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Standing in the Storm

Published by InTouch Ministries for reading on April 16th.

Psalms 62:1-8 Chapter 62 1 My soul waiteth in silence for God only: From him `cometh' my salvation. 2 He only is my rock and my salvation: `He is' my high tower; I shall not be greatly moved. 3 How long will ye set upon a man, That ye may slay `him', all of you, Like a leaning wall, like a tottering fence? 4 They only consult to thrust him down from his dignity; They delight in lies; They bless with their mouth, but they curse inwardly. Selah 5 My soul, wait thou in silence for God only; For my expectation is from him. 6 He only is my rock and my salvation: `He is' my high tower; I shall not be moved. 7 With God is my salvation and my glory: The rock of my strength, and my refuge, is in God. 8 Trust in him at all times, ye people; Pour out your heart before him: God is a refuge for us. Selah

“What am I going to do?” How many times have we all uttered this cry of despair? Sometimes the storms of life come without letup; they seem endless, successively crashing against us until we feel as though we can’t take any more. In those times of desperation, Psalms 62 Chapter 62 1 My soul waiteth in silence for God only: From him `cometh' my salvation. 2 He only is my rock and my salvation: `He is' my high tower; I shall not be greatly moved. 3 How long will ye set upon a man, That ye may slay `him', all of you, Like a leaning wall, like a tottering fence? 4 They only consult to thrust him down from his dignity; They delight in lies; They bless with their mouth, but they curse inwardly. Selah 5 My soul, wait thou in silence for God only; For my expectation is from him. 6 He only is my rock and my salvation: `He is' my high tower; I shall not be moved. 7 With God is my salvation and my glory: The rock of my strength, and my refuge, is in God. 8 Trust in him at all times, ye people; Pour out your heart before him: God is a refuge for us. Selah 9 Surely men of low degree are vanity, and men of high degree are a lie: In the balances they will go up; They are together lighter than vanity. 10 Trust not in oppression, And become not vain in robbery: If riches increase, set not your heart `thereon'. 11 God hath spoken once, Twice have I heard this, That power belongeth unto God. 12 Also unto thee, O Lord, belongeth lovingkindness; For thou renderest to every man according to his work. Psalm 63 A Psalm of David when he was in the wilderness of Judah. offers three valuable lessons.

First, we must wait. It’s understandable that we want answers and relief immediately, but the Lord acts in His own perfect time, and He’s never late. Therefore, we must wait for Him to guide us to the next step—even when that means resisting our natural desire to react quickly and take control of circumstances.

Second, we must wait in silence. When we quiet our mind and tongue, we give God an opportunity to speak His words of hope and trust to our heart. Instead of letting anxiety and worry occupy our thoughts, we must focus on God’s promises from Scripture. Then He will give us patience, trust, courage, and the assurance that He cares and is in control.

Third, we must keep in mind the motivation for this waiting—God’s intervention. Our focus is to be on the Lord, not on our troubles, ourselves, or other people. We must learn to filter out whatever is pulling our attention away from trust in almighty God, who is working according to His will and timing.

When the storms of life batter you, make sure that your feet are planted on the solid rock of Jesus Christ. Do not despair, asking, What am I going to do? Rather, ask, What is God doing? And be assured—He is doing something.

Bible in One Year: 1 Kings 10-12 Chapter 10 1 And when the queen of Sheba heard of the fame of Solomon concerning the name of Jehovah, she came to prove him with hard questions. 2 And she came to Jerusalem with a very great train, with camels that bare spices, and very much gold, and precious stones; and when she was come to Solomon, she communed with him of all that was in her heart. 3 And Solomon told her all her questions: there was not anything hid from the king which he told her not. 4 And when the queen of Sheba had seen all the wisdom of Solomon, and the house that he had built, 5 and the food of his table, and the sitting of his servants, and the attendance of his ministers, and their apparel, and his cupbearers, and his ascent by which he went up unto the house of Jehovah; there was no more spirit in her. 6 And she said to the king, It was a true report that I heard in mine own land of thine acts, and of thy wisdom. 7 Howbeit I believed not the words, until I came, and mine eyes had seen it: and, behold, the half was not told me; thy wisdom and prosperity exceed the fame which I heard. 8 Happy are thy men, happy are these thy servants, that stand continually before thee, `and' that hear thy wisdom. 9 Blessed be Jehovah thy God, who delighted in thee, to set thee on the throne of Israel: because Jehovah loved Israel for ever, therefore made he thee king, to do justice and righteousness. 10 And she gave the king a hundred and twenty talents of gold, and of spices very great store, and precious stones: there came no more such abundance of spices as these which the queen of Sheba gave to king Solomon. 11 And the navy also of Hiram, that brought gold from Ophir, brought in from Ophir great plenty of almug-trees and precious stones. 12 And the king made of the almug-trees pillars for the house of Jehovah, and for the king's house, harps also and psalteries for the singers: there came no such almug-trees, nor were seen, unto this day. 13 And king Solomon gave to the queen of Sheba all her desire, whatsoever she asked, besides that which Solomon gave her of his royal bounty. So she turned, and went to her own land, she and her servants. 14 Now the weight of gold that came to Solomon in one year was six hundred threescore and six talents of gold, 15 besides `that which' the traders `brought', and the traffic of the merchants, and of all the kings of the mingled people, and of the governors of the country. 16 And king Solomon made two hundred bucklers of beaten gold; six hundred `shekels' of gold went to one buckler. 17 And `he made' three hundred shields of beaten gold; three pounds of gold went to one shield: and the king put them in the house of the forest of Lebanon. 18 Moreover the king made a great throne of ivory, and overlaid it with the finest gold. 19 There were six steps to the throne, and the top of the throne was round behind; and there were stays on either side by the place of the seat, and two lions standing beside the stays. 20 And twelve lions stood there on the one side and on the other upon the six steps: there was not the like made in any kingdom. 21 And all king Solomon's drinking vessels were of gold, and all the vessels of the house of the forest of Lebanon were of pure gold: none were of silver; it was nothing accounted of in the days of Solomon. 22 For the king had at sea a navy of Tarshish with the navy of Hiram: once every three years came the navy of Tarshish, bringing gold, and silver, ivory, and apes, and peacocks. 23 So king Solomon exceeded all the kings of the earth in riches and in wisdom. 24 And all the earth sought the presence of Solomon, to hear his wisdom, which God had put in his heart. 25 And they brought every man his tribute, vessels of silver, and vessels of gold, and raiment, and armor, and spices, horses, and mules, a rate year by year. 26 And Solomon gathered together chariots and horsemen: and he had a thousand and four hundred chariots, and twelve thousand horsemen, that he bestowed in the chariot cities, and with the king at Jerusalem. 27 And the king made silver to be in Jerusalem as stones, and cedars made he to be as the sycomore-trees that are in the lowland, for abundance. 28 And the horses which Solomon had were brought out of Egypt; and the king's merchants received them in droves, each drove at a price. 29 And a chariot came up and went out of Egypt for six hundred `shekels' of silver, and a horse for a hundred and fifty; and so for all the kings of the Hittites, and for the kings of Syria, did they bring them out by their means. Chapter 11 1 Now king Solomon loved many foreign women, together with the daughter of Pharaoh, women of the Moabites, Ammonites, Edomites, Sidonians, and Hittites; 2 of the nations concerning which Jehovah said unto the children of Israel, Ye shall not go among them, neither shall they come among you; for surely they will turn away your heart after their gods: Solomon clave unto these in love. 3 And he had seven hundred wives, princesses, and three hundred concubines; and his wives turned away his heart. 4 For it came to pass, when Solomon was old, that his wives turned away his heart after other gods; and his heart was not perfect with Jehovah his God, as was the heart of David his father. 5 For Solomon went after Ashtoreth the goddess of the Sidonians, and after Milcom the abomination of the Ammonites. 6 And Solomon did that which was evil in the sight of Jehovah, and went not fully after Jehovah, as did David his father. 7 Then did Solomon build a high place for Chemosh the abomination of Moab, in the mount that is before Jerusalem, and for Molech the abomination of the children of Ammon. 8 And so did he for all his foreign wives, who burnt incense and sacrificed unto their gods. 9 And Jehovah was angry with Solomon, because his heart was turned away from Jehovah, the God of Israel, who had appeared unto him twice, 10 and had commanded him concerning this thing, that he should not go after other gods: but he kept not that which Jehovah commanded. 11 Wherefore Jehovah said unto Solomon, Forasmuch as this is done of thee, and thou hast not kept my covenant and my statutes, which I have commanded thee, I will surely rend the kingdom from thee, and will give it to thy servant. 12 Notwithstanding in thy days I will not do it, for David thy father's sake: but I will rend it out of the hand of thy son. 13 Howbeit I will not rend away all the kingdom; but I will give one tribe to thy son, for David my servant's sake, and for Jerusalem's sake which I have chosen. 14 And Jehovah raised up an adversary unto Solomon, Hadad the Edomite: he was of the king's seed in Edom. 15 For it came to pass, when David was in Edom, and Joab the captain of the host was gone up to bury the slain, and had smitten every male in Edom; 16 (for Joab and all Israel remained there six months, until he had cut off every male in Edom); 17 that Hadad fled, he and certain Edomites of his father's servants with him, to go into Egypt, Hadad being yet a little child. 18 And they arose out of Midian, and came to Paran; and they took men with them out of Paran, and they came to Egypt, unto Pharaoh king of Egypt, who gave him a house, and appointed him victuals, and gave him land. 19 And Hadad found great favor in the sight of Pharaoh, so that he gave him to wife the sister of his own wife, the sister of Tahpenes the queen. 20 And the sister of Tahpenes bare him Genubath his son, whom Tahpenes weaned in Pharaoh's house; and Genubath was in Pharaoh's house among the sons of Pharaoh. 21 And when Hadad heard in Egypt that David slept with his fathers, and that Joab the captain of the host was dead, Hadad said to Pharaoh, Let me depart, that I may go to mine own country. 22 Then Pharaoh said unto him, But what hast thou lacked with me, that, behold, thou seekest to go to thine own country? And he answered, Nothing: howbeit only let me depart. 23 And God raised up `another' adversary unto him, Rezon the son of Eliada, who had fled from his lord Hadadezer king of Zobah. 24 And he gathered men unto him, and became captain over a troop, when David slew them `of Zobah': and they went to Damascus, and dwelt therein, and reigned in Damascus. 25 And he was an adversary to Israel all the days of Solomon, besides the mischief that Hadad `did': and he abhorred Israel, and reigned over Syria. 26 And Jeroboam the son of Nebat, an Ephraimite of Zeredah, a servant of Solomon, whose mother's name was Zeruah, a widow, he also lifted up his hand against the king. 27 And this was the reason why he lifted up his hand against the king: Solomon built Millo, and repaired the breach of the city of David his father. 28 And the man Jeroboam was a mighty man of valor; and Solomon saw the young man that he was industrious, and he gave him charge over all the labor of the house of Joseph. 29 And it came to pass at that time, when Jeroboam went out of Jerusalem, that the prophet Ahijah the Shilonite found him in the way; now `Ahijah' had clad himself with a new garment; and they two were alone in the field. 30 And Ahijah laid hold of the new garment that was on him, and rent it in twelve pieces. 31 And he said to Jeroboam, Take thee ten pieces; for thus saith Jehovah, the God of Israel, Behold, I will rend the kingdom out of the hand of Solomon, and will give ten tribes to thee; 32 (but he shall have one tribe, for my servant David's sake and for Jerusalem's sake, the city which I have chosen out of all the tribes of Israel); 33 because that they have forsaken me, and have worshipped Ashtoreth the goddess of the Sidonians, Chemosh the god of Moab, and Milcom the god of the children of Ammon; and they have not walked in my ways, to do that which is right in mine eyes, and `to keep' my statutes and mine ordinances, as did David his father. 34 Howbeit I will not take the whole kingdom out of his hand; but I will make him prince all the days of his life, for David my servant's sake whom I chose, who kept my commandments and my statutes; 35 but I will take the kingdom out of his son's hand, and will give it unto thee, even ten tribes. 36 And unto his son will I give one tribe, that David my servant may have a lamp alway before me in Jerusalem, the city which I have chosen me to put my name there. 37 And I will take thee, and thou shalt reign according to all that thy soul desireth, and shalt be king over Israel. 38 And it shall be, if thou wilt hearken unto all that I command thee, and wilt walk in my ways, and do that which is right in mine eyes, to keep my statutes and my commandments, as David my servant did; that I will be with thee, and will build thee a sure house, as I built for David, and will give Israel unto thee. 39 And I will for this afflict the seed of David, but not for ever. 40 Solomon sought therefore to kill Jeroboam; but Jeroboam arose, and fled into Egypt, unto Shishak king of Egypt, and was in Egypt until the death of Solomon. 41 Now the rest of the acts of Solomon, and all that he did, and his wisdom, are they not written in the book of the acts of Solomon? 42 And the time that Solomon reigned in Jerusalem over all Israel was forty years. 43 And Solomon slept with his fathers, and was buried in the city of David his father: and Rehoboam his son reigned in his stead. Chapter 12 1 And Rehoboam went to Shechem: for all Israel were come to Shechem to make him king. 2 And it came to pass, when Jeroboam the son of Nebat heard of it (for he was yet in Egypt, whither he had fled from the presence of king Solomon, and Jeroboam dwelt in Egypt, 3 and they sent and called him), that Jeroboam and all the assembly of Israel came, and spake unto Rehoboam, saying, 4 Thy father made our yoke grievous: now therefore make thou the grievous service of thy father, and his heavy yoke which he put upon us, lighter, and we will serve thee. 5 And he said unto them, Depart yet for three days, then come again to me. And the people departed. 6 And king Rehoboam took counsel with the old men, that had stood before Solomon his father while he yet lived, saying, What counsel give ye me to return answer to this people? 7 And they spake unto him, saying, If thou wilt be a servant unto this people this day, and wilt serve them, and answer them, and speak good words to them, then they will be thy servants for ever. 8 But he forsook the counsel of the old men which they had given him, and took counsel with the young men that were grown up with him, that stood before him. 9 And he said unto them, What counsel give ye, that we may return answer to this people, who have spoken to me, saying, Make the yoke that thy father did put upon us lighter? 10 And the young men that were grown up with him spake unto him, saying, Thus shalt thou say unto this people that spake unto thee, saying, Thy father made our yoke heavy, but make thou it lighter unto us; thus shalt thou speak unto them, My little finger is thicker than my father's loins. 11 And now whereas my father did lade you with a heavy yoke, I will add to your yoke: my father chastised you with whips, but I will chastise you with scorpions. 12 So Jeroboam and all the people came to Rehoboam the third day, as the king bade, saying, Come to me again the third day. 13 And the king answered the people roughly, and forsook the counsel of the old men which they had given him, 14 and spake to them after the counsel of the young men, saying, My father made your yoke heavy, but I will add to your yoke: my father chastised you with whips, but I will chastise you with scorpions. 15 So the king hearkened not unto the people; for it was a thing brought about of Jehovah, that he might establish his word, which Jehovah spake by Ahijah the Shilonite to Jeroboam the son of Nebat. 16 And when all Israel saw that the king hearkened not unto them, the people answered the king, saying, What portion have we in David? neither have we inheritance in the son of Jesse: to your tents, O Israel: now see to thine own house, David. So Israel departed unto their tents. 17 But as for the children of Israel that dwelt in the cities of Judah, Rehoboam reigned over them. 18 Then king Rehoboam sent Adoram, who was over the men subject to taskwork; and all Israel stoned him to death with stones. And king Rehoboam made speed to get him up to his chariot, to flee to Jerusalem. 19 So Israel rebelled against the house of David unto this day. 20 And it came to pass, when all Israel heard that Jeroboam was returned, that they sent and called him unto the congregation, and made him king over all Israel: there was none that followed the house of David, but the tribe of Judah only. 21 And when Rehoboam was come to Jerusalem, he assembled all the house of Judah, and the tribe of Benjamin, a hundred and fourscore thousand chosen men, that were warriors, to fight against the house of Israel, to bring the kingdom again to Rehoboam the son of Solomon. 22 But the word of God came unto Shemaiah the man of God, saying, 23 Speak unto Rehoboam the son of Solomon, king of Judah, and unto all the house of Judah and Benjamin, and to the rest of the people, saying, 24 Thus saith Jehovah, Ye shall not go up, nor fight against your brethren the children of Israel: return every man to his house; for this thing is of me. So they hearkened unto the word of Jehovah, and returned and went their way, according to the word of Jehovah. 25 Then Jeroboam built Shechem in the hill-country of Ephraim, and dwelt therein; and he went out from thence, and built Penuel. 26 And Jeroboam said in his heart, Now will the kingdom return to the house of David: 27 if this people go up to offer sacrifices in the house of Jehovah at Jerusalem, then will the heart of this people turn again unto their lord, even unto Rehoboam king of Judah; and they will kill me, and return to Rehoboam king of Judah. 28 Whereupon the king took counsel, and made two calves of gold; and he said unto them, It is too much for you to go up to Jerusalem: behold thy gods, O Israel, which brought thee up out of the land of Egypt. 29 And he set the one in Beth-el, and the other put he in Dan. 30 And this thing became a sin; for the people went `to worship' before the one, even unto Dan. 31 And he made houses of high places, and made priests from among all the people, that were not of the sons of Levi. 32 And Jeroboam ordained a feast in the eighth month, on the fifteenth day of the month, like unto the feast that is in Judah, and he went up unto the altar; so did he in Beth-el, sacrificing unto the calves that he had made: and he placed in Beth-el the priests of the high places that he had made. 33 And he went up unto the altar which he had made in Beth-el on the fifteenth day in the eighth month, even in the month which he had devised of his own heart: and he ordained a feast for the children of Israel, and went up unto the altar, to burn incense.




Building Lasting Friendships

Published by InTouch Ministries for reading on April 16th.

1 Samuel 18:1-4 Chapter 18 1 And it came to pass, when he had made an end of speaking unto Saul, that the soul of Jonathan was knit with the soul of David, and Jonathan loved him as his own soul. 2 And Saul took him that day, and would let him go no more home to his father's house. 3 Then Jonathan and David made a covenant, because he loved him as his own soul. 4 And Jonathan stripped himself of the robe that was upon him, and gave it to David, and his apparel, even to his sword, and to his bow, and to his girdle.

Genuine friends are rare treasures. In a very limited way, they are shadows of the perfect fellowship experienced within the Trinity. We are made in God’s image (Gen. 1:27); one aspect of this truth is that the Lord created us for meaningful relationships. In fact, it’s difficult to flourish if we live in isolation. By God’s design, we are made to share life with others, as well as to give and receive love.

Friendships come in various degrees—from surface relationships to intimate fellowship. Although you may have many acquaintances, you might remain lonely unless you have at least one or two close friends. If God has blessed you with an intimate friendship, be diligent to devote time and effort to develop and cultivate it.

Jonathan and David exemplified this type of closeness. One was a prince and the other was a shepherd, so they seemed like improbable companions. However, status didn’t matter to them. Besides demonstrating humility, they also showed great respect for each other’s faith and love for Israel. They both felt as committed as brothers and gave generously of themselves. For example, the robe Jonathan gave David—a prized possession of the king’s son—was evidence of his loyalty and love ( 1 Samuel 18:4 4 And Jonathan stripped himself of the robe that was upon him, and gave it to David, and his apparel, even to his sword, and to his bow, and to his girdle. ). He even risked his life and reputation in order to save David ( 1 Samuel 20:30-34 30 Then Saul's anger was kindled against Jonathan, and he said unto him, Thou son of a perverse rebellious woman, do not I know that thou hast chosen the son of Jesse to thine own shame, and unto the shame of thy mother's nakedness? 31 For as long as the son of Jesse liveth upon the ground, thou shalt not be established, nor thy kingdom. Wherefore now send and fetch him unto me, for he shall surely die. 32 And Jonathan answered Saul his father, and said unto him, Wherefore should he be put to death? what hath he done? 33 And Saul cast his spear at him to smite him; whereby Jonathan knew that is was determined of his father to put David to death. 34 So Jonathan arose from the table in fierce anger, and did eat no food the second day of the month; for he was grieved for David, because his father had done him shame. ).

Do you have a person like this in your life—someone with whom to share your joys and sorrows, strengths and weaknesses, fears and pain? Thankfully, Jesus is the best friend we can have, but we also need close relationships with others. What can you do today to build this type of friendship?

Bible in One Year: 1 Kings 10-12 Chapter 10 1 And when the queen of Sheba heard of the fame of Solomon concerning the name of Jehovah, she came to prove him with hard questions. 2 And she came to Jerusalem with a very great train, with camels that bare spices, and very much gold, and precious stones; and when she was come to Solomon, she communed with him of all that was in her heart. 3 And Solomon told her all her questions: there was not anything hid from the king which he told her not. 4 And when the queen of Sheba had seen all the wisdom of Solomon, and the house that he had built, 5 and the food of his table, and the sitting of his servants, and the attendance of his ministers, and their apparel, and his cupbearers, and his ascent by which he went up unto the house of Jehovah; there was no more spirit in her. 6 And she said to the king, It was a true report that I heard in mine own land of thine acts, and of thy wisdom. 7 Howbeit I believed not the words, until I came, and mine eyes had seen it: and, behold, the half was not told me; thy wisdom and prosperity exceed the fame which I heard. 8 Happy are thy men, happy are these thy servants, that stand continually before thee, `and' that hear thy wisdom. 9 Blessed be Jehovah thy God, who delighted in thee, to set thee on the throne of Israel: because Jehovah loved Israel for ever, therefore made he thee king, to do justice and righteousness. 10 And she gave the king a hundred and twenty talents of gold, and of spices very great store, and precious stones: there came no more such abundance of spices as these which the queen of Sheba gave to king Solomon. 11 And the navy also of Hiram, that brought gold from Ophir, brought in from Ophir great plenty of almug-trees and precious stones. 12 And the king made of the almug-trees pillars for the house of Jehovah, and for the king's house, harps also and psalteries for the singers: there came no such almug-trees, nor were seen, unto this day. 13 And king Solomon gave to the queen of Sheba all her desire, whatsoever she asked, besides that which Solomon gave her of his royal bounty. So she turned, and went to her own land, she and her servants. 14 Now the weight of gold that came to Solomon in one year was six hundred threescore and six talents of gold, 15 besides `that which' the traders `brought', and the traffic of the merchants, and of all the kings of the mingled people, and of the governors of the country. 16 And king Solomon made two hundred bucklers of beaten gold; six hundred `shekels' of gold went to one buckler. 17 And `he made' three hundred shields of beaten gold; three pounds of gold went to one shield: and the king put them in the house of the forest of Lebanon. 18 Moreover the king made a great throne of ivory, and overlaid it with the finest gold. 19 There were six steps to the throne, and the top of the throne was round behind; and there were stays on either side by the place of the seat, and two lions standing beside the stays. 20 And twelve lions stood there on the one side and on the other upon the six steps: there was not the like made in any kingdom. 21 And all king Solomon's drinking vessels were of gold, and all the vessels of the house of the forest of Lebanon were of pure gold: none were of silver; it was nothing accounted of in the days of Solomon. 22 For the king had at sea a navy of Tarshish with the navy of Hiram: once every three years came the navy of Tarshish, bringing gold, and silver, ivory, and apes, and peacocks. 23 So king Solomon exceeded all the kings of the earth in riches and in wisdom. 24 And all the earth sought the presence of Solomon, to hear his wisdom, which God had put in his heart. 25 And they brought every man his tribute, vessels of silver, and vessels of gold, and raiment, and armor, and spices, horses, and mules, a rate year by year. 26 And Solomon gathered together chariots and horsemen: and he had a thousand and four hundred chariots, and twelve thousand horsemen, that he bestowed in the chariot cities, and with the king at Jerusalem. 27 And the king made silver to be in Jerusalem as stones, and cedars made he to be as the sycomore-trees that are in the lowland, for abundance. 28 And the horses which Solomon had were brought out of Egypt; and the king's merchants received them in droves, each drove at a price. 29 And a chariot came up and went out of Egypt for six hundred `shekels' of silver, and a horse for a hundred and fifty; and so for all the kings of the Hittites, and for the kings of Syria, did they bring them out by their means. Chapter 11 1 Now king Solomon loved many foreign women, together with the daughter of Pharaoh, women of the Moabites, Ammonites, Edomites, Sidonians, and Hittites; 2 of the nations concerning which Jehovah said unto the children of Israel, Ye shall not go among them, neither shall they come among you; for surely they will turn away your heart after their gods: Solomon clave unto these in love. 3 And he had seven hundred wives, princesses, and three hundred concubines; and his wives turned away his heart. 4 For it came to pass, when Solomon was old, that his wives turned away his heart after other gods; and his heart was not perfect with Jehovah his God, as was the heart of David his father. 5 For Solomon went after Ashtoreth the goddess of the Sidonians, and after Milcom the abomination of the Ammonites. 6 And Solomon did that which was evil in the sight of Jehovah, and went not fully after Jehovah, as did David his father. 7 Then did Solomon build a high place for Chemosh the abomination of Moab, in the mount that is before Jerusalem, and for Molech the abomination of the children of Ammon. 8 And so did he for all his foreign wives, who burnt incense and sacrificed unto their gods. 9 And Jehovah was angry with Solomon, because his heart was turned away from Jehovah, the God of Israel, who had appeared unto him twice, 10 and had commanded him concerning this thing, that he should not go after other gods: but he kept not that which Jehovah commanded. 11 Wherefore Jehovah said unto Solomon, Forasmuch as this is done of thee, and thou hast not kept my covenant and my statutes, which I have commanded thee, I will surely rend the kingdom from thee, and will give it to thy servant. 12 Notwithstanding in thy days I will not do it, for David thy father's sake: but I will rend it out of the hand of thy son. 13 Howbeit I will not rend away all the kingdom; but I will give one tribe to thy son, for David my servant's sake, and for Jerusalem's sake which I have chosen. 14 And Jehovah raised up an adversary unto Solomon, Hadad the Edomite: he was of the king's seed in Edom. 15 For it came to pass, when David was in Edom, and Joab the captain of the host was gone up to bury the slain, and had smitten every male in Edom; 16 (for Joab and all Israel remained there six months, until he had cut off every male in Edom); 17 that Hadad fled, he and certain Edomites of his father's servants with him, to go into Egypt, Hadad being yet a little child. 18 And they arose out of Midian, and came to Paran; and they took men with them out of Paran, and they came to Egypt, unto Pharaoh king of Egypt, who gave him a house, and appointed him victuals, and gave him land. 19 And Hadad found great favor in the sight of Pharaoh, so that he gave him to wife the sister of his own wife, the sister of Tahpenes the queen. 20 And the sister of Tahpenes bare him Genubath his son, whom Tahpenes weaned in Pharaoh's house; and Genubath was in Pharaoh's house among the sons of Pharaoh. 21 And when Hadad heard in Egypt that David slept with his fathers, and that Joab the captain of the host was dead, Hadad said to Pharaoh, Let me depart, that I may go to mine own country. 22 Then Pharaoh said unto him, But what hast thou lacked with me, that, behold, thou seekest to go to thine own country? And he answered, Nothing: howbeit only let me depart. 23 And God raised up `another' adversary unto him, Rezon the son of Eliada, who had fled from his lord Hadadezer king of Zobah. 24 And he gathered men unto him, and became captain over a troop, when David slew them `of Zobah': and they went to Damascus, and dwelt therein, and reigned in Damascus. 25 And he was an adversary to Israel all the days of Solomon, besides the mischief that Hadad `did': and he abhorred Israel, and reigned over Syria. 26 And Jeroboam the son of Nebat, an Ephraimite of Zeredah, a servant of Solomon, whose mother's name was Zeruah, a widow, he also lifted up his hand against the king. 27 And this was the reason why he lifted up his hand against the king: Solomon built Millo, and repaired the breach of the city of David his father. 28 And the man Jeroboam was a mighty man of valor; and Solomon saw the young man that he was industrious, and he gave him charge over all the labor of the house of Joseph. 29 And it came to pass at that time, when Jeroboam went out of Jerusalem, that the prophet Ahijah the Shilonite found him in the way; now `Ahijah' had clad himself with a new garment; and they two were alone in the field. 30 And Ahijah laid hold of the new garment that was on him, and rent it in twelve pieces. 31 And he said to Jeroboam, Take thee ten pieces; for thus saith Jehovah, the God of Israel, Behold, I will rend the kingdom out of the hand of Solomon, and will give ten tribes to thee; 32 (but he shall have one tribe, for my servant David's sake and for Jerusalem's sake, the city which I have chosen out of all the tribes of Israel); 33 because that they have forsaken me, and have worshipped Ashtoreth the goddess of the Sidonians, Chemosh the god of Moab, and Milcom the god of the children of Ammon; and they have not walked in my ways, to do that which is right in mine eyes, and `to keep' my statutes and mine ordinances, as did David his father. 34 Howbeit I will not take the whole kingdom out of his hand; but I will make him prince all the days of his life, for David my servant's sake whom I chose, who kept my commandments and my statutes; 35 but I will take the kingdom out of his son's hand, and will give it unto thee, even ten tribes. 36 And unto his son will I give one tribe, that David my servant may have a lamp alway before me in Jerusalem, the city which I have chosen me to put my name there. 37 And I will take thee, and thou shalt reign according to all that thy soul desireth, and shalt be king over Israel. 38 And it shall be, if thou wilt hearken unto all that I command thee, and wilt walk in my ways, and do that which is right in mine eyes, to keep my statutes and my commandments, as David my servant did; that I will be with thee, and will build thee a sure house, as I built for David, and will give Israel unto thee. 39 And I will for this afflict the seed of David, but not for ever. 40 Solomon sought therefore to kill Jeroboam; but Jeroboam arose, and fled into Egypt, unto Shishak king of Egypt, and was in Egypt until the death of Solomon. 41 Now the rest of the acts of Solomon, and all that he did, and his wisdom, are they not written in the book of the acts of Solomon? 42 And the time that Solomon reigned in Jerusalem over all Israel was forty years. 43 And Solomon slept with his fathers, and was buried in the city of David his father: and Rehoboam his son reigned in his stead. Chapter 12 1 And Rehoboam went to Shechem: for all Israel were come to Shechem to make him king. 2 And it came to pass, when Jeroboam the son of Nebat heard of it (for he was yet in Egypt, whither he had fled from the presence of king Solomon, and Jeroboam dwelt in Egypt, 3 and they sent and called him), that Jeroboam and all the assembly of Israel came, and spake unto Rehoboam, saying, 4 Thy father made our yoke grievous: now therefore make thou the grievous service of thy father, and his heavy yoke which he put upon us, lighter, and we will serve thee. 5 And he said unto them, Depart yet for three days, then come again to me. And the people departed. 6 And king Rehoboam took counsel with the old men, that had stood before Solomon his father while he yet lived, saying, What counsel give ye me to return answer to this people? 7 And they spake unto him, saying, If thou wilt be a servant unto this people this day, and wilt serve them, and answer them, and speak good words to them, then they will be thy servants for ever. 8 But he forsook the counsel of the old men which they had given him, and took counsel with the young men that were grown up with him, that stood before him. 9 And he said unto them, What counsel give ye, that we may return answer to this people, who have spoken to me, saying, Make the yoke that thy father did put upon us lighter? 10 And the young men that were grown up with him spake unto him, saying, Thus shalt thou say unto this people that spake unto thee, saying, Thy father made our yoke heavy, but make thou it lighter unto us; thus shalt thou speak unto them, My little finger is thicker than my father's loins. 11 And now whereas my father did lade you with a heavy yoke, I will add to your yoke: my father chastised you with whips, but I will chastise you with scorpions. 12 So Jeroboam and all the people came to Rehoboam the third day, as the king bade, saying, Come to me again the third day. 13 And the king answered the people roughly, and forsook the counsel of the old men which they had given him, 14 and spake to them after the counsel of the young men, saying, My father made your yoke heavy, but I will add to your yoke: my father chastised you with whips, but I will chastise you with scorpions. 15 So the king hearkened not unto the people; for it was a thing brought about of Jehovah, that he might establish his word, which Jehovah spake by Ahijah the Shilonite to Jeroboam the son of Nebat. 16 And when all Israel saw that the king hearkened not unto them, the people answered the king, saying, What portion have we in David? neither have we inheritance in the son of Jesse: to your tents, O Israel: now see to thine own house, David. So Israel departed unto their tents. 17 But as for the children of Israel that dwelt in the cities of Judah, Rehoboam reigned over them. 18 Then king Rehoboam sent Adoram, who was over the men subject to taskwork; and all Israel stoned him to death with stones. And king Rehoboam made speed to get him up to his chariot, to flee to Jerusalem. 19 So Israel rebelled against the house of David unto this day. 20 And it came to pass, when all Israel heard that Jeroboam was returned, that they sent and called him unto the congregation, and made him king over all Israel: there was none that followed the house of David, but the tribe of Judah only. 21 And when Rehoboam was come to Jerusalem, he assembled all the house of Judah, and the tribe of Benjamin, a hundred and fourscore thousand chosen men, that were warriors, to fight against the house of Israel, to bring the kingdom again to Rehoboam the son of Solomon. 22 But the word of God came unto Shemaiah the man of God, saying, 23 Speak unto Rehoboam the son of Solomon, king of Judah, and unto all the house of Judah and Benjamin, and to the rest of the people, saying, 24 Thus saith Jehovah, Ye shall not go up, nor fight against your brethren the children of Israel: return every man to his house; for this thing is of me. So they hearkened unto the word of Jehovah, and returned and went their way, according to the word of Jehovah. 25 Then Jeroboam built Shechem in the hill-country of Ephraim, and dwelt therein; and he went out from thence, and built Penuel. 26 And Jeroboam said in his heart, Now will the kingdom return to the house of David: 27 if this people go up to offer sacrifices in the house of Jehovah at Jerusalem, then will the heart of this people turn again unto their lord, even unto Rehoboam king of Judah; and they will kill me, and return to Rehoboam king of Judah. 28 Whereupon the king took counsel, and made two calves of gold; and he said unto them, It is too much for you to go up to Jerusalem: behold thy gods, O Israel, which brought thee up out of the land of Egypt. 29 And he set the one in Beth-el, and the other put he in Dan. 30 And this thing became a sin; for the people went `to worship' before the one, even unto Dan. 31 And he made houses of high places, and made priests from among all the people, that were not of the sons of Levi. 32 And Jeroboam ordained a feast in the eighth month, on the fifteenth day of the month, like unto the feast that is in Judah, and he went up unto the altar; so did he in Beth-el, sacrificing unto the calves that he had made: and he placed in Beth-el the priests of the high places that he had made. 33 And he went up unto the altar which he had made in Beth-el on the fifteenth day in the eighth month, even in the month which he had devised of his own heart: and he ordained a feast for the children of Israel, and went up unto the altar, to burn incense.




Embracing Jesus

Published by John Piper for reading on April 17th.

This is the love of God, that we keep his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome. For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world — our faith. ( 1 John 5:3 3 For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous. –4)

The eighteenth-century pastor and theologian Jonathan Edwards wrestled with this text and concluded, “Saving faith implies . . . love. . . . Our love to God enables us to overcome the difficulties that attend keeping God’s commands — which shows that love is the main thing in saving faith, the life and power of it, by which it produces great effects.”

I think Edwards is right and that numerous texts in the Bible support what he says.

Another way to say it is that faith in Christ is not just assenting to what God is for us, but also embracing all that he is for us in Christ. “True faith embraces Christ in whatever ways the Scriptures hold him out to poor sinners.” This “embracing” is one kind of love to Christ — that kind that treasures him above all things.

Therefore, there is no contradiction between 1 John 5:3 3 For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous. , on the one hand, which says that our love for God enables us to keep his commandments, and verse 4, on the other hand, which says that our faith overcomes the obstacles of the world that keep us from obeying God’s commandments. Love for God and Christ is implicit in faith.

John then defines the faith that obeys as “the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God” ( 1 John 5:5 5 And who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God? ). This faith is “embracing” the present Jesus Christ as the glorious divine person he is. It is not simply assenting to the truth that Jesus is the Son of God, because the demons assent to that ( Matthew 8:29 29 And behold, they cried out, saying, What have we to do with thee, thou Son of God? art thou come hither to torment us before the time? ). Believing that Jesus is the Son of God means “embracing” the significance of that truth — that is, being satisfied with Christ as the Son of God and all God is for us in him.

“Son of God” means that Jesus is the greatest person in the universe alongside his Father. Therefore, all he taught is true, and all he promised will stand firm, and all his soul-satisfying greatness will never change.

Believing that he is the Son of God, therefore, includes banking on all this, and being satisfied with it.



The Secret of Being an Overcomer

Published by InTouch Ministries for reading on April 17th.

2 Corinthians 12:9-10 9 And he hath said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for `my' power is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my weaknesses, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 10 Wherefore I take pleasure in weaknesses, in injuries, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ's sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.

Paul learned the secret of being an overcomer: Maintain God’s perspective on the ups and downs of life, and access His power. The apostle was firmly convinced that having the person of the Holy Spirit living in him meant that God’s power was available to him.

We, too, can learn to be at peace while the storms of life rage around us. The first step is to believe that the power of God is within us through the presence of His Spirit. We then must accept that God’s priority for us is transformation into Christ’s image, and not necessarily comfortable circumstances. Diligently seeking to maintain Jesus’ perspective on trials ( John 16:33 33 These things have I spoken unto you, that in me ye may have peace. In the world ye have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world. ) is also important. Until we settle such matters of faith, true contentment will evade us.

Having embraced these truths, we can learn to use the divine power of the risen Christ. The key lies in submitting our will to His. Then, instead of reacting to life based on our own weaknesses and desires, we will switch to responding on the basis of God’s will and the fact that we belong to Christ. We will be able to consciously surrender ourselves to the Lord and His pattern for living. Yielding control to the Holy Spirit allows God’s will to be done and enables us to accept it. When we can say, “Lord, whatever You choose to send will be all right with me,” then we will experience the inner peace promised to us. (See John 14:27 27 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be fearful. .)

Divine perspective, surrender, and firm faith—these are the ingredients for the victorious life. Now you know the secret, too.

Bible in One Year: 1 Kings 10-12 Chapter 10 1 And when the queen of Sheba heard of the fame of Solomon concerning the name of Jehovah, she came to prove him with hard questions. 2 And she came to Jerusalem with a very great train, with camels that bare spices, and very much gold, and precious stones; and when she was come to Solomon, she communed with him of all that was in her heart. 3 And Solomon told her all her questions: there was not anything hid from the king which he told her not. 4 And when the queen of Sheba had seen all the wisdom of Solomon, and the house that he had built, 5 and the food of his table, and the sitting of his servants, and the attendance of his ministers, and their apparel, and his cupbearers, and his ascent by which he went up unto the house of Jehovah; there was no more spirit in her. 6 And she said to the king, It was a true report that I heard in mine own land of thine acts, and of thy wisdom. 7 Howbeit I believed not the words, until I came, and mine eyes had seen it: and, behold, the half was not told me; thy wisdom and prosperity exceed the fame which I heard. 8 Happy are thy men, happy are these thy servants, that stand continually before thee, `and' that hear thy wisdom. 9 Blessed be Jehovah thy God, who delighted in thee, to set thee on the throne of Israel: because Jehovah loved Israel for ever, therefore made he thee king, to do justice and righteousness. 10 And she gave the king a hundred and twenty talents of gold, and of spices very great store, and precious stones: there came no more such abundance of spices as these which the queen of Sheba gave to king Solomon. 11 And the navy also of Hiram, that brought gold from Ophir, brought in from Ophir great plenty of almug-trees and precious stones. 12 And the king made of the almug-trees pillars for the house of Jehovah, and for the king's house, harps also and psalteries for the singers: there came no such almug-trees, nor were seen, unto this day. 13 And king Solomon gave to the queen of Sheba all her desire, whatsoever she asked, besides that which Solomon gave her of his royal bounty. So she turned, and went to her own land, she and her servants. 14 Now the weight of gold that came to Solomon in one year was six hundred threescore and six talents of gold, 15 besides `that which' the traders `brought', and the traffic of the merchants, and of all the kings of the mingled people, and of the governors of the country. 16 And king Solomon made two hundred bucklers of beaten gold; six hundred `shekels' of gold went to one buckler. 17 And `he made' three hundred shields of beaten gold; three pounds of gold went to one shield: and the king put them in the house of the forest of Lebanon. 18 Moreover the king made a great throne of ivory, and overlaid it with the finest gold. 19 There were six steps to the throne, and the top of the throne was round behind; and there were stays on either side by the place of the seat, and two lions standing beside the stays. 20 And twelve lions stood there on the one side and on the other upon the six steps: there was not the like made in any kingdom. 21 And all king Solomon's drinking vessels were of gold, and all the vessels of the house of the forest of Lebanon were of pure gold: none were of silver; it was nothing accounted of in the days of Solomon. 22 For the king had at sea a navy of Tarshish with the navy of Hiram: once every three years came the navy of Tarshish, bringing gold, and silver, ivory, and apes, and peacocks. 23 So king Solomon exceeded all the kings of the earth in riches and in wisdom. 24 And all the earth sought the presence of Solomon, to hear his wisdom, which God had put in his heart. 25 And they brought every man his tribute, vessels of silver, and vessels of gold, and raiment, and armor, and spices, horses, and mules, a rate year by year. 26 And Solomon gathered together chariots and horsemen: and he had a thousand and four hundred chariots, and twelve thousand horsemen, that he bestowed in the chariot cities, and with the king at Jerusalem. 27 And the king made silver to be in Jerusalem as stones, and cedars made he to be as the sycomore-trees that are in the lowland, for abundance. 28 And the horses which Solomon had were brought out of Egypt; and the king's merchants received them in droves, each drove at a price. 29 And a chariot came up and went out of Egypt for six hundred `shekels' of silver, and a horse for a hundred and fifty; and so for all the kings of the Hittites, and for the kings of Syria, did they bring them out by their means. Chapter 11 1 Now king Solomon loved many foreign women, together with the daughter of Pharaoh, women of the Moabites, Ammonites, Edomites, Sidonians, and Hittites; 2 of the nations concerning which Jehovah said unto the children of Israel, Ye shall not go among them, neither shall they come among you; for surely they will turn away your heart after their gods: Solomon clave unto these in love. 3 And he had seven hundred wives, princesses, and three hundred concubines; and his wives turned away his heart. 4 For it came to pass, when Solomon was old, that his wives turned away his heart after other gods; and his heart was not perfect with Jehovah his God, as was the heart of David his father. 5 For Solomon went after Ashtoreth the goddess of the Sidonians, and after Milcom the abomination of the Ammonites. 6 And Solomon did that which was evil in the sight of Jehovah, and went not fully after Jehovah, as did David his father. 7 Then did Solomon build a high place for Chemosh the abomination of Moab, in the mount that is before Jerusalem, and for Molech the abomination of the children of Ammon. 8 And so did he for all his foreign wives, who burnt incense and sacrificed unto their gods. 9 And Jehovah was angry with Solomon, because his heart was turned away from Jehovah, the God of Israel, who had appeared unto him twice, 10 and had commanded him concerning this thing, that he should not go after other gods: but he kept not that which Jehovah commanded. 11 Wherefore Jehovah said unto Solomon, Forasmuch as this is done of thee, and thou hast not kept my covenant and my statutes, which I have commanded thee, I will surely rend the kingdom from thee, and will give it to thy servant. 12 Notwithstanding in thy days I will not do it, for David thy father's sake: but I will rend it out of the hand of thy son. 13 Howbeit I will not rend away all the kingdom; but I will give one tribe to thy son, for David my servant's sake, and for Jerusalem's sake which I have chosen. 14 And Jehovah raised up an adversary unto Solomon, Hadad the Edomite: he was of the king's seed in Edom. 15 For it came to pass, when David was in Edom, and Joab the captain of the host was gone up to bury the slain, and had smitten every male in Edom; 16 (for Joab and all Israel remained there six months, until he had cut off every male in Edom); 17 that Hadad fled, he and certain Edomites of his father's servants with him, to go into Egypt, Hadad being yet a little child. 18 And they arose out of Midian, and came to Paran; and they took men with them out of Paran, and they came to Egypt, unto Pharaoh king of Egypt, who gave him a house, and appointed him victuals, and gave him land. 19 And Hadad found great favor in the sight of Pharaoh, so that he gave him to wife the sister of his own wife, the sister of Tahpenes the queen. 20 And the sister of Tahpenes bare him Genubath his son, whom Tahpenes weaned in Pharaoh's house; and Genubath was in Pharaoh's house among the sons of Pharaoh. 21 And when Hadad heard in Egypt that David slept with his fathers, and that Joab the captain of the host was dead, Hadad said to Pharaoh, Let me depart, that I may go to mine own country. 22 Then Pharaoh said unto him, But what hast thou lacked with me, that, behold, thou seekest to go to thine own country? And he answered, Nothing: howbeit only let me depart. 23 And God raised up `another' adversary unto him, Rezon the son of Eliada, who had fled from his lord Hadadezer king of Zobah. 24 And he gathered men unto him, and became captain over a troop, when David slew them `of Zobah': and they went to Damascus, and dwelt therein, and reigned in Damascus. 25 And he was an adversary to Israel all the days of Solomon, besides the mischief that Hadad `did': and he abhorred Israel, and reigned over Syria. 26 And Jeroboam the son of Nebat, an Ephraimite of Zeredah, a servant of Solomon, whose mother's name was Zeruah, a widow, he also lifted up his hand against the king. 27 And this was the reason why he lifted up his hand against the king: Solomon built Millo, and repaired the breach of the city of David his father. 28 And the man Jeroboam was a mighty man of valor; and Solomon saw the young man that he was industrious, and he gave him charge over all the labor of the house of Joseph. 29 And it came to pass at that time, when Jeroboam went out of Jerusalem, that the prophet Ahijah the Shilonite found him in the way; now `Ahijah' had clad himself with a new garment; and they two were alone in the field. 30 And Ahijah laid hold of the new garment that was on him, and rent it in twelve pieces. 31 And he said to Jeroboam, Take thee ten pieces; for thus saith Jehovah, the God of Israel, Behold, I will rend the kingdom out of the hand of Solomon, and will give ten tribes to thee; 32 (but he shall have one tribe, for my servant David's sake and for Jerusalem's sake, the city which I have chosen out of all the tribes of Israel); 33 because that they have forsaken me, and have worshipped Ashtoreth the goddess of the Sidonians, Chemosh the god of Moab, and Milcom the god of the children of Ammon; and they have not walked in my ways, to do that which is right in mine eyes, and `to keep' my statutes and mine ordinances, as did David his father. 34 Howbeit I will not take the whole kingdom out of his hand; but I will make him prince all the days of his life, for David my servant's sake whom I chose, who kept my commandments and my statutes; 35 but I will take the kingdom out of his son's hand, and will give it unto thee, even ten tribes. 36 And unto his son will I give one tribe, that David my servant may have a lamp alway before me in Jerusalem, the city which I have chosen me to put my name there. 37 And I will take thee, and thou shalt reign according to all that thy soul desireth, and shalt be king over Israel. 38 And it shall be, if thou wilt hearken unto all that I command thee, and wilt walk in my ways, and do that which is right in mine eyes, to keep my statutes and my commandments, as David my servant did; that I will be with thee, and will build thee a sure house, as I built for David, and will give Israel unto thee. 39 And I will for this afflict the seed of David, but not for ever. 40 Solomon sought therefore to kill Jeroboam; but Jeroboam arose, and fled into Egypt, unto Shishak king of Egypt, and was in Egypt until the death of Solomon. 41 Now the rest of the acts of Solomon, and all that he did, and his wisdom, are they not written in the book of the acts of Solomon? 42 And the time that Solomon reigned in Jerusalem over all Israel was forty years. 43 And Solomon slept with his fathers, and was buried in the city of David his father: and Rehoboam his son reigned in his stead. Chapter 12 1 And Rehoboam went to Shechem: for all Israel were come to Shechem to make him king. 2 And it came to pass, when Jeroboam the son of Nebat heard of it (for he was yet in Egypt, whither he had fled from the presence of king Solomon, and Jeroboam dwelt in Egypt, 3 and they sent and called him), that Jeroboam and all the assembly of Israel came, and spake unto Rehoboam, saying, 4 Thy father made our yoke grievous: now therefore make thou the grievous service of thy father, and his heavy yoke which he put upon us, lighter, and we will serve thee. 5 And he said unto them, Depart yet for three days, then come again to me. And the people departed. 6 And king Rehoboam took counsel with the old men, that had stood before Solomon his father while he yet lived, saying, What counsel give ye me to return answer to this people? 7 And they spake unto him, saying, If thou wilt be a servant unto this people this day, and wilt serve them, and answer them, and speak good words to them, then they will be thy servants for ever. 8 But he forsook the counsel of the old men which they had given him, and took counsel with the young men that were grown up with him, that stood before him. 9 And he said unto them, What counsel give ye, that we may return answer to this people, who have spoken to me, saying, Make the yoke that thy father did put upon us lighter? 10 And the young men that were grown up with him spake unto him, saying, Thus shalt thou say unto this people that spake unto thee, saying, Thy father made our yoke heavy, but make thou it lighter unto us; thus shalt thou speak unto them, My little finger is thicker than my father's loins. 11 And now whereas my father did lade you with a heavy yoke, I will add to your yoke: my father chastised you with whips, but I will chastise you with scorpions. 12 So Jeroboam and all the people came to Rehoboam the third day, as the king bade, saying, Come to me again the third day. 13 And the king answered the people roughly, and forsook the counsel of the old men which they had given him, 14 and spake to them after the counsel of the young men, saying, My father made your yoke heavy, but I will add to your yoke: my father chastised you with whips, but I will chastise you with scorpions. 15 So the king hearkened not unto the people; for it was a thing brought about of Jehovah, that he might establish his word, which Jehovah spake by Ahijah the Shilonite to Jeroboam the son of Nebat. 16 And when all Israel saw that the king hearkened not unto them, the people answered the king, saying, What portion have we in David? neither have we inheritance in the son of Jesse: to your tents, O Israel: now see to thine own house, David. So Israel departed unto their tents. 17 But as for the children of Israel that dwelt in the cities of Judah, Rehoboam reigned over them. 18 Then king Rehoboam sent Adoram, who was over the men subject to taskwork; and all Israel stoned him to death with stones. And king Rehoboam made speed to get him up to his chariot, to flee to Jerusalem. 19 So Israel rebelled against the house of David unto this day. 20 And it came to pass, when all Israel heard that Jeroboam was returned, that they sent and called him unto the congregation, and made him king over all Israel: there was none that followed the house of David, but the tribe of Judah only. 21 And when Rehoboam was come to Jerusalem, he assembled all the house of Judah, and the tribe of Benjamin, a hundred and fourscore thousand chosen men, that were warriors, to fight against the house of Israel, to bring the kingdom again to Rehoboam the son of Solomon. 22 But the word of God came unto Shemaiah the man of God, saying, 23 Speak unto Rehoboam the son of Solomon, king of Judah, and unto all the house of Judah and Benjamin, and to the rest of the people, saying, 24 Thus saith Jehovah, Ye shall not go up, nor fight against your brethren the children of Israel: return every man to his house; for this thing is of me. So they hearkened unto the word of Jehovah, and returned and went their way, according to the word of Jehovah. 25 Then Jeroboam built Shechem in the hill-country of Ephraim, and dwelt therein; and he went out from thence, and built Penuel. 26 And Jeroboam said in his heart, Now will the kingdom return to the house of David: 27 if this people go up to offer sacrifices in the house of Jehovah at Jerusalem, then will the heart of this people turn again unto their lord, even unto Rehoboam king of Judah; and they will kill me, and return to Rehoboam king of Judah. 28 Whereupon the king took counsel, and made two calves of gold; and he said unto them, It is too much for you to go up to Jerusalem: behold thy gods, O Israel, which brought thee up out of the land of Egypt. 29 And he set the one in Beth-el, and the other put he in Dan. 30 And this thing became a sin; for the people went `to worship' before the one, even unto Dan. 31 And he made houses of high places, and made priests from among all the people, that were not of the sons of Levi. 32 And Jeroboam ordained a feast in the eighth month, on the fifteenth day of the month, like unto the feast that is in Judah, and he went up unto the altar; so did he in Beth-el, sacrificing unto the calves that he had made: and he placed in Beth-el the priests of the high places that he had made. 33 And he went up unto the altar which he had made in Beth-el on the fifteenth day in the eighth month, even in the month which he had devised of his own heart: and he ordained a feast for the children of Israel, and went up unto the altar, to burn incense.




Daily Bible - April 17

Published by Grace To You for reading on April 17th.

Reading for Today:

  • Joshua 23:1 Chapter 23 1 And it came to pass after many days, when Jehovah had given rest unto Israel from all their enemies round about, and Joshua was old and well stricken in years; –24:33
  • Psalms 47:1-9 Chapter 47 1 Oh clap your hands, all ye peoples; Shout unto God with the voice of triumph. 2 For Jehovah Most High is terrible; He is a great King over all the earth. 3 He subdueth peoples under us, And nations under our feet. 4 He chooseth our inheritance for us, The glory of Jacob whom he loved. Selah 5 God is gone up with a shout, Jehovah with the sound of a trumpet. 6 Sing praise to God, sing praises: Sing praises unto our King, sing praises. 7 For God is the King of all the earth: Sing ye praises with understanding. 8 God reigneth over the nations: God sitteth upon his holy throne. 9 The princes of the peoples are gathered together `To be' the people of the God of Abraham: For the shields of the earth belong unto God; He is greatly exalted. Psalm 48 A Song; a Psalm of the sons of Korah.
  • Proverbs 14:14 14 The backslider in heart shall be filled with his own ways; And a good man `shall be satisfied' from himself.
  • Luke 13:23-35 23 And one said unto him, Lord, are they few that are saved? And he said unto them, 24 Strive to enter in by the narrow door: for many, I say unto you, shall seek to enter in, and shall not be able. 25 When once the master of the house is risen up, and hath shut to the door, and ye begin to stand without, and to knock at the door, saying, Lord, open to us; and he shall answer and say to you, I know you not whence ye are; 26 then shall ye begin to say, We did eat and drink in thy presence, and thou didst teach in our streets; 27 and he shall say, I tell you, I know not whence ye are; depart from me, all ye workers of iniquity. 28 There shall be the weeping and the gnashing of teeth, when ye shall see Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, and all the prophets, in the kingdom of God, and yourselves cast forth without. 29 And they shall come from the east and west, and from the north and south, and shall sit down in the kingdom of God. 30 And behold, there are last who shall be first, and there are first who shall be last. 31 In that very hour there came certain Pharisees, saying to him, Get thee out, and go hence: for Herod would fain kill thee. 32 And he said unto them, Go and say to that fox, Behold, I cast out demons and perform cures to-day and to-morrow, and the third `day' I am perfected. 33 Nevertheless I must go on my way to-day and to-morrow and the `day' following: for it cannot be that a prophet perish out of Jerusalem. 34 O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, that killeth the prophets, and stoneth them that are sent unto her! how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen `gathereth' her own brood under her wings, and ye would not! 35 Behold, your house is left unto you `desolate': and I say unto you, Ye shall not see me, until ye shall say, Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord.

Notes:

Joshua 24:15 choose...this day whom you will serve. Joshua’s fatherly model (reminiscent of Abraham’s, Gen. 18:19) was for himself and his family to serve the Lord, not false gods. He called others in Israel to this, and they committed themselves to serve the Lord also (vv. 21, 24).

Proverbs 14:14 backslider in heart. This term, so often used by the prophets (Is. 57:17; Jer. 3:6, 8, 11, 12, 14, 22; 8:5; 31:22; 49:4; Hos. 11:7; 14:4), is here used in such a way as to clarify who is a backslider. He belongs in the category of the fool, the wicked, and the disobedient, and he is contrasted with the godly wise. It is a word that the prophets used of apostate unbelievers.

Luke 13:23 are there few who are saved? That question may have been prompted by a number of factors. The great multitudes that had once followed Christ were subsiding to a faithful few (see John 6:66 66 Upon this many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him. ). Great crowds still came to hear (14:25), but committed followers were increasingly scarce. Moreover, Christ’s messages often seemed designed to discourage the halfhearted. And He Himself had stated that the way is so narrow that few find it (Matt. 7:14). This contradicted the Jewish belief that all Jews, except for tax collectors and other notorious sinners, would be saved. Christ’s reply once again underscored the difficulty of entering at the narrow gate. After the resurrection, only 120 disciples gathered in the upper room in Jerusalem ( Acts 1:15 15 And in these days Peter stood up in the midst of the brethren, and said (and there was a multitude of persons `gathered' together, about a hundred and twenty), ) and only about 500 in Galilee (1 Cor. 15:6).

Luke 13:29 They will come. By including people from the 4 corners of the earth, Jesus made it clear that even Gentiles would be invited to the heavenly banquet table. This was contrary to prevailing rabbinical thought, but perfectly consistent with the Old Testament Scriptures (Ps. 107:3; Is. 66:18, 19; Mal. 1:11).

DAY 17: Why would Jesus call Herod a “fox” in Luke 13:32 32 And he said unto them, Go and say to that fox, Behold, I cast out demons and perform cures to-day and to-morrow, and the third `day' I am perfected. ?

Some have suggested that Jesus’ use of this expression is hard to reconcile with Exodus 22:28 28 Thou shalt not revile God, nor curse a ruler of thy people. ; Ecclesiastes 10:20 20 Revile not the king, no, not in thy thought; and revile not the rich in thy bedchamber: for a bird of the heavens shall carry the voice, and that which hath wings shall tell the matter. ; and Acts 23:5 5 And Paul said, I knew not, brethren, that he was high priest: for it is written, Thou shalt not speak evil of a ruler of thy people. . However, those verses apply to everyday discourse. Prophets, speaking as mouthpieces of God and with divine authority, were often commissioned to rebuke leaders publicly (see Is. 1:23; Ezek. 22:27; Hos. 7:3–7; Zeph. 3:3). Since Jesus spoke with perfect divine authority, He had every right to speak of Herod in such terms. Rabbinical writings often used “the fox” to signify someone who was both crafty and worthless. The Pharisees, who trembled at Herod’s power, must have been astonished at Christ’s boldness.

Jesus’ message to Herod was: “Behold, I cast out demons and perform cures today and tomorrow, and the third day I shall be perfected” (v. 32). This expression signified only that Christ was on His own divine timetable; it was not meant to lay out a literal 3-day schedule. Expressions like this were common in Semitic usage and seldom were employed in a literal sense to specify precise intervals of time. To “be perfected,” i.e., by death, in the finishing of His work. (See Heb. 2:10; John 17:4 4 I glorified thee on the earth, having accomplished the work which thou hast given me to do. , 5; 19:30.) Herod was threatening to kill Him, but no one could kill Christ before His time ( John 10:17 17 Therefore doth the Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I may take it again. , 18).

Jesus adds that “it cannot be that a prophet should perish outside of Jerusalem” (v. 33). Not all prophets who were martyred died in Jerusalem, of course. This saying was probably a familiar proverb. The statement is full of irony, noting that most of the Old Testament prophets were martyred at the hands of the Jewish people, not by foreign enemies. Luke’s inclusion of this saying underscores his theme in this section of his Gospel—Jesus’ relentless journey to Jerusalem for the purpose of dying.

From The MacArthur Daily Bible Copyright © 2003. Used by permission of Thomas Nelson Bibles, a division of Thomas Nelson, Inc, Nashville, TN 37214, www.thomasnelson.com.

Additional Resources

April 17 - Hatred Blocks Real Worship

Published by Grace To You for reading on April 17th.

“‘Therefore if you are presenting your offering at the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you . . .’” ( Matthew 5:23 23 If therefore thou art offering thy gift at the altar, and there rememberest that thy brother hath aught against thee, ).

Outward acts of worship are unacceptable to God as long as we harbor internal sin. They are particularly offensive if we retain a hateful attitude toward a brother and yet attempt to come before God.

Worship is important for most religious people today. They can spend much time in places of worship, offering prayers, giving tithes, and doing all sorts of religious activities. But, as with the scribes and Pharisees, none of it is meaningful if carried out with the wrong attitude.

Presenting an offering at the altar was a familiar scene for Jesus’ listeners. On the Day of Atonement, for example, worshipers would bring animal sacrifices and give them to the priest as sin offerings. But that process must halt if the worshiper were to remember some hatred between himself and a brother. Unresolved conflict has priority over external ceremony and must be settled.

Sin between us and other brethren must be resolved before we can bridge the gap of sin between us and God. The Lord told Israel, “What are your multiplied sacrifices to Me? . . . I have had enough of burnt offerings of rams and the fat of fed cattle; and I take no pleasure in the blood of bulls, lambs or goats. . . . Wash yourselves, make yourselves clean; remove the evil of your deeds from My sight. Cease to do evil, learn to do good” (Isa. 1:11, 16–17a).

Not to be at peace with someone else and yet to attempt worship of God is a hindrance to genuine fellowship.

Ask Yourself

This is a call for worship to matter, and for relationship with God to be taken seriously. More than a Sunday morning verse, it’s a principle demanding conciliatory action in the days prior to the Lord’s day. Is there such a matter occurring in your life situation right now?

From Daily Readings from the Life of Christ, Vol. 1, John MacArthur. Copyright © 2008. Used by permission of Moody Publishers, Chicago, IL 60610, www.moodypublishers.com.

Additional Resources

Supernatural Darkness

Published by Grace To You for reading on April 17th.

“Now from the sixth hour darkness fell upon all the land until the ninth hour” ( Matthew 27:45 45 Now from the sixth hour there was darkness over all the land until the ninth hour. ).

The darkness over the land while Jesus bore our sin was an indicator that the cross was a place of divine judgment.

The biblical phenomenon of light was not associated with Christ’s death. Instead, as today’s verse says, “Darkness fell upon all the land until the ninth hour [3:00 P.M.].”

Scripture says little about that darkness. Ancient historical reports mention an unusual, worldwide darkness that seemed to coincide with the date of Christ’s death. Astronomical records indicate that the sun and moon were too far apart that day for a normal solar eclipse. Therefore, the darkness had to be caused by God’s intervention.

But you may still ask, “Why did God intervene like this when Jesus died?” Again, sources outside Scripture provide a reasonable clue. For many years the Jewish rabbis taught that a darkening of the sun meant judgment from God for an especially heinous sin. Many passages in Scripture make the link between darkness and God’s judgment. Jesus spoke several times of divine judgment in terms of “outer darkness,” where “there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth” (Matt. 8:12; 22:13; 25:30).

In sending darkness over the whole earth for three hours, God presents us with an object lesson concerning His attitude on the day Jesus died. The darkness was God’s sign of judgment against mankind for the gross sin of rejecting and murdering His beloved Son. It is also a sign of God’s reaction to sin as a whole. Darkness is a graphic portrayal of the cross as the focal point of God’s wrath, a place of His immense judgment, where sin was poured out on His Son Jesus, our Savior. This twofold object lesson ought to be a constant,fresh reminder to us of how seriously God views sin and how vital it was that the Lord Jesus die on our behalf.

Suggestions for Prayer

  • Thank God that He can use aspects of nature to illustrate spiritual truth for our finite minds.
  • Pray that the Lord will never let you take for granted the awesome seriousness of the events at Calvary.

For Further Study

Read Exodus 10:12-29 12 And Jehovah said unto Moses, Stretch out thy hand over the land of Egypt for the locusts, that they may come up upon the land of Egypt, and eat every herb of the land, even all that the hail hath left. 13 And Moses stretched forth his rod over the land of Egypt, and Jehovah brought an east wind upon the land all that day, and all the night; and when it was morning, the east wind brought the locusts. 14 And the locusts went up over all the land of Egypt, and rested in all the borders of Egypt; very grievous were they; before them there were no such locusts as they, neither after them shall be such. 15 For they covered the face of the whole earth, so that the land was darkened; and they did eat every herb of the land, and all the fruit of the trees which the hail had left: and there remained not any green thing, either tree or herb of the field, through all the land of Egypt. 16 Then Pharaoh called for Moses and Aaron in haste; and he said, I have sinned against Jehovah your God, and against you. 17 Now therefore forgive, I pray thee, my sin only this once, and entreat Jehovah your God, that he may take away from me this death only. 18 And he went out from Pharaoh, and entreated Jehovah. 19 And Jehovah turned an exceeding strong west wind, which took up the locusts, and drove them into the Red Sea; there remained not one locust in all the border of Egypt. 20 But Jehovah hardened Pharaoh's heart, and he did not let the children of Israel go. 21 And Jehovah said unto Moses, Stretch out thy hand toward heaven, that there may be darkness over the land of Egypt, even darkness which may be felt. 22 And Moses stretched forth his hand toward heaven; and there was a thick darkness in all the land of Egypt three days; 23 they saw not one another, neither rose any one from his place for three days: but all the children of Israel had light in their dwellings. 24 And Pharaoh called unto Moses, and said, Go ye, serve Jehovah; only let your flocks and your herds be stayed: let your little ones also go with you. 25 And Moses said, Thou must also give into our hand sacrifices and burnt-offerings, that we may sacrifice unto Jehovah our God. 26 Our cattle also shall go with us; there shall not a hoof be left behind: for thereof must we take to serve Jehovah our God; and we know not with what we must serve Jehovah, until we come thither. 27 But Jehovah hardened Pharaoh's heart, and he would not let them go. 28 And Pharaoh said unto him, Get thee from me, take heed to thyself, see my face no more; for in the day thou seest my face thou shalt die. 29 And Moses said, Thou hast spoken well. I will see thy face again no more. .

  • How did the plague of darkness differ from the plague of locusts?
  • What was Pharaoh’s ultimate response to these two plagues?
  • How does this preview the onlookers’ reaction to seeing darkness at the cross?

From Strength for Today by John MacArthur Copyright © 1997. Used by permission of Crossway Books, a division of Good News Publishers, Wheaton, IL 60187, www.crossway.com.

Additional Resources

Breaking the Bondage of Legalism

Published by Grace To You for reading on April 17th.

"Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God" (Matt. 5:8).

Legalism can’t produce a pure heart.

By the time Jesus arrived, Israel was in a desperate condition spiritually. The Jewish people were in bondage to the oppressive legalism of the Pharisees, who had developed a system of laws that were impossible to keep. Consequently, the people lacked security and were longing for a savior to free them from guilt and frustration. They knew God had promised a redeemer who would forgive their sins and cleanse their hearts (Ezek. 36:25-27), but they weren't sure when He was coming or how to identify Him when He arrived.

The enormous response to John the Baptist's ministry illustrates the level of expectancy among the people. Matthew 3:5-6 5 Then went out unto him Jerusalem, and all Judaea, and all the region round about the Jordan; 6 and they were baptized of him in the river Jordan, confessing their sins. says, "Jerusalem was going out to him, and all Judea, and all the district around the Jordan; and they were being baptized by him in the Jordan River, as they confessed their sins." The uppermost question in everyone's mind seemed to be, "How can I enter the kingdom of heaven?"

Jesus Himself was asked that question by many people in different ways. In Luke 10:25 25 And behold, a certain lawyer stood up and made trial of him, saying, Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life? a lawyer asks, "What shall I do to inherit eternal life?" In Luke 18:18 18 And a certain ruler asked him, saying, Good Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life? a rich young ruler asks exactly the same thing. In John 6:28 28 They said therefore unto him, What must we do, that we may work the works of God? a multitude asks, "What shall we do, that we may work the works of God?" Nicodemus, a prominent Jewish religious leader, came to Jesus at night with the same question, but before he could ask it, Jesus read his thoughts and said, "Unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God" ( John 3:3 3 Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except one be born anew, he cannot see the kingdom of God. ).

As devoutly religious as those people might have been, they would remain spiritually lost unless they placed their faith in Christ. That's the only way to enter the kingdom.

Still today many people look for relief from sin and guilt. God can use you to share Christ with some of them. Ask Him for that privilege and be prepared when it comes.

Suggestions for Prayer

  • Pray for those enslaved to legalistic religious systems.
  • Be sure there is no sin in your life to hinder God's work through you.

For Further Study

Read Galatians 3 Chapter 3 1 O foolish Galatians, who did bewitch you, before whose eyes Jesus Christ was openly set forth crucified? 2 This only would I learn from you. Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith? 3 Are ye so foolish? having begun in the Spirit, are ye now perfected in the flesh? 4 Did ye suffer so many things in vain? if it be indeed in vain. 5 He therefore that supplieth to you the Spirit, and worketh miracles among you, `doeth he it' by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith? 6 Even as Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned unto him for righteousness. 7 Know therefore that they that are of faith, the same are sons of Abraham. 8 And the scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel beforehand unto Abraham, `saying,' In thee shall all the nations be blessed. 9 So then they that are of faith are blessed with the faithful Abraham. 10 For as many as are of the works of the law are under a curse: for it is written, Cursed is every one who continueth not in all things that are written in the book of the law, to do them. 11 Now that no man is justified by the law before God, is evident: for, The righteous shall live by faith; 12 and the law is not of faith; but, He that doeth them shall live in them. 13 Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us; for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree: 14 that upon the Gentiles might come the blessing of Abraham in Christ Jesus; that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith. 15 Brethren, I speak after the manner of men: Though it be but a man's covenant, yet when it hath been confirmed, no one maketh it void, or addeth thereto. 16 Now to Abraham were the promises spoken, and to his seed. He saith not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to thy seed, which is Christ. 17 Now this I say: A covenant confirmed beforehand by God, the law, which came four hundred and thirty years after, doth not disannul, so as to make the promise of none effect. 18 For if the inheritance is of the law, it is no more of promise: but God hath granted it to Abraham by promise. 19 What then is the law? It was added because of transgressions, till the seed should come to whom the promise hath been made; `and it was' ordained through angels by the hand of a mediator. 20 Now a mediator is not `a mediator' of one; but God is one. 21 Is the law then against the promises of God? God forbid: for if there had been a law given which could make alive, verily righteousness would have been of the law. 22 But the scriptures shut up all things under sin, that the promise by faith in Jesus Christ might be given to them that believe. 23 But before faith came, we were kept in ward under the law, shut up unto the faith which should afterwards be revealed. 24 So that the law is become our tutor `to bring us' unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith. 25 But now faith that is come, we are no longer under a tutor. 26 For ye are all sons of God, through faith, in Christ Jesus. 27 For as many of you as were baptized into Christ did put on Christ. 28 There can be neither Jew nor Greek, there can be neither bond nor free, there can be no male and female; for ye all are one `man' in Christ Jesus. 29 And if ye are Christ's, then are ye Abraham's seed, heirs according to promise. .

  • Why did Paul rebuke the Galatians?
  • What was the purpose of the Old Testament law?

From Drawing Near by John MacArthur Copyright © 1993. Used by permission of Crossway Books, a division of Good News Publishers, Wheaton, IL 60187, www.crossway.com.

Additional Resources

Morning Devotional by C.H. Spurgeon for April 17th

Published by C.H. Spurgeon for reading on April 17th.

Hebrews 12:24 24 and to Jesus the mediator of a new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling that speaketh better than `that of' Abel.

READER, have you come to the blood of sprinkling? The question is not whether you have come to a knowledge of doctrine, or an observance of ceremonies, or to a certain form of experience, but have you come to the blood of Jesus? The blood of Jesus is the life of all vital godliness. If you have truly come to Jesus, we know how you came—the Holy Spirit sweetly brought you there. You came to the blood of sprinkling with no merits of your own. Guilty, lost, and helpless, you came to take that blood, and that blood alone, as your everlasting hope. You came to the cross of Christ, with a trembling and an aching heart; and oh! what a precious sound it was to you to hear the voice of the blood of Jesus! The dropping of His blood is as the music of heaven to the penitent sons of earth. We are full of sin, but the Saviour bids us lift our eyes to Him, and as we gaze upon His streaming wounds, each drop of blood, as it falls, cries, "It is finished; I have made an end of sin; I have brought in everlasting righteousness." Oh! sweet language of the precious blood of Jesus! If you have come to that blood once, you will come to it constantly. Your life will be "Looking unto Jesus." Your whole conduct will be epitomized in this—"To whom coming." Not to whom I have come, but to whom I am always coming. If thou hast ever come to the blood of sprinkling, thou wilt feel thy need of coming to it every day. He who does not desire to wash in it every day, has never washed in it at all. The believer ever feels it to be his joy and privilege that there is still a fountain opened. Past experiences are doubtful food for Christians; a present coming to Christ alone can give us joy and comfort. This morning let us sprinkle our door-post fresh with blood, and then feast upon the Lamb, assured that the destroying angel must pass us by.

Evening Devotional by C.H. Spurgeon for April 17th

Published by C.H. Spurgeon for reading on April 17th.

John 12:21 21 these therefore came to Philip, who was of Bethsaida of Galilee, and asked him, saying, Sir, we would see Jesus.

EVERMORE the worldling's cry is, Who will show us any good?" He seeks satisfaction in earthly comforts, enjoyments, and riches. But the quickened sinner knows of only one good. "O that I knew where I might find HIM!" When he is truly awakened to feel his guilt, if you could pour the gold of India at his feet, he would say, "Take it away: I want to find HIM." It is a blessed thing for a man, when he has brought his desires into a focus, so that they all centre in one object. When he has fifty different desires, his heart resembles a mere of stagnant water, spread out into a marsh, breeding miasma and pestilence; but when all his desires are brought into one channel, his heart becomes like a river of pure water, running swiftly to fertilize the fields. Happy is he who hath one desire, if that one desire be set on Christ, though it may not yet have been realized. If Jesus be a soul's desire, it is a blessed sign of divine work within. Such a man will never be content with mere ordinances. He will say, "I want Christ; I must have Him—mere ordinances are of no use to me; I want Himself; do not offer me these; you offer me the empty pitcher, while I am dying of thirst; give me water, or I die. Jesus is my soul's desire. I would see Jesus!"

Is this thy condition, my reader, at this moment? Hast thou but one desire, and is that after Christ? Then thou art not far from the kingdom of heaven. Hast thou but one wish in thy heart, and that one wish that thou mayst be washed from all thy sins in Jesus' blood? Canst thou really say, "I would give all I have to be a Christian; I would give up everything I have and hope for, if I might but feel that I have an interest in Christ"? Then, despite all thy fears, be of good cheer, the Lord loveth thee, and thou shalt come out into daylight soon, and rejoice in the liberty wherewith Christ makes men free.

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