HE IS RISEN!

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Why Do We Doubt?

Published by InTouch Ministries for reading on May 21st.

James 1:1-8 Chapter 1 1 James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, to the twelve tribes which are of the Dispersion, greeting. 2 Count it all joy, my brethren, when ye fall into manifold temptations; 3 Knowing that the proving of your faith worketh patience. 4 And let patience have `its' perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, lacking in nothing. 5 But if any of you lacketh wisdom, let him ask of God, who giveth to all liberally and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. 6 But let him ask in faith, nothing doubting: for he that doubteth is like the surge of the sea driven by the wind and tossed. 7 For let not that man think that he shall receive anything of the Lord; 8 a doubleminded man, unstable in all his ways.

How would you currently characterize your faith? Is it up one day, down the next? The short book of James contains practical advice for those whose faith fluctuates because of difficult circumstances. When we start doubting God and His Word, we’re driven and tossed about like the surf of the sea.

James says a double-minded man is unstable in all his ways and should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. To be double-minded is to go back and forth in our thinking. We may begin with strong confidence in God, but as time goes by and the difficult situation continues, we may start to doubt that the Lord will do what He’s promised.

Doubting and questioning are not necessarily the same thing. Questioning is seeking to gain further information in order to better understand what God has said. Doubting, on the other hand, involves believing what we think, see, or feel rather than what we know He has said.

It’s natural for us to question when we’re suddenly overwhelmed by a distressing turn of events. God understands our struggle and wants us to come to Him with our pain and confusion. Sometimes He has to sift our thinking by reminding us of His truth or His past faithfulness to us in a similar situation.

Even though we may not understand all that God is doing through our trials, we can rely on what He’s revealed: The testing of our faith produces endurance and spiritual maturity, and it supplies something we lack. Knowing this, we can trust the Lord to accomplish His good and perfect will through the situation—and rejoice in how He will transform us.

Bible in One Year: 2 Chronicles 35-36 Chapter 35 1 And Josiah kept a passover unto Jehovah in Jerusalem: and they killed the passover on the fourteenth `day' of the first month. 2 And he set the priests in their offices, and encouraged them to the service of the house of Jehovah. 3 And he said unto the Levites that taught all Israel, that were holy unto Jehovah, Put the holy ark in the house which Solomon the son of David king of Israel did build; there shall no more be a burden upon your shoulders: now serve Jehovah your God, and his people Israel. 4 And prepare yourselves after your fathers' houses by your courses, according to the writing of David king of Israel, and according to the writing of Solomon his son. 5 And stand in the holy place according to the divisions of the fathers' houses of your brethren the children of the people, and `let there be for each' a portion of a fathers' house of the Levites. 6 And kill the passover, and sanctify yourselves, and prepare for your brethren, to do according to the word of Jehovah by Moses. 7 And Josiah gave to the children of the people, of the flock, lambs and kids, all of them for the passover-offerings, unto all that were present, to the number of thirty thousand, and three thousand bullocks: these were of the king's substance. 8 And his princes gave for a freewill-offering unto the people, to the priests, and to the Levites. Hilkiah and Zechariah and Jehiel, the rulers of the house of God, gave unto the priests for the passover-offerings two thousand and six hundred `small cattle', and three hundred oxen. 9 Conaniah also, and Shemaiah and Nethanel, his brethren, and Hashabiah and Jeiel and Jozabad, the chiefs of the Levites, gave unto the Levites for the passover-offerings five thousand `small cattle', and five hundred oxen. 10 So the service was prepared, and the priests stood in their place, and the Levites by their courses, according to the king's commandment. 11 And they killed the passover, and the priests sprinkled `the blood which they received' of their hand, and the Levites flayed them. 12 And they removed the burnt-offerings, that they might give them according to the divisions of the fathers' houses of the children of the people, to offer unto Jehovah, as it is written in the book of Moses. And so did they with the oxen. 13 And they roasted the passover with fire according to the ordinance: and the holy offerings boiled they in pots, and in caldrons, and in pans, and carried them quickly to all the children of the people. 14 And afterward they prepared for themselves, and for the priests, because the priests the sons of Aaron `were busied' in offering the burnt-offerings and the fat until night: therefore the Levites prepared for themselves, and for the priests the sons of Aaron. 15 And the singers the sons of Asaph were in their place, according to the commandment of David, and Asaph, and Heman, and Jeduthun the king's seer; and the porters were at every gate: they needed not to depart from their service; for their brethren the Levites prepared for them. 16 So all the service of Jehovah was prepared the same day, to keep the passover, and to offer burnt-offerings upon the altar of Jehovah, according to the commandment of king Josiah. 17 And the children of Israel that were present kept the passover at that time, and the feast of unleavened bread seven days. 18 And there was no passover like to that kept in Israel from the days of Samuel the prophet; neither did any of the kings of Israel keep such a passover as Josiah kept, and the priests, and the Levites, and all Judah and Israel that were present, and the inhabitants of Jerusalem. 19 In the eighteenth year of the reign of Josiah was this passover kept. 20 After all this, when Josiah had prepared the temple, Neco king of Egypt went up to fight against Carchemish by the Euphrates: and Josiah went out against him. 21 But he sent ambassadors to him, saying, What have I to do with thee, thou king of Judah? `I come' not against thee this day, but against the house wherewith I have war; and God hath commanded me to make haste: forbear thee from `meddling with' God, who is with me, that he destroy thee not. 22 Nevertheless Josiah would not turn his face from him, but disguised himself, that he might fight with him, and hearkened not unto the words of Neco from the mouth of God, and came to fight in the valley of Megiddo. 23 And the archers shot at king Josiah; and the king said to his servants, Have me away; for I am sore wounded. 24 So his servants took him out of the chariot, and put him in the second chariot that he had, and brought him to Jerusalem; and he died, and was buried in the sepulchres of his fathers. And all Judah and Jerusalem mourned for Josiah. 25 And Jeremiah lamented for Josiah: and all the singing men and singing women spake of Josiah in their lamentations unto this day; and they made them an ordinance in Israel: and, behold, they are written in the lamentations. 26 Now the rest of the acts of Josiah, and his good deeds, according to that which is written in the law of Jehovah, 27 and his acts, first and last, behold, they are written in the book of the kings of Israel and Judah. Chapter 36 1 Then the people of the land took Jehoahaz the son of Josiah, and made him king in his father's stead in Jerusalem. 2 Joahaz was twenty and three years old when he began to reign; and he reigned three months in Jerusalem. 3 And the king of Egypt deposed him at Jerusalem, and fined the land a hundred talents of silver and a talent of gold. 4 And the king of Egypt made Eliakim his brother king over Judah and Jerusalem, and changed his name to Jehoiakim. And Neco took Joahaz his brother, and carried him to Egypt. 5 Jehoiakim was twenty and five years old when he began to reign; and he reigned eleven years in Jerusalem: and he did that which was evil in the sight of Jehovah his God. 6 Against him came up Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, and bound him in fetters, to carry him to Babylon. 7 Nebuchadnezzar also carried of the vessels of the house of Jehovah to Babylon, and put them in his temple at Babylon. 8 Now the rest of the acts of Jehoiakim, and his abominations which he did, and that which was found in him, behold, they are written in the book of the kings of Israel and Judah: and Jehoiachin his son reigned in his stead. 9 Jehoiachin was eight years old when he began to reign; and he reigned three months and ten days in Jerusalem: and he did that which was evil in the sight of Jehovah. 10 And at the return of the year king Nebuchadnezzar sent, and brought him to Babylon, with the goodly vessels of the house of Jehovah, and made Zedekiah his brother king over Judah and Jerusalem. 11 Zedekiah was twenty and one years old when he began to reign; and he reigned eleven years in Jerusalem: 12 and he did that which was evil in the sight of Jehovah his God; he humbled not himself before Jeremiah the prophet `speaking' from the mouth of Jehovah. 13 And he also rebelled against king Nebuchadnezzar, who had made him swear by God: but he stiffened his neck, and hardened his heart against turning unto Jehovah, the God of Israel. 14 Moreover all the chiefs of the priests, and the people, trespassed very greatly after all the abominations of the nations; and they polluted the house of Jehovah which he had hallowed in Jerusalem. 15 And Jehovah, the God of their fathers, sent to them by his messengers, rising up early and sending, because he had compassion on his people, and on his dwelling-place: 16 but they mocked the messengers of God, and despised his words, and scoffed at his prophets, until the wrath of Jehovah arose against his people, till there was no remedy. 17 Therefore he brought upon them the king of the Chaldeans, who slew their young men with the sword in the house of their sanctuary, and had no compassion upon young man or virgin, old man or hoary-headed: he gave them all into his hand. 18 And all the vessels of the house of God, great and small, and the treasures of the house of Jehovah, and the treasures of the king, and of his princes, all these he brought to Babylon. 19 And they burnt the house of God, and brake down the wall of Jerusalem, and burnt all the palaces thereof with fire, and destroyed all the goodly vessels thereof. 20 And them that had escaped from the sword carried he away to Babylon; and they were servants to him and his sons until the reign of the kingdom of Persia: 21 to fulfil the word of Jehovah by the mouth of Jeremiah, until the land had enjoyed its sabbaths: `for' as long as it lay desolate it kept sabbath, to fulfil threescore and ten years. 22 Now in the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, that the word of Jehovah by the mouth of Jeremiah might be accomplished, Jehovah stirred up the spirit of Cyrus king of Persia, so that he made a proclamation throughout all his kingdom, and `put it' also in writing, saying, 23 Thus saith Cyrus king of Persia, All the kingdoms of the earth hath Jehovah, the God of heaven, given me; and he hath charged me to build him a house in Jerusalem, which is in Judah. Whosoever there is among you of all his people, Jehovah his God be with him, and let him go up.




The Comfortable Church

Published by InTouch Ministries for reading on May 21st.

Isaiah 6:8 8 And I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, Whom shall I send, and who will go for us? Then I said, Here am I; send me.

I think it’s fairly obvious that the society we live in is very self-centered, and this same characteristic can be present in a church. Whenever a local body of believers develops an inward focus, its fruitfulness in ministry begins to decrease, and each member’s Christian walk is hindered. Many believers want their church to be cozy and comfortable. They come to listen to a nice sermon, fellowship with friends, and have their needs met. But God never intended for the gathering of His people to be like a country club; He calls us to join an army that will bring the gospel into enemy territory.

An effective church—one that poses a real threat to the enemy—is a body of discipled people who have been taught the truth of Scripture, helped to mature spiritually, and trained for service. But all this is accomplished for the purpose of going out into the world, not for becoming a self-contained sanctuary of Christian comfort.

The urgency of the Lord’s command and the desperate condition of humanity should motivate us to leave the safety of our Christian fellowships and deliver the message of salvation through Jesus. To avoid this responsibility is to miss the Father’s plan for your life and the opportunity to help build His kingdom.

None of us want to waste time or energy on trivial things and thereby miss the exciting fulfillment of God’s will. He has called us, not to a life of comfortable tradition, but to an adventure of obedience. Answer His call—you’ll help fill His kingdom with people from every tribe and nation.

Bible in One Year: 2 Chronicles 35-36 Chapter 35 1 And Josiah kept a passover unto Jehovah in Jerusalem: and they killed the passover on the fourteenth `day' of the first month. 2 And he set the priests in their offices, and encouraged them to the service of the house of Jehovah. 3 And he said unto the Levites that taught all Israel, that were holy unto Jehovah, Put the holy ark in the house which Solomon the son of David king of Israel did build; there shall no more be a burden upon your shoulders: now serve Jehovah your God, and his people Israel. 4 And prepare yourselves after your fathers' houses by your courses, according to the writing of David king of Israel, and according to the writing of Solomon his son. 5 And stand in the holy place according to the divisions of the fathers' houses of your brethren the children of the people, and `let there be for each' a portion of a fathers' house of the Levites. 6 And kill the passover, and sanctify yourselves, and prepare for your brethren, to do according to the word of Jehovah by Moses. 7 And Josiah gave to the children of the people, of the flock, lambs and kids, all of them for the passover-offerings, unto all that were present, to the number of thirty thousand, and three thousand bullocks: these were of the king's substance. 8 And his princes gave for a freewill-offering unto the people, to the priests, and to the Levites. Hilkiah and Zechariah and Jehiel, the rulers of the house of God, gave unto the priests for the passover-offerings two thousand and six hundred `small cattle', and three hundred oxen. 9 Conaniah also, and Shemaiah and Nethanel, his brethren, and Hashabiah and Jeiel and Jozabad, the chiefs of the Levites, gave unto the Levites for the passover-offerings five thousand `small cattle', and five hundred oxen. 10 So the service was prepared, and the priests stood in their place, and the Levites by their courses, according to the king's commandment. 11 And they killed the passover, and the priests sprinkled `the blood which they received' of their hand, and the Levites flayed them. 12 And they removed the burnt-offerings, that they might give them according to the divisions of the fathers' houses of the children of the people, to offer unto Jehovah, as it is written in the book of Moses. And so did they with the oxen. 13 And they roasted the passover with fire according to the ordinance: and the holy offerings boiled they in pots, and in caldrons, and in pans, and carried them quickly to all the children of the people. 14 And afterward they prepared for themselves, and for the priests, because the priests the sons of Aaron `were busied' in offering the burnt-offerings and the fat until night: therefore the Levites prepared for themselves, and for the priests the sons of Aaron. 15 And the singers the sons of Asaph were in their place, according to the commandment of David, and Asaph, and Heman, and Jeduthun the king's seer; and the porters were at every gate: they needed not to depart from their service; for their brethren the Levites prepared for them. 16 So all the service of Jehovah was prepared the same day, to keep the passover, and to offer burnt-offerings upon the altar of Jehovah, according to the commandment of king Josiah. 17 And the children of Israel that were present kept the passover at that time, and the feast of unleavened bread seven days. 18 And there was no passover like to that kept in Israel from the days of Samuel the prophet; neither did any of the kings of Israel keep such a passover as Josiah kept, and the priests, and the Levites, and all Judah and Israel that were present, and the inhabitants of Jerusalem. 19 In the eighteenth year of the reign of Josiah was this passover kept. 20 After all this, when Josiah had prepared the temple, Neco king of Egypt went up to fight against Carchemish by the Euphrates: and Josiah went out against him. 21 But he sent ambassadors to him, saying, What have I to do with thee, thou king of Judah? `I come' not against thee this day, but against the house wherewith I have war; and God hath commanded me to make haste: forbear thee from `meddling with' God, who is with me, that he destroy thee not. 22 Nevertheless Josiah would not turn his face from him, but disguised himself, that he might fight with him, and hearkened not unto the words of Neco from the mouth of God, and came to fight in the valley of Megiddo. 23 And the archers shot at king Josiah; and the king said to his servants, Have me away; for I am sore wounded. 24 So his servants took him out of the chariot, and put him in the second chariot that he had, and brought him to Jerusalem; and he died, and was buried in the sepulchres of his fathers. And all Judah and Jerusalem mourned for Josiah. 25 And Jeremiah lamented for Josiah: and all the singing men and singing women spake of Josiah in their lamentations unto this day; and they made them an ordinance in Israel: and, behold, they are written in the lamentations. 26 Now the rest of the acts of Josiah, and his good deeds, according to that which is written in the law of Jehovah, 27 and his acts, first and last, behold, they are written in the book of the kings of Israel and Judah. Chapter 36 1 Then the people of the land took Jehoahaz the son of Josiah, and made him king in his father's stead in Jerusalem. 2 Joahaz was twenty and three years old when he began to reign; and he reigned three months in Jerusalem. 3 And the king of Egypt deposed him at Jerusalem, and fined the land a hundred talents of silver and a talent of gold. 4 And the king of Egypt made Eliakim his brother king over Judah and Jerusalem, and changed his name to Jehoiakim. And Neco took Joahaz his brother, and carried him to Egypt. 5 Jehoiakim was twenty and five years old when he began to reign; and he reigned eleven years in Jerusalem: and he did that which was evil in the sight of Jehovah his God. 6 Against him came up Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, and bound him in fetters, to carry him to Babylon. 7 Nebuchadnezzar also carried of the vessels of the house of Jehovah to Babylon, and put them in his temple at Babylon. 8 Now the rest of the acts of Jehoiakim, and his abominations which he did, and that which was found in him, behold, they are written in the book of the kings of Israel and Judah: and Jehoiachin his son reigned in his stead. 9 Jehoiachin was eight years old when he began to reign; and he reigned three months and ten days in Jerusalem: and he did that which was evil in the sight of Jehovah. 10 And at the return of the year king Nebuchadnezzar sent, and brought him to Babylon, with the goodly vessels of the house of Jehovah, and made Zedekiah his brother king over Judah and Jerusalem. 11 Zedekiah was twenty and one years old when he began to reign; and he reigned eleven years in Jerusalem: 12 and he did that which was evil in the sight of Jehovah his God; he humbled not himself before Jeremiah the prophet `speaking' from the mouth of Jehovah. 13 And he also rebelled against king Nebuchadnezzar, who had made him swear by God: but he stiffened his neck, and hardened his heart against turning unto Jehovah, the God of Israel. 14 Moreover all the chiefs of the priests, and the people, trespassed very greatly after all the abominations of the nations; and they polluted the house of Jehovah which he had hallowed in Jerusalem. 15 And Jehovah, the God of their fathers, sent to them by his messengers, rising up early and sending, because he had compassion on his people, and on his dwelling-place: 16 but they mocked the messengers of God, and despised his words, and scoffed at his prophets, until the wrath of Jehovah arose against his people, till there was no remedy. 17 Therefore he brought upon them the king of the Chaldeans, who slew their young men with the sword in the house of their sanctuary, and had no compassion upon young man or virgin, old man or hoary-headed: he gave them all into his hand. 18 And all the vessels of the house of God, great and small, and the treasures of the house of Jehovah, and the treasures of the king, and of his princes, all these he brought to Babylon. 19 And they burnt the house of God, and brake down the wall of Jerusalem, and burnt all the palaces thereof with fire, and destroyed all the goodly vessels thereof. 20 And them that had escaped from the sword carried he away to Babylon; and they were servants to him and his sons until the reign of the kingdom of Persia: 21 to fulfil the word of Jehovah by the mouth of Jeremiah, until the land had enjoyed its sabbaths: `for' as long as it lay desolate it kept sabbath, to fulfil threescore and ten years. 22 Now in the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, that the word of Jehovah by the mouth of Jeremiah might be accomplished, Jehovah stirred up the spirit of Cyrus king of Persia, so that he made a proclamation throughout all his kingdom, and `put it' also in writing, saying, 23 Thus saith Cyrus king of Persia, All the kingdoms of the earth hath Jehovah, the God of heaven, given me; and he hath charged me to build him a house in Jerusalem, which is in Judah. Whosoever there is among you of all his people, Jehovah his God be with him, and let him go up.




Jesus Knows His Sheep

Published by John Piper for reading on May 22nd.

“My sheep hear my voice, and I know them.” ( John 10:27 27 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: )

Jesus knows those who are his. What is this knowledge?

John 10:3 3 To him the porter openeth; and the sheep hear his voice: and he calleth his own sheep by name, and leadeth them out. is a close parallel to verse 27. It says, “The sheep hear his voice, and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out.”

So, when Jesus says, “I know them,” this means at least that he knows them by name; that is, he knows them individually and intimately. They are not anonymous, lost in the flock.

John 10:14 14 I am the good shepherd; and I know mine own, and mine own know me, –15 provides another insight: “I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me, just as the Father knows me and I know the Father.”

There is a real similarity between the way Jesus knows his Father in heaven and the way he knows his sheep. Jesus sees himself in the Father, and he sees himself in his disciples.

To some degree Jesus recognizes his own character in his disciples. He sees his own brand mark on the sheep.

He is like a husband waiting for his wife at the airport, watching as each person disembarks from the plane. When she appears, he knows her, he recognizes her features, he delights in her, she is the only one he embraces.

The apostle Paul puts it like this: “God’s firm foundation stands, bearing this seal: ‘The Lord knows those who are his’” ( 2 Timothy 2:19 19 Howbeit the firm foundation of God standeth, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are his: and, Let every one that nameth the name of the Lord depart from unrighteousness. ).

It is hard to overemphasize what a tremendous privilege it is to be known personally, intimately, lovingly by the Son of God. It is a precious gift to all his sheep, and it contains within it the promise of eternal life.



In the Fullness of Time

Published by InTouch Ministries for reading on May 22nd.

Galatians 4:4-5 4 but when the fulness of the time came, God sent forth his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, 5 that he might redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons.

In eternity past, the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit planned and created heaven and earth. Yet even before Adam breathed his first breath, the Lord knew sin would enter the world, causing mankind to be separated from Him. However, a plan for our redemption was already in place, and in the fullness of time, the Son of God came as a baby and lived on the earth.

The Lord doesn’t do anything haphazardly. Every plan of His is predetermined and meticulously carried out at just the right time. And this truth doesn’t apply to just the big events in human history. Since He has a specific plan for every believer, He works to accomplish His goals in each Christian’s life. He ordained the day of our birth, has complete knowledge of what each day will hold, and knows how long we’ll live on this earth. And just as He did when Christ was born, God will, in the fullness of time, execute each part of His will for your life and mine.

However, although His plans for us are good, the only way we’ll see His purposes fulfilled in our life is by submitting to Him. He’s promised to work all things for our good when we love Him and are called according to His purpose (Rom. 8:28).

Are you letting the Lord have His way in your life? Even when the need seems urgent, a person with a spirit yielded to God waits patiently for the heavenly Father’s plans to unfold at just the right time. The One with complete knowledge and wisdom knows what He’s doing. Wait for the fullness of His time.

Bible in One Year: 2 Chronicles 35-36 Chapter 35 1 And Josiah kept a passover unto Jehovah in Jerusalem: and they killed the passover on the fourteenth `day' of the first month. 2 And he set the priests in their offices, and encouraged them to the service of the house of Jehovah. 3 And he said unto the Levites that taught all Israel, that were holy unto Jehovah, Put the holy ark in the house which Solomon the son of David king of Israel did build; there shall no more be a burden upon your shoulders: now serve Jehovah your God, and his people Israel. 4 And prepare yourselves after your fathers' houses by your courses, according to the writing of David king of Israel, and according to the writing of Solomon his son. 5 And stand in the holy place according to the divisions of the fathers' houses of your brethren the children of the people, and `let there be for each' a portion of a fathers' house of the Levites. 6 And kill the passover, and sanctify yourselves, and prepare for your brethren, to do according to the word of Jehovah by Moses. 7 And Josiah gave to the children of the people, of the flock, lambs and kids, all of them for the passover-offerings, unto all that were present, to the number of thirty thousand, and three thousand bullocks: these were of the king's substance. 8 And his princes gave for a freewill-offering unto the people, to the priests, and to the Levites. Hilkiah and Zechariah and Jehiel, the rulers of the house of God, gave unto the priests for the passover-offerings two thousand and six hundred `small cattle', and three hundred oxen. 9 Conaniah also, and Shemaiah and Nethanel, his brethren, and Hashabiah and Jeiel and Jozabad, the chiefs of the Levites, gave unto the Levites for the passover-offerings five thousand `small cattle', and five hundred oxen. 10 So the service was prepared, and the priests stood in their place, and the Levites by their courses, according to the king's commandment. 11 And they killed the passover, and the priests sprinkled `the blood which they received' of their hand, and the Levites flayed them. 12 And they removed the burnt-offerings, that they might give them according to the divisions of the fathers' houses of the children of the people, to offer unto Jehovah, as it is written in the book of Moses. And so did they with the oxen. 13 And they roasted the passover with fire according to the ordinance: and the holy offerings boiled they in pots, and in caldrons, and in pans, and carried them quickly to all the children of the people. 14 And afterward they prepared for themselves, and for the priests, because the priests the sons of Aaron `were busied' in offering the burnt-offerings and the fat until night: therefore the Levites prepared for themselves, and for the priests the sons of Aaron. 15 And the singers the sons of Asaph were in their place, according to the commandment of David, and Asaph, and Heman, and Jeduthun the king's seer; and the porters were at every gate: they needed not to depart from their service; for their brethren the Levites prepared for them. 16 So all the service of Jehovah was prepared the same day, to keep the passover, and to offer burnt-offerings upon the altar of Jehovah, according to the commandment of king Josiah. 17 And the children of Israel that were present kept the passover at that time, and the feast of unleavened bread seven days. 18 And there was no passover like to that kept in Israel from the days of Samuel the prophet; neither did any of the kings of Israel keep such a passover as Josiah kept, and the priests, and the Levites, and all Judah and Israel that were present, and the inhabitants of Jerusalem. 19 In the eighteenth year of the reign of Josiah was this passover kept. 20 After all this, when Josiah had prepared the temple, Neco king of Egypt went up to fight against Carchemish by the Euphrates: and Josiah went out against him. 21 But he sent ambassadors to him, saying, What have I to do with thee, thou king of Judah? `I come' not against thee this day, but against the house wherewith I have war; and God hath commanded me to make haste: forbear thee from `meddling with' God, who is with me, that he destroy thee not. 22 Nevertheless Josiah would not turn his face from him, but disguised himself, that he might fight with him, and hearkened not unto the words of Neco from the mouth of God, and came to fight in the valley of Megiddo. 23 And the archers shot at king Josiah; and the king said to his servants, Have me away; for I am sore wounded. 24 So his servants took him out of the chariot, and put him in the second chariot that he had, and brought him to Jerusalem; and he died, and was buried in the sepulchres of his fathers. And all Judah and Jerusalem mourned for Josiah. 25 And Jeremiah lamented for Josiah: and all the singing men and singing women spake of Josiah in their lamentations unto this day; and they made them an ordinance in Israel: and, behold, they are written in the lamentations. 26 Now the rest of the acts of Josiah, and his good deeds, according to that which is written in the law of Jehovah, 27 and his acts, first and last, behold, they are written in the book of the kings of Israel and Judah. Chapter 36 1 Then the people of the land took Jehoahaz the son of Josiah, and made him king in his father's stead in Jerusalem. 2 Joahaz was twenty and three years old when he began to reign; and he reigned three months in Jerusalem. 3 And the king of Egypt deposed him at Jerusalem, and fined the land a hundred talents of silver and a talent of gold. 4 And the king of Egypt made Eliakim his brother king over Judah and Jerusalem, and changed his name to Jehoiakim. And Neco took Joahaz his brother, and carried him to Egypt. 5 Jehoiakim was twenty and five years old when he began to reign; and he reigned eleven years in Jerusalem: and he did that which was evil in the sight of Jehovah his God. 6 Against him came up Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, and bound him in fetters, to carry him to Babylon. 7 Nebuchadnezzar also carried of the vessels of the house of Jehovah to Babylon, and put them in his temple at Babylon. 8 Now the rest of the acts of Jehoiakim, and his abominations which he did, and that which was found in him, behold, they are written in the book of the kings of Israel and Judah: and Jehoiachin his son reigned in his stead. 9 Jehoiachin was eight years old when he began to reign; and he reigned three months and ten days in Jerusalem: and he did that which was evil in the sight of Jehovah. 10 And at the return of the year king Nebuchadnezzar sent, and brought him to Babylon, with the goodly vessels of the house of Jehovah, and made Zedekiah his brother king over Judah and Jerusalem. 11 Zedekiah was twenty and one years old when he began to reign; and he reigned eleven years in Jerusalem: 12 and he did that which was evil in the sight of Jehovah his God; he humbled not himself before Jeremiah the prophet `speaking' from the mouth of Jehovah. 13 And he also rebelled against king Nebuchadnezzar, who had made him swear by God: but he stiffened his neck, and hardened his heart against turning unto Jehovah, the God of Israel. 14 Moreover all the chiefs of the priests, and the people, trespassed very greatly after all the abominations of the nations; and they polluted the house of Jehovah which he had hallowed in Jerusalem. 15 And Jehovah, the God of their fathers, sent to them by his messengers, rising up early and sending, because he had compassion on his people, and on his dwelling-place: 16 but they mocked the messengers of God, and despised his words, and scoffed at his prophets, until the wrath of Jehovah arose against his people, till there was no remedy. 17 Therefore he brought upon them the king of the Chaldeans, who slew their young men with the sword in the house of their sanctuary, and had no compassion upon young man or virgin, old man or hoary-headed: he gave them all into his hand. 18 And all the vessels of the house of God, great and small, and the treasures of the house of Jehovah, and the treasures of the king, and of his princes, all these he brought to Babylon. 19 And they burnt the house of God, and brake down the wall of Jerusalem, and burnt all the palaces thereof with fire, and destroyed all the goodly vessels thereof. 20 And them that had escaped from the sword carried he away to Babylon; and they were servants to him and his sons until the reign of the kingdom of Persia: 21 to fulfil the word of Jehovah by the mouth of Jeremiah, until the land had enjoyed its sabbaths: `for' as long as it lay desolate it kept sabbath, to fulfil threescore and ten years. 22 Now in the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, that the word of Jehovah by the mouth of Jeremiah might be accomplished, Jehovah stirred up the spirit of Cyrus king of Persia, so that he made a proclamation throughout all his kingdom, and `put it' also in writing, saying, 23 Thus saith Cyrus king of Persia, All the kingdoms of the earth hath Jehovah, the God of heaven, given me; and he hath charged me to build him a house in Jerusalem, which is in Judah. Whosoever there is among you of all his people, Jehovah his God be with him, and let him go up.




Daily Bible - May 22

Published by Grace To You for reading on May 22nd.

Reading for Today:

  • 2 Samuel 15:1-16 Chapter 15 1 And it came to pass after this, that Absalom prepared him a chariot and horses, and fifty men to run before him. 2 And Absalom rose up early, and stood beside the way of the gate: and it was so, that, when any man had a suit which should come to the king for judgment, then Absalom called unto him, and said, Of what city art thou? And he said, Thy servant is of one of the tribes of Israel. 3 And Absalom said unto him, See, thy matters are good and right; but there is no man deputed of the king to hear thee. 4 Absalom said moreover, Oh that I were made judge in the land, that every man who hath any suit or cause might come unto me, and I would do him justice! 5 And it was so, that, when any man came nigh to do him obeisance, he put forth his hand, and took hold of him, and kissed him. 6 And on this manner did Absalom to all Israel that came to the king for judgment: so Absalom stole the hearts of the men of Israel. 7 And it came to pass at the end of forty years, that Absalom said unto the king, I pray thee, let me go and pay my vow, which I have vowed unto Jehovah, in Hebron. 8 For thy servant vowed a vow while I abode at Geshur in Syria, saying, If Jehovah shall indeed bring me again to Jerusalem, then I will serve Jehovah. 9 And the king said unto him, Go in peace. So he arose, and went to Hebron. 10 But Absalom sent spies throughout all the tribes of Israel, saying, As soon as ye hear the sound of the trumpet, then ye shall say, Absalom is king in Hebron. 11 And with Absalom went two hundred men out of Jerusalem, that were invited, and went in their simplicity; and they knew not anything. 12 And Absalom sent for Ahithophel the Gilonite, David's counsellor, from his city, even from Giloh, while he was offering the sacrifices. And the conspiracy was strong; for the people increased continually with Absalom. 13 And there came a messenger to David, saying, The hearts of the men of Israel are after Absalom. 14 And David said unto all his servants that were with him at Jerusalem, Arise, and let us flee; for else none of us shall escape from Absalom: make speed to depart, lest he overtake us quickly, and bring down evil upon us, and smite the city with the edge of the sword. 15 And the king's servants said unto the king, Behold, thy servants are ready to do whatsoever my lord the king shall choose. 16 And the king went forth, and all his household after him. And the king left ten women, that were concubines, to keep the house. :23
  • Psalms 66:8-15 8 Oh bless our God, ye peoples, And make the voice of his praise to be heard; 9 Who holdeth our soul in life, And suffereth not our feet to be moved. 10 For thou, O God, hast proved us: Thou hast tried us, as silver is tried. 11 Thou broughtest us into the net; Thou layedst a sore burden upon our loins. 12 Thou didst cause men to ride over our heads; We went through fire and through water; But thou broughtest us out into a wealthy place. 13 I will come into thy house with burnt-offerings; I will pay thee my vows, 14 Which my lips uttered, And my mouth spake, when I was in distress. 15 I will offer unto thee burnt-offerings of fatlings, With the incense of rams; I will offer bullocks with goats. Selah
  • Proverbs 16:27-30 27 A worthless man deviseth mischief; And in his lips there is as a scorching fire. 28 A perverse man scattereth abroad strife; And a whisperer separateth chief friends. 29 A man of violence enticeth his neighbor, And leadeth him in a way that is not good. 30 He that shutteth his eyes, `it is' to devise perverse things: He that compresseth his lips bringeth evil to pass.
  • John 7:1-27 Chapter 7 1 And after these things Jesus walked in Galilee: for he would not walk in Judaea, because the Jews sought to kill him. 2 Now the feast of the Jews, the feast of tabernacles, was at hand. 3 His brethren therefore said unto him, Depart hence, and go into Judaea, that thy disciples also may behold thy works which thou doest. 4 For no man doeth anything in secret, and himself seeketh to be known openly. If thou doest these things, manifest thyself to the world. 5 For even his brethren did not believe on him. 6 Jesus therefore saith unto them, My time is not yet come; but your time is always ready. 7 The world cannot hate you; but me it hateth, because I testify of it, that its works are evil. 8 Go ye up unto the feast: I go not up unto this feast; because my time is not yet fulfilled. 9 And having said these things unto them, he abode `still' in Galilee. 10 But when his brethren were gone up unto the feast, then went he also up, not publicly, but as it were in secret. 11 The Jews therefore sought him at the feast, and said, Where is he? 12 And there was much murmuring among the multitudes concerning him: some said, He is a good man; others said, Not so, but he leadeth the multitude astray. 13 Yet no man spake openly of him for fear of the Jews. 14 But when it was now the midst of the feast Jesus went up into the temple, and taught. 15 The Jews therefore marvelled, saying, How knoweth this man letters, having never learned? 16 Jesus therefore answered them and said, My teaching is not mine, but his that sent me. 17 If any man willeth to do his will, he shall know of the teaching, whether it is of God, or `whether' I speak from myself. 18 He that speaketh from himself seeketh his own glory: but he that seeketh the glory of him that sent him, the same is true, and no unrighteousness is in him. 19 Did not Moses give you the law, and `yet' none of you doeth the law? Why seek ye to kill me? 20 The multitude answered, Thou hast a demon: who seeketh to kill thee? 21 Jesus answered and said unto them, I did one work, and ye all marvel because thereof. 22 Moses hath given you circumcision (not that it is of Moses, but of the fathers); and on the sabbath ye circumcise a man. 23 If a man receiveth circumcision on the sabbath, that the law of Moses may not be broken; are ye wroth with me, because I made a man every whit whole on the sabbath? 24 Judge not according to appearance, but judge righteous judgment. 25 Some therefore of them of Jerusalem said, Is not this he whom they seek to kill? 26 And lo, he speaketh openly, and they say nothing unto him. Can it be that the rulers indeed know that this is the Christ? 27 Howbeit we know this man whence he is: but when the Christ cometh, no one knoweth whence he is.

Notes:

2 Samuel 15:1–6 stole the hearts. Public hearings were always conducted early in the morning in a court held outside by the city gates. Absalom positioned himself there to win favor. Because King David was busy with other matters or with wars, and was also aging, many matters were left unresolved, building a deep feeling of resentment among the people. Absalom used that situation to undermine his father, by gratifying all he could with a favorable settlement and showing them all warm cordiality. Thus, he won the people to himself, without them knowing his wicked ambition.

2 Samuel 15:10–12 Absalom formed a conspiracy, which included taking some of the leading men to create the impression that the king supported this action and was in his old age sharing the kingdom. All of this was a subtle disguise so Absalom could have freedom to plan his revolution. Absalom was able to do this against his father not merely because of his cleverness, but also because of the laxness of his father (1 Kin. 1:6).

John 7:4- 4 For no man doeth anything in secret, and himself seeketh to be known openly. If thou doest these things, manifest thyself to the world. be known openly….show Yourself to the world. Jesus’ brothers wanted Him to put on a display of His miracles. Although the text does not clearly state their motivation, perhaps they made the request for two reasons: 1) they wanted to see the miracles for themselves to determine their genuineness, and 2) they may have had similar crass political motives as did the people, namely that He would become their social and political Messiah. Jerusalem’s acceptance of Him was to be the acid test for them as to whether His own family would believe in Him as Messiah.

John 7:17 17 If any man willeth to do his will, he shall know of the teaching, whether it is of God, or `whether' I speak from myself. If anyone wills to do His will, he shall know. Those who are fundamentally committed to doing God’s will will be guided by Him in the affirmation of His truth. God’s truth is self-authenticating through the teaching ministry of the Holy Spirit (16:13; 1 John 2:20 20 And ye have an anointing from the Holy One, and ye know all the things. , 27).

DAY 22: How confused were the Jewish people about who Jesus was?

John 7:12 12 And there was much murmuring among the multitudes concerning him: some said, He is a good man; others said, Not so, but he leadeth the multitude astray. –27 reflects the confusion among the people. In vv. 12,13 the crowds, made up of Judeans, Galileans, and Diaspora (scattered) Jews, expressed various opinions regarding Christ. The spectrum ranged from superficial acceptance (“He is good”) to cynical rejection (“He deceives the people”). The Jewish Talmud reveals that the latter view of deception became the predominant opinion of many Jews.

Jesus’ knowledge of Scripture was supernatural. The people “marveled” (v. 15) that someone who had never studied at any great rabbinical centers or under any great rabbis could display such profound mastery of Scripture. Both the content and manner of Jesus’ teachings were qualitatively different from those of any other teacher. And the people were surprised that, in spite of the ominous threat from the religious authorities (vv. 20, 32), Jesus boldly proclaimed His identity (v. 26).

“Do the rulers know indeed that this is truly the Christ?” they asked. The question indicates the level of confusion and uncertainty as to who Jesus was and what to do about Him. They did not really have any firm convictions regarding Jesus’ identity. They were also perplexed at the religious leaders’ failure to arrest and silence Him if He really were a fraud. Such dense confusion caused the crowd to wonder if the religious authorities in private concluded that He was indeed the Christ. Mass confusion among all groups reigned regarding Jesus.

“No one knows where He is from” (v. 27). Only information regarding the Messiah’s birthplace was revealed in Scripture (Mic. 5:2; Matt. 2:5, 6). Beyond that, a tradition had developed in Jewish circles that the Messiah would appear suddenly to the people, based on a misinterpretation of Isaiah 53:8 8 By oppression and judgment he was taken away; and as for his generation, who `among them' considered that he was cut off out of the land of the living for the transgression of my people to whom the stroke `was due'? and Malachi 3:1 Chapter 3 1 Behold, I send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me: and the Lord, whom ye seek, will suddenly come to his temple; and the messenger of the covenant, whom ye desire, behold, he cometh, saith Jehovah of hosts. . In light of this, the meaning of this phrase most likely is that the identity of the Messiah would be wholly unknown until He suddenly appeared in Israel and accomplished Israel’s redemption. In contrast, Jesus had lived His life in Nazareth and was known (at least superficially) to the people (v. 28).

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

May 22 - God’s Will: Two Misunderstandings

Published by Grace To You for reading on May 22nd.

“‘“Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven”’” ( Matthew 6:10 10 Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, as in heaven, so on earth. ).

Two polar opposite views of God’s will can cause Christians to have faulty understandings of prayer and the accomplishing of God’s purposes. On the one hand, some see His will as absolutely deterministic—whatever will be, will be. They either pray little at all, figuring the divine will is inevitable, or they are resignedly obedient, praying for God’s will simply because He tells them to.

Neither approach to prayer demonstrates faith. Viewing God’s sovereignty in a fatalistic, prayerless way robs us of the joy of aligning our wills with His and seeing His will done as we pray in faith. And praying with passive resignation leads to a weak, unexpectant prayer life. It is one that doesn’t heed Jesus’ instruction in the parable of the persistent widow: “He was telling them a parable to show that at all times they ought to pray and not to lose heart” ( Luke 18:1 Chapter 18 1 And he spake a parable unto them to the end that they ought always to pray, and not to faint; ).

Other believers overemphasize the role of human will and see prayer as mainly a way to twist God’s will to their own desires. They think of God’s will as what He dispenses from His cosmic vending machine—they get whatever they want by inserting a claim on one of His promises. But our Lord rejects such a false, man-centered concept throughout the model prayer. Genuine prayer focuses on God’s name, God’s kingdom, and God’s will. The emphasis remains on the Father. God is sovereign, but Jesus tells us to pray that His will be done (cf. James 5:16 16 Confess therefore your sins one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The supplication of a righteous man availeth much in its working. ).

Ask Yourself

Which of these two misunderstandings has been the hardest for you to counteract? Which one do you find yourself gravitating toward in your usual dealings with God? How has this led you to defeat and discouragement in your walk with Christ? What would you gain from embracing a more biblical mind-set?

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

Entrusting All to God

Published by Grace To You for reading on May 22nd.

“Therefore, let those also who suffer according to the will of God entrust their souls to a faithful Creator in doing what is right” ( 1 Peter 4:19 19 Wherefore let them also that suffer according to the will of God commit their souls in well-doing unto a faithful Creator. ).

The final attitude we should have in facing trials and sufferings is that of entrusting ourselves to God.

Geoffrey Bull epitomizes the modern-day believer who entrusts his entire soul to God’s will in the middle of terrible suffering. Bull was punished with solitary confinement, brainwashing, many kinds of intimidation, and starvation during more than three years of imprisonment by the Communist Chinese forty years ago. During his affliction he prayed that God would help him remember Scriptures, realize His peace, and triumph over doubt, fear, loneliness, and fatigue. The final two lines of a poem he wrote summarize Bull’s complete trust in God’s plan and purpose:

And Thy kingdom, Gracious God,Shall never pass away.

The term “entrust” is a banker’s expression meaning “to deposit for safekeeping.” Peter encourages all believers who experience trials and tribulations to give over their very lives (“souls”) to God’s care. The Lord is indeed “a faithful Creator” who made us. Therefore we can and should trust Him fully as the only one who is able to care for all our needs.

By this point Peter has assumed that his original readers, since many had endured persecution, knew what suffering was like. Therefore, he could also present the Lord as a sovereign God who could be trusted to do “what is right.” Because it is God’s will to allow sufferings and trials in the lives of all believers, it is only logical that Peter exhort us to entrust ourselves to Him during such times.

Peter’s instruction is also related to Romans 12:1 Chapter 12 1 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, `which is' your spiritual service. , “I urge you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual [or rational] service of worship.” Paul reminds us that it is much easier to react as we should to trials if we have already resolved, with God’s help, to entrust everything to Him. Then we can face with calm and confidence, rather than worry and fear, whatever God allows.

Suggestions for Prayer

Review your commitment to God, and ask Him to bring to mind anything that you need to entrust wholly to Him; then by faith take that step.

For Further Study

Psalms 25 Chapter 25 1 Unto thee, O Jehovah, do I lift up my soul. 2 O my God, in thee have I trusted, Let me not be put to shame; Let not mine enemies triumph over me. 3 Yea, none that wait for thee shall be put to shame: They shall be put to shame that deal treacherously without cause. 4 Show me thy ways, O Jehovah; Teach me thy paths. 5 Guide me in thy truth, and teach me; For thou art the God of my salvation; For thee do I wait all the day. 6 Remember, O Jehovah, thy tender mercies and thy lovingkindness; For they have been ever of old. 7 Remember not the sins of my youth, nor my transgressions: According to thy lovingkindness remember thou me, For thy goodness' sake, O Jehovah. 8 Good and upright is Jehovah: Therefore will he instruct sinners in the way. 9 The meek will he guide in justice; And the meek will he teach his way. 10 All the paths of Jehovah are lovingkindness and truth Unto such as keep his covenant and his testimonies. 11 For thy name's sake, O Jehovah, Pardon mine iniquity, for it is great. 12 What man is he that feareth Jehovah? Him shall he instruct in the way that he shall choose. 13 His soul shall dwell at ease; And his seed shall inherit the land. 14 The friendship of Jehovah is with them that fear him; And he will show them his covenant. 15 Mine eyes are ever toward Jehovah; For he will pluck my feet out of the net. 16 Turn thee unto me, and have mercy upon me; For I am desolate and afflicted. 17 The troubles of my heart are enlarged: Oh bring thou me out of my distresses. 18 Consider mine affliction and my travail; And forgive all my sins. 19 Consider mine enemies, for they are many; And they hate me with cruel hatred. 20 Oh keep my soul, and deliver me: Let me not be put to shame, for I take refuge in thee. 21 Let integrity and uprightness preserve me, For I wait for thee. 22 Redeem Israel, O God, Out all of his troubles. Psalm 26 `A Psalm' of David. describes David’s desire to trust in God. Read it and pick out several verses or a paragraph to meditate on.

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

A Traitor Turns to Christ (Matthew)

Published by Grace To You for reading on May 22nd.
The twelve apostles included "Matthew the tax-gatherer" (Matt. 10:3).

God can use you despite your sinful past.

I remember reading a notice in a local newspaper announcing the opening of a new evangelical church in our community. It gave the date and time of the first services, then added, "our special guest star will be . . ." and named a popular Christian celebrity. In its attempt to appeal to unbelievers or simply draw a large crowd, the church today commonly uses that kind of approach.

Jesus, however, used a different approach. None of His disciples were famous at all. In fact, rather than drawing a favorable crowd, some of them might have repelled or even incited anger and hatred among His Jewish audience. Matthew was such a man because he was a despised tax-gatherer—one of many Jewish men employed by Rome to collect taxes from his own people. As such he was regarded as a traitor by his own countrymen.

The Roman tax system allowed tax collectors to keep anything they collected in excess of what was owed to Rome. That encouraged bribes, extortion, and other abuses.

To compound the issue, Matthew was among those who had the prerogative of taxing almost anything they wanted to tax—roads, bridges, harbors, axles, donkeys, packages, letters, imports, exports, merchandise, and so on. Such men could accumulate enormous wealth for themselves. You might remember another tax-gatherer named Zaccheus, who is described in Luke 19:2 2 And behold, a man called by name Zacchaeus; and he was a chief publican, and he was rich. as a wealthy man. His salvation was evidenced by his offer to repay fourfold to those he had defrauded (v. 8).

Some people think God can't use them because they're not famous or because of their past sins. But God has used Matthew, Zaccheus, and millions of others like them. Concentrate on your present purity and let God bless your ministry as He sees fit.

Suggestions for Prayer

Thank God that he has made you a new person in Christ (2 Cor. 5:17). Minister in light of that reality!

For Further Study

Read Luke 19:1-10 Chapter 19 1 And he entered and was passing through Jericho. 2 And behold, a man called by name Zacchaeus; and he was a chief publican, and he was rich. 3 And he sought to see Jesus who he was; and could not for the crowd, because he was little of stature. 4 And he ran on before, and climbed up into a sycomore tree to see him: for he was to pass that way. 5 And when Jesus came to the place, he looked up, and said unto him, Zacchaeus, make haste, and come down; for to-day I must abide at thy house. 6 And he made haste, and came down, and received him joyfully. 7 And when they saw it, they all murmured, saying, He is gone in to lodge with a man that is a sinner. 8 And Zacchaeus stood, and said unto the Lord, Behold, Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor; and if I have wrongfully exacted aught of any man, I restore fourfold. 9 And Jesus said unto him, To-day is salvation come to this house, forasmuch as he also is a son of Abraham. 10 For the Son of man came to seek and to save that which was lost. .

  • Where was Zaccheus when Jesus first spoke to him?
  • What was the reaction of the crowd when Jesus went to Zaccheus's house?
  • What prompted Jesus to say that salvation had come to Zaccheus?

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 May 22nd

Published by C.H. Spurgeon for reading on May 22nd.

Psalms 107:7 7 He led them also by a straight way, That they might go to a city of habitation.

CHANGEFUL experience often leads the anxious believer to enquire "Why is it thus with me?" I looked for light, but lo, darkness came; for peace, but behold trouble. I said in my heart, my mountain standeth firm, I shall never be moved. Lord, thou dost hide Thy face, and I am troubled. It was but yesterday that I could read my title clear; to-day my evidences are bedimmed, and my hopes are clouded. Yesterday I could climb to Pisgah's top, and view the landscape o'er, and rejoice with confidence in my future inheritance; to-day, my spirit has no hopes, but many fears; no joys, but much distress. Is this part of God's plan with me? Can this be the way in which God would bring me to heaven? Yes, it is even so. The eclipse of your faith, the darkness of your mind, the fainting of your hope, all these things are but parts of God's method of making you ripe for the great inheritance upon which you shall soon enter. These trials are for the testing and strengthening of your faith—they are waves that wash you further upon the rock—they are winds which waft your ship the more swiftly towards the desired haven. According to David's words, so it might be said of you, "so He bringeth them to their desired haven." By honour and dishonour, by evil report and by good report, by plenty and by poverty, by joy and by distress, by persecution and by peace, by all these things is the life of your souls maintained, and by each of these are you helped on your way. Oh, think not, believer, that your sorrows are out of God's plan; they are necessary parts of it. "We must, through much tribulation, enter the kingdom." Learn, then, even to "count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations."

"O let my trembling soul be still, And wait Thy wise, Thy holy will! I cannot, Lord, Thy purpose see, Yet all is well since ruled by Thee."

Evening Devotional by C.H. Spurgeon for May 22nd

Published by C.H. Spurgeon for reading on May 22nd.

Song of Solomon 1:16 16 Behold, thou art fair, my beloved, yea, pleasant: Also our couch is green.

FROM every point our Well-beloved is most fair. Our various experiences are meant by our heavenly Father to furnish fresh standpoints from which we may view the loveliness of Jesus; how amiable are our trials when they carry us aloft where we may gain clearer views of Jesus than ordinary life could afford us! We have seen Him from the top of Amana, from the top of Shenir and Hermon, and He has shone upon us as the sun in his strength; but we have seen Him also "from the lions' dens, from the mountains of the leopards," and He has lost none of His loveliness. From the languishing of a sick bed, from the borders of the grave, have we turned our eyes to our soul's spouse, and He has never been otherwise than "all fair." Many of His saints have looked upon Him from the gloom of dungeons, and from the red flames of the stake, yet have they never uttered an ill word of Him, but have died extolling His surpassing charms. Oh, noble and pleasant employment to be for ever gazing at our sweet Lord Jesus! Is it not unspeakably delightful to view the Saviour in all His offices, and to perceive Him matchless in each?—to shift the kaleidoscope, as it were, and to find fresh combinations of peerless graces? In the manger and in eternity, on the cross and on His throne, in the garden and in His kingdom, among thieves or in the midst of cherubim, He is everywhere "altogether lovely." Examine carefully every little act of His life, and every trait of His character, and He is as lovely in the minute as in the majestic. Judge Him as you will, you cannot censure; weigh Him as you please, and He will not be found wanting. Eternity shall not discover the shadow of a spot in our Beloved, but rather, as ages revolve, His hidden glories shall shine forth with yet more inconceivable splendour, and His unutterable loveliness shall more and more ravish all celestial minds.

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