
and it shall be trampled down.
6 I will make it a waste;
it shall not be pruned or hoed,
and it shall be overgrown with briers and thorns;
I will also command the clouds
that they rain no rain upon it.
7 For the vineyard of the Lord of hosts
is the house of Israel,
and the people of Judah
are his pleasant planting;
he expected justice,
but saw bloodshed;
but heard a cry!
Social Injustice Denounced
8 Ah, you who join house to house,
who add field to field,
until there is room for no one but you,
and you are left to live alone
in the midst of the land!
9 The Lord of hosts has sworn in my hearing:
Surely many houses shall be desolate,
large and beautiful houses, without inhabitant.
10 For ten acres of vineyard shall yield but one bath,
and a homer of seed shall yield a mere ephah.
11 Ah, you who rise early in the Morning
in pursuit of strong drink,
who linger in the Evening
to be inflamed by wine,
12 whose feasts consist of lyre and harp,
tambourine and flute and wine,
but who do not regard the deeds of the Lord,
or see the work of his hands!
13 Therefore my people go into exile without knowledge;
their nobles are dying of hunger,
and their multitude is parched with thirst.
14 Therefore Sheol has enlarged its appetite
and opened its mouth beyond measure;
the nobility of Jerusalem and her multitude go down,
her throng and all who exult in her.
15 People are bowed down, everyone is brought low,
and the eyes of the haughty are humbled.
16 But the Lord of hosts is exalted by justice,
and the Holy God shows himself holy by righteousness.
17 Then the lambs shall graze as in their pasture,
fatlings and kids shall feed among the ruins.
18 Ah, you who drag iniquity along with cords of falsehood,
who drag sin along as with cart ropes,
19 who say, “Let him make haste,
let him speed his work
that we may see it;
let the plan of the Holy One of Israel hasten to fulfillment,
that we may know it!”
20 Ah, you who call evil good
and good evil,
who put darkness for light
and light for darkness,
who put bitter for sweet
and sweet for bitter!
21 Ah, you who are wise in your own eyes,
and shrewd in your own sight!
22 Ah, you who are heroes in drinking wine
and valiant at mixing drink,
23 who acquit the guilty for a bribe,
and deprive the innocent of their rights!
Foreign Invasion Predicted
24 Therefore, as the tongue of fire devours the stubble,
and as dry grass sinks down in the flame,
so their root will become rotten,
and their blossom go up like dust;
for they have rejected the instruction of the Lord of hosts,
and have despised the word of the Holy One of Israel.
25 Therefore the anger of the Lord was kindled against his people,
and he stretched out his hand against them and struck them;
the mountains quaked,
and their corpses were like refuse
in the streets.
For all this his anger has not turned away,
and his hand is stretched out still.
26 He will raise a signal for a nation far away,
and whistle for a people at the ends of the earth;
Here they come, swiftly, speedily!
27 None of them is weary, none stumbles,
none slumbers or sleeps,
not a loincloth is loose,
not a sandal-thong broken;
28 their arrows are sharp,
all their bows bent,
their horses’ hoofs seem like flint,
and their wheels like the whirlwind.
29 Their roaring is like a lion,
like young lions they roar;
they growl and seize their prey,
they carry it off, and no one can rescue.
30 They will roar over it on that day,
like the roaring of the sea.
And if one look to the land—
only darkness and distress;
and the light grows dark with clouds.
A Vision of God in the Temple (Cp Ezek 1.4—28)Isaiah 6:1 In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, high and lofty; and the hem of his robe filled the temple. 2 Seraphs were in attendance above him; each had six wings: with two they covered their faces, and with two they covered their feet, and with two they flew. 3 And one called to another and said:
“Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts;
the whole earth is full of his glory.”
6 Then one of the seraphs flew to me, holding a live coal that had been taken from the altar with a pair of tongs. 7 The seraph touched my mouth with it and said: “Now that this has touched your lips, your guilt has departed and your sin is blotted out.” 8 Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?” And I said, “Here am I; send me!” 9 And he said, “Go and say to this people:
‘Keep listening, but do not comprehend;
keep looking, but do not understand.’
10 Make the mind of this people dull,
and stop their ears,
and shut their eyes,
so that they may not look with their eyes,
and listen with their ears,
and comprehend with their minds,
and turn and be healed.”
11 Then I said, “How long, O Lord?” And he said:
“Until cities lie waste
and houses without people,
and the land is utterly desolate;
12 until the Lord sends everyone far away,
and vast is the emptiness in the midst of the land.
13 Even if a tenth part remain in it,
it will be burned again,
like a terebinth or an oak
whose stump remains standing
when it is felled.”
The holy seed is its stump.
Isaiah Reassures King Ahaz (2 Kings 16.5; 2 Chr 28.5—15)Isaiah 7:1 In the days of Ahaz son of Jotham son of Uzziah, king of Judah, King Rezin of Aram and King Pekah son of Remaliah of Israel went up to attack Jerusalem, but could not mount an attack against it. 2 When the house of David heard that Aram had allied itself with Ephraim, the heart of Ahaz and the heart of his people shook as the trees of the forest shake before the wind.
3 Then the Lord said to Isaiah, Go out to meet Ahaz, you and your son Shear-jashub, at the end of the conduit of the upper pool on the highway to the Fuller’s Field, 4 and say to him, Take heed, be quiet, do not fear, and do not let your heart be faint because of these two smoldering stumps of firebrands, because of the fierce anger of Rezin and Aram and the son of Remaliah. 5 Because Aram—with Ephraim and the son of Remaliah—has plotted evil against you, saying, 6 Let us go up against Judah and cut off Jerusalem and conquer it for ourselves and make the son of Tabeel king in it; 7 therefore thus says the Lord God:
It shall not stand,
and it shall not come to pass.
8 For the head of Aram is Damascus,
and the head of Damascus is Rezin.
(Within sixty-five years Ephraim will be shattered, no longer a people.)
9 The head of Ephraim is Samaria,
and the head of Samaria is the son of Remaliah.
If you do not stand firm in faith,
you shall not stand at all.
Isaiah Gives Ahaz the Sign of Immanuel
18 On that day the Lord will whistle for the fly that is at the sources of the streams of Egypt, and for the bee that is in the land of Assyria. 19 And they will all come and settle in the steep ravines, and in the clefts of the rocks, and on all the thornbushes, and on all the pastures.
20 On that day the Lord will shave with a razor hired beyond the River—with the king of Assyria—the head and the hair of the feet, and it will take off the beard as well.
21 On that day one will keep alive a young cow and two sheep, 22 and will eat curds because of the abundance of milk that they give; for everyone that is left in the land shall eat curds and honey.
23 On that day every place where there used to be a thousand vines, worth a thousand shekels of silver, will become briers and thorns. 24 With bow and arrows one will go there, for all the land will be briers and thorns; 25 and as for all the hills that used to be hoed with a hoe, you will not go there for fear of briers and thorns; but they will become a place where cattle are let loose and where sheep tread.
Isaiah’s Son a Sign of the Assyrian InvasionIsaiah 8:1 Then the Lord said to me, Take a large tablet and write on it in common characters, “Belonging to Maher-shalal-hash-baz,” 2 and have it attested for me by reliable witnesses, the priest Uriah and Zechariah son of Jeberechiah. 3 And I went to the prophetess, and she conceived and bore a son. Then the Lord said to me, Name him Maher-shalal-hash-baz; 4 for before the child knows how to call “My father” or “My mother,” the wealth of Damascus and the spoil of Samaria will be carried away by the king of Assyria.
5 The Lord spoke to me again: 6 Because this people has refused the waters of Shiloah that flow gently, and melt in fear before Rezin and the son of Remaliah; 7 therefore, the Lord is bringing up against it the mighty flood waters of the River, the king of Assyria and all his glory; it will rise above all its channels and overflow all its banks; 8 it will sweep on into Judah as a flood, and, pouring over, it will reach up to the neck; and its outspread wings will fill the breadth of your land, O Immanuel.
9 Band together, you peoples, and be dismayed;
listen, all you far countries;
gird yourselves and be dismayed;
gird yourselves and be dismayed!
10 Take counsel together, but it shall be brought to naught;
speak a word, but it will not stand,
for God is with us.
Disciples of Isaiah16 Bind up the testimony, seal the teaching among my disciples. 17 I will wait for the Lord, who is hiding his face from the house of Jacob, and I will hope in him. 18 See, I and the children whom the Lord has given me are signs and portents in Israel from the Lord of hosts, who dwells on Mount Zion. 19 Now if people say to you, “Consult the ghosts and the familiar spirits that chirp and mutter; should not a people consult their gods, the dead on behalf of the living, 20 for teaching and for instruction?” surely, those who speak like this will have no dawn! 21 They will pass through the land, greatly distressed and hungry; when they are hungry, they will be enraged and will curse their king and their gods. They will turn their faces upward, 22 or they will look to the earth, but will see only distress and darkness, the gloom of anguish; and they will be thrust into thick darkness.
The Holy Bible: containing the Old and New Testaments with the Apocryphal / Deuterocanonical Books [New Revised Standard Version]
Devotionals, notes, poetry and more
(Sept 12) Bob Gass
(1 Co 15:22) 22 For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive. ESV
The Bible says, ‘In Adam all die.’ Why Adam? He was called to be the head of the first family, therefore he was responsible for what happened in the home. As people, husbands and wives are equal under God. But in marriage each has a different role. What happened in the first home was the result of two people wanting to live independently of God. That’s the way many relationships function today. One or both partners choose to live their lives separately from God’s rule and authority. It shows up in the 50 per cent divorce rate we’re experiencing. And that doesn’t take into consideration that many who remain married say they’re not happy and wouldn’t marry the same person again. Conflict arises when you and your spouse have different histories, learning styles, personalities, and backgrounds. One spouse might say, ‘My father raised me like this,’ or ‘My mother always did that.’ We all have our own idea of what makes up ‘the knowledge of good and evil’ - what’s right and what’s wrong for a marriage. Everyone has an opinion. The problem is, you can spend your life arguing over opinions and get nowhere. As followers of Christ, we’re called to live our lives and build our marriages on Bible revelation, not personal intuition. Adam’s job was to get God’s viewpoint on issues pertaining to life and family, then share it with the other members of the family. How? By being a loving husband and modelling godly leadership. When a home functions this way, God’s blessing will be present.
UCB The Word For Today
by Bill Federer
He had been chief justice of the Michigan Supreme Court, dean of the University of Michigan Law School and President of the American Bar Association. His name was Thomas Cooley, and he died this day, September 12, 1898. His legal commentaries have had a major impact on law in America. In his General Principles of Constitutional Law, Thomas Cooley wrote: “It was never intended by the Constitution that the government should be prohibited from recognizing religion or that religious worship should never be provided for…The Christian religion was always recognized in the administration of the common law of the land.”
Compiled by Richard S. Adams
Those who believe that they believe in God,
but without passion in their hearts,
without anguish in mind,
without an element of despair …
even in their consolation,
believe in the God idea,
not God himself.
--- Miguel de Unamuno
I do not fear at all what men can do to me for speaking the truth. I only fear what God would do if I were to lie.
--- St. John Bosco
Art is the symbol of the two noblest human efforts: to construct and to refrain from destruction.
--- Simone Weil
... from here, there and everywhere
Thanks to Meir Yona
That Vespasian, After He Had Taken Gadara Made Preparation For The Siege Of Jerusalem; But That, Upon His Hearing Of The Death Of Nero, He Changed His Intentions. As Also Concerning Simon Of Geras.
1. And now Vespasian had fortified all the places round about Jerusalem, and erected citadels at Jericho and Adida, and placed garrisons in them both, partly out of his own Romans, and partly out of the body of his auxiliaries. He also sent Lucius Annius to Gerasa, and delivered to him a body of horsemen, and a considerable number of footmen. So when he had taken the city, which he did at the first onset, he slew a thousand of those young men who had not prevented him by flying away; but he took their families captive, and permitted his soldiers to plunder them of their effects; after which he set fire to their houses, and went away to the adjoining villages, while the men of power fled away, and the weaker part were destroyed, and what was remaining was all burnt down. And now the war having gone through all the mountainous country, and all the plain country also, those that were at Jerusalem were deprived of the liberty of going out of the city; for as to such as had a mind to desert, they were watched by the zealots; and as to such as were not yet on the side of the Romans, their army kept them in, by encompassing the city round about on all sides.
2. Now as Vespasian was returned to Cesarea, and was getting ready with all his army to march directly to Jerusalem, he was informed that Nero was dead, after he had reigned thirteen years and eight days. But as to any narration after what manner he abused his power in the government, and committed the management of affairs to those vile wretches, Nymphidius and Tigellinus, his unworthy freed-men; and how he had a plot laid against him by them, and was deserted by all his guards, and ran away with four of his most trusty freed-men, and slew himself in the suburbs of Rome; and how those that occasioned his death were in no long time brought themselves to punishment; how also the war in Gall ended; and how Galba was made emperor 16and returned out of Spain to Rome; and how he was accused by the soldiers as a pusillanimous person, and slain by treachery in the middle of the market-place at Rome, and Otho was made emperor; with his expedition against the commanders of Vitellius, and his destruction thereupon; and besides what troubles there were under Vitellius, and the fight that was about the capitol; as also how Antonius Primus and Mucianus slew Vitellius, and his German legions, and thereby put an end to that civil war; I have omitted to give an exact account of them, because they are well known by all, and they are described by a great number of Greek and Roman authors; yet for the sake of the connexion of matters, and that my history may not be incoherent, I have just touched upon every thing briefly. Wherefore Vespasian put off at first his expedition against Jerusalem, and stood waiting whither the empire would be transferred after the death of Nero. Moreover, when he heard that Galba was made emperor, he attempted nothing till he also should send him some directions about the war: however, he sent his son Titus to him, to salute him, and to receive his commands about the Jews. Upon the very same errand did king Agrippa sail along with Titus to Galba; but as they were sailing in their long ships by the coasts of Achaia, for it was winter time, they heard that Galba was slain, before they could get to him, after he had reigned seven months and as many days. After whom Otho took the government, and undertook the management of public affairs. So Agrippa resolved to go on to Rome without any terror; on account of the change in the government; but Titus, by a Divine impulse, sailed back from Greece to Syria, and came in great haste to Cesarea, to his father. And now they were both in suspense about the public affairs, the Roman empire being then in a fluctuating condition, and did not go on with their expedition against the Jews, but thought that to make any attack upon foreigners was now unseasonable, on account of the solicitude they were in for their own country.
3. And now there arose another war at Jerusalem. There was a son of Giora, one Simon, by birth of Gerasa, a young man, not so cunning indeed as John [of Gisehala], who had already seized upon the city, but superior in strength of body and courage; on which account, when he had been driven away from that Acrabattene toparchy, which he once had, by Ananus the high priest, he came to those robbers who had seized upon Masada. At the first they suspected him, and only permitted him to come with the women he brought with him into the lower part of the fortress, while they dwelt in the upper part of it themselves. However, his manner so well agreed with theirs, and he seemed so trusty a man, that he went out with them, and ravaged and destroyed the country with them about Masada; yet when he persuaded them to undertake greater things, he could not prevail with them so to do; for as they were accustomed to dwell in that citadel, they were afraid of going far from that which was their hiding-place; but he affecting to tyrannize, and being fond of greatness, when he had heard of the death of Ananus, he left them, and went into the mountainous part of the country. So he proclaimed liberty to those in slavery, and a reward to those already free, and got together a set of wicked men from all quarters.
4. And as he had now a strong body of men about him, he overran the villages that lay in the mountainous country, and when there were still more and more that came to him, he ventured to go down into the lower parts of the country, and since he was now become formidable to the cities, many of the men of power were corrupted by him; so that his army was no longer composed of slaves and robbers, but a great many of the populace were obedient to him as to their king. He then overran the Acrabattene toparchy, and the places that reached as far as the Great Idumea; for he built a wall at a certain village called Nain, and made use of that as a fortress for his own party's security; and at the valley called Paran, he enlarged many of the caves, and many others he found ready for his purpose; these he made use of as repositories for his treasures, and receptacles for his prey, and therein he laid up the fruits that he had got by rapine; and many of his partizans had their dwelling in them; and he made no secret of it that he was exercising his men beforehand, and making preparations for the assault of Jerusalem.
The Project Gutenberg EBook of The Wars of the Jews or History of the Destruction of Jerusalem, by Flavius Josephus Translator: William Whiston
The War of the Jews: The History of the Destruction of Jerusalem (complete edition, 7 books)
by D.H. Stern
but fear ADONAI and the king.
22 For disaster from them will suddenly appear,
and who knows what ruin they both can cause?
Complete Jewish Bible : An English Version of the Tanakh (Old Testament) and B'Rit Hadashah (New Testament)
A Daily Devotional by Oswald Chambers
By spiritual confusion
Ye know not what ye ask. --- Matthew 20:22.
There are times in spiritual life when there is confusion, and it is no way out to say that there ought not to be confusion. It is not a question of right and wrong, but a question of God taking you by a way which in the meantime you do not understand, and it is only by going through the confusion that you will get at what God wants.
The Shrouding of His Friendship. Luke 11:5–8. Jesus gave the illustration of the man who looked as if he did not care for his friend, and He said that that is how the Heavenly Father will appear to you at times. You will think He is an unkind friend, but remember He is not; the time will come when everything will be explained. There is a cloud on the friendship of the heart, and often even love itself has to wait in pain and tears for the blessing of fuller communion. When God looks completely shrouded, will you hang on in confidence in Him?
The Shadow on His Fatherhood. Luke 11:11–13. Jesus says there are times when your Father will appear as if He were an unnatural father, as if He were callous and indifferent, but remember He is not; I have told you—“Everyone that asketh receiveth.” If there is a shadow on the face of the Father just now, hang onto it that He will ultimately give His clear revealing and justify Himself in all that He permitted.
The Strangeness of His Faithfulness. Luke 18:1–8. “When the Son of Man cometh, shall He find faith on the earth?” Will He find the faith which banks on Him in spite of the confusion? Stand off in faith believing that what Jesus said is true, though in the meantime you do not understand what God is doing. He has bigger issues at stake than the particular things you ask.
My Utmost for His Highest: Quality Paperback Edition
the Poetry of RS Thomas
The Survivor (Tares)
Yesterday I found one left:
Eighty-five, too old for mischief.
What strange grace lends him a brief
Time for repenting of his theft
Of health and comeliness from her
Who lay caught in his strong arms
Night by night and heard the farm's
Noises, the beasts' moan and stir?
The land's thug: seventeen stone,
Settling down in a warm corner
By a wood fire's lazy purr;
A slumped bundle of fat and bone,
Bragging endlessly of his feats
Of strength and skill with the long scythe,
Or gallantry among the blithe
Serving women, all on heat
For him, of course. My mind went back
Sombrely to that rough parish,
Lovely as the eye could wish
In its green clothes, but beaten black
And blue by the deeds of dour men
Too like him, warped inside
And given to watching, sullen-eyed,
Love still-born, as it was then.
Wake him up. It is too late
Now for the blood's foolish dreaming.
The veins clog and the body's spring
Is long past; pride and hate
Are the strong's fodder and the young.
Old and weak, he must chew now
The cud of prayer and be taught how
From hard hearts huge tears are wrong.
Selected poems, 1946-1968
said about Isaiah 6
In 1986 Betty Weems told Lily and I that the action of the six wings demonstrates how we are to live life. She said two wings covered the faces of the angels and two wings covered their feet. These four wings represent worship. The remaining two wings enabled them to fly. These represent service.
She said that worship should represent two thirds of our life. Worship comes from humility and gratefulness. Do you long to walk in the Holy Spirit, the cloud that led the ancient Israelites through the desert? If so, you must have an attitude of worship. Worship is a natural response when we lean into the Lord with gratefulness and humility, when we recognize life is not about me, my, mine.
If we live according to Col 3:12-13 the results of such a hunger, thirst and desire for God will be the gifts of the Holy Spirit.
Gal 5:22-25 describes those gifts. Are you reflecting the gifts of the Holy Spirit, are you guided by the same cloud that led the ancient Israelites through the desert or have you betrayed the living God and prostrated yourself before the golden calf, before the works of human hands in which there is only more and more vanity?
How would you respond if you stood in the place of Isaiah and gazed on the Lord? Romans says we all do, and because of that, we are all without excuse.
Will we really pursue truth wherever it leads? Consider the following.
"Most modern biologists, having reviewed with satisfaction the downfall of the spontaneous generation hypothesis, yet unwilling to accept the alternative belief (God) in special creation, are left with nothing. I think a scientist has no choice but to approach the origin of life through a hypothesis of spontaneous generation." --- George Wald, The Origin of Life.
No, I did not make a typing mistake. You read it correctly, but it gets worse.
"One has only to contemplate the magnitude of this task to concede spontaneous generation of a living organism is impossible. Yet here we are, as a result. I believe in spontaneous generation."
Yes, this is about Darwinism and evolution. Charles Darwin said, "If it could be demonstrated that any complex organ existed which could not possibly have been formed by numerous, successive, slight modifications, my theory would absolutely break down."
"To Darwin, the cell was a 'black box' - its inner workings were utterly mysterious to him. Now, the black box has been opened up and we know how it works.
Applying Darwin's test to the ultra-complex world of molecular machinery and cellular systems that have been discovered over the past 40 years, we can say that Darwin's theory has 'absolutely broken down.' --- ISBN-13: 978-0743290319
Despite this, our education system which seeks for the truth of history avoids the truth of science. We have been told that the fossil record proves evolution. Have you checked it out? It does not. Even Darwin said it did not. The intermediate changes necessary for the complexities we have today are not in the transitional record, so why is this broken theory still attached to an artificial life support system?
Colin Patterson, an evolutionist and paleontologist at the London Museum of Naturally History says, "I will lay it on the line - there is not one such (transitional) fossil for which one could make a watertight argument." --- ISBN-13: 978-0685459034
Would you like more? David Raup, Director, Field Museum of Natural History (one of the largest fossil collections in the world) says, "We are now about 120 years after Darwin and the knowledge of the fossil record has been greatly expanded. We now have a quarter of a million fossil species but the situation hasn't changed much. The record of evolution is still surprisingly jerky and, ironically, we have even fewer examples of evolutionary transition than we had in Darwin's time." --- cited in David Noebel, ISBN-13: 978-0936163000
In 1972 paleontologists Niles Eldredge and Stephen Jay Gould came up with what they called Punctuated Equilibrium. Since the slow, gradual Darwinian change cannot be found, this leap frog like transition has been proposed. It has even less evidence, and yet the Bible remains. I see no point in going on. The evidence is available for anyone who wants to seek for themselves, or be content to just believe what you are told.
By the way, just for fun why not get ISBN-13: 978-0895262004 from your local library or Netflix.
I wish the following would happen in my life time, but it seems that those in control have neither eyes to see nor ears to hear.
S. Lovtrup writes in Darwinism: the Refutation of a Myth, "I believe that one day the Darwinian myth will be ranked the greatest deceit in the history of science. When this happens many people will pose the question: How did this ever happen?"
By all means don't forget the other myth, Carl Segans, "The cosmos is all there is, all there ever was, and all there ever will be."
Why are these myths defended so relentlessly?
"Evolution destroys utterly and finally the very reason Jesus' eartly life was supposedly made necessary. Destroy Adam and Eve and original sin, and in the rubble you will find the sorry remains of the son of God ... and if Jesus was not the redeemer who dies for our sins, and this is what evolution means, then Christianity is nothing." --- G. Richard Bozarth, American Atheist.
Don't judge the contents by the container, the essence by the title, or a message by the messenger. Good coffee is good coffee whether it is served in a paper cup or a porcelain cup.
Please review the information provided here without being sidetracked or put off by the name of the organization that provides it. As I have said often, none of us are in a position to judge another. As for Darwinism, make sure you watch the documentary, ASIN: B001BYLFFS with Ben Stein.
BIBLE TEXT / Numbers 25:1–3 / While Israel was staying at Shittim, the people profaned themselves by whoring with the Moabite women, who invited the people to the sacrifices for their god. The people partook of them and worshiped that god. Thus Israel attached itself to Baal-peor, and the Lord was incensed with Israel.
MIDRASH TEXT / Numbers Rabbah 20, 23 / The people profaned themselves. Every place where it says “the people,” it is a negative reference, and every place where it says “Israel,” it is a positive reference:
“The people took to complaining bitterly
before the Lord” (Numbers 11:1).
“… and the people spoke against God and against
Moses” (Numbers 21:5).
“… and the people wept that night” (Numbers 14:1).
“And the Lord said to Moses, ‘How long will this people spurn
Me …?’ ” (Numbers 14:11).
“Moses saw that the people were out of control”
“… the people gathered against Aaron and said to him,
‘Come, make us a god …’ ” (Exodus 32:1).
And so it is with them all.
The people profaned themselves. Throw a stick into the air—it falls where it came from. The one who began by whoring in the first place in the end finished with it. Their mothers began with a lewd act: “And the older one said to the younger, ‘… Come, let us make our father drink wine, and let us lie with him.…’ The next day the older one said to the younger, ‘See, I lay with Father last night; let us make him drink wine tonight also, and you go and lie with him’ ” (Genesis 19:31–32, 34). She [the older sister] taught her sister, and therefore the text spared the younger sister by not being explicit, saying only “and [the younger one] lay with him” (Genesis 19:35), but with the older one it is written “and [she] lay with her father” (19:33). The descendants of the one who began by whoring first followed her example: “whoring with the Moabite women.”
The Torah usually refers to the Israelites in one of two ways—either as יִשְׂרָאֵל/yisrael, “Israel,” or as הָעָם/ha-’am, “the people.” The Rabbis believed that these terms were chosen in each particular context for a reason; each noun conveyed a different meaning. When the Israelites did something good, they were referred to by their special, personal name, יִשְׂרָאֵל/yisrael. When they did something wrong—“The people profaned themselves”—the more impersonal noun, הָעָם/ha-’am, is utilized. The Rabbis bring six examples that support their case. Interestingly, the word Israel is used in the very same story just two verses later to convey a negative act! While the Rabbis have come upon a very worthwhile generalization about the use of certain terms (which helps our reading of many stories), there are exceptions to this “rule.”
The second half of our Midrash switches from semantics to historic background. We are reminded that the Moabite women who seduced the Israelites are descended from the oldest daughter of Lot. After he escaped from Sodom and Gomorrah (and his wife was turned into a pillar of salt), Lot and his two surviving daughters came to a cave. Believing that they were the last human beings on earth, the daughters devised a plan to become impregnated by their father. “The older one bore a son and named him Moab; he is the father of the Moabites of today” (Genesis 19:37). Though the story of Lot took place centuries before Moses, the Rabbis nevertheless saw a direct connection in the immoral sexual behavior in both tales: Like mother, like daughter. While both of Lot’s daughters committed incest, the older daughter, who is the mother of the Moabites—the villains in our story—is singled out for particular scorn. The Rabbis again pay careful attention to the use of words by the Torah. “She lay with her father” is considered a more shameful indictment than “she lay with him.” Indeed, the context of the story in Genesis does indicate that the older daughter is the instigator. The Rabbinic proverb, Throw a stick into the air—it falls to where it came from, seems to indicate the view that a person—or a nation—can’t escape its genetic and moral heredity.
Searching for Meaning in Midrash: Lessons for Everyday Living
“Awake, O sword, against my shepherd, against the man who is close to me!” declares the LORD Almighty. “Strike the shepherd, and the sheep will be scattered.”
--- Zechariah 13:7.
Did Christ stand his ground and go through with his work of suffering, when all who had followed him abandoned him? (Works of John Flavel (6 Vol. Set)) Then a resolved adherence to God and duty, though left alone without company or encouragement, is Christlike and truly excellent.
Paul complains, “At my first defense, no one came to my support, but everyone deserted me.… But the Lord stood at my side” (2 Tim. 4:16–17). And as the Lord stood by him, so he stood by his God, alone, without any aids or support from people. How great an argument of integrity is this! To be faithful to God when abandoned by people, to be a Lot in Sodom, a Noah in a corrupted generation—how excellent it is! It is sweet to travel over this earth to heaven in the company of the saints who are going there with us, but if we meet no company, we must not be discouraged to go on. It is likely that before you have gone many steps farther, you may have cause to say, Never less alone than when alone.
Did the disciples thus forsake Christ and yet were all recovered at last? Then believers, though backsliding, are secured from final apostasy and ruin. Saints may fall, but they shall rise again. The highest resolution may ebb, but saving grace is “a spring of water welling up to eternal life” (John 4:14). God’s unchangeable election, the frame and constitution of the New Covenant, the intercession of Jesus Christ, give the believer abundant security against the danger of a total and final defection. None of those souls who are within the blessed clasp and bond of [that security] can possibly be lost. It is settled on unchangeable things—and we know all things are as their foundations are.
And as the fear of God in our hearts pleads in us against sin, so our potent intercessor in the heavens pleads for us with the Father, and for that reason we cannot finally miscarry. What shall separate us from the love of God? Understand it either of God’s love to us—as Calvin, Beza, and Martyr do—or of our love to God, as Ambrose and Augustine do. It is true in both senses—and a most comforting truth.
--- John Flavel
Take Heart: Daily Devotions with the Church's Great Preachers
No, I Am Not Dead! September 12
Thomas Webb was a portly, homely, ragged fireball who helped establish Methodism in America. Born in England, Webb had initially chosen a soldier’s career and had fought with the British army in 1759. He was wounded and returned to England, only to be retired on captain’s pay. About 1764 he was converted to Christ in Bristol under the preaching of John Wesley, and he soon began applying his military mind in the Methodist campaign for souls. He became an ardent preacher in England and Ireland; then in 1766 he came to America as a soldier for Christ.
In New York City Captain Webb fired up a discouraged preacher named Philip Embury, assisting him in preaching the Gospel. New York’s population was only about 15,000. But Webb saw the potential and joined several others in constructing a small chapel, 42 by 60 feet, with a seating capacity of 700. It was built of stone, covered with blue plaster. The benches had no backs. Candles provided light. It was a plain building, but worshipers claimed it had “the beauty of Holiness.” The John Street Church, the first Methodist Chapel in New York City, has been called “The Mother Church of Methodism in America.”
Afterward, Captain Webb traveled far and wide—to Long Island, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Delaware, Jamaica, and Europe. And during his periodic stops in England, he continually urged Wesley to send more preachers to the colonies.
Those who met Webb never forgot him, chiefly because of his dangling sword and the large, green oversized patch that covered his left eye, the result of his war wounds of September 12, 1759, during the Battle of Louisburg. It was described this way:
A ball hit him on the bone which guards the right eye, and taking an oblique direction, burst the eyeball, and passing through his palate into his mouth, he swallowed it. A comrade said, “He is dead enough.” Webb replied, “No, I am not dead.” In three months, he was able to rejoin his comrades. He was never ashamed of his scars.
All that matters is that you are a new person. If you follow this rule, you will belong to God’s true people. God will treat you with undeserved kindness and will bless you with peace. --- Galatians 6:15b-16.
On This Day 365 Amazing And Inspiring Stories About Saints, Martyrs And Heroes
Daily Readings / CHARLES H. SPURGEON
Morning - September 12
"God is jealous." --- Nahum 1:2.
Your Lord is very jealous of your love, O believer. Did he choose you? He cannot bear that you should choose another. Did he buy you with his own blood? He cannot endure that you should think that you are your own, or that you belong to this world. He loved you with such a love that he would not stop in heaven without you; he would sooner die than you should perish, and he cannot endure that anything should stand between your heart’s love and himself. He is very jealous of your trust. He will not permit you to trust in an arm of flesh. He cannot bear that you should hew out broken cisterns, when the overflowing fountain is always free to you. When we lean upon him, he is glad, but when we transfer our dependence to another, when we rely upon our own wisdom, or the wisdom of a friend—worst of all, when we trust in any works of our own, he is displeased, and will chasten us that he may bring us to himself. He is also very jealous of our company. There should be no one with whom we converse so much as with Jesus. To abide in him only, this is true love; but to commune with the world, to find sufficient solace in our carnal comforts, to prefer even the society of our fellow Christians to secret intercourse with him, this is grievous to our jealous Lord. He would fain have us abide in him, and enjoy constant fellowship with himself; and many of the trials which he sends us are for the purpose of weaning our hearts from the creature, and fixing them more closely upon himself. Let this jealousy which would keep us near to Christ be also a comfort to us, for if he loves us so much as to care thus about our love we may be sure that he will suffer nothing to harm us, and will protect us from all our enemies. Oh that we may have grace this day to keep our hearts in sacred chastity for our Beloved alone, with sacred jealousy shutting our eyes to all the fascinations of the world!
Evening - September 12
“I will sing of mercy and judgment.”
--- Psalm 101:1.
Faith triumphs in trial. When reason is thrust into the inner prison, with her feet made fast in the stocks, faith makes the dungeon walls ring with her merry notes as she cries, “I will sing of mercy and of judgment. Unto thee, O Lord, will I sing.” Faith pulls the black mask from the face of trouble, and discovers the angel beneath. Faith looks up at the cloud, and sees that
“’Tis big with mercy and shall break
In blessings on her head.”
There is a subject for song even in the judgments of God towards us. For, first, the trial is not so heavy as it might have been; next, the trouble is not so severe as we deserved to have borne; and our affliction is not so crushing as the burden which others have to carry. Faith sees that in her worst sorrow there is nothing penal; there is not a drop of God’s wrath in it; it is all sent in love. Faith discerns love gleaming like a jewel on the breast of an angry God. Faith says of her grief, “This is a badge of honour, for the child must feel the rod”; and then she sings of the sweet result of her sorrows, because they work her spiritual good. Nay, more, says Faith, “These light afflictions, which are but for a moment, work out for me a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory.” So Faith rides forth on the black horse, conquering and to conquer, trampling down carnal reason and fleshly sense, and chanting notes of victory amid the thickest of the fray.
“All I meet I find assists me
In my path to heavenly joy:
Where, though trials now attend me,
Trials never more annoy.
“Blest there with a weight of glory,
Still the path I’ll ne’er forget,
But, exulting, cry, it led me
To my blessed Saviour’s seat.”
Morning and Evening: A New Edition of the Classic Devotional Based on The Holy Bible, English Standard Version
O WORSHIP THE KING
Robert Grant, 1779–1838
Sing praises to God, sing praises; sing praises to our King, sing praises. For God is the King of all the earth; sing to Him a psalm of praise. --- Psalm 47:6, 7
The word worship is a contraction of an old expression in the English language, woerth-scipe, denoting the giving of reverent praise to an object of superlative worth. True worship, then, is an act by a redeemed man, the creature, toward God, his Creator, whereby his will, intellect, and emotions gratefully respond to the revelation of God’s person expressed in the redemptive work of Jesus Christ, as the Holy Spirit illuminates the written word to his heart.
The author of this text, Robert Grant, described himself and all of us as “frail children of dust, and feeble as frail,” even though he was a member of a distinguished British political family, a member of the Parliament of Scotland, and governor of Bombay, India, for a time. Throughout his entire life, Grant was a devoutly evangelical Christian who strongly supported the missionary outreach of his church and endeared himself to the people of India by establishing a medical college in Bombay.
Although this is the only hymn by Sir Robert Grant in common usage today, it is considered to be a model for worship. Its descriptive names used in exalting the Almighty are significant: Shield, Defender, Ancient of Days, Maker, Defender, Redeemer and Friend. Also the vivid imagery—“pavilioned in splendor,” “girded with praise,” “whose robe is the light,” “whose canopy space,” “chariots of wrath,” “wings of the storm”—aids us in the worthy praise and adoration of our heavenly King.
O worship the King, all-glorious above, and gratefully sing His pow’r and His love; our Shield and Defender, the Ancient of Days, pavilioned in splendor and girded with praise.
O tell of His might, O sing of His grace, whose robe is the light, whose canopy space; His chariots of wrath the deep thunderclouds form, and dark is His path on the wings of the storm.
Thy bountiful care what tongue can recite? It breathes in the air; it shines in the light. It streams from the hills, it descends to the plain, and sweetly distills in the dew and the rain.
Frail children of dust, and feeble as frail, in thee do we trust, nor find thee to fail; Thy mercies how tender, how firm to the end! Our Maker, Defender, Redeemer and Friend.
For Today: Psalm 104; 22:28–31; 145:1–13; 1 Timothy 6:15, 16
Identify activities in a church service that are often substituted for the worship of God. Reflect again on the message of this hymn ---
Amazing Grace: 366 Inspiring Hymn Stories for Daily Devotions
Tuesday, September 12, 2017 | After Pentecost
Proper 18, Tuesday
Psalms (Morning) Psalm 45
Psalms (Evening) Psalm 47, 48
Old Testament 1 Kings 16:23–34
New Testament Philippians 1:12–30
Gospel Mark 16:1–8 (9–20)
Index of Readings
To the leader: according to Lilies.
Of the Korahites. A Maskil. A love song.
1 My heart overflows with a goodly theme;
I address my verses to the king;
my tongue is like the pen of a ready scribe.
2 You are the most handsome of men;
grace is poured upon your lips;
therefore God has blessed you forever.
3 Gird your sword on your thigh, O mighty one,
in your glory and majesty.
4 In your majesty ride on victoriously
for the cause of truth and to defend the right;
let your right hand teach you dread deeds.
5 Your arrows are sharp
in the heart of the king’s enemies;
the peoples fall under you.
6 Your throne, O God, endures forever and ever.
Your royal scepter is a scepter of equity;
7 you love righteousness and hate wickedness.
Therefore God, your God, has anointed you
with the oil of gladness beyond your companions;
8 your robes are all fragrant with myrrh and aloes and cassia.
From ivory palaces stringed instruments make you glad;
9 daughters of kings are among your ladies of honor;
at your right hand stands the queen in gold of Ophir.
10 Hear, O daughter, consider and incline your ear;
forget your people and your father’s house,
11 and the king will desire your beauty.
Since he is your lord, bow to him;
12 the people of Tyre will seek your favor with gifts,
the richest of the people 13 with all kinds of wealth.
The princess is decked in her chamber with gold-woven robes;
14 in many-colored robes she is led to the king;
behind her the virgins, her companions, follow.
15 With joy and gladness they are led along
as they enter the palace of the king.
16 In the place of ancestors you, O king, shall have sons;
you will make them princes in all the earth.
17 I will cause your name to be celebrated in all generations;
therefore the peoples will praise you forever and ever.
Psalm 47, 48
To the leader. Of the Korahites. A Psalm.
1 Clap your hands, all you peoples;
shout to God with loud songs of joy.
2 For the LORD, the Most High, is awesome,
a great king over all the earth.
3 He subdued peoples under us,
and nations under our feet.
4 He chose our heritage for us,
the pride of Jacob whom he loves. Selah
5 God has gone up with a shout,
the LORD with the sound of a trumpet.
6 Sing praises to God, sing praises;
sing praises to our King, sing praises.
7 For God is the king of all the earth;
sing praises with a psalm.
8 God is king over the nations;
God sits on his holy throne.
9 The princes of the peoples gather
as the people of the God of Abraham.
For the shields of the earth belong to God;
he is highly exalted.
A Song. A Psalm of the Korahites.
1 Great is the LORD and greatly to be praised
in the city of our God.
His holy mountain, 2 beautiful in elevation,
is the joy of all the earth,
Mount Zion, in the far north,
the city of the great King.
3 Within its citadels God
has shown himself a sure defense.
4 Then the kings assembled,
they came on together.
5 As soon as they saw it, they were astounded;
they were in panic, they took to flight;
6 trembling took hold of them there,
pains as of a woman in labor,
7 as when an east wind shatters
the ships of Tarshish.
8 As we have heard, so have we seen
in the city of the LORD of hosts,
in the city of our God,
which God establishes forever. Selah
9 We ponder your steadfast love, O God,
in the midst of your temple.
10 Your name, O God, like your praise,
reaches to the ends of the earth.
Your right hand is filled with victory.
11 Let Mount Zion be glad,
let the towns of Judah rejoice
because of your judgments.
12 Walk about Zion, go all around it,
count its towers,
13 consider well its ramparts;
go through its citadels,
that you may tell the next generation
14 that this is God,
our God forever and ever.
He will be our guide forever.
1 Kings 16:23–34
23 In the thirty-first year of King Asa of Judah, Omri began to reign over Israel; he reigned for twelve years, six of them in Tirzah.
24 He bought the hill of Samaria from Shemer for two talents of silver; he fortified the hill, and called the city that he built, Samaria, after the name of Shemer, the owner of the hill.
25 Omri did what was evil in the sight of the LORD; he did more evil than all who were before him. 26 For he walked in all the way of Jeroboam son of Nebat, and in the sins that he caused Israel to commit, provoking the LORD, the God of Israel, to anger by their idols. 27 Now the rest of the acts of Omri that he did, and the power that he showed, are they not written in the Book of the Annals of the Kings of Israel? 28 Omri slept with his ancestors, and was buried in Samaria; his son Ahab succeeded him.
29 In the thirty-eighth year of King Asa of Judah, Ahab son of Omri began to reign over Israel; Ahab son of Omri reigned over Israel in Samaria twenty-two years. 30 Ahab son of Omri did evil in the sight of the LORD more than all who were before him.
31 And as if it had been a light thing for him to walk in the sins of Jeroboam son of Nebat, he took as his wife Jezebel daughter of King Ethbaal of the Sidonians, and went and served Baal, and worshiped him. 32 He erected an altar for Baal in the house of Baal, which he built in Samaria. 33 Ahab also made a sacred pole. Ahab did more to provoke the anger of the LORD, the God of Israel, than had all the kings of Israel who were before him. 34 In his days Hiel of Bethel built Jericho; he laid its foundation at the cost of Abiram his firstborn, and set up its gates at the cost of his youngest son Segub, according to the word of the LORD, which he spoke by Joshua son of Nun.
12 I want you to know, beloved, that what has happened to me has actually helped to spread the gospel, 13 so that it has become known throughout the whole imperial guard and to everyone else that my imprisonment is for Christ; 14 and most of the brothers and sisters, having been made confident in the Lord by my imprisonment, dare to speak the word with greater boldness and without fear.
15 Some proclaim Christ from envy and rivalry, but others from goodwill. 16 These proclaim Christ out of love, knowing that I have been put here for the defense of the gospel; 17 the others proclaim Christ out of selfish ambition, not sincerely but intending to increase my suffering in my imprisonment. 18 What does it matter? Just this, that Christ is proclaimed in every way, whether out of false motives or true; and in that I rejoice.
Yes, and I will continue to rejoice, 19 for I know that through your prayers and the help of the Spirit of Jesus Christ this will turn out for my deliverance. 20 It is my eager expectation and hope that I will not be put to shame in any way, but that by my speaking with all boldness, Christ will be exalted now as always in my body, whether by life or by death. 21 For to me, living is Christ and dying is gain. 22 If I am to live in the flesh, that means fruitful labor for me; and I do not know which I prefer. 23 I am hard pressed between the two: my desire is to depart and be with Christ, for that is far better; 24 but to remain in the flesh is more necessary for you. 25 Since I am convinced of this, I know that I will remain and continue with all of you for your progress and joy in faith, 26 so that I may share abundantly in your boasting in Christ Jesus when I come to you again.
27 Only, live your life in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that, whether I come and see you or am absent and hear about you, I will know that you are standing firm in one spirit, striving side by side with one mind for the faith of the gospel, 28 and are in no way intimidated by your opponents. For them this is evidence of their destruction, but of your salvation. And this is God’s doing. 29 For he has graciously granted you the privilege not only of believing in Christ, but of suffering for him as well— 30 since you are having the same struggle that you saw I had and now hear that I still have.
Mark 16:1–8 (9–20)
16 When the sabbath was over, Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices, so that they might go and anoint him. 2 And very early on the first day of the week, when the sun had risen, they went to the tomb. 3 They had been saying to one another, “Who will roll away the stone for us from the entrance to the tomb?” 4 When they looked up, they saw that the stone, which was very large, had already been rolled back. 5 As they entered the tomb, they saw a young man, dressed in a white robe, sitting on the right side; and they were alarmed. 6 But he said to them, “Do not be alarmed; you are looking for Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He has been raised; he is not here. Look, there is the place they laid him. 7 But go, tell his disciples and Peter that he is going ahead of you to Galilee; there you will see him, just as he told you.” 8 So they went out and fled from the tomb, for terror and amazement had seized them; and they said nothing to anyone, for they were afraid.
THE SHORTER ENDING OF MARK (Most scholars agree the shorter ending is older, but later the longer ending was added ... for obvious reasons.)
[ [ And all that had been commanded them they told briefly to those around Peter. And afterward Jesus himself sent out through them, from east to west, the sacred and imperishable proclamation of eternal salvation. ] ]
THE LONGER ENDING OF MARK
9 [ [ Now after he rose early on the first day of the week, he appeared first to Mary Magdalene, from whom he had cast out seven demons. 10 She went out and told those who had been with him, while they were mourning and weeping. 11 But when they heard that he was alive and had been seen by her, they would not believe it.
12 After this he appeared in another form to two of them, as they were walking into the country. 13 And they went back and told the rest, but they did not believe them.
14 Later he appeared to the eleven themselves as they were sitting at the table; and he upbraided them for their lack of faith and stubbornness, because they had not believed those who saw him after he had risen. 15 And he said to them, “Go into all the world and proclaim the good news to the whole creation. 16 The one who believes and is baptized will be saved; but the one who does not believe will be condemned. 17 And these signs will accompany those who believe: by using my name they will cast out demons; they will speak in new tongues; 18 they will pick up snakes in their hands, and if they drink any deadly thing, it will not hurt them; they will lay their hands on the sick, and they will recover.”
19 So then the Lord Jesus, after he had spoken to them, was taken up into heaven and sat down at the right hand of God. 20 And they went out and proclaimed the good news everywhere, while the Lord worked with them and confirmed the message by the signs that accompanied it. ]
The Book of Common Prayer: And Administration of the Sacraments and Other Rites and Ceremonies of the Church