I AM THINE, O LORD
Fanny J. Crosby, 1820–1915
Let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith. (Hebrews 10:22)
Each new day requires a fresh renewal of our dedication to the Lord. The strongest of Christians can be drawn away by the pressures of daily living. And we are vulnerable to the lusts of the flesh and the eyes as well as the subtle temptations that constitute the “pride of life” (1 John 2:16). The warning of Scripture is clear: “Let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall” (1 Corinthians 10:12). God must always have His rightful place on the throne of the heart. Nothing in life—not job, not recreation, not even family—should have the top priority of our daily concerns. Anything that replaces the Lordship of Christ can become idolatrous and cause us to be susceptible to a spiritual disaster. We must each day say, “I am Thine, O Lord.”
Fanny Crosby wrote this consecration hymn while visiting in the home of the composer of the music, William H. Doane, in Cincinnati. The family’s conversation that night centered around the blessedness of enjoying the nearness of God. Suddenly in a moment of inspiration, Fanny started giving the words of the hymn—line by line, verse by verse, and then the chorus. Soon after Doane supplied the music, and another of the more than 8,000 Fanny Crosby hymns was born. Since that day in 1875, these moving lines have ministered to and challenged countless numbers of God’s people to keep their lives dedicated to their Lord:
I am Thine, O Lord—I have heard Thy voice, and it told Thy love to me; but I long to rise in the arms of faith and be closer drawn to Thee.
Consecrate me now to Thy service, Lord, by the pow’r of grace divine; let my soul look up with a steadfast hope and my will be lost in Thine.
O the pure delight of a single hour that before Thy throne I spend, when I kneel in pray’r and with Thee, my God, I commune as friend with friend.
There are depths of love that I cannot know till I cross the narrow sea; there are heights of joy that I may not reach till I rest in peace with Thee.
Chorus: Draw me nearer, nearer, blessed Lord, to the cross where Thou hast died; draw me nearer, nearer, nearer, blessed Lord, to Thy precious, bleeding side.
For Today: Psalm 16:11; 73:28; Romans 12:1, 2; 1 Corinthians 7:22–24; Hebrews 12:28
Begin this new day, with all of its unknown pressures and temptations, with this musical prayer upon your lips—
August 1: Connecting the Stories
Isaiah 1:1–2:5; Luke 1:1–38; Job 1:1–12
The connections between the Testaments aren’t readily apparent, but a closer reading—empowered by the Spirit—can reveal them. Such is the case with the connections among Isaiah, Luke, and Job. The authors of each of these books begin by introducing a person, and then they invite us into the story.
“There was a man in the land of Uz whose name was Job. That man was blameless and upright and God-fearing and turning away from evil. And seven sons and three daughters were born to him” (Job 1:1–2).
“The vision of Isaiah son of Amoz, which he saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem in the days of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah, kings of Judah. Hear, heavens, and listen, earth, for Yahweh has spoken: ‘I reared children and I brought them up, but they rebelled against me’ ” (Isa 1:1–2).
“Since many have attempted to compile an account concerning the events that have been fulfilled among us, just as those who were eyewitnesses and servants of the word from the beginning passed on to us, it seemed best to me also—because I have followed all things carefully from the beginning—to write them down in orderly sequence for you, most excellent Theophilus, so that you may know the certainty concerning the things about which you were taught” (Luke 1:1–4). Although these three introductions represent a simple pattern repeated among the books, only later do we see the deeper parallels. Isaiah draws on the thematic framework of Job: People need an advocate—someone righteous to stand between themselves and God—because all people are unworthy (Job 9; compare Isa 49:1–3; 52:13–53:12). We then find that Luke draws upon Isaiah’s framework: He identifies this advocate as a savior who will suffer on behalf of God’s people (the Suffering Servant; Luke 4:22–30; compare Isa 52:14–15; 53:3).
The narratives in these books quickly lead us in directions we don’t expect, and as we begin to feel the tension and disorientation of the characters, the focus of each shifts to the savior at the center of God’s work in the world. In the midst of the pain these stories record, we see God working out something great—something beautiful. The world will be saved through one man: Jesus, God’s Son. This Suffering Servant will pay the price for the sins of us all. No matter the time, the place, or the people, God’s work in the world reflects and builds on itself to accomplish His great purpose of salvation.
How does your story fit in the story of God’s saving work? What part do you play? How will your story be told?
John D. Barry
Welcome to Daily Treasures from the Word of God. Today’s reading is Romans 13 through 16. Our lesson is from Romans 14:7–8, “For not one of us lives for himself, and not one dies for himself; for if we live for the Lord, or if we die, we die for the Lord; therefore whether we live or die, we are the Lord’s.” (NASU)
It’s hard at times for believers to really understand the concept of the Lordship of Jesus Christ. Let’s look at three declarations of the Apostle Paul in our text that explains what it means to live under the Lordship of Christ.
First, believers do not live for themselves. This concept has to do with priorities and values. It is a matter of choice. We should therefore ask ourselves: Am I truly putting Christ first in my life?
The values of the Kingdom of God are different from those of the world. Our culture bombards us with its values of consumerism and self-aggrandizement. It is easy to fall prey to the desires of the flesh and our own personal priorities. But the exhortation is clear: The believing community is to not live for itself.
Second, believers live for the Lord. This has to do with stewardship. In other words, all we have and do and are belong to the Lord. We are to be administrators of those things He has given us. He is the owner. We are accountable to Him for the way we invest His resources for the Kingdom. Jesus illustrates this in the parable of the talents. When the Lord returned, the stewards reported to Him regarding their investments and the gains they had made for Him.
How do we do that? First of all, we must be submitted to the work of the Holy Spirit in us. He is the one who helps us and guides us to walk in integrity before the Lord.
Last, believers belong to the Lord. Note how Paul describes himself in the beginning of the letter. He calls himself a servant of Jesus Christ. The more literal translation is slave. A slave does not belong to himself/herself; he/she is, rather, property of his/her master. This is Paul’s way to demonstrate his full commitment in serving his Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. This was the driving force behind his ministry and life. His passion was for Christ and His cause.
In review, believers do not live for themselves. Believers live for the Lord. Finally believers belong to the Lord.
May this be the heartbeat of our lives and ministries. We serve our Lord first and then others. If you need help in this area just ask the Holy Spirit to guide you right now! He is the one who fashions us to the image of Jesus Christ for the glory of the Father.
It has been a pleasure to share with you Daily Treasures from the Word of God. Tomorrow’s Bible reading is First Corinthians 1 through 4. 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 Antidote for Sin
“Let all that you do be done in love” (1 Cor. 16:14).
The more you love God, the less you will sin.
Scripture and personal experience teach us that sin always has its consequences. When you harbor unconfessed sin, you dishonor God and forfeit the blessings and joy He desires for you. Prolonged sin might even bring His chastening through pain or illness.
That’s what happened to Corinthian believers who partook of the Lord’s Table in a sinful manner (1 Cor. 11:27–30). Paul warned the rest of the congregation to take careful spiritual inventory of themselves to avoid incurring a similar punishment. In chapter 13 he reveals the root of their problem, saying in effect, “Some of you are physically ill because you’re sinning. Start loving God and one another as you should and your ailments will disappear.”
Love is the antidote for sin. When a Pharisee asked Jesus which of the commandments was greatest, Jesus replied, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the greatest and foremost commandment. The second is like it, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets” (Matt. 22:37–40). If you love the Lord and your fellow men, you won’t sin against them. That’s why Paul said, “He who loves his neighbor has fulfilled the law. For this, ‘You shall not commit adultery, You shall not murder, You shall not steal, You shall not covet,’ and if there is any other commandment, it is summed up in this saying, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ Love does no wrong to a neighbor; love therefore is the fulfillment of the law” (Rom. 13:8–10).
Love is your highest calling and the greatest contribution you can make to others. But it’s possible to neglect it or misunderstand its characteristics. That’s why we’re going to spend this month exploring true love and how it functions. As we do, pray that your love for God and others will increase each day.
Suggestions for Prayer: Ask God for a greater capacity to love Him, then demonstrate your love by obeying His Word.
For Further Study: Read 1 Corinthians 13, noting the characteristics of love.
What Does God Say?
Oh, how I love Your law! It is my meditation all the day.
anytime we face an issue that we know is truly important, we need to go to the Word of God to find out what God says on the matter. God has not left out any topic—He has left no void regarding those things that are most important in life. The Bible is God’s viewpoint; it is His opinion, His counsel, and His advice.…
God’s commandments, statutes, precepts, and principles cover all of life’s situations. We need to ponder God’s Word—read it, study it, memorize it, think about it, and consider it. In doing so, we discover the wise way to handle life and to respond to the difficult situations we all face.
The Infusion of God’s Grace
Scripture reading: Ephesians 2:8–10
Key verse: Romans 6:4
We were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.
You cannot come to Jesus apart from the grace of God. If you could save yourself, then there would be no need for a Savior. But God’s pattern for salvation includes the infusion of His grace in the lives of those who come to Him.
Grace is all-important to the believer. It is God’s personal touch, His handprint of intimacy in your life. It is the evidence of His advent and the one thing that keeps you founded in His abiding love. His grace breathes potential into all that you do and say.
The apostle Paul told us: “(By grace you have been saved), and raised … up with Him … in order that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus” (Eph. 2:5–7 nasb).
He reminded us that we have been buried with Jesus through baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we, too, might walk in newness of life (Rom. 6:4). The mission of grace did not end at the Cross. It overflows into every area of our lives, filling us with hope and the blessed assurance that we are loved with an eternal love. Thus, God has called us to be distributors of His grace to others. Just as it has been given to you, let grace motivate you to give it away to someone today.
God, thank You for Your grace that fills me. Help me to give it away to someone today.
The Great Choice
Choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve.
The Sermon on the Mount presents us with the most crucial of spiritual choices. Its ethical truths bless those who believe and obey Christ but judge those who reject Him.
The spiritual choice, which you must not ignore or postpone, concerns the way of salvation. There is one true way to be right with God, and there are many false ways. It is wrong to say that all roads lead to heaven—only one does. You must reject all of the works–oriented ways people have devised to reach heaven and embrace the one way God Himself has provided—faith in His saving grace as displayed in the atoning death of His Son (Acts 4:12; 1 Tim. 2:5–6).
August 1 The Holy Spirit
When the Helper comes, whom I shall send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, He will testify of Me.
Although the Holy Spirit is defined to a degree by His various roles—teacher, guide, and helper—His identity rests on three truths:
First, the Holy Spirit is God. In several instances, the Holy Spirit is referred to as “the Spirit of God.”
Second, He is one with God, the third person of the Trinity. As such, He possesses the inherent nature and character of God. The Greek word for “another” in John 14:16–17 is literally translated “another of the same kind.” Thus, the Holy Spirit is God Himself, omnipotent (Job 33:4), omnipresent (Ps. 139:7–10), and omniscient (1 Cor. 2:10–12).
Third, since the Holy Spirit is a person, He is God. The Holy Spirit likewise is marked by a distinct personality. He is not an “it.” He has a will (1 Cor. 12:11), emotions (Eph. 4:30), and intellect (Rom. 8:27).
As a person, the Holy Spirit can be resisted, lied to, and grieved. The Holy Spirit is life. The Holy Spirit helped birth the universe (Gen. 1:2). Christ was conceived by an act of the Holy Spirit. The believer is given God’s life through His indwelling, and the abundant life is possible only through His activity.
Heavenly Father, during the coming days, reveal Your Holy Spirit to me in a new way. I want to live the Spirit–filled life.
Back on Course
Scripture reading: 1 Kings 19:9–15
Key verse: 1 Kings 19:13
So it was, when Elijah heard it, that he wrapped his face in his mantle and went out and stood in the entrance of the cave. Suddenly a voice came to him, and said, “What are you doing here, Elijah?”
Elijah had just come away from a tremendous spiritual victory. In fact, the victory won on Mount Carmel was the highlight of his career as a prophet of God. However, immediately following the victory came a time of serious testing.
Elijah had stood firm in his faith, and God had destroyed all of the prophets of Baal, reaffirming the fact that He was Jehovah God. In a horrific fit of anger, Queen Jezebel sent a message to Elijah stating, “So let the gods do to me, and more also, if I do not make your life as the life of one of them [a prophet of Baal]” (1 Kings 19:2). In other words, Jezebel planned to kill Elijah. Filled with fear, Elijah fled.
Finally, at Mount Horeb he collapsed. That was where God spoke to him: “What are you doing here, Elijah?” It was a reasonable question to ask. Elijah was accustomed to living in the shadow of God’s greatness and power. Why was he hiding out like a common criminal?
Maybe God is asking you the same question: “What are you doing here? Why are you running? Why are you fearful?” God did not let go of His prophet. Instead, He instructed Elijah to get back into the thick of things. And this is His word to you. If you have gotten off course, don’t give up. Tell the Lord what you are struggling with, and He will send His encouragement and hope to you.
Lord, I am struggling, running, and fearful. Help me get back on course with You. Strengthen me with Your Word.
Scripture Reading: 2 Corinthians 5:17–21
Key Verse: 2 Corinthians 5:17
If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.
To get a grasp of this verse, imagine the old you as a caterpillar and the new you in Christ as a matured butterfly. What you may find in your life experience, however, is that even though you are a butterfly, you are still drawn to the caterpillar way of life. How can you end this tension?
In his letter to the Romans, Paul wrote to exhort them to consistent “butterfly living.” The temptations in their society to relapse into “caterpillar living” were strong, much as they are today. He wrote, “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect” (Rom. 12:2 nasb).
This principle is so dynamic, you cannot afford to miss it. “Transformed” is a translation of the Greek metamorphosis, the process by which a caterpillar becomes a butterfly.
Renewing your mind is in essence taking on the mind of Christ; it means changing your thinking in accordance with the truth of God’s Word. What you believe about God defines the quality of that relationship. Remember, you are not a caterpillar with wings glued on—you are truly a butterfly.
Dear Lord, thank You for changing my “caterpillar” mentality, so I can experience butterfly living. This month, as I reflect on the wonders of spiritual change, continue Your divine miracle of transformation.
Scripture Reading: Psalm 34:1–8
Key Verse: Psalm 34:8
Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good;
Blessed is the man who trusts in Him!
Even before he was king of Israel, David understood feeling overwhelmed with life. While he was being hunted by Saul, David fled to Gath, where he found out his reputation as a warrior preceded him. He pretended to be insane so that King Achish of Gath would not have him killed.
No one should doubt that David experienced stress during this episode. Yet during that time, he wrote about God’s goodness in Psalm 34. David found true sanctuary in the Lord.
Today, as in David’s time, peace is still a difficult thing to come by. The day is often filled with conflicts and stressful interruptions. Sometimes it can seem impossible to escape the tumult and achieve serenity. Yet Jesus offers you the same tranquility that David found: “Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, nor let it be afraid” (John 14:27).
The only way to have peace is to trust God wholeheartedly, as David did. Allow His peace to permeate your life, and you will be able to say as Charles Wesley did, “I rest beneath the Almighty’s shade, my griefs expire, my troubles cease; Thou, Lord, on whom my soul is stayed, wilt keep me still in perfect peace.”
Father, thank You for the peace that passes human understanding. Thank You for keeping me in perfect peace.
|A Society of Things
“For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.”
In wealthy countries, where the focus is on material things, believers must strive for the right perspective on possessions.
Today’s text answers the simple but age–old question, Where is your heart? When our Lord answers the question, it is clear He is referring to all of life’s major preoccupations and investments—anything that receives most of our thinking, planning, and expenditure of energy.
The religious leaders of Jesus’ day had their hearts in the wrong places. Among their many other sins, the Pharisees were thing–oriented—covetous, greedy, avaricious, and manipulative. Matthew 6:21 is right in the middle of a portion of the Sermon on the Mount that deals with the Pharisees’ misplaced priorities regarding material possessions. The verse fits with Christ’s overall purpose in the Sermon, which was to affirm His standard of righteous living in contrast to the Pharisees’ inferior, hypocritical standard (Matt. 5:20).
Matthew 6:19–24 tells us how believers should view their luxuries and wealth. Most of us live in cultures that constantly challenge us with their emphases on materialism. We all spend some time thinking about those things, whether it be a house, a car, furniture, investment portfolios, computers, our wardrobes, or whatever. And many people become slaves to consumerism and greed. Therefore we need to deal with these issues and have a biblical viewpoint concerning the many material comforts we have.
Above all, if we want the same perspective on wealth that Jesus had, our view must far exceed that of the Pharisees with their proud, earthbound viewpoint. They were focusing all of their time and devotion on selfishly laying up worldly treasures. Theirs is not the godly standard of those who want to exemplify Christ in the midst of a materialistic society.
Suggestions for Prayer: What thoughts and activities occupy most of your extra time? Pray that they would not be merely about things, but about the things of God.
For Further Study: You need to have a right view of yourself before any other area of life is properly understood. Read again the familiar opening passage of the Sermon on the Mount, Matthew 5:1–12. ✧ Memorize or meditate on one verse or more that ministers to a need you have.
The fruit of the Spirit is … faithfulness.
My grace I have been saved through faith, and that not of myself; it is Your gift, O God. Without faith it is impossible to please You. I believe in Jesus; I am not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. Lord, I believe; help my unbelief!
When I keep Your word, Lord God, truly Your love is perfected in me. Faith working through love—for faith without works is dead.
I walk by faith, not by sight. I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me. Although I have not seen Jesus, I love Him. Though now I do not see Jesus, yet believing, I rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, receiving the end of my faith—the salvation of my soul.
May my faithfulness to You, my ever-faithful God, be obvious in my love, my obedience, and my joy.
Galatians 5:22; Ephesians 2:8; Hebrews 11:6; John 3:18; Mark 9:24; 1 John 2:5; Galatians 5:6; James 2:20; 2 Corinthians 5:7; Galatians 2:20; 1 Peter 1:8–9
God Deserves Attention
I will meditate on Your precepts, and contemplate Your ways.
Most of us don’t spend a lot of time thinking about God. We go to church on Sunday and we sing the songs and we talk the way Christians talk, but we don’t give God the attention He deserves. We don’t give Him the concentrated attention of someone who is trying to get to know and get close to another person.
But a relationship with God is similar to a relationship with a human person. If we want to have a meaningful relationship, we must spend time getting to know that person. We must spend time talking with and listening to that person. We can’t be close to someone if we don’t know who they really are.
God tells us in the Bible who He is. Not only that, but He tells us how much He wants us to know Him.
The more you know God, the more you will love Him. And the more you know and love Him, the more you can celebrate Him in the way He deserves.
Sat, August 01, 2015
BOTH LORD AND CHRIST
No Christian believer should ever forget what the Bible says about the Person and the offices of the eternal Son, the Christ of God. “God hath made this same Jesus whom ye have crucified both Lord and Christ” (Acts 2:36). Jesus means Savior; Lord means Sovereign; Christ means Anointed One. The Apostle Peter did not proclaim Jesus only as Savior-he preached to them Jesus as Lord and Christ and Savior, never dividing His Person or His offices. Remember, also, the declaration of Paul: “If thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, thou shalt be saved.” Three times in the passage to the Roman Christians telling how to be saved, Paul calls Jesus “Lord.” He says that faith in the Lord Jesus plus confession of that faith to the world brings salvation to us!
God hath made this same Jesus… both Lord and Christ.
Jesus means Savior; Lord means Sovereign; Christ means Anointed One.
Lord, thank you for who you are. Please strengthen me as I live to serve you and accomplish your will.
A. W. Tozer
August 1 – The Apostles Marvel at Jesus’ Power
“The men were amazed, and said, ‘What kind of a man is this, that even the winds and the sea obey Him?’” (Matthew 8:27).
There are no realities more overwhelming than a glimpse of God’s glory or the sense of His presence. Such occurrences make it impossible not to be utterly dumbfounded before Him.
The disciples realized after Christ stilled the storm that He indeed was God standing in their boat with them. Peter displayed the same reaction of awe and terror when he briefly walked on water after his Lord did. A storm surged up and caused Peter to panic. When Jesus rescued the disciple and calmed the storm, all the disciples in the boat worshiped Him, saying, “You are certainly God’s Son!” (Matt. 14:33; cf. vv. 28–32). That is simply the proper reaction any believer should have when getting a firsthand glimpse of the Lord’s power in this world.
God’s servants in Scripture had far more astounding earthly encounters with His magnificence than we ever will, but their examples are instructive. Daniel, for example, after beholding the Almighty, remarked, “No strength was left in me, for my natural color turned to a deathly pallor” (Dan. 10:8; cf. Isa. 6:1, 5). When the risen Christ halted Paul (Saul of Tarsus) on his way to Damascus, “he fell to the ground” (Acts 9:4).
Our daily dependence on God and sense of His presence should be no less important for us than for the prophets and apostles of old. Isaac Watts’ lyrics capture this concept well:
On thee each moment we depend,
If Thou withdraw we die.
O may we ne’er that God offend,
Who is forever nigh.
Pause long enough to marvel at the glory of your ever-present God. Put your feelings of awe into words of worship.
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:
Esther 3:4 he was a Jew. It seems evident from Haman’s fury and attempted genocide that there were strong anti-Semitic attitudes in Shushan, which seems to explain Mordecai’s reluctance to reveal his true ethnic background.
Esther 4:14 relief and deliverance. Mordecai exhibited a healthy faith in God’s sovereign power to preserve His people. He may have remembered the Lord’s promise to Abraham (Gen. 12:3; 17:1–8). you…will perish. Mordecai indicated that Esther would not escape the sentence or be overlooked because of her prominence (4:13). such a time as this. Mordecai indirectly appealed to God’s providential timing.
Psalm 89:46 hide Yourself forever. By God’s seeming refusal to answer prayer and restore the Davidic kingship, it seemed as though God was hiding Himself. Of course, the discipline of disobedient kings had been foretold (v. 32). According to the prophets, God would eventually restore Israel and the Davidic throne in an earthly kingdom (Hos. 3:4, 5). Never in the Old Testament is there a sense that this Davidic promise would be fulfilled by Christ with a spiritual and heavenly reign.
Romans 3:2 oracles. This Greek word is logoin, a diminutive form of the common New Testament word logos, which is normally translated “word.” These are important sayings or messages, especially supernatural ones. Here Paul uses the word to encompass the entire Old Testament—the Jews received the very words of the true God (Deut. 4:1, 2; 6:1, 2; Mark 12:24; Luke 16:29; John 5:39). The Jews had a great advantage in having the Old Testament, because it contained the truth about salvation (2 Tim. 3:15) and about the gospel in its basic form (Gal. 3:8). When Paul said “preach the Word” (2 Tim. 4:2), he meant the “oracles of God” (1 Pet. 4:11) recorded in Scripture.
Romans 3:11 none…understands. Man is unable to comprehend the truth of God or grasp His standard of righteousness (Pss. 14:2; 53:3; 1 Cor. 2:14). Sadly, his spiritual ignorance does not result from a lack of opportunity, but is an expression of his depravity and rebellion (Eph. 4:18). none…seeks. This verse clearly implies that the world’s false religions are fallen man’s attempts to escape the true God—not to seek Him. Man’s natural tendency is to seek his own interests (Phil. 2:21), but his only hope is for God to seek him (John 6:37, 44). It is only as a result of God’s work in the heart that anyone seeks Him (Ps. 16:8; Matt. 6:33).
DAY 1: As sinners, how are we justified before God?
In Romans 3:24, the verb “justified” is a legal or forensic term that comes from the Greek word for “righteous” and means “to declare righteous.” This verdict includes pardon from the guilt and penalty of sin and the imputation of Christ’s righteousness to the believer’s account, which provides for the positive righteousness man needs to be accepted by God. God declares a sinner righteous solely on the basis of the merits of Christ’s righteousness. God imputed a believer’s sin to Christ’s account in His sacrificial death (Is. 53:4, 5; 1 Pet. 2:24), and He imputes Christ’s perfect obedience to God’s law to Christians (5:19; 1 Cor. 1:30; 2 Cor. 5:21; Phil. 3:9).The sinner receives this gift of God’s grace by faith alone (3:22, 25; 4:1–25). Sanctification, the work of God by which He makes righteous those whom He has already justified, is distinct from justification but without exception always follows it (8:30).
“Justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.” Justification is a gracious gift God extends to the repentant, believing sinner, wholly apart from human merit or work. The imagery behind the Greek word for “redemption” comes from the ancient slave market. It meant paying the necessary ransom to obtain the prisoner’s or slave’s release. The only adequate payment to redeem sinners from sin’s slavery and its deserved punishment was “in Christ Jesus” (1 Tim. 2:6; 1 Pet. 1:18, 19) and was paid to God to satisfy His justice.
“Whom God set forth as a propitiation by His blood” (v. 25).This great sacrifice was not accomplished in secret, but God publicly displayed His Son on Calvary for all to see. Crucial to the significance of Christ’s sacrifice, a propitiation carries the idea of appeasement or satisfaction—in this case Christ’s violent death satisfied the offended holiness and wrath of God against those for whom Christ died (Is. 53:11; Col. 2:11–14). The Hebrew equivalent of this word was used to describe the mercy seat—the cover to the ark of the covenant—where the high priest sprinkled the blood of the slaughtered animal on the Day of Atonement to make atonement for the sins of the people. In pagan religions, it is the worshiper—not the god—who is responsible to appease the wrath of the offended deity. But in reality, man is incapable of satisfying God’s justice apart from Christ, except by spending eternity in hell.
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.
INTERCESSION: Pray for the Young and the Old
For the several ages and conditions of men, as they stand in need of mercy and grace.
For those who are young and setting out in the world.
Lord, give to those who are young to remember their Creator in the days of their youth; Ecclesiastes 12:1(ESV) that thereby they may be kept from the vanity which childhood and youth are subject to, and may be restrained from walking in the way of their heart and in the sight of their eyes, by considering that for all these things God will bring them into judgment. Ecclesiastes 11:9(ESV)
Lord, make young people self-controlled; Titus 2:6(ESV) and let the word of God abide in them, that they may be strong and may overcome the evil one. 1 John 2:14(ESV)
From the womb of the morning let Christ have the dew of your youth; Psalm 110:3(ESV) and let him be formed in the hearts of those who are young. Galatians 4:19(ESV)
Keep those who are setting out in the world from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire; 2 Peter 1:4(ESV) and give to those who have been well-educated, to hold fast the pattern of sound words, 2 Timothy 1:13(ESV) and to continue in what they have learned. 2 Timothy 3:14(ESV)
For those who are old and of long standing in profession.
There are some who are old disciples of Jesus Christ; Acts 21:16(KJV) Lord, give them still to bear fruit in old age, to declare that the LORD is upright, that he is their Rock, and there is no unrighteousness in him. Psalm 92:14-15(ESV)
Now the evil days have come and the years of which they say, “I have no pleasure in them”; Ecclesiastes 12:1(ESV) let your consolations cheer their souls. Psalm 94:19(ESV)
You have said, “Even to your old age I am he, and to gray hairs I will carry you.” You have made them, Lord; we beg you, bear, yes, do carry and save them. Isaiah 46:4(ESV)
Those whom you have taught from their youth up and to whom you still proclaim your wondrous deeds, now, also, when they are old and gray headed, Psalm 71:17-18(ESV) forsake them not; cast them not off in the time of old age; forsake them not when their strength is spent. Psalm 71:9(ESV)
Let every gray head be a crown of glory to those who have it, being gained in a righteous life, Proverbs 16:31(ESV) and give them to know whom they have believed. 2 Timothy 1:12(ESV)
Matthew Henry’s Method for Prayer
The Lord covers Himself in light as with a garment;
He stretches out the heavens like a tent curtain
And lays the beams of His upper chambers in the waters.
He makes the clouds His chariot
And walks on the wings of the wind.
He makes the winds His messengers,
Flames of fire His servants.
He set the earth on its foundations,
So that it can never be moved.
You covered it with the deep as with a garment;
The waters stood above the mountains.
At Your rebuke the waters fled;
At the sound of Your thunder they hurried away.
They flowed over the mountains
And went down into the valleys
To the place You assigned for them.
You set a boundary they cannot cross,
That they will not return to cover the earth.
O Lord, how manifold are Your works!
In wisdom You made them all;
The earth is full of Your possessions. (Psalm 104:2–9, 24)
Pause to express your thoughts of praise and worship.
God is wise in heart and mighty in strength.
Who has resisted Him without harm? (Job 9:4)
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.
Examine me, O Lord, and try me;
Purify my mind and my heart;
For Your lovingkindness is ever before me,
And I have walked in Your truth. (Psalm 26:2–3)
May I sow righteousness,
Reap the fruit of unfailing love,
And break up my fallow ground;
For it is time to seek the Lord,
Until He comes and rains righteousness on me. (Hosea 10:12)
Pause to add your own prayers for personal renewal.
O Lord, hear my prayer;
Listen to the voice of my supplications.
In the day of my trouble I will call upon You,
For You will answer me.
You are great and do wondrous deeds;
You alone are God. (Psalm 86:6–7, 10)
Relationships with Others
Greater love and compassion for others
Those who do not know Christ
Those in need
My activities for this day
May I sanctify Christ as Lord in my heart, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks me to give the reason for the hope that is in me, but with gentleness and respect. (1 Peter 3:15)
Sin shall not be my master, because I am not under law, but under grace. I have been set free from sin and have become a slave of righteousness. (Romans 6:14, 18)
He who has Your commandments and obeys them, he is the one who loves You; and he who loves You will be loved by Your Father, and You will love him and manifest Yourself to him. (John 14:21)
Pause to reflect upon these biblical affirmations.
Lord, You said, “Let Us make man in Our image, in Our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and over the livestock and over all the earth and over all the creatures that creep on the earth.” So You created man in Your own image; male and female You created them. Then You blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; and rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and over every living creature that moves on the earth.” Then You said, “Behold, I have given you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it; they will be yours for food. And to all the beasts of the earth and all the birds of the air and all the creatures that move on the ground, in which there is life, I have given every green plant for food”; and it was so. You saw all that You had made, and it was very good. (Genesis 1:26–31)
Pause to offer your own expressions of thanksgiving.
May the favor of the Lord our God rest upon us,
And establish the work of our hands for us—
Yes, confirm the work of our hands. (Psalm 90:17)
Continue in prayer
The greatest and the best talent that God gives to any nun or woman in this world is the talent of prayer. And the best usury that any man or woman brings back to God when He comes to reckon with them at the end of this world is a life of prayer. And those servants best put their Lord’s money to the exchangers who rise early and sit late, as long as they are in this world, ever finding out, and ever following after better and better methods of prayer, and ever forming more secret, more steadfast, and more spiritually fruitful habits of prayer, till they literally pray without ceasing, and till they continually strike out into new enterprises in prayer, and new achievements, and new enrichments.
COMMUNION with Christ is a certain cure for every ill. Whether it be the wormwood of woe, or the cloying surfeit of earthly delight, close fellowship with the Lord Jesus will take bitterness from the one, and satiety from the other. Live near to Jesus, Christian, and it is matter of secondary importance whether thou livest on the mountain of honor or in the valley of humiliation. Living near to Jesus, thou art covered with the wings of God, and underneath thee are the everlasting arms. Let nothing keep thee from that hallowed intercourse, which is the choice privilege of a soul wedded to the well-beloved.
Morning, August 1
“Let me now go to the field, and glean ears of corn.”
— Ruth 2:2
Downcast and troubled Christian, come and glean to-day in the broad field of promise. Here are abundance of precious promises, which exactly meet thy wants. Take this one: “He will not break the bruised reed, nor quench the smoking flax.” Doth not that suit thy case? A reed, helpless, insignificant, and weak, a bruised reed, out of which no music can come; weaker than weakness itself; a reed, and that reed bruised, yet, he will not break thee; but on the contrary, will restore and strengthen thee. Thou art like the smoking flax: no light, no warmth, can come from thee; but he will not quench thee; he will blow with his sweet breath of mercy till he fans thee to a flame. Wouldst thou glean another ear? “Come unto me all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” What soft words! Thy heart is tender, and the Master knows it, and therefore he speaketh so gently to thee. Wilt thou not obey him, and come to him even now? Take another ear of corn: “Fear not, thou worm Jacob, I will help thee, saith the Lord and thy Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel.” How canst thou fear with such a wonderful assurance as this? Thou mayest gather ten thousand such golden ears as these! “I have blotted out thy sins like a cloud, and like a thick cloud thy transgressions.” Or this, “Though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.” Or this, “The Spirit and the Bride say, Come, and let him that is athirst come, and whosoever will let him take the water of life freely.” Our Master’s field is very rich; behold the handfuls. See, there they lie before thee, poor timid believer! Gather them up, make them thine own, for Jesus bids thee take them. Be not afraid, only believe! Grasp these sweet promises, thresh them out by meditation and feed on them with joy.
Evening, August 1
“Thou crownest the year with thy goodness.”
— Psalm 65:11
All the year round, every hour of every day, God is richly blessing us; both when we sleep and when we wake his mercy waits upon us. The sun may leave us a legacy of darkness, but our God never ceases to shine upon his children with beams of love. Like a river, his lovingkindness is always flowing, with a fulness inexhaustible as his own nature. Like the atmosphere which constantly surrounds the earth, and is always ready to support the life of man, the benevolence of God surrounds all his creatures; in it, as in their element, they live, and move, and have their being. Yet as the sun on summer days gladdens us with beams more warm and bright than at other times, and as rivers are at certain seasons swollen by the rain, and as the atmosphere itself is sometimes fraught with more fresh, more bracing, or more balmy influences than heretofore, so is it with the mercy of God; it hath its golden hours; its days of overflow, when the Lord magnifieth his grace before the sons of men. Amongst the blessings of the nether springs, the joyous days of harvest are a special season of excessive favour. It is the glory of autumn that the ripe gifts of providence are then abundantly bestowed; it is the mellow season of realization, whereas all before was but hope and expectation. Great is the joy of harvest. Happy are the reapers who fill their arms with the liberality of heaven. The Psalmist tells us that the harvest is the crowning of the year. Surely these crowning mercies call for crowning thanksgiving! Let us render it by the inward emotions of gratitude. Let our hearts be warmed; let our spirits remember, meditate, and think upon this goodness of the Lord. Then let us praise him with our lips, and laud and magnify his name from whose bounty all this goodness flows. Let us glorify God by yielding our gifts to his cause. A practical proof of our gratitude is a special thank-offering to the Lord of the harvest. 
|Temperance and Doctrine
I have just come home from my last Bible lesson. The attendance was large, and the farewells quite enthusiastic. I did try to put it to them as strongly as possible. Subject: the keeping of Christ.
At the close Mrs. French made an appeal for money for our Temperance work—rather against the grain for me. But Sally thought I ought to “take up my cross,” so I did, and I believe we got over three hundred dollars. Our work must have money. We have twelve men on our hands this minute to be taken care of and are aching to open a home for inebriate women, and money we must have. Sally is all on fire about it, and I am pretty well stirred up myself. I am praying for somebody to die and leave me a fortune that I may open a home big enough to take in everybody just as the Lord Jesus took me in, without asking a question or requiring a guarantee.
I spent last evening at Charles Gibbon’s with the Rev. Dr. Curry to talk on our subject. The Lord gave me wisdom and utterance, and I think he was convinced of the scripturalness of our doctrine and of its extreme desirability. But he declared it was not for every body in this life, only for a few especially mature ones, like me! The rest he thought would have to wait for it until they got to Heaven! I think the extreme want of logic and sense in this position will drive him out of it. But he was very candid, and I liked him.
—To Robert, April 22, 1876
Something more about his ways
He comes where He commands us to leave.
When Jesus had made an end of commanding His disciples, He departed thence to teach and to preach in their cities. Matthew 11:1.
If when God said ‘Go,’ you stayed, because you were so concerned about your people at home, you robbed them of the teaching and preaching of Jesus Christ Himself. When you obeyed and left all consequences to God, the Lord went into your city to teach; as long as you would not obey, you were in the way. Watch where you begin to debate and to put what you call duty in competition with your Lord’s commands. ‘I know God told me to go, but then my duty was here’; that means you do not believe that Jesus means what he says.
He teaches where He instructs us not to.
“Master, … let us make three tabernacles.”
Are we playing the spiritual amateur providence in other lives? Are we so noisy in our instruction of others that God cannot get anywhere near them? We have to keep our mouths shut and our spirits alert. God wants to instruct us in regard to His Son, He wants to turn our times of prayer into mounts of transfiguration, and we will not let Him. When we are certain of the way God is going to work, He will never work in that way any more.
He works where He sends us to wait.
“Tarry ye … until …” Wait on God and He will work, but don’t wait in spiritual sulks because you cannot see an inch in front of you! Are we detached enough from our own spiritual hysterics to wait on God? To wait is not to sit with folded hands, but to learn to do what we are told.
These are phases of His ways we rarely recognize.
Judges 15; Acts 19; Jeremiah 28; Mark 14
Eventually the clash between Jeremiah and the false prophets becomes concretized in one particular contest—that between Jeremiah and Hananiah (Jer. 28). The issue could not be clearer. Jeremiah insists that unless Judah repents, its capital city Jerusalem will be destroyed, most of its population will perish, and the remainder will be sent into captivity. Hananiah insists that within two years of his utterance, i.e., within two years of 594 b.c. (still seven years before the ultimate destruction took place), there would be a miraculous deliverance from God. The rightful king, Jehoiachin (who had already been in exile for three or four years), would be restored to his throne, and the treasures that had been taken from the temple would be returned. Both prophets speak in the name of the Lord. Whom should the people believe, and why?
In this case, there are two useful time markers by which to test things. First, Hananiah stipulates that his prophecy will be fulfilled within two years (28:3). When that does not occur, there are still about five years to the final catastrophe—plenty of time for the people to repent. Second, we are told that shortly after the dramatic confrontation between Jeremiah and Hananiah in the temple, the word of the Lord comes to Jeremiah regarding Hananiah’s impending death, imposed by God himself: “This very year you are going to die, because you have preached rebellion against the Lord” (28:16). Seven months later, Hananiah dies (28:17). Should not the entire nation take notice and turn to the Lord?
In fact, there is a more dramatic marker for those with eyes to see. Jeremiah insists: “From early times the prophets who preceded you and me have prophesied war, disaster and plague against many countries and great kingdoms. But the prophet who prophesies peace will be recognized as one truly sent by the Lord only if his prediction comes true” (28:8–9). This is a remarkable insight. Jeremiah does not deny that a faithful and godly prophet, in a particular historical circumstance, might prophesy peace. But he treats the possibility as so improbable that implicitly he advocates a certain healthy skepticism until the predicted peace has actually come to pass. By contrast, the normal and expected themes of faithful prophets have to do with prophesying “war, disaster and plague against many countries and great kingdoms.” This is not because prophets are a dour and morbid lot. It is because faithful prophets deal with sin and its horrible consequences, and call people to flee from the wrath to come. Jeremiah insists that this lies at the heart of genuinely prophetic ministry. Does it lie at the heart of yours?
Judges 15; Acts 19; Jeremiah 28; Mark 14
One of the strangest accounts in the book of Acts concerns the seven sons of Sceva (Acts 19:11–20). Paul’s ministry in Ephesus lasted some considerable time, perhaps two and a half years, and during that time “God did extraordinary miracles through Paul” (19:11). The result is that various “competitors” tried to keep up with him. By itself, this was not surprising. It has always been so. When God especially empowered Moses to perform miracles before Pharaoh, the magicians of Egypt could reproduce most (though not all) of what he did.
So in Paul’s day some Jews steeped in syncretism traveled around, engaging in some kind of deliverance ministry. They had little idea what they were engaged in. When they saw what Paul was doing in the name of Jesus, they started to refer to that name too, as if it were nothing more than some magic talisman: “They would say, ‘In the name of Jesus, whom Paul preaches, I command you to come out’ ” (19:13).
The seven sons of Sceva, a Jewish priest, were particularly engaged in this operation. One day the evil spirit they were trying to exorcise talked back to them: “Jesus I know, and I know about Paul, but who are you?” (19:15). Then the man possessed by this spirit leaped on them and beat up all seven of them. Note:
First, the result of this encounter was entirely beneficial. When the story circulated, many were seized with a healthy fear and an enlarged respect for the name of the Lord Jesus. This was a name so powerful that it could not be treated as a magic formula. This name could not be domesticated. The result was that infatuation with occult practices was curbed. Many confessed their evil deeds, and others brought their occult books and burned them, totaling an enormous value (19:17–19). “In this way the word of the Lord spread widely and grew in power” (19:20).
Second, the really striking element is the utterance of the evil spirit: “Jesus I know, and I know about Paul, but who are you?” One can understand why Jesus would be known among demonic powers. There is no surprise there. But Paul is known too! His ministry had been assaulting the powers of darkness. He was known to be protected and defended by the living Christ—there is no way the demon could have used the possessed man to beat him up. These other characters were another matter; as far as the demon was concerned, they were a bit of a joke, easily ignored, easily subdued and shamed. But Paul was known!
Christians engaging the Enemy will be known not only in the courts of heaven but in the courts of hell.
August 1.—Morning. [Or February 29.] “Turn again our captivity.”
ABOUT this time the seventy weeks of the prophet were complete, and the time had come for the return from captivity; the Lord therefore raised up Cyrus, and moved his heart to set his people free, and help them to go back to Jerusalem. Of this we have already learned in our last lesson, and therefore let us read those psalms in which the feelings of the returning exiles are set forth.
1, 2 Lord, thou hast been favourable unto thy land: thou hast brought back the captivity of Jacob. Thou hast forgiven the iniquity of thy people, thou hast covered all their sin. Selah. (All goes well when sin is pardoned. This is the one fatal hindrance to prosperity; and, this removed, all is well.)
3 Thou hast taken away all thy wrath: thou hast turned thyself from the fierceness of thine anger.
4 Turn us, O God of our salvation, and cause thine anger toward us to cease.
When God turns to us in love, it is high time that we turned to him in faith and repentance; and, indeed, we very soon do so. Love is the great converting force: when the love of Jesus turns us, we are turned indeed.
5 Wilt thou be angry with us for ever? wilt thou draw out thine anger to all generations?
6 Wilt thou not revive us again: that thy people may rejoice in thee?
7 Shew us thy mercy, O Lord, and grant us thy salvation.
8 I will hear what God the Lord will speak: for he will speak peace unto his people, and to his saints: but let them not turn again to folly.
9 Surely his salvation is nigh them that fear him; that glory may dwell in our land.
10 Mercy and truth are met together; righteousness and peace have kissed each other.
This it is our privilege to see fulfilled in the atonement of the Lord Jesus, by which our captivity is turned, and peace is made between God and our souls.
11 Truth shall spring out of the earth; and righteousness shall look down from heaven.
Earth looks up in sincerity, and heaven looks down in mercy.
12 Yea, the Lord shall give that which is good; and our land shall yield her increase.
13 Righteousness shall go before him; and shall set us in the way of his steps.
Re-established in their land, which was made fruitful once again, they desired to obey the Lord in all things and to follow closely the path of obedience.
WE can imagine the restored exiles at this time singing—
1 When the Lord turned again the captivity of Zion, we were like them that dream.
It seemed too good to be true, they could not realise that so good a thing had befallen them.
2 Then was our mouth filled with laughter, and our tongue with singing: then said they among the heathen, The Lord hath done great things for them.
3 The Lord hath done great things for us; whereof we are glad.
What others declared concerning them was true, and they boldly avowed it; they did not bury the Lord’s mercies in forgetfulness, or cast doubts upon them by mock modesty. We too often say “We hope and we trust,” when we ought rather to say, “The Lord hath done great things for us.”
4 Turn again our captivity, O Lord, as the streams in the south.
5 They that sow in tears shall reap in joy.
6 He that goeth forth and weepeth, bearing precious seed, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him.
When God revealed his gracious name
And changed our mournful state,
The rapture seem’d a pleasing dream,
The grace appeared so great.
“Great is the work,” my neighbours cried,
And own’d the power divine;
“Great is the work,” my heart replied,
“And be the glory thine.”
The Lord can clear the darkest skies,
Can give us day for night;
Make drops of sacred sorrow rise
To rivers of delight.
August 1.—Evening. [Or March 1.] “He gathereth together the outcasts of Israel.”
AND when the seventh month was come, and the children of Israel were in the cities, the people gathered themselves together as one man to Jerusalem. (There was a spirit of unity among the returned exiles, and a warm love to the worship of God, and therefore as soon as they had made such arrangements as were absolutely needed for their own living, they met to consult concerning the rebuilding of the temple. Things will be sure to go well with the cause of God when all the people are as one man.)
2 Then stood up Jeshua the son of Jozadak, and his brethren the priests, and Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, and his brethren, and builded the altar of the God of Israel, to offer burnt offerings thereon, as it is written in the law of Moses the man of God. (Atonement for sin must be presented, and thanks must be rendered. The Lord’s people love the altar of sacrifice.)
3 And they set the altar upon his bases (or upon its former foundation); for fear was upon them because of the people of those countries: and they offered burnt offerings thereon unto the Lord, even burnt offerings morning and evening.
4, 5 They kept also the feast of tabernacles, as it is written, and offered the daily burnt offerings by number, according to the custom, as the duty of every day required; And afterward offered the continual burnt offering, both of the new moons, and of all the set feasts of the Lord that were consecrated, and of every one that willingly offered a freewill offering unto the Lord. (Though but few and poor, they were very earnest, and very careful to do as the law commanded them. In this they are our teachers.)
6, 7 From the first day of the seventh month began they to offer burnt offerings unto the Lord. But the foundation of the temple of the Lord was not yet laid. They gave money also unto the masons, and to the carpenters; and meat, and drink, and oil, unto them of Zidon, and to them of Tyre, to bring cedar trees from Lebanon to the sea of Joppa, according to the grant that they had of Cyrus king of Persia.
8 ¶ Now in the second year of their coming unto the house of God at Jerusalem, in the second month, began Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, and Jeshua the son of Jozadak, and the remnant of their brethren the priests and the Levites, and all they that were come out of the captivity unto Jerusalem; and appointed the Levites, from twenty years old and upward, to set forward the work of the house of the Lord. (They were probably the best educated men and the fittest for overseeing the work.)
9 Then stood Jeshua with his sons and his brethren, Kadmiel and his sons, the sons of Judah, together, to set forward the workmen in the house of God: the sons of Henadad, with their sons and their brethren the Levites.
It was an honour to these men to have their names recorded, and it will be equally honourable to us if we do anything for the church of God.
10, 11 And when the builders laid the foundation of the temple of the Lord, they set the priests in their apparel with trumpets, and the Levites the sons of Asaph, with cymbals to praise the Lord, after the ordinance of David king of Israel. And they sang together by course in praising and giving thanks unto the Lord; because he is good, for his mercy endureth for ever toward Israel. And all the people shouted with a great shout, when they praised the Lord, because the foundation of the house of the Lord was laid. (The laying of the foundation was celebrated with much sacred pomp and praising of the Lord. Who will not be glad when the Lord’s temple is being builded?)
12, 13 But many of the priests and Levites and chief of the fathers, who were ancient men, that had seen the first house, when the foundation of this house was laid before their eyes, wept with a loud voice; and many shouted aloud for joy: So that the people could not discern the noise of the shout of joy from the noise of the weeping of the people: for the people shouted with a loud shout, and the noise was heard afar off. (It was a noble structure; but for the size and costliness of the stones, and the preciousness of the metals, it was far inferior to Solomon’s. Moreover, it had not the ark, nor the Shechinah light, nor the Urim and Thummim. In all that we do for God we shall see cause to mingle regret with rejoicing; we serve the Lord with gladness, but we sorrow that we serve him so ill. May the blood of Jesus cleanse our holy things.)
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 Spurgeon, C. H. (1964). The Interpreter: Spurgeon’s Devotional Bible (pp. 457–458). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House.