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Knowing God’s Ways

Published by InTouch Ministries for reading on January 16th.

Psalms 25:4-11 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.

Having facts about someone is not the same as truly knowing the person. For instance, if a friend you know relatively well were to come and live with you for several months, you would discover his or her ways—that is, habits, preferences, attitudes, and priorities.

When Scripture speaks of God’s ways, it’s referring to much more than His actions or facts about His nature. His ways include His manner, motivations, desires, thoughts, and purposes. One of the reasons believers often become discouraged is that they don’t understand what God is doing in their life. That’s why it’s essential to learn how the Lord operates. As long as we remain ignorant of His ways as revealed in His Word, we won’t trust or know Him intimately. 

The Bible is such a big book that some believers may be tempted to give up, thinking it will take too long to learn how God works. But it’s important to remember that we all have the same starting point. When we’re born again, God doesn’t automatically download everything we need to know about Him into our brains. Learning to understand the Lord and how He does things is a process; He teaches us as we continue to read, obey what we know of Scripture, and spend time with Him.

Do you find yourself longing to grow in intimacy with the Lord? If so, you must live closely with Him by listening as He speaks through His Word—and by humbling yourself to learn, accept, and delight in His ways above your own.

Bible in One Year: Exodus 4-6 Chapter 4 1 And Moses answered and said, But, behold, they will not believe me, nor hearken unto my voice; for they will say, Jehovah hath not appeared unto thee. 2 And Jehovah said unto him, What is that in thy hand? And he said, A rod. 3 And he said, Cast in on the ground. And he cast it on the ground, and it became a serpent; and Moses fled from before it. 4 And Jehovah said unto Moses, Put forth thy hand, and take it by the tail: (and he put forth his hand, and laid hold of it, and it became a rod in his hand:) 5 That they may believe that Jehovah, the God of their fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, hath appeared unto thee. 6 And Jehovah said furthermore unto him, Put now thy hand into thy bosom. And he put his hand into his bosom: and when he took it out, behold, his hand was leprous, as `white as' snow. 7 And he said, Put thy hand into thy bosom again. (And he put his hand into his bosom again; and when he took it out of his bosom, behold, it was turned again as his `other' flesh.) 8 And it shall come to pass, if they will not believe thee, neither hearken to the voice of the first sign, that they will believe the voice of the latter sign. 9 And it shall come to pass, if they will not believe even these two signs, neither hearken unto thy voice, that thou shalt take of the water of the river, and pour it upon the dry land: and the water which thou takest out of the river shall become blood upon the dry land. 10 And Moses said unto Jehovah, Oh, Lord, I am not eloquent, neither heretofore, nor since thou hast spoken unto thy servant; for I am slow of speech, and of a slow tongue. 11 And Jehovah said unto him, Who hath made man's mouth? Or who maketh `a man' dumb, or deaf, or seeing, or blind? Is it not I, Jehovah? 12 Now therefore go, and I will be with thy mouth, and teach thee what thou shalt speak. 13 And he said, Oh, Lord, send, I pray thee, by the hand of him whom thou wilt send. 14 And the anger of Jehovah was kindled against Moses, and he said, Is there not Aaron thy brother the Levite? I know that he can speak well. And also, behold, he cometh forth to meet thee: and when he seeth thee, he will be glad in his heart. 15 And thou shalt speak unto him, and put the words in his mouth: and I will be with thy mouth, and with his mouth, and will teach you what ye shall do. 16 And he shall be thy spokesman unto the people; and it shall come to pass, that he shall be to thee a mouth, and thou shalt be to him as God. 17 And thou shalt take in thy hand this rod, wherewith thou shalt do the signs. 18 And Moses went and returned to Jethro his father-in-law, and said unto him, Let me go, I pray thee, and return unto my brethren that are in Egypt, and see whether they be yet alive. And Jethro said to Moses, Go in peace. 19 And Jehovah said unto Moses in Midian, Go, return into Egypt; for all the men are dead that sought thy life. 20 And Moses took his wife and his sons, and set them upon an ass, and he returned to the land of Egypt: and Moses took the rod of God in his hand. 21 And Jehovah said unto Moses, When thou goest back into Egypt, see that thou do before Pharaoh all the wonders which I have put in thy hand: but I will harden his heart and he will not let the people go. 22 And thou shalt say unto Pharaoh, Thus saith Jehovah, Israel is my son, my first-born: 23 and I have said unto thee, Let my son go, that he may serve me; and thou hast refused to let him go: behold, I will slay thy son, thy first-born. 24 And it came to pass on the way at the lodging-place, that Jehovah met him, and sought to kill him. 25 Then Zipporah took a flint, and cut off the foreskin of her son, and cast it at his feet; and she said, Surely a bridegroom of blood art thou to me. 26 So he let him alone. Then she said, A bridegroom of blood `art thou', because of the circumcision. 27 And Jehovah said to Aaron, Go into the wilderness to meet Moses. And he went, and met him in the mountain of God, and kissed him. 28 And Moses told Aaron all the words of Jehovah wherewith he had sent him, and all the signs wherewith he had charged him. 29 And Moses and Aaron went and gathered together all the elders of the children of Israel: 30 and Aaron spake all the words which Jehovah had spoken unto Moses, and did the signs in the sight of the people. 31 And the people believed: and when they heard that Jehovah had visited the children of Israel, and that he had seen their affliction, then they bowed their heads and worshipped. Chapter 5 1 And afterward Moses and Aaron came, and said unto Pharaoh, Thus saith Jehovah, the God of Israel, Let my people go, that they may hold a feast unto me in the wilderness. 2 And Pharaoh said, Who is Jehovah, that I should hearken unto his voice to let Israel go? I know not Jehovah, and moreover I will not let Israel go. 3 And they said, The God of the Hebrews hath met with us: let us go, we pray thee, three days' journey into the wilderness, and sacrifice unto Jehovah our God, lest he fall upon us with pestilence, or with the sword. 4 And the king of Egypt said unto them, Wherefore do ye, Moses and Aaron, loose the people from their works? get you unto your burdens. 5 And Pharaoh said, Behold, the people of the land are now many, and ye make them rest from their burdens. 6 And the same day Pharaoh commanded the taskmasters of the people, and their officers, saying, 7 Ye shall no more give the people straw to make brick, as heretofore: let them go and gather straw for themselves. 8 And the number of the bricks, which they did make heretofore, ye shall lay upon them; ye shall not diminish aught thereof: for they are idle; therefore they cry, saying, Let us go and sacrifice to our God. 9 Let heavier work be laid upon the men, that they may labor therein; and let them not regard lying words. 10 And the taskmasters of the people went out, and their officers, and they spake to the people, saying, Thus saith Pharaoh, I will not give you straw. 11 Go yourselves, get you straw where ye can find it: for nought of your work shall be diminished. 12 So the people were scattered abroad throughout all the land of Egypt to gather stubble for straw. 13 And the taskmasters were urgent saying, Fulfil your works, `your' daily tasks, as when there was straw. 14 And the officers of the children of Israel, whom Pharaoh's taskmasters had set over them, were beaten, and demanded, Wherefore have ye not fulfilled your task both yesterday and to-day, in making brick as heretofore? 15 Then the officers of the children of Israel came and cried unto Pharaoh, saying, Wherefore dealest thou thus with thy servants? 16 There is no straw given unto thy servants, and they say to us, Make brick: and, behold, thy servants are beaten; but the fault it in thine own people. 17 But he said, Ye are idle, ye are idle: therefore ye say, Let us go and sacrifice to Jehovah. 18 Go therefore now, and work; for there shall no straw be given you, yet shall ye deliver the number of bricks. 19 And the officers of the children of Israel did see that they were in evil case, when it was said, Ye shall not diminish aught from your bricks, `your' daily tasks. 20 And they met Moses and Aaron, who stood in the way, as they came forth from Pharaoh: 21 and they said unto them, Jehovah look upon you, and judge: because ye have made our savor to be abhorred in the eyes of Pharaoh, and in the eyes of his servants, to put a sword in their hand to slay us. 22 And Moses returned unto Jehovah, and said, Lord, wherefore hast thou dealt ill with this people? why is it that thou hast sent me? 23 For since I came to Pharaoh to speak in thy name, he hath dealt ill with this people; neither hast thou delivered thy people at all. Chapter 6 1 And Jehovah said unto Moses, Now shalt thou see what I will do to Pharaoh: for by a strong hand shall he let them go, and by a strong hand shall he drive them out of his land. 2 And God spake unto Moses, and said unto him, I am Jehovah: 3 and I appeared unto Abraham, unto Isaac, and unto Jacob, as God Almighty; but by my name Jehovah I was not known to them. 4 And I have also established my covenant with them, to give them the land of Canaan, the land of their sojournings, wherein they sojourned. 5 And moreover I have heard the groaning of the children of Israel, whom the Egyptians keep in bondage; and I have remembered my covenant. 6 Wherefore say unto the children of Israel, I am Jehovah, and I will bring you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians, and I will rid you out of their bondage, and I will redeem you with an outstretched arm, and with great judgments: 7 and I will take you to me for a people, and I will be to you a God; and ye shall know that I am Jehovah your God, who bringeth you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians. 8 And I will bring you in unto the land which I sware to give to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob; and I will give it you for a heritage: I am Jehovah. 9 And Moses spake so unto the children of Israel: but they hearkened not unto Moses for anguish of spirit, and for cruel bondage. 10 And Jehovah spake unto Moses, saying, 11 Go in, speak unto Pharaoh king of Egypt, that he let the children of Israel go out of his land. 12 And Moses spake before Jehovah, saying, Behold, the children of Israel have not hearkened unto me; how then shall Pharaoh hear me, who am of uncircumcised lips? 13 And Jehovah spake unto Moses and unto Aaron, and gave them a charge unto the children of Israel, and unto Pharaoh king of Egypt, to bring the children of Israel out of the land of Egypt. 14 These are the heads of their fathers' houses. The sons of Reuben the first-born of Israel: Hanoch, and Pallu, Hezron, and Carmi; these are the families of Reuben. 15 And the sons of Simeon: Jemuel, and Jamin, and Ohad, and Jachin, and Zohar, and Shaul the son of a Canaanitish woman; these are the families of Simeon. 16 And these are the names of the sons of Levi according to their generations: Gershon, and Kohath, and Merari; and the years of the life of Levi were a hundred thirty and seven years. 17 The sons of Gershon: Libni and Shimei, according to their families. 18 And the sons of Kohath: Amram, and Izhar, and Hebron, and Uzziel; and the years of the life of Kohath were a hundred thirty and three years. 19 And the sons of Merari: Mahli and Mushi. These are the families of the Levites according to their generations. 20 And Amram took him Jochebed his father's sister to wife; and she bare him Aaron and Moses: and the years of the life of Amram were a hundred and thirty and seven years. 21 And the sons of Izhar: Korah, and Nepheg, and Zichri. 22 And the sons of Uzziel: Mishael, and Elzaphan, and Sithri. 23 And Aaron took him Elisheba, the daughter of Amminadab, the sister of Nahshon, to wife; and she bare him Nadab and Abihu, Eleazar and Ithamar. 24 And the sons of Korah: Assir, and Elkanah, and Abiasaph; these are the families of the Korahites. 25 And Eleazar Aaron's son took him one of the daughters of Putiel to wife; and she bare him Phinehas. These are the heads of the fathers' `houses' of the Levites according to their families. 26 These are that Aaron and Moses, to whom Jehovah said, Bring out the children of Israel from the land of Egypt according to their hosts. 27 These are they that spake to Pharaoh king of Egypt, to bring out the children of Israel from Egypt: these are that Moses and Aaron. 28 And it came to pass on the day when Jehovah spake unto Moses in the land of Egypt, 29 that Jehovah spake unto Moses, saying, I am Jehovah: speak thou unto Pharaoh king of Egypt all that I speak unto thee. 30 And Moses said before Jehovah, Behold, I am of uncircumcised lips, and how shall Pharaoh hearken unto me?




Misplaced Priorities

Published by InTouch Ministries for reading on January 17th.

Luke 12:16-21 16 And he spake a parable unto them, saying, The ground of a certain rich man brought forth plentifully: 17 and he reasoned within himself, saying, What shall I do, because I have not where to bestow my fruits? 18 And he said, This will I do: I will pull down my barns, and build greater; and there will I bestow all my grain and my goods. 19 And I will say to my soul, Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years; take thine ease, eat, drink, be merry. 20 But God said unto him, Thou foolish one, this night is thy soul required of thee; and the things which thou hast prepared, whose shall they be? 21 So is he that layeth up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.

The Lord’s parable of the foolish wealthy man is a study in misplaced priorities. Modern believers can learn from three mistakes he made: providing for himself, not others; providing for his body, not his spirit; and providing for this life, not the one to come.

There is a penalty for misplaced priorities. This foolish man passed away with no opportunity to enjoy his goods. What’s even worse, he died with a bankrupt soul.

Serving the Lord and His kingdom is the key to setting correct goals. When believers make service for God a main concern, they will use a lens of righteousness to order their priorities. The question we ought to be asking is not “What shall I do?” but rather “Lord, what would You have me do?” The answer—which should be prayerfully sought and biblically evaluated—dictates which things we must put first in order to achieve God’s purpose for us.

Life is not something that simply happens to people. Where we are today is largely determined by the way we prioritized our concerns in previous months and years. This means that we can positively impact our future by organizing our priorities according to biblical guidelines. Then, unlike the foolish man in Jesus’ parable, we will learn the eternal value of providing for others so that our own soul is fed. More than that, we will “store up for [our]selves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal” (Matt. 6:20).

Bible in One Year: Exodus 4-6 Chapter 4 1 And Moses answered and said, But, behold, they will not believe me, nor hearken unto my voice; for they will say, Jehovah hath not appeared unto thee. 2 And Jehovah said unto him, What is that in thy hand? And he said, A rod. 3 And he said, Cast in on the ground. And he cast it on the ground, and it became a serpent; and Moses fled from before it. 4 And Jehovah said unto Moses, Put forth thy hand, and take it by the tail: (and he put forth his hand, and laid hold of it, and it became a rod in his hand:) 5 That they may believe that Jehovah, the God of their fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, hath appeared unto thee. 6 And Jehovah said furthermore unto him, Put now thy hand into thy bosom. And he put his hand into his bosom: and when he took it out, behold, his hand was leprous, as `white as' snow. 7 And he said, Put thy hand into thy bosom again. (And he put his hand into his bosom again; and when he took it out of his bosom, behold, it was turned again as his `other' flesh.) 8 And it shall come to pass, if they will not believe thee, neither hearken to the voice of the first sign, that they will believe the voice of the latter sign. 9 And it shall come to pass, if they will not believe even these two signs, neither hearken unto thy voice, that thou shalt take of the water of the river, and pour it upon the dry land: and the water which thou takest out of the river shall become blood upon the dry land. 10 And Moses said unto Jehovah, Oh, Lord, I am not eloquent, neither heretofore, nor since thou hast spoken unto thy servant; for I am slow of speech, and of a slow tongue. 11 And Jehovah said unto him, Who hath made man's mouth? Or who maketh `a man' dumb, or deaf, or seeing, or blind? Is it not I, Jehovah? 12 Now therefore go, and I will be with thy mouth, and teach thee what thou shalt speak. 13 And he said, Oh, Lord, send, I pray thee, by the hand of him whom thou wilt send. 14 And the anger of Jehovah was kindled against Moses, and he said, Is there not Aaron thy brother the Levite? I know that he can speak well. And also, behold, he cometh forth to meet thee: and when he seeth thee, he will be glad in his heart. 15 And thou shalt speak unto him, and put the words in his mouth: and I will be with thy mouth, and with his mouth, and will teach you what ye shall do. 16 And he shall be thy spokesman unto the people; and it shall come to pass, that he shall be to thee a mouth, and thou shalt be to him as God. 17 And thou shalt take in thy hand this rod, wherewith thou shalt do the signs. 18 And Moses went and returned to Jethro his father-in-law, and said unto him, Let me go, I pray thee, and return unto my brethren that are in Egypt, and see whether they be yet alive. And Jethro said to Moses, Go in peace. 19 And Jehovah said unto Moses in Midian, Go, return into Egypt; for all the men are dead that sought thy life. 20 And Moses took his wife and his sons, and set them upon an ass, and he returned to the land of Egypt: and Moses took the rod of God in his hand. 21 And Jehovah said unto Moses, When thou goest back into Egypt, see that thou do before Pharaoh all the wonders which I have put in thy hand: but I will harden his heart and he will not let the people go. 22 And thou shalt say unto Pharaoh, Thus saith Jehovah, Israel is my son, my first-born: 23 and I have said unto thee, Let my son go, that he may serve me; and thou hast refused to let him go: behold, I will slay thy son, thy first-born. 24 And it came to pass on the way at the lodging-place, that Jehovah met him, and sought to kill him. 25 Then Zipporah took a flint, and cut off the foreskin of her son, and cast it at his feet; and she said, Surely a bridegroom of blood art thou to me. 26 So he let him alone. Then she said, A bridegroom of blood `art thou', because of the circumcision. 27 And Jehovah said to Aaron, Go into the wilderness to meet Moses. And he went, and met him in the mountain of God, and kissed him. 28 And Moses told Aaron all the words of Jehovah wherewith he had sent him, and all the signs wherewith he had charged him. 29 And Moses and Aaron went and gathered together all the elders of the children of Israel: 30 and Aaron spake all the words which Jehovah had spoken unto Moses, and did the signs in the sight of the people. 31 And the people believed: and when they heard that Jehovah had visited the children of Israel, and that he had seen their affliction, then they bowed their heads and worshipped. Chapter 5 1 And afterward Moses and Aaron came, and said unto Pharaoh, Thus saith Jehovah, the God of Israel, Let my people go, that they may hold a feast unto me in the wilderness. 2 And Pharaoh said, Who is Jehovah, that I should hearken unto his voice to let Israel go? I know not Jehovah, and moreover I will not let Israel go. 3 And they said, The God of the Hebrews hath met with us: let us go, we pray thee, three days' journey into the wilderness, and sacrifice unto Jehovah our God, lest he fall upon us with pestilence, or with the sword. 4 And the king of Egypt said unto them, Wherefore do ye, Moses and Aaron, loose the people from their works? get you unto your burdens. 5 And Pharaoh said, Behold, the people of the land are now many, and ye make them rest from their burdens. 6 And the same day Pharaoh commanded the taskmasters of the people, and their officers, saying, 7 Ye shall no more give the people straw to make brick, as heretofore: let them go and gather straw for themselves. 8 And the number of the bricks, which they did make heretofore, ye shall lay upon them; ye shall not diminish aught thereof: for they are idle; therefore they cry, saying, Let us go and sacrifice to our God. 9 Let heavier work be laid upon the men, that they may labor therein; and let them not regard lying words. 10 And the taskmasters of the people went out, and their officers, and they spake to the people, saying, Thus saith Pharaoh, I will not give you straw. 11 Go yourselves, get you straw where ye can find it: for nought of your work shall be diminished. 12 So the people were scattered abroad throughout all the land of Egypt to gather stubble for straw. 13 And the taskmasters were urgent saying, Fulfil your works, `your' daily tasks, as when there was straw. 14 And the officers of the children of Israel, whom Pharaoh's taskmasters had set over them, were beaten, and demanded, Wherefore have ye not fulfilled your task both yesterday and to-day, in making brick as heretofore? 15 Then the officers of the children of Israel came and cried unto Pharaoh, saying, Wherefore dealest thou thus with thy servants? 16 There is no straw given unto thy servants, and they say to us, Make brick: and, behold, thy servants are beaten; but the fault it in thine own people. 17 But he said, Ye are idle, ye are idle: therefore ye say, Let us go and sacrifice to Jehovah. 18 Go therefore now, and work; for there shall no straw be given you, yet shall ye deliver the number of bricks. 19 And the officers of the children of Israel did see that they were in evil case, when it was said, Ye shall not diminish aught from your bricks, `your' daily tasks. 20 And they met Moses and Aaron, who stood in the way, as they came forth from Pharaoh: 21 and they said unto them, Jehovah look upon you, and judge: because ye have made our savor to be abhorred in the eyes of Pharaoh, and in the eyes of his servants, to put a sword in their hand to slay us. 22 And Moses returned unto Jehovah, and said, Lord, wherefore hast thou dealt ill with this people? why is it that thou hast sent me? 23 For since I came to Pharaoh to speak in thy name, he hath dealt ill with this people; neither hast thou delivered thy people at all. Chapter 6 1 And Jehovah said unto Moses, Now shalt thou see what I will do to Pharaoh: for by a strong hand shall he let them go, and by a strong hand shall he drive them out of his land. 2 And God spake unto Moses, and said unto him, I am Jehovah: 3 and I appeared unto Abraham, unto Isaac, and unto Jacob, as God Almighty; but by my name Jehovah I was not known to them. 4 And I have also established my covenant with them, to give them the land of Canaan, the land of their sojournings, wherein they sojourned. 5 And moreover I have heard the groaning of the children of Israel, whom the Egyptians keep in bondage; and I have remembered my covenant. 6 Wherefore say unto the children of Israel, I am Jehovah, and I will bring you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians, and I will rid you out of their bondage, and I will redeem you with an outstretched arm, and with great judgments: 7 and I will take you to me for a people, and I will be to you a God; and ye shall know that I am Jehovah your God, who bringeth you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians. 8 And I will bring you in unto the land which I sware to give to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob; and I will give it you for a heritage: I am Jehovah. 9 And Moses spake so unto the children of Israel: but they hearkened not unto Moses for anguish of spirit, and for cruel bondage. 10 And Jehovah spake unto Moses, saying, 11 Go in, speak unto Pharaoh king of Egypt, that he let the children of Israel go out of his land. 12 And Moses spake before Jehovah, saying, Behold, the children of Israel have not hearkened unto me; how then shall Pharaoh hear me, who am of uncircumcised lips? 13 And Jehovah spake unto Moses and unto Aaron, and gave them a charge unto the children of Israel, and unto Pharaoh king of Egypt, to bring the children of Israel out of the land of Egypt. 14 These are the heads of their fathers' houses. The sons of Reuben the first-born of Israel: Hanoch, and Pallu, Hezron, and Carmi; these are the families of Reuben. 15 And the sons of Simeon: Jemuel, and Jamin, and Ohad, and Jachin, and Zohar, and Shaul the son of a Canaanitish woman; these are the families of Simeon. 16 And these are the names of the sons of Levi according to their generations: Gershon, and Kohath, and Merari; and the years of the life of Levi were a hundred thirty and seven years. 17 The sons of Gershon: Libni and Shimei, according to their families. 18 And the sons of Kohath: Amram, and Izhar, and Hebron, and Uzziel; and the years of the life of Kohath were a hundred thirty and three years. 19 And the sons of Merari: Mahli and Mushi. These are the families of the Levites according to their generations. 20 And Amram took him Jochebed his father's sister to wife; and she bare him Aaron and Moses: and the years of the life of Amram were a hundred and thirty and seven years. 21 And the sons of Izhar: Korah, and Nepheg, and Zichri. 22 And the sons of Uzziel: Mishael, and Elzaphan, and Sithri. 23 And Aaron took him Elisheba, the daughter of Amminadab, the sister of Nahshon, to wife; and she bare him Nadab and Abihu, Eleazar and Ithamar. 24 And the sons of Korah: Assir, and Elkanah, and Abiasaph; these are the families of the Korahites. 25 And Eleazar Aaron's son took him one of the daughters of Putiel to wife; and she bare him Phinehas. These are the heads of the fathers' `houses' of the Levites according to their families. 26 These are that Aaron and Moses, to whom Jehovah said, Bring out the children of Israel from the land of Egypt according to their hosts. 27 These are they that spake to Pharaoh king of Egypt, to bring out the children of Israel from Egypt: these are that Moses and Aaron. 28 And it came to pass on the day when Jehovah spake unto Moses in the land of Egypt, 29 that Jehovah spake unto Moses, saying, I am Jehovah: speak thou unto Pharaoh king of Egypt all that I speak unto thee. 30 And Moses said before Jehovah, Behold, I am of uncircumcised lips, and how shall Pharaoh hearken unto me?




Authentic Faith Is Eager for Christ to Come

Published by John Piper for reading on January 17th.

Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to deal with sin but to save those who are eagerly waiting for him. ( Hebrews 9:28 28 so Christ also, having been once offered to bear the sins of many, shall appear a second time, apart from sin, to them that wait for him, unto salvation. )

What must you do so that you may know that your sins are taken away by the blood of Christ, and that, when he comes, he will shield you from the wrath of God and bring you into eternal life? The answer is this: Trust Christ in a way that makes you eager for him to come.

The text says he is coming to save those who are “eagerly waiting for him.” So how do you get ready? How do you experience the forgiveness of God in Christ and prepare to meet him? By trusting him in a way that makes you eager for him to come.

This eager expectation for Christ is simply a sign that we love him and believe in him — really believe in him, authentically.

There is a phony faith that wants only escape from hell, but has no desire for Christ. That kind of faith does not save. It does not produce an eager expectation for Christ to come. In fact, it would rather that Christ not come for as long as possible, so that it can have as much of this world as possible.

But the faith that really holds on to Christ as Savior and Lord and Treasure and hope and joy is the faith that makes us long for Christ to come. And that is the faith that saves.

So I urge you, turn from the world, and from sin. Turn to Christ. Receive him, welcome him, embrace Christ not just as your fire insurance policy, but as your eagerly awaited Treasure and friend and Lord.



Wisdom Brings Joy

Published by InTouch Ministries for reading on January 17th.

James 1:5-8 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.

One of the most important tools in overcoming trials is wisdom. Ironically, this quality, which seems so rare in our world today, is actually readily and easily available to believers. Scripture says we simply have to ask, and God will give it generously.

Though wisdom certainly has rewards, it does come with a price. If we ask God to make us wise, He will allow tests in our life. Their purpose is not to point out what’s wrong with our faith but, rather, to help us discover whether or not we’re wise.

Temptations and difficulty also allow us to discern our level of devotion to the Lord. When we go through a time of testing, we learn whether we’re willing to say, “I don’t like this, God, and I don’t understand it, but I’m going to obey You no matter what.” There’s no way to know whether we would respond that way unless we go through trials that examine our faith.

We grow in our devotion to the heavenly Father by making wise decisions despite opposition and by obeying when it is inconvenient to do so or when temptations are the hardest to resist. Such challenges are similar to a refiner’s fire: They sanctify and purify us, raising to the surface attitudes that we may not realize are in our life. These situations not only reveal what God is doing in us but also can turn up the heat if we try to muffle the Holy Spirit’s guidance.

When we, through wisdom, allow God to do His work in our life, we will begin to experience blessings, see His power, and feel His love in new ways. And this new growth brings great joy!

Bible in One Year: Exodus 4-6 Chapter 4 1 And Moses answered and said, But, behold, they will not believe me, nor hearken unto my voice; for they will say, Jehovah hath not appeared unto thee. 2 And Jehovah said unto him, What is that in thy hand? And he said, A rod. 3 And he said, Cast in on the ground. And he cast it on the ground, and it became a serpent; and Moses fled from before it. 4 And Jehovah said unto Moses, Put forth thy hand, and take it by the tail: (and he put forth his hand, and laid hold of it, and it became a rod in his hand:) 5 That they may believe that Jehovah, the God of their fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, hath appeared unto thee. 6 And Jehovah said furthermore unto him, Put now thy hand into thy bosom. And he put his hand into his bosom: and when he took it out, behold, his hand was leprous, as `white as' snow. 7 And he said, Put thy hand into thy bosom again. (And he put his hand into his bosom again; and when he took it out of his bosom, behold, it was turned again as his `other' flesh.) 8 And it shall come to pass, if they will not believe thee, neither hearken to the voice of the first sign, that they will believe the voice of the latter sign. 9 And it shall come to pass, if they will not believe even these two signs, neither hearken unto thy voice, that thou shalt take of the water of the river, and pour it upon the dry land: and the water which thou takest out of the river shall become blood upon the dry land. 10 And Moses said unto Jehovah, Oh, Lord, I am not eloquent, neither heretofore, nor since thou hast spoken unto thy servant; for I am slow of speech, and of a slow tongue. 11 And Jehovah said unto him, Who hath made man's mouth? Or who maketh `a man' dumb, or deaf, or seeing, or blind? Is it not I, Jehovah? 12 Now therefore go, and I will be with thy mouth, and teach thee what thou shalt speak. 13 And he said, Oh, Lord, send, I pray thee, by the hand of him whom thou wilt send. 14 And the anger of Jehovah was kindled against Moses, and he said, Is there not Aaron thy brother the Levite? I know that he can speak well. And also, behold, he cometh forth to meet thee: and when he seeth thee, he will be glad in his heart. 15 And thou shalt speak unto him, and put the words in his mouth: and I will be with thy mouth, and with his mouth, and will teach you what ye shall do. 16 And he shall be thy spokesman unto the people; and it shall come to pass, that he shall be to thee a mouth, and thou shalt be to him as God. 17 And thou shalt take in thy hand this rod, wherewith thou shalt do the signs. 18 And Moses went and returned to Jethro his father-in-law, and said unto him, Let me go, I pray thee, and return unto my brethren that are in Egypt, and see whether they be yet alive. And Jethro said to Moses, Go in peace. 19 And Jehovah said unto Moses in Midian, Go, return into Egypt; for all the men are dead that sought thy life. 20 And Moses took his wife and his sons, and set them upon an ass, and he returned to the land of Egypt: and Moses took the rod of God in his hand. 21 And Jehovah said unto Moses, When thou goest back into Egypt, see that thou do before Pharaoh all the wonders which I have put in thy hand: but I will harden his heart and he will not let the people go. 22 And thou shalt say unto Pharaoh, Thus saith Jehovah, Israel is my son, my first-born: 23 and I have said unto thee, Let my son go, that he may serve me; and thou hast refused to let him go: behold, I will slay thy son, thy first-born. 24 And it came to pass on the way at the lodging-place, that Jehovah met him, and sought to kill him. 25 Then Zipporah took a flint, and cut off the foreskin of her son, and cast it at his feet; and she said, Surely a bridegroom of blood art thou to me. 26 So he let him alone. Then she said, A bridegroom of blood `art thou', because of the circumcision. 27 And Jehovah said to Aaron, Go into the wilderness to meet Moses. And he went, and met him in the mountain of God, and kissed him. 28 And Moses told Aaron all the words of Jehovah wherewith he had sent him, and all the signs wherewith he had charged him. 29 And Moses and Aaron went and gathered together all the elders of the children of Israel: 30 and Aaron spake all the words which Jehovah had spoken unto Moses, and did the signs in the sight of the people. 31 And the people believed: and when they heard that Jehovah had visited the children of Israel, and that he had seen their affliction, then they bowed their heads and worshipped. Chapter 5 1 And afterward Moses and Aaron came, and said unto Pharaoh, Thus saith Jehovah, the God of Israel, Let my people go, that they may hold a feast unto me in the wilderness. 2 And Pharaoh said, Who is Jehovah, that I should hearken unto his voice to let Israel go? I know not Jehovah, and moreover I will not let Israel go. 3 And they said, The God of the Hebrews hath met with us: let us go, we pray thee, three days' journey into the wilderness, and sacrifice unto Jehovah our God, lest he fall upon us with pestilence, or with the sword. 4 And the king of Egypt said unto them, Wherefore do ye, Moses and Aaron, loose the people from their works? get you unto your burdens. 5 And Pharaoh said, Behold, the people of the land are now many, and ye make them rest from their burdens. 6 And the same day Pharaoh commanded the taskmasters of the people, and their officers, saying, 7 Ye shall no more give the people straw to make brick, as heretofore: let them go and gather straw for themselves. 8 And the number of the bricks, which they did make heretofore, ye shall lay upon them; ye shall not diminish aught thereof: for they are idle; therefore they cry, saying, Let us go and sacrifice to our God. 9 Let heavier work be laid upon the men, that they may labor therein; and let them not regard lying words. 10 And the taskmasters of the people went out, and their officers, and they spake to the people, saying, Thus saith Pharaoh, I will not give you straw. 11 Go yourselves, get you straw where ye can find it: for nought of your work shall be diminished. 12 So the people were scattered abroad throughout all the land of Egypt to gather stubble for straw. 13 And the taskmasters were urgent saying, Fulfil your works, `your' daily tasks, as when there was straw. 14 And the officers of the children of Israel, whom Pharaoh's taskmasters had set over them, were beaten, and demanded, Wherefore have ye not fulfilled your task both yesterday and to-day, in making brick as heretofore? 15 Then the officers of the children of Israel came and cried unto Pharaoh, saying, Wherefore dealest thou thus with thy servants? 16 There is no straw given unto thy servants, and they say to us, Make brick: and, behold, thy servants are beaten; but the fault it in thine own people. 17 But he said, Ye are idle, ye are idle: therefore ye say, Let us go and sacrifice to Jehovah. 18 Go therefore now, and work; for there shall no straw be given you, yet shall ye deliver the number of bricks. 19 And the officers of the children of Israel did see that they were in evil case, when it was said, Ye shall not diminish aught from your bricks, `your' daily tasks. 20 And they met Moses and Aaron, who stood in the way, as they came forth from Pharaoh: 21 and they said unto them, Jehovah look upon you, and judge: because ye have made our savor to be abhorred in the eyes of Pharaoh, and in the eyes of his servants, to put a sword in their hand to slay us. 22 And Moses returned unto Jehovah, and said, Lord, wherefore hast thou dealt ill with this people? why is it that thou hast sent me? 23 For since I came to Pharaoh to speak in thy name, he hath dealt ill with this people; neither hast thou delivered thy people at all. Chapter 6 1 And Jehovah said unto Moses, Now shalt thou see what I will do to Pharaoh: for by a strong hand shall he let them go, and by a strong hand shall he drive them out of his land. 2 And God spake unto Moses, and said unto him, I am Jehovah: 3 and I appeared unto Abraham, unto Isaac, and unto Jacob, as God Almighty; but by my name Jehovah I was not known to them. 4 And I have also established my covenant with them, to give them the land of Canaan, the land of their sojournings, wherein they sojourned. 5 And moreover I have heard the groaning of the children of Israel, whom the Egyptians keep in bondage; and I have remembered my covenant. 6 Wherefore say unto the children of Israel, I am Jehovah, and I will bring you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians, and I will rid you out of their bondage, and I will redeem you with an outstretched arm, and with great judgments: 7 and I will take you to me for a people, and I will be to you a God; and ye shall know that I am Jehovah your God, who bringeth you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians. 8 And I will bring you in unto the land which I sware to give to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob; and I will give it you for a heritage: I am Jehovah. 9 And Moses spake so unto the children of Israel: but they hearkened not unto Moses for anguish of spirit, and for cruel bondage. 10 And Jehovah spake unto Moses, saying, 11 Go in, speak unto Pharaoh king of Egypt, that he let the children of Israel go out of his land. 12 And Moses spake before Jehovah, saying, Behold, the children of Israel have not hearkened unto me; how then shall Pharaoh hear me, who am of uncircumcised lips? 13 And Jehovah spake unto Moses and unto Aaron, and gave them a charge unto the children of Israel, and unto Pharaoh king of Egypt, to bring the children of Israel out of the land of Egypt. 14 These are the heads of their fathers' houses. The sons of Reuben the first-born of Israel: Hanoch, and Pallu, Hezron, and Carmi; these are the families of Reuben. 15 And the sons of Simeon: Jemuel, and Jamin, and Ohad, and Jachin, and Zohar, and Shaul the son of a Canaanitish woman; these are the families of Simeon. 16 And these are the names of the sons of Levi according to their generations: Gershon, and Kohath, and Merari; and the years of the life of Levi were a hundred thirty and seven years. 17 The sons of Gershon: Libni and Shimei, according to their families. 18 And the sons of Kohath: Amram, and Izhar, and Hebron, and Uzziel; and the years of the life of Kohath were a hundred thirty and three years. 19 And the sons of Merari: Mahli and Mushi. These are the families of the Levites according to their generations. 20 And Amram took him Jochebed his father's sister to wife; and she bare him Aaron and Moses: and the years of the life of Amram were a hundred and thirty and seven years. 21 And the sons of Izhar: Korah, and Nepheg, and Zichri. 22 And the sons of Uzziel: Mishael, and Elzaphan, and Sithri. 23 And Aaron took him Elisheba, the daughter of Amminadab, the sister of Nahshon, to wife; and she bare him Nadab and Abihu, Eleazar and Ithamar. 24 And the sons of Korah: Assir, and Elkanah, and Abiasaph; these are the families of the Korahites. 25 And Eleazar Aaron's son took him one of the daughters of Putiel to wife; and she bare him Phinehas. These are the heads of the fathers' `houses' of the Levites according to their families. 26 These are that Aaron and Moses, to whom Jehovah said, Bring out the children of Israel from the land of Egypt according to their hosts. 27 These are they that spake to Pharaoh king of Egypt, to bring out the children of Israel from Egypt: these are that Moses and Aaron. 28 And it came to pass on the day when Jehovah spake unto Moses in the land of Egypt, 29 that Jehovah spake unto Moses, saying, I am Jehovah: speak thou unto Pharaoh king of Egypt all that I speak unto thee. 30 And Moses said before Jehovah, Behold, I am of uncircumcised lips, and how shall Pharaoh hearken unto me?




Daily Bible - January 17

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

Reading for Today:

  • Genesis 33:1 Chapter 33 1 And Jacob lifted up his eyes, and looked, and, behold, Esau was coming, and with him four hundred men. And he divided the children unto Leah, and unto Rachel, and unto the two handmaids. –34:31
  • Psalms 9:1-5 Chapter 9 1 I will give thanks unto Jehovah with my whole heart; I will show forth all thy marvellous works. 2 I will be glad and exult in thee; I will sing praise to thy name, O thou Most High. 3 When mine enemies turn back, They stumble and perish at thy presence. 4 For thou hast maintained my right and my cause; Thou sittest in the throne judging righteously. 5 Thou hast rebuked the nations, thou hast destroyed the wicked; Thou hast blotted out their name for ever and ever.
  • Proverbs 3:21-26 21 My son, let them not depart from thine eyes; Keep sound wisdom and discretion: 22 So shall they be life unto thy soul, And grace to thy neck. 23 Then shalt thou walk in thy way securely, And thy foot shall not stumble. 24 When thou liest down, thou shalt not be afraid: Yea, thou shalt lie down, and thy sleep shall be sweet. 25 Be not afraid of sudden fear, Neither of the desolation of the wicked, when it cometh: 26 For Jehovah will be thy confidence, And will keep thy foot from being taken.
  • Matthew 12:1-21 Chapter 12 1 At that season Jesus went on the sabbath day through the grainfields; and his disciples were hungry and began to pluck ears and to eat. 2 But the Pharisees, when they saw it, said unto him, Behold, thy disciples do that which it is not lawful to do upon the sabbath. 3 But he said unto them, Have ye not read what David did, when he was hungry, and they that were with him; 4 how he entered into the house of God, and ate the showbread, which it was not lawful for him to eat, neither for them that were with him, but only for the priests? 5 Or have ye not read in the law, that on the sabbath day the priests in the temple profane the sabbath, and are guiltless? 6 But I say unto you, that one greater than the temple is here. 7 But if ye had known what this meaneth, I desire mercy, and not sacrifice, ye would not have condemned the guiltless. 8 For the Son of man is lord of the sabbath. 9 And he departed thence, and went into their synagogue: 10 and behold, a man having a withered hand. And they asked him, saying, Is it lawful to heal on the sabbath day? that they might accuse him. 11 And he said unto them, What man shall there be of you, that shall have one sheep, and if this fall into a pit on the sabbath day, will he not lay hold on it, and lift it out? 12 How much then is a man of more value than a sheep! Wherefore it is lawful to do good on the sabbath day. 13 Then saith he to the man, Stretch forth thy hand. And he stretched it forth; and it was restored whole, as the other. 14 But the Pharisees went out, and took counsel against him, how they might destroy him. 15 And Jesus perceiving `it' withdrew from thence: and many followed him; and he healed them all, 16 and charged them that they should not make him known: 17 that it might be fulfilled which was spoken through Isaiah the prophet, saying, 18 Behold, my servant whom I have chosen; My beloved in whom my soul is well pleased: I will put my Spirit upon him, And he shall declare judgment to the Gentiles. 19 He shall not strive, nor cry aloud; Neither shall any one hear his voice in the streets. 20 A bruised reed shall he not break, And smoking flax shall he not quench, Till he send forth judgment unto victory. 21 And in his name shall the Gentiles hope.

Notes:

Genesis 33:3, 4 Fearfully and deferentially, Jacob approached his brother as an inferior would a highly honored patron, while gladly and eagerly, Esau ran to greet his brother without restraint of emotion. “They wept” because, after 21 years of troubling separation, old memories were wiped away and murderous threats belonged to the distant past; hearts had been changed, brothers reconciled! See v. 10.

Proverbs 3:22 life to your soul. The association of wisdom with the inner spiritual life unfolds throughout the book (see 4:10, 22; 7:2; 8:35; 9:11; 10:11, 16, 17; 11:19, 30; 12:28; 13:14; 14:27; 15:4, 24; 16:22; 19:23; 21:21; 22:4). grace to your neck. The wisdom of God will adorn one’s life for all to see its beauty (see 1:9).

Matthew 12:8 the Son of Man is Lord even of the Sabbath. Christ has the prerogative to rule over not only their man-made sabbatarian rules, but also over the Sabbath itself—which was designed for worshiping God. Again, this was an inescapable claim of Deity—and as such it prompted the Pharisees’ violent outrage (v. 14).

Matthew 12:15 healed them all. In all of Old Testament history there was never a time or a person who exhibited such extensive healing power. Physical healings were very rare in the Old Testament. Christ chose to display His deity by healing, raising the dead, and liberating people from demons. That not only showed the Messiah’s power over the physical and spiritual realms, but also demonstrated the compassion of God toward those affected by sin.

DAY 17: How are we to interpret the Bible when the ancient customs were so different from our own?

Three tools help us in the task of interpreting events that happened so long ago and so far away: 1) The best interpretive tool in understanding a Bible passage is its immediate context. Surrounding verses will often yield clues to the observant about foreign or unusual details in a particular account. 2) One part of the Bible often explains, expands, and comments on another part. An ever-growing familiarity with all of Scripture will equip a student with significant insight into the culture of those who lived the history. 3) Some insight can be gained from ancient sources outside of Scripture, but these only supplement our primary sources in the Bible itself.

Once we are at home in the exotic and unfamiliar contexts of Scripture, we meet people in the Bible pages who are very much like us. These are not aliens, but our ancestors across the ages. Their struggles are ours. Their failures are all familiar to us. The God who spoke to them still speaks to us.

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        

Gentleness: Power Under Control

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

“Walk . . . with all . . . gentleness” ( Ephesians 4:1-2 Chapter 4 1 I therefore, the prisoner in the Lord, beseech you to walk worthily of the calling wherewith ye were called, 2 with all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love; ).

The antidote to our vengeful, violent society is biblical gentleness.

A popular bumper sticker says, “Don’t Get Mad—Get Even.” People demand what they perceive to be their rights, no matter how the demand harms others. Some go to court to squeeze every last cent out of those who hurt them. More and more violent crimes are committed each year. We need a strong dose of biblical truth to cure these attitudes. The biblical solution is gentleness.

The world might interpret gentleness or meekness as cowardice, timidity, or lack of strength. But the Bible describes it as not being vengeful, bitter, or unforgiving. It is a quiet, willing submission to God and others without the rebellious, vengeful self-assertion that characterizes human nature.

The Greek word translated “gentleness” was used to speak of a soothing medicine. It was used of a light, cool breeze and of a colt that had been broken and tamed, whose energy could be channeled for useful purposes. It also descrbes one who is tenderhearted, pleasant, and mild.

Gentleness is not wimpiness though. It is power under control. The circus lion has the same strength as a lion running free in Africa, but it has been tamed. All its energy is under the control of its master. In the same way, the lion residing in the gentle person no longer seeks its own prey or its own ends; it is submissive to its Master. That lion has not been destroyed, just tempered. Gentleness is one facet of the fruit of the Spirit (Gal. 5:23). It is also a key to wisdom. James asks, “Who among you is wise and understanding? Let him show by his good behavior his deeds in the gentleness of wisdom” (3:13). Verse 17 says, “The wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, reasonable, full of mercy and good fruits, unwavering, without hypocrisy.”

Even if gentleness is not valued in our society, it is crucial to our godliness. Seek it diligently and prayerfully.

Suggestions for Prayer

If you tend to be at all vengeful or unforgiving, ask God’s forgiveness and His help to forgive those who hurt you. Seek to be gentle with them instead.

For Further Study

Throughout most of 1 Samuel, King Saul repeatedly tries to capture David and kill him. Read 1 Samuel 24 Chapter 24 1 And it came to pass, when Saul was returned from following the Philistines, that it was told him, saying, Behold, David is in the wilderness of En-gedi. 2 Then Saul took three thousand chosen men out of all Israel, and went to seek David and his men upon the rocks of the wild goats. 3 And he came to the sheepcotes by the way, where was a cave; and Saul went in to cover his feet. Now David and his men were abiding in the innermost parts of the cave. 4 And the men of David said unto him, Behold, the day of which Jehovah said unto thee, Behold, I will deliver thine enemy into thy hand, and thou shalt do to him as it shall seem good unto thee. Then David arose, and cut off the skirt of Saul's robe privily. 5 And it came to pass afterward, that David's heart smote him, because he had cut off Saul's skirt. 6 And he said unto his men, Jehovah forbid that I should do this thing unto my lord, Jehovah's anointed, to put forth my hand against him, seeing he is Jehovah's anointed. 7 So David checked his men with these words, and suffered them not to rise against Saul. And Saul rose up out of the cave, and went on his way. 8 David also arose afterward, and went out of the cave, and cried after Saul, saying, My lord the king. And when Saul looked behind him, David bowed with his face to the earth, and did obeisance. 9 And David said to Saul, Wherefore hearkenest thou to men's words, saying, Behold, David seeketh thy hurt? 10 Behold, this day thine eyes have seen how that Jehovah had delivered thee to-day into my hand in the cave: and some bade me kill thee; but `mine eye' spared thee; and I said, I will not put forth my hand against my lord; for he is Jehovah's anointed. 11 Moreover, my father, see, yea, see the skirt of thy robe in my hand; for in that I cut off the skirt of thy robe, and killed thee not, know thou and see that there is neither evil nor transgression in my hand, and I have not sinned against thee, though thou huntest after my life to take it. 12 Jehovah judge between me and thee, and Jehovah avenge me of thee; but my hand shall not be upon thee. 13 As saith the proverb of the ancients, Out of the wicked cometh forth wickedness; but my hand shall not be upon thee. 14 After whom is the king of Israel come out? after whom dost thou pursue? after a dead dog, after a flea. 15 Jehovah therefore be judge, and give sentence between me and thee, and see, and plead my cause, and deliver me out of thy hand. 16 And it came to pass, when David had made an end of speaking these words unto Saul, that Saul said, Is this thy voice, my son David? And Saul lifted up his voice, and wept. 17 And he said to David, Thou art more righteous than I; for thou hast rendered unto me good, whereas I have rendered unto thee evil. 18 And thou hast declared this day how that thou hast dealt well with me, forasmuch as when Jehovah had delivered me up into thy hand, thou killedst me not. 19 For if a man find his enemy, will he let him go well away? wherefore Jehovah reward thee good for that which thou hast done unto me this day. 20 And now, behold, I know that thou shalt surely be king, and that the kingdom of Israel shall be established in thy hand. 21 Swear now therefore unto me by Jehovah, that thou wilt not cut off my seed after me, and that thou wilt not destroy my name out of my father's house. 22 And David sware unto Saul. And Saul went home; but David and his men gat them up unto the stronghold. . How did David demonstrate his gentleness in the face of his hostile enemy?

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        

Praising God for Your Election

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

"Having been predestined according to [God's] purpose who works all things after the counsel of His will" (Eph. 1:11).

God took the initiative in salvation by choosing you and granting you saving faith.

In Ephesians 1:4 4 even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blemish before him in love: Paul says that God "chose us in [Christ] before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before Him." In verse 11 he reiterates that marvelous truth by affirming that believers have been predestined to salvation according to God's own purpose and will.

Many reject the teaching that God chose (predestined) believers to salvation. They think believers chose God. In one sense they're right: salvation involves an act of the will in turning from sin to embrace Christ. But the issue in predestination goes deeper than that. It's a question of initiative. Did God choose you on the basis of your faith in Him or did He, by choosing you, enable you to respond in faith.

The answer is clear in Scripture. Romans 3:11 11 There is none that understandeth, There is none that seeketh after God; says that no one seeks for God on his own. Unregenerate people have no capacity to understand spiritual truth. It's all foolishness to them (1 Cor. 2:14). They are spiritually dead (Eph. 2:1), blind (2 Cor. 4:4), and ignorant (Eph. 4:18).

How can people in that condition initiate saving faith? They can't! That's why Jesus said, "No one can come to Me, unless the Father who sent Me draws him. . . . All that the Father gives Me shall come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will certainly not cast out" ( John 6:44 44 No man can come to me, except the Father that sent me draw him: and I will raise him up in the last day. , 37). Paul added, "God . . . has saved us, and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was granted us in Christ Jesus from all eternity" (2 Tim. 1:9).

God took the initiative. He chose you and gave you saving faith (Eph. 2:8-9). Rejoice in that truth. Rest in His power to conform all things to His will. Draw strength and assurance from His promise never to let you go ( John 10:27-29 27 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: 28 and I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, and no one shall snatch them out of my hand. 29 My Father, who hath given `them' unto me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch `them' out of the Father's hand. ). Then live each day as God's elected one by shunning sin and following after holiness.

Suggestions for Prayer

  • Praise God for placing His love upon you and granting you salvation.
  • Pray for the salvation of others and seek opportunities to share Christ with them today.

For Further Study

Read Ezekiel 36:22-32 22 Therefore say unto the house of Israel, Thus saith the Lord Jehovah: I do not `this' for your sake, O house of Israel, but for my holy name, which ye have profaned among the nations, whither ye went. 23 And I will sanctify my great name, which hath been profaned among the nations, which ye have profaned in the midst of them; and the nations shall know that I am Jehovah, saith the Lord Jehovah, when I shall be sanctified in you before their eyes. 24 For I will take you from among the nations, and gather you out of all the countries, and will bring you into your own land. 25 And I will sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean: from all your filthiness, and from all your idols, will I cleanse you. 26 A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you; and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you a heart of flesh. 27 And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep mine ordinances, and do them. 28 And ye shall dwell in the land that I gave to your fathers; and ye shall be my people, and I will be your God. 29 And I will save you from all your uncleannesses: and I will call for the grain, and will multiply it, and lay no famine upon you. 30 And I will multiply the fruit of the tree, and the increase of the field, that ye may receive no more the reproach of famine among the nations. 31 Then shall ye remember your evil ways, and your doings that were not good; and ye shall loathe yourselves in your own sight for your iniquities and for your abominations. 32 Nor for your sake do I `this', saith the Lord Jehovah, be it known unto you: be ashamed and confounded for your ways, O house of Israel. .

  • Why will God one day redeem Israel?
  • What does that passage teach you about God's initiative in salvation?

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        

January 17 - Jesus Refuses to Test God

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

“Then the devil took Him into the holy city and had Him stand on the pinnacle of the temple” ( Matthew 4:5 5 Then the devil taketh him into the holy city; and he set him on the pinnacle of the temple, ).

In confronting our Lord Jesus Christ, Satan persisted in trying to undermine or destroy the Son’s relationship to His Father. This time he goaded Jesus with this statement: “If You are the Son of God, throw yourself down.” To fortify his challenge and make it more plausible, the adversary— with a subtle and clever twist—quoted Scripture: “For it is written, ‘He will command His angels concerning You’; and ‘On their hands they will bear You up, so that You will not strike Your foot against a stone’” (from Ps. 91:11–12).

Now Satan surely had Christ backed into a corner, he likely reasoned, using his misguided and evil sense of logic. “If the Messiah lives only according to the Word of God, then I should confront Him with something from that Word.” If Jesus wouldn’t use His own power to help Himself and meet His immediate needs, maybe He would let God work on His behalf—after all, this was a “scriptural test,” according to Satan. Jesus could thus let God fulfill a promise from Psalms and prove to others that He was indeed God’s Son and Messiah.

But no matter how persuasive Satan’s argument—undergirded with a proof text—may have sounded, Jesus did not agree to it, not wanting to presumptuously test God or jump ahead of the divine timetable for the Savior’s redemptive ministry.

Ask Yourself

Yes, Scripture can be turned and twisted to suit anyone’s ends. What safeguards do you have in place against misusing the Word of God, while still maintaining a bold, believing faith in its sense of direction? Ask the Spirit to guide you into its truth. That’s His job ( John 16:13 13 Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he shall guide you into all the truth: for he shall not speak from himself; but what things soever he shall hear, `these' shall he speak: and he shall declare unto you the things that are to come. ).

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        

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

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

Revelation 14:1 Chapter 14 1 And I saw, and behold, the Lamb standing on the mount Zion, and with him a hundred and forty and four thousand, having his name, and the name of his Father, written on their foreheads.

THE apostle John was privileged to look within the gates of heaven, and in describing what he saw, he begins by saying, "I looked, and, lo, a Lamb!" This teaches us that the chief object of contemplation in the heavenly state is "the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sins of the world." Nothing else attracted the apostle's attention so much as the person of that Divine Being, who hath redeemed us by His blood. He is the theme of the songs of all glorified spirits and holy angels. Christian, here is joy for thee; thou hast looked, and thou hast seen the Lamb. Through thy tears thine eyes have seen the Lamb of God taking away thy sins. Rejoice, then. In a little while, when thine eyes shall have been wiped from tears, thou wilt see the same Lamb exalted on His throne. It is the joy of thy heart to hold daily fellowship with Jesus; thou shalt have the same joy to a higher degree in heaven; thou shalt enjoy the constant vision of His presence; thou shalt dwell with Him for ever. "I looked, and, lo, a Lamb!" Why, that Lamb is heaven itself; for as good Rutherford says, "Heaven and Christ are the same thing;" to be with Christ is to be in heaven, and to be in heaven is to be with Christ. That prisoner of the Lord very sweetly writes in one of his glowing letters—"O my Lord Jesus Christ, if I could be in heaven without thee, it would be a hell; and if I could be in hell, and have thee still, it would be a heaven to me, for thou art all the heaven I want." It is true, is it not, Christian? Does not thy soul say so?

"Not all the harps above Can make a heavenly place, If God His residence remove, Or but conceal His face." All thou needest to make thee blessed, supremely blessed, is "to be with Christ."

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

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

2 Samuel 11:2 2 And it came to pass at eventide, that David arose from off his bed, and walked upon the roof of the king's house: and from the roof he saw a woman bathing; and the woman was very beautiful to look upon.

AT that hour David saw Bathsheba. We are never out of the reach of temptation. Both at home and abroad we are liable to meet with allurements to evil; the morning opens with peril, and the shades of evening find us still in jeopardy. They are well kept whom God keeps, but woe unto those who go forth into the world, or even dare to walk their own house unarmed. Those who think themselves secure are more exposed to danger than any others. The armour-bearer of Sin is Self-confidence.

David should have been engaged in fighting the Lord's battles, instead of which he tarried at Jerusalem, and gave himself up to luxurious repose, for he arose from his bed at eventide. Idleness and luxury are the devil's jackals, and find him abundant prey. In stagnant waters noxious creatures swarm, and neglected soil soon yields a dense tangle of weeds and briars. Oh for the constraining love of Jesus to keep us active and useful! When I see the King of Israel sluggishly leaving his couch at the close of the day, and falling at once into temptation, let me take warning, and set holy watchfulness to guard the door.

Is it possible that the king had mounted his housetop for retirement and devotion? If so, what a caution is given us to count no place, however secret, a sanctuary from sin! While our hearts are so like a tinder-box, and sparks so plentiful, we had need use all diligence in all places to prevent a blaze. Satan can climb housetops, and enter closets, and even if we could shut out that foul fiend, our own corruptions are enough to work our ruin unless grace prevent. Reader, beware of evening temptations. Be not secure. The sun is down but sin is up. We need a watchman for the night as well as a guardian for the day. O blessed Spirit, keep us from all evil this night. Amen.

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