Israel Will Reap the Whirlwind
Video Hosea 8:1 Set the trumpet to your lips!
One like a vulture is over the house of the LORD,
because they have transgressed my covenant
and rebelled against my law.
2 To me they cry,
“My God, we—Israel—know you.”
3 Israel has spurned the good;
the enemy shall pursue him.
4 They made kings, but not through me.
They set up princes, but I knew it not.
With their silver and gold they made idols
for their own destruction.
5 I have spurned your calf, O Samaria.
My anger burns against them.
How long will they be incapable of innocence?
6 For it is from Israel;
a craftsman made it;
it is not God.
The calf of Samaria
shall be broken to pieces.
7 For they sow the wind,
and they shall reap the whirlwind.
The standing grain has no heads;
it shall yield no flour;
if it were to yield,
strangers would devour it.
8 Israel is swallowed up;
already they are among the nations
as a useless vessel.
9 For they have gone up to Assyria,
a wild donkey wandering alone;
Ephraim has hired lovers.
10 Though they hire allies among the nations,
I will soon gather them up.
And the king and princes shall soon writhe
because of the tribute.
11 Because Ephraim has multiplied altars for sinning,
they have become to him altars for sinning.
12 Were I to write for him my laws by the ten thousands,
they would be regarded as a strange thing.
13 As for my sacrificial offerings,
they sacrifice meat and eat it,
but the LORD does not accept them.
Now he will remember their iniquity
and punish their sins;
they shall return to Egypt.
14 For Israel has forgotten his Maker
and built palaces,
and Judah has multiplied fortified cities;
so I will send a fire upon his cities,
and it shall devour her strongholds.
The LORD Will Punish Israel
Video Hosea 9:1 Rejoice not, O Israel!
Exult not like the peoples;
for you have played the whore, forsaking your God.
You have loved a prostitute’s wages
on all threshing floors.
2 Threshing floor and wine vat shall not feed them,
and the new wine shall fail them.
3 They shall not remain in the land of the LORD,
but Ephraim shall return to Egypt,
and they shall eat unclean food in Assyria.
4 They shall not pour drink offerings of wine to the LORD,
and their sacrifices shall not please him.
It shall be like mourners’ bread to them;
all who eat of it shall be defiled;
for their bread shall be for their hunger only;
it shall not come to the house of the LORD.
5 What will you do on the day of the appointed festival,
and on the day of the feast of the LORD?
6 For behold, they are going away from destruction;
but Egypt shall gather them;
Memphis shall bury them.
Nettles shall possess their precious things of silver;
thorns shall be in their tents.
7 The days of punishment have come;
the days of recompense have come;
Israel shall know it.
The prophet is a fool;
the man of the spirit is mad,
because of your great iniquity
and great hatred.
8 The prophet is the watchman of Ephraim with my God;
yet a fowler’s snare is on all his ways,
and hatred in the house of his God.
9 They have deeply corrupted themselves
as in the days of Gibeah:
he will remember their iniquity;
he will punish their sins.
10 Like grapes in the wilderness,
I found Israel.
Like the first fruit on the fig tree
in its first season,
I saw your fathers.
But they came to Baal-peor
and consecrated themselves to the thing of shame,
and became detestable like the thing they loved.
11 Ephraim’s glory shall fly away like a bird—
no birth, no pregnancy, no conception!
12 Even if they bring up children,
I will bereave them till none is left.
Woe to them
when I depart from them!
13 Ephraim, as I have seen, was like a young palm planted in a meadow;
but Ephraim must lead his children out to slaughter.
14 Give them, O LORD—
what will you give?
Give them a miscarrying womb
and dry breasts.
15 Every evil of theirs is in Gilgal;
there I began to hate them.
Because of the wickedness of their deeds
I will drive them out of my house.
I will love them no more;
all their princes are rebels.
16 Ephraim is stricken;
their root is dried up;
they shall bear no fruit.
Even though they give birth,
I will put their beloved children to death.
17 My God will reject them
because they have not listened to him;
they shall be wanderers among the nations.
Video Hosea 10:1 Israel is a luxuriant vine
that yields its fruit.
The more his fruit increased,
the more altars he built;
as his country improved,
he improved his pillars.
2 Their heart is false;
now they must bear their guilt.
The LORD will break down their altars
and destroy their pillars.
3 For now they will say:
“We have no king,
for we do not fear the LORD;
and a king—what could he do for us?”
4 They utter mere words;
with empty oaths they make covenants;
so judgment springs up like poisonous weeds
in the furrows of the field.
5 The inhabitants of Samaria tremble
for the calf of Beth-aven.
Its people mourn for it, and so do its idolatrous priests—
those who rejoiced over it and over its glory—
for it has departed from them.
6 The thing itself shall be carried to Assyria
as tribute to the great king.
Ephraim shall be put to shame,
and Israel shall be ashamed of his idol.
7 Samaria’s king shall perish
like a twig on the face of the waters.
8 The high places of Aven, the sin of Israel,
shall be destroyed.
Thorn and thistle shall grow up
on their altars,
and they shall say to the mountains, “Cover us,”
and to the hills, “Fall on us.”
9 From the days of Gibeah, you have sinned, O Israel;
there they have continued.
Shall not the war against the unjust overtake them in Gibeah?
10 When I please, I will discipline them,
and nations shall be gathered against them
when they are bound up for their double iniquity.
11 Ephraim was a trained calf
that loved to thresh,
and I spared her fair neck;
but I will put Ephraim to the yoke;
Judah must plow;
Jacob must harrow for himself.
12 Sow for yourselves righteousness;
reap steadfast love;
break up your fallow ground,
for it is the time to seek the LORD,
that he may come and rain righteousness upon you.
13 You have plowed iniquity;
you have reaped injustice;
you have eaten the fruit of lies.
Because you have trusted in your own way
and in the multitude of your warriors,
14 therefore the tumult of war shall arise among your people,
and all your fortresses shall be destroyed,
as Shalman destroyed Beth-arbel on the day of battle;
mothers were dashed in pieces with their children.
15 Thus it shall be done to you, O Bethel,
because of your great evil.
At dawn the king of Israel
shall be utterly cut off.
The LORD’s Love for Israel
Video Hosea 11:1 When Israel was a child, I loved him,
and out of Egypt I called my son.
2 The more they were called,
the more they went away;
they kept sacrificing to the Baals
and burning offerings to idols.
3 Yet it was I who taught Ephraim to walk;
I took them up by their arms,
but they did not know that I healed them.
4 I led them with cords of kindness,
with the bands of love,
and I became to them as one who eases the yoke on their jaws,
and I bent down to them and fed them.
5 They shall not return to the land of Egypt,
but Assyria shall be their king,
because they have refused to return to me.
6 The sword shall rage against their cities,
consume the bars of their gates,
and devour them because of their own counsels.
7 My people are bent on turning away from me,
and though they call out to the Most High,
he shall not raise them up at all.
8 How can I give you up, O Ephraim?
How can I hand you over, O Israel?
How can I make you like Admah?
How can I treat you like Zeboiim?
My heart recoils within me;
my compassion grows warm and tender.
9 I will not execute my burning anger;
I will not again destroy Ephraim;
for I am God and not a man,
the Holy One in your midst,
and I will not come in wrath.
10 They shall go after the LORD;
he will roar like a lion;
when he roars,
his children shall come trembling from the west;
11 they shall come trembling like birds from Egypt,
and like doves from the land of Assyria,
and I will return them to their homes, declares the LORD.
12 Ephraim has surrounded me with lies,
and the house of Israel with deceit,
but Judah still walks with God
and is faithful to the Holy One.
Video Hosea 12:1 Ephraim feeds on the wind
and pursues the east wind all day long;
they multiply falsehood and violence;
they make a covenant with Assyria,
and oil is carried to Egypt.
The LORD’s Indictment of Israel and Judah
2 The LORD has an indictment against Judah
and will punish Jacob according to his ways;
he will repay him according to his deeds.
3 In the womb he took his brother by the heel,
and in his manhood he strove with God.
4 He strove with the angel and prevailed;
he wept and sought his favor.
He met God at Bethel,
and there God spoke with us—
5 the LORD, the God of hosts,
the LORD is his memorial name:
6 “So you, by the help of your God, return,
hold fast to love and justice,
and wait continually for your God.”
7 A merchant, in whose hands are false balances,
he loves to oppress.
8 Ephraim has said, “Ah, but I am rich;
I have found wealth for myself;
in all my labors they cannot find in me iniquity or sin.”
9 I am the LORD your God
from the land of Egypt;
I will again make you dwell in tents,
as in the days of the appointed feast.
10 I spoke to the prophets;
it was I who multiplied visions,
and through the prophets gave parables.
11 If there is iniquity in Gilead,
they shall surely come to nothing:
in Gilgal they sacrifice bulls;
their altars also are like stone heaps
on the furrows of the field.
12 Jacob fled to the land of Aram;
there Israel served for a wife,
and for a wife he guarded sheep.
13 By a prophet the LORD brought Israel up from Egypt,
and by a prophet he was guarded.
14 Ephraim has given bitter provocation;
so his Lord will leave his bloodguilt on him
and will repay him for his disgraceful deeds.
The LORD’s Relentless Judgment on Israel
Video Hosea 13:1 When Ephraim spoke, there was trembling;
he was exalted in Israel,
but he incurred guilt through Baal and died.
2 And now they sin more and more,
and make for themselves metal images,
idols skillfully made of their silver,
all of them the work of craftsmen.
It is said of them,
“Those who offer human sacrifice kiss calves!”
3 Therefore they shall be like the morning mist
or like the dew that goes early away,
like the chaff that swirls from the threshing floor
or like smoke from a window.
4 But I am the LORD your God
from the land of Egypt;
you know no God but me,
and besides me there is no savior.
5 It was I who knew you in the wilderness,
in the land of drought;
6 but when they had grazed, they became full,
they were filled, and their heart was lifted up;
therefore they forgot me.
7 So I am to them like a lion;
like a leopard I will lurk beside the way.
8 I will fall upon them like a bear robbed of her cubs;
I will tear open their breast,
and there I will devour them like a lion,
as a wild beast would rip them open.
9 He destroys you, O Israel,
for you are against me, against your helper.
10 Where now is your king, to save you in all your cities?
Where are all your rulers—
those of whom you said,
“Give me a king and princes”?
11 I gave you a king in my anger,
and I took him away in my wrath.
12 The iniquity of Ephraim is bound up;
his sin is kept in store.
13 The pangs of childbirth come for him,
but he is an unwise son,
for at the right time he does not present himself
at the opening of the womb.
14 I shall ransom them from the power of Sheol;
I shall redeem them from Death.
O Death, where are your plagues?
O Sheol, where is your sting?
Compassion is hidden from my eyes.
15 Though he may flourish among his brothers,
the east wind, the wind of the LORD, shall come,
rising from the wilderness,
and his fountain shall dry up;
his spring shall be parched;
it shall strip his treasury
of every precious thing.
16 Samaria shall bear her guilt,
because she has rebelled against her God;
they shall fall by the sword;
their little ones shall be dashed in pieces,
and their pregnant women ripped open.
A Plea to Return to the LORD
Video Hosea 14:1 Return, O Israel, to the LORD your God,
for you have stumbled because of your iniquity.
2 Take with you words
and return to the LORD;
say to him,
“Take away all iniquity;
accept what is good,
and we will pay with bulls
the vows of our lips.
3 Assyria shall not save us;
we will not ride on horses;
and we will say no more, ‘Our God,’
to the work of our hands.
In you the orphan finds mercy.”
4 I will heal their apostasy;
I will love them freely,
for my anger has turned from them.
5 I will be like the dew to Israel;
he shall blossom like the lily;
he shall take root like the trees of Lebanon;
6 his shoots shall spread out;
his beauty shall be like the olive,
and his fragrance like Lebanon.
7 They shall return and dwell beneath my shadow;
they shall flourish like the grain;
they shall blossom like the vine;
their fame shall be like the wine of Lebanon.
8 O Ephraim, what have I to do with idols?
It is I who answer and look after you.
I am like an evergreen cypress;
from me comes your fruit.
9 Whoever is wise, let him understand these things;
whoever is discerning, let him know them;
for the ways of the LORD are right,
and the upright walk in them,
but transgressors stumble in them.
English Standard Version Bible with Apocrypha
What I'm Reading
Four Truths About the Universe You Can Share with Your Kids to Demonstrate the Existence of God
By J. Warner Wallace 9/25/2017
If you’ve raised your children to believe Christianity is true, you probably want them to continue to believe it’s true, especially through their critical university years. There are good reasons to be concerned for young Christians once they leave our care. Statistically, most will walk away from the Church (and their belief in God) during their college years. What can we, as parents, do to address this growing problem? How can we help them know that God exists?
As a cold-case detective, parent, and prior youth pastor, I have a suggestion: master the case for God’s existence and start sharing it with your kids at an early age. Sounds simple, right? Maybe, or maybe not. If your kids asked you to defend the existence of God right now, what would say? What evidences would you provide? Are you ready to make the case for what you believe, even as the world around us often makes the case against God’s existence? Don’t panic, you don’t have to be a theologian, philosopher or scientist to defend the truth. All you need to be is interested.
It’s not hard to be interested when the spiritual fate of our kids is hanging in the balance. Make a commitment to investigate the case for God’s existence so you can communicate it to your kids. The Apostle Paul was correct when he said that God’s “invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made” (Romans 1:20). We’ve written God’s Crime Scene for Kids to help you and your children investigate everything “that has been made.” Along the way, you’ll discover four truths that will help your kids demonstrate the existence of God:
Our Universe Requires a Divine “First Cause | Scientists have determined that our universe is not infinitely old. In fact, they now believe that everything in the universe, all space, time and matter, had a beginning in the distant past. Everything that begins to exist must have a cause. What could account for the beginning of the universe?
One thing is certain: whatever caused the cosmos must be something other than space, time or matter (since these didn’t exist prior to the beginning of the universe). That means we’re looking for something non-spatial, non-temporal, non-material, and incredibly powerful. Sounds a lot like God, doesn’t it?
J. Warner Wallace is a Cold-Case Detective, a Christian Case Maker, and the author of:
Performing Abortion is “God’s Work?” The Real Story of Christianity and Abortion
By Albert Mohler 5/15/2017
To the utter consternation of the abortion rights movement, the issue simply will not go away. Decades after they thought they had put the matter to rest with the Roe v. Wade decision, America’s conscience is more troubled than ever, and near panic appears regularly to break out among abortion activists. Such a panic is now underway, and the defenders of abortion are trotting out some of their most dishonest arguments. One of the worst is the claim that Christians have only quite recently become concerned about the sanctity of human life and the evil of abortion.
In fact, one of America’s most infamous abortion doctors, Dr. Willie Parker of Mississippi, has made such a claim in his new book, Life’s Work: A Moral Argument for Choice. Parker, who refers to himself as a Christian, writes: “If you take anti-abortion rhetoric at face value, without knowing much about the Bible, you might assume that the antis have Scripture on their side. That’s how dominant and pervasive their righteous rhetoric has become. But they do not. The Bible does not contain the word ‘abortion’ anywhere in it.”
This is the same argument we so often confront on sexuality issues. We are told that Jesus never said anything against same-sex marriage. The disingenuous nature of this argument is fully apparent when we look to a text like Matthew 19:3-6. Jesus makes abundantly clear that God’s intention “from the beginning” is that humanity, made male and female, should united in marriage and “the two shall become one flesh.” As Jesus continued, “What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.” That should settle the matter.
Similarly, Dr. Parker claims that the Bible does not even mention abortion as a word, which is quite true but irrelevant. The Bible consistently reveals life as God’s gift and mandates the protection of human life, made in God’s image, at every stage of life and development.
As you might expect, Dr. Parker would not change his argument even if the Bible did condemn abortion by name. Why do I say this? Dr. Parker’s words speak better for themselves: “As an inspired document, the Bible is full of guidance for me about justice and love. But as a historical document, the Bible is a ruthless, unsparing record of the historic misogyny of the early Jewish and Christian people.” Later in his book he attributes the pro-life position to preoccupation with regulating sexual behavior and “a rigid reading of Scripture that invites no questioning or interpretive consideration.” It is only by undermining the Bible’s authority that he can make his pro-abortion argument.
- 1 God and the Transgender Debate
- 2 The Conviction to Lead: 25 Principles for Leadership That Matters
- 3 Live Smart: Preparing for the Future God Wants for You
- 4 God's Word Alone---The Authority of Scripture: ...and Why It Still Matters
- 5 Culture Shift: The Battle for the Moral Heart of America
- 6 Echoes of the Reformation
- 7 The Call to Ministry
- 8 A Guide to Church Revitalization
- 9 Four Views on the Spectrum of Evangelicalism
- 10 Living The Cross Centered Life Keeping The Gospel The Main Thing
- 11 Feed My Sheep: A Passionate Plea for Preaching
- 12 Essential Reading on Preaching (Volume 1)
- 13 Five Views on Biblical Inerrancy
- 14 The Conviction to Lead: 25 Principles for Leadership That Matters
- 15 Unashamed of the Gospel
- 16 Desire and Deceit: The Real Cost of the New Sexual Tolerance
- 17 Culture Shift: The Battle for the Moral Heart of America
- 18 Gods of This Age Or... God of the Ages?
- 19 Acts 1-12: The Church is Born
- 20 More Faithful Service
- 21 The Disappearance of God: Dangerous Beliefs in the New Spiritual Openness
- 22 Preaching: The Centrality of Scripture
- 23 Theological Education in the Evangelical Tradition
- 24 More Faithful Service
Devotionals, notes, poetry and more
A prayer for peace
(Sept 27) Bob Gass
‘Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace.’
(Is 26:3) You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you. ESV
Here is a prayer for peace: ‘Lord, Your Word says, “Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on thee, because he trusteth in thee.” Your Word says, “The LORD gives strength to his people; the LORD blesses his people with peace” (Psalm 29:11 NIV 2011 Edition). Your Word says, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you… Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid” (John 14:27 NIV 2011 Edition). Your Word says, “The peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:7 NIV 2011 Edition). Today I need this peace which transcends understanding to settle my nerves and calm my mind. Instead of thinking about my fears and worries, help me to focus on Your goodness, Your faithfulness, Your healing power, Your overflowing resources, and Your forgiving heart. Take up residence within me and fill me with Your peace. Show me what’s robbing me of it. I really want to know, Father, so I can be specific in what I need to confess, what I need to commit to, and what I need to change. I open myself to You now. Teach me the secret of lasting peace. I thank You now for whatever it will take to help me receive the peace You have so generously offered to me. Your Word says, “Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts” (Colossians 3:15 NIV 2011 Edition). Today I want to be ruled by Your peace instead of my fears and worries. So, I give all my concerns to You, trusting You to work them out for my good and Your glory. In Jesus’ Name I pray: Amen.’
UCB The Word For Today
by Bill Federer
Crying “no taxation without representation,” he instigated the Stamp Act riots and the Boston Tea Party. After the “Boston Massacre,” he spread Revolutionary sentiment throughout the Colonies with his Committees of Correspondence. He called for a Continental Congress and signed the Declaration. Known as “The Father of the American Revolution,” Samuel Adams was born this day, September 27, 1722. Samuel Adams wrote: “He is the truest friend to… liberty… who… will not suffer a man to be chosen into any office of power… who is not a… virtuous man… If we would… enjoy this gift of Heaven, let us become a virtuous people.”
by P.T. Forsyth, (1848-1921)
CHAPTER II / The Naturalness of Prayer
We touch the last reality directly in prayer. And we do this not by thought’s natural research, yet by a quest not less laborious. Prayer is the atmosphere of revelation, in the strict and central sense of that word. It is the climate in which God’s manifestation bursts open into inspiration. All the mediation of Nature and of things sinks here to the rear, and we are left with God in Christ as His own Mediator and His own Revealer. He is directly with us and in us. We transcend there two thousand years as if they were but one day. By His Spirit and His Spirit’s creative miracle God becomes Himself our new nature, which is yet our own, our destined Nature; for we were made with His image for our “doom of greatness.” It is no mere case of education or evolution drawing out our best. Prayer has a creative action in its answer. It does more than present us with our true, deep, latent selves. It lays hold on God, and God is not simply our magnified self. Our other self is, in prayer, our Creator still creating. Our Maker it is that is our Husband. He is Another. We feel, the more we are united with Him in true prayer, the deep, close difference, the intimate otherness in true love. Otherwise prayer becomes mere dreaming; it is spiritual extemporizing and not converse. The division runs not simply between us and Nature, but it parts us within our spiritual self, where union is most close. It is a spiritual distinction, like the distinction of Father and Son in heaven. But Nature itself, our natural selves, are involved in it; because Nature for the Christian is implicated in Redemption. It “arrives.” It is read in a new script. The soul’s conflict is found in a prelude in it. This may disturb our pagan joy. It may quench the consolations of Nature. The ancient world could take refuge in Nature as we cannot. It could escape there from conscience in a way impossible to us, because for us body runs up into soul, and Nature has become organic with spirit, an arena and even (in human nature) an experience of God’s will. It groans to come to itself in the sons of God. Redemption is cosmic. We do not evade God’s judgment there; and we put questions about His equity there which did not trouble the Greek. It we take the wings of the Morning and dwell in the uttermost parts of the earth, God still besets us behind and before. We still feel the collision of past and future, of conduct and conscience. If we try to escape from His presence there, we fail; the winds are His messengers, the fires His ministers, wars and convulsions instruments of His purpose. He is always confronting us, judging us, saving us in a spiritual world, which Nature does not stifle, but only makes it more universal and impressive than our personal strife. In Nature our vis-a-vis is still the same power we meet as God in our soul.
The voice that rolls the stars along
Speaks all His promises.
Our own natural instincts turn our scourges, but also our blessings, according as they mock God or serve Him. So Nature becomes our chaperone for Christ, our tutor whose duty is daily to deliver us at Christ’s door. It opens out into a Christ whose place and action are not historic only, but also cosmic. The cosmic place of Christ in the later epistles is not apostolic fantasy, extravagant speculation, nor groundless theosophy. It is the ripeness of practical faith, faith which by action comes to itself and to its own.
Especially is this pointed where faith has its most pointed action as prayer. If cosmic Nature runs up into man, man rises up into prayer; which thus fulfils Nature, brings its inner truth to pass, and crowns its bias to spirit. Prayer is seen to be the opening secret of creation, its destiny, that to which it all travails. It is the burthen of evolution. The earnest expectation of the creation waits, and all its onward thrust works, for the manifestation of the sons of God. Nature comes to itself in prayer. Prayer realizes and brings to a head the truth of Nature, which groans being burdened with the passion of its deliverance, its relief in prayer. “Magna ars est conversari cum Deo.” “The art of prayer is Nature gone to heaven.” We become in prayer Nature’s true artists (if we may so say), the vehicles of its finest and inmost passion. And we are also its true priests, the organs of its inner commerce with God, where the Spirit immanent in the world meets the Spirit transcendent in obedient worship. The sum of things for ever speaking is heard in heaven to pray without ceasing. It is speaking not only to us but in us to God. Soliloquy here is dialogue. In our prayer God returns from His projection in Nature to speak with Himself. When we speak to God it is really the God who lives in us speaking through us to Himself. His Spirit returns to Him who gave it; and returns not void, but bearing our souls with Him. The dialogue of grace is really the monologue of the divine nature in self-communing love. In prayer, therefore, we do true and final justice to the world. We give Nature to itself. We make it say what it was charged to say. We make it find in thought and word its own soul. It comes to itself not in man but in the praying man, the man of Christian prayer. The Christian man at prayer is the secretary of Creation’s praise. So prayer is the answer to Nature’s quest, as God is the answer to prayer. It is the very nature of nature; which is thus miraculous or nothing at its core.
Here the friction vanishes, therefore, between prayer and natural law. Nature and all its plexus of law is not static, but dynamic. It is not interplay, but evolution. It has not only to move, but to arrive. Its great motive power is not a mere instinct, but a destiny. Its system is not a machine, but a procession. It is dramatic. It has a close. Its ruling power is not what it rises from, but what it moves to. Its impulse is its goal immanent. All its laws are overruled by the comprehensive law of its destination. It tends to prayer. The laws of Nature are not like iron. If they are fixed they are only fixed as the composition is fixed at H20 of the river which is so fluid and moving that I can use it at any time to bear me to its sea. They are fixed only in so far as makes reliable, and not fatal, to man’s spirit. Their nature is constant, but their function is not stiff. What is fixed in the river is the constancy of its fluidity. “Still glides the stream, and shall for ever glide.” The greatest law of Nature is thus its bias to God, its nisus to return to His rest. This comes to light chiefly in man’s gravitation to Him, when His prodigal comes home to Him. The forwardest creation comes to itself in our passion for God and in our finding of Him in prayer. In prayer, therefore, we do not ask God to do things contrary to Nature, though our request may seem contrary to sections of it which we take for the whole. We ask Him to fulfil Nature’s own prayer.
The atmosphere of prayer seems at first to be the direct contrary of all that goes with such words as practical or scientific. But what do we mean by practical at last but that which contributes to the end for which the world and mankind were made? The whole of history, as the practical life of the race, is working out the growth, the emancipation of the soul, the enrichment and fortifying of the human spirit. It is doing on the large scale what every active life is doing on the small—it is growing soul. There is no reality at last except soul, except personality. This alone has eternal meaning, power, and value, since this alone develops or hampers the eternal reality, the will of God. The universe has its being and its truth for a personality, but for one at last which transcends individual limits. To begin with the natural plane, our egoism constructs there a little world with a definite teleology converging on self, one which would subdue everybody and everything to the tributary to our common sensible self. On a more spiritual (yet not on the divine) plane the race does the like with its colossal ego. It views and treats the universe as contributory to itself, to the corporate personality of the race. Nature is here for man, man perhaps for the superman. We are not here for the glory of God, but God is here for the aid and glory of man. But either way all things are there to work together for personality, and to run up into a free soul. Man’s practical success is then what makes for the enhancement of this ego, small or great. But, on the Christian plane, man himself, as part of a creation, has a meaning and an end; but it is in God; he does not return on himself. God is his nisus and drift. God works in him; he is not just trying to get his own head out. But God is Love. All the higher science of Nature which is the milieu and the machinery that give the soul its bent to love, and turn it out its true self in love. All the practice and science of the world is there, therefore, to reveal and realize love and love’s communion. It is all a stage, a scenery, a plot, for a denounement where beings mingle, and each is enriched by all and all by each. It all goes to the music of that love which binds all things together in the cosmic dance, and which makes each stage of each thing prophetic of its destined fullness only in a world so bound. So science itself is practical if prayer end and round all. It is the theory of a cosmic movement with prayer for its active end. And it is an ethical science at last, it is a theology, if the Christian end is the real end of the whole world. All knowledge serves love and love’s communion. For Christian faith a universe is a universe of souls, an organism of persons, which is the expression of an Eternal Will of love. This love is the real presence which gives meaning, and movement, and permanence to a fleeting world of sense. And it is by prayer that we come into close and conscious union with this universe and power of love, this living reality of things. Prayer (however miraculous) is, therefore, the most natural things in the world. It is the effectuation of all Nature, which comes home to roost there, and settles to its rest. It is the last word of all science, giving it contact with a reality which, as science alone, it cannot reach. And it is also the most practical things in all man’s action and history, as doing most to bring to pass the spiritual object for which all men and all things exist and strive.
--- Forsyth, P. T. (1848-1921).
The Soul of Prayer
Compiled by Richard S. Adams
It is folly to sacrifice truth
for the sake of outward union.
--- John A. Broadus
Racism is man's gravest threat to man -
the maximum hatred for a minimum reason.
--- Abraham Joshua Heschel
What do they know-all these scholars, all these philosophers, all the leaders of the world - about such as you? They have convinced themselves that man, the worst transgressor of all the species, is the crown of creation. All other creatures were created merely to provide him with food, pelts, to be tormented, exterminated. In relation to them, all people are Nazis; for the animals it is an eternal Treblinka.
--- Isaac Bashevis Singer
... from here, there and everywhere
Thanks to Meir Yona
5. When any persons entered into the temple, its floor received them. This part of the temple therefore was in height sixty cubits, and its length the same; whereas its breadth was but twenty cubits: but still that sixty cubits in length was divided again, and the first part of it was cut off at forty cubits, and had in it three things that were very wonderful and famous among all mankind, the candlestick, the table [of shew-bread], and the altar of incense. Now the seven lamps signified the seven planets; for so many there were springing out of the candlestick. Now the twelve loaves that were upon the table signified the circle of the zodiac and the year; but the altar of incense, by its thirteen kinds of sweet-smelling spices with which the sea replenished it, signified that God is the possessor of all things that are both in the uninhabitable and habitable parts of the earth, and that they are all to be dedicated to his use. But the inmost part of the temple of all was of twenty cubits. This was also separated from the outer part by a veil. In this there was nothing at all. It was inaccessible and inviolable, and not to be seen by any; and was called the Holy of Holies. Now, about the sides of the lower part of the temple, there were little houses, with passages out of one into another; there were a great many of them, and they were of three stories high; there were also entrances on each side into them from the gate of the temple. But the superior part of the temple had no such little houses any further, because the temple was there narrower, and forty cubits higher, and of a smaller body than the lower parts of it. Thus we collect that the whole height, including the sixty cubits from the floor, amounted to a hundred cubits.
6. Now the outward face of the temple in its front wanted nothing that was likely to surprise either men's minds or their eyes; for it was covered all over with plates of gold of great weight, and, at the first rising of the sun, reflected back a very fiery splendor, and made those who forced themselves to look upon it to turn their eyes away, just as they would have done at the sun's own rays. But this temple appeared to strangers, when they were coming to it at a distance, like a mountain covered with snow; for as to those parts of it that were not gilt, they were exceeding white. On its top it had spikes with sharp points, to prevent any pollution of it by birds sitting upon it. Of its stones, some of them were forty-five cubits in length, five in height, and six in breadth. Before this temple stood the altar, fifteen cubits high, and equal both in length and breadth; each of which dimensions was fifty cubits. The figure it was built in was a square, and it had corners like horns; and the passage up to it was by an insensible acclivity. It was formed without any iron tool, nor did any such iron tool so much as touch it at any time. There was also a wall of partition, about a cubit in height, made of fine stones, and so as to be grateful to the sight; this encompassed the holy house and the altar, and kept the people that were on the outside off from the priests. Moreover, those that had the gonorrhea and the leprosy were excluded out of the city entirely; women also, when their courses were upon them, were shut out of the temple; nor when they were free from that impurity, were they allowed to go beyond the limit before-mentioned; men also, that were not thoroughly pure, were prohibited to come into the inner [court of the] temple; nay, the priests themselves that were not pure were prohibited to come into it also.
7. Now all those of the stock of the priests that could not minister by reason of some defect in their bodies, came within the partition, together with those that had no such imperfection, and had their share with them by reason of their stock, but still made use of none except their own private garments; for nobody but he that officiated had on his sacred garments; but then those priests that were without any blemish upon them went up to the altar clothed in fine linen. They abstained chiefly from wine, out of this fear, lest otherwise they should transgress some rules of their ministration. The high priest did also go up with them; not always indeed, but on the seventh days and new moons, and if any festivals belonging to our nation, which we celebrate every year, happened. When he officiated, he had on a pair of breeches that reached beneath his privy parts to his thighs, and had on an inner garment of linen, together with a blue garment, round, without seam, with fringe work, and reaching to the feet. There were also golden bells that hung upon the fringes, and pomegranates intermixed among them. The bells signified thunder, and the pomegranates lightning. But that girdle that tied the garment to the breast was embroidered with five rows of various colors, of gold, and purple, and scarlet, as also of fine linen and blue, with which colors we told you before the veils of the temple were embroidered also. The like embroidery was upon the ephod; but the quantity of gold therein was greater. Its figure was that of a stomacher for the breast. There were upon it two golden buttons like small shields, which buttoned the ephod to the garment; in these buttons were enclosed two very large and very excellent sardonyxes, having the names of the tribes of that nation engraved upon them: on the other part there hung twelve stones, three in a row one way, and four in the other; a sardius, a topaz, and an emerald; a carbuncle, a jasper, and a sapphire; an agate, an amethyst, and a ligure; an onyx, a beryl, and a chrysolite; upon every one of which was again engraved one of the forementioned names of the tribes. A mitre also of fine linen encompassed his head, which was tied by a blue ribbon, about which there was another golden crown, in which was engraven the sacred name [of God]: it consists of four vowels. However, the high priest did not wear these garments at other times, but a more plain habit; he only did it when he went into the most sacred part of the temple, which he did but once in a year, on that day when our custom is for all of us to keep a fast to God. And thus much concerning the city and the temple; but for the customs and laws hereto relating, we shall speak more accurately another time; for there remain a great many things thereto relating which have not been here touched upon.
8. Now as to the tower of Antonia, it was situated at the corner of two cloisters of the court of the temple; of that on the west, and that on the north; it was erected upon a rock of fifty cubits in height, and was on a great precipice; it was the work of king Herod, wherein he demonstrated his natural magnanimity. In the first place, the rock itself was covered over with smooth pieces of stone, from its foundation, both for ornament, and that any one who would either try to get up or to go down it might not be able to hold his feet upon it. Next to this, and before you come to the edifice of the tower itself, there was a wall three cubits high; but within that wall all the space of the tower of Antonia itself was built upon, to the height of forty cubits. The inward parts had the largeness and form of a palace, it being parted into all kinds of rooms and other conveniences, such as courts, and places for bathing, and broad spaces for camps; insomuch that, by having all conveniences that cities wanted, it might seem to be composed of several cities, but by its magnificence it seemed a palace. And as the entire structure resembled that of a tower, it contained also four other distinct towers at its four corners; whereof the others were but fifty cubits high; whereas that which lay upon the southeast corner was seventy cubits high, that from thence the whole temple might be viewed; but on the corner where it joined to the two cloisters of the temple, it had passages down to them both, through which the guard [for there always lay in this tower a Roman legion] went several ways among the cloisters, with their arms, on the Jewish festivals, in order to watch the people, that they might not there attempt to make any innovations; for the temple was a fortress that guarded the city, as was the tower of Antonia a guard to the temple; and in that tower were the guards of those three 14. There was also a peculiar fortress belonging to the upper city, which was Herod's palace; but for the hill Bezetha, it was divided from the tower Antonia, as we have already told you; and as that hill on which the tower of Antonia stood was the highest of these three, so did it adjoin to the new city, and was the only place that hindered the sight of the temple on the north. And this shall suffice at present to have spoken about the city and the walls about it, because I have proposed to myself to make a more accurate description of it elsewhere.
The War of the Jews: The History of the Destruction of Jerusalem (complete edition, 7 books)
by D.H. Stern
is good news from a distant land.
Complete Jewish Bible : An English Version of the Tanakh (Old Testament) and B'Rit Hadashah (New Testament)
A Daily Devotional by Oswald Chambers
The “go” of renunciation
Lord, I will follow Thee whithersoever Thou goest.
--- Luke 9:57.
Our Lord’s attitude to this man is one of severe discouragement because He knew what was in man. We would have said—‘Fancy losing the opportunity of winning that man!’ ‘Fancy bringing about a north wind that froze him and turned him away discouraged!’ Never apologize for your Lord. The words of the Lord hurt and offend until there is nothing left to hurt or offend. Jesus Christ has no tenderness whatever toward anything that is ultimately going to ruin a man in the service of God. Our Lord’s answers are based not on caprice, but on a knowledge of what is in man. If the Spirit of God brings to your mind a word of the Lord that hurts you, you may be sure that there is something He wants to hurt to death.
v. 58. These words knock the heart out of serving Jesus Christ because it is pleasing to me. The rigour of rejection leaves nothing but my Lord, and myself, and a forlorn hope. ‘Let the hundredfold come or go, your lodestar must be your relationship to Me, and I have nowhere to lay My head.’
v. 59. This man did not want to disappoint Jesus, nor to hurt his father. We put sensitive loyalty to relatives in place of loyalty to Jesus Christ and Jesus has to take the last place. In a conflict of loyalty, obey Jesus Christ at all costs.
v. 61. The one who says—‘Yes, Lord, but …’ is the one who is fiercely ready, but never goes. This man had one or two reservations. The exacting call of Jesus Christ has no margin of good-byes, because good-bye, as it is often used, is pagan, not Christian. When once the call of God comes, begin to go and never stop going.
My Utmost for His Highest: Quality Paperback Edition
the Poetry of RS Thomas
It was warm
Inside, but there was
Pain there. I came out
Into the cold wind
Of April. There were birds
In the brambles' old,
Jagged iron, with one striking
Its small song. To the west,
Rising from the grey
Water, leaning one
On another were the town's
Houses. Who first began
That refuse: time's waste
Growing at the edge
Of the clean sea? Some sailor,
Fetching up on the
Shingle before wind
Or current, made it his
Harbour, hung up his clothes
In the sunlight; found women
To breed from--those sick men
His descendants. Every day
Regularly the tide
Visits them with its salt
Comfort; their wounds are shrill
In the rigging of the
With clenched thoughts,
That not even the sky's
Daffodil could persuade
To open, I turned back
To the nurses in their tugging
At him, as he drifted
Away on the current
Of his breath, further and further,
Out of hail of our love.
Selected poems, 1946-1968
The Teacher's Commentary
The first ruler of the Northern Kingdom, Jeroboam I, had set up a false worship system that counterfeited the sacrifices, the priesthood, the worship center, and the annual worship festivals established in God’s Law.
I understand what Paul said about new moons and festivals, but do you ever think how Christianity has set up counter practices to those established by God in the Old Testament?
A little homework will reveal that Catholicism claims replacing Friday at sundown till Saturday at sundown with Sunday worship is the seal of its power. Consider that.
Christmas and other holidays have replaced the original Jewish feasts and festivals. Ultimately God says to walk uprightly and do justice. We are to love the Lord with all our heart and our neighbor as our self.
The Old Testament practices did not have the power to save, but we do well to remember that neither do Christian practices have the power to save.
All that we do for show, for others as well as our selves (Bible on the coffee table or dash board of the car, church attendance, tithing, etc.), have no substance whatsoever in God's economy. God judges the heart, the motivation, the intention behind what we do.
Each ruler of Israel continued this evil, and some actively promoted idolatry. The kings also promoted a materialistic life. Thus Hosea was right when he charged Israel’s rulers, saying, “All their leaders are rebellious” (9:15.)
In the days of Hosea Israel was a prosperous nation. Her aggressive ruler, Jeroboam II, multiplied his country’s territory and defeated her enemies. Control of trade routes brought unexpected wealth. Yet the political life of Israel was marked by murders, intrigues, and many other evils. The wealthy oppressed the poor, and those in authority accepted their bribes. In every significant way, Israel was a land whose people had proven completely unfaithful to the Lord.
Now the prophet moved from his own experience with Gomer to show the parallels that existed in the Lord’s relationship with Israel.
Sins denounced (Hosea 4–8). Among the violations of God’s laws that called out for judgment were cursing, lying, murder, stealing, and adultery (4:1–2). The people even practiced ritual prostitution in conjunction with their adultery (vv. 4–14). The arrogance of this people was so great that they could never find God (5:1–7). Surely a terrible time of wrath would come (vv. 8–12).
Hosea contrasted Israel’s words and her verbal repentance with her actions. It was what she did rather than what she said that demonstrated the nature of her heart attitude. And what marked Israel’s lifestyle? Deceit and thievery (7:1–2), and royal drunkenness and intrigue
(vv. 3–8). To such a people “repent” was an empty word, and whatever this people said they simply had not returned to God (vv. 9–16).
As a result, judgment would come like a tornado and tear up God’s people (8:1–14).
The Teacher's Commentary
Is this story of Moses and Joshua simply an adult fairy tale, in which an imaginative storyteller tries to fill in the blanks of a rather sparse biblical account? Or is there something here much deeper and more profound that goes beyond the death of Moses?
In 1969, Dr. Elisabeth Kübler-Ross, medical director of the Family Service and Mental Health Center of South Cook County, Illinois, published her classic work On Death and Dying (Scribner Classics) . The book had a tremendous impact on doctors and nurses, therapists and clergy, as well as on patients and their families. It helped people to understand that terminal illness is a process and that patients go through different stages from the time of diagnosis until death. Recognizing the various stages can assist all involved to better help the dying person. Not every patient goes through each one of these steps, and not necessarily in the specific order. But these stages form the paradigm that shows us the way.
The first stage is denial, the refusal to believe the diagnosis. Then comes anger, usually toward God or the doctors, or both. This is followed by bargaining, where the patient tries to make a deal with God for a second chance. The fourth stage is depression, when a sense of great sadness and loss takes over. The final stage is acceptance.
When we read our Midrash in light of Dr. Kübler-Ross’s paradigm, we are amazed to find that Moses himself goes through each of these five stages. Just prior to our text, the Midrash tells us the following: “When Moses knew that he was to die that day, what did he do?… He wrote thirteen Torah scrolls, twelve for the twelve tribes, and one for the Ark.… Moses said, ‘Since I am busy with Torah, which is life, the sun will set and the decree will be canceled.’ ” A classic example of denial, as Moses thinks, “If I am involved in a sacred task, then nothing will harm me.”
In our Midrash, we see an angry Moses who yells (at God?) that jealousy is even more disturbing than death. The bargaining process takes place at the beginning of our text above: “I’ll relinquish my position of leadership if You only will let me live.”
Depression seems implicit in Moses’ having to walk on the left of Joshua, the traditional inferior position of a student, and when he is shut out from the presence of God. The final stage, acceptance, is clearly stated: “When he accepted that he would die.…”
Most interesting is the fact that Dr. Kübler-Ross posits that throughout the process of dying, hope is often to be found. Hope—a belief in a better future, or of healing, or of peace. This is precisely how our Midrash ends—with Moses being reassured about his place in the people’s future.
No, our Midrash is not a fairy tale for adults. Almost two thousand years ago, the Rabbis presaged some of the most brilliant and significant psychological insights of the twentieth century, helping people even then to make sense not only of life, but also of death.
Our existence is finite.… So whether or not we live with images of continuity—of immortality—we also have to live with a sense of transience, aware that no matter how passionately we love whatever we love, we don’t have the power to make either it, or us, stay.
So writes Judith Viorst in her work Necessary Losses: The Loves, Illusions, Dependencies, and Impossible Expectations That All of Us Have to Give Up in Order to Grow . At one time or another, in fact, at many moments of life, each of us is destined to experience loss. It may be loss of life or of love, of possessions or of innocence. None of us is exempt.
Early in his life, Moses faced loss when he left Pharaoh’s court, where he was nurtured, in order to reestablish bonds with his ancestral people. Yet, it was only in facing his own death that Moses truly understood the nature of loss. In seeing what Joshua had gained and how Joshua lived, Moses understood that there are more difficult, and more powerful, feelings than loss. Jealousy, anger, detachment, these hurt much more than the prospect of death. Why else would Moses pray for a hundred deaths?
By then, Moses knew that mourning is not only about death. We also mourn for ended relationships, for opportunities lost, for ideas that died on the drawing board. We, like Moses, can pray to God for “not one bit of envy”:
• “Let my youth die and, with it, my childish notions of the
world. And let me not be jealous of those who still have
the zeal of youth and the naïveté of their younger years.”
• “Let me accept the fact that certain friendships will pass
with the passage of time. Let me relish those times we
shared together and not resent the years we had simply
because they are over.”
• “Let me mourn the end of my child’s needy years, and let
me accept the fact that my children no longer need me
the way they once did. And let me rejoice in their
independence, as well as in my own, for that is how it’s
meant to be.”
• “Let me lament—but not for too long!—for the concept
that was brilliant, that would have gotten me the Nobel
Prize and wealth beyond description, the concept that I
had but I never followed up on, the idea that was mine but
which someone else brought to fruition. And let this not
stifle me from thinking and imagining in the future.”
• “Let me experience a hundred deaths of opportunity, of
ideas, of relationships without feeling envy, anger, or
Searching for Meaning in Midrash: Lessons for Everyday Living
So Abraham called that place The LORD Will Provide.
--- Genesis 22:14.
As Abraham and Isaac traveled up the hill, the son bearing the wood and the father the knife, the boy said, “Where is the lamb?” (Gen. 22:7), and Abraham, steadying his voice, said, “God himself will provide the lamb” (Expositions of Holy Scripture Volume 1) When the wonderful outcome of the trial was plain before him and he looked back on it, the one thought that rose to his mind was of how, beyond his meaning, his words had been true. So he named that place by a name that spoke nothing of his trial but everything of God’s provision.
It is true that we may cast all our anxiety about all outward things on him in the assurance that he who feeds the ravens will feed us and that if lilies can blossom into beauty without care, we will be held by our Father of more value than these. But there is a deeper meaning to the provision spoken of here. What was it that God provided for Abraham? What is it that God provides for us? A way to discharge duties that seem impossible for us and which, the nearer we come to them, look the more dreadful and seem the more impossible.
And yet, when the heart has yielded itself in obedience and we are ready to do the thing that is enjoined, there opens up before us a possibility provided by God, and strength comes equal to our day. Some unexpected gift is put into our hands that enables us to do the thing of which nature said, “My heart will break before I can do it,” and in regard to which even Grace doubted whether it was possible for us to carry it through. If our hearts are set in obedience, the farther we go on the path of obedience, the easier the command will appear, and to try to do it is to ensure that God will help us to do it.
This is the main provision that God makes, and it is the highest provision that he can make, for there is nothing in this life that we need so much as to do the will our Father in heaven. All outward needs are poor compared with that. The one thing worth living for, the one thing that in being secured we are blessed, and being missed we are miserable, is compliance in heart with the commandment of our Father and the compliance wrought out in life. So, of all gifts that he bestows on us and of all the abundant provision out of his rich storehouses, is not this the best, that we are made ready for any required service?
--- Alexander Maclaren
Take Heart: Daily Devotions with the Church's Great Preachers
Staring in the Mirror
When King Louis XIV waltzed into his ornate chapel to worship and be worshiped, he often heard Jacques Benigne Bossuet, one of the most eloquent French Catholics. Bossuet, born in Dijon on September 27, 1627, had discovered the Bible, opened it to Isaiah and was gripped. Running to his father, he read him chapter after chapter. In time, Bossuet learned the Bible almost by heart.
Bossuet also gained a reputation as an orator, keeping fellow students in rapt attention during addresses. Eventually he was appointed court preacher at Versailles. His RS Thomas were “unexcelled upon earth.” It was said, “Bossuet is the most powerful, the most truly eloquent speaker that our language has ever known.”
He was also blunt. In some RS Thomas, he addressed the king by name; and on one occasion he earnestly implored Louis to abandon his adulteries and return to his wife. Unfortunately, Bossuet’s eloquence did little good. The nobility sat listening to him, dressed in powdered wigs, high-heeled shoes, and gaudy costumes. They wept during Bossuet’s messages, but left unchanged. Here, for example, is an excerpt from one of his RS Thomas that should have made an impact. As it was, the nobility listened and cried and nodded and went their way as before:
The honour of the world makes us attribute to ourselves all that we do, and ends by setting us upon pedestals like little gods. Well, proud and self-complacent soul, thus deified by the honour of the world, see how the eternal, the living God abases Himself in order to confound you! Man makes himself God through pride, God makes Himself man through humility! Man falsely attributes to himself what belongs to God; and God, in order to teach him to humble himself, takes what belongs to man. This is the remedy for insolence! This alone can confound the honour of the world—that Hill of Calvary, that Cross of Shame, Jesus Christ the Incarnate God, our Pattern, our Master, our King.
Obey God’s message! Don’t fool yourselves by just listening to it. If you hear the message and don’t obey it, you are like people who stare at themselves in a mirror and forget what they look like as soon as they leave.
--- James 1:22-24.
On This Day 365 Amazing And Inspiring Stories About Saints, Martyrs And Heroes
Daily Readings / CHARLES H. SPURGEON
Morning - September 27
“Happy art thou, O Israel; who is like unto thee, O people saved by the Lord!” --- Deuteronomy 33:29.
He who affirms that Christianity makes men miserable, is himself an utter stranger to it. It were strange indeed, if it made us wretched, for see to what a position it exalts us! It makes us sons of God. Suppose you that God will give all the happiness to his enemies, and reserve all the mourning for his own family? Shall his foes have mirth and joy, and shall his home-born children inherit sorrow and wretchedness? Shall the sinner, who has no part in Christ, call himself rich in happiness, and shall we go mourning as if we were penniless beggars? No, we will rejoice in the Lord always, and glory in our inheritance, for we “have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but we have received the spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.” The rod of chastisement must rest upon us in our measure, but it worketh for us the comfortable fruits of righteousness; and therefore by the aid of the divine Comforter, we, the “people saved of the Lord,” will joy in the God of our salvation. We are married unto Christ; and shall our great Bridegroom permit his spouse to linger in constant grief? Our hearts are knit unto him: we are his members, and though for awhile we may suffer as our Head once suffered, yet we are even now blessed with heavenly blessings in him. We have the earnest of our inheritance in the comforts of the Spirit, which are neither few nor small. Inheritors of joy for ever, we have foretastes of our portion. There are streaks of the light of joy to herald our eternal sunrising. Our riches are beyond the sea; our city with firm foundations lies on the other side the river; gleams of glory from the spirit-world cheer our hearts, and urge us onward. Truly is it said of us, “Happy art thou, O Israel; who is like unto thee, O people saved by the Lord?”
Evening - September 27
“My Beloved put in his hand by the hole of the door, and my bowels were moved for him.” --- Song of Solomon 5:4.
Knocking was not enough, for my heart was too full of sleep, too cold and ungrateful to arise and open the door, but the touch of his effectual grace has made my soul bestir itself. Oh, the longsuffering of my Beloved, to tarry when he found himself shut out, and me asleep upon the bed of sloth! Oh, the greatness of his patience, to knock and knock again, and to add his voice to his knockings, beseeching me to open to him! How could I have refused him! Base heart, blush and be confounded! But what greatest kindness of all is this, that he becomes his own porter and unbars the door himself. Thrice blessed is the hand which condescends to lift the latch and turn the key. Now I see that nothing but my Lord’s own power can save such a naughty mass of wickedness as I am; ordinances fail, even the Gospel has no effect upon me, till his hand is stretched out. Now, also, I perceive that his hand is good where all else is unsuccessful, he can open when nothing else will. Blessed be his name, I feel his gracious presence even now. Well may my bowels move for him, when I think of all that he has suffered for me, and of my ungenerous return. I have allowed my affections to wander. I have set up rivals. I have grieved him. Sweetest and dearest of all beloveds, I have treated thee as an unfaithful wife treats her husband. Oh, my cruel sins, my cruel self. What can I do? Tears are a poor show of my repentance, my whole heart boils with indignation at myself. Wretch that I am, to treat my Lord, my All in All, my exceeding great joy, as though he were a stranger. Jesus, thou forgivest freely, but this is not enough, prevent my unfaithfulness in the future. Kiss away these tears, and then purge my heart and bind it with sevenfold cords to thyself, never to wander more.
Morning and Evening: A New Edition of the Classic Devotional Based on The Holy Bible, English Standard Version
THE SANDS OF TIME ARE SINKING
Anne Ross Cousin, 1824–1906
And I—in righteousness I will see Your face; when I awake, I will be satisfied with seeing Your likeness. (Psalm 17:15)
What beautiful pictures of Christ and our relationship to Him as His bride are portrayed for us in this lovely hymn text which was inspired by the dying words of a 17th century Scottish preacher. The colorful imagery enhances the truths of these very thoughtful lines.
“And glory, glory dwelleth in Immanuel’s Land” were the final triumphant words spoken by Samuel Rutherford, a forceful evangelical preacher who suffered much persecution in Scotland for his support of the non-conformist movement. His open opposition to the state church resulted in banishment from his pulpit and home. When his courageous loyalty to Christ continued throughout his life, Rutherford was eventually charged with high treason, which could mean being beheaded. Already on his death bed, however, he sent, back this message: “I behoove to answer my first summons, and ere your day for me arrive, I will be where few kings and great folks come.”
Two hundred years after the death of Rutherford in 1661, his victorious life, writings, and final words so impressed Anne Ross Cousin that she was moved to write this remarkable text. Mrs. Cousin describes vividly the glories of heaven. Her wonderful closing proclamation that “the Lamb is all the glory” is a fitting climax to the hymn’s vibrant exaltation of Christ and His eternal abode.
The sands of time are sinking, the dawn of heaven breaks; the summer morn I’ve sighed for—the fair, sweet morn awakes. Dark, dark hath been the midnight, but day-spring is at hand, and glory, glory dwelleth in Immanuel’s land.
O Christ, He is the fountain, the deep, sweet well of love! The streams on earth I’ve tasted more deep I’ll drink above: There to an ocean fulness His mercy doth expand, and glory, glory dwelleth in Immanuel’s land.
O I am my Beloved’s, and my Beloved’s mine! He brings a poor vile sinner into His “house of wine.” I stand upon His merit—I know no other stand, not e’en where glory dwelleth in Immanuel’s land.
The Bride eyes not her garment but her dear Bridegroom’s face; I will not gaze at glory but on my King of grace, not at the crown He giveth but on His pierced hand: The Lamb is all the glory of Immanuel’s land.
For Today: John 17:3; Romans 13:14; Ephesians 3:14–21; Hebrews 12:2
Learn to say—“My goal is Christ Himself, not joy, nor peace, not even heaven—but Himself, my Lord.” Even now, as we anticipate the joy of “Immanuel’s land” and the sight of our Savior’s face, let us look away from ourselves and the cares of life and focus on the author and finisher of our faith.
Amazing Grace: 366 Inspiring Hymn Stories for Daily Devotions
Tuesday, September 27, 2017 | After Pentecost
Proper 20, Wednesday
Psalms (Morning) Psalm 119:97–120
Psalms (Evening) Psalm 81, 82
Old Testament 2 Kings 6:1–23
New Testament 1 Corinthians 5:9–6:8
Gospel Matthew 5:38–48
Index of Readings
97 Oh, how I love your law!
It is my meditation all day long.
98 Your commandment makes me wiser than my enemies,
for it is always with me.
99 I have more understanding than all my teachers,
for your decrees are my meditation.
100 I understand more than the aged,
for I keep your precepts.
101 I hold back my feet from every evil way,
in order to keep your word.
102 I do not turn away from your ordinances,
for you have taught me.
103 How sweet are your words to my taste,
sweeter than honey to my mouth!
104 Through your precepts I get understanding;
therefore I hate every false way.
105 Your word is a lamp to my feet
and a light to my path.
106 I have sworn an oath and confirmed it,
to observe your righteous ordinances.
107 I am severely afflicted;
give me life, O LORD, according to your word.
108 Accept my offerings of praise, O LORD,
and teach me your ordinances.
109 I hold my life in my hand continually,
but I do not forget your law.
110 The wicked have laid a snare for me,
but I do not stray from your precepts.
111 Your decrees are my heritage forever;
they are the joy of my heart.
112 I incline my heart to perform your statutes
forever, to the end.
113 I hate the double-minded,
but I love your law.
114 You are my hiding place and my shield;
I hope in your word.
115 Go away from me, you evildoers,
that I may keep the commandments of my God.
116 Uphold me according to your promise, that I may live,
and let me not be put to shame in my hope.
117 Hold me up, that I may be safe
and have regard for your statutes continually.
118 You spurn all who go astray from your statutes;
for their cunning is in vain.
119 All the wicked of the earth you count as dross;
therefore I love your decrees.
120 My flesh trembles for fear of you,
and I am afraid of your judgments.
Psalm 81, 82
To the leader: according to The Gittith. Of Asaph.
1 Sing aloud to God our strength;
shout for joy to the God of Jacob.
2 Raise a song, sound the tambourine,
the sweet lyre with the harp.
3 Blow the trumpet at the new moon,
at the full moon, on our festal day.
4 For it is a statute for Israel,
an ordinance of the God of Jacob.
5 He made it a decree in Joseph,
when he went out over the land of Egypt.
I hear a voice I had not known:
6 “I relieved your shoulder of the burden;
your hands were freed from the basket.
7 In distress you called, and I rescued you;
I answered you in the secret place of thunder;
I tested you at the waters of Meribah. Selah
8 Hear, O my people, while I admonish you;
O Israel, if you would but listen to me!
9 There shall be no strange god among you;
you shall not bow down to a foreign god.
10 I am the LORD your God,
who brought you up out of the land of Egypt.
Open your mouth wide and I will fill it.
11 “But my people did not listen to my voice;
Israel would not submit to me.
12 So I gave them over to their stubborn hearts,
to follow their own counsels.
13 O that my people would listen to me,
that Israel would walk in my ways!
14 Then I would quickly subdue their enemies,
and turn my hand against their foes.
15 Those who hate the LORD would cringe before him,
and their doom would last forever.
16 I would feed you with the finest of the wheat,
and with honey from the rock I would satisfy you.”
A Psalm of Asaph.
1 God has taken his place in the divine council;
in the midst of the gods he holds judgment:
2 “How long will you judge unjustly
and show partiality to the wicked? Selah
3 Give justice to the weak and the orphan;
maintain the right of the lowly and the destitute.
4 Rescue the weak and the needy;
deliver them from the hand of the wicked.”
5 They have neither knowledge nor understanding,
they walk around in darkness;
all the foundations of the earth are shaken.
6 I say, “You are gods,
children of the Most High, all of you;
7 nevertheless, you shall die like mortals,
and fall like any prince.”
8 Rise up, O God, judge the earth;
for all the nations belong to you!
2 Kings 6:1–23
6 Now the company of prophets said to Elisha, “As you see, the place where we live under your charge is too small for us. 2 Let us go to the Jordan, and let us collect logs there, one for each of us, and build a place there for us to live.” He answered, “Do so.” 3 Then one of them said, “Please come with your servants.” And he answered, “I will.” 4 So he went with them. When they came to the Jordan, they cut down trees. 5 But as one was felling a log, his ax head fell into the water; he cried out, “Alas, master! It was borrowed.” 6 Then the man of God said, “Where did it fall?” When he showed him the place, he cut off a stick, and threw it in there, and made the iron float. 7 He said, “Pick it up.” So he reached out his hand and took it.
8 Once when the king of Aram was at war with Israel, he took counsel with his officers. He said, “At such and such a place shall be my camp.” 9 But the man of God sent word to the king of Israel, “Take care not to pass this place, because the Arameans are going down there.” 10 The king of Israel sent word to the place of which the man of God spoke. More than once or twice he warned such a place so that it was on the alert.
11 The mind of the king of Aram was greatly perturbed because of this; he called his officers and said to them, “Now tell me who among us sides with the king of Israel?” 12 Then one of his officers said, “No one, my lord king. It is Elisha, the prophet in Israel, who tells the king of Israel the words that you speak in your bedchamber.” 13 He said, “Go and find where he is; I will send and seize him.” He was told, “He is in Dothan.” 14 So he sent horses and chariots there and a great army; they came by night, and surrounded the city.
15 When an attendant of the man of God rose early in the morning and went out, an army with horses and chariots was all around the city. His servant said, “Alas, master! What shall we do?” 16 He replied, “Do not be afraid, for there are more with us than there are with them.” 17 Then Elisha prayed: “O LORD, please open his eyes that he may see.” So the LORD opened the eyes of the servant, and he saw; the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha. 18 When the Arameans came down against him, Elisha prayed to the LORD, and said, “Strike this people, please, with blindness.” So he struck them with blindness as Elisha had asked. 19 Elisha said to them, “This is not the way, and this is not the city; follow me, and I will bring you to the man whom you seek.” And he led them to Samaria.
20 As soon as they entered Samaria, Elisha said, “O LORD, open the eyes of these men so that they may see.” The LORD opened their eyes, and they saw that they were inside Samaria. 21 When the king of Israel saw them he said to Elisha, “Father, shall I kill them? Shall I kill them?” 22 He answered, “No! Did you capture with your sword and your bow those whom you want to kill? Set food and water before them so that they may eat and drink; and let them go to their master.” 23 So he prepared for them a great feast; after they ate and drank, he sent them on their way, and they went to their master. And the Arameans no longer came raiding into the land of Israel.
1 Corinthians 5:9–6:8
9 I wrote to you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral persons— 10 not at all meaning the immoral of this world, or the greedy and robbers, or idolaters, since you would then need to go out of the world. 11 But now I am writing to you not to associate with anyone who bears the name of brother or sister who is sexually immoral or greedy, or is an idolater, reviler, drunkard, or robber. Do not even eat with such a one. 12 For what have I to do with judging those outside? Is it not those who are inside that you are to judge? 13 God will judge those outside. “Drive out the wicked person from among you.”
6 When any of you has a grievance against another, do you dare to take it to court before the unrighteous, instead of taking it before the saints? 2 Do you not know that the saints will judge the world? And if the world is to be judged by you, are you incompetent to try trivial cases? 3 Do you not know that we are to judge angels—to say nothing of ordinary matters? 4 If you have ordinary cases, then, do you appoint as judges those who have no standing in the church? 5 I say this to your shame. Can it be that there is no one among you wise enough to decide between one believer and another, 6 but a believer goes to court against a believer—and before unbelievers at that?
7 In fact, to have lawsuits at all with one another is already a defeat for you. Why not rather be wronged? Why not rather be defrauded? 8 But you yourselves wrong and defraud—and believers at that.
38 “You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ 39 But I say to you, Do not resist an evildoer. But if anyone strikes you on the right cheek, turn the other also; 40 and if anyone wants to sue you and take your coat, give your cloak as well; 41 and if anyone forces you to go one mile, go also the second mile. 42 Give to everyone who begs from you, and do not refuse anyone who wants to borrow from you.
43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 so that you may be children of your Father in heaven; for he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the righteous and on the unrighteous. 46 For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? 47 And if you greet only your brothers and sisters, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? 48 Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.
The Book of Common Prayer: And Administration of the Sacraments and Other Rites and Ceremonies of the Church