I AM HIS AND HE IS MINE
George Wade Robinson, 1838–1877
Your life is now hidden with Christ in God. (Colossians 3:3)
Spiritual maturity is a growing appreciation of God simply for who He is. Only then can we begin to revel in our eternal union with Him. This realization gives all of life a different perspective. Life takes on a new dignity, worth, and meaning. Even nature is viewed differently—“earth around is sweeter green …” Learning to abide in Christ means that we live with a calmer, more relaxed attitude because we rely on God rather than ourselves—“things that once were wild alarms cannot now disturb my rest.” John Wesley often spoke of this kind of life as “living with a loose rein.” Our union with Christ also makes us victors when we realize that “while God and I shall be,” nothing in life can ever separate us from this eternal love relationship (Romans 8:35).
The author of this text, George Wade Robinson, was a pastor of Congregational churches in England. The composer, James Mountain, was an Anglican minister who became greatly influenced by the Moody-Sankey campaigns in England in the early 1870’s. Mountain later devoted his life to the work of evangelism both in Great Britain and world-wide. “I Am His and He Is Mine” first appeared in James Mountain’s collection, Hymns of Consecration and Faith, published in 1876. The truths this hymn presents so well become more meaningful each time we sing it.
Loved with everlasting love, led by grace that love to know—Spirit, breathing from above, Thou hast taught me it is so! O this full and perfect peace, O this transport all divine— In a love which cannot cease, I am His and He is mine.
Heav’n above is softer blue; earth around is sweeter green; something lives in ev’ry hue Christless eyes have never seen! Birds with gladder songs o’erflow, flow’rs with deeper beauties shine, since I know, as now I know, I am His and He is mine.
Things that once were wild alarms cannot now disturb my rest; closed in everlasting arms, pillowed on the loving breast! O to lie forever here, doubt and care and self resign, while He whispers in my ear—I am His and He is mine.
His forever, only His—Who the Lord and me shall part? Ah, with what a rest of bliss Christ can fill the loving heart! Heav’n and earth may fade and flee, first-born light in gloom decline, but while God and I shall be, I am His and He is mine.
For Today: Song of Solomon 6:3; John 14:1–8; 15:9–11; Galatians 2:20
Take time to truly meditate upon God and all that He is. Then revel and rejoice in the glorious truth that you are inseparably united with Him.
February 9: Speaking Up
Exodus 21:1–23:33; John 4:27–42; Song of Solomon 3:1–2
Because we convince ourselves that people won’t accept our testimony about God’s work in our lives, we’re not usually ready to share it. We might prejudge their reactions or simply lack confidence. Soon, staying silent becomes a way of life. We become accustomed to the monotony and forget our calling in the world.
But we’re called to action. Our words have power, and not because of our own storytelling talent or our ability to tap into others’ emotions. God can and will use our words to draw people to Him through His Spirit—perhaps without our even being aware of it. In John 4:27–42, Jesus uses a Samaritan woman with a tarnished reputation to bring Samaritans (people whom the disciples and the Jews looked down upon) to faith.
Like the disciples, we have to realize the urgency of the good news. We have to show others that the kingdom of heaven is at hand.
We are called to action. Verbalizing, with humility, what God has done for us is an important part of faith. We shouldn’t shy away from it or doubt that He will use it to bring others to Himself. This should bring us to a place of confidence and humility. And it should compel us to speak.
Do you speak to others about your faith? How can you begin telling others about the work God has done in you?
Rebecca Van Noord
Welcome to Daily Treasures from the Word of God. Today’s reading is Exodus 33 through 36. Our lesson is from Exodus 33:14, “And He said, ‘My presence shall go [with you], and I will give you rest.’ ” (NASU)
We will begin our study with a brief overview of chapter 33. The Lord speaks to Moses about Israel. He tells Moses that Israel is an obstinate people. The Lord admonishes the people; they admit their stubbornness and repent. They feel guilty before the Lord. On the other hand, God speaks to Moses face to face like a friend. Let’s examine the three characteristics of God’s presence.
First, God’s presence was with Moses. This was both a great confirmation and consolation to Moses. It was the presence of the Lord that gave Moses spiritual authority and helped him fulfill the task of freeing Israel from the oppression of Pharaoh and Egypt. Moses knows the source of his success is the Lord. He realizes that it is God who makes or breaks a ministry. Moses is to obey God and then God does what needs to be done. God’s presence is powerful in breaking down barriers in our real-life situations today just as He was in Moses’ day. It is important to realize this biblical truth and apply it to our lives.
Secondly, God’s presence gives rest. We live in a fast paced world. At times it feels like the faster we run, the farther we get behind. But the Lord tells Moses that His presence will give him rest. Rest in the biblical sense does not mean “to do nothing.” The concept is one of trust in God and knowing that He is faithful to accomplish what He has promised. It is an exercise of faith and obedience which gives one a sense of God’s active involvement in our lives and ministries.
Lastly, God’s presence distinguishes His people from the rest of humanity. This is clearly stated in verse 16. But note that His presence in our lives does not mean we are to think that we are superior to others. As a matter of fact, our attitude should be totally the opposite. We should be humbled by the fact that the Lord has chosen us to be a part of His people. We are to serve others so that they, too, may become God’s people. That is our mission. We are to be God’s missionary people in all of life’s circumstances.
In conclusion, God’s presence was with Moses. God’s presence gives rest. And God’s presence distinguishes His people from others.
Let’s not forget the promise that Jesus made to the disciples in the Great Commission that He would be with His disciples to the end. We can count on His presence through the Holy Spirit to help us fulfill our task.
It has been a pleasure to share with you Daily Treasures from the Word of God. Tomorrow’s Bible reading is Exodus 37 through 40. Let’s not forget the words of the psalmist, “The law of Your mouth is better to me than thousands of gold and silver pieces.” Until tomorrow and may God bless you in abundance as you study the Word of God.
|The Joy of God’s Peace
“Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ” (Phil. 1:2).
Nothing you face today is beyond the purview of God’s grace and peace.
Paul’s wonderful benediction for grace and peace was ever on his heart. He offered it in each of his epistles and expounded on it throughout his writings.
Grace is the outpouring of God’s goodness and mercy on undeserving mankind. Every benefit and provision you receive is by God’s grace. That’s why Peter called it “the manifold grace of God” (1 Peter 4:10). Just as your trials are manifold or multifaceted, so God’s multifaceted and all-sufficient grace is correspondingly available to sustain you.
Peace, as used in Philippians 1:2, speaks of the calmness and absence of strife characteristic of one in whom God’s grace is at work. The New Testament also links it to mercy, hope, joy, and love. To experience those graces is to experience true peace.
It is said that when Bible translators were seeking a word or phrase for “peace” in the language of the Chol Indians of South Mexico, they discovered that the words for “a quiet heart” gave just the meaning they were looking for. That’s an appropriate parallel because peace guards the soul against anxiety and strife, granting solace and harmony.
Colossians 3:15 says, “Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body.” In Philippians 4:6–7 Paul says to “be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, shall guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
Although “grace to you and peace” was a common greeting in the early church, it was an uncommon experience in the unbelieving world. The same is true today, because only those who belong to God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ receive grace and peace.
Are you experiencing God’s peace? Remember, nothing you face today is beyond the purview of God’s all-sufficient grace and surpassing peace.
Suggestions for Prayer: Read Ephesians 2:14–18, and praise God for Christ, who is your peace, and for His gracious work on your behalf.
For Further Study: What is the first step to acquiring peace (John 16:33; 1 Peter 5:14)? ✧ What does the God of peace desire to accomplish within you (1 Thess. 5:23; Heb. 13:20–21)?
Feeling What God Feels
Whether we live or die, we are the Lord’s.
I remember one young woman who learned to feel pain when God was dishonored. She left a little town in West Virginia to live with a guy who was a student at UCLA. After a while, he kicked her out. She wandered around and tried to take her life several times, but each time she survived. My sister and I met her and had the opportunity to lead her to Christ. Soon after that she decided to go back to her hometown so she could tell her mother and friends about Christ.
Several months later, she wrote me a letter. This is some of what she wrote:
“I can almost feel the unbearable sadness that God feels when someone rejects and doesn’t glorify Him. He’s God! He made us. He gave us everything. We continue to doubt and reject Him. It’s awful! When I think of how I hurt Him, I hope I can someday make it up.
“It’s all so clear to me that God must be glorified. He deserves it, and it’s long overdue. I can’t wait to just tell Jesus, and thus God indirectly, that I love Him. I want God to be God and to take His rightful place. I’m tired of the way people put Him down.”
|God Doesn’t Change
“Thou art the same, and Thy years will not come to an end.”
God never changes, so He can be trusted to do what He says.
God alone is unchanging (or as the theologians say, immutable). The psalmist says, “Even [the heavens and earth] will perish, but Thou dost endure…. Thou art the same, and Thy years will not come to an end” (Ps. 102:26–27). Though Israel deserved destruction for its sin, God was faithful to His covenant with Abraham, saying, “I, the Lord, do not change; therefore you, O sons of Jacob, are not consumed” (Mal. 3:6). James calls God “the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation, or shifting shadow” (1:17).
What about those verses that say God changed His mind (e.g., Amos 7:3, 6; Jonah 3:10)? Let’s look at an example. Jonah warned the wicked city of Nineveh of impending judgment. The city immediately repented, and “when God saw their deeds, that they turned from their wicked way, then God relented concerning the calamity which He had declared He would bring upon them. And He did not do it” (3:10). Who changed? The people of Nineveh! God’s nature to punish evil and reward good remained the same, but the object changed.
You can’t blame the sun for melting the wax and hardening the clay. The problem is in the substance of the wax and clay, not in the sun. In a similar way, our standing before God determines how God acts toward us.
What does God’s unchanging character mean? To unbelievers, it means judgment. When God says, “The person who sins will die” (Ezek. 18:20) and “The wages of sin is death” (Rom. 6:23), He means it. When He says Hell is eternal (Matt. 25:46; Rev. 20:10, 13–15), then it is.
To Christians, His immutability means comfort. If He loved me in the past, He loves me now and forever. If He forgave and saved me, He did so forever. If He promised me anything, His promise stands forever. If the Bible says, “My God shall supply all your needs” (Phil. 4:19), we know the power that supplied Paul’s needs is the same power that will supply ours. God told Israel, “I have loved you with an everlasting love” (Jer. 31:3), and His love for us is the same.
Suggestions for Prayer: Praise God for His immutability, and thank Him for the comfort that brings you.
For Further Study: Find some promises God makes to His children in Scripture, and ask for faith to believe them, even when belief is difficult.
Develop Your Gifts
There are many plans in a man’s heart, nevertheless the Lord’s counsel—that will stand.
If you are not fully aware today of the unique talents and gifts that God has given to you—and that have been present in you from your birth—ask God to reveal those gifts to you.
Once God reveals your unique talents, ask Him to help you develop them. Be sensitive to ways in which you might receive further training in your area of talent.…
As you develop your talents, ask God to reveal ways in which you can use your talents for His glory. Don’t wait until you are an expert. Part of the way to become an expert is to start using your talents for God’s purposes.
Scripture reading: Ephesians 2:1–10
Key verse: Ephesians 2:10
We are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.
Sometimes feelings of low self-esteem may stem from an image of how you are supposed to be, a false and unrealistic ideal. In his book, Healing for Damaged Emotions, David Seamands explains:
Super You believes the myth: “I’ve always got to be super-happy.” But are you always happy? Never depressed? Bubbling over with “Praise the Lord”? Is there never a time of struggle … when you do things out of sheer duty, without happy feelings?…
When you waste time and energy trying to be Super Self, you rob yourself of growth and the friendship of God. And you never let God accept and love the Real You for whom Christ died … Super You is an illusion of your imagination, a false image, an idol …
You can be yourself in Jesus, and you need not compare yourself to anyone else. He wants to heal you and to change you in order that Real You can grow up to be the person He intended you to be …
When you stop wasting your spiritual energies to maintain this false Super You and start using those energies in cooperating with the Holy Spirit for true growth, you will find yourself free in Jesus Christ, liberated from false oughts and shoulds, freed from the approval and disapproval of other people, freed from that awful condemnation of the performance gap between what you’re trying to be and what you really are.
Dear Lord, I need to be set free from the condemnation of the gap between what I’m trying to be and what I really am. Let me be the real me.
February 9 Your Greatest Privileges
I also, after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all the saints, do not cease to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers.
Two compelling factors make prayer an exercise worth your wholehearted devotion.
Prayer is a means by which you come to know God. Is there anyone else you would rather know intimately than the living, eternal, awesome God? Can there be any greater pursuit than knowing God?
When you pray, you come to know God in the most practical and personal way possible. You seek His mind and His will. You learn to understand His character, and you enter into the temple of the Most High. Knowing God can make a dull life exciting, a doubting life sure, a timid life bold, a wandering life purposeful.
Prayer is also a means by which you worship God. Have you ever thought how you worship God? Certainly you can exalt Him through your lips and actions; but when you pray, you truly acknowledge Him as the Source and End of all.
Prayer is an act of worship by which you confess your reverence and dependence on God. The Bible refers to the prayers of God’s people as incense, symbolic of praise and worship.
Knowing God and worshiping God are two of the greatest privileges a Christian can enjoy. For these reasons, prayer is worth your complete devotion.
Have you prayed today?
I want to know You. There is no greater pursuit. I want to worship You. There is no greater privilege. Lord, I commit myself anew to prayer.
The Inspired Word of God
Scripture reading: 2 Timothy 3:16–17
Key verse: 1 Timothy 4:15
Meditate on these things; give yourself entirely to them, that your progress may be evident to all.
As we read through Paul’s letters to his young protégé, Timothy, we find that their content is written just as much for us. Every man, woman, and young person who studies God’s Word comes face to face with truth inspired by God.
Henry Thiessen commented on inspiration:
God has revealed himself in nature, history, and conscience. He has also revealed himself in his Son and in his Word. The Holy Spirit so guided and superintended the writers of the sacred text, making use of their own unique personalities, that they wrote all that he wanted them to write, without excess or error.
Several things must be noted. (1) Inspiration is inexplicable. It is the operation of the Holy Spirit. (2) Inspiration is limited to the authors of Scripture. Other books are not inspired in the same sense. (3) Inspiration is essentially guidance. That is, the Holy Spirit supervised the selection of the materials to be used and the words to be employed in writing. (4) The Holy Spirit preserved the authors from all error and from all omission. (5) Inspiration extends to the words of the Bible, not merely to the thoughts and concepts.
Although these concepts may seem difficult to grasp, they show us one thing: God has taken great care to preserve His Word. It is His gift to you and me for our instruction and encouragement as we grow in our love for Him.
Thank You for preserving Your Word for me, Lord. Help me build my life and ministry upon its eternal, unchanging truths.
The Divine Scapegoat
Scripture Reading: Leviticus 16:1–22
Key Verse: Isaiah 53:6
All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned, every one, to his own way; and the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.
Through repeated usage, the term scapegoat has become quite familiar to our secular culture. Its meaning—“an innocent party being blamed”—has its roots, however, in an ancient Hebrew ritual known as the Day of Atonement.
This holy day occurred once each year. The high priest took two male goats as a sin offering for the iniquities of the people. One goat was slaughtered, and its blood was sprinkled on the mercy seat. The remaining goat was sent into the wilderness—after the high priest had placed his hands on the goat’s head and confessed the sins of the nation over it. Through this “scapegoat” observance, God showed His mercy to the Israelites, allowing Him to continue His covenant relationship with them.
In much the same way, Jesus became the divine scapegoat for the sins of the world. He was and is the “Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!” (John 1:29 nasb).
Our sins were placed on Him at Calvary. Indeed, our sins put Him there.
Jesus took the blame so that we could live. Have you trusted in His atonement? Have you come to Him for the forgiveness of your sins? Have you been healed of your transgressions through His sacrifice?
Almighty God, thank You for the sacrifice of Your Son, Jesus, as the divine scapegoat for my sins. I praise You that He took the blame, so I could live. I rejoice in the liberating truth of His atonement for me.
Scripture Reading: Psalm 51:1–19
Key Verse: Psalm 51:1
Have mercy upon me, O God,
According to Your lovingkindness;
According to the multitude of Your tender mercies,
Blot out my transgressions.
Guilt settled in like a thick fog. David had sinned horribly against God by taking another man’s wife, committing murder, and making sure that his actions had remained undiscovered. Then, when it appeared that the coast was clear, he breathed a sigh of relief. That is when God sent the prophet Nathan to awaken King David’s conscience.
Crushed and broken in spirit, David threw himself to his knees. Fear crept into his mind as he thought, How can I approach God now? Have I completely destroyed my relationship with the Lord?
Armed only with a broken and contrite heart, the fallen David approached the Lord. He prayed, “Have mercy upon me, O God, according to Your lovingkindness; according to the multitude of Your tender mercies, blot out my transgressions” (Psalm 51:1).
After asking for a clean heart (verse 10), David boldly stated his belief that God can and will restore him. Not only did God forgive, but He continued to actively use David. Despite his guilt and shame, David’s failures did not exclude him from serving his Lord. Because God forgave him, he was able to forgive himself.
If guilt is preventing you from fully experiencing the joyful forgiveness God offers, pray today for His help in laying down your chains and escaping the bondage of unholy guilt.
Lord Jesus, I offer to You the sins I have committed and the guilt that makes me feel worthless. I thank You that I am blameless because of Your sacrifice for me.
Now he is comforted.
The sun shall no longer go down, nor shall the moon withdraw itself; for You, mighty Lord, will be my everlasting light, and the days of my mourning shall be ended. You will swallow up death forever, and You, Lord God, will wipe away tears from all faces; the rebuke of Your people You will take away from all the earth. These are the ones who come out of the great tribulation, and washed their robes and made them white in the blood of Jesus the Lamb. Therefore they are before Your throne, Lord God, and serve You day and night in Your temple. You who sit on the throne will dwell among them. They shall neither hunger anymore nor thirst anymore; the sun shall not strike them, nor any heat; for the Lamb in the midst of the throne will shepherd them and lead them to living fountains of waters. And You, Lord God, will wipe away every tear from my eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying; and there shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.
What a glorious promise and picture of hope! I thank You, Lord God, for this promise of comfort eternal that awaits fulfillment when Jesus returns to reign!
Luke 16:25; Isaiah 60:20; Isaiah 25:8; Revelation 7:14–17; Revelation 21:4
1 Peter 2:24
[Christ] Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, having died to sins, might live for righteousness—by whose stripes you were healed.
For true comfort we must turn to the Master Healer. The apostle Peter gives us the promise of healing when we turn to Christ, “Who Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, having died to sins, might live for righteousness—by whose stripes you were healed. For you were like sheep going astray, but have now returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls” (1 Peter 2:24–25).
We are comforted by the knowledge that because of our Savior’s lonely suffering and death and His glorious resurrection, we also will rise again to have eternal life in heaven. Even when our loved ones die and leave us behind, we can become true survivors in Christ and not be overwhelmed by the pain of separation and aloneness, for we are not forever separated from them nor are we ever truly alone. Our Savior is always with us and through His power we know that the death of an earthly body is not the end of life, but the beginning of eternal happiness. Knowing this gives us comfort.
THE canon of revelation is closed; there is no more to be added; God does not give a fresh revelation, but he rivets the old one. When it has been forgotten, and laid in the dusty chamber of our memory, he brings it forth and cleans the picture, but does not paint a new one. It is not by any new revelation that the Spirit comforts. He does so by telling us old things over again; he brings a fresh lamp to manifest the treasures hidden in Scripture; he unlocks the strong chests in which the truth has long lain, and he points to secret chambers filled with untold riches; but he coins no more, for enough is done.
Therefore will the Lord wait, that he may be gracious unto you
This is God’s way. In the darkest hours of the night His tread draws near across the billows. As the day of execution is breaking, the angel comes to Peter’s cell. When the scaffold for Mordecai is complete, the royal sleeplessness leads to a reaction in favor of the threatened race.
Ah, soul, it may have come to the worst with thee ere thou art delivered; but thou wilt be! God may keep thee waiting, but He will ever be mindful of His covenant, and will appear to fulfill His inviolable word.
F. B. Meyer
The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it,
The world and all who dwell in it.
For He founded it upon the seas
And established it upon the waters. (Psalm 24:1–2)
God sits enthroned above the circle of the earth,
And its inhabitants are like grasshoppers.
He stretches out the heavens like a curtain
And spreads them out like a tent to dwell in.
He reduces rulers to nothing
And makes the judges of this world meaningless. (Isaiah 40:22–23)
Pause to express your thoughts of praise and worship.
The refining pot is for silver and the furnace for gold,
But the Lord tests the hearts. (Proverbs 17:3)
Ask the Spirit to search your heart and reveal any areas of unconfessed sin. Acknowledge these to the Lord and thank Him for His forgiveness.
May I know God and serve Him with a whole heart and with a willing mind; for the Lord searches all hearts and understands every motive behind the thoughts. (1 Chronicles 28:9)
May I be an imitator of God as a beloved child, and walk in love, just as Christ loved me and gave Himself up for me as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. (Ephesians 5:1–2)
Pause to add your own prayers for personal renewal.
May I not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—is not of the Father but of the world. And the world and its lusts are passing away, but the one who does the will of God abides forever. (1 John 2:15–17)
Faithfulness as a Steward
My activities for this day
The Lord has said, “If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.” (2 Chronicles 7:14)
Current events and concerns
The righteous will live by his faith. (Habakkuk 2:4)
I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first, and also to the Gentile. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith, just as it is written: “The righteous will live by faith.” (Romans 1:16–17)
Clearly no one is justified before God by the law, for “The righteous will live by faith.” (Galatians 3:11)
Before faith in Christ came, we were guarded by the law, confined for the faith which was later to be revealed. So the law has become our tutor to lead us to Christ, that we might be justified by faith. Now that faith has come, we are no longer under a tutor. (Galatians 3:23–25)
Pause to reflect upon these biblical affirmations.
The Lord upholds all who fall
And lifts up all who are bowed down.
The eyes of all look to You,
And You give them their food at the proper time.
You open Your hand
And satisfy the desire of every living thing. (Psalm 145:14–16)
Pause to offer your own expressions of thanksgiving.
The Lord Jesus is the first and the last, and the Living One; He was dead, and behold He is alive forevermore and holds the keys of death and of Hades. (Revelation 1:17–18)
Worthy is the Lamb, who was slain,
To receive power and riches and wisdom
And strength and honor and glory and blessing! (Revelation 5:12)
Morning, February 9
“And David enquired of the Lord.”
— 2 Samuel 5:23
When David made this enquiry he had just fought the Philistines, and gained a signal victory. The Philistines came up in great hosts, but, by the help of God, David had easily put them to flight. Note, however, that when they came a second time, David did not go up to fight them without enquiring of the Lord. Once he had been victorious, and he might have said, as many have in other cases, “I shall be victorious again; I may rest quite sure that if I have conquered once I shall triumph yet again. Wherefore should I tarry to seek at the Lord’s hands?” Not so, David. He had gained one battle by the strength of the Lord; he would not venture upon another until he had ensured the same. He enquired, “Shall I go up against them?” He waited until God’s sign was given. Learn from David to take no step without God. Christian, if thou wouldst know the path of duty, take God for thy compass; if thou wouldst steer thy ship through the dark billows, put the tiller into the hand of the Almighty. Many a rock might be escaped, if we would let our Father take the helm; many a shoal or quicksand we might well avoid, if we would leave to his sovereign will to choose and to command. The Puritan said, “As sure as ever a Christian carves for himself, he’ll cut his own fingers;” this is a great truth. Said another old divine, “He that goes before the cloud of God’s providence goes on a fool’s errand;” and so he does. We must mark God’s providence leading us; and if providence tarries, tarry till providence comes. He who goes before providence, will be very glad to run back again. “I will instruct thee and teach thee in the way which thou shalt go,” is God’s promise to his people. Let us, then, take all our perplexities to him, and say, “Lord, what wilt thou have me to do?” Leave not thy chamber this morning without enquiring of the Lord.
Evening, February 9
“Lead us not into temptation; but deliver us from evil [or, the evil one].”
— Luke 11:4
What we are taught to seek or shun in prayer, we should equally pursue or avoid in action. Very earnestly, therefore, should we avoid temptation, seeking to walk so guardedly in the path of obedience, that we may never tempt the devil to tempt us. We are not to enter the thicket in search of the lion. Dearly might we pay for such presumption. This lion may cross our path or leap upon us from the thicket, but we have nothing to do with hunting him. He that meeteth with him, even though he winneth the day, will find it a stern struggle. Let the Christian pray that he may be spared the encounter. Our Saviour, who had experience of what temptation meant, thus earnestly admonished his disciples—“Pray that ye enter not into temptation.”
But let us do as we will, we shall be tempted; hence the prayer “deliver us from evil.” God had one Son without sin; but he has no son without temptation. The natural man is born to trouble as the sparks fly upwards, and the Christian man is born to temptation just as certainly. We must be always on our watch against Satan, because, like a thief, he gives no intimation of his approach. Believers who have had experience of the ways of Satan, know that there are certain seasons when he will most probably make an attack, just as at certain seasons bleak winds may be expected; thus the Christian is put on a double guard by fear of danger, and the danger is averted by preparing to meet it. Prevention is better than cure: it is better to be so well armed that the devil will not attack you, than to endure the perils of the fight, even though you come off a conqueror. Pray this evening first that you may not be tempted, and next that if temptation be permitted, you may be delivered from the evil one. 
Genesis 42; Mark 12; Job 8; Romans 12
Bildad the shuhite is scandalized by Job’s response to Eliphaz and offers his own searing rebuttal (Job 8).
“How long will you say such things?” Bildad asks. “Your words are a blustering wind” (8:2). We would say they are nothing but hot air. From Bildad’s perspective, Job is charging God with perverting justice. “Does the Almighty pervert what is right?” (8:3). But Bildad cannot let the point linger as a merely theoretical point to be debated by theologians. The implications of his rhetorical question Bildad now drives home in a shaft that must have pierced Job to the quick: “When your children sinned against him, he gave them over to the penalty of their sin” (8:4). In other words, the proper explanation of the storm that killed all ten of Job’s children (1:18–19) is that they deserved it. To say anything else would surely mean, according to Bildad, that God is unjust, that he perverts justice. So the way forward for Job is “to look to God and plead with the Almighty” (8:5). If Job humbles himself and is truly pure and upright, God will restore him to his “rightful place.” Indeed, all the fabulous wealth Job formerly enjoyed will seem like a mere piffle compared with the rewards that will come to him (8:6–7).
For his authority Bildad appeals to longstanding tradition, to “the former generations.” The opinions he and his friends express are not newfangled ideas but received tradition. Bildad and his friends, regardless of how old they are, can only have learned by experience what can be tasted in one lifetime. What they are appealing to, however, is not the experience of one lifetime, but accumulated tradition. That tradition says that the godless and those who forget God perish like reeds without water; they enjoy all the support of those who lean on spiders’ webs (8:11–19). Conversely, “Surely God does not reject a blameless man or strengthen the hands of evildoers” (8:20).
Of course, this is roughly the argument of Eliphaz, perhaps somewhat more bluntly expressed; and while Eliphaz appealed to visions of the night, Bildad appealed to received tradition. Once again, parts of the argument are not wrong. At one level, on an eternal scale, it is right to conclude that God vindicates righteousness and condemns wickedness. But as Bildad expresses the case, he claims to know more about God’s doings than he really does (neither he nor Job knows the behind-the-scenes setup in chapter 1). Worse, he applies his doctrine mechanically and shortsightedly, and ends up condemning a righteous man.
Can you think of instances where premature or unbalanced application of biblical truth has turned out to be fundamentally mistaken?
Genesis 42; Mark 12; Job 8; Romans 12
The exchange between Jesus and some of his opponents in Mark 12:13–17 is full of interest. Mark says that Jesus’ interlocutors set out “to catch him in his words” (12:13). Doubtless that is why they begin with some pretty condescending flattery about how principled a teacher he is, utterly unwilling to be swayed by popular opinion. It is all a setup. “Is it right to pay taxes to Caesar or not?” they ask. “Should we pay or shouldn’t we?” (12:14–15).
They thought they had him. If he answered “No,” then he would be in trouble with the Roman authorities, who certainly were not going to allow a popular religious preacher in a volatile country like this one go around advocating nonpayment of taxes. Jesus might even be executed for treason. But if he answered “Yes,” then he would lose the confidence of the people and therefore diminish his popularity. Many ordinary Jews not only felt the ordinary human resentment of taxes, but raised theological objections. How could conscientious Jews pay in coins that had the image of the emperor on them, especially coins that ascribed titles of deity to him? Besides, if Jews were really righteous, would not God come down and deliver his people again, this time from the Roman superpower? Does not principled fidelity to God demand nonpayment of taxes?
Whatever answer Jesus gave, he would be a loser. But he refuses to yield. Instead, he asks for a coin, asks whose image is on it, and argues that it is right to give to Caesar what is Caesar’s and to God what is God’s. Jesus thereby neatly escapes their snare, and his interlocutors are amazed.
But there are layers of implications here. Under a strict theocracy, Jesus’ words would be incoherent: the rule of God is mediated by the king, so that their domains are not so easily separable. Moreover, the old covenant structure was, on paper, tightly bound to theocratic rule. Yet here is Jesus announcing that a distinction must be made between Caesar’s claims and the claims of the living God.
Of course, this does not mean that Caesar’s domain is entirely independent of God’s domain, nor that God does not remain in providential control. But it is hard to avoid the conclusion that Jesus is announcing a fundamental change in the administration of the covenant community. The locus of the community is no longer a theocratic kingdom; it is now an assembly of churches from around the world, living under many “kings” and “Caesars,” and offering worship to none of them. And that is why many Christians around the world trace the history of the non-establishment of a particular religion to this utterance of the Lord Jesus himself.
February 9.—Morning. [Or March 19.] “When I see the blood I will pass over you.”
ISRAEL’S deliverance from Egypt was a redemption both by blood and by power. In the following chapter we read of the redemption by blood.
1, 2 And the Lord spake unto Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt, saying, This month shall be unto you the beginning of months: it shall be the first month of the year to you. (To be redeemed is the greatest event in a man’s history. The day in which we realise redemption must be the pearl of days to us for ever.)
3, 4 Speak ye unto all the congregation of Israel, saying, In the tenth day of this month they shall take to them every man a lamb, according to the house of their fathers, a lamb for an house: And if the household be too little for the lamb, let him and his neighbour next unto his house take it according to the number of the souls; every man according to his eating shall make your count for the lamb.
5 Your lamb shall be without blemish, a male of the first year; ye shall take it out from the sheep, or from the goats: (Jesus was perfect, and in the fulness of his strength when he became the lamb of our passover.)
6 And ye shall keep it up until the fourteenth day of the same month: and the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel shall kill it in the evening. (It was both in the evening of the day and in the evening of time, that by the general voice of the nation, Jesus was put to death.)
7 And they shall take of the blood, and strike it on the two side posts and on the upper door post of the houses, wherein they shall eat it. (Not on the threshold, for woe unto the man who tramples on the blood of Christ.)
8 And they shall eat the flesh in that night, roast with fire, and unleavened bread; and with bitter herbs they shall eat it. (Do these bitter herbs signify our repentance or the Redeemer’s woes? Perhaps both.)
9 Eat not of it raw, nor sodden at all with water, but roast with fire; his head with his legs, and with the purtenance thereof.
Our Lord’s sufferings are well symbolised by the fire before which the lamb was roasted.
10 And ye shall let nothing of it remain until the morning; and that which remaineth of it until the morning ye shall burn with fire. (We must feed upon Christ and upon a whole Christ.)
11, 12 And thus shall ye eat it; with your loins girded, your shoes on your feet, and your staff in your hand; and ye shall eat it in haste: it is the Lord’s passover. For I will pass through the land of Egypt this night, and will smite all the firstborn in the land of Egypt both man and beast; and against all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgment: I am the Lord.
13 And the blood shall be to you for a token upon the houses where ye are: and when I see the blood, I will pass over you, and the plague shall not be upon you to destroy you, when I smite the land of Egypt. (Mark that word, “when I see the blood.” Our sight of the atonement brings us comfort, but the Lord’s own sight of it is the true reason of our salvation.)
14 And this day shall be unto you for a memorial; and ye shall keep it a feast to the Lord throughout your generations; ye shall keep it a feast by an ordinance for ever.
15 Seven days shall ye eat unleavened bread; even the first day ye shall put away leaven out of your houses: for whosoever eateth leavened bread from the first day until the seventh day, that soul shall be cut off from Israel.
SIN is that sour leaven which must go from the heart where Jesus is the Saviour. The apostle Paul puts this more at length in
1 Cor 5:6–8
6 Know ye not that a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump? (It is a spreading thing, and if any be left it will speedily multiply itself.)
7 Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened. For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us:
8 Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness; but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth. (May the Holy Spirit grant us grace to accomplish this sweeping of the house. Where the precious blood is sprinkled, no sin can be tolerated.)
Saints behold your Paschal lamb,
Trust his blood, and praise his name;
Keep the sacred feast and be
Now from guile and malice free.
Stand as pilgrims, staff in hand,
Quitting soon this servile land,
Follow on where Christ has trod,
Till he brings you home to God.
February 9.—Evening. [Or March 20.] “The Lord hath redeemed Jacob.”
OUR last reading set forth the Lord’s command as to the passover, we shall now see it obeyed.
21, 22 Then Moses called for all the elders of Israel, and said unto them, Draw out and take you a lamb according to your families, and kill the passover. And ye shall take a bunch of hyssop, and dip it in the blood that is in the bason, and strike the lintel and the two side posts with the blood that is in the bason; and none of you shall go out at the door of his house until the morning. (They must abide under the shelter of the blood or perish.)
23 For the Lord will pass through to smite the Egyptians; and when he seeth the blood upon the lintel, and on the two side posts, the Lord will pass over the door, and will not suffer the destroyer to come in unto your houses to smite you. (Else had Israel died as well as Egypt. It was not character or position, but the sprinkled blood which made the difference. The sacrifice of Jesus is the true reason of our salvation.)
24 And ye shall observe this thing for an ordinance to thee and to thy sons for ever.
Whatever else we forget we must hold by the substitutionary atonement as long as time endures.
25 And it shall come to pass, when ye be come to the land which the Lord will give you, according as he hath promised, that ye shall keep this service.
26 And it shall come to pass, when your children shall say unto you, What mean ye by this service?
27 That ye shall say, It is the sacrifice of the Lord’s passover, who passed over the houses of the children of Israel in Egypt, when he smote the Egyptians, and delivered our houses. And the people bowed the head and worshipped.
The youngest ought to be instructed in the doctrine of atonement by blood: it is the most vital truth of our most holy faith.
28 And the children of Israel went away, and did as the Lord had commanded Moses and Aaron, so did they.
29 ¶ And it came to pass, that at midnight the Lord smote all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, from the firstborn of Pharaoh that sat on his throne unto the firstborn of the captive that was in the dungeon; and all the firstborn of cattle.
30 And Pharaoh rose up in the night, he, and all his servants, and all the Egyptians; and there was a great cry in Egypt; for there was not a house where there was not one dead.
Death reigned where the blood was not sprinkled, and so must it be. Are we all marked with the blood of our Great Substitute?
31, 32 And he called for Moses and Aaron by night, and said, Rise up, and get you forth from among my people, both ye and the children of Israel; and go, serve the Lord, as ye have said. Also take your flocks and your herds, as ye have said, and be gone; and bless me also. (Here was the overthrow of pride. The haughty tyrant surrenders, and becomes himself a suppliant. God’s sword can reach the heart of leviathan himself, though he thinks himself invulnerable and invincible.)
33 And the Egyptians were urgent upon the people, that they might send them out of the land in haste; for they said, We be all dead men.
34 And the people took their dough before it was leavened, their kneading-troughs being bound up in their clothes upon their shoulders.
35 And the children of Israel did according to the word of Moses; and they borrowed of the Egyptians jewels of silver, and jewels of gold, and raiment. (These were not borrowed as we understand the word, but asked for, and freely given, because the people honoured the Israelites, and were afraid to incur their anger.)
36 And the Lord gave the people favour in the sight of the Egyptians, so that they lent unto them such things as they required. And they spoiled the Egyptians.
Their long and unpaid services were thus, in a measure, requited by the gifts of the Egyptians.
When souls are spiritually set free from sin, the Lord is pleased to adorn them with many precious things; for he is abundant in loving kindness towards his people.
Paschal Lamb, by God appointed,
All our sins on Thee were laid:
By almighty love anointed,
Thou hast full atonement made:
All Thy people are forgiven
Through the virtue of Thy blood:
Open’d is the gate of heaven;
Peace is made ’twixt man and God.
Are you exhausted spiritually?
The everlasting God … fainteth not, neither is weary. Isaiah 40:28.
Exhaustion means that the vital forces are worn right out. Spiritual exhaustion never comes through sin but only through service, and whether or not you are exhausted will depend upon where you get your supplies. Jesus said to Peter—“Feed My sheep,” but He gave him nothing to feed them with. The process of being made broken bread and poured-out wine means that you have to be the nourishment for other souls until they learn to feed on God. They must drain you to the dregs. Be careful that you get your supply, or before long you will be utterly exhausted. Before other souls learn to draw on the life of the Lord Jesus direct, they have to draw on it through you; you have to be literally ‘sucked’, until they learn to take their nourishment from God. We owe it to God to be our best for His lambs and His sheep as well as for Himself.
Has the way in which you have been serving God betrayed you into exhaustion? If so, then rally your affections. Where did you start the service from? From your own sympathy or from the basis of the Redemption of Jesus Christ? Continually go back to the foundation of your affections and recollect where the source of power is. You have no right to say—‘Oh Lord, I am so exhausted.’ He saved and sanctified you in order to exhaust you. Be exhausted for God, but remember that your supply comes from Him. “All my fresh springs shall be in Thee.”
February 9 – This Sermon Is for Today
“He opened His mouth and began to teach them” (Matthew 5:2).
Because of the Sermon on the Mount’s seemingly impossible demands and behavioral standards that are counter to everything the world practices and holds dear, many Christians have taught that the Sermon applies only to the millennial age. If it were not just for a future kingdom era, the argument goes, Jesus would not have commanded believers to be perfect, just as their “heavenly Father is perfect” (Matt. 5:48).
But such an argument is invalid, for a number of reasons. First, and most obvious, the body of Jesus’ sermon nowhere indicates or even implies that its message should be set aside for a future age. Second, Jesus was delivering these instructions to people of the present age—His original hearers and us—not those living in the Millennium. Furthermore, many of the teachings become meaningless if we apply them to the Millennium. (For instance, there will be no persecution of Christians at that time; see Matt. 5:10–12, 44.)
The fourth reason these teachings have to apply now is that every principle and command Jesus sets forth is further applied by the writers of the New Testament epistles, directed to believers both then and now. And fifth, many other New Testament passages teach us standards that are equally unattainable as those in the Sermon on the Mount. Only with aid of the indwelling Spirit can these be done, even part of the time (cf. Phil. 1:9–10; Col. 3:1–2; 1 Peter 1:15–16).
Jesus’ sermon certainly does apply to us, marking out the distinctive lifestyle we should display to all those around us.
Which of the individual teachings from the Sermon on the Mount have you basically dismissed as being unattainable? Why have you classified one or more in this way? What could this deliberate refusal to obey tell you about the condition of your heart?
From Daily Readings from the Life of Christ, Vol. 1, John MacArthur. Copyright © 2008. Used by permission of Moody Publishers, Chicago, IL 60610, http://www.moodypublishers.com.
Reading for Today:
Exodus 29:45 I will dwell. That He would be God of the children of Israel and they would be His people was one thing, but that He would also dwell or tabernacle with them was a very important reality in the experience of the new nation. They were to understand not only the transcendence of their God, whose dwelling place was in the heaven of heavens, but also the immanence of their God, whose dwelling place was with them. Their redemption from Egypt was for this purpose (v. 46).
Psalm 20:7 Some trust in… Trust, boast, and praise must not be directed to the wrong objects but only to God Himself (see, e.g., Deut. 17:16; 20:1–4; Lev. 26:7, 8; Ps. 33:16, 17; Is. 31:1–3; Jer. 9:23, 24; Zech. 4:6).
Proverbs 7:8 took the path. Against the advice of Proverbs 4:14, 15, he put himself right in the harlot’s place. “Fleeing immorality” (1 Cor. 6:18) starts by not being in the harlot’s neighborhood at night.
Matthew 25:15 talents. A talent was a measure of weight, not a specific coin, so that a talent of gold was more valuable than a talent of silver. A talent of silver (the word translated “money” in v. 18 is literally silver) was a considerable sum of money. The modern meaning of the word “talent,” denoting a natural ability, stems from the fact that this parable is erroneously applied to the stewardship of one’s natural gifts.
DAY 9: What do the parables of the 10 virgins and of the talents tell us about Christ’s second coming?
The parable of the 10 virgins (Matt. 10:25:1–13) is given to underscore the importance of being ready for Christ’s return in any event—even if He delays longer than expected. The wedding would begin at the bride’s house when the bridegroom arrived to observe the wedding ritual. Then a procession would follow as the bridegroom took the bride to his house for the completion of festivities. For a night wedding, “lamps,” which were actually torches, were needed for the procession. For those not prepared when He does return, there will be no second chances (vv. 11, 12).
The parable of the talents (Matt. 25:14–30) illustrates the tragedy of wasted opportunity. The man who goes on the journey represents Christ, and the servants represent professing believers given different levels of responsibility. Faithfulness is what he demands of them (v. 23), but the parable suggests that all who are faithful will be fruitful to some degree. Both the man with five talents and the man with two received exactly the same reward, “the joy of your lord,” indicating that the reward is based on faithfulness, not results. The slothful servant (v. 24) does not represent a genuine believer, for it is obvious that this man had no true knowledge of the master. This fruitless person is unmasked as a hypocrite and utterly destroyed (v. 30).
From The MacArthur Daily Bible Copyright © 2003. Used by permission of Thomas Nelson Bibles, a division of Thomas Nelson, Inc, Nashville, TN 37214, http://www.thomasnelson.com.
Tue, February 09, 2016
Here are some questions I recommend you ask yourself. In quiet silence ask, “Am I always truthful and honest? I claim to be a Christian, and I believe that the root of the matter is in me and the seed of God is in my heart. I believe I am the Lord”s child, but I am not satisfied with the frozen-over rut. Lord, help me to be honest while I answer. Am I always truthful on the telephone? Am I always honest with my creditors, with my employers, with my employees and in all social contracts and contacts?” Somebody may say, “What’s the difference?” Dishonesty and shading of the truth are sins that grieve the Holy Spirit and bring on the winter. The winter of your discontent may be upon you, and like the life in a leafless tree, your life is buried within. You may have grieved the Holy Spirit by untruthfulness. One of the first things Christians have to do is become perfectly honest with God and perfectly truthful in everything they say.
Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into him who is the Head, that is, Christ.
To be lovingly truthful is an expressiion of the Spirit”s control. At times we may be untruthful even so slightly. At times we may be brutally truthful but unlovingly so.
O God, You have been so lovingly truthful to me. Make me an instrument of loving truthfulness.
A. W. Tozer
Faith’s Checkbook: The Dross Purged
Then I will bring the remaining third into the fire; I will refine them like silver is refined and will test them like gold is tested. They will call on my name and I will answer; I will say, ‘These are my people,’ and they will say, ‘The Lord is my God.’” – Zech 13:9 NET
Grace transmutes us into precious metal, and then the fire and the furnace follows as a necessary consequence. Do we start at this? Would we sooner be accounted worthless, that we might enjoy repose, like the stones of the field! This would be to choose the viler part — like Esau, to take the pottage and give up the covenant portion. No, Lord; we will gladly be cast into the furnace rather than be cast out from Thy presence!
The fire only refines; it does not destroy. We are to be brought through the fire, not left in it. The Lord values His people as silver, and therefore He is at pains to purge away their dross. If we are wise, we shall rather welcome the refining process than decline it. Our prayer will be that our alloy may be taken from us rather than that we should be withdrawn from the crucible.
O Lord, Thou triest us indeed! We are ready to melt under the fierceness of the flame. Still, this is Thy way, and Thy way is the best. Sustain us under the trial and complete the process of our purifying, and we will be Thine forever and ever.
C. H. Spurgeon
INTERCESSION: Pray for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Lands
For the propagation of the gospel in foreign parts and the enlargement of the church by the bringing in of many to it.
O let the gospel be proclaimed to the whole creation; Mark 16:15(ESV) for how are men to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? And how are they to preach unless they are sent? Romans 10:14-15(ESV) And who shall send out laborers but the Lord of the harvest? Matthew 9:38(ESV)
Let the people dwelling in darkness see a great light, and for those dwelling in the region and shadow of death, on them let a light dawn. Matthew 4:16(ESV)
Add to your church day by day those who are being saved; Acts 2:47(ESV) enlarge the place of its tent, lengthen its cords, and strengthen its stakes. Isaiah 54:2(ESV)
Bring your offspring from the east and gather them from the west; say to the north, “Give up,” and to the south, “Do not withhold; bring your sons from afar and your daughters from the end of the earth.” Isaiah 43:5-6(ESV) Let them come with acceptance to your altar, and beautify your beautiful house; let them fly like a cloud, and like doves to their windows. Isaiah 60:7-8(ESV)
In every place let incense be offered to your name, and pure offerings; and from the rising of the sun to its setting, let your name be great among the nations, Malachi 1:11(ESV) and let the offering of the Gentiles be acceptable, being sanctified by the Holy Spirit. Romans 15:16(ESV)
O let the earth be full of the knowledge of the LORD as the waters cover the sea. Isaiah 11:9(ESV)
Matthew Henry’s Method For Prayer
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