Micah 1:1 The word of the Lord that came to Micah of Moresheth in the days of Kings Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah of Judah, which he saw concerning Samaria and Jerusalem.
Judgment Pronounced against Samaria
2 Hear, you peoples, all of you;
listen, O earth, and all that is in it;
and let the Lord God be a witness against you,
the Lord from his holy temple.
3 For lo, the Lord is coming out of his place,
and will come down and tread upon the high places of the earth.
4 Then the mountains will melt under him
and the valleys will burst open,
like wax near the fire,
like waters poured down a steep place.
5 All this is for the transgression of Jacob
and for the sins of the house of Israel.
What is the transgression of Jacob?
Is it not Samaria
And what is the high place of Judah?
Is it not Jerusalem?
6 Therefore I will make Samaria a heap in the open country,
a place for planting vineyards.
I will pour down her stones into the valley,
and uncover her foundations.
7 All her images shall be beaten to pieces,
all her wages shall be burned with fire,
and all her idols I will lay waste;
for as the wages of a prostitute she gathered them,
and as the wages of a prostitute they shall again be used.
The Doom of the Cities of Judah
8 For this I will lament and wail;
I will go barefoot and naked;
I will make lamentation like the jackals,
and mourning like the ostriches.
9 For her wound is incurable.
It has come to Judah;
it has reached to the gate of my people,
10 Tell it not in Gath,
weep not at all;
roll yourselves in the dust.
11 Pass on your way,
inhabitants of Shaphir,
in nakedness and shame;
the inhabitants of Zaanan
do not come forth;
Beth-ezel is wailing
and shall remove its support from you.
12 For the inhabitants of Maroth
wait anxiously for good,
yet disaster has come down from the Lord
to the gate of Jerusalem.
13 Harness the steeds to the chariots,
inhabitants of Lachish;
it was the beginning of sin
to daughter Zion,
for in you were found
the transgressions of Israel.
14 Therefore you shall give parting gifts
the houses of Achzib shall be a deception
to the kings of Israel.
15 I will again bring a conqueror upon you,
inhabitants of Mareshah;
the glory of Israel
shall come to Adullam.
16 Make yourselves bald and cut off your hair
for your pampered children;
make yourselves as bald as the eagle,
for they have gone from you into exile.
Social Evils Denounced
Micah 2:1 Alas for those who devise wickedness
and evil deeds on their beds!
When the Morning dawns, they perform it,
because it is in their power.
2 They covet fields, and seize them;
houses, and take them away;
they oppress householder and house,
people and their inheritance.
3 Therefore thus says the Lord:
Now, I am devising against this family an evil
from which you cannot remove your necks;
and you shall not walk haughtily,
for it will be an evil time.
4 On that day they shall take up a taunt song against you,
and wail with bitter lamentation,
and say, “We are utterly ruined;
the Lord alters the inheritance of my people;
how he removes it from me!
Among our captors he parcels out our fields.”
5 Therefore you will have no one to cast the line by lot
in the assembly of the Lord.
6 “Do not preach”—thus they preach—
“one should not preach of such things;
disgrace will not overtake us.”
7 Should this be said, O house of Jacob?
Is the Lord’s patience exhausted?
Are these his doings?
Do not my words do good
to one who walks uprightly?
8 But you rise up against my people as an enemy;
you strip the robe from the peaceful,
from those who pass by trustingly
with no thought of war.
9 The women of my people you drive out
from their pleasant houses;
from their young children you take away
my glory forever.
10 Arise and go;
for this is no place to rest,
because of uncleanness that destroys
with a grievous destruction.
11 If someone were to go about uttering empty falsehoods,
saying, “I will preach to you of wine and strong drink,”
such a one would be the preacher for this people!
A Promise for the Remnant of Israel
12 I will surely gather all of you, O Jacob,
I will gather the survivors of Israel;
I will set them together
like sheep in a fold,
like a flock in its pasture;
it will resound with people.
13 The one who breaks out will go up before them;
they will break through and pass the gate,
going out by it.
Their king will pass on before them,
the Lord at their head.
Wicked Rulers and Prophets
Micah 3:1 And I said:
Listen, you heads of Jacob
and rulers of the house of Israel!
Should you not know justice?—
2 you who hate the good and love the evil,
who tear the skin off my people,
and the flesh off their bones;
3 who eat the flesh of my people,
flay their skin off them,
break their bones in pieces,
and chop them up like meat in a kettle,
like flesh in a caldron.
4 Then they will cry to the Lord,
but he will not answer them;
he will hide his face from them at that time,
because they have acted wickedly.
5 Thus says the Lord concerning the prophets
who lead my people astray,
who cry “Peace”
when they have something to eat,
but declare war against those
who put nothing into their mouths. (1)
6 Therefore it shall be night to you, without vision,
and darkness to you, without revelation.
The sun shall go down upon the prophets,
and the day shall be black over them;
7 the seers shall be disgraced,
and the diviners put to shame;
they shall all cover their lips,
for there is no answer from God.
8 But as for me, I am filled with power,
with the spirit of the Lord,
and with justice and might,
to declare to Jacob his transgression
and to Israel his sin.
9 Hear this, you rulers of the house of Jacob
and chiefs of the house of Israel,
who abhor justice
and pervert all equity,
10 who build Zion with blood
and Jerusalem with wrong!
11 Its rulers give judgment for a bribe,
its priests teach for a price,
its prophets give oracles for money;
yet they lean upon the Lord and say,
“Surely the Lord is with us!
No harm shall come upon us.”
12 Therefore because of you
Zion shall be plowed as a field;
Jerusalem shall become a heap of ruins,
and the mountain of the house a wooded height.
Peace and Security through Obedience(Cp Isa 2.2—4)
Micah 4:1 In days to come
the mountain of the Lord’s house
shall be established as the highest of the mountains,
and shall be raised up above the hills.
Peoples shall stream to it,
2 and many nations shall come and say:
“Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord,
to the house of the God of Jacob;
that he may teach us his ways
and that we may walk in his paths.”
For out of Zion shall go forth instruction,
and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.
3 He shall judge between many peoples,
and shall arbitrate between strong nations far away;
they shall beat their swords into plowshares,
and their spears into pruning hooks;
nation shall not lift up sword against nation,
neither shall they learn war any more;
4 but they shall all sit under their own vines and under their own fig trees,
and no one shall make them afraid;
for the mouth of the Lord of hosts has spoken.
5 For all the peoples walk,
each in the name of its god,
but we will walk in the name of the Lord our God
forever and ever.
Restoration Promised after Exile
6 In that day, says the Lord,
I will assemble the lame
and gather those who have been driven away,
and those whom I have afflicted.
7 The lame I will make the remnant,
and those who were cast off, a strong nation;
and the Lord will reign over them in Mount Zion
now and forevermore.
8 And you, O tower of the flock,
hill of daughter Zion,
to you it shall come,
the former dominion shall come,
the sovereignty of daughter Jerusalem.
9 Now why do you cry aloud?
Is there no king in you?
Has your counselor perished,
that pangs have seized you like a woman in labor?
10 Writhe and groan, O daughter Zion,
like a woman in labor;
for now you shall go forth from the city
and camp in the open country;
you shall go to Babylon.
There you shall be rescued,
there the Lord will redeem you
from the hands of your enemies.
11 Now many nations
are assembled against you,
saying, “Let her be profaned,
and let our eyes gaze upon Zion.”
12 But they do not know
the thoughts of the Lord;
they do not understand his plan,
that he has gathered them as sheaves to the threshing floor.
13 Arise and thresh,
O daughter Zion,
for I will make your horn iron
and your hoofs bronze;
you shall beat in pieces many peoples,
and shall devote their gain to the Lord,
their wealth to the Lord of the whole earth.
Micah 5:1 Now you are walled around with a wall;
siege is laid against us;
with a rod they strike the ruler of Israel
upon the cheek.
The Ruler from Bethlehem
2 But you, O Bethlehem of Ephrathah,
who are one of the little clans of Judah,
from you shall come forth for me
one who is to rule in Israel,
whose origin is from of old,
from ancient days.
3 Therefore he shall give them up until the time
when she who is in labor has brought forth;
then the rest of his kindred shall return
to the people of Israel.
4 And he shall stand and feed his flock in the strength of the Lord,
in the majesty of the name of the Lord his God.
And they shall live secure, for now he shall be great
to the ends of the earth;
5 and he shall be the one of peace.
If the Assyrians come into our land
and tread upon our soil,
we will raise against them seven shepherds
and eight installed as rulers.
6 They shall rule the land of Assyria with the sword,
and the land of Nimrod with the drawn sword;
they shall rescue us from the Assyrians
if they come into our land
or tread within our border.
The Future Role of the Remnant
7 Then the remnant of Jacob,
surrounded by many peoples,
shall be like dew from the Lord,
like showers on the grass,
which do not depend upon people
or wait for any mortal.
8 And among the nations the remnant of Jacob,
surrounded by many peoples,
shall be like a lion among the animals of the forest,
like a young lion among the flocks of sheep,
which, when it goes through, treads down
and tears in pieces, with no one to deliver.
9 Your hand shall be lifted up over your adversaries,
and all your enemies shall be cut off.
10 In that day, says the Lord,
I will cut off your horses from among you
and will destroy your chariots;
11 and I will cut off the cities of your land
and throw down all your strongholds;
12 and I will cut off sorceries from your hand,
and you shall have no more soothsayers;
13 and I will cut off your images
and your pillars from among you,
and you shall bow down no more
to the work of your hands;
14 and I will uproot your sacred poles from among you
and destroy your towns.
15 And in anger and wrath I will execute vengeance
on the nations that did not obey.
God Challenges Israel
Micah 6:1 Hear what the Lord says:
Rise, plead your case before the mountains,
and let the hills hear your voice.
2 Hear, you mountains, the controversy of the Lord,
and you enduring foundations of the earth;
for the Lord has a controversy with his people,
and he will contend with Israel.
3 “O my people, what have I done to you?
In what have I wearied you? Answer me!
4 For I brought you up from the land of Egypt,
and redeemed you from the house of slavery;
and I sent before you Moses,
Aaron, and Miriam.
5 O my people, remember now what King Balak of Moab devised,
what Balaam son of Beor answered him,
and what happened from Shittim to Gilgal,
that you may know the saving acts of the Lord.”
What God Requires(Cp Am 5.24)
6 “With what shall I come before the Lord,
and bow myself before God on high?
Shall I come before him with burnt offerings,
with calves a year old?
7 Will the Lord be pleased with thousands of rams,
with ten thousands of rivers of oil?
Shall I give my firstborn for my transgression,
the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?”
Micah 6:8 He has told you, O mortal, what is good;
and what does the Lord require of you
but to do justice, and to love kindness,
and to walk humbly with your God?
Cheating and Violence to Be Punished
9 The voice of the Lord cries to the city
(it is sound wisdom to fear your name):
Hear, O tribe and assembly of the city!
10 Can I forget the treasures of wickedness in the house of the wicked,
and the scant measure that is accursed?
11 Can I tolerate wicked scales
and a bag of dishonest weights?
12 Your wealthy are full of violence;
your inhabitants speak lies,
with tongues of deceit in their mouths.
13 Therefore I have begun to strike you down,
making you desolate because of your sins.
14 You shall eat, but not be satisfied,
and there shall be a gnawing hunger within you;
you shall put away, but not save,
and what you save, I will hand over to the sword.
15 You shall sow, but not reap;
you shall tread olives, but not anoint yourselves with oil;
you shall tread grapes, but not drink wine.
16 For you have kept the statutes of Omri
and all the works of the house of Ahab,
and you have followed their counsels.
Therefore I will make you a desolation, and your inhabitants an object of hissing;
so you shall bear the scorn of my people.
The Total Corruption of the People
Micah 7:1 Woe is me! For I have become like one who,
after the summer fruit has been gathered,
after the vintage has been gleaned,
finds no cluster to eat;
there is no first-ripe fig for which I hunger.
2 The faithful have disappeared from the land,
and there is no one left who is upright;
they all lie in wait for blood,
and they hunt each other with nets.
3 Their hands are skilled to do evil;
the official and the judge ask for a bribe,
and the powerful dictate what they desire;
thus they pervert justice.
4 The best of them is like a brier,
the most upright of them a thorn hedge.
The day of their sentinels, of their punishment, has come;
now their confusion is at hand.
5 Put no trust in a friend,
have no confidence in a loved one;
guard the doors of your mouth
from her who lies in your embrace;
6 for the son treats the father with contempt,
the daughter rises up against her mother,
the daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law;
your enemies are members of your own household.
7 But as for me, I will look to the Lord,
I will wait for the God of my salvation;
my God will hear me.
Penitence and Trust in God
8 Do not rejoice over me, O my enemy;
when I fall, I shall rise;
when I sit in darkness,
the Lord will be a light to me.
9 I must bear the indignation of the Lord,
because I have sinned against him,
until he takes my side
and executes judgment for me.
He will bring me out to the light;
I shall see his vindication.
10 Then my enemy will see,
and shame will cover her who said to me,
“Where is the Lord your God?”
My eyes will see her downfall;
now she will be trodden down
like the mire of the streets.
A Prophecy of Restoration
11 A day for the building of your walls!
In that day the boundary shall be far extended.
12 In that day they will come to you
from Assyria to Egypt,
and from Egypt to the River,
from sea to sea and from mountain to mountain.
13 But the earth will be desolate
because of its inhabitants,
for the fruit of their doings.
14 Shepherd your people with your staff,
the flock that belongs to you,
which lives alone in a forest
in the midst of a garden land;
let them feed in Bashan and Gilead
as in the days of old.
15 As in the days when you came out of the land of Egypt,
show us marvelous things.
16 The nations shall see and be ashamed
of all their might;
they shall lay their hands on their mouths;
their ears shall be deaf;
17 they shall lick dust like a snake,
like the crawling things of the earth;
they shall come trembling out of their fortresses;
they shall turn in dread to the Lord our God,
and they shall stand in fear of you.
God’s Compassion and Steadfast Love
18 Who is a God like you, pardoning iniquity
and passing over the transgression
of the remnant of your possession?
He does not retain his anger forever,
because he delights in showing clemency.
19 He will again have compassion upon us;
he will tread our iniquities under foot.
You will cast all our sins
into the depths of the sea.
20 You will show faithfulness to Jacob
and unswerving loyalty to Abraham,
as you have sworn to our ancestors
from the days of old.
Devotionals, notes, poetry and more
Are you being stretched?
(Sept 17) Bob Gass
‘All athletes are disciplined in their training. They do it to win a prize.’
(1 Co 9:25) 25 Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. ESV
When you’re being stretched spiritually, your faith in God grows. When you’re being stretched mentally, your old ideas are challenged and replaced with new ones. When you’re being stretched relationally, selfishness dies and love grows. So, are you being stretched right now? God allows us to have stretching experiences that prepare us for the race He has called us to run in life - and every so often your soul will ‘hit the wall’. No amount of strength and no amount of pressing will move the problem. This is soul stretch! Often, these moments aren’t the real test; they are just warm-ups that prepare us for future challenges. They are points of reference designed to keep us from panicking when we’re in the midst of the real race. Remember that God never allows a person to run for Him, or with Him, who hasn’t been stretched in their thinking, their faith, and their ability to live and love. So, when you face a problem that just won’t move, remember to take a deep breath and remind yourself that God is stretching you. It’s the stretching of the soul that enables us to face situations we think will kill us, but don’t; to endure times when we think we won’t make it, but do. Sooner or later we will all face difficult times and relationships, but they are just the deep knee bends of life. So, when it feels like you’re being stretched to breaking point, don’t quit. See it for what it is - preparation for running and winning your God-assigned race in life.
UCB The Word For Today
by Bill Federer
“Done… the seventeenth day of September, in the year of our LORD one thousand seven hundred and eighty seven.” This was the last line of the U.S. Constitution, which was approved this day. A study done by Professors Donald Lutz and Charles Hyneman, examining nearly 15,000 writings of the fifty-five men that wrote the Constitution, including newspaper articles, pamphlets, books and monographs, reported that the Bible, especially the book of Deuteronomy, contributed 34% of all direct quotations. When indirect citations were included, they found 94% of all quotations referenced by the Founders were derived from the Bible.
Compiled by Richard S. Adams
For, after all, put it as we may to ourselves,
we are all of us from birth to death guests at a table
which we did not spread.
The sun, the earth, love, friends,
our very breath are parts of the banquet….
Shall we think of the day as a chance
to come nearer to our Host,
and to find out something of Him
who has fed us so long?
--- Rebecca Harding Davis
Character is supreme in life, hence Jesus stood supreme in the supreme thing - so supreme that, when we think of the ideal, we do not add virtue to virtue, but think of Jesus Christ, so that the standard of human life is no longer a code but a character.
--- E. Stanley Jones
... from here, there and everywhere
Thanks to Meir Yona
That Upon The Conquest And Slaughter Of Vitellius Vespasian Hastened His Journey To Rome; But Titus His Son Returned To Jerusalem.
1. And now, when Vespasian had given answers to the embassages, and had disposed of the places of power justly, 25 and according to every one's deserts, he came to Antioch, and consulting which way he had best take, he preferred to go for Rome, rather than to march to Alexandria, because he saw that Alexandria was sure to him already, but that the affairs at Rome were put into disorder by Vitellius; so he sent Mucianus to Italy, and committed a considerable army both of horsemen and footmen to him; yet was Mucianus afraid of going by sea, because it was the middle of winter, and so he led his army on foot through Cappadocia and Phrygia.
2. In the mean time, Antonius Primus took the third of the legions that were in Mysia, for he was president of that province, and made haste, in order to fight Vitellius; whereupon Vitellius sent away Cecinna, with a great army, having a mighty confidence in him, because of his having beaten Otho. This Cecinna marched out of Rome in great haste, and found Antonius about Cremona in Gall, which city is in the borders of Italy; but when he saw there that the enemy were numerous and in good order, he durst not fight them; and as he thought a retreat dangerous, so he began to think of betraying his army to Antonius. Accordingly, he assembled the centurions and tribunes that were under his command, and persuaded them to go over to Antonius, and this by diminishing the reputation of Vitellius, and by exaggerating the power of Vespasian. He also told them that with the one there was no more than the bare name of dominion, but with the other was the power of it; and that it was better for them to prevent necessity, and gain favor, and, while they were likely to be overcome in battle, to avoid the danger beforehand, and go over to Antonius willingly; that Vespasian was able of himself to subdue what had not yet submitted without their assistance, while Vitellius could not preserve what he had already with it.
3. Cecinna said this, and much more to the same purpose, and persuaded them to comply with him; and both he and his army deserted; but still the very same night the soldiers repented of what they had done, and a fear seized on them, lest perhaps Vitellius who sent them should get the better; and drawing their swords, they assaulted Cecinna, in order to kill him; and the thing had been done by them, if the tribunes had not fallen upon their knees, and besought them not to do it; so the soldiers did not kill him, but put him in bonds, as a traitor, and were about to send him to Vitellius. When [Antonius] Primus heard of this, he raised up his men immediately, and made them put on their armor, and led them against those that had revolted; hereupon they put themselves in order of battle, and made a resistance for a while, but were soon beaten, and fled to Cremona; then did Primus take his horsemen, and cut off their entrance into the city, and encompassed and destroyed a great multitude of them before the city, and fell into the city together with the rest, and gave leave to his soldiers to plunder it. And here it was that many strangers, who were merchants, as well as many of the people of that country, perished, and among them Vitellius's whole army, being thirty thousand and two hundred, while Antonius lost no more of those that came with him from Mysia than four thousand and five hundred: he then loosed Cecinna, and sent him to Vespasian to tell him the good news. So he came, and was received by him, and covered the scandal of his treachery by the unexpected honors he received from Vespasian.
4. And now, upon the news that Antonius was approaching, Sabinus took courage at Rome, and assembled those cohorts of soldiers that kept watch by night, and in the night time seized upon the capitol; and, as the day came on, many men of character came over to him, with Domitian, his brother's son, whose encouragement was of very great weight for the compassing the government. Now Vitellius was not much concerned at this Primus, but was very angry with those that had revolted with Sabinus; and thirsting, out of his own natural barbarity, after noble blood, he sent out that part of the army which came along with him to fight against the capitol; and many bold actions were done on this side, and on the side of those that held the temple. But at last, the soldiers that came from Germany, being too numerous for the others, got the hill into their possession, where Domitian, with many other of the principal Romans, providentially escaped, while the rest of the multitude were entirely cut to pieces, and Sabinus himself was brought to Vitellius, and then slain; the soldiers also plundered the temple of its ornaments, and set it on fire. But now within a day's time came Antonius, with his army, and were met by Vitellius and his army; and having had a battle in three several places, the last were all destroyed. Then did Vitellius come out of the palace, in his cups, and satiated with an extravagant and luxurious meal, as in the last extremity, and being drawn along through the multitude, and abused with all sorts of torments, had his head cut off in the midst of Rome, having retained the government eight months and five days 26 and had he lived much longer, I cannot but think the empire would not have been sufficient for his lust. Of the others that were slain, were numbered above fifty thousand. This battle was fought on the third day of the month Apelleus [Casleu]; on the next day Mucianus came into the city with his army, and ordered Antonius and his men to leave off killing; for they were still searching the houses, and killed many of Vitellius's soldiers, and many of the populace, as supposing them to be of his party, preventing by their rage any accurate distinction between them and others. He then produced Domitian, and recommended him to the multitude, until his father should come himself; so the people being now freed from their fears, made acclamations of joy for Vespasian, as for their emperor, and kept festival days for his confirmation, and for the destruction of Vitellius.
5. And now, as Vespasian was come to Alexandria, this good news came from Rome, and at the same time came embassies from all his own habitable earth, to congratulate him upon his advancement; and though this Alexandria was the greatest of all cities next to Rome, it proved too narrow to contain the multitude that then came to it. So upon this confirmation of Vespasian's entire government, which was now settled, and upon the unexpected deliverance of the public affairs of the Romans from ruin, Vespasian turned his thoughts to what remained unsubdued in Judea. However, he himself made haste to go to Rome, as the winter was now almost over, and soon set the affairs of Alexandria in order, but sent his son Titus, with a select part of his army, to destroy Jerusalem. So Titus marched on foot as far as Nicopolis, which is distant twenty furlongs from Alexandria; there he put his army on board some long ships, and sailed upon the river along the Mendesian Nomus, as far as the city Tumuis; there he got out of the ships, and walked on foot, and lodged all night at a small city called Tanis. His second station was Heracleopolis, and his third Pelusium; he then refreshed his army at that place for two days, and on the third passed over the mouths of the Nile at Pelusium; he then proceeded one station over the desert, and pitched his camp at the temple of the Casian Jupiter, 27 and on the next day at Ostracine. This station had no water, but the people of the country make use of water brought from other places. After this he rested at Rhinocolura, and from thence he went to Raphia, which was his fourth station. This city is the beginning of Syria. For his fifth station he pitched his camp at Gaza; after which he came to Ascalon, and thence to Jamnia, and after that to Joppa, and from Joppa to Cesarea, having taken a resolution to gather all his other forces together at that place.
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
the men of Hizkiyah king of Y’hudah copied them out:
2 God gets glory from concealing things;
kings get glory from investigating things.
3 Like the sky for height or the earth for depth
is the heart of kings—unfathomable.
4 Remove the impurities from the silver,
and the smith has material to make a vessel.
5 Remove the wicked from the king’s presence,
and his throne will rest firmly on righteousness.
6 Don’t put yourself forward in the king’s presence;
don’t take a place among the great.
7 For it is better to be told, “Come up here,”
than be degraded in the presence of a nobleman.
What your eyes have seen,
8 don’t rush to present in a dispute.
For what will you do later on,
if your neighbor puts you to shame?
9 Discuss your dispute with your neighbor,
but don’t reveal another person’s secrets.
10 If you do, and he hears of it, he will disgrace you,
and your bad reputation will stick.
Complete Jewish Bible : An English Version of the Tanakh (Old Testament) and B'Rit Hadashah (New Testament)
A Daily Devotional by Oswald Chambers
What’s the good of temptation?
There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man. --- 1 Cor. 10:13.
The word ‘temptation’ has come down in the world; we are apt to use it wrongly: Temptation is not sin, it is the thing we are bound to meet if we are men. Not to be tempted would be to be beneath contempt. Many of us, however, suffer from temptations from which we have no business to suffer, simply because we have refused to let God lift us to a higher plane where we would face temptations of another order.
A man’s disposition on the inside, i.e., what he possesses in his personality, determines what he is tempted by on the outside. The temptation fits the nature of the one tempted, and reveals the possibilities of the nature. Every man has the setting of his own temptation, and the temptation will come along the line of the ruling disposition.
Temptation is a suggested short cut to the realization of the highest at which I aim—not towards what I understand as evil, but towards what I understand as good. Temptation is something that completely baffles me for a while, I do not know whether the thing is right or wrong. Temptation yielded to is lust deified, and is a proof that it was timidity that prevented the sin before.
Temptation is not something we may escape, it is essential to the full-orbed life of a man. Beware lest you think you are tempted as no one else is tempted; what you go through is the common inheritance of the race, not something no one ever went through before. God does not save us from temptations; He succours us in the midst of them (Heb. 2:18.)
My Utmost for His Highest: Quality Paperback Edition
the Poetry of RS Thomas
They are those that life happens to.
They didn't ask to be born
In those bleak farmsteads, but neither
Did they ask not. Life took the seed
And broadcast it upon the poor,
Rush-stricken soil, an experiment
What is a man's
Price? For promises of a break
In the clouds; for harvests that are not all
Wasted; for one animal born
Healthy, where seven have died,
He will kneel down and give thanks
In a chapel whose stones are wrenched
From the moorland.
I have watched them bent
For hours over their trade,
Speechless, and have held my tongue
From its question. It was not my part
To show them, like a meddler from the town,
Their picture, nor the audiences
That look at them in pity or pride.
Selected poems, 1946-1968
A similar maxim appears above, as the fourth entry in Exodus: “Does a person who drinks from the well cast a stone into it?” These midrashim are similar in two respects. First, each speaks about destroying a useful source of drinking water. In Exodus, the Midrash asks, “Does a person who drinks from the well cast a stone into it?” whereas this Midrash text instructs, “Don’t throw a stone into the cistern you drank from.” Second, in both cases, it is Moses who is asked to be the instrument of destruction or retribution. In each case, Moses refuses.
However, there are differences between the Midrash texts. Aside from style and language, the biggest contrast would seem to be in the enemy. In the Exodus story, the enemy is Egypt; God wants Moses to turn the water of the Nile into blood. In the text above, it is the Midianites. God tells Moses to avenge the Midianites.
Couldn’t the Rabbis of the Midrash have been more original? Aren’t they guilty of a kind of plagiarism in using two so similar epigrams and two comparable stories about Moses?
We cannot judge them by today’s literary standards. In the ancient world, good ideas were shared and reused, often without attribution. Thus, the phrase “nation shall not take up sword against nation” is best known from Isaiah 2:4. However, it also appears in Micah 4:3, which, while “later” in the way the Bible is now set up, is actually earlier chronologically. Isaiah likely heard this beautiful phrase and repeated it in his prophecy. There was no stigma attached to this appropriation.
In addition, we can understand why the Rabbis repeated a good idea if we compare the obvious well/cistern images to the subtle and indirect symbol in the phrase “Don’t cut off your nose to spite your face.” It’s doubtful that this latter image is universally comprehensible without explanation. On the other hand, in a world of scarce water supply and in the days before public plumbing, the local well served a crucial, life-giving function. Everyone would understand the image of a well or cistern, and thus it would be used again and again.
This reminds us that the Rabbis weren’t afraid to reuse a good idea in various formats (while making sure to quote the source). They went back to the well and found additional inspiration from the very same thought. As we study midrashim—in this volume as well as in other texts—we would do well to follow the example of reusing and recycling precious resources. We believe that this is precisely what the Rabbis would have us do.
“Does a person who drinks from the well cast a stone into it?” “Don’t throw a stone into the cistern you drank from.” What’s the difference between a well and a cistern? In Hebrew, the words are very similar.
בְּאֵר/Be’er is a well or a spring; בּוֹר/bor is a cistern or a pit. A well has a source of water and fills up on its own. A cistern, on the other hand, whether it’s a hole in the ground or a man-made crater, has no water in it naturally. It must be filled by human hands.
When the Rabbis taught “Does a person who drinks from the well cast a stone into it?” they were teaching us not to damage the world that God gave us. When the Rabbis say “Don’t throw a stone into the cistern you drank from,” they’re teaching us not to wreck our own handiwork: Don’t damage the contents of the cistern—that otherwise empty container that you yourselves filled up.
With a cistern, we get out only if we put in. Otherwise, it remains empty. This is similar to education, where we reap benefits only to the extent of our involvement and participation. College courses may be wellsprings of knowledge, but they are really closer to cisterns of learning. If we fill the courses with our hard work and interest, then we may be enriched in return. On their own, college courses are only hollow vessels, waiting to be filled.
Exercise can make us healthier, stronger, less susceptible to illness and stress. Yet, we would do well to remember that exercise is like a cistern: It is an empty vehicle waiting for what we put into it. It is not in the divine realm but in the human sphere. God fills wells around us; we humans are responsible for supplying the cisterns of life.
Searching for Meaning in Midrash: Lessons for Everyday Living
Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!”
--- Matthew 14:29–30.
Peter began to sink when he began to fear. ( Wind on the Heath (Morrison Classic Sermon Series, The) ) And Scripture tells when he began to fear: it was when he took his eyes off his Lord. There is not a trace that the wind had grown more fierce while the disciple was walking on the water. It had been just as fierce, and the waves had been just as boisterous when he had sprung from the gunwale of the boat. But then he had thought of nothing but the Master and had eyes for nobody except the Master; as long as that continued he was safe. Looking to Christ he could go anywhere. The very sea was as a pavement to him. Looking away from Christ he was as other people, and the perils that surrounded him were terrible. And then he regretted the rashness of his venture and saw nothing around him but the seething waters, and so Peter began to be afraid and beginning to be afraid, began to sink.
That is true of every kind of life. It is true especially of spiritual life. In the perilous calling of the spiritual life, to lose heart is to lose everything. And that is why the Lord is always saying to us, “Give me your heart,” for only in his keeping is it safe. It is a simple message—looking to Jesus—yet it is the message of salvation. To trust in him and to keep the eye on him is the one secret of all Christian victory. When we have failed to do so in the stress of life, as all of us, like Simon Peter, fail, then there is nothing left but to cry with Peter, Lord, save me.
And so I close by saying that when Peter began to sink, his Savior was not far away. Immediately, he put out his hand and grasped him. My brother or sister, just beginning to sink, will you remember that Christ is at your side? All human help may seem very far away; remember that he is not very far away. He is near you now, near you where you sit. You need him greatly and he is there for you. Cry out now, “Lord, save me,” and he will do it, completely, for you!
--- George H. Morrison
Take Heart: Daily Devotions with the Church's Great Preachers
The Rat Pit September 17
Soon after the Civil War, reporter Oliver Dyer wrote that if all the bars, prostitution houses, and gambling dens of New York City ran along one street, it would stretch 30 miles. Each night on that street, he said, there would be a murder every half mile, a robbery every 165 yards, six outcasts at every door, and eight preachers barking the Gospel. And Dyer pronounced barkeeper John Allen the “wickedest” of the city’s wicked.
A minister, reading the story, entered Allen’s bar on Water Street to witness to him. To his surprise, Allen, though not converted, was seized by pious pangs and offered to open his saloon to daily prayer meetings. Hundreds began flocking there. Newspapers puffed the story, and Allen became a media sensation. He soon announced his bar would become a house of worship, adding that since he was now famous he intended to join a church … someday.
The success of the meetings led organizers to rent the nearby rat pit at Kit Burns’s Saloon, a makeshift amphitheater with seats rising above a pit in which scores of rats were released. Dogs were turned loose, and bets taken on the number of rats they could kill within a certain time. Burns’s son-in-law often ended shows by jumping into the pit and killing surviving rats with his teeth. Kit Burns cleaned the blood from the floor each day and rented out his pit for prayer. As soon as services ended each afternoon, rat shows resumed (to “ratify” the prayers, Burns quipped).
On September 17, 1868 John Allen, basking in publicity, prepared to leave on a “Lecture Tour” of New England. He made it to Connecticut before getting so drunk he was ejected. Public interest plunged, and within a month Allen took his saloon back. But Christians rented another building down the street, and it became the first home of the McAuley Water Street Mission.
That’s not all. Kit Burns’s place was eventually transformed into a home for reformed prostitutes, the bar becoming a chapel and the rat pit becoming … a kitchen.
Turn to the LORD! He can still be found.
Call out to God! He is near.
Give up your crooked ways and your evil thoughts.
Return to the LORD our God.
He will be merciful and forgive your sins.
--- Isaiah 55:6,7.
Jerusalem, on your walls I have stationed guards,
Whose duty it is to speak out day and night,
They must remind the LORD and not let him rest
Till he makes Jerusalem strong
And famous everywhere.
--- Isaiah 62:6,7.
On This Day 365 Amazing And Inspiring Stories About Saints, Martyrs And Heroes
Daily Readings / CHARLES H. SPURGEON
Morning - September 17
"Bring him unto me." --- Mark 9:19.
Despairingly the poor disappointed father turned away from the disciples to their Master. His son was in the worst possible condition, and all means had failed, but the miserable child was soon delivered from the evil one when the parent in faith obeyed the Lord Jesus’ word, “Bring him unto me.” Children are a precious gift from God, but much anxiety comes with them. They may be a great joy or a great bitterness to their parents; they may be filled with the Spirit of God, or possessed with the spirit of evil. In all cases, the Word of God gives us one receipt for the curing of all their ills, “Bring him unto me.” O for more agonizing prayer on their behalf while they are yet babes! Sin is there, let our prayers begin to attack it. Our cries for our offspring should precede those cries which betoken their actual advent into a world of sin. In the days of their youth we shall see sad tokens of that dumb and deaf spirit which will neither pray aright, nor hear the voice of God in the soul, but Jesus still commands, “Bring them unto me.” When they are grown up they may wallow in sin and foam with enmity against God; then when our hearts are breaking we should remember the great Physician’s words, “Bring them unto me.” Never must we cease to pray until they cease to breathe. No case is hopeless while Jesus lives.
The Lord sometimes suffers his people to be driven into a corner that they may experimentally know how necessary he is to them. Ungodly children, when they show us our own powerlessness against the depravity of their hearts, drive us to flee to the strong for strength, and this is a great blessing to us. Whatever our Morning’s need may be, let it like a strong current bear us to the ocean of divine love. Jesus can soon remove our sorrow, he delights to comfort us. Let us hasten to him while he waits to meet us.
Evening - September 17
“Encourage him.” --- Deuteronomy 1:38.
God employs his people to encourage one another. He did not say to an angel, “Gabriel, my servant Joshua is about to lead my people into Canaan—go, encourage him.” God never works needless miracles; if his purposes can be accomplished by ordinary means, he will not use miraculous agency. Gabriel would not have been half so well fitted for the work as Moses. A brother’s sympathy is more precious than an angel’s embassy. The angel, swift of wing, had better known the Master’s bidding than the people’s temper. An angel had never experienced the hardness of the road, nor seen the fiery serpents, nor had he led the stiff-necked multitude in the wilderness as Moses had done. We should be glad that God usually works for man by man. It forms a bond of brotherhood, and being mutually dependent on one another, we are fused more completely into one family. Brethren, take the text as God’s message to you. Labour to help others, and especially strive to encourage them. Talk cheerily to the young and anxious enquirer, lovingly try to remove stumblingblocks out of his way. When you find a spark of grace in the heart, kneel down and blow it into a flame. Leave the young believer to discover the roughness of the road by degrees, but tell him of the strength which dwells in God, of the sureness of the promise, and of the charms of communion with Christ. Aim to comfort the sorrowful, and to animate the desponding. Speak a word in season to him that is weary, and encourage those who are fearful to go on their way with gladness. God encourages you by his promises; Christ encourages you as he points to the heaven he has won for you, and the spirit encourages you as he works in you to will and to do of his own will and pleasure. Imitate divine wisdom, and encourage others, according to the word of this Evening.
Morning and Evening: A New Edition of the Classic Devotional Based on The Holy Bible, English Standard Version
HALLELUJAH, WHAT A SAVIOR!
Words and Music by Philip P. Bliss, 1838–1876
He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering … He was despised, and we esteemed Him not. (Isaiah 53:3)
A life of praise is not something that can be worked up. Rather, it is a remembrance and a response to Christ’s sacrificial death on our behalf. As we reflect on who Christ is and what He has accomplished for us, what He provides in our daily lives as an advocate before God, and what He has promised for our future, our hearts are melted before Him. We bow at His feet in humble adoration and proclaim with all sincerity, “Hallelujah, What a Savior!”
It is said that the word Hallelujah is basically the same in all languages. It seems as though God has given this word as a preparation for the great celebration of heaven, when His children from every tribe, language, people and nation shall have been gathered home to sing their eternal “Hallelujah to the Lamb!”
Philip Bliss, along with Ira Sankey, was one of the truly important leaders and publishers of early Gospel music. Before his tragic train accident death at the age of 38, he wrote hundreds of Gospel songs, many of which are still widely sung today. “Hallelujah, What a Savior!” is one of the best and most enduring of the songs produced by Bliss. The first four stanzas present Christ’s atoning work simply and clearly. The last stanza, “When He comes, our glorious King,” is in an entirely different mood, joyful and triumphant in its anticipation of the praise that will continue throughout eternity —“Hallelujah, What a Savior!”
“Man of Sorrows!” what a name for the Son of God, who came ruined sinners to reclaim! Hallelujah, what a Savior!
Bearing shame and scoffing rude, in my place condemned He stood-—Sealed my pardon with His blood: Hallelujah, what a Savior!
Guilty, vile and helpless we, spotless Lamb of God was He; full atonement! can it be? Hallelujah, what a Savior!
Lifted up was He to die, “It is finished,” was His cry; now in heav’n exalted high: Hallelujah, what a Savior!
When He comes, our glorious King, all His ransomed home to bring, then anew this song we’ll sing: Hallelujah, what a Savior!
For Today: Isaiah 53:3-6; Philippians 2:7–11; Hebrews 12:2; 1 Peter 2:24
Carry your “Hallelujah, what a Savior!” with you into every situation. Reflect often on Christ’s atoning work on your behalf and the glorious promise of His return.
Amazing Grace: 366 Inspiring Hymn Stories for Daily Devotions
Sunday, September 17, 2017 | After Pentecost
Proper 19, Sunday
Psalms (Morning) Psalm 24, 29
Psalms (Evening) Psalm 8, 84
Old Testament 1 Kings 19:8–21
New Testament Acts 5:34–42
Gospel John 11:45–47
Index of Readings
Psalm 24, 29
Of David. A Psalm.
1 The earth is the LORD’s and all that is in it,
the world, and those who live in it;
2 for he has founded it on the seas,
and established it on the rivers.
3 Who shall ascend the hill of the LORD?
And who shall stand in his holy place?
4 Those who have clean hands and pure hearts,
who do not lift up their souls to what is false,
and do not swear deceitfully.
5 They will receive blessing from the LORD,
and vindication from the God of their salvation.
6 Such is the company of those who seek him,
who seek the face of the God of Jacob. Selah
7 Lift up your heads, O gates!
and be lifted up, O ancient doors!
that the King of glory may come in.
8 Who is the King of glory?
The LORD, strong and mighty,
the LORD, mighty in battle.
9 Lift up your heads, O gates!
and be lifted up, O ancient doors!
that the King of glory may come in.
10 Who is this King of glory?
The LORD of hosts,
he is the King of glory. Selah
A Psalm of David.
1 Ascribe to the LORD, O heavenly beings,
ascribe to the LORD glory and strength.
2 Ascribe to the LORD the glory of his name;
worship the LORD in holy splendor.
3 The voice of the LORD is over the waters;
the God of glory thunders,
the LORD, over mighty waters.
4 The voice of the LORD is powerful;
the voice of the LORD is full of majesty.
5 The voice of the LORD breaks the cedars;
the LORD breaks the cedars of Lebanon.
6 He makes Lebanon skip like a calf,
and Sirion like a young wild ox.
7 The voice of the LORD flashes forth flames of fire.
8 The voice of the LORD shakes the wilderness;
the LORD shakes the wilderness of Kadesh.
9 The voice of the LORD causes the oaks to whirl,
and strips the forest bare;
and in his temple all say, “Glory!”
10 The LORD sits enthroned over the flood;
the LORD sits enthroned as king forever.
11 May the LORD give strength to his people!
May the LORD bless his people with peace!
Psalm 8, 84
To the leader: according to The Gittith. A Psalm of David.
1 O LORD, our Sovereign,
how majestic is your name in all the earth!
You have set your glory above the heavens.
2 Out of the mouths of babes and infants
you have founded a bulwark because of your foes,
to silence the enemy and the avenger.
3 When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers,
the moon and the stars that you have established;
4 what are human beings that you are mindful of them,
mortals that you care for them?
5 Yet you have made them a little lower than God,
and crowned them with glory and honor.
6 You have given them dominion over the works of your hands;
you have put all things under their feet,
7 all sheep and oxen,
and also the beasts of the field,
8 the birds of the air, and the fish of the sea,
whatever passes along the paths of the seas.
9 O LORD, our Sovereign,
how majestic is your name in all the earth!
To the leader: according to The Gittith. Of the Korahites. A Psalm.
1 How lovely is your dwelling place,
O LORD of hosts!
2 My soul longs, indeed it faints
for the courts of the LORD;
my heart and my flesh sing for joy
to the living God.
3 Even the sparrow finds a home,
and the swallow a nest for herself,
where she may lay her young,
at your altars, O LORD of hosts,
my King and my God.
4 Happy are those who live in your house,
ever singing your praise. Selah
5 Happy are those whose strength is in you,
in whose heart are the highways to Zion.
6 As they go through the valley of Baca
they make it a place of springs;
the early rain also covers it with pools.
7 They go from strength to strength;
the God of gods will be seen in Zion.
8 O LORD God of hosts, hear my prayer;
give ear, O God of Jacob! Selah
9 Behold our shield, O God;
look on the face of your anointed.
10 For a day in your courts is better
than a thousand elsewhere.
I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God
than live in the tents of wickedness.
11 For the LORD God is a sun and shield;
he bestows favor and honor.
No good thing does the LORD withhold
from those who walk uprightly.
12 O LORD of hosts,
happy is everyone who trusts in you.
1 Kings 19:8–21
8 He got up, and ate and drank; then he went in the strength of that food forty days and forty nights to Horeb the mount of God. 9 At that place he came to a cave, and spent the night there.
Then the word of the LORD came to him, saying, “What are you doing here, Elijah?” 10 He answered, “I have been very zealous for the LORD, the God of hosts; for the Israelites have forsaken your covenant, thrown down your altars, and killed your prophets with the sword. I alone am left, and they are seeking my life, to take it away.”
11 He said, “Go out and stand on the mountain before the LORD, for the LORD is about to pass by.” Now there was a great wind, so strong that it was splitting mountains and breaking rocks in pieces before the LORD, but the LORD was not in the wind; and after the wind an earthquake, but the LORD was not in the earthquake; 12 and after the earthquake a fire, but the LORD was not in the fire; and after the fire a sound of sheer silence. 13 When Elijah heard it, he wrapped his face in his mantle and went out and stood at the entrance of the cave. Then there came a voice to him that said, “What are you doing here, Elijah?” 14 He answered, “I have been very zealous for the LORD, the God of hosts; for the Israelites have forsaken your covenant, thrown down your altars, and killed your prophets with the sword. I alone am left, and they are seeking my life, to take it away.” 15 Then the LORD said to him, “Go, return on your way to the wilderness of Damascus; when you arrive, you shall anoint Hazael as king over Aram. 16 Also you shall anoint Jehu son of Nimshi as king over Israel; and you shall anoint Elisha son of Shaphat of Abel-meholah as prophet in your place. 17 Whoever escapes from the sword of Hazael, Jehu shall kill; and whoever escapes from the sword of Jehu, Elisha shall kill. 18 Yet I will leave seven thousand in Israel, all the knees that have not bowed to Baal, and every mouth that has not kissed him.”
19 So he set out from there, and found Elisha son of Shaphat, who was plowing. There were twelve yoke of oxen ahead of him, and he was with the twelfth. Elijah passed by him and threw his mantle over him. 20 He left the oxen, ran after Elijah, and said, “Let me kiss my father and my mother, and then I will follow you.” Then Elijah said to him, “Go back again; for what have I done to you?” 21 He returned from following him, took the yoke of oxen, and slaughtered them; using the equipment from the oxen, he boiled their flesh, and gave it to the people, and they ate. Then he set out and followed Elijah, and became his servant.
34 But a Pharisee in the council named Gamaliel, a teacher of the law, respected by all the people, stood up and ordered the men to be put outside for a short time. 35 Then he said to them, “Fellow Israelites, consider carefully what you propose to do to these men. 36 For some time ago Theudas rose up, claiming to be somebody, and a number of men, about four hundred, joined him; but he was killed, and all who followed him were dispersed and disappeared. 37 After him Judas the Galilean rose up at the time of the census and got people to follow him; he also perished, and all who followed him were scattered. 38 So in the present case, I tell you, keep away from these men and let them alone; because if this plan or this undertaking is of human origin, it will fail; 39 but if it is of God, you will not be able to overthrow them—in that case you may even be found fighting against God!”
They were convinced by him, 40 and when they had called in the apostles, they had them flogged. Then they ordered them not to speak in the name of Jesus, and let them go. 41 As they left the council, they rejoiced that they were considered worthy to suffer dishonor for the sake of the name. 42 And every day in the temple and at home they did not cease to teach and proclaim Jesus as the Messiah.
45 Many of the Jews therefore, who had come with Mary and had seen what Jesus did, believed in him. 46 But some of them went to the Pharisees and told them what he had done. 47 So the chief priests and the Pharisees called a meeting of the council, and said, “What are we to do? This man is performing many signs.
The Book of Common Prayer: And Administration of the Sacraments and Other Rites and Ceremonies of the Church