Daily Archives: October 24, 2020

October 24th The D. L. Moody Year Book

Be clothed with humility.—1 Peter 5:5.

SOME years ago I saw what is called a sensitive plant. I happened to breathe on it, and suddenly it drooped its head; I touched it, and it withered away. Humility is as sensitive as that; it cannot safely be brought out on exhibition. A man who is flattering himself that he is humble and is walking close to the Master, is self-deceived. Humility consists not in thinking meanly of ourselves, but in not thinking of ourselves at all. Moses wist not that his face shone, If humility speaks of itself, it is gone.[1]


[1] Moody, D. L. (1900). The D. L. Moody Year Book: A Living Daily Message from the Words of D. L. Moody. (E. M. Fitt, Ed.) (p. 188). East Northfield, MA: The Bookstore.

October 24 Life-Changing Moments With God

I have been cast out of Your sight; yet I will look again toward Your holy temple.

Zion said, “The Lord has forsaken me, and my Lord has forgotten me.” Can a woman forget her nursing child, and not have compassion on the son of her womb? Surely they may forget, yet You, Lord God, will not forget me.

I have forgotten prosperity. So I said, “My strength and my hope have perished from You, Lord.” Awake! Why do You sleep, O Lord? Arise! Do not cast me off forever. Why do you say, O Jacob, and speak, O Israel: “My way is hidden from the Lord, and my just claim is passed over by my God”? With a little wrath, for a moment, You hid Your face, but with everlasting kindness You have mercy on me.

When my soul is cast down and my soul is disquieted within me, I will hope in You, Lord God; for I shall yet praise You, the help of my countenance. I am hard-pressed on every side, yet not crushed; I am perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed.

I trust You will redeem me and bring beauty out of ashes.

Jonah 2:4; Isaiah 49:14–15; Lamentations 3:17–18; Psalm 44:23; Isaiah 40:27; Isaiah 54:8; Psalm 43:5; 2 Corinthians 4:8–9[1]


[1] Jeremiah, D. (2007). Life-Changing Moments With God (p. 319). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

October 24, 2020 Evening Verse Of The Day

10 For the first time it is said that the Lord “came” and “stood” before he called. Until now, only “calling” has been mentioned. Does this mean that the Lord had been calling from a distance and now, finally, came close and called? Probably so. It is possible that “the revelation to Samuel involved a vision as well as an audition,” but the vision was not so overwhelming and frightening that Samuel could not listen to God’s aural message and comprehend its meaning.

Samuel! Samuel!: see “Abraham! Abraham!” (Gen. 22:11); “Jacob! Jacob!” (Gen. 46:2); “Moses! Moses!” (Exod. 3:4). Such repeated pronunciations of a person’s name may have a special significance. God called them at crucial times in their lives.

Speak!: this verse lacks “Lord!” unlike v. 9; repetition with variation is typical of narrative; verbatim repetition is not necessary.[1]

Ver. 10.—And Jehovah came, and stood, and called as at other times. It is something more than a voice; there was an objective presence; and so in ver. 15 it is called, not hazon, a sight seen when in a state of ecstasy, but mareh, something seen when wide awake, and in the full, calm possession of every faculty. As at other times simply means as before, as on the two previous occasions. But now, instead of hurrying to Eli, Samuel obediently waits for the revelation of the Divine will, saying, “Speak; for thy servant heareth.”[2]

Ver 10. Speak, Lord; for Thy servant heareth.The pupil of God:—

  1. As the auditor of God. “The Lord came and stood.” The Great Father speaks to man in nature, in history, in moral reason, as well as in special revelations. This He does as in the case of Samuel.
  2. Frequently.
  3. Personally. Samuel’s name was mentioned. God speaks to man, not in the mass, but in the individual.
  4. Earnestly. Samuel’s name is repeated, “Samuel, Samuel,” indicating earnestness. God is earnest in His communications with men. “Doth not Wisdom cry? and Understanding put forth her voice?” Alas! though all men are “auditors,” all men are not “earnest” listeners. We have humanity presented here—
  5. As the pupil of God. “Samuel answered, Speak; for Thy servant heareth.” Samuel’s conduct suggests three things—
  6. He became a pupil after having heard the Divine voice. The voice had spoken to him thrice before, but it is only now he has heard it as the voice of God. Before he thought it was the voice of Eli—the mere voice of a man. No man will ever become a pupil of God until he hears His voice as His voice. It is God’s voice that rouses men to spiritual study.
  7. He heard the Divine voice after having put himself in a right posture.
  8. Having heard the Divine voice, he craved for further communications. “Speak, Lord; for Thy servant heareth.” The man who really takes in one word from God, craves for another. God’s word, really taken into the soul, does two things,

(1) Intensifies its thirst for further communications. One sip of the stream leads to desires that only the ocean will satisfy. The other thing which God’s word does when taken into the soul,

(2) Widens his capacity for reception. Not only the more you have the more you desire; but the more you are capable of receiving. Conclusion.—Here are the relations which we all ought to sustain to God—auditors and pupils—listeners and students. (Homilist.)

The reality of revelation and the preparation for receiving it:—

Why did the Lord call Samuel four times before He told him what He had to tell him?

  1. The plan which God adopted was well calculated to convince both Eli and Samuel that the call was no delusion. When God makes any important revelation, He always gives to the people concerned some means of assuring themselves that it is indeed He who is speaking. He takes care there shall be no reasonable ground for saying that the revelation is a mistake, a fancy, a delusion.
  2. The call of Samuel would have failed in one of its objects, if Eli had not been convinced that it was from God. Eli was to be censured by it. The call of Samuel was therefore the first step towards superseding Eli, and putting another and more faithful person in his room. It was absolutely necessary therefore that Eli should be assured that Samuel’s call was from God, and that it was the beginning of the fulfilment of God’s threatenings against himself. And how could this be done more forcibly or more naturally than by allowing Samuel to mistake God’s voice for Eli’s, end bringing him to Eli’s bedside in unsuspicious simplicity three times in the course of the night?
  3. There was this great object in the delaying of the message communicated to Samuel, until he had been three times called by name,—that he was duly prepared to receive the message. If God had given him the message on the first occasion of calling him, Samuel might not have known what to make of a thing so utterly new and strange to him. (Dean Goulburn.)

Voices of God:—

Samuel was called to be a prophet of God in a great crisis of Jewish history. His appearance was quieter and less dramatic than those of Moses and Elijah, but it was almost as momentous.

  1. The commonwealth established by Moses came to an end with the weak administration of Eli. The pure theocracy of the government was superseded.
  2. The religious revolution was equally decisive and momentous. The religious supremacy of the priest was superseded by that of the prophet. No change could be more momentous in its religious influence. The function of the prophet differs fundamentally from that of the priest, and appeals to entirely different feelings. Samuel was the first of the order of the prophets. Hence the call of Samuel was of exceptional significance and importance. Samuel was clearly one of those great men of manifold gifts and functions whom God raises up in great crises and for great services. He was not, like Moses, the founder of the economy, nor, like Elijah, its restorer. But he was its preserver through a revolution that had become inevitable.
  3. Life is full of voices of God, only we lack the spiritual faculty which discerns them—The responsibility of life lies in listening for Divine voices, and in the response to them that we give. We may cultivate the spiritual faculty that hears God’s call, or we may make it obtuse. We may cherish God’s call, or we may silence it; obey it, or rebel against it.
  4. When we think of God’s voice, we English Protestants probably think first and most spontaneously of God’s revelation of His will in the Bible. Be the Bible whence it may, it is the highest spiritual authority we possess. It reveals God as nothing else does. More distinctly, unequivocably, and emphatically than through any other medium, God appeals to us by it. The history of Christianity is mainly a history of the impressions and transformations which the teachings of the Bible have produced upon men.
  5. There are again voices of God’s providence, which, if we have docile hearts, if we listen for the “voice behind us,” and watch for the guidance of God’s eye, we shall not fail to recognise.
  6. The instincts and yearnings of our own spiritual nature, again, are an unmistakable voice of God. Every faculty has its function, every yearning its satisfaction. What then is the satisfaction provided for my religious soul? Christianity loudly and eagerly replies, God, and Christ, and salvation, and heaven. This voice of God within tells us that we are more than the brutes that perish, that we are more than mere intellectual machines. A man has to do gross violence and outrage to his own nature, debauch it by sensual excesses, reason it down by hard logic, before he can disable or overpower its spiritual elements. Nay, when he has done his utmost, he has not destroyed, he has only over-borne them. Out of the very constitution of our nature a still small voice of God testifies to our spiritual and immortal being.
  7. And to this religious nature God speaks by the motions and monitions of His Holy Spirit; awakening solicitudes, exciting desires, touching impulses. These we may either cherish or quench.
  8. In moments of intellectual perplexity, for example, when speculative reason has baffled herself in trying to think out the mysteries of being and of God—amid this tempest and earthquake of intellectual strife the still small voice of the religious soul is heard—God’s voice within us. So that the spiritual soul itself disallows the reasonings that would deny it.
  9. In quieter and more thoughtful moods of life we hear the voice of God. In solitary ways, in quiet evening hours, in the sequestered chamber of sickness.
  10. God has voices that reach us in crowds; distinct, perhaps loud, above every din of business, or clamour of strife, or song of revelry.
  11. In moments of temptation, even, God’s voice finds a tongue. In some lingering power of conscience, in some sensitive remnants of virtue, in some angel memories of a pious home and an innocent heart.
  12. In times of sorrow God’s voice comes to us, summoning us to faith in His rule, His purpose, His presence, and to patience and acquiescence in the sacrifice demanded of us.
  13. Most terrible of all is it when the first voice of God that we seriously listen to is a sentence of doom. “I will judge thine house for the iniquity which thou knowest.” Such voices of God have come to men. Our lives are full of voices of God, if we would but listen to them. It is not God’s silence, it is our deaf ear that hinders every place from being eloquent with Divine meanings.
  14. Again, at what unlikely times and in what unlikely places God may speak to us. Not always in churches, or in formal acts of worship, or on Sabbath days.
  15. To what unlikely persons God’s call comes. The lesson is not an easy one for the Church to learn. God will choose His own instruments.
  16. How then do we respond to God’s call?—Is not Samuel’s answer, “Speak, Lord, Thy servant heareth,” in the childlike simplicity, faith, and submissiveness of it, a most beautiful and perfect type of what our answer should be? He did not demur or remonstrate, as even Moses did when sent to Pharaoh. Humility is seen as much in the implicit acceptance of a great mission as in apologetic excuses for not accepting it. True fidelity of service is simply to do whatever may seem to be duty. The responsibility is with him who calls us. How variously men respond to God’s call! Even in those who obey it, what gradations of faith and submissiveness there are! Men may deal with God’s call so insincerely that they may destroy their very power of recognising it, and come to confound it with mere human suggestion. Or else, recognising it to be such, they parley with it, pervert its meaning, resist it, silence it. How God speaks to individual souls! Our neighbours cannot hear His voice to us. Eli did not hear the call to Samuel. It is addressed only to our personal consciousness, He who sits by my side does not hear it. Sometimes we ourselves fail to recognise it at first. Samuel thought it the voice of Eli, as we may think it the mere word of a preacher. It may not be even a message, but only a call; “Samuel, Samuel;” vague and inciting. Upon our response to it, our inquisitiveness and our docility, it depends whether more shall be revealed to us. Oh, these voices of God, how they fill our life and make it solemn and great! What forms they take! What things they say! Upon our capability and willingness to hear Him our spiritual life depends. So to dull and deaden our souls by evasions and evil passions, so that it becomes incapable of discerning voices of God, is to destroy its finer spiritual sense, to degrade and carnalize it. Of all the voices of human life none are so great and inspiring as voices of God. Nay, even grant them illusions,—the mere imaginations of spiritual feeling,—they are dreams of noble and inspiring things. For practical uses of life it is better to be led by imaginary voices to noble virtue, Divine sympathies, and immortal aspirations, than to be led by real voices to carnal indulgences. It was because Samuel so responded, that He who thus spake to the child, feeding the morning lamp of his life with the oil of piety and gladness, continued to speak to the man through all his after years, to be with him in every after experience, to preserve him in every after temptation and peril; very largely, no doubt, by the very memories and spiritual forces of his childhood.

III. The religious importance of the passive or receptive side of our spiritual life.—There is an active side of spiritual life which exerts power, and there is a passive side that receives it; just as the body receives food for its nourishment, and puts forth energy as the result of it. I kneel down to pray; I put my soul into a receptive attitude: I open my heart to spiritual influences; I surrender myself to quiet musings; I cherish thoughts about Divine things; I nurture spiritual affections; I solicit into strength and fruitfulness the seeds of things that I have received. This is the passive side of my spiritual life. These are the vital processes that make me a spiritual man, holy, devout, loving. But I also go forth to do things; to teach, to work, to serve, to speak to others the thought that is in me, to proffer to others the help that love prompts, to embody before others the holy principles and feelings that have been generated within me. This is the active side of my spiritual life. The one is God working within me, filling me with His presence and love; the other is my working for God, filling the earth with the godliness that I have realised, ministering the grace I have received. Every true life realises both. If either be wanting, life is impossible; if either be in excess, life is maimed. The religious history of the world is full of instances of mere zeal and self-will, working, even in God’s service, extremest evil. The Church needs Christian workers, consecrated lives, vigorous hands; “the harvest is plenteous, but the labourers are few.” In a thousand forms evil has to be encountered and counteracted. It is a great grace for a man to be willing to serve God in any way, for him to be converted from the service of the devil to the service of Christ. It is an eventful crisis in a man’s history when he first submits himself to Christ. But it is not all at once that he subordinates to Christ all his feelings and purposes. His excited zeal would fain be doing. He has no conception that is not doing. He can scarcely be kept from abandoning business altogether. He does not wait to hear God speak. He takes for granted that God has only one thing to say to him—to bid him throw himself into the thickest of the fight. Young life is characteristically energetic. Its strength is not to sit still. Different states of society, different ages of the Church, have different characteristics and perils. Our fathers developed the thoughtful, reflective side of the Christian life. We fill the world with our Christian agencies, and our life with strenuous endeavours. Nor may we say that too much is done: the world needs it all. But perhaps we suffer in the completeness of our spiritual life. The balance inclines unduly. Are we not too busy for thoughtfulness—almost for quiet communion with God. There is therefore a sense in which we need to preach, not so much activity as the lessening of it. Our life runs to leaf. How much is said in Scripture about this devotional side of spiritual life, its aspect towards God, its vital union with Christ, its dependence upon Him! “As I live by the Father, so ye also shall live by Me.” This, then, is the conclusion of the whole matter—that in the activities of our zeal we do not forget its inspirations in God; that we keep open the heavenward gates of our souls; that while with one hand we do battle with evil, or build the temple of God, with the other we clasp the cross. The more entire our spirit of dependence, the more effective the work we do. Our greatest sanctities, our greatest elevations of thought and feeling, our greatest impulses, come from our communion with God. The nearer to Him we live, the fuller we shall be of His light and goodness and love. The men who have done the most for God are men who have stood in Samuel’s attitude, and said with Samuel’s submissiveness, “Speak, Lord, Thy servant heareth.” (H. Allon, D.D.)

Childhood a prophecy:—

  1. As expressing the cry of the human heart for a revelation of the Divine.—Sooner or later that cry will be heard in us all. The thirst for happiness, the desire for certainty, the craving for fuller life, the thinker’s search for uniting general ideas, are all longings for God. This cry cannot be satisfied by nature and its teaching, or by the voice of authority, or tradition, or reason, or the church.
  2. We are sinful beings. How shall we know that we are personally forgiven and accepted, unless the voice of God speak in us?
  3. We are solitary beings. We need a Divine Presence. How know that Presence is with us unless God’s voice speak in us?
  4. We are students of truth. How shall we be convinced that Christ is Divine, and ever the Leader and King of men, unless the voice of His spirit in us attest His claims?
  5. We are undeveloped beings. The highest and best energies of the soul only utter themselves as God’s voice calls them into consciousness, and service, and co-operation.
  6. We are responsible beings.
  7. We are immortal. In life, in death, in duty, in joy, our hearts cry, “Speak, Lord.” “Be not silent unto me.”
  8. God answers this cry, but in an unexpected manner.—We settle upon persons, places, times, and modes for God to speak. He upsets the folly of our pre-judgments.
  9. Samuel’s cry is the result of the Divine voice to him first.
  10. God calls the child, not Eli. He speaks to life, not years. The child has a right to hear God. He speaks ever to the childlike.
  11. He calls the child in the night. Samuel must go into the solemn night, alone to hear the voice. How brave and fearless is the child-heart.
  12. He calls him by a human voice. He cannot tell it from Eli’s. There are tones of love, and sorrow, and tenderness in it. So with Christ, the form of the voice is human, its substance is Divine.
  13. He calls the child to receive the message of law and judgment. A good discipline to begin with. Law, stern and inflexible, yet beneficent, pervades love. Duty first, then privilege and comfort.
  14. Eli has to complete the attitude of Samuel to God. The best part of Eli appears here—his unselfishness, his sympathy with Samuel. This is the use of all teachers, churches; not to demand our listening to them, but to send us to solitary converse with God. Often the representative of an outgoing school of thought has denied to the new voices the Divinity of which they are full. Eli was better.

III. The Divine voice is audible only to lowly obedience. (J. Matthews.)

God’s call to Samuel:—

  1. The sleep.—You may think of Samuel as now a boy about twelve years of age. The night was far advanced. The golden candlestick with its seven lamps, in the Holy Place, had not yet gone out, as it usually did about the time when the morning began to dawn. Its light shone on all the sacred things. That night God was present in a special manner. He was near to Samuel. But to Samuel it was as if none of these things had been; he was all unconscious of them—for he was asleep. There is,
  2. The Sleep of Carelessness.—Some mothers tell me about their boys, that they are not bad-hearted, and that what they have to complain of, is not so much want of heart, as want of thought. They never seem to think. And the consequence is, everything goes wrong. I cannot tell how bad, how dangerous that is, what damage it has done—want of thought. Though their eyes are open, their minds are asleep. It is the sleep of carelessness. Some young people go to church who never listen to what is said—who never hear what is said. I very much fear there are many young people who never think about God, or the soul, or their pressing danger, or the way of salvation.
  3. There is what I might call the Sleep of Sin. This is in some respects worse than the other. At first, conscience is uncomfortable, uneasy, and they think they will never do the wrong thing again. But when the sin is repeated time after time, conscience becomes quiet, the heart gets hard, and at length there is sound sleep, so that nothing frightens, nothing alarms.
  4. There is the Sleep of Security. Security does not mean safety. It means the sense of supposed safety, and is sometimes the most dangerous state of all.
  5. God’s awakening call.—There are various ways of awaking sleeping people. Sometimes a call will do it; sometimes a gentle tap at the door; sometimes a loud knock.
  6. There is God’s call in the Word. This is what most, and most effectually, He uses. Strange and unlikely messages have proved words of awakening to some, rousing the sleeper thoroughly out of his slumbers. Often it is the simple story of Jesus’ love—His coming and dying for sinners.
  7. There is God’s call in Providence.

III. The lying down again.—In Samuel’s case, this was all right and good. He was an unusually dutiful child. Whenever he was called, up he sprang, and that again and again. In the case of most the lying down again is fatal. The second sleep is likely to be sounder than the first, and to lie down again, when once awakened, is of all things the most foolish. Sometimes, when God awakens, and there is much anxiety and fear—a desire to be saved, and a willingness to do anything to get salvation. We get quit of our anxiety and fear, and try to throw off our good impressions, and are ashamed to have been so much concenred. Friends often say to us, “Go, lie down again:” not that they would do us any harm, but, like Eli at first, they do not know that the voice that is calling us is the voice of God. Satan always says, “Go, lie down again;” for he does not wish us to be saved. And many yield to the temptation.

  1. God’s call recognised and answered.—All the three earlier times, “Samuel did not yet know the Lord.” (J. H. Wilson.)


The call to Samuel is an extreme and vivid instance of a truth of which the Bible is full; the truth that we are all called of God to our several places and occasions of action or of passion, of working or of waiting in the world; in a word, that we all have a vocation. We hardly need the Bible to tell us this, for it is one of the simplest truths of natural religion. The evidences of providential purpose in the world have been criticised in every age. But they have proved too strong to be upset by criticism, and still remain as they have ever been, among our most necessary forms of thought. And as man is the climax of the visible creation, we naturally expect the purpose which is so abundantly visible elsewhere, to obtain also in the life of man. He too must have a purpose, and to be created for a purpose is, in the case of a free being, to be called to its fulfilment. The New Testament takes up and intensifies this thought; addressing Christians as “the called of Jesus Christ,” “called to be saints,” “called according to God’s purpose,” “called unto the fellowship of His Son Jesus Christ our Lord,” “called out of the darkness,” “called to liberty.” Now it hardly needs saying that, for all its naturalness and scriptural authority, we are too apt to forget this thought. Let us consider the details of the call of Samuel to his life’s work. Circumstances, as we say, but circumstances of which a mother’s prayer was part, determine the sphere in which that work is to be done. “The child did minister unto the Lord before Eli the priest.” Then comes the Divine voice calling him by name; calling him out of the many possibilities of an office which he shared with such men as Eli’s sons, to his own especial and high prophetic destiny. We are not all called to be prophets, but we are called, in our varying ways, to minister to the Lord; and we may learn from this typical history how to recognise and answer our call. We are apt to lead aimless lives, and shift the blame of them on to our circumstances; but circumstances, to a believer in God, are providential, and meant to determine and not to divert our aim. Parents’ wishes, constitutional temperament, intellect, rank, wealth, poverty, obscurity, the books we read, the friends we form, family claims, or unexpected opportunities in the opening days of life—these are the things that decide for us the main outlines of our career. And it is very easy to imagine that they are all happy or unhappy accidents, importing at the very outset a character of chance into all that we do. But such a view is only born of the shallow philosophy that sees nothing in the universe but a chaos of shifting sand. And it is in the presence of such feeling that a belief in vocation comes to our help. For that belief gives us a clue to the right interpretation of our circumstances, and leads us to ponder over them with prayer. As we do so we are no longer content to drift idly before them, or to turn and go away in a rage because we are not bidden to do some great thing. But external circumstances need for their interpretation the inner guidance of the voice of God; and to hear that voice we must be listening with the obedient expectation in which Samuel said, “Speak; for Thy servant heareth.” It is too readily assumed that such interior calls come only to the favoured few who are predestined to exceptional careers. They are ways in which God, the Holy Ghost, chooses the weak things of the world to confound the wise; flashing on the mind in an instant, through some chance thought, or sight, or sound, the conviction of His nearness, and the message of His will. But real as these inner intimations of the Divine purpose often are, they need to be received with care. And here again the case of Samuel comes before us. The voice which called him was interpreted by Eli. “Eli perceived that the Lord had called the child.” And all our secret inspirations need a similar process of testing, in the light of our own experience or that of others. What, then, is a divine vocation? It is a call from the world, in its evil sense, to God. These are its two essential characteristics. First, detachment, or sacrifice. When the rich young man was bidden to sell all that he had and give to the poor, the involved sacrifice was obvious. But though less obvious, the sacrifice need not be less real in the case of those whose undoubted vocation is to accept the responsibility of a great inheritance. Secondly, attachment. Vocation is a call to God, and not merely a call to labour. It is a common mistake to regard our work as leading us to God, rather than God as leading us to our work. But the latter is the true order of vocation. God calls us to himself, and then sends us to labour in His vineyard. If we sever our moral life from its spiritual root—its root is the Father of Spirits—and confine our thoughts to any kind of merely moral practice, however noble, we are liable by degrees to be too absorbed in our work, to over-estimate its importance and our own importance as its agents, to be unduly discouraged by failure or sudden avocation. Meanwhile, our work itself will lack the note of perfectness which spirituality alone can give, and be either outwardly ungracious or inwardly unreal. Whereas if we regard morality as a function of the spiritual life, and conduct as the consequence and not the cause of character, the natural and necessary outcome and expression of the inner man, all things will fall into their proper place. For the work which flows instinctively from character is not only more perfect in kind; but there is, in reality, more of it. It has a wider and more varied scope. In fact, it is incessant; since a character is always working. And, further, while action divorced from character contains no principle of growth, and at best can only increase in quantity, remaining monotonously same in kind, a spiritual character is for ever growing in refinement and intensity and grace, and consequently issuing in a higher quality of conduct. “My son, give Me thy heart” is the universal form of all vocation. This is the essence of vocation; and it naturally issues in a reality and earnestness of life which nothing else can give. Without it men may be in earnest for a time, but their earnestness will rarely survive failure, much less such repeated failure as is our common human lot. But the man with a sense of vocation is beyond all this. For he neither depends upon success or failure, nor doubts the real value of his work. Like the Pompeian sentinel, come what may, he will stay on duty till his guard is relieved. He works not for achievement, but for obedience, and rests not when he is tired, but when he is told. Nor does this temper of mind, as is sometimes thought, lead to dull and mechanical working. On the contrary, the man with a vocation is the truest individual. For in his degree he reflects God, and no two beings can reflect God in the same way. Indolence is always commonplace. Imitation is its favourite method. And the more selfish men become either in their personal or collective aims, the more drearily they resemble one another. No two saints were ever alike. And this the man with a true sense of vocation feels. He gives himself up to God in confidence that the Maker of the human soul alone knows the capabilities of His own instrument, and can alone bring out its music. And he is justified by the result. Native individuality alone will not do this. It may start with a flash and a lustre, but succumbs in time to the deadening custom of the world, “the set gray life, and apathetic end”—one more instance of the epigram that “we are all born originals and die copies.” But vocation, while it emphasises our originality, supports us under its loneliness with the sense of being upheld from above. Again there are degrees and stages of vocations—vocations within vocations. Theology is a matter of vocation. And then there is the missionary call, of which we hear from all sides of the need. (J. R. Illingworth, M.A.)

Present day inspiration:—

Does God speak to our children to-day as He did to this lad Samuel? I do not ask does God speak to us in an audible voice, and in dictionary English. For you know well enough that the form is not, and never can be, of the essence of a message. Methods are details. Spiritual impulse and enlightenment, life and power, are all in all, the Alpha and Omega of Inspiration. “There are,” says Goethe, “many echoes in the world, but few voices.” Revelation is rare. Inspiration is common. Revelation is unique and original. Inspiration may issue only in an echo to him who listens, but in what is a living and new experience to him who speaks. So far as I can gather, Samuel, though inspired so as to become the first in the regular succession of the prophets of Israel, received no new truth, saw no facts going beyond the first principles of religion taught by Moses; but he grasped those truths with a reality and clearness all his own. With deep solicitude, then, we enquire, what are the facts? Is there, or is there not, a Present Day Inspiration? No doubt the prophets of God were exceptional men. All are not apostles. All are not prophets. All do not work miracles. All have not gifts of healing. Every Greek is not a Plato in philosophical insight, an Aristotle in reasoning, or a Pericles in eloquence and political capacity. Every Italian is not a Dante in song. Every Englishman is not a Shakespeare in dramatic genius, a Macaulay in historical portrait-painting, or a Pitt in statesmanship. Every singer is not a Beethoven or a Mozart. Every Christian is not a Luther. Even amongst the prophets of the Old Testament there are greater and lesser lights. But in God’s world, the exceptional is always the evangelistic. Divinely-anointed men preach the Gospel to the poor, heal the broken-hearted, deliver the captives, and herald the arrival of the acceptable year of the Lord. God never makes any man for himself, least of all a prophet. But supposing we had a lingering doubt as to the teaching of the Older Testament, we cannot have any misgiving as to the fact that Christ asserts over and over again the doctrine of the continuity of Inspiration. It is His consolation among the irritations and disquiet of opposition and defeat, that His Father reveals the truth of His Kingdom, to the open, clinging, and trustful hearts of “babes” like young Samuel. A third line of inquiry is open to us, taking us back in some sense upon our first and second. It is this. Are the results of Samuel’s Inspiration possible to us, or is there anything forbidding us to entertain the thought of entering into the goodly fellowship of the prophets? We know we may walk with God as did Enoch, preach righteousness with Noah, become the children of Abraham in heroic faith and total surrender of will, fight against ourselves with Jacob, battle for social purity with Joseph, assist in building God’s house with Moses, share the strength of Samson, and drink the pure streams of domestic joy with Ruth and Naomi; is it likely then we are shut out from the enjoyment of the sublimest issues of the inspiration of the Spirit of God? Those issues, as seen in the life and work of Samuel, are these four; an enlarged and purified conception of God; a strong and governing sway for ethical ideas of God and of life; a contagious impulsion of others towards God and righteousness; and a fine susceptibility of advance in religious, social, and national activity. Samuel knew the Lord through the word of the Lord revealed to him. God spake to him, and the speech was a revelation of the Speaker. To know God—not so as to define Him, but to enjoy Him; not so as to demonstrate His being, but to live in and by His love and power; not so as to comprehend Him, but to trust and follow Him; this is the gift of the Spirit. Next in gravity and in fruitfulness, we see in this inspired hero a moral illumination, an inflexible fidelity to his vocation, and an uncompromising adherence to eternal ethical principles, which infallibly assert his intimate fellowship with a righteous God. He begins his youthful ministry by the delivery of a pain-filled message, asserting the unrelaxed operation of the laws of God on the rapacity and profligacy of the sons of Eli, a man of saintly devoutness and religious fervour, but a father of foolish leniency and unpardonable weakness. Samuel, young as he is—a mere lad—tells his story every whit, omits not a word from fear for himself, or weak consideration for the feelings of Israel’s Judge. So noble a courage has its fitting crown in the stern demand for absolute obedience to God he makes on King Saul, and his intrepid refusal to accept any shuffles and excuses for a self-willed defiance of the authority of the God of Israel. “To obey,” says he, rising to the loftiest heights of the sun-filled realm of truth, “to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams.” “The Lord let none of Samuel’s words fall to the ground,” for they were a part of that truth which, however slowly it be revealed, when once here, endureth to all generations. Samuel, like his successors, was a prophet-politician. His chief care was the common weal. He saw a people weak and disunited, foolish and fractious, licentious and profligate, idolatrous and corrupt; and with glowing intensity of emotion and ringing eloquence he sent out his manifesto against the reigning idolatry, re-asserted the second great commandment against the worship of images, urged repentance and searching of heart, and confederated the tribes together on the basis of a true idea of God, a spiritual worship, and a faithful keeping of the law of righteousness. Every true and consecrated prophet is an earnest patriot, acutely alive to the real perils of his country, sympathetic with all its struggles for a purer morality, a higher culture, and a richer joy; and heartily co-operates in every effort that illumines right, extends liberty, and brings men to God. Love of men, evinced in practical service of their wide interests, is the sign and proof of the anointing of God. Hence the inspired man is always in the van of progress. He does not and cannot lag behind. Even though it be against his immediate interests, and in the face of his cherished methods and associations, yet he triumphs over himself and carries forward movements in which “the old order changeth, yielding place to new.” No inspired man can be a frozen pendant, a blind dry-as-dust, a galvanized corpse, frantically clutching at yesterday as though it were better than to-day, and talking of God as though He had revealed Himself as the “I was,” instead of the “I am.” The breath of the Almighty lifts him out of the darkness of a selfish stagnation and makes him the harbinger of the coming day. Therefore, not even our depressing sense of mistake, our mist-bound ideas, our feeling that God has cramped dwelling in our souls, should hinder us from believing in, working for, and hastening to, a present-day Inspiration. Each element of this four-fold result bears witness to a universal need, and to a possible universal experience: prophesies that “when He is come, He will convince the world of sin, and righteousness, and judgment;” be “poured out on all flesh,” so that all flesh may see the full salvation of God. Irresistible as this answer is, it only forces on us a further question, scarcely less perplexing, viz., how may we be sure that the voice that speaks within us is the voice of God, and not of self; that the impressions, ideas, and convictions are the result of Divine inspiration, and not the subtle temptations of evil, or the disguised promptings of a foolish and fevered fancy? Ay, there’s the rub! That’s the insuperable difficulty! Fortunately for us this is not a new problem. It is as old as the other. The Jews of Berea had to face it with less light than we have, for they were invited to pass into a new realm of thought and action, and required an unerring guide. Paul and Silas preached the Word concerning Christ to them, and they received it with all openness of mind, examining the Scriptures daily whether these things were so; many of them, therefore, believed. They went at once to the best test they had; used the supreme verifying process then in existence, looked into the Hebrew accounts of the manifestation of God in the past; compared them with that which was reported to them by the missionaries, and entered into rest and power. Now we have this advantage over the Bereans, that the Scriptures are larger for us than they were for them. We can take all the movements of the Spirit of God in our hearts to-day to Christ, to see whether they are in accordance with His Spirit and teaching, with His redeeming purpose and kingdom, with His sacrifice and ethics; with His character and Ideal. He is our infallible test. Yet another question. If this gift of the Spirit be open to all souls, and this test be so easy of application, why is it that Samuel, of all the lads in Israel, hears the Divine Voice, and no one else; that Isaiah and Paul are inspired, and so many of their contemporaries are not? Why? Well, why did mathematics and colours speak with such captivating sweetness to the mind of Clerk Maxwell? Why did music penetrate and sway the soul of young Mozart? Why could not Flaxman rest in his father’s shop without modelling and sketching? Why did Augustine hear the summons falling on his ear as he walked in the orchards at Tagaste; “Take and read, Take and read”? Look into their minds, and you will find the same law at work. Scientific things are scientifically discerned; musical things are musically discerned; artistic things are artistically discerned; and spiritual things are spiritually discerned. Their natures and training offered the appropriate organs and conditions, and the inspiration followed. To the fitting organ for hearing there comes the guiding Voice of God. Few “cases” more vividly illustrate this law than Samuel’s. At least six signs of fitness show themselves: his godly descent: his devout dedication for life to the service of God; his early spiritual training; his pre-eminent prayerfulness; his glowing love of God; and his unfaltering obedience to the Divine will. If, then, any of us lack the strength of a daily inspiration, and who does not? let him ask of God, with a fully dedicated spirit, an intense yearning to glorify God, a total suppression of selfish desire, and a sustained doing of all the Will of God, and He will do exceeding abundant above all we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us, even the power of the risen Christ, Who hath already given us of His Spirit. (J. Clifford, M.A.)

Spiritual surrender for children:—

  1. To begin with, there is indicated here, as a part of this boy’s experience, the exercise of unquestioning obedience.
  2. In the experience of Samuel we observe, in the second place, there was the attitude of listening.
  3. Then next in the experience of Samuel we observe there is a spirit of reverence.
  4. There is the apprehension of obligation. So whenever Christ comes by His Spirit into contact with a young life there is the bending of the will into desire for service.
  5. There is the temper of submission. The entire surrender of the soul is reached in that word “heareth.” This young child was offering himself most unconsciously to a duty immediate and pressing, but indescribably hard. (C. S. Robinson, D.D.)

God’s calling of Samuel:—

  1. With respect to the circumstances of this Divine call, there are, it is true, some differences, whilst there are certainly also some resemblances, between his case and yours. We may refer to,
  2. Some of these differences.

(1.) It is quite true that none of you are called in a miraculous way like Samuel.

(2.) It is also true that God now calls none of you by name as he did Samuel.

(3.) Nor are you called, like Samuel, to be inspired prophets. The code of Revelation is finished.

  1. Resemblances between the circumstances of the call of Samuel and yours.

(1.) Are not some here, like Samuel, childran of many prayers.

(2.) Like Samuel, “lent unto the Lord.”

(3.) You are all young like Samuel

(4.) Called like Samuel at an important crisis in the history of the church of God.

  1. Have not all of you, like Samuel, been called repeatedly?
  2. With respect to the reality of the Divine call there is a perfect parity in both cases.—
  3. The Bible you allow to be the Word of God.

(2.) It contains appeals addressed to you. “Remember now thy Creator in the days of thy youth, while the evil days come not, nor the years draw nigh, when thou shalt say I have no pleasure in them” (Eccle. 12:1). (Evangelical Preacher.)

Obedient to the voice of God:—

  1. The Lord speaking. “But does God speak to me?” you ask.
  2. Yes, he does, in His Providence. In this land of Sabbaths, and churches, and Bibles, and Christians, God is always speaking to you. Did He not speak to you in the first human voice that reached your infant mind? And did not God speak to you in that illness?
  3. And God speaks to you by His word. For His word is not like the word of a man in a book, a dull, dead thing: but in it you may hear God’s living voice.
  4. And God speaks to you by His Spirit.
  5. The child hearing. Your ear is one of the main gateways of the soul. A man of science calls it “a harp of three hundred strings,” and it is made up of many wonders. But far more wonderful is the inner ear of the heart, or the conscience, by which you hear the noiseless voice of God. You have great power over the ear of the body; you may spoil it, close it, or improve it. Oh, have you a good ear for this music? It is astonishing how quick the ear grows to hear anything we wish to hear. An Indian, by laying his ear to the ground, and hushing his breath, can discover the approach of a horseman at the distance of miles. His ear is as quick as the ear of the hare, or of the deer. A sleeping mother will hear the gentlest movement of her suffering child, and awake to help it. Her mother’s love calls her listening soul into her ear: her heart makes her all ear. Thus the ear within the soul may be trained to know even the gentlest whisperings of God’s voice.

III. The child serving. “Thy servant,” he called himself.

  1. His obedience was prompt. He might have said, “Oh, I’m frightened in the dark: there must be some mistake: I’ll keep my warm bed this cold night.” He was prompt in obeying Eli’s voice (as he thought it) and God’s.
  2. Samuel’s obedience was also hearty: he put his whole heart into it. The trembling slave obeys promptly, but not heartily. He does his task at once, but would gladly not do it, if he dared. We cannot obey God till we really love Him.
  3. Notice also that Samuel’s obedience was life-long. There is the closest connection between the heartiness and the continuance of our service. (J. Wells, M.A.)

Answering God:—

In order to distinguish the voice and message of God there is requisite—

  1. A disengaged mind. When the attention is absorbed by one object there is no room for another.
  2. An unbiassed intelligence. Our own selfishness, conceit, and prejudice, both collectively and individually combine to prevent our hearing and regarding the truth, in its fulness and entirety. We want to speak and argue, as well as hear.

III. An earnest expectation.

  1. A sense of humility. “Speak, Lord, for thy servant heareth.” This implies that we hear in order to do. God will never give His counsel to the haughty and the proud.
  2. A personal individual communion. It is the want of the personal union to God that keeps us in the dark and hides His light from our souls. (Homilist.)

Listening to God:—

Or, rather, “Thy servant is listening.” If, as we have read this story, I wonder if we have thought of the strange feeling of awe that was beating in that little heart that night? I wonder if there is any significance in the fact that Samuel did not say just what Eli told him to? Eli said, “Say, speak, Lord, for Thy servant heareth;” but Samuel could not get quite courage enough to say Lord; he was not quite sure that it was the Lord that was speaking to him, and so all he says is, “Speak; for Thy servant heareth.” How that heart must have beat, how that awe must have possessed him, as it came to him that he was really face to face with Jehovah! And yet, familiar as we are with this story, I do not think its lesson has sunk down very deep into most of our hearts; for that lesson seems to me to be this: That there are times when we are not to talk to God, and not to do anything for God, but just to listen to God. A great proportion of you are doing some work for God; most of you, I hope, more or less regularly pray to God; but how many of you have ever formed the habit of listening to God? You see the difference. We know the full man, the ready man, the overflowing man whom we meet in social intercourse, who is so full of his message to us that he has no time to get our message back again; who talks with such a stream of conversation that it is hardly possible for us to get in a word in reply. There is no conversation with such a man, there is only listening to him. You have met that man; perhaps you are that man yourself. He is a very full man, but he does not know how to get the message of the world. He does not know how to take in as well as to give out. The wise man carries both minds with him, the giving mind and the receiving mind, and the wisest man makes more of the receiving even than the giving. But at other times you do not take up a theme for study, but you sit down in your easy chair and light your evening lamp; the wind is howling and you are sure that you are going to have that night no interruption; and you take your Browning, or your Shakespeare, or your Carlyle, or your Tennyson, or your Whittier, and you do not study, you simply let your favourite author talk to you, and after he has spoken to you for ten or fifteen minutes the book drops into your lap and you begin to think his thoughts. These hours in which we simply listen to what the men of genius have to say to us, are they not the most fruitful hours of our life? Have we not received more in those hours than we received when our dictionary and our grammar and our treatise were before us and we were digging for wisdom as for a hid treasure? Yes, these receptive hours are our best hours. I know there are persons who think that God speaks no more to men: He did speak once to Abraham, to Moses, to David, to Isaiah, to Paul, but there came a time when the canon was closed, and inspiration was stopped, and God became silent, and man lost his power of hearing. Strange, was it not, if it were true, that God should have spoken to one little section of the race and no other section, to one little epoch and to no other; strange, if He is the Father and we are the children, that He should have talked to those children in far-away times and have nothing to say to us children in this present time! I do not believe it. I believe God speaks to His children now. I cannot see how there can be a true, real religion without this faith. This faith underlies obedience. How can I obey the will of God if God never shows His will to me? How can I have faith in a present, living God, who never speaks to me? Sometimes He comes to us as He came to Balaam. We have set our own purpose before us; we have resolved what we will do; we have not been careful to take counsel and consider whether this is the thing God wants us to do. A great reward, a great honour, a great advantage, beckons, and we start out on our path to do our will, resolved to reap our reward, and we come against some obstacle, something that stops our way, and we are angry, vexed—we will sweep it out of the way and all the time it is the Angel of the Lord standing before us, barring our progress. And we cannot, do not, will not, see or listen. Sometimes He comes to us as He came to Saul of Tarsus; conscientious, really thinking he was doing God’s service, and yet so bent on his own notion of what’s God’s service was. Sometimes He comes to us as He came to Elijah. We have tried to do God’s will—tried, but have failed; all our work has come to naught, and we are utterly discouraged. Sometimes it comes to us as it came to Moses; comes in the voice and ministry of nature, in some wonderful phenomenon in nature. Sometimes He comes to us as He came to Isaiah in the Temple. Sometimes He comes to us as He came to Peter and James and John on the Mount of Transfiguration. I wish I could carry you back to your childhood; I wish I could make you remember the school desk and the teacher, or the mother instructing you out of the primer or out of the Bible; and when I had made those memories pass before you in a panoramic vision, I would bring, last of all, the evening hour when the mother took you. (Lyman Abbott, D.D.)

Samuel, the young prophet:—

Samuel has just completed his twelfth year. Against this portrait of young Samuel our lesson unveils the picture of the age in which he lived. It was one of priestly corruption and spiritual dryness. To worshipping shepherds, to praying Johns, to kneeling Stephens, to clinging Jacobs, to repentant Davids, to obedient Samuels, God communicates his truths. Do not find fault with God because He seems to withhold truth from you. Do not criticise the preacher for commonplace utterances nor call your prayer-meeting stupid. First look into your own heart and life and know whether or not you are in condition to see the truth when presented. The responsibility of the preacher of Christ and of Christian bodies for a spiritual drought is very evident from the story before us. We need heavenly living to receive heavenly visions. In this day of withheld revelation, when the lips of prophecy were sealed and the people heard no sounds from the heavens, God called Samuel. If it seems remarkable that he should select one so young in years, we are to remember that God never gives one a duty until he is fitted to perform it. He saw in this Hebrew youth the qualities of mind and spirit which he desired in his prophet. Years do not qualify men for great deeds. Holy living is the first condition of honour from God. God wants men, holy men. He asks neither for youth nor age. He does ask for holy manhood. Samuel met this condition, and therefore God called him. He was glad to be a servant in the tabernacle. He had the spirit of service. He chose God’s service, not a place in that service. That he left God to decide. Samuel was usable of God. His spirit of obedience is evident. When the voice called, he cried: “Here am I.” There is something unusual in this spirit. He was ready to try, with God’s help, to do what God wished. He was trustfully obedient, like Abraham and Joshua and Paul. His was the obedience that ran. The obedience that lingers with leaden feet never receives the prophet’s rod and mantle. It is interesting to note that “Samuel did not yet know the Lord, neither was the word of the Lord yet revealed unto him.” He certainly knew God as every trustful, loving heart knows Him, and God’s word was his law. He did not, however, know him through the medium of a special revelation. Before he could enter upon his special work as a prophet or even know it was to be his, a special communication from God to him was necessary. No man ever yet succeeded who took up a special work for God on general principles. We are called to the work He desires us to do. In some way God draws near us in special revelation, communicating His will. In this special revelation God “came.” The word means “presented Himself.” The calling was not a mere impression or dream of Samuel’s. He heard a voice and then beheld the vision. He recognised his God. “Speak; for thy servant heareth.” There was no doubt, no confusion in his mind regarding the nature of the occurrence. In God’s service we are not left to act upon impressions nor to the guidance of dreams. We meet a living presence. God came, and God comes to men. He meets us at every turn on life’s road. He gives us such special revelations of Himself as we may require. We talk not into a mysterious darkness, but in the ear of our God. We are left not to the mercy of fancies, but are guided by an all-wise and loving Father. In sharp contrast with the exaltation of Samuel to this prophetic life and his vision of Jehovah is the picture of Eli’s house. His sons are dissolute. They have degraded their important office and brought reproach in some way upon the name and worship of God. For Samuel to disclose to Eli the sad future of himself and his family was no easy task. It was the beginning of his cross-bearing as the prophet of God. It is worthy to be noticed, as an illustration of the frankness of God’s dealings with us, that he never deceives us as to the nature of our duties. On the very threshold of his new life Samuel met this delicate and trying task. (Monday Club Sermons.)

Samuel; or, God’s wrath upon His Church:—

We may look upon this Divine call of Samuel as the beginning of a new order of things in Israel. The high priest had, from the occupation of Canaan, been the medium of communication from God to the people. He wore the Urim and Thummim in the breastplate, and from these was able to receive answers from God to questions concerning duty. But the degeneracy of Israel, in which the high priests seem to have participated to a degree, rendered a change necessary. The high priest is made secondary, and the prophet is raised up as the primary authority in Israel. The prophet will now be the mouth of God to the people. If the Church makes a god of its forms, he breaks those forms to pieces. When the ritual priesthood failed in their duty, he punished them, and set up an order of prophets above them to be the interpreters of his will. Samuel is thus a witness to God’s demand for a spiritual religion in contrast to mere form. God is a holy God, and He will have His people holy; and if they substitute a ceremonial for holiness, His holy wrath will certainly fall upon them; and in this blow not only those will fall who, like Eli’s sons, commit gross wrongs, but those also who, like Eli, through indulgence or apathy, fail to rebuke and resist the evil. The Church of God is to-day courting the world. Its members are trying to bring it down to the level of the ungodly. The ball, the theatre, nude and lewd art, social luxuries with all their loose moralities, are making inroads into the sacred enclosure of the Church. God will not bless a Church that drags down His heavenly things into the dust—that gilds vice, calls it Christian, and then indulges in it. But His holy vengeance will assuredly come and strip such a Church of its pride and make it eat the bread of affliction. (H. Crosby, D.D.)

Youth the repository of Divine judgment:—

  1. Night visions. We might suggest several reasons why night was selected as the season of this vision:—
  2. It was calm and silent.
  3. It would lend impressiveness to the call. It being unusual to hear a voice at midnight, earnest attention would be secured, and reverent awe inspired.
  4. It was also consistent with the event announced. What time more appropriate for the utterance of tidings so terrible as darkness, whose gloom would also be prophetic of the future?
  5. To show that God works at the most unlikely times, independent of external and natural aid.

In fact, when we look upon the dead horses and unblown trumpets of Sennacherib’s defeat, on the desolation caused in Egypt by the withering breath of the destroying angel, we feel in the presence of this principle that when nature and mortals slumber, God is most active.

  1. In what the vision consisted. “And the Lord called” (ver. 4). What a deep impression would this night’s transaction make upon Samuel’s mind! Hence, by this vision, he was conducted to advanced experiences, of which the two most prominent thoughts would be the woeful destiny of evil, and the judicial majesty of God. These communications were

(1) Astounding;

(2) of widespread interest (ver. 11); not merely was the lightning to scathe a willow by the stream but an oak near the palace. The doom predicted was

(3) Inevitable. Rendered so

(a) By Divine oath (ver. 14)

(b) By a strict refusal of compromise (ver. 14).

  1. To whom entrusted. The Lord called Samuel (ver. 4). Childhood vocal on the lips of God. Devoted childhood honoured by God. Compare. “In those days there was no open vision” (ver. 1). “And the Lord called yet again, Samuel.”
  2. Honestly mistaken. “And he ran unto Eli” (ver. 5). Have we not in the cheerful obedience of this young servant a pattern for all stations of service?

(1.) It was prompt; “he ran.”

(2.) It was responsive; “Here am I.”

(3) It was deferential; “for thou calledst me.” Samuel mistook the Divine call for the human; this is the greatest tendency of the present day, to expunge the miraculous, not only from the records of inspiration, but also from the events of general life. Mistaken childhood instructed (ver. 7). It is the duty of old persons, and especially old priests, to instruct the young.

  1. Obediently received (ver. 10). “Speak, for thy servant heareth.” Samuel omits the word “Lord,” which Eli had instructed him to use. His youthful nature had not yet grasped its meaning; the doctrine of the Divine Lordship was too deep a mystery, he stood before it in silence, daring not to vocalize such an attribute of majesty. Every impulse of his heart cried out, “Speak,” and Samuel signified himself attentive to the message; “thy servant heareth.”
  2. Morning disclosures. Samuel enters upon the duties of the day with a heavier heart than usual, trying as much as possible to avoid contact with Eli, lest he should be questioned respecting the call of the previous night. What contrasts do the Christian life present! He “opened the doors of the house of the Lord” (ver. 15). The revelation of woe had not caused him to forget his duty, or filled him with pride to disdain it. Here we catch a glimpse of the greatness of his young nature, that it could walk amidst this splendour with such unconscious simplicity. The vision was:—
  3. Timidly retained (ver. 16, 17). “And Samuel feared to show Eli the vision.” Probably he had received no command from God to disclose it, and feared lest he should intrude upon the threshold of the Divine prerogative. Perhaps he discreetly considered that the tidings would be too astounding, that Eli’s feeble energies, like the drooping plant, would succumb to the fury of the storm; feeling also a respect for and a sympathy with the unfortunate Priest, knowing that God had irrevocably signed his death warrant, Samuel did not wish to embitter the final hours by heedless, useless sorrow. However Eli suspects that the call of the night had reference to himself, and importunately asks for its message.
  4. Faithfully disclosed (ver. 18). “Samuel told him every whit.” Faithful to God, and respectful to Eli, he unfolds the solemn secret of the future, in language not softened by omission or nullified by misrepresentation.
  5. Reverently acknowledged (ver. 18). “And he said, It is the Lord.” Lessons:
  6. Childhood taken to the tabernacle as likely to be called by God.
  7. The tabernacle is the place for the instruction of youth.
  8. The punishment of parental indulgence is both certain and fearful.
  9. The secrets of Divine Providence are ever entrusted to faithful souls.
  10. Moral rectitude honoured by God and respected by man (ver. 19–21). (Joseph S. Exell, M.A.)

Samuel, the model of early piety:—

  1. In the first place, Samuel’s early piety made him—a model of usefulness. Samuel became a prophet of the Lord, and was very useful in this way He made known to the people of Israel what God wanted them to do, and taught them how they were to serve and please Him. And then he was a judge, as well as a prophet. He went out at stated times among the people, and settled their disputes and quarrels, and so he was the means of promoting peace and happiness among them. He did a great deal of good to the people of Israel in this way.
  2. Samuel’s early piety made him—a model of happiness. Religion is intended to make us happy. Loving and serving God is the secret of true happiness.

III. Samuel’s early piety made him—a model of perseverance. To persevere means to keep on doing whatever we begin to do without giving up. One reason why some people never succeed in what they begin to do, is that they do not persevere. They soon get tired and give it up. But this was not the way with Samuel. When he began to serve God he persevered in it. He kept on trying without getting tired.

  1. Samuel’s early piety made him—a model of honour. (R. Newton, D.D.)

The still small voice in the night:—

  1. The Divine call; or, the revelation by a human voice.
  2. Now consider—Samuel’s perception of only the human voice.
  3. That when young hearts do not recognise God’s voice calling them, or His purpose with them, it is not a proof or a sign that God is not with them, or that they are not under religious influence.
  4. Again, when repeated special calls are not intelligently responded to by the young we are not justified in thinking that the Lord is not leading them.
  5. But let me say to the young, What may seem to you only a human voice may be God’s, is God’s, if it asks you to love Him. (G. B. Riley.)

Divine calls verified:—

The call of Samuel is very different in its circumstances from the call of St. Paul; yet it resembles it in this particular, that the circumstance of his obedience to it is brought out prominently even in the words put into his mouth by Eli in the text. The characteristic of all Divine calls in Scripture is:

(1) to require instant obedience, and

(2) to call us we know not to what; to call us on in the darkness. Faith alone can obey them.

  1. Those who are living religiously have from time to time truths they did not know before, or had no need to consider, brought before them forcibly; truths which involve duties, which are in fact precepts and claim obedience. In this and similar ways Christ calls us now. He works through our natural faculties and circumstances in life.
  2. These Divine calls are commonly sudden and as indefinite and obscure in their consequences as in former times. The call may come to us:

(1) through the death of a friend or relative;

(2) through some act of sacrifice, suddenly resolved on and executed, which opens as it were a gate into the second or third heaven—an entrance into a higher state of holiness.

(3) The call may come through the hearing or reading of Scripture, or through an unusual gift of Divine grace poured into our hearts.

III. Nothing is more certain than that some men do feel themselves called to high duties and works to which others are not called. No one has any leave to take another’s lower standard of holiness for his own. We need not fear spiritual pride if we follow Christ’s call as men in earnest. Earnestness has no time to compare itself with the state of other men; earnestness has too vivid a feeling of its own infirmities to be elated at itself. It simply says, “Speak, Lord; for Thy servant heareth.” “Lord, what wilt Thou have me to do?” (J. H. Newman.)

The child Samuel’s prayer:—

  1. First of all we shall take our text as the prayer of a little child. When we see any trace of good in our youth, then, like Eli, we should be the more earnest to have them trained up in the faith. Let the child learn the Catechism, even though he does not understand all that is in it; and as soon as the young heart can comprehend the things of Jesus, labour in power of the Holy Spirit to bring it to a simple dependence upon the great sacrifice. It is said of the Rev. John Angell James, “Like most men who have been eminent and honoured in the Church of Christ, he had a godly mother, who was wont to take her children to her chamber, and with each separately to pray for the salvation of their souls. This exercise, which fulfilled her own responsibility, was moulding the character of her children, and most, if not all of them, rose up to call her blessed. When did such means ever fail?”
  2. Let us now consider the words as the cry of an anxious soul.

III. We will turn to the third view of the text as the prayer of an earnest relievere. I was led to select this text, by finding it in the letter of one who has just been taken away from our classes, and from our Church. She was about to change her position in life in some degree, and the one prayer that seemed to be ever upon her mind, was a prayer for guidance, and she prayed, “Speak, Lord; for thy servant heareth.” She said she felt that God was about to do something for her, but she did not know what it was; she little dreamed that she was so near the kingdom and the glory, but yet that was the prayer, “Speak, Lord; for thy servant heareth.” This is a very appropriate prayer for the Christian when he is in providential difficulty. Take thy matters before the God of Abraham, and the Urim and Thummim shall yet speak to thee. Domine Dirige nos, “Lord direct us,” is a good motto, not only for the City of London, but for the citizens of heaven. In points of doctrine this desire humbly uttered may bring us much light. The same course should be adopted by every Christian in matters of practice. As melted wax is fitted to receive the impress of the seal, so let us be ready to accept the Master’s teaching. Let His faintest word bind us as with bonds of steel; and let His minutest precept be precious as the gold of Ophir. As for the matters of duty again, be ye ever ready to follow the Master and Him alone. Not Luther, nor Calvin, neither Wesley, nor Whitfield, is to be your Rabbi; Jesus alone is Master in the kingdom of heaven. Whatsoever He saith unto you, do it, but where you have not His warrant, let no traditions or ancient customs make you stir so much as a single inch.

  1. We will close by observing that our text seems to us rightly to express the spirit of a departing Christian. He sits patiently upon the river’s brink, expecting that his Master shall open the passage for him to pass over dryshod. He is praying, “Speak, Lord,” and the sooner Thou wilt speak the more shall I rejoice. Say unto me, “Come up hither.” “Speak, Lord; for thy servant heareth.” (C. H. Spurgeon.)

Voices of God:—

  1. God speaks in the experiences of life. We are but children, and know so little. We can scarcely distinguish the voices which comes to us through the gloom like the murmuring of distant bells, speaking strangely and bewilderingly. There are sad hearts as well as bright ones, and we cannot make out the message of sadness always. I grope my way along the dark corridors, and I plead, “Speak, Lord, speak, for thy servant heareth.” And above the tumult I hear a voice which bids me forget the things that are behind and reach forward to those that are before. Onward, and into the future we venture, hoping, believing, knowing that though sorrow may endure for the night, joy cometh in the morning.
  2. God speaks to us in the inner life—to the souls of His trusting people. St. John says: “His voice was as the sound of many waters”—helpful, encouraging, loving; the life itself. (J. S. Stone, D.D.)

The listening servant:—

These were the words of Samuel.

  1. They reveal the attitude of attention. The man who never leaves his counting-room, the student who never lifts his eyes or his attention from his books, will never know the glories of Mendelssohn or Beethoven. The housewife in whose ears is always the clatter of pots and pans will have no time or attention for a sweeter orchestra. So the man or the woman who never listens to God’s voice will never hear it. The marginal reference makes a verse in the thirty-seventh Psalm read: “Be silent to the Lord, and wait patiently for Him.” It is a soul silent unto God that is in the best attitude for knowing Him, for hearing Him, and for holding fast the blessings which He bestows. This marks as indispensable the quiet hour, the moments of silent communion, until our senses have become so refined and our spiritual ears so attentive that, like Nicholas Herman, of Lorraine, the devout monk, better known as “Brother Lawrence,” we too can hear God’s voice above the din of the market-place and the buzz of the schoolroom and the clatter of the kitchen. As someone has well said: “The very familiarity of the voice of God in Nature or His Word may dull our accustomed ears to its sound, just as the roar of Niagara is never heard by those who live upon the banks of the Horseshoe Falls, and the whirr of the loom in the factory falls upon calloused ears. Because we are familiar with God’s message in His house, with His written Word, with His songs of praise, we need all the more to stop and listen that we may catch His individual message for our souls.” It is said that so great is the hum of business that the people in the streets of London scarcely ever hear the tolling of the bell in the spire of St. Paul’s Cathedral. But they could hear if they would stop a moment in the mad rush of trade, and listen.
  2. Those words reveal the attitude of obedience. “Speak, Lord, for Thy servant heareth.” The hearing was in order to heeding. Some people seem to think that contemplative people must, of necessity, be very unpractical and useless people. They point to the almost barren lives lived by many monks and nuns and others, who, as they say, retired from the world to live lives of spiritual meditation and exclusion from evil. But it was in their retirement from the world, in their seclusion from life’s active duties, that they made their mistake. They listened to God’s voice, but it was not in the attitude of readiness for self-denying, active obedience. Hearing should always be for heeding. The seasons of contemplation should lead to other and longer seasons of service. In Christian contemplation the ideals of the Christian should glow luminous and living. Hearing in order to heeding; contemplation in order to service; this should be the attitude and method of the true Christian. (G. B. F. Hallock, D.D.)

“Speak, Lord”:—

The child Samuel was favoured above all the family in which he dwelt. The Lord did not speak by night to Eli, or to any of Eli’s sons. In all that house, in all the rows of rooms that were round about the Tabernacle where the ark of the Lord was kept, there was no one except Samuel to whom Jehovah spoke. The fact that the Lord should choose a child out of all that household, and that He should speak to him, ought to be very encouraging to you who think yourself to be the least likely to be recognised by God. Notice also that, while God had a very special regard for young Samuel, he had, in that regard, designs concerning the rest of the family. God’s elect are chosen, not merely for their own sake; they are chosen for God’s name’s sake, and they are also chosen for the sake of mankind in general. The Jews were chosen that they might preserve the oracles of God for all the ages, and that they might keep alight the spark of Divine truth that we Gentiles might afterwards see its brightness; and when God’s Special love is fixed upon one member of a family, I take it that that one ought to say to himself or herself, “Am I not called that I may be a blessing in this family?”

  1. And, first, I will speak to you upon the soul desiring—desiring to be spoken to by God: “Speak. Lord.” We cannot endure a dumb God. It is a very dreadful thing to have a dumb friend, a very painful thing to have a wife who never spoke with you, or a father or mother from whom you could never hear a single word of love; and the heart cannot bear to have a dumb God, it wants Him to speak. For what reason does the soul desire God to speak to it? Well, first, it desires thus to be recognised by God. It seems to say, “Speak, Lord, just to give me a token of recognition, that I may know that I am not overlooked, that I am not flung away like a useless thing upon the world’s dust heap, that I am not left to wander like a waif and stray.”
  2. More than that, this desire of the soul is a longing to be called by God. When the Lord said to the child, “Samuel, Samuel,” it was a distinct, personal call, like that which came to Mary: “The Master is come, and calleth for thee,” or that which came to another Mary when the Lord said to her, “Mary,” and she turned herself, and said, “Rabboni,” that is to say, “my dear Master.” “Speak, Lord, speak to me; call me.”
  3. “Speak, Lord, moreover, that I may be instructed.”
  4. We sometimes mean by this expression, “Speak, Lord, for our guidance.” We have got into a great difficulty, we really do not know which way the road leads—to the right or to the left—and we may go blundering on, and have to come all the way back again; so we specially need the Lord to speak to us for our guidance.
  5. At times, also, we want the Lord’s voice for our comfort.
  6. Now, secondly, let us think of the Lord speaking. Suppose that the Lord does speak to us; just think for a minute what it is.
  7. It is a high honour. The peers of the realm are not so honoured when they see their Queen as you are when you see your God, and he speaks with you. To be permitted to speak with Him is a delight; but to hear Him speak with us is heaven begun below.
  8. It is a very solemn responsibility. Jesus Christ spoke to Saul of Tarsus out of heaven, and from that hour Paul felt himself to be the Lord’s, a consecrated man, to live and die for Him who had spoken to him.
  9. To hear God speak to us will bring us many a happy memory.
  10. I think I must also say that it is a probable mercy that God will speak to you.
  11. “But how does the Lord speak?” someone asks.
  12. God often speaks to His children through His works.
  13. God also speaks to His children very loudly by His Providence.
  14. But the Lord speaks to us chiefly through His Word.
  15. But the Lord has a way of sometimes speaking to the heart by His Spirit—I think not usually apart from His Word—but yet there are certain feelings and emotions, tendernesses and tremblings, joys and delights, which we cannot quite link with any special portion of Scripture laid home to the heart, but which seem to steal upon us unawares by the direct operation of the Spirit of God upon the heart. Christians are not alike favoured. One may be a child of God, like Eli, and yet so live that God will not speak with him; and, on the other hand, one may be a child like Samuel, obedient, beautiful in character, and watchful to know God’s will, praying, “Speak, Lord; for thy servant heareth;” and then God will speak to you. It is not to all that He speaks, but He would speak to all if they were ready to learn what He had to say.

III. The soul hearing. We have had the soul desiring, and the Lord speaking; now for the soul hearing: “Speak, Lord; for Thy servant heareth.”

  1. I think we have here an argument: “Lord, do speak, for I do hear.” “There are none so deaf as those that will not hear.”
  2. Yet it appears to be an inference, as well as an argument, for it seems to run like this, “Lord, if thou speakest, of course thy servant heareth.”
  3. “Speak, Lord; for Thy servant heareth,” seems also to contain a promise within it, namely, that if the Lord will but speak, we will hear. I remember being asked to see a person, and I thought that he wanted to learn something from me; but when I saw him for three-quarters of an hour, he spoke the whole time, and afterwards he told a friend that I was a most delightful person to converse with! When I was told that I said, “Oh, yes, that was because I did not interrupt the man! He was wound up, and I let him run down.” But conversation means two people talking, does it not? It cannot be a conversation if I do all the talking, or if my friend does it all; so, in conversing with God, there must be, as we say, turn and turn about. You speak with God, and then sit still, and let God speak with you; and, if He does not at once speak to your heart, open His Book, and read a few verses, and let Him speak to you that way. Some people cannot pray when they wish to do so. I remember George Müller sweetly saying, “When you come to your time for devotion, if you cannot pray, do not try. If you cannot speak with God, do not try. Let God speak with you. Open your Bible, and read a passage.” Sometimes, when you meet a friend, you cannot begin a conversation. (C. H. Spurgeon.)

The listening soul:—

The story of Samuel begins before he was born, as the story of a river begins up on the mountain side, where the spring bursts forth from its rocky reservoir. The great snowdrifts on the mountain summit, and the deep caverns in the depths of the hills, are interesting chapters in the story of a river. So back of Samuel with his open ear and his open heart toward heaven are a good father and a pious mother; people who were faithful to God and who sought to do their duty. They did not lay up great wealth for Samuel, but they gave him the heritage of a good name, and above all things they gave him the heritage of faith in God, and of love for things good and pure. Let every man who had a praying mother thank God. A home that is fragrant with the reading of the Bible and musical with the sound of family worship is something to be grateful for as long as one lives. Better than gold, better than all the world’s luxuries, is the inheritance given by a Christian mother to her children.

  1. In the first place, it is a very interesting fact to note what is directly stated here, that up to this time Samuel did not know the Lord. Of course there was a sense in which Samuel did know the Lord. He knew what one can know about God in seeing others worship; but his own heart did not go out to God in prayer and love; and in that deep, inner, personal sense he was without God. Is that not exactly your case? You have heard about Christ since you were a little child, and you feel that you know a great deal about Him, and yet in the truest sense you do not know Him.
  2. I want you to notice again that God called Samuel three times before he answered. Has not God called you again and again? You heard the call and you understood it, but you did not answer. Perhaps God came to you at a time of some disgrace because of your sin. Your conscience spoke as it had never spoken before. God called you then with clanging notes of alarm; and your heart said, “I ought to kneel to God; I ought to seek the forgiveness of my sins.” You knew it was God’s call to you, but you did not answer. Perhaps it was a great joy that came, and the goodness and gentleness of God filled your heart with upspringing praise. With warm heart and tearful eyes you exclaimed, “God is so good to me, I ought to yield Him my heart, I ought to give Him my open thanks, I ought to let the whole world know how good He is to me.” It was God’s call to you, but you did not answer.
  3. I call your attention to the fact that God called Samuel by name. “Samuel, Samuel,” is the way the Lord talks to the boy. God spoke to Abraham in the same way. When the Lord Jesus met Saul on the way to Damascus it was a personal message he brought him, and he cried out to him, “Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou Me?” God knows us all by name; you are not lost in the crowd to Him. No one can tell how much it will mean if you will only listen to God and answer His call to-night. It is quite possible that if some who hear me now, who are called of God through this word, would yield their hearts in response to God’s call, it would be the beginning of a life equally as useful. (L. A. Banks, D.D.)

Speak, Lord.—Use of the Divine name in prayer:—

You observe that He did not say, “Lord;” perhaps he hardly dared to take that sacred name upon his lips. He was impressed with such solemn awe at the name of God that he said, “Speak; for Thy servant heareth.” I wish that some Christian men of my acquaintance would leave out the Lord’s name a little in their prayers, for we may take the name of the Lord in vain even in our supplications. When the heathen are addressing their gods, they are accustomed to repeat their names over and over again. “O Baal, hear us! O Baal, hear us!” or, as the Hindoos do when they cry, “Ram! Ram! Ram! Ram!” repeating the name of their god; but as for us, when we think of the infinitely-glorious One, we dare not needlessly repeat His name. (C. H. Spurgeon.)

Responsive souls:—

In a court of justice a number of violins were lying on the table. The ownership of one of them was in question. It did not differ in appearance from the others, but one witness said he would know it among a thousand. “I would know it,” he said, “even if I were blind.” “How?” asked the astonished judge. “By its voice,” replied the old man. “It would speak to me as no other violin can speak. It is speaking to me now.” And, listening, he bent low until his ear almost touched the instrument. Then he grasped another that lay beside it, and with his right hand swung the bow across the strings. A low, deep, throbbing, pulsing note broke the stillness of the courtroom. When it ceased, with hand uplifted and with bow pointing to the table where the other instruments still lay, the old player waited expectantly. Across the room, faint, yet clearly audible, came the same sweet, low, throbbing note, yet far richer, sweeter, and purer, as though some celestial master-player had swept the strings. “That,” said the old man, “was the voice of the violin. It has a soul, and it has speech. But a false note, rude sounds, or mere discords will not open its lips. So whenever I strike a true note, if the old violin be in the room or near at hand, it will always answer.” Thus should it be with the human soul when God, its true proprietor, speaks, answering with a glad and ready response, “Speak, Lord, for Thy servant heareth.”

Heavenly voices:—

Lady Henry Somerset, becoming restless and unsatisfied in early life with worldly honour and gaiety, began to question in good earnest the meaning and end of life. The more she studied the Word, the more she felt that there was a reality in the religion of the Lord Jesus Christ, and that her great need was personal consecration and an active share in the Divine effort to save the world. Still, the light was not given until one day in her garden, alone with Jehovah, questioning the existence of such a thing as Providence, she heard a voice say distinctly, “Act as if I were, and you shall know that I am.” The voice was not addressed to the material ear, but the words were distinct to the ear of Lady Henry’s soul. They made a deep impression, and the more she thought upon the mysterious matter the more she was convinced that it was really a voice from heaven, sent in answer to her pleadings for light and guidance. She resolved to follow the counsel so strangely sent, and when she put the resolve into action a flood of light dispelled all the darkness, solved every doubt, so that she exclaimed, in a rapture of conviction, “Thou art Christ, the Son of the living God.” (Christian Herald.)

Guides to religious experiences:—

Although God spoke to Samuel he needed Eli’s instruction to enable him to recognise the voice. He heard someone knocking at the door of his heart, but when he looked out all seemed dark until Eli told him in what direction to look for the unseen visitor. We need the direction of those who have become more accustomed to obey such voices, and have thus learned by experience the meaning of such intuitions, (R. C. Ford, M.A.)[3]

[1] Tsumura, D. (2007). The First Book of Samuel (pp. 178–179). Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co.

[2] Spence-Jones, H. D. M. (Ed.). (1909). 1 Samuel (p. 66). London; New York: Funk & Wagnalls Company.

[3] Exell, J. S. (n.d.). The Biblical Illustrator: I Samuel (pp. 89–106). New York; Chicago; Toronto; London; Edinburgh: Fleming H. Revell Company.

Did God Choose Which People He Would Save? — Ligonier Ministries Blog

The core message of the gospel is that God saves sinners from judgment through His Son Jesus Christ. Scripture further reveals that God saves His people according to His sovereign purpose, a decision He made even before He created the world (Rom. 9:23; Eph. 1:4; Titus 1:2). However, our 2020 State of Theology survey suggests that this teaching, which tends to humble man and exalt God, is rejected by most Christians in America today.

According to the survey, only 38% of professing U.S. evangelicals* now agree with the following statement: “God chose the people he would save before he created the world.” We recently sat down with Ligonier Teaching Fellow Dr. Stephen Nichols to ask him what this response reveals about the church in America.

If God were not absolutely sovereign over the redemption of His people, another precious truth of the gospel would be destroyed—that we are saved by grace alone and not by our works (Eph. 2:8–9). By rejecting the Bible’s teaching about sovereign grace, Christians undermine their own assurance of salvation. We hope the 2020 results from The State of Theology survey will encourage believers to search the Scriptures and discern whether their beliefs are derived more from cultural values or from God’s inspired, inerrant revelation.

* Evangelicals were defined by this survey as people who strongly agreed with the following four statements:

  • The Bible is the highest authority for what I believe.
  • It is very important for me personally to encourage non-Christians to trust Jesus Christ as their Savior.
  • Jesus Christ’s death on the cross is the only sacrifice that could remove the penalty of my sin.
  • Only those who trust in Jesus Christ alone as their Savior receive God’s free gift of eternal salvation.

Did God Choose Which People He Would Save? — Ligonier Ministries Blog

October—24 The Poor Man’s Evening Portion

I am a woman of a sorrowful spirit.—1 Sam. 1:15.

My soul! look at Hannah at the mercy-seat, and mark the sorrowful spirit with which she there appeared. Blushing and sorrow, at the feet of Jesus, are among the highest tokens of real heartfelt communion. Perhaps there never was a moment in the life of Hannah, in which faith was in more lively exercise than in that memorable season. And, perhaps, never did she speed with more success than then; for it is said, that when she arose from before the throne, “she went her way, and her countenance was no more sad.” Now, my soul, take a precious instruction from her example. Do thou go to the throne, and present thyself at the feet of thy Jesus. Let grace have a full and lively exercise in thine heart. See that thy prayers be really and truly heart-prayers, and not lip-service. Tell thy Lord how greatly thou needest his grace and mercy; and tell him, also, how much thy Lord Jesus will get glory in being gracious. Let him see that thou art indeed in earnest. And let the offering of a broken and contrite heart decidedly show that thou art also of a sorrowful spirit. And when thou hast done this, do as Hannah did; leave thy sorrow with Jesus. She went her way, and was no more sad. To be sure not; for if she really left her concerns with Jesus, she could not take them home to her own heart again. Here, my soul, is thy mistake; thou dost as Hannah did in part; a throne of grace can witness for thee, that thou hast, times without number, brought thy burdens, both of sin and sorrow, and laid them down at the feet of thy Lord; but alas! the same throne can witness against thee, that, shortly after, through distrust, and fear, and unbelief, thou hast fetched them away again, and taken the whole upon thyself. Dearest Jesus, undertake for me! Oh! for grace, not only to bring all my burdens to thee, but to leave them all with thee: for this is the only way to make a sorrowful spirit glad, when I make thee, as God the Father hath made thee, the almighty burden-bearer of all the sins and sorrows of thy people![1]


[1] Hawker, R. (1845). The Poor Man’s Evening Portion (A New Edition, pp. 304–305). Philadelphia: Thomas Wardle.

October 24 – The political campaign of Jeremiah/Baruch in 602 BC! — VCY America

October 24
Jeremiah 44:24-47:7
2 Timothy 2:22-3:17
Psalm 94:1-23
Proverbs 26:6-8

Statue of a goddess from University of Haifa

Jeremiah 44:27 – As we read in Isaiah 42:8, the LORD (not just a generic god (Hebrew: EL), but Yahweh (I AM THAT I AM, Hebrew: YHWH, KJV: LORD), who revealed himself personally) – The LORD will not share His glory with another. There is no other Savior (Isaiah 43:11). There are no other gods allowed (Exodus 20:3), no other worship allowed (Exodus 34:14). If His people will forsake Him for the “queen of heaven,” He will punish them with the sword and famine.

Jeremiah 45:3 – This chapter was written before the final conquest. Baruch had been a faithful assistant to the unpopular prophet. Note that Baruch is given the same blessing as Ebedmelech – protection of his life. No, Baruch would not be able to time the Judaean stock market and profit off of his connection with the prophet. Baruch’s noble family and friends would lose their position and power, they would be carried away in chains to Babylon. No, the political message of Jeremiah/Baruch 602BC was not Make Israel Great Again – but Too Late. May we repent in our nation and seek God before it is too late!

BaruchBulla (1)
Does this seal of “Baruch” contain the actual thumbprint of Jeremiah’s friend? Or is it a fake?

Jeremiah 46:27 – In spite of all this judgment, God is still not done with Israel!

Jeremiah 47:2 – We are in the “judgment” section of Jeremiah. Instead of skimming through these passages because “God isn’t talking to me” or “this doesn’t seem relevant” let’s look at how God speaks.

As we discussed in the Psalms, the language is more poetical (notice the “thought rhyme” or parallelism – the author uses two different ways of saying the same thing to create a 3D view of the issue.

  • “waters rise up” / “overflowing flood”
  • “the land and all that is therein” / “the city and them that dwell therein”
  • “men shall cry” / “inhabitants shall howl”

Sometimes God gives just an 8 word message of judgment (Jonah 3:4), and other times, he uses 196 words to describe his judgment on the Philistines.

2 Timothy 2:25 – Meekness – one of the most underutilized characteristics of a godly Pastor. How many pastors have seen their counseling unsuccessful because they came not in a spirit of meekness but appeared self-righteous? How many churches have been split in two because of a pastor that could no longer be described as meek? How many pastors have ended up in jail after they departed far from meekness? Pray for your pastor that he can continue in meekness. Pray that you can minister in meekness and not hinder the gospel.

2 Timothy 3:1-5 – Are we in the last days? Looks like a pretty good description of today’s society.

2 Timothy 3:10 – Paul keeps emphasizing doctrine, sound words (2 Timothy 1:13), “the things” (2 Timothy 2:2, 2 Timothy 3:14), “profitable for doctrine” (2 Timothy 3:16); in contrast to “foolish and unlearned questions” (2 Timothy 2:23), “words to no profit” (2 Timothy 2:14), “profane and vain babblings” (2 Timtohy 2:16)

2 Timothy 3:12 – When’s the last time you suffered persecution?

2 Timothy 3:17 – The Anglican spelling of this verse is “throughly furnished” – emphasizing the idea that you are built inside and outside by God.

Psalm 94:22My God is a Rock! From Ron & Shelly Hamilton.

Proverbs 26:6 – More contrasts of the failings of a fool.

On September 13th, 1862, “Union soldiers find a copy of Confederate General Robert E. Lee’s orders detailing the Confederates’ plan for the Antietam campaign near Frederick, Maryland. But Union General George B. McClellan was slow to act, and the advantage the intelligence provided was lost.” McClellan was fired less than two months later, and replaced with Ambrose Burnside.

Share how reading thru the Bible has been a blessing to you! E-mail us at 2018bible@vcyamerica.org or call and leave a message at 414-885-5370.

October 24 – The political campaign of Jeremiah/Baruch in 602 BC! — VCY America

October 24 Thoughts for the quiet hour

Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven

Matt. 5:16

They say the world has an eagle eye for anything inconsistent, an eye sharp to discover the vagaries and inconsistencies in the defaulty and the unworthy. It has an eagle eye; but the eagle winks before the sun, and the burning iris of its eye shrinks abashed before the unsullied purity of noon. Let your light so shine before men, that others, awed and charmed by the consistency of your godly life, may come to enquire, and to say you have been with Jesus.



[1] Hardman, S. G., & Moody, D. L. (1997). Thoughts for the quiet hour. Willow Grove, PA: Woodlawn Electronic Publishing.

Weekend Snapshot · Oct. 24, 2020 – Top Stories This Week

Biden’s ChiCom Deception Is Rapidly Unravelling

“Now the corruption story is about Joe, not Hunter.”

Donald Trump Won the Final Debate. Here’s How.

The president did what he had to do, and then some.

Trump Catches Biden on Fishy Fracking Flip-Flop

Joe Biden just admitted he wants to shut down America’s oil industry.

Leftmedia Corruption Reaches New Heights

NPR and CBS show how to shamelessly oppose Trump and cover for Biden.

Media Bias Is a Threat to Our Republic

The censorship of the New York Post’s Hunter Biden story is the gravest encroachment of all.

Break Up Big Tech Before It Kills Free Speech

The censorship of a major election-related story about the Bidens is unconscionable.

Election Will Decide Trump Recovery or Biden Recession

For those who care about economic growth, there’s only one choice in November.

Americans WILL Pay More in Taxes Under Biden

Picking apart Joe’s dubious denials that his tax plan won’t cost Americans more.

What Trump Has NOT Done

If the president is supposed to be the next “Hitler,” he’s failing miserably.

Hell Hath No Fury Like a Leftist Woman

The despicable treatment of Amy Coney Barrett by other women is quite telling.

Joe Biden’s Fantasy World

The Democrat nominee has been making stuff up his entire life.

Desperate Obama Stumps for Biden

The former president hopes his efforts will help to salvage his dying legacy.

Iran Caught Interfering in U.S. Election

FBI and DNI announce that U.S. voter registration data has been obtained by Iran and Russia.

Critical Race Theory Is Racist … By Design

Research shows that CRT heightens rather than diminishes racial discord.

The Latest Biden Ad Is the BIG Lie

By honoring our flag only at election time, the Democrats prove they’ll say anything to regain power.

Today’s Meme

For more of today’s memes, visit the Memesters Union.

Today’s Cartoon

For more of today’s cartoons, visit the Cartoons archive.

Quote Of The Week

“People see Biden as unifying and Trump as divisive because they wrongly believe mean words have more power than evil ideologies.” —Allie Beth Stuckey

“The Patriot Post” (https://patriotpost.us)

Read Online

Top Weekly Stories from ChristianNews.net for 10/24/2020

Homosexuals ‘Have a Right to a Family’: ‘Francis’ Becomes First ‘Pope’ to Support Same-Sex Civil Unions   Oct 21, 2020 05:49 pm

Photo Credit: Jeon Han/Flikr/Wikipedia ROME — In a documentary released in Rome on Wednesday, Roman Catholic leader Jorge Bergoglio, also known as “Pope Francis,” says that he believes homosexuals have a “right to a family” and that he supports civil unions as a legal covering. “Homosexual people have a right to be in a family. They are children of God and…

Continue reading the story

Stevie Nicks of Fleetwood Mac Sacrificed Her Unborn Child by Abortion for Popular Rock Band   Oct 19, 2020 04:33 pm

Stevie Nicks of the British-American rock band Fleetwood Mac, which became popular in the 1970s, says that she had an abortion in 1979 after becoming pregnant by her boyfriend, because if not, her career and the band would have ended. At 72, she seems to express no regrets for conversely ending the life of her unborn son or daughter, who would now be 41. “If I…

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Police Officer Hospitalized After Being Beaten While Making Arrest, Incident Live Streamed on Facebook   Oct 20, 2020 03:07 pm

ROBESON COUNTY, N.C. (WTVD) — A Robeson County police officer had to be airlifted to the hospital overnight Saturday after being beaten during an arrest. According to Rowland Police Chief Hubert B. Graham, Officer Michael Sales, 27, responded to a disturbance call in the area of Benton Court when he began struggling with Jamel Alphonso Rogers. ABC-affiliate…

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Billy Graham’s Granddaughter Endorses Joe Biden for President   Oct 22, 2020 11:40 am

Jerusha Duford, granddaughter of the late Billy Graham, says that she will be voting for Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden this election and has written an op-ed and recorded a video citing the values of her grandfather and asking Christians not to vote for Donald Trump. “I want every marginalized community, every sex, every race, every nationality and…

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Lara Trump, Tiffany Trump Speak at ‘Trump Pride’ Events to Rally Homosexual Vote   Oct 21, 2020 08:22 am

“Trump Pride” events, organized by the Trump Pride advisory board and featuring speakers such as daughter-in-law Lara Trump, daughter Tiffany Trump and others, are being held in various cities across the country in order to rally the homosexual vote for Election Day. “Donald Trump has never cared about how you look; he has never cared about your gender, your…

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NFL Observes ‘LGBT History Month,’ Celebrates ‘National Coming Out Day’   Oct 20, 2020 08:01 am

NEW YORK — The National Football League (NFL) has been observing “LGBT History Month” throughout October, airing homosexual advocacy content on its NFL television network, publishing an op-ed on its Pride website and releasing a video PSA for “National Coming Out Day” in support of players who announce their inclination toward the sin of homosexuality. “The…

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Teacher Beheaded in Paris Suburb After Showing Cartoons of Prophet Mohammed to Class   Oct 17, 2020 10:26 am

(Yahoo News) — A history teacher who showed his pupils cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed in class was beheaded near his school in a Paris suburb on Friday by a suspected Islamist terrorist who shouted “Allahu Akbar,” police said. Alerted by local residents, police confronted and shot dead a man armed with a kitchen knife and an air gun who refused to drop his…

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Man Arrested After Trying to Tear Cross From Roof of East London Church   Oct 20, 2020 02:06 pm

(Newsweek) — The moment a man tried to rip off a cross from the roof of a church in London has been captured on camera. Video footage shared on social media shows a man repeatedly pulling at the wooden cross on the roof of the Chadwell Heath Baptist Church, Romford, East London. Dressed in a grey shirt, the man places a hoodie over the cross and can be…

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Netherlands Approves Euthanasia for Children Under 12 in ‘Unbearable and Hopeless Suffering’   Oct 19, 2020 10:28 am

Photo Credit: Pexels (The Christian Institute) — The Dutch government will move ahead with plans to decriminalize euthanasia for children under the age of twelve. The scheme will allow doctors to euthanize children deemed to be in “unbearable and hopeless suffering.” Euthanasia was legalized in the Netherlands in 2002 and the law currently permits…

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Three Arrested in Shooting Death of Fla. Pastor Killed While Passerby at Shopping Plaza   Oct 21, 2020 01:49 pm

MIAMI — Three have been arrested in connection with the shooting death of a Florida pastor, who tragically lost his life last month while he was visiting a local shopping plaza and was struck by gunfire as a passerby. Latravia Charm Bell, 20, Nathaniel Bernard Roberson, 31, and Mikal Tavares-Norman, 20, are now facing first-degree murder charges after…

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“They Were Willing to Blow Up the Constitution – All of Their Rage Has Been Out of Their Own Guilt” – Tom Fitton and Attorney Sidney Powell Weigh in on Deep State Criminals (VIDEO) — The Gateway Pundit

For years we wondered how bad it must have been for the Democrats and the Deep State to commit crimes in their attempt to remove President Trump as the President of the United States.  It’s because they all were in on it.

Tom Fitton shared the following after discussing the absolute prosecutorial and judicial insanity and abuse of General Flynn, the following:

The dirty little secret in this town is there are no dirty little secrets.  I guarantee you everyone knew about what Biden was up to.  Many Senators know about it.  We have information coming from other sources, that, from these emails and other similar documents that there were other Senators who are implicated in this…

…this scandal, if it involves the Vice President of the United States for a period of time, you can bet it involves other top politicians here. I helps explain why they were willing to blow up the Constitution to take out President Trump.

Next Sidney Powell, General Flynn’s attorney commented on the Hunter Biden emails and the corrupt actions of the Biden clan:

I agree with everything Tom just said.  They are so afraid of what they’ve done, they, that’s why we’ve had the whole crusade to try to destroy President Trump.  It’s not just Vice President Biden or Hunter it is many of them.  They know it, they’re guilty.  All of their rage has been out of their own guilt.

Via Lou Dobbs Tonight:

“They Were Willing to Blow Up the Constitution – All of Their Rage Has Been Out of Their Own Guilt” – Tom Fitton and Attorney Sidney Powell Weigh in on Deep State Criminals (VIDEO) — The Gateway Pundit

Rep. Stefanik: ‘Joe Biden Is Lying to the American People’ about Hunter’s Business Dealings — National Review

“This is Joe Biden running from his record and trying to wipe away this very clear conflict of interest,” she added.

Rep. Stefanik: ‘Joe Biden Is Lying to the American People’ about Hunter’s Business Dealings — National Review

A plea to my evangelical friends for Biden…who support his progressive socialist policies — Christian Research Network

“In thinking of the future of our children and grandchildren, we must ask if a political movement that integrates into its system without difficulty the wholesale slaughter of babies can be represented as a “biblically-shaped ethic.” Abortion is not an efficient solution to unwanted pregnancy. This ethic is shaped by the rejection of God the Creator.”

(Peter Jones – truthxchange)  How should genuine Christians vote in the up-coming presidential election? Recently a group called “pro-life evangelicals for Biden” sought to answer that question….

The group includes many prominent evangelical leaders whom I respect who believe “that a biblically shaped commitment to the sanctity of human life compels us to a consistent ethic of life that affirms the sanctity of human life from beginning to end.”[1] Essentially in using the formulation, “from beginning to end,” they mean that (apart from abortion, which they oppose), the socialist state in Biden’s program is “pro-life,” supported by the Bible, whereas Trump’s system kills.

I will respond to four points held by this group and conclude with a theological critique of the whole. They state that…

1. Lack of state health care kills. 

The Biden evangelicals argue that repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act, which Trump desires to eliminate, is a “sanctity of life issue.”


Total state health care sounds biblical because it wants to reach everyone and understands the impossible situation of some who have long-term disease or extraordinarily expensive medications. I’m sure there are problems in our current healthcare system that need to be addressed. It is not clear, however, that a more socialist approach to healthcare will be any more effective or fair than the present system. Some find that the Affordable Care Act is not so affordable and does not meet their needs.[2] We can certainly analyze healthcare systems such as the National Health Service in the UK, which gives everyone medical coverage, and may have some benefits, but can we call it “biblical”? If so, it may have some verses missing. Like our spotty postal service (which recently delivered to my home a letter postmarked in 1994!), many state systems can be impersonal and inefficient, with waiting periods of months or years for elective interventions like knee and hip surgery. In such cases, citizens may pay high fees to be treated through “private” medicine, which, in the end, becomes a different sort of privileged medicine. Unfortunately, Trump has not, to my knowledge, provided any detailed healthcare proposal, though he has promised that his plan would cover patients with pre-existing conditions. In thinking of the future of our children and grandchildren, we must ask if a political movement that integrates into its system without difficulty the wholesale slaughter of babies can be represented as a “biblically-shaped ethic.” Abortion is not an efficient solution to unwanted pregnancy. This ethic is shaped by the rejection of God the Creator.  View article →


Progressive )Social Justice) “Christianity”

A plea to my evangelical friends for Biden…who support his progressive socialist policies — Christian Research Network

October 24 How Goes the Battle?

I delight in God’s law; but I see another law at work … waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner.
(Romans 7:22–23, NIV)

You are never defeated until you are defeated on the inside! That’s where the attack will come! If you’re not expecting it, you won’t be prepared. It was while Samson slept that Delilah stripped him of his power. It was while the servants slept that an enemy sowed “tares among the wheat.” Peter says, “Be watchful … for your enemy … goeth about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour” (1 Peter 5:8). You don’t have to be “flaky” and look for “demons” under every bush, but for your own sake—be alert!

Paul wrote to the Thessalonian church and said, “We would have come unto you … but Satan hindered us!” (1 Thessalonians 2:18). If Satan could do that to Paul, imagine what he could do to you! Satan loves it when you downplay his power, for he does his best work in the dark! Anybody who could delay the answer to Daniel’s prayers for twenty-one days is a force with which to be reckoned (see Daniel 10:13). One of his strategies is to use “old programming.” There are “weeds” that were planted in you as a child that need to be uprooted, because they are sabotaging your future. For example, if you believe that somehow God is against success, you won’t even put your foot on the ladder, much less climb to the top. If you believe that you are “not good enough,” then you’ll never “come boldly to the throne of grace,” and get what’s available to you (see Hebrews 4:16).


Pull up those weeds! Declare with David, “This I know, God is for me” (Psalms 1:3).
He really is![1]


[1] Gass, B. (1998). A Fresh Word For Today : 365 Insights For Daily Living (p. 297). Alachua, FL: Bridge-Logos Publishers.

October 24 Fellow Workers for Christ

Philippians 2:25

I considered it necessary to send to you Epaphroditus, my brother, fellow worker, and fellow soldier, but your messenger and the one who ministered to my need.

Epaphroditus was a fellow worker in the body of Christ, which is another reason why Paul was so fond of him. Paul was without question a worker, and he was attracted to others who gave their all to the advancement of the gospel.

In the spirit of love, I must ask you the same thing I ask myself and those whom I pastor in my church: Are you a worker? If you are a Christian, I know you are a brother or sister. But I want to know if you’ve moved beyond that point and become a worker for Christ. Unfortunately, many in the body of Christ today are looking for the church that offers them the most services. Who do they think provides all those services if not workers just like themselves? If they do find a church offering what they are seeking, then they conclude, “This church is large and has everything all together. They don’t need me to do anything.” That perspective reflects a definite lack of knowledge about the church of Jesus Christ and its needs.

Every church needs its members to be workers.[1]


[1] Jeremiah, D. (2002). Sanctuary: finding moments of refuge in the presence of God (p. 311). Nashville, TN: Integrity Publishers.

October 24 The Interpreter: Spurgeon’s Devotional Bible

October 24.—Morning. [Or August 15.]
“Thou hast ascended on high.”

LUKE commences the Acts of the Apostles with a kind of preface which runs thus:

Acts 1

1–5 The former treatise have I made, O Theophilus, of all that Jesus began both to do and teach, Until the day in which he was taken up, after that he through the Holy Ghost had given commandments unto the apostles whom he had chosen: To whom also he shewed himself alive after his passion by many infallible proofs, being seen of them forty days, and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God: And, being assembled together with them, commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the Father, which, saith he, ye have heard of me. For John truly baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence.

When they therefore were come together, they asked of him, saying, Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel?

7, 8 And he said unto them, It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power. But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judæa, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth. (Humble waiting upon God, and joyful work for him, are the best cures for excessive curiosity.)

And when he had spoken these things, while they beheld, he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight.

10, 11 And while they looked stedfastly toward heaven as he went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel; Which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven. (When we stand gazing and trifling, the consideration of our Master’s second coming should quicken and awaken us; when we stand gazing and trembling, the same truth should comfort and encourage us.)

12, 14 Then returned they unto Jerusalem from the mount called Olivet, which is from Jerusalem a sabbath day’s journey. And they continued with one accord in prayer and supplication, with the women, and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brethren.

Prayer welded them together; we hear no more of those strifes, which were once so frequent, as to which of them should be the greatest.

15, 16 And in those days Peter stood up in the midst of the disciples, and said, Men and brethren, this scripture must needs have been fulfilled, which the Holy Ghost by the mouth of David spake before concerning Judas, which was guide to them that took Jesus. (What a gentle way of putting it. Harsh words are not to be used even of the worst of men. One is glad to hear Peter speaking thus calmly, surely he was made tender by the memory of his own fall.)

17 For he was numbered with us, and had obtained part of this ministry.

18–22 Now this man purchased a field with the reward of iniquity; and falling headlong, he burst asunder in the midst, and all his bowels gushed out. And it was known unto all the dwellers at Jerusalem; insomuch as that field is called in their proper tongue, Aceldama, that is to say, The field of blood. For it is written in the book of Psalms, Let his habitation be desolate, and let no man dwell therein: and his bishoprick let another take. Wherefore of these men which have companied with us all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us, Beginning from the baptism of John, unto that same day that he was taken up from us, must one be ordained to be a witness with us of his resurrection.

23–25 And they appointed two, Joseph called Barsabas, who was surnamed Justus, and Matthias. And they prayed, and said, Thou, Lord, which knowest the hearts of all men, shew whether of these two thou hast chosen, That he may take part of this ministry and apostleship, from which Judas by transgression fell, that he might go to his own place.

26 And they gave forth their lots; and the lot fell upon Matthias; and he was numbered with the eleven apostles.

No instance of the use of the lot occurs after the Spirit was given. It was an Old Testament custom, and to use it now would be idle superstition.

October 24.—Evening. [Or August 16.]
“Lift up your heads, O ye gates.”

THE psalmist David saw by the eye of prophecy the ascension of our Lord, and sang of it in—

Psalm 24

The earth is the Lord’s, and the fulness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein.

For he hath founded it upon the seas, and established it upon the floods.

Who shall ascend into the hill of the Lord? or who shall stand in his holy place?

All creation belongs unto the Lord, and the whole universe is his domain; but there is an abode of special glory where he more fully reveals himself to those whom he regards as peculiarly his own. The psalmist asks who these can be, and how it is that they are qualified to climb the hill whereon the divine palace is built. He describes their character and their leader.

4, 5 He that hath clean hands, and a pure heart; who hath not lifted up his soul unto vanity, nor sworn deceitfully. He shall receive the blessing from the Lord, and righteousness from the God of his salvation. (None can enter but the altogether pure in life and motive, the faithful and the upright, Jesus alone of our race perfectly answers to this description, and therefore he it is who leads the way and opens heaven’s gate for those whom he has made meet to enter.)

This is the generation of them that seek him, that seek thy face, O Jacob. Selah.

Lift up your heads, O ye gates; and be ye lift up, ye everlasting doors; and the King of glory shall come in. (These verses reveal to us the great representative man, who answered to the full character laid down, and therefore by his own right ascended the holy hill of Zion. We see him rising from amidst the little group upon Olivet, and as the cloud receives him, angels reverently escort him to the gates of heaven. The ancient gates of the eternal temple are personified and called upon “to lift up their heads,” as though, with all their glory, they were not great enough for the all-glorious King. Let the highest heavens put on unusual loftiness in honour of “the King of glory.”)

Who is this King of glory? The Lord strong and mighty, the Lord mighty in battle.

The watchers at the gate, hearing the song, look over the battlements and ask “Who is this King of glory?” A question full of meaning and worthy of the meditation of eternity. Who is he in person, nature, character, office, and work? What is his pedigree? what his rank and what his race? The answer given in a mighty wave of music is, “The Lord strong and mighty, the Lord mighty in battle.” We know the might of Jesus by his victories over sin, death, and hell, and we clap our hands as we see him leading captivity captive in the majesty of his strength.

Lift up your heads, O ye gates; even lift them up, ye everlasting doors; and the King of glory shall come in. (The words are repeated with a pleasing variation. There are times of deep, earnest feeling when repetitions are not vain, but full of force. Doors were often taken from their hinges when easterns would show welcome to a guest, and some doors were drawn up like a portcullis, and may possibly have protruded from the top; thus literally lifting up their heads. The picture is highly poetical, and shows how wide heaven’s gate is set by the ascension of our Lord. Blessed be God, it has never since been closed. The open gates of heaven invite the weakest believer to enter.)

10 Who is this King of glory? The Lord of hosts, he is the King of glory. Selah.

The closing note is inexpressibly grand. Jehovah of hosts, Lord of men and angels, is the King of glory, and he it is who, having once descended to earth, now returns to his throne. The ascended Saviour is here declared to be the Head and Crown of the universe, the King of Glory. Our Immanuel is hymned in sublimest strains: Jesus of Nazareth is Jehovah Sabaoth.

Our Lord is risen from the dead;

Our Jesus is gone up on high;

The powers of hell are captive led—

Dragg’d to the portals of the sky.

There his triumphal chariot waits,

And angels chant the solemn lay;—

“Lift up your heads, ye heavenly gates!

Ye everlasting doors, give way.”

“Who is the King of glory, who?”

The Lord of glorious power possess’d,

The King of saints and angels too:

God over all, for ever bless’d![1]


[1] Spurgeon, C. H. (1964). The Interpreter: Spurgeon’s Devotional Bible (pp. 631–632). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House.

October 24, 2020 Morning Verse Of The Day

22 In 1:22–25 James comes to the heart of a major problem among those he addresses (see 2:14–26) and a point eminently relevant to the church of any age. There are, of course, various ways a person can interact with the word of God. Yet here James asserts that listening to the word without actively applying it to life is deficient interaction. Thus he exhorts his readers to become doers of the word, not only hearers. His concern is strikingly similar to Paul’s concern in Romans 2:13: “it is not the hearers of the Law who are just before God, but the doers of the Law will be justified” (NASB). The point is clear. If one merely listens to the word taught and takes no action to incorporate it into the patterns of life, this does not constitute true receptiveness. God’s word should change behavior, not just stimulate the mind. The concept of doing the word is Semitic and anticipates the discussion of “faith and works” in 2:14–26.

In fact, those who hear the word without acting on it “deceive themselves” (paralogizomenoi [GK 4165] heautous). The word translated “deceive” can carry the meaning “cheat” or “defraud,” but based on the analogy to which we will turn momentarily (1:23–24), deception, or the idea of misleading, clearly is in view. Paul uses this term in Colossians 2:4 of being deceived by persuasive arguments. So the sense of James’s assertion is comparable to one saying, “If you think it is OK to listen to the word without acting on it, you are fooling yourself![1]

22 As we have already noted in some other verbs, be has a continuative sense: “Keep on striving to be doers of the Word.” The Hebraic doers (Vulg. factores), comparable to “doer of the law,” is almost adjectival, like “law-abiding,” “law-breakers” (Hort). The Word is the gospel as taught by Jesus, then practiced and proclaimed by his followers (Matt. 7:21, 24ff.). In Hebrew “hear” often implies hearing the Bible read; but probably it is now to be understood to embrace any oral religious instruction, in the synagogue, as was usual, or elsewhere. To attend such instruction as merely hearers155 was not enough, as any teacher knows: the lesson must enter into the hearer’s heart and mind. The implanted Word can only flourish in the soil of true obedience: to think otherwise is to delude oneself (see Moffatt, p. 26).[2]

1:22 James begins this section with an exhortation to be a hearer and doer. “Be doers of the word” is the positive, with the negative expressed as “not merely hearers.”75 The emphasis on being a “doer” of the word77 conforms to the teachings of Jesus in Matthew 7:12–27 and 25:31–46 (cf. John 13:17) but is also nearly identical to Romans 2:13: “It is not the hearers of the law who are righteous in God’s sight, but the doers of the law who will be justified.” It is a historical mistake to assign James 1:22 to messianic or Jewish Christianity only; the teaching here is entirely Jewish, and it was only with the rise of a non-Jewish focus, and frankly at times anti-Semitic framing of issues, that his sort of Torah observance became nearly impossible for Christian communities, pastors, and theologians. Torah and “do” (ʿasah) are brought together so often in the Hebrew Bible that instinct ought to lead us to see here a form of Torah observance. As E. P. Sanders summarized it, “As such it [Judaism] embraced what people did more than what they thought.… This emphasis on correct action in every sphere of life, technically called ‘orthopraxy,’ is a hallmark of Judaism.” Thus Josephus: “Piety governs all our actions and occupations and speech; none of these things did our lawgiver leave unexamined or indeterminate” (Against Apion 2.171). If this is the case in Judaism, it finds its climax among the Essenes at Qumran. A fragment of 4Q470 says it well: “to live by the whole Law, and to cause others to do so.” What makes James’s view of doing the Law/word distinct within Judaism is that in the next chapter he will invoke the Jesus Creed (Deut 6:4–5 + Lev 19:18) as the summary of the Law (cf. Jas 2:8–11 with 1:12). Understanding the Law through the hermeneutic of the double commandment is distinctly Jesus’ teaching, even if it is also clearly within the ambit of Judaism.

With “merely hearers” Mayor suggested long ago that James had in mind a person in a synagogue who only listened, and Laws suggested that the Jewish debate about the value of hearing the Torah read was in mind. But James’s point is rather simple: there is a glaring contrast between “hearing only”85 and “hearing and doing,” and James claims that only the second is acceptable to God. It is no different from the word of Simeon, son of Rabban Gamaliel, who said, “not the learning is the main thing but the doing” (m Abot 1:17). But pride of place goes to the later but illustrativem Abot 5:14:

  1. There are four sorts among those who go to the study house:
  2. he who goes but does not carry out [what he learns]—he has at least the reward for the going.
  3. He who practices but does not go [to study]—he has at least the reward for the doing.
  4. He who both goes and practices—he is truly pious.
  5. He who neither goes nor practices—he is truly wicked.

Jesus (Matt 7:12–27), James, and this anonymous rabbinic voice agree that the aim is “D”: hearing and doing. For James there are only two alternatives: “hearing and doing” or “hearing only.”

To be a hearer and doer, in context, is to be the person who perseveres into moral formation (1:2–4), who seeks God’s wisdom in trials (1:5), who knows that the poor will be exalted and the rich rendered powerless (1:9–11), who avoids impulses toward violence to establish God’s will (1:13–15, 19–21), who pursues God’s justice in meekness and receptivity (1:21), and who is shaped in the context of God’s “first fruit” messianic community (1:18).

Those who can be classed as “hearers only,” James makes clear, are making a colossal mistake: they “deceive themselves.” Jesus, too, was intensely concerned about self-deception, but the word he normally chose to hang this concern on was “hypocrisy.”88 What is closest to James is perhaps Matthew 7:21–23. Just what might they be deceived about? Most understand this to be deception about final redemption, and that is perhaps the best way to understand the verse, but there are reasons to think James may once again be thinking about the messianic age that is dawning now and its opportunity to establish justice and peace. In James, the promise the messianic community is given is both a here and then sort. In 1:4, James is concerned with being “perfect/mature”; in 1:5 he is concerned with “wisdom”; the alternative to wisdom is double-mindedness and instability (1:7–8); in 1:9–11 James sees something good now for the poor and something bad now for the rich; the “crown” of 1:12 is no doubt mostly an eternal perspective, but “life” is something experienced now for the messianic community. The community is now the “first fruits” (1:18), and the “justice of God” that the community is to strive for is something that can come now (1:20). And we suggested that “saving the soul” in 1:21 may be the eschatological redemption, but it may also be earthly survival and flourishing. If we skip ahead to 1:25, the “blessings” come in the doer’s deeds and, like most macarisms, pertain as much to life now as they do to life in eternity. In other words, while we would be hasty to dismiss an eschatological future (as judgment) from the deception in 1:22, it is just as likely that James has in mind the person who “hears but does not do” and that such a person is deceived if he or she thinks God’s will can be established in such a manner. Their deception, in other words, could be about how to bring about God’s kingdom.[3]

1:22 / The topic of accepting or obeying the word shifts James from the idea of speech to that of charitable action. Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves refers to the person who is self-congratulatory about knowledge of scripture or mastery of the apostolic traditions about Jesus. It is not that such persons failed to learn the word of the apostolic teaching. They may be learned in scripture and accurate “scribes” of the teaching of Jesus. But they are merely listening. No matter how extensive one’s scriptural knowledge, how amazing one’s memory, it is self-deception if that is all there is.

Do what it says is the critical point. It is not what one knows, but what one does that counts. True knowledge is the prelude to action, and it is the obedience to the word that counts in the end.[4]

1:22 Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. I prefer to translate this verse: “Become doers of the Word and not hearers only and so deceive yourselves.” James uses the present-tense imperative of “become” (ginomai). This word and its tense reflect the process of becoming something as opposed to a one-time action. Each time we do what God says to us through his Word, we become more and more a doer of the Word. James also uses two nouns (“doers” and “hearers”), not two verbs (“do” and “listen”). This reflects a contrast between two types of people rather than simply two different kinds of actions. Become a doer, not a hearer only.[5]

Ver. 22.—They are not merely to receive and hear the Word; they must also act upon it. Compare St. Paul’s teaching in Rom. 2:13, “For not the hearers (ἀκροαταὶ) of a law are just before God, but the doers of a law shall be justified.” Ἀκροατής occurs nowhere else except in these passages. Deceiving your own selves (παραλογίζειν); to lead astray by false reasonings; only here and in Col. 2:4. Not uncommon in the LXX.[6]

22. Be ye doers of the word. The doer here is not the same as in Rom. 2:13, who satisfied the law of God and fulfilled it in every part, but the doer is he who from the heart embraces God’s word and testifies by his life that he really believes, according to the saying of Christ, “Blessed are they who hear God’s word and keep it,” (Luke 11:28;) for he shews by the fruits what that implanting is, before mentioned. We must further observe, that faith with all its works is included by James, yea, faith especially, as it is the chief work which God requires from us. The import of the whole is, that we ought to labour that the word of the Lord should strike roots in us, so that it may afterwards fructify.[7]

22. Lest anyone misconceive what ‘receiving the word’ involves, James spells out what he means in verses 22–27. In doing so, we are taken right to the heart of James’ pastoral concern. However important may be mental assent to the word, it has not been truly received until it is put into practice. ‘Hearing’ the word is, of course, necessary and important—it would be a fatal misunderstanding to think that James is against listening to the word. But what James strenuously opposes is any hearing of the word that does not lead to doing. With this emphasis James aligns himself with a widespread Jewish belief of his day. ‘Not the expounding [of the law] is the chief thing, but the doing [of it]’ said a second-century rabbi (Simeon b. Gamaliel in Mishnah, Abot. 1:17). Paul reflects this Jewish emphasis when he writes: ‘it is not the hearers of the law who are righteous before God, but the doers of the law who will be justified’ (Rom. 2:13). And James’ concern is once again firmly in line with Jesus’ teaching: ‘Blessed are those who hear the word of God and keep it!’ (Luke 11:28). Jesus’ preaching is filled with the overwhelming, amazing wonder of God’s sovereign grace reaching down to sinful men in the gospel. But equally prominent is Jesus’ summons to radical obedience—an obedience that is the necessary human response to God’s grace. Both factors, the gracious initiative of God and the grateful response of man, are part and parcel of the gospel. The word, through which we are born into new life (v. 18) and which becomes implanted in us (v. 21), is a word that is to be put into practice.

Those who fail to do the word, who are hearers only, are guilty of a dangerous and potentially fatal self-delusion. If the gospel, by nature, contains both saving power and summons to obedience, those who relate to only one have not truly embraced the gospel. That is why James can say that people who only hear the word are deceiving themselves. They think that they have a relationship with God because they regularly attend church, go to Bible studies or read the Bible. But if their listening is not accompanied by obedience, their true situation before God is far different. ‘Obedience’, says Calvin, ‘is the mother of true knowledge of God.’4[8]

1:22 “But prove yourselves doers of the word” This is a PRESENT MIDDLE IMPERATIVE. This verse is the central message of the entire book (cf. 1:22, 23, 25). Christianity is a volitional decision to a faith relationship with Jesus Christ which issues in a Christlike lifestyle. It is possible that this phrase is an indirect way of referring to OT obedience as in the Ten Commandments (cf. James 1:12 combined with Ex. 20:6 and Deut. 5:10).

© “not merely hearers” This word was used in Greek literature for those who attended lectures but never joined the groups. Hearing the truth is not enough; believers must act on it and continue to act on it daily (cf. Luke 11:28; Rom. 2:13).

© “who delude themselves” This is a PRESENT MIDDLE PARTICIPLE. Modern Christianity is guilty of supposing that church attendance or civil responsibility is equated with Christian service. Our cultural segregation of the secular and sacred only achieves self-deception. Verses 23–25 are an example of such self-deception. Life belongs to God and each of us will give an account to God as to how we have lived it.[9]

22. Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.

In the next four verses, we see the following parts:

  • A direct command

The command has a negative and a positive part. “Do not merely listen.… Do what it says.” Here is a more literal translation of the text: “But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves” (RSV). The New International Version reverses the order because in actual experience hearing comes before doing. Also, the phrase and so deceive yourselves applies only to hearing. Therefore, the choice to place the words do what it says separately at the end of the verse is commendable, for it shows emphasis.

First, let us look at the term hearers. This expression is closely linked to the word disobedience in the Greek. The writer of Hebrews joins the verb to hear and the noun disobedience in the same breath. “We must pay more careful attention, therefore, to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away. For … every violation and disobedience received its just punishment” (2:1–2). James also warns his readers to pay attention to the Word of God. If they neglect to hear God’s message, they deceive themselves. They merely listen to the preaching of the gospel and at the conclusion of the worship service walk away as if the Word of God has nothing to say to them.

Next, to all of us James says, “Do what it says.” The Christian faith is always active and stands in sharp contrast to other religions that practice meditation and general inactivity. In one of his epistles, John delineates the Christian’s duty to be active. Says he, “Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth” (1 John 3:18; also consult Ezek. 33:32).[10]

[1] Guthrie, G. H. (2006). James. In T. Longman III & D. E. Garland (Eds.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Hebrews–Revelation (Revised Edition) (Vol. 13, pp. 226–227). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

[2] Adamson, J. B. (1976). The Epistle of James (p. 82). Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co.

[3] McKnight, S. (2011). The Letter of James (pp. 146–149). Grand Rapids, MI; Cambridge, UK: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company.

[4] Davids, P. H. (2011). James (p. 41). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books.

[5] Samra, J. (2016). James, 1 & 2 Peter, and Jude. (M. L. Strauss & J. H. Walton, Eds.) (p. 21). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books: A Division of Baker Publishing Group.

[6] Spence-Jones, H. D. M. (Ed.). (1909). James (p. 5). London; New York: Funk & Wagnalls Company.

[7] Calvin, J., & Owen, J. (2010). Commentaries on the Catholic Epistles (pp. 296–297). Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.

[8] Moo, D. J. (1985). James: An Introduction and Commentary (Vol. 16, pp. 85–86). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.

[9] Utley, R. J. D. (2000). Jesus’ Half-Brothers Speak: James and Jude (Vol. Volume 11, p. 24). Marshall, TX: Bible Lessons International.

[10] Kistemaker, S. J., & Hendriksen, W. (1953–2001). Exposition of James and the Epistles of John (Vol. 14, p. 60). Grand Rapids: Baker Book House.

The Holy Spirit Will Speak — Daily Devotionals by Thoughts about God

But when you are arrested and stand trial, don’t worry about what to say in your defense. Just say what God tells you to. Then you will not be speaking, but the Holy Spirit will.” Mark 13:11

Have you even had the experience of trying to say a word for the Lord, just sharing your faith, and breathing a prayer for guidance — then marvelling as the Lord Himself, by His indwelling Holy Spirit, put the very words in your mouth that needed to be said?

Such has been my experience — many times. And I marvel and rejoice each time. On some occasions, I have addressed crowds of varying sizes, often not only feeling totally inadequate but also concluding my message of the evening with the feeling that I had been a poor ambassador of Christ. Then, someone had approached me after the service and thanked me for saying just the word he needed at that moment.

We serve a faithful God. That neighbor who needs a word of encouragement — ask the Lord to give you the right words to say to him or her. That correspondent hundreds of miles away — trust God for His message to him or her through you.

Certain conditions must prevail, of course, before the Holy Spirit can speak through us. But they are easily met. I must come with a clean heart, surrendered to the Holy Spirit, with my sins forgiven, having forgiven other people and holding no resentment or ill feeling against anyone. “If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me” Psalm 66:18 (KJV).

Let us trust God and His indwelling Holy Spirit for the very words of counsel we should say to a loved one or friend today.

Bible Reading: Acts 2:1-4

Today: I will trust God and His Holy Spirit to put the very words in my mouth this day that need to be said to others whose lives I touch.

By Dr. Bill Bright
Used by Permission7


How to be Saved
Understanding the Holy Spirit

Learn more about knowing Jesus at: https://thoughts-about-god.com/four-laws/

The Holy Spirit Will Speak — Daily Devotionals by Thoughts about God

Ambassadors for Christ — Daily Devotionals by Thoughts about God

“Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ…”   2 Corinthians 5:20

All too often, we can get caught up in doing life — going to school, advancing in our careers, spending time with family and friends, and participating in church events and activities. However, sometimes we can come away from a seemingly “full” life feeling just the opposite. What is missing?

A simple answer can be found in 2 Corinthians 5:20. Paul tells us that as believers, we are ambassadors for Christ. As ambassadors, we are representing Christ to a world that otherwise may not know him. This is an incredibly important and powerful job, and something that should ignite a fire in our hearts.

And yet, it is so easy to focus on what we are doing for Christ rather than on all he can do in and through us by his Spirit.

Jesus calls us into a deep love relationship with him and others rooted in grace and faith. He invites us to keep him in the center of our thoughts, efforts and actions. He wants us to embrace all we are in him. He calls us to trust him to live his life through us, so that we accomplish his calling for our loves is the power of the Spirit.

When we embrace the call to reflect Jesus to the world by trusting him to live in us by his Spirit, our lives will change in a powerful way as we experience the glory of a purpose-filled life.

Heavenly Father, I pray today that I would remember who I am in you. Help me to make the most of every opportunity to truly represent you in a world that desperately needs you. Amen.

By McKenna Vietti
Used by Permission


Learn more about knowing Jesus at: https://thoughts-about-god.com/four-laws/

Ambassadors for Christ — Daily Devotionals by Thoughts about God

Great High Priest (Part 1 of 2) – Programs – Truth For Life

The title “Great High Priest” resonated with first-century believers. Today, though, this description of Jesus can leave us scratching our heads. On Truth For Life, Alistair Begg explains how Jesus’ fulfillment of this role gives us privileged access to God. 

October 24 – Making disciples starts at home — Reformed Perspective

Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord. – Ephesians 6:4

Scripture reading: Deuteronomy 6:1-9

Parents are the first to instruct and train their children. Fathers, in particular, are singled out as responsible for this. Note the two words. Discipline and instruction imply a focused purpose, not a casual approach. Think of how a coach operates. He instructs players about plays and moves, makes them practice them over and over again (training), encouraging and admonishing them to excel. So parents are to instruct their children and train them.

Parents are to teach them about God and Jesus. Tell Bible stories so that they can see God and Jesus as revealed in them. Teach them how God has provided salvation in the death and resurrection of Jesus, and how by His Word and Spirit He transforms them. Explain the sacraments to them. Teach them about the place and necessity of the church. Teach them how the righteousness of Christ is ours. Teach them how the world is passing away and that Christ is making all things new. Give them the vision of the coming of the new heavens and earth. Such things are foundational to holy living and such instruction begins at home, not at church or school.

This is to be constant. Deuteronomy 11:19 says You shall teach them to your children, talking of them when you are sitting in your house, and when you are walking by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. At all times! For example, your reaction when you hit your thumb with a hammer speaks volumes about your love for the Lord.

Suggestions for prayer

Pray that you can be a faithful parent, or that parents you know can be faithful in training and instruction. Pray for children to know and love God.

Rev. Calvin Tuininga is the Pastor Emeritus of the Covenant United Reformed Church in Pantego, North Carolina. This daily devotional is also available in a print edition you can buy at Nearer to God Devotional.

October 24 – Making disciples starts at home — Reformed Perspective