Leviticus 11 - 13
Clean and Unclean AnimalsLeviticus 11:1 And the LORD spoke to Moses and Aaron, saying to them, 2 “Speak to the people of Israel, saying, These are the living things that you may eat among all the animals that are on the earth. 3 Whatever parts the hoof and is cloven-footed and chews the cud, among the animals, you may eat. 4 Nevertheless, among those that chew the cud or part the hoof, you shall not eat these: The camel, because it chews the cud but does not part the hoof, is unclean to you. 5 And the rock badger, because it chews the cud but does not part the hoof, is unclean to you. 6 And the hare, because it chews the cud but does not part the hoof, is unclean to you. 7 And the pig, because it parts the hoof and is cloven-footed but does not chew the cud, is unclean to you. 8 You shall not eat any of their flesh, and you shall not touch their carcasses; they are unclean to you.
9 “These you may eat, of all that are in the waters. Everything in the waters that has fins and scales, whether in the seas or in the rivers, you may eat. 10 But anything in the seas or the rivers that does not have fins and scales, of the swarming creatures in the waters and of the living creatures that are in the waters, is detestable to you. 11 You shall regard them as detestable; you shall not eat any of their flesh, and you shall detest their carcasses. 12 Everything in the waters that does not have fins and scales is detestable to you.
13 “And these you shall detest among the birds; they shall not be eaten; they are detestable: the eagle, the bearded vulture, the black vulture, 14 the kite, the falcon of any kind, 15 every raven of any kind, 16 the ostrich, the nighthawk, the sea gull, the hawk of any kind, 17 the little owl, the cormorant, the short-eared owl, 18 the barn owl, the tawny owl, the carrion vulture, 19 the stork, the heron of any kind, the hoopoe, and the bat.
20 “All winged insects that go on all fours are detestable to you. 21 Yet among the winged insects that go on all fours you may eat those that have jointed legs above their feet, with which to hop on the ground. 22 Of them you may eat: the locust of any kind, the bald locust of any kind, the cricket of any kind, and the grasshopper of any kind. 23 But all other winged insects that have four feet are detestable to you.
24 “And by these you shall become unclean. Whoever touches their carcass shall be unclean until the evening, 25 and whoever carries any part of their carcass shall wash his clothes and be unclean until the evening. 26 Every animal that parts the hoof but is not cloven-footed or does not chew the cud is unclean to you. Everyone who touches them shall be unclean. 27 And all that walk on their paws, among the animals that go on all fours, are unclean to you. Whoever touches their carcass shall be unclean until the evening, 28 and he who carries their carcass shall wash his clothes and be unclean until the evening; they are unclean to you.
29 “And these are unclean to you among the swarming things that swarm on the ground: the mole rat, the mouse, the great lizard of any kind, 30 the gecko, the monitor lizard, the lizard, the sand lizard, and the chameleon. 31 These are unclean to you among all that swarm. Whoever touches them when they are dead shall be unclean until the evening. 32 And anything on which any of them falls when they are dead shall be unclean, whether it is an article of wood or a garment or a skin or a sack, any article that is used for any purpose. It must be put into water, and it shall be unclean until the evening; then it shall be clean. 33 And if any of them falls into any earthenware vessel, all that is in it shall be unclean, and you shall break it. 34 Any food in it that could be eaten, on which water comes, shall be unclean. And all drink that could be drunk from every such vessel shall be unclean. 35 And everything on which any part of their carcass falls shall be unclean. Whether oven or stove, it shall be broken in pieces. They are unclean and shall remain unclean for you. 36 Nevertheless, a spring or a cistern holding water shall be clean, but whoever touches a carcass in them shall be unclean. 37 And if any part of their carcass falls upon any seed grain that is to be sown, it is clean, 38 but if water is put on the seed and any part of their carcass falls on it, it is unclean to you.
39 “And if any animal which you may eat dies, whoever touches its carcass shall be unclean until the evening, 40 and whoever eats of its carcass shall wash his clothes and be unclean until the evening. And whoever carries the carcass shall wash his clothes and be unclean until the evening.
41 “Every swarming thing that swarms on the ground is detestable; it shall not be eaten. 42 Whatever goes on its belly, and whatever goes on all fours, or whatever has many feet, any swarming thing that swarms on the ground, you shall not eat, for they are detestable. 43 You shall not make yourselves detestable with any swarming thing that swarms, and you shall not defile yourselves with them, and become unclean through them. 44 For I am the LORD your God. Consecrate yourselves therefore, and be holy, for I am holy. You shall not defile yourselves with any swarming thing that crawls on the ground. 45 For I am the LORD who brought you up out of the land of Egypt to be your God. You shall therefore be holy, for I am holy.”
46 This is the law about beast and bird and every living creature that moves through the waters and every creature that swarms on the ground, 47 to make a distinction between the unclean and the clean and between the living creature that may be eaten and the living creature that may not be eaten.
Purification After ChildbirthLeviticus 12:1 The LORD spoke to Moses, saying, 2 “Speak to the people of Israel, saying, If a woman conceives and bears a male child, then she shall be unclean seven days. As at the time of her menstruation, she shall be unclean. 3 And on the eighth day the flesh of his foreskin shall be circumcised. 4 Then she shall continue for thirty-three days in the blood of her purifying. She shall not touch anything holy, nor come into the sanctuary, until the days of her purifying are completed. 5 But if she bears a female child, then she shall be unclean two weeks, as in her menstruation. And she shall continue in the blood of her purifying for sixty-six days.
6 “And when the days of her purifying are completed, whether for a son or for a daughter, she shall bring to the priest at the entrance of the tent of meeting a lamb a year old for a burnt offering, and a pigeon or a turtledove for a sin offering, 7 and he shall offer it before the LORD and make atonement for her. Then she shall be clean from the flow of her blood. This is the law for her who bears a child, either male or female. 8 And if she cannot afford a lamb, then she shall take two turtledoves or two pigeons, one for a burnt offering and the other for a sin offering. And the priest shall make atonement for her, and she shall be clean.”
Laws About LeprosyLeviticus 13:1 The LORD spoke to Moses and Aaron, saying, 2 “When a person has on the skin of his body a swelling or an eruption or a spot, and it turns into a case of leprous disease on the skin of his body, then he shall be brought to Aaron the priest or to one of his sons the priests, 3 and the priest shall examine the diseased area on the skin of his body. And if the hair in the diseased area has turned white and the disease appears to be deeper than the skin of his body, it is a case of leprous disease. When the priest has examined him, he shall pronounce him unclean. 4 But if the spot is white in the skin of his body and appears no deeper than the skin, and the hair in it has not turned white, the priest shall shut up the diseased person for seven days. 5 And the priest shall examine him on the seventh day, and if in his eyes the disease is checked and the disease has not spread in the skin, then the priest shall shut him up for another seven days. 6 And the priest shall examine him again on the seventh day, and if the diseased area has faded and the disease has not spread in the skin, then the priest shall pronounce him clean; it is only an eruption. And he shall wash his clothes and be clean. 7 But if the eruption spreads in the skin, after he has shown himself to the priest for his cleansing, he shall appear again before the priest. 8 And the priest shall look, and if the eruption has spread in the skin, then the priest shall pronounce him unclean; it is a leprous disease.
9 “When a man is afflicted with a leprous disease, he shall be brought to the priest, 10 and the priest shall look. And if there is a white swelling in the skin that has turned the hair white, and there is raw flesh in the swelling, 11 it is a chronic leprous disease in the skin of his body, and the priest shall pronounce him unclean. He shall not shut him up, for he is unclean. 12 And if the leprous disease breaks out in the skin, so that the leprous disease covers all the skin of the diseased person from head to foot, so far as the priest can see, 13 then the priest shall look, and if the leprous disease has covered all his body, he shall pronounce him clean of the disease; it has all turned white, and he is clean. 14 But when raw flesh appears on him, he shall be unclean. 15 And the priest shall examine the raw flesh and pronounce him unclean. Raw flesh is unclean, for it is a leprous disease. 16 But if the raw flesh recovers and turns white again, then he shall come to the priest, 17 and the priest shall examine him, and if the disease has turned white, then the priest shall pronounce the diseased person clean; he is clean.
18 “If there is in the skin of one’s body a boil and it heals, 19 and in the place of the boil there comes a white swelling or a reddish-white spot, then it shall be shown to the priest. 20 And the priest shall look, and if it appears deeper than the skin and its hair has turned white, then the priest shall pronounce him unclean. It is a case of leprous disease that has broken out in the boil. 21 But if the priest examines it and there is no white hair in it and it is not deeper than the skin, but has faded, then the priest shall shut him up seven days. 22 And if it spreads in the skin, then the priest shall pronounce him unclean; it is a disease. 23 But if the spot remains in one place and does not spread, it is the scar of the boil, and the priest shall pronounce him clean.
24 “Or, when the body has a burn on its skin and the raw flesh of the burn becomes a spot, reddish-white or white, 25 the priest shall examine it, and if the hair in the spot has turned white and it appears deeper than the skin, then it is a leprous disease. It has broken out in the burn, and the priest shall pronounce him unclean; it is a case of leprous disease. 26 But if the priest examines it and there is no white hair in the spot and it is no deeper than the skin, but has faded, the priest shall shut him up seven days, 27 and the priest shall examine him the seventh day. If it is spreading in the skin, then the priest shall pronounce him unclean; it is a case of leprous disease. 28 But if the spot remains in one place and does not spread in the skin, but has faded, it is a swelling from the burn, and the priest shall pronounce him clean, for it is the scar of the burn.
29 “When a man or woman has a disease on the head or the beard, 30 the priest shall examine the disease. And if it appears deeper than the skin, and the hair in it is yellow and thin, then the priest shall pronounce him unclean. It is an itch, a leprous disease of the head or the beard. 31 And if the priest examines the itching disease and it appears no deeper than the skin and there is no black hair in it, then the priest shall shut up the person with the itching disease for seven days, 32 and on the seventh day the priest shall examine the disease. If the itch has not spread, and there is in it no yellow hair, and the itch appears to be no deeper than the skin, 33 then he shall shave himself, but the itch he shall not shave; and the priest shall shut up the person with the itching disease for another seven days. 34 And on the seventh day the priest shall examine the itch, and if the itch has not spread in the skin and it appears to be no deeper than the skin, then the priest shall pronounce him clean. And he shall wash his clothes and be clean. 35 But if the itch spreads in the skin after his cleansing, 36 then the priest shall examine him, and if the itch has spread in the skin, the priest need not seek for the yellow hair; he is unclean. 37 But if in his eyes the itch is unchanged and black hair has grown in it, the itch is healed and he is clean, and the priest shall pronounce him clean.
38 “When a man or a woman has spots on the skin of the body, white spots, 39 the priest shall look, and if the spots on the skin of the body are of a dull white, it is leukoderma that has broken out in the skin; he is clean.
40 “If a man’s hair falls out from his head, he is bald; he is clean. 41 And if a man’s hair falls out from his forehead, he has baldness of the forehead; he is clean. 42 But if there is on the bald head or the bald forehead a reddish-white diseased area, it is a leprous disease breaking out on his bald head or his bald forehead. 43 Then the priest shall examine him, and if the diseased swelling is reddish-white on his bald head or on his bald forehead, like the appearance of leprous disease in the skin of the body, 44 he is a leprous man, he is unclean. The priest must pronounce him unclean; his disease is on his head.
45 “The leprous person who has the disease shall wear torn clothes and let the hair of his head hang loose, and he shall cover his upper lip and cry out, ‘Unclean, unclean.’ 46 He shall remain unclean as long as he has the disease. He is unclean. He shall live alone. His dwelling shall be outside the camp.
47 “When there is a case of leprous disease in a garment, whether a woolen or a linen garment, 48 in warp or woof of linen or wool, or in a skin or in anything made of skin, 49 if the disease is greenish or reddish in the garment, or in the skin or in the warp or the woof or in any article made of skin, it is a case of leprous disease, and it shall be shown to the priest. 50 And the priest shall examine the disease and shut up that which has the disease for seven days. 51 Then he shall examine the disease on the seventh day. If the disease has spread in the garment, in the warp or the woof, or in the skin, whatever be the use of the skin, the disease is a persistent leprous disease; it is unclean. 52 And he shall burn the garment, or the warp or the woof, the wool or the linen, or any article made of skin that is diseased, for it is a persistent leprous disease. It shall be burned in the fire.
53 “And if the priest examines, and if the disease has not spread in the garment, in the warp or the woof or in any article made of skin, 54 then the priest shall command that they wash the thing in which is the disease, and he shall shut it up for another seven days. 55 And the priest shall examine the diseased thing after it has been washed. And if the appearance of the diseased area has not changed, though the disease has not spread, it is unclean. You shall burn it in the fire, whether the rot is on the back or on the front.
56 “But if the priest examines, and if the diseased area has faded after it has been washed, he shall tear it out of the garment or the skin or the warp or the woof. 57 Then if it appears again in the garment, in the warp or the woof, or in any article made of skin, it is spreading. You shall burn with fire whatever has the disease. 58 But the garment, or the warp or the woof, or any article made of skin from which the disease departs when you have washed it, shall then be washed a second time, and be clean.”
59 This is the law for a case of leprous disease in a garment of wool or linen, either in the warp or the woof, or in any article made of skin, to determine whether it is clean or unclean.
ESV Study Bible
What I'm Reading
There’s No Good Reason to Deny the Early Dating of the Gospels
By J. Warner Wallace 2/3/2017
Not long ago, Daniel Wallace (no relationship to me, except that all us Wallace’s claim to descend from William) posted some great news about an early fragment of the Book of Romans that was recently discovered. This fragment dates to the early third century which puts it in rare company. It contains Romans 9:18–21 and small portions of Romans 10. Wallace made news a few years back when he mentioned an early fragment of the Gospel of Mark that has yet to be published. The fragment of Mark is said to be as early as the first century.
I had the great pleasure of visiting with Dan Wallace at an event where we got the chance to examine a number of very ancient manuscript fragments. Some of these were Biblical fragments; some of these were non-Biblical ancient documents. We were the first people to examine the documents in nearly two thousand years. By the end of the day it was clear to me that there are literally thousands of fragments of ancient texts still out there to be discovered and examined. We have only touched the tip of the iceberg and as our ability to find and examine these fragments continues to improve, we’ll surely discover much more evidence that the New Testament was written very early and transmitted faithfully.
In fact, this is the focus of my book, Cold Case Christianity. I’ve been studying this issue from the perspective of a detective for some time now and I’ve written about the evidence for early dating and about the reliable transmission of the documents at ColdCaseChristianity.com. If the New Testament eyewitness accounts were written as early as the evidence infers, many of the objections of skeptics are impotent. Early manuscripts mean that the original witnesses to the life of Jesus were (1) available to write the documents we now have, and (2) early observers of Jesus’ life would have been available to deny the testimony of the gospel authors. The continuing discovery of early fragments of New Testament documents corroborates this early dating.
When visiting with Dan Wallace, Greg Koukl and I asked him about the skepticism on the part of people like Bart Ehrman related to early dating. We asked Wallace if there was some specific manuscript evidence that inclined people to deny the early dating of the Gospel accounts. Wallace said there was no such evidence. We then asked why people continued to deny the early dating if, in fact, we were continuing to find early fragments and there was no contrary manuscript evidence. It turns out that the late dating of the gospels is due primarily to a denial of supernaturalism.
One of the primary reasons why skeptics date the gospels later than 70AD is the fact that Jesus predicted the destruction of the Temple in the gospel accounts (i.e. Matthew 23). Secular history records that the Temple was destroyed in 70AD, fulfilling this alleged prediction by Jesus. In order to avoid the accurate prophesy from Jesus, skeptics argue that the gospel must have been written after the temple was destroyed. After all, how could Jesus possess the supernatural power of prophecy if nothing supernatural exists? The philosophical naturalism of the secular historian prevents him from accepting the possibility of accurate prophecy.
James "Jim" Warner Wallace (born June 16, 1961) is an American homicide detective and Christian apologist. Wallace is a Senior Fellow at the Colson Center for Christian Worldview and an Adjunct Professor of Apologetics at Biola University in La Mirada, California. He has authored several books, including Cold-Case Christianity, God’s Crime Scene, and Forensic Faith, in which he applies principles of cold case homicide investigation to apologetic concerns such as the existence of God and the reliability of the Gospels.
Weakness and Fallacies of the Wellhausian Theory
By Gleason Archer Jr.
6. Whenever by ingenious manipulation of the text a “discrepancy” can be made out by interpreting a passage out of context, no reconciling explanation is to be accepted, but the supposed discrepancy must be exploited to “prove” diversity of sources. (Cf. Pfeiffer’s imagined discrepancy [IOT, p. 328] between the “two accounts” of the slaying of Sisera. Judges 5:25–27 is alleged to represent Jael as having slain him with her hammer and tent peg while he was drinking milk; Judg. 4:21 says she did it while he was asleep. Actually, 5:25–27 does not state that he was drinking at the moment of impact; but it would be useless to point this out to Pfeiffer, for he has already divided up the “discrepant accounts” between J and E.)
7. Although other ancient Semitic literatures show multiplied instances of repetition and duplication by the same author in their narrative technique, Hebrew literature alone cannot show any such repetitions or duplications without betraying diverse authorship. It is instructive to study the sectarian literature from the Qumran caves and see how long the Israelites continued to employ repetition for purposes of emphasis. For example, compare Plate I and Plate IV of the Manual of Disciplines6 where the requirements for entering the monastic community are set forth in such a way as to invite the attention of the Documentarian source divider. The same would be true for Ugaritic epics such as Keret and Homer’s Iliad and the Odyssey. Compare the extensive use of repetition in the chancery style of Daniel who wrote as a lawyer or civil servant who employed the style of precise repetition found in statutory law today.
8. With highly questionable self-confidence, the Wellhausen school has assumed that modern European critics, who have no other ancient Hebrew literature with which to compare (for the biblical period, at least), can with scientific reliability fix the date of composition of each document. They also assume that they can freely amend the text by substituting more common words for the rare or unusual words preserved in the MT but which they do not understand or do not expect in the given context. As foreigners living in an entirely different age and culture, they have felt themselves competent to discard or reshuffle phrases or even entire verses whenever their Occidental concepts of consistency or style have been offended.
9. They have also assumed that scholars living more than 3,400 years after the event can (largely on the basis of philosophical theories) more reliably reconstruct the way things really happened than could the ancient authors themselves (who were removed from the events in question by no more than 600 or 1000 years, even by the critics’ own dating).
To sum up, it is very doubtful whether the Wellhausen hypothesis is entitled to the status of scientific respectability. There is so much of special pleading, circular reasoning, questionable deductions from unsubstantiated premises, that it is absolutely certain that its methodology would never stand up in a court of law. Scarcely any of the laws of evidence respected in legal proceedings are honored by the architects of this Documentary Theory. Any attorney who attempted to interpret a will or statute or deed of conveyance in the bizarre and irresponsible fashion of the Source Critics of the Pentateuch would find his case thrown out of court without delay. Compare for example this statement by Judge William Dixon of Pasadena, California, relative to a proposed constitution for a new church merger in the United Church of Christ: “It is elementary that in the interpretation of a written contract all of the writing must be read together and every part interpreted with reference to the whole, so that each provision therein will be effective for its general purpose.” Surely this principle has a relevance even for the non-legal portions of the works of Moses. Had it been followed in Pentateuchal analysis, the JEDP hypothesis would have been an impossibility.
Positive Evidences of Mosaic AuthorshipWhen all the data of the Pentateuchal text have been carefully considered, and all the evidence, both internal and external, has been fairly weighed, the impression is all but irresistible that Mosaic authorship is the one theory which best accords with the surviving historical data. For the purposes of a convenient survey, and without elaborate demonstration or illustration at this point, we shall list the various areas of evidence which point to this conclusion. A Survey of Old Testament Introduction
Priests, Levites, Bread
By Peter J. Leithart 2/2/17
Chronicles 23 begins the concluding section of 1 Chronicles (chs. 23–29), which is mainly concerned with David’s arrangements for personnel and material of the temple. Chapter 23 consists of two chiastically arranged sections. The first is framed by references to David (vv. 1, 2, 6; 25–27).
A. David old, organizes, 23:1–6
B. Levites: Gershonites, 23:7–11
C. Levites: Kohathites, 23:12
D. Sons of Amram: Aaron and Moses, 23:13–17
C’. Levites: Remainder of Kohathites, 23:18–20
B’. Levites: Merarites, 23:21–24
A’. David’s instructions, 23:25–27
The second describes the work of the Levites:
Peter J. Leithart is President of the Theopolis Institute, Birmingham, Alabama, and an adjunct Senior Fellow at New St. Andrews College. He is author, most recently, of Gratitude: An Intellectual History (Baylor).
Does Faith Have to be Blind, Irrational and Opposed to Reason?
By ?? 1/27/16
One of the things that every young person should understand before they reach the age of twenty is that there is a war on the word ‘faith’. It is because of this war that faith is often viewed as the opposite of reason, intelligence, and the ‘scientific mind’.
Consider how ‘faith’ is defined in the dictionary.
For example, the online Merriam-Webster dictionary defines ‘faith’ in the following way :
- allegiance to duty or a person: loyalty: fidelity to one’s promises: sincerity of intentions;
- belief and trust in and loyalty to God: belief in the traditional doctrines of a religion: firm belief in something for which there is no proof [emphasis added]: complete trust;
- something that is believed especially with strong conviction; especially: a system of religious beliefs.
Notice that faith holds the connotation of believing in something for which there is no proof. Based on this definition of ‘faith’, it is perfectly reasonable for an atheist or skeptic to conclude that religion (‘faith’) is opposed to science (which is more interested in ‘facts’). And this is just what they have done.Click here to go to source
Author unknown, but web page bio is (click here)
Read The Psalms In "1" Year
Psalm 18The LORD Is My Rock and My Fortress
18 To The Choirmaster. A Psalm Of David, The Servant Of The LORD, Who Addressed The Words Of This Song To The LORD On The Day When The LORD Delivered Him From The Hand Of All Is Enemies, And From The Hand Of Saul. He Said:
6 In my distress I called upon the LORD;
to my God I cried for help.
From his temple he heard my voice,
and my cry to him reached his ears.
7 Then the earth reeled and rocked;
the foundations also of the mountains trembled
and quaked, because he was angry.
8 Smoke went up from his nostrils,
and devouring fire from his mouth;
glowing coals flamed forth from him.
9 He bowed the heavens and came down;
thick darkness was under his feet.
10 He rode on a cherub and flew;
he came swiftly on the wings of the wind.
11 He made darkness his covering, his canopy around him,
thick clouds dark with water.
12 Out of the brightness before him
hailstones and coals of fire broke through his clouds.
By Don Carson 4/8/2018
In this meditation I want to bring two passages together: “I am the LORD your God; consecrate yourselves and be holy, because I am holy. Do not make yourselves unclean by any creature that moves about on the ground. I am the LORD who brought you up out of Egypt to be your God; therefore be holy, because I am holy” (Lev. 11:44-45); “The fool says in his heart, ‘There is no God’” (Ps. 14:1).
What does holy mean? When the angels cry “Holy, holy, holy is the LORD Almighty” (Isa. 6:3; cf. Rev. 4:8), do they mean “Moral, moral, moral is the LORD Almighty”? Or “Separate, separate, separate is the LORD Almighty”? Just to ask such questions demonstrates how inadequate such common definitions of holy really are.
At its core, holy is almost an adjective corresponding to the noun God. God is God; God is holy. He is unique; there is no other. Then, derivatively, that which belongs exclusively to him is designated holy. These may be things as easily as people: certain censers are holy; certain priestly garments are holy; certain accouterments are holy, not because they are moral, and certainly not because they are themselves divine, but because in this derivative sense they are restricted in their use to God and his purposes, and thus are separate from other use. When people are holy, they are holy for the same reason: they belong to God, serve him and function with respect to his purposes. (Occasionally in the Old Testament there is a further extension of the term to refer to the realm of the sacred, such that even pagan priests can in this sense be called holy. But this further extension does not concern us here.)
If people conduct themselves in a certain way because they belong to God, we may say that their conduct is moral. When Peter quotes these words, “Be holy, because I am holy” (1 Peter 1:16), the entailment, in his context, is a turning away from “evil desires” (1:14) and living life “in reverent fear” (1:17). But it is no accident that these words in Leviticus 11 are found not in a context of moral commands and prohibitions but of ceremonial restrictions dealing with clean and unclean foods. For belonging to God, living on his terms, reserving ourselves for him, delighting in him, obeying him, honoring him — these are more fundamental than the specifics of obedience that we label moral or ceremonial.
Indeed, this stance is so basic in God’s universe that only the fool says, “There is no God” (Ps. 14:1). This is the precise opposite of holiness, the most conspicuous and fundamental demonstration, “They are corrupt, their deeds are vile” (14:1).
Don Carson is research professor of New Testament at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School in Deerfield, Illinois, and co-founder (with Tim Keller) of The Gospel Coalition. He has authored numerous books, and recently edited The Enduring Authority of the Christian Scriptures (Eerdmans, 2016).Don Carson Books | Go to Books Page
The Institutes of the Christian Religion
Translated by Henry Beveridge
21. One example will suffice. When the Israelites were carried away to
Babylon, their dispersion seemed to be the next thing to death, and
they could scarcely be dissuaded from thinking that Ezekiel's prophecy
of their restoration (Ezek. 37:4) was a mere fable, because it seemed
to them the same thing as if he had prophesied that putrid caresses
would be raised to life. The Lord, in order to show that, even in that
case, there was nothing to prevent him from making room for his
kindness, set before the prophet in vision a field covered with dry
bones, to which, by the mere power of his word, he in one moment
restored life and strength. The vision served, indeed, to correct the
unbelief of the Jews at the time, but it also reminded them how much
farther the power of the Lord extended than to the bringing back of the
people, since by a single nod it could so easily give life to dry
scattered bones. Wherefore, the passage may be fitly compared with one
in Isaiah, "Thy dead men shall live, together with my dead body shall
they arise. Awake and sing, ye that dwell in dust: for thy dew is as
the dew of herbs, and the earth shall cast out the dead. Come, my
people, enter thou into thy chambers, and shut thy doors about thee:
hide thyself as it were for a little moment, until the indignation be
overpast. For, behold, the Lord cometh out of his place to punish the
inhabitants of the earth for their iniquity: the earth also shall
disclose her blood, and shall no more cover her slain," (Isa.
22. It were absurd however to interpret all the passages on a similar principle; for there are several which point without any veil to the future immortality which awaits believers in the kingdom of heaven. Some of them we have already quoted, and there are many others, but especially the following two. The one is in Isaiah, "As the new heavens and the new earth, which I will make, shall remain before me, saith the Lord, so shall your seed and your name remain. And it shall come to pass, that from one new moon to another, and from one sabbath to another, shall all flesh come to worship before me, saith the Lord. And they shall go forth, and look upon the caresses of the men that have transgressed against me: for their worm shall not die, neither shall their fire be quenched; and they shall be an abhorring unto all flesh," (Isa. 66:22-24). The other passage is in Daniel. "At that time shall Michael stand up, the great prince which standeth for the children of thy people: and there shall be a time of trouble, such as there never was since there was a nation even to that same time: and at that time thy people shall be delivered, every one shall be found written in the book. And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt," (Dan. 12:1, 2).
23. In proving the two remaining points--viz. that the Patriarchs had Christ as the pledge of their covenant, and placed all their hope of blessing in him, as they are clearer, and not so much controverted, I will be less particular. Let us then lay it down confidently as a truth which no engines of the devil can destroy--that the Old Testament or covenant which the Lord made with the people of Israel was not confined to earthly objects, but contained a promise of spiritual and eternal life, the expectation of which behaved to be impressed on the minds of all who truly consented to the covenant. Let us put far from us the senseless and pernicious notion, that the Lord proposed nothing to the Jews, or that they sought nothing but full supplies of food, carnal delights, abundance of wealth, external influence, a numerous offspring, and all those things which our animal nature deems valuable. For, even now, the only kingdom of heaven which our Lord Jesus Christ promises to his followers, is one in which they may sit down with Abraham, and Isaac and Jacob (Mt. 8:11); and Peter declared of the Jews of his day, that they were heirs of gospel grace because they were the sons of the prophets, and comprehended in the covenant which the Lord of old made with his people (Acts 3:25). And that this might not be attested by words merely, our Lord also approved it by act (Mt. 27:52). At the moment when he rose again, he deigned to make many of the saints partakers of his resurrection, and allowed them to be seen in the city; thus giving a sure earnest, that every thing which he did and suffered in the purchase of eternal salvation belonged to believers under the Old Testament, just as much as to us. Indeed, as Peter testifies, they were endued with the same spirit of faith by which we are regenerated to life (Acts 15:8). When we hear that that spirit, which is, as it were, a kind of spark of immortality in us (whence it is called the "earnest" of our inheritance, Eph. 1:14), dwelt in like manner in them, how can we presume to deny them the inheritance? Hence, it is the more wonderful how the Sadducees of old fell into such a degree of sottishness as to deny both the resurrection and the substantive existence  of spirits, both of which where attested to them by so many striking passages of Scripture. Nor would the stupidity of the whole nation in the present day, in expecting an earthly reign of the Messiah, be less wonderful, had not the Scriptures foretold this long before as the punishment which they were to suffer for rejecting the Gospel, God, by a just judgment, blinding minds which voluntarily invite darkness, by rejecting the offered light of heaven. They read, and are constantly turning over the pages of Moses, but a veil prevents them from seeing the light which beams forth in his countenance (2 Cor. 3:14); and thus to them he will remain covered and veiled until they are converted to Christ, between whom and Moses they now study, as much as in them lies, to maintain a separation.
 As to the agreement of both dispensations, see August. Lib. de Moribus Eccles. Lat., especially cap. 28.
 The French is, "Veu qu'ils pensent qu notre Seigneur l'ait voulu seulement engraisser enterre comme en une auge, sans seperance aucune de l'immortalité celeste;"--seeing they think that our Lord only wished to fatten them on the earth as in a sty, without any hope of heavenly immortality.
 Acts 13:26; Rom. 1:16; 1 Cor. 1:18; Mt. 3:2, 4, 17, &c., especially 13.
 "Novo populo." French, "au peuple du Nouveau Testament"--the people of the New Dispensation;
 "Beata Virgo." French, "la Vierge Marie;"--the Virgin Mary.
 "Ejus finis." French, "la fin du Vieil Testament;"--the end of the Old Testament.
 Calv. in Genes. cap. 12:11--15.
 The French is, "Et encore ne peut il pas ainsi eviter l'iniquité de son beau père, qu'il ne soit de lui persecuté, et atteint au milieu du chemin; et pourceque Dieu ne permettoit point qu'il lui advint pis, il est vexé de beaucoup d'opprobres et contumelies, par eclui du quel il avoit bonne matiere de se plaindre."--Even thus he cannot escape the injustice of his father-in-law, but is persecuted by him, and attacked in the midst of his journey; and because God did not allow worse to happen, he is assailed with much contumely and reproach by one of whom he had good cause to complain.
 Ps. 97:10, 11; 112:9, 10; 140:13; 112:6; 34:22.
 "Animarum substantiam." French, "immortalité des ames;"--immortality of souls.
Christian Classics Ethereal Library / Public Domain
Institutes of the Christian Religion
The Problem Of The Old Testament
By James Orr 1907
(2) It does not surprise us, then, to find in Deuteronomy the functions of the priestly ministry — even to the “Urim and Thummim,” which was the peculiar prerogative of the high priest — ascribed to the tribe of Levi as a whole. The question of real importance is — Does the book contain any indication of such a distinction as we have nevertheless assumed to exist between the different orders in this tribe, or does it exclude such distinction? We believe there is evidence of such distinction; the newer critics deny it. The question belongs more properly to the discussion of Deuteronomy, but, in the interest of the history, we may be permitted thus far to anticipate. We would draw attention first, then, to the fact, that in Deuteronomy the terms “priest” and “Levite” are, after all, not quite synonymous. There are “the priests the Levites,” but there are also “Levites” who are not priests. Even allowing them to be “possible” priests, though we do not believe this to be the meaning of the book, they have still to be distinguished from those who, in the sense of the writer, are actual priests. It is a perfectly unwarranted assumption that, wherever the term Levite is used we have a synonym for priest. A distinction is already indicated, and the fact of at least certain gradations within the tribe established, by the statement in Deuteronomy 10:6 that “Aaron died, and Eleazar his son ministered in the priest’s office in his stead.” The clearest indication, however, is in Deuteronomy 18:1–8, where an obvious distinction is made between the “priest” serving at the sanctuary (vers. 3–5), and the “Levite” not thus serving (vers. 6–8); the only intelligible reason for the more general designation being, either that ordinary non-priestly Levites are meant, or at least that they are intended to be included. It is a reading into the text what is not there to assert that every “Levite” going up to the sanctuary is a “possible” priest in the stricter sense. This rules the meaning to be attached to the opening sentence: “The priests the Levites, all the tribe of Levi.” The second designation includes the first: in apposition it cannot be, since, in the writer’s sense, all Levites are not actual priests. To us it seems most evident that when he speaks of “the priests the Levites,” he has a definite class in view, and by no means the whole body of the tribe. This view of the passage, we are aware, the critical school meets with a direct negative, assigning as a reason that the terms used in ver. to describe the Levites’ services (“to minister in the name of Jehovah,” “to stand before Jehovah”) are those regularly used of priestly duties. We believe this is far from being really the case; but the question is a little intricate, and had better be discuss ed apart.
(3) A word may be said before leaving the subject on the difficulty arising from the representations in Deuteronomy of the dispersed and needy condition of the Levites. The objection is urged that, instead of being furnished with cities and pasturages, and enjoying an independent income from tithes, as the Priestly Code provides, the Levites appear in this book as homeless and dependent, wandering from place to place, and glad to be invited, with the stranger, the widow, and the fatherless, to share in charitable feasts. Here, in the first place, it must be remarked that the legal provision is not ignored, but is, on the other hand, expressly alluded to in chap. 18:1, 2 (cf. chap. 10:9), “And they shall have no inheritance among their brethren; Jehovah is their inheritance, as He hath spoken to them,” where the reference seems unmistakable to the law in Num. 18:20, 23, 24. Dillmann says: “The corresponding law stands in Num. 18.” But, waiving this, may we not suggest that, if a time is sought when these exhortations to care for the Levite would be suitable, no time is so fit as that when they are supposed to have been delivered, before the tithe - laws had come into regular operation, — when in truth there was little or nothing to tithe, — and when the Levites would be largely dependent on the hospitality of individuals. The Levites were dependent then, and might from very obvious causes come to be dependent again. Their state would not be greatly bettered in the unsettled times of the conquest. Nothing could be more appropriate in itself, better adapted to create kindly sympathies between Levites and people, or more likely to avert neglect of the tribe by the withholding of their just dues, than the perpetuation of these primitive hospitalities. It is to be remembered that no tribunal existed to enforce payment of the tithes: all depended on the conscientiousness of the individual payer. It is easy to see that an income of this kind was in the highest degree precarious, and that, in times of religious declension, the body of the Levites would be reduced to great straits. The Levites no doubt suffered severely in the days of the Judges, and under bad kings; under good kings, like David, and Solomon, and Hezekiah, the order, we may believe, experienced considerable revivals. At other times it sank in the general corruption, and Levites were content to earn a doubtful livelihood by irregular ministrations at the “high places.” There is no evidence we know of that their condition in the later days of the kingdom was so deplorably destitute as the critics represent.
(4) It will be seen later how little can be inferred from the general silence of the history about the Levites; yet that silence, as has already been hinted, is not altogether unbroken. Two instances, at least, of mention occur in 1 Sam. 6:15, and 2 Sam. 15:24; perhaps also the presence of Levites may be inferred where Hophni and Phinehas are spoken of as “with the ark of Jehovah.” A case of special interest is that of the youthful Samuel, who is described as “ministering unto,” or “before” Jehovah at Shiloh, though his duties were the subordinate ones of the Levite. The words “ministered before Eli” also show that this was his position. The attempt, on the other hand, sometimes made to prove Samuel to be a priest (in contradiction of the law) from the mention of his “linen ephod” and “little robe,” must be regarded as another instance of forcing the text. It is inexcusable exaggeration when Professor W. R. Smith writes: “As a child he ministers before Jehovah, wearing the ephod which the law confines to the high priest, and not only this, but the high priestly mantle (meʿil).” The high priestly ephod, as every reference to it shows, was something distinctive, and different from “the linen ephod,” which was worn by ordinary priests, but not by them exclusively. The meʿil, or robe, again, was a long sleeveless tunic, “worn,” says Gesenius, “by women of rank ( 2 Sam. 13:18), by men of rank and birth ( Job 1:20; 2:12), by kings ( 1 Sam. 15:27; 18:4; 24:4, 11)” — therefore no peculiar property of the high priest. The usurpation of high priestly or even of ordinary priestly functions by Samuel is on a par with his sleeping in the inner temple beside the sacred ark.
NOTE.—The Ark: In connection with the discussions, pp. 137–38 and 161–65, the author would draw attention to the searching Essay by Professor Lotz, of Erlangen, Die Bundeslade (1901), which did not fall into his hands till this chapter was printed. It lends valuable support to the contentions in the text. See especially the discusssion of the names of the ark (pp. 28 ff.).
By Jon Courson
As seen in the sacrifices, chapters 1 through 10 dealt with worshiping the Lord. Here in chapter 11, and on through chapter 17, the subject matter is walking with the Lord.
See Leviticus 11:1-2 above The first topic God addresses in how He wanted His people to walk concerns dietary issues. And in so doing, He provided protection for the Israelites from the diseases that ravaged the cultures surrounding them.
When the Bubonic Plague killed one out of four Europeans, the Jewish community was remarkably immune. Because they followed the sanitary regulations of the Old Testament, not knowing the reason for them but simply being obedient to them, the Jews were protected to a remarkable degree.
Secondly, the dietary laws in this section would provide distinction or separation to God’s people, setting them apart for His purposes.
Finally, in addition to providing protection and distinction to the Israelites, the dietary regulations of Leviticus 11–17 provide illustration to us as believers…
See Leviticus 11:3 above The Jews were allowed to eat those animals that had a divided hoof and chewed its cud. In other words, cleanliness was determined by how an animal walked and how it ate.
The principle for us is obvious. Is there a “dividedness” in our walk? Are we separated from the world or do we walk like everyone around us? We are new creatures in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17). Is there a difference in our walk? There needs to be.
Secondly, do we chew the spiritual “cud”? Just as a cow constantly chews and rechews its food, we are to be those who chew and rechew the Word, who think it through, pray it in, extract from it every nutrient to feed their inner man. No wonder the Hebrew word for chewing the cud is essentially the same word translated “meditation.”
This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success. Joshua 1:8
We get to meditate on the Word. We get to look in the book. We get to think it through once more. And as we do, we’ll have good success; we’ll be healthy; we’ll be clean.
See Leviticus 11:4 above History makes note of the intestinal diseases that afflicted the ethnic groups which ate the meat of camels. Jesus would later indict the Pharisees for spiritually doing just that — for straining out gnats that would have done them no harm, yet swallowing camels that were forbidden, for analyzing minute details yet missing the big picture.
See Leviticus 11:5-6 above A coney is like a rabbit without ears. He chews the cud, but his hoof is not divided. Before we point a finger at the Pharisees for swallowing camels, we need to consider whether we deceive ourselves by acting like coneys or hares. You see, Joshua was instructed to meditate on God’s Word in order to do all that was commanded therein. The cud must be chewed and the hoof divided, for we are to both chew on the Word and walk in it.
See Leviticus 11:7-8 above The swine represents those who live moral lives, but who don’t open the Word.
See Leviticus 11:9–12 above Fins and scales being necessary for movement in the water, fish are determined to be clean or unclean based on how they move. In other words, the Jews were not to eat bottom feeders. So, too, water being emblematic of Scripture, we are clean or unclean based on how we move through the water of the Word. Do we seek to justify sin? Do we try to rationalize carnality? Is there a bottom feeding mentality? The scales speak of a sense of purity, the fins of the ability to navigate successfully. It’s a wonderful analogy.
See Leviticus 11:13–20 above Ravens are an unclean bird and a symbol of evil in the Bible. Why, then, did God use them to miraculously deliver food to Elijah in the wilderness (1 Kings 17:6)? I suggest it was to show us that He can use anyone or anything to minister to us. Sometimes, we have a tendency to think we can’t be instructed by him, or corrected by her because they’re “unclean birds.” In reality, however, we can learn from anyone God sends our way even if he or she might appear to be “unclean.”
“I’m not going to listen to my parents because they’re not as spiritual as I am,” some might say. Big mistake. God can use all sorts of interesting creatures and situations to bring food to us, to minister to us, to admonish, nourish, and correct us.
Therefore, wise is the man who will say, “Lord give me eyes to see and ears to hear whatever You want to tell me, through whatever messenger You choose.”
See Leviticus 11:21–23 above Certain kinds of beetles, locusts, and grasshoppers met the criterion for cleanness. And, no doubt, John the Baptist, for one, was glad they did (Matthew 3:4).
See Leviticus 11:24–28 above The principle here is one the prophet Haggai will develop more fully (2:12). That is, while that which is clean cannot make holy that which is unholy, that which is unclean can make unholy that which is holy. Think of it this way: If I put a drop of clean water into a mud puddle, the drop of clean water becomes muddy. But if I put a drop of muddy water into a jar of clean water, the clean water is no longer clean. You might think you can enter an unclean situation and make it clean because you’re holy — but more often than not, the situation will remain unclean and you’ll be tainted in the process.
See Leviticus 11:29 (a) above The carcass of a mouse is as unclean as the carcass of an elephant because neither part the hoof. This deals a death-blow to the concept of venial and mortal sin. This is no ranking of sin. Sin is sin, whether it be a mouse or an elephant. “It’s just a white lie,” we say, “a slight compromise,” a “quirk.” No, it’s a mouse. It’s sin.
See Leviticus 11:29 (b)–33 above Because we are earthen vessels (2 Corinthians 4:7), God in His love must break us when there is uncleanness found in us — not to punish us, for Christ bore all of our punishment on the Cross, but to purify us. Therefore, when I come into contact with uncleanness, I can expect breaking in my life.
See Leviticus 11:34–36 above If an unclean animal fell into an earthen vessel, the vessel had to be broken—but if an unclean animal fell into a fountain or pit that had an abundance of water, the water would not be affected. Jesus Christ is the Living Water (John 4; 7). You might feel like a mole, a chameleon, a lizard — but when you come to the fountain of Living Water, the Living Water can handle your uncleanness. That is why Jesus could call Judas “friend” even at the moment of betrayal (Matthew 26:50) — and why He is not ashamed to call unclean sinners like us brethren (Hebrews 2:11).
See Leviticus 11:37–40 above If a bat or lizard falls in a bag of seed, if the seed is still in its shell, it’s okay. But if the shell of the seed is no longer there because water has softened it, that seed is to be thrown out because the seed itself will have become polluted. The seed being a picture of the Word (1 Peter 1:23), if the seed is not encased by the armor of faith, rats of unbelief will gnaw at it, causing us to question if it truly is infallible, immutable, applicable. Can the Word become unclean? Yes — to people who no longer read it in faith, but find fault with it rather than allowing it to find and change the faults within them.
See Leviticus 11:41–47 above “Ye shall be holy, for I am holy.” This is an exhortation — but it is also an expectation, as if God is saying, “If you choose to walk with Me and to walk in My ways, because I am holy, you will be holy, too.”
The Pilgrim's Progress From This World To That Which Is To Come;
Delivered Under The Similitude Of A Dream
By John Bunyan 1678
THE FIFTH STAGEFAITH. But I am ready to think you do but jest, because you smiled.
CHR. God forbid that I should jest (though I smiled) in this matter, or that I should accuse any falsely. I will give you a further discovery of him. This man is for any company, and for any talk; as he talketh now with you, so will he talk when he is on the ale-bench; and the more drink he hath in his crown, the more of these things he hath in his mouth. Religion hath no place in his heart, or house, or conversation; all he hath lieth in his tongue, and his religion is to make a noise therewith.
FAITH. Say you so? Then am I in this man greatly deceived.
CHR. Deceived! you may be sure of it. Remember the proverb, “They say, and do not;” but the kingdom of God is not in word, but in power.
Matt. 23:3 3 so do and observe whatever they tell you, but not the works they do. For they preach, but do not practice. ESV
1 Cor. 4:20 20 For the kingdom of God does not consist in talk but in power. 21 What do you wish? Shall I come to you with a rod, or with love in a spirit of gentleness? ESV
He talketh of prayer, of repentance, of faith, and of the new birth; but he knows but only to talk of them. I have been in his family, and have observed him both at home and abroad; and I know what I say of him is the truth. His house is as empty of religion as the white of an egg is of savor. There is there neither prayer, nor sign of repentance for sin; yea, the brute, in his kind, serves God far better than he. He is the very stain, reproach, and shame of religion to all that know him,
Rom. 2:24-25 24 For, as it is written, “The name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles because of you.” 25 For circumcision indeed is of value if you obey the law, but if you break the law, your circumcision becomes uncircumcision. ESV
it can hardly have a good word in all that end of the town where he dwells, through him. Thus say the common people that know him, “A saint abroad, and a devil at home.” His poor family finds it so; he is such a churl, such a railer at, and so unreasonable with his servants, that they neither know how to do for or speak to him. Men that have any dealings with him say, It is better to deal with a Turk than with him, for fairer dealings they shall have at their hands. This Talkative (if it be possible) will go beyond them, defraud, beguile, and overreach them. Besides, he brings up his sons to follow his steps; and if he finds in any of them a foolish timorousness, (for so he calls the first appearance of a tender conscience,) he calls them fools and blockheads, and by no means will employ them in much, or speak to their commendation before others. For my part, I am of opinion that he has, by his wicked life, caused many to stumble and fall; and will be, if God prevents not, the ruin of many more.
FAITH. Well, my brother, I am bound to believe you, not only because you say you know him, but also because, like a Christian, you make your reports of men. For I cannot think that you speak these things of ill-will, but because it is even so as you say.
CHR. Had I known him no more than you, I might, perhaps, have thought of him as at the first you did; yea, had I received this report at their hands only that are enemies to religion, I should have thought it had been a slander-a lot that often falls from bad men’s mouths upon good men’s names and professions. But all these things, yea, and a great many more as bad, of my own knowledge, I can prove him guilty of. Besides, good men are ashamed of him; they can neither call him brother nor friend; the very naming of him among them makes them blush, if they know him.
FAITH. Well, I see that saying and doing are two things, and hereafter I shall better observe this distinction.
CHR. They are two things indeed, and are as diverse as are the soul and the body; for, as the body without the soul is but a dead carcass, so saying, if it be alone, is but a dead carcass also. The soul of religion is the practical part. “Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, to visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.”
James 1:22-27 22 But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. 23 For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks intently at his natural face in a mirror. 24 For he looks at himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like. 25 But the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing.
26 If anyone thinks he is religious and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, this person’s religion is worthless. 27 Religion that is pure and undefiled before God the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world. ESV
This, Talkative is not aware of; he thinks that hearing and saying will make a good Christian; and thus he deceiveth his own soul. Hearing is but as the sowing of the seed; talking is not sufficient to prove that fruit is indeed in the heart and life. And let us assure ourselves, that at the day of doom men shall be judged according to their fruits.
Matt. 13:23 23 As for what was sown on good soil, this is the one who hears the word and understands it. He indeed bears fruit and yields, in one case a hundredfold, in another sixty, and in another thirty.” ESV
It will not be said then, Did you believe? but, Were you doers, or talkers only? and accordingly shall they be judged. The end of the world is compared to our harvest,
Matt. 13:30 30 Let both grow together until the harvest, and at harvest time I will tell the reapers, “Gather the weeds first and bind them in bundles to be burned, but gather the wheat into my barn.” ’ ” ESV
and you know men at harvest regard nothing but fruit. Not that any thing can be accepted that is not of faith; but I speak this to show you how insignificant the profession of Talkative will be at that day.
FAITH. This brings to my mind that of Moses, by which he describeth the beast that is clean.
Lev. 11 See Leviticus 11 above.
Deut. 14 He is such an one that parteth the hoof, and cheweth the cud; not that parteth the hoof only, or that cheweth the cud only. The hare cheweth the cud, but yet is unclean, because he parteth not the hoof. And this truly resembleth Talkative: he cheweth the cud, he seeketh knowledge; he cheweth upon the word, but he divideth not the hoof. He parteth not with the way of sinners; but, as the hare, he retaineth the foot of the dog or bear, and therefore he is unclean.
CHR. You have spoken, for aught I know, the true gospel sense of these texts. And I will add another thing: Paul calleth some men, yea, and those great talkers too, sounding brass, and tinkling cymbals,
1 Cor. 13:1-3 If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. 3 If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing. ESV
that is, as he expounds them in another place, things without life giving sound.
1 Cor. 14:7 7 If even lifeless instruments, such as the flute or the harp, do not give distinct notes, how will anyone know what is played? ESV
Things without life; that is, without the true faith and grace of the gospel; and consequently, things that shall never be placed in the kingdom of heaven among those that are the children of life; though their sound, by their talk, be as if it were the tongue or voice of an angel.
FAITH. Well, I was not so fond of his company at first, but I am as sick of it now. What shall we do to be rid of him?
CHR. Take my advice, and do as I bid you, and you shall find that he will soon be sick of your company too, except God shall touch his heart, and turn it.
FAITH. What would you have me to do?
CHR. Why, go to him, and enter into some serious discourse about the power of religion; and ask him plainly, (when he has approved of it, for that he will,) whether this thing be set up in his heart, house, or conversation.
FAITH. Then Faithful stepped forward again, and said to Talkative, Come, what cheer? How is it now?
TALK. Thank you, well: I thought we should have had a great deal of talk by this time.
FAITH. Well, if you will, we will fall to it now; and since you left it with me to state the question, let it be this: How doth the saving grace of God discover itself when it is in the heart of man?
TALK. I perceive, then, that our talk must be about the power of things. Well, it is a very good question, and I shall be willing to answer you. And take my answer in brief, thus: First, where the grace of God is in the heart, it causeth there a great outcry against sin. Secondly-
FAITH. Nay, hold; let us consider of one at once. I think you should rather say, it shows itself by inclining the soul to abhor its sin.
TALK. Why, what difference is there between crying out against, and abhorring of sin?
FAITH. Oh! a great deal. A man may cry out against sin, of policy; but he cannot abhor it but by virtue of a godly antipathy against it. I have heard many cry out against sin in the pulpit, who yet can abide it well enough in the heart, house, and conversation.
Gen. 39:15 And as soon as he heard that I lifted up my voice and cried out, he left his garment beside me and fled and got out of the house.” ESV
Joseph’s mistress cried out with a loud voice, as if she had been very holy; but she would willingly, notwithstanding that, have committed uncleanness with him. Some cry out against sin, even as the mother cries out against her child in her lap, when she calleth it slut and naughty girl, and then falls to hugging and kissing it.
TALK. You lie at the catch, I perceive.
FAITH. No, not I; I am only for setting things right. But what is the second thing whereby you would prove a discovery of a work of grace in the heart?
TALK. Great knowledge of gospel mysteries.
FAITH. This sign should have been first: but, first or last, it is also false; for knowledge, great knowledge, may be obtained in the mysteries of the Gospel, and yet no work of grace in the soul. Yea, if a man have all knowledge, he may yet be nothing, and so, consequently, be no child of God.
1 Cor. 13:2 And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. ESV
When Christ said, “Do you know all these things?” and the disciples answered, Yes, he added, “Blessed are ye if ye do them.” He doth not lay the blessing in the knowing of them, but in the doing of them. For there is a knowledge that is not attended with doing: “He that knoweth his Master’s will, and doeth it not.” A man may know like an angel, and yet be no Christian: therefore your sign of it is not true. Indeed, to know is a thing that pleaseth talkers and boasters; but to do is that which pleaseth God. Not that the heart can be good without knowledge, for without that the heart is naught. There are, therefore, two sorts of knowledge, knowledge that resteth in the bare speculation of things, and knowledge that is accompanied with the grace of faith and love, which puts a man upon doing even the will of God from the heart: the first of these will serve the talker; but without the other, the true Christian is not content. “Give me understanding, and I shall keep thy law; yea, I shall observe it with my whole heart.”
Psa. 119:34 Give me understanding, that I may keep your law and observe it with my whole heart. ESVTALK. You lie at the catch again: this is not for edification.
FAITH. Well, if you please, propound another sign how this work of grace discovereth itself where it is.
TALK. Not I, for I see we shall not agree.
FAITH. Well, if you will not, will you give me leave to do it?
TALK. You may use your liberty.
FAITH. A work of grace in the soul discovereth itself, either to him that hath it, or to standers-by.
To him that hath it, thus: It gives him conviction of sin, especially the defilement of his nature, and the sin of unbelief, for the sake of which he is sure to be damned, if he findeth not mercy at God’s hand, by faith in Jesus Christ. This sight and sense of things worketh in him sorrow and shame for sin.
Psa. 38: 18 I confess my iniquity;
I am sorry for my sin. ESV
Jer. 31:19 For after I had turned away, I relented,
and after I was instructed, I struck my thigh;
I was ashamed, and I was confounded,
because I bore the disgrace of my youth.’ ESV
Rom. 7:24 Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? ESV
Mark 16:16 Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned. ESV
Gal. 2:16 yet we know that a person is not justified by works of the law but through faith in Jesus Christ, so we also have believed in Christ Jesus, in order to be justified by faith in Christ and not by works of the law, because by works of the law no one will be justified. ESV
Rev. 1:6 and made us a kingdom, priests to his God and Father, to him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen. ESV
He findeth, moreover, revealed in him the Saviour of the world, and the absolute necessity of closing with him for life; at the which he findeth hungerings and thirstings after him; to which hungerings, etc., the promise is made. Now, according to the strength or weakness of his faith in his Saviour, so is his joy and peace, so is his love to holiness, so are his desires to know him more, and also to serve him in this world. But though, I say, it discovereth itself thus unto him, yet it is but seldom that he is able to conclude that this is a work of grace; because his corruptions now, and his abused reason, make his mind to misjudge in this matter: therefore in him that hath this work there is required a very sound judgment, before he can with steadiness conclude that this is a work of grace.
John 16: 9 concerning sin, because they do not believe in me; ESV
Gal. 2:15-16 15 We ourselves are Jews by birth and not Gentile sinners; 16 yet we know that a person is not justified by works of the law but through faith in Jesus Christ, so we also have believed in Christ Jesus, in order to be justified by faith in Christ and not by works of the law, because by works of the law no one will be justified. ESV
Acts 4:12 And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.” ESV
Matt. 5:6 “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied. ESV
Rev. 21:6 And he said to me, “It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. To the thirsty I will give from the spring of the water of life without payment. ESV
To others it is thus discovered:
1. By an experimental confession of his faith in Christ. 2. By a life answerable to that confession; to wit, a life of holiness-heart-holiness, family-holiness, (if he hath a family,) and by conversation-holiness in the world; which in the general teacheth him inwardly to abhor his sin, and himself for that, in secret; to suppress it in his family, and to promote holiness in the world: not by talk only, as a hypocrite or talkative person may do, but by a practical subjection in faith and love to the power of the word.
Job 42:5-6 5 I had heard of you by the hearing of the ear,
but now my eye sees you;
6 therefore I despise myself,
and repent in dust and ashes.” ESV
Psa. 50: 23 The one who offers thanksgiving as his sacrifice glorifies me;
to one who orders his way rightly
I will show the salvation of God!” ESV
Matt. 5:8 “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God. ESV
John 14:15 “If you love me, you will keep my commandments. ESV
Rom. 10:10 For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved. ESV
Ezek. 36:25 I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you shall be clean from all your uncleannesses, and from all your idols I will cleanse you. ESV
Phil. 1:27 Only let your manner of life be worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or am absent, I may hear of you that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind striving side by side for the faith of the gospel, ESV
Phil. 3:17–20 17 Brothers, join in imitating me, and keep your eyes on those who walk according to the example you have in us. 18 For many, of whom I have often told you and now tell you even with tears, walk as enemies of the cross of Christ. 19 Their end is destruction, their god is their belly, and they glory in their shame, with minds set on earthly things. 20 But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, ESV
And now, sir, as to this brief description of the work of grace, and also the discovery of it, if you have aught to object, object; if not, then give me leave to propound to you a second question.
Pilgrim's Progress (Illustrated): Updated, Modern English. More than 100 Illustrations.
The Continual Burnt Offering
By H.A. Ironside - 1941
February 4Joshua 21:45 Not one word of all the good promises that the LORD had made to the house of Israel had failed; all came to pass. ESV
What a testimony to the faithfulness of God! He fulfilled His word to the letter, whether in grace or in government, as He brought His people through the wilderness and into the promised inheritance. As they looked back they could say, “All that God promised He has accomplished.” So shall it be with those who now know Him as revealed in Christ Jesus. When we have ended our pilgrimage and we survey the way we have come from the vantage point of our eternal home in the Father’s house, we shall praise and adore Him. He saved us and guided us to an assured habitation, and His Word has been our confidence through all the journey.
Joshua 23:14 “And now I am about to go the way of all the earth, and you know in your hearts and souls, all of you, that not one word has failed of all the good things that the LORD your God promised concerning you. All have come to pass for you; not one of them has failed. 15 But just as all the good things that the LORD your God promised concerning you have been fulfilled for you, so the LORD will bring upon you all the evil things, until he has destroyed you from off this good land that the LORD your God has given you,
Numbers 23:19 God is not man, that he should lie,
or a son of man, that he should change his mind.
Has he said, and will he not do it?
Or has he spoken, and will he not fulfill it?
1 Corinthians 1:9 God is faithful, by whom you were called into the fellowship of his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.
1 Thessalonians 5:24 He who calls you is faithful; he will surely do it.
Titus 1:2 in hope of eternal life, which God, who never lies, promised before the ages began
Hebrews 6:18 so that by two unchangeable things, in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have fled for refuge might have strong encouragement to hold fast to the hope set before us. ESV
God, the Lord, shall never fail thee,
He thy cause will undertake;
All the way His hand shall hold thee,
Faithful love can ne’er forsake.
Rest then on His own sure promise,
For His word He cannot break;
To green pastures, by still waters,
He will lead for His name’s sake.
Everlasting joy awaits thee,
When the earthly journey’s o’er;
Waiting for thee in the glory
There are pleasures evermore.
--- F. Buckley
The Continual Burnt Offering: Daily Meditations on the Word of God
Devotionals, notes, poetry and more
The marriage covenant (4)
2/4/2018 Bob Gass
‘The wife must respect her husband.’
(Eph 5:33) However, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband. ESV
Paul writes, ‘The wife must respect her husband.’ Pay close attention to the word ‘must’. This is a command from the Lord, not a suggestion or a topic that’s open to debate (see Ephesians 5:33 NLT). Notice, the Bible doesn’t say a woman must ‘love’ her husband, but it does say that she must ‘respect’ him. And guys, before you take the throne and start handing out decrees, that means you must prove yourself worthy of respect! To respect your husband is to hold him in esteem and honour. What a woman needs from a man is located in her heart, and what a man needs from a woman is located in his head. It’s called his ego. You say, ‘I’m not going to feed his ego!’ That would be like your husband saying, ‘I’m not going to feed your heart.’ Men long to have their egos fed. When you fail to feed your husband’s ego, he may end up vulnerable to somebody else who feeds it for him! As a wife, you were created by God with the ability to feed your husband’s ego in a healthy manner, by respecting and honouring him. There’s nothing more dangerous in a marriage relationship than disrespect. When a man doesn’t feel respected, he will either rebel against you, remove himself, or become passive. God has given two simple rules for building a successful marriage. The first is for husbands to love their wives, and the second is for wives to respect their husbands. And when you operate by God’s rules you get God’s results. So, if you want God’s best, and His blessing at home, start doing things His way.
UCB The Word For Today
by Bill Federer
For a time he earned his living barnstorming and performing daring feats of aviation. He became a flying cadet in the U.S. Air Service Reserve, and flew mail routes to Chicago. In 1927, after 33 and a half hours, this twenty-five year-old became the first person to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean. His name was Charles A. Lindbergh, the son of a U.S. Congressman, and he was born this day, February 4, 1902. Years later, speaking at the Institute of Aeronautical Sciences, Charles Lindbergh stated: “It was not the outer grandeur of the Roman but the inner simplicity of the Christian that lived though the ages.”
Thomas R. Kelly
Guidance of life by the Light within is not exhausted as is too frequently supposed, in special leadings toward particular tasks. It begins first of all in a mass revision of our total reaction to the world. Worshipping in the light we become new creatures, making wholly new and astonishing responses to the entire outer setting of life. These responses are not reasoned out. They are, in large measure, spontaneous reactions of felt incompatibility between "the world's" judgments of value and the Supreme Value we adore deep in the Center. There is a total Instruction as well as specific instructions from the Light within. The dynamic illumination from the deeper level is shed upon the judgments of the surface level, and lo, the "former things are passed away, behold, they are become new."
Paradoxically, this total Instruction proceeds in two opposing directions at once. We are torn loose from earthly attachments and ambitions-contemptus mundi. And we are quickened to a divine but painful concern for the world-amor mundi. He plucks the world out of our hearts, loosening the chains of attachment. And He hurls the world into our hearts, where we and He together carry it in infinitely tender love.
The second half of the paradox is more readily accepted today than the first. For we fear it means world withdrawal, world-flight. We fear a life of wallowing in ecstasies of spiritual sensuality while cries of a needy world go unheeded. And some pages of history seem to fortify our fears.
But there is a sound and valid contemptus mundi which the Inner Light works within the utterly dedicated soul. Positions of prominence, eminences of social recognition which we once meant to attain how puny and trifling they become! Our old ambitions and heroic dreams-what years we have wasted in feeding our own insatiable self-pride, when only His will truly matters! Our wealth and property, security now and in old age-upon what broken reeds have we leaned, when He is "the rock of our heart, and our portion forever!"
A Testament of Devotion
Compiled by Richard S. Adams
Therefore say nothing about it. Let it be.
Make everything interesting, pleasant, easy.
Then the offence of the Cross
has been abolished—
and with it
the power of the gospel.
--- George H. Morrison
The whole idea of compassion is based on a keen awareness of the interdependence of all these living beings, which are all part of one another, and all involved in one another. --- Thomas Merton
There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as if everything is.
--- Albert Einstein (1879-1955)
The spirited life directs us away from illusions of competence and causes us to confront our utter helplessness and dependence on our gracious God.
--- Mark R. McMinn
... from here, there and everywhere
by D.H. Stern
enticing him with her seductive words.
22 At once he follows her
like an ox on its way to be slaughtered;
like a fool to be punished in the stocks;
23 or like a bird rushing into a trap,
not knowing its life is at stake
till an arrow pierces its liver.
Complete Jewish Bible : An English Version of the Tanakh (Old Testament) and B'Rit Hadashah (New Testament)
A Daily Devotional by Oswald Chambers
The overmastering majesty of personal power
For the love of Christ constraineth us. --- 2 Cor. 5:14.
Paul says he is overruled, overmastered, held as in a vice, by the love of Christ. Very few of us know what it means to be held in a grip by the love of God; we are held by the constraint of our experience only. The one thing that held Paul, until there was nothing else on his horizon, was the love of God. “The love of Christ constraineth us”—when you hear that note in a man or woman, you can never mistake it. You know that the Spirit of God is getting unhindered way in that life.
When we are born again of the Spirit of God, the note of testimony is on what God has done for us, and rightly so. But the baptism of the Holy Ghost obliterates that for ever, and we begin to realize what Jesus meant when He said—“Ye shall be witnesses unto Me.” Not witnesses to what Jesus can do—that is an elementary witness—but “witnesses unto Me.” We will take everything that happens as happening to Him, whether it be praise or blame, persecution or commendation. No one can stand like that for Jesus Christ who is not constrained by the majesty of His personal power. It is the only thing that matters, and the strange thing is that it is the last thing realized by the Christian worker. Paul says he is gripped by the love of Christ; that is why he acts as he does. Men may call him mad or sober, but he does not care; there is only one thing he is living for, and that is to persuade men of the judgment seat of God, and of the love of Christ. This abandon to the love of Christ is the one thing that bears fruit in the life, and it will always leave the impression of the holiness and of the power of God, never of our personal holiness.
My Utmost for His Highest
the Poetry of R.S. Thomas
It came into being.
From eternity? In
time? Was the womb
prepared for it, or it
for the womb? It lay in the cradle
long months, staring its world
into a shape, decorated
with faces. It addressed
objects, preferred its vocabulary
to their own; grew eloquent
before a resigned
audience. It was fed
speech and vomited
it and was not reproved.
It began walking,
falling, bruising itself
on the bone's truth. The fire
was a tart playmate. It
was taken in by the pool's smile.
Need I go on? It survived
its disasters; met fact
with the mind's guile; forged
for itself wings, missiles.
Launched itself on a dark
night through the nursery
window into adult orbit
out of the reach of gravity's control.
The Poems of R.S. Thomas
Thomas A Kempis
Book One / Thoughts Helpful In The Life Of The Soul
The Fourth Chapter / Prudence In Action
DO NOT yield to every impulse and suggestion but consider things carefully and patiently in the light of God’s will. For very often, sad to say, we are so weak that we believe and speak evil of others rather than good. Perfect men, however, do not readily believe every talebearer, because they know that human frailty is prone to evil and is likely to appear in speech.
Not to act rashly or to cling obstinately to one’s opinion, not to believe everything people say or to spread abroad the gossip one has heard, is great wisdom.
Take counsel with a wise and conscientious man. Seek the advice of your betters in preference to following your own inclinations.
A good life makes a man wise according to God and gives him experience in many things, for the more humble he is and the more subject to God, the wiser and the more at peace he will be in all things.
The Imitation Of Christ
Joseph and His Mission
At 17 Joseph had dreams which indicated he was to have authority over his brothers and his parents. He foolishly told the dreams, and while his father took them seriously, the brothers became more jealous. A short time later Joseph was sent to make sure that all was well with his brothers, who were herding the family flocks on a distant range. Seeing Joseph approach, the brothers conspired to kill him but were restrained by Reuben. When a trade caravan of Midianites passed near, they decided to sell Joseph as a slave.
It’s hard to imagine Joseph’s feelings at the time his brothers sold him. His own family had rejected him, plotted to kill him, and in fact had sold him into a life of slavery in a foreign land. We could hardly blame this teenager if he had simply given up and surrendered to despair.
But when Joseph was sold in Egypt to Potiphar, a high Egyptian official, he actively applied himself to serving. He became so successful that he was advanced to oversee all of Potiphar’s affairs. And “the Lord blessed the household of the Egyptian because of Joseph” (39:5).
But Joseph had attracted the passion of Potiphar’s wife, who tried many times to seduce him. Joseph resisted, unwilling to sin against his master and against God (vv. 7–9). One day when Joseph entered the house alone Potiphar’s wife literally tore his cloak from him. Joseph fled. Convinced she would never have Joseph, the scorned wife lied to her husband. Joseph was stripped of his position and thrown into political prison “where the king’s prisoners were confined” (39:20).
Again Joseph might have lost heart. But again he approached the situation with perseverance, and his capabilities won him quick advancement. In time Joseph became supervisor of the prison under the head jailer, and again the Lord prospered his activities.
In each of these positions Joseph gained administrative experience—which would serve him well later as a ruler in Egypt!
In prison Joseph met two high court officials, the chief butler and chief baker. He interpreted dreams for them. One was to be restored to favor, the other executed by Pharaoh. Joseph’s God-given interpretation came true. Two years later when Pharaoh had puzzling dreams, his chief butler remembered Joseph. He was brought to the palace to interpret. Joseph explained that the dreams of Pharaoh were a divine warning of a great famine to follow a time of great plenty. Joseph also proposed a solution: someone should be appointed to gather food during the time of plenty, and administer distribution during the famine. The impressed Pharaoh responded, “Since God has made all this known to you, there is no one so discerning and wise as you. You shall be in charge of my palace and all my people are to submit to your orders” (41:39–40).
The Teacher's Commentary
If you have raced with men on foot and they have worn you out, how can you compete with horses?
--- Jeremiah 12:5.
[Out of loss and bereavement, some things have become clear.] ( When Life Tumbles In Then What? )
One becomes certain about immortality. You think that you believe in that. But wait till you have lowered your dearest into an open grave, and you will know what believing it means.
We Christian people are unchristian in our thoughts of death. We keep thinking of what it means to us, and that is all wrong!
In the New Testament, you hear very little of the families with that aching gap but a great deal about the saints in glory. And that is where our thoughts should dwell. Dare you compare the clumsy nothings our poor blundering love can give them here with what they must have yonder, where Christ himself has met them and has heaped on them, who can fathom, what happiness and glory?
In any case, are we to let our dearest be wrenched away by force? Or, seeing that it has to be, will we give them willingly and proudly, telling God that we prefer our loneliness rather than that they should miss one tittle of their rights? When the blow fell, that was the one thought that beat like a hammer in my brain. I felt I had lost her forever, that to all eternity she must shine far ahead of me, and my heart kept crying out, “I choose it, I choose it, do not for my sake deny her anything.” I know, now, that I have not lost her. For love is not a thing one leaves behind. When we are young, heaven is vague. But as our friends gather there, it gains vividness and homeliness. And when our dearest have passed yonder, how real it grows, how near: Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. It is not far. They are quite near. The communion of the saints is a tremendous and most blessed fact.
You need not be afraid of life. Our hearts are very frail, and there are places where the road is steep and lonely. But we have a wonderful God. And as Paul puts it in Romans 8:38–39, what can separate us from his love? Not death, he says immediately, pushing that aside at once as the most obvious impossibility.
No, not death, for standing in the roaring Jordan, cold to the heart with its dreadful chill and conscious of its terror, I, too, like Hopeful, can call back to you who one day will have to cross it, “Be of good cheer for I feel the bottom, and it is sound.”
--- Arthur John Gossip
Take Heart: Daily Devotions with the Church's Great Preachers
Too Valuable a Man
Some Christian workers, facing the sunset years, may retire from official positions and pace themselves more carefully in ministry. But withdrawing entirely from the Lord’s work isn’t an option, for Christians don’t really retire. They just get transferred.
In 776 Rabanus Maurus was born in Germany with a good brain. His parents educated him in the best schools, and he eventually studied in Tours, France, under the great Christian educator Alcuin, who had advised Charlemagne. Alcuin mentored Rabanus with more than book knowledge; he equipped him to teach others. Back in Germany, Rabanus was appointed principal of the school in Fulda, and under his leadership German youth, both poor and rich, were afforded an education. Rabanus painstakingly developed the library into the best anywhere and made his school Europe’s most famous, the mother of scholars and of a score of affiliated institutions. He extended the curriculum to include many sciences, and “reproved superstitions.” His graduates were in demand across Europe.
At the heart of Rabanus’s educational genius was a passion for God’s Word. His academic programs included diligent study of Scripture. He wrote commentaries on almost every book in the Bible, preached regularly, composed hymns, wrote handbooks for ministers, and worked hard for a well-trained clergy — all in an age of darkness, ignorance, and superstition.
Finally in 842, exhausted, he retired. At 66, he longed to spend the rest of his life in quiet study, free from official responsibility. “But he was too valuable a man to be allowed to retire from active life.” Appointed archbishop of Mainz, Germany, Rabanus spent his remaining years preaching the gospel and contending for the faith. He didn’t lay down his labors until February 4, 856 when, at age 80, the Lord transferred him home. What kept Rabanus going? The Spirit’s anointing! In one of his hymns he prayed:
Come from the throne of God above
O Paraclete, O Holy Dove,
Come, Oil of gladness, cleansing Fire,
And Living Spring of pure desire.
Good people will prosper like palm trees,
And they will grow strong like the cedars of Lebanon.
They will take root in your house, LORD God,
And they will do well.
They will be like trees that stay healthy and fruitful,
Even when they are old.
--- Psalm 92:12-14.
On This Day 365 Amazing And Inspiring Stories About Saints, Martyrs And Heroes
Daily Readings / CHARLES H. SPURGEON
Morning - February 4
“The love of the Lord.” --- Hosea 3:1.
Believer, look back through all thine experience, and think of the way whereby the Lord thy God has led thee in the wilderness, and how he hath fed and clothed thee every day—how he hath borne with thine ill manners—how he hath put up with all thy murmurings, and all thy longings after the flesh-pots of Egypt—how he has opened the rock to supply thee, and fed thee with manna that came down from heaven. Think of how his grace has been sufficient for thee in all thy troubles—how his blood has been a pardon to thee in all thy sins—how his rod and his staff have comforted thee. When thou hast thus looked back upon the love of the Lord, then let faith survey his love in the future, for remember that Christ’s covenant and blood have something more in them than the past. He who has loved thee and pardoned thee, shall never cease to love and pardon. He is Alpha, and he shall be Omega also: he is first, and he shall be last. Therefore, bethink thee, when thou shalt pass through the valley of the shadow of death, thou needest fear no evil, for he is with thee. When thou shalt stand in the cold floods of Jordan, thou needest not fear, for death cannot separate thee from his love; and when thou shalt come into the mysteries of eternity thou needest not tremble, “For I am persuaded, that neither death; nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Now, soul, is not thy love refreshed? Does not this make thee love Jesus? Doth not a flight through illimitable plains of the ether of love inflame thy heart and compel thee to delight thyself in the Lord thy God? Surely as we meditate on “the love of the Lord,” our hearts burn within us, and we long to love him more.
Evening - February 4
“Your refuge from the avenger of blood.” --- Joshua 20:3.
It is said that in the land of Canaan, cities of refuge were so arranged, that any man might reach one of them within half a day at the utmost. Even so the word of our salvation is near to us; Jesus is a present Saviour, and the way to him is short; it is but a simple renunciation of our own merit, and a laying hold of Jesus, to be our all in all. With regard to the roads to the city of refuge, we are told that they were strictly preserved, every river was bridged, and every obstruction removed, so that the man who fled might find an easy passage to the city. Once a year the elders went along the roads and saw to their order, so that nothing might impede the flight of any one, and cause him, through delay, to be overtaken and slain. How graciously do the promises of the gospel remove stumbling blocks from the way! Wherever there were by-roads and turnings, there were fixed up hand-posts, with the inscription upon them—“To the city of refuge!” This is a picture of the road to Christ Jesus. It is no roundabout road of the law; it is no obeying this, that, and the other; it is a straight road: “Believe, and live.” It is a road so hard, that no self-righteous man can ever tread it, but so easy, that every sinner, who knows himself to be a sinner may by it find his way to heaven. No sooner did the man-slayer reach the outworks of the city than he was safe; it was not necessary for him to pass far within the walls, but the suburbs themselves were sufficient protection. Learn hence, that if you do but touch the hem of Christ’s garment, you shall be made whole; if you do but lay hold upon him with “faith as a grain of mustard seed,” you are safe.
“A little genuine grace ensures
The death of all our sins.”
Only waste no time, loiter not by the way, for the avenger of blood is swift of foot; and it may be he is at your heels at this still hour of eventide.
Morning and Evening
LOVE DIVINE, ALL LOVES EXCELLING
Charles Wesley, 1707–1788
This is how God showed His love among us: He sent His one and only Son into the world that we might live through Him. (1 John 4:9)
We must never underestimate the power of love in our human relationships—whether marriages, family, business associations, or friendships. The divine love of God for man far excels all other forms of love.
“Love Divine …” is another of the more than 6500 hymns by Charles Wesley, the “sweet bard of Methodism.” This fine text —written in 1747—touches various elements of Christian doctrine. It extols the love of God as expressed in the incarnation of Christ. Then it refers to the Wesleyan concept of entire sanctification—that any believer might live without consciously sinning and thereby find the promised “rest” mentioned in Hebrews 4:9. The “Alpha and Omega” of verse two (first and last letters of the Greek alphabet) also reflect this Wesleyan teaching, that the experiences of conversion and sanctification are thought of as the “beginning of faith” and the “end or object of faith.” The third stanza emphasizes the truth that the Spirit of God indwells the temple or body of each believer, while the fourth stanza anticipates the glorious culmination of our faith when “we cast our crowns before Thee, lost in wonder, love and praise.”
Although Christians may have differences of interpretation regarding the doctrine of sanctification, we can agree on this basic truth: It ought to be a normal desire for each believer to grow in the grace of our Lord.
Love divine, all loves excelling, joy of heav’n, to earth come down; fix in us Thy humble dwelling; all Thy faithful mercies crown. Jesus, Thou art all compassion; pure, unbounded love Thou art; visit us with Thy salvation; enter ev’ry trembling heart.
Breathe, O breathe Thy loving Spirit into ev’ry troubled breast! Let us all in Thee inherit; let us find that second rest. Take away our bent to sinning, Alpha and Omega be; end of faith, as its beginning, set our hearts at liberty.
Come, almighty to deliver, let us all Thy life receive; suddenly return, and never, nevermore Thy temples leave. Thee we would be always blessing, serve Thee as Thy hosts above, pray and praise Thee without ceasing, glory in Thy perfect love.
Finish then Thy new creation; pure and spotless let us be; let us see Thy great salvation perfectly restored in Thee. Changed from glory into glory, till in heav’n we take our place, till we cast our crowns before Thee, lost in wonder, love and praise.
For Today: John 3:14–21; Philippians 1:6; Colossians 1:28; 1 John 3:11–24.
God’s love must dominate our hearts, minds, and wills. Pray that this will become increasingly true in your life. Carry this portion of the hymn with you ---
Amazing Grace: 366 Inspiring Hymn Stories for Daily Devotions
Approach, my soul, the mercy seat,
Where Jesus answers prayer;
There humbly fall before His feet,
For none can perish there.
Thy promise is my only plea,
With this I venture nigh;
Thou callest burdened souls to Thee,
And such, O Lord, am I.
Bowed down beneath a load of sin,
By Satan sorely pressed,
By war without and fears within,
I come to Thee for rest.
Be Thou my Shield and hiding Place,
That, sheltered by Thy side,
I may my fierce accuser face,
And tell him Thou hast died!
O wondrous love! to bleed and die,
To bear the cross and shame,
That guilty sinners, such as I,
Might plead Thy gracious name.
Poor tempest-tossèd soul, be still;
My promised grace receive;
’Tis Jesus speaks—I must, I will,
I can, I do believe.
The Works of John Newton (4 Volume Set)
Dallas Theological Seminary
Brett Meador | Athey Creek
m2-063 | 3-11-2015
m2-064 | 3-18-2015