Daily Archives: August 9, 2018

August 9: Borrowed Imagery

Isaiah 17:1–19:25; Luke 7:1–35; Job 5:1–7

In the ot, Yahweh regularly explains Himself by using imagery familiar to the time. Sometimes Yahweh even uses images associated with other gods to emphasize that He—and not the gods of other nations—has authority over the earth. This poetic exchange would have served as an intercultural dialogue between the Israelites and their neighbors. A classic example is the image of the rider upon the clouds: “Look! Yahweh is riding on a swift cloud and is coming to Egypt. And the idols of Egypt will tremble in front of him, and the heart of Egypt melts in his inner parts” (Isa 19:1).

Here, the prophet borrows a metaphor usually associated with the god Baal (from Ugaritic literature) to demonstrate Yahweh’s superiority over Baal: Yahweh arrives in Egypt in greater glory than that of the god feared by Egypt’s (and Israel’s) Canaanite neighbor. Because Egypt has oppressed Yahweh’s people, Yahweh will withhold the rains—a decision that Baal, the god of rain, was notorious for making (see Isa 19:5–8).

The writer goes on: “And I will stir up Egyptians against Egyptians, and each one will fight against his brother and each one against his neighbor, city against city, kingdom against kingdom. And the spirit of the Egyptians will be disturbed in his midst, and I will confuse his plans, and they will consult the idols and the spirits of the dead, and the ghosts and the spiritists” (Isa 19:2–3).

The threat of violence in this passage may be intimidating, but believers can find hope in it. We take comfort in seeing that Yahweh intercedes for His people. We find joy in knowing that He loves people enough to explain Himself in ways they can understand, using whatever metaphor best reveals His power and glory. On all accounts, He is God of justice.

In what situations are you currently seeking justice? What metaphors is God using to answer your prayers?

John D. Barry[1]


[1] Barry, J. D., & Kruyswijk, R. (2012). Connect the Testaments: A One-Year Daily Devotional with Bible Reading Plan. Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.

August 9 Faith Without Love

“If I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing” (1 Cor. 13:2).

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Loveless faith is useless faith.

In Matthew 17:19 the disciples came to Jesus wanting to know why they couldn’t cast a demonic spirit from a child. Jesus responded, “Because of the littleness of your faith; for truly I say to you, if you have faith as a mustard seed, you shall say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it shall move; and nothing shall be impossible to you” (v. 20). He repeated the same principle in Matthew 21:21—“Truly I say to you, if you have faith, and do not doubt, you shall … say to this mountain [the Mount of Olives], ‘Be taken up and cast into the sea,’ [and] it shall happen.”

Those passages have puzzled many people because they’ve never seen anyone move a mountain. But Jesus wasn’t speaking literally. Moving mountains would cause all kinds of ecological problems and would be a pointless miracle. The expression “able to move mountains” was a common figure of speech in that day, meaning “to surmount great obstacles.” Jesus was speaking of those who have the gift of faith—those who can move the hand of God through unwavering prayer.

The gift of faith is the ability to believe that God will act according to His will, no matter the circumstances. People with that gift are prayer warriors and tend to stand as rocks when others around them are falling apart. They see God’s power and purposes at work, and they trust Him even when others doubt.

But, says Paul, even if you have such faith, if you don’t have love, you are nothing. That’s a harsh rebuke, but it places the emphasis where it belongs—on our motives. The Corinthians’ motives were evident in their selfish pursuit of the showy gifts.

What motivates you? Remember, without love it doesn’t matter what gifts you have, how eloquent your speech is, what you know, or what you believe. Only love can validate your service to Christ.

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Suggestions for Prayer:  Ask God for a greater capacity to trust Him and for the motivation to pray more fervently.

For Further Study: Read Hebrews 11, drawing from the examples of the people of great faith mentioned there.[1]


[1] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (1993). Drawing Near—Daily Readings for a Deeper Faith (p. 234). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books.

Narcissist, Psychopath, or Sociopath: How To Spot The Differences

What is the difference between a sociopath, a psychopath, and a narcissist? Here to tell us is leading psychologist and author of “Should I Stay or Should I Go: Surviving a Narcissistic Relationship” Dr. Ramani Durvasula.

Story Source: YouTube.Com – MedCircle Dr. Ramani How To Video…

AUGUST 9 A HEAVENLY FRAGRANCE

To the end he may stablish your hearts unblameable in holiness…at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.

1 Thessalonians 3:13

I have been affected in my own heart and life by reading the testimonies and commentaries of humble men of God whom I consider to be among the great souls of Christian church history. From them I have learned that the word and idea of holiness as originally used in the Hebrew did not have, first of all, the moral connotation.

The original root of the word holy was of something beyond, something strange and mysterious and awe inspiring. When we consider the holiness of God, we talk about something heavenly, full of awe, mysterious and fear inspiring. This is supreme when it relates to God, but it is also marked in men of God and deepens as men become more like God.

It is a sense of awareness of the other world, a mysterious quality and difference that has come to rest upon some men and women—that is a holiness. When those persons with this special quality and mysterious Presence are morally right and walking in all the holy ways of God, and carrying without even knowing it the fragrance of a kingdom that is supreme above the kingdoms of this world, I am ready to accept that as being of God and from God!

Heavenly Father, You are full of awe and wonder. Yet You are the majestic Creator of the universe who wants to connect with His creation in an intimate manner. Why would anyone choose not to worship You as the supreme Giver of life?[1]


[1] Tozer, A. W. (2015). Mornings with tozer: daily devotional readings. Chicago, IL: Moody Publishers.

The Persecuted Church in China Will Flourish Under the Hateful Regime of Xi Jinping: They Will Be Praying For Us!

Absolute Truth from the Word of God

I will never forget something that was told to me back in 1983 when I was saved.  I was attending a home group and the Bible teacher said to us:

“The Christians who must go underground to worship in China are praying for the Christians in America.  They are saying that the persecution of believers in China are causing them to draw closer to God and His Word, and they are evangelizing the lost like never before.  The reason that they are praying so hard for us here in America, is that they know that the distractions and freedoms we enjoy will cause complacency, and many will fall away or become prey for heretical teaching.”

When I think about this now, in light of the mainline churches becoming apostate; and the many mega-churches which corrupt the Word of God – it sends chills up my spine. I believe that what…

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