Institute for Creation (Credulous) Research (Retards), PO Box 2667, El Cajon, CA 92021 Voi
Institute for Creation Research, PO Box 2667, El Cajon, CA 92021
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September, October, November Fall 1993
"DAYS OF PRAISE"
Daily Bible Readings and Devotional Commentaries
Copyright (c) 1993 by I.C.R., Santee, California 92071
EDITOR: Henry M. Morris
CO-EDITOR: John D. Morris
MANAGING EDITOR: Donald H. Rohrer
ASSISTANT EDITOR: Ruth Richards
ELECTRONIC EDITOR: Donald H. Barber
"There is a river, the streams whereof shall make glad the city of
God, the holy place of the tabernacles of the most High" (Psalm 46:4).
We are happy to send you herewith the fall issue of our ICR
devotional Bible study booklet, "Days of Praise," and trust that these
studies will be a blessing to you. We continue to get many letters of
appreciation, and we praise the Lord for the way He is using them.
We realize that an occasional devotional may give a controversial
interpretation of a Bible passage. When this happens, please don't
"throw out the baby with the bathwater." We try hard to be completely
Scriptural in everything we publish, but Christians differ occasionally
in their interpretations, even though they may agree on the fact of
Biblical inerrancy. We hope you will find help in most of the studies
and will at least consider carefully the Biblical reasoning in those
which you might at first wish to question.
The studies are intended to be doctrinal and substantive, rather than
bland and innocuous, because we are convinced that Christians today
urgently need the meat, as well as the milk, of God's Word. Since
readers of "Days of Praise" come from many denominations, this almost
inevitably generates occasional disagreement, but even this can be an
incentive to further study and thus valuable for that reason. At least
we can all agree on the truth of special creation, the fact of absolute
Biblical authority and the great doctrines of the saving gospel of the
Lord Jesus Christ!
May God bless you as you study His Word!
RRA Robert R. Armstrong, M.D.
KBC Kenneth B. Cumming, Ph.D.
DTG Duane T. Gish, Ph.D.
JLG John L. Groenlund, Th.D.
CJH Mrs. Connie J. Horn
PGH Paul G. Humber, M.S.
HMM Henry M. Morris, Ph.D.
JDM John D. Morris, Ph.D.
DER David E. Rush, M.S.
NPS Norman P. Spotts, D.D.
September 1, Wednesday IN THE MIDST
"And after eight days again His disciples were within, and Thomas
with them: then came Jesus, the doors being shut, and stood in the
midst, and said, Peace be unto you" (John 20:26).
Jesus, in His earthly life, was often "in the midst" of things. At
the age of twelve, He was found in the Temple, "sitting in the midst of
the doctors, both hearing them, and asking them questions" (Luke 2:46).
Then, early in His adult ministry, His hometown enemies at Nazareth
attempted to kill Him, "but He passing through the midst of them went
His way" (Luke 4:30). Later, in Jerusalem, a group of Pharisees sought
to stone Him, but He simply went "through the midst of them, and so
passed by" (John 8:59).
Finally, however, they were able to put Him to death, and as a bitter
testimony of their hatred, they had Him crucified with two common
criminals, "on either side one, and Jesus in the midst" (John 19:18).
Three days later, the tomb was emptied, and He would never again be in
the midst of enemies. Instead, He met His disciples in the upper room.
There, "when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled
for fear of the Jews, came Jesus and stood in the midst, and saith unto
them, Peace be unto you" (John 20:19). Eight days later, with Thomas
present, Jesus once again appeared in their midst and greeted them with
words of peace.
Though now in heaven, His presence still speaks peace to us through
His Holy Spirit, for He promised: "Where two or three are gathered
together in my name, there am I in the midst of them" (Matthew 18:20).
Even in the ages to come, He will be in our midst, for John says,
describing that scene: "In the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as it
has been slain," and then all creation will sing "unto the Lamb for ever
and ever" (Revelation 5:6,13). HMM
September 2, Thursday THE SPIRITUAL ROCK
"And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that
spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ" (I
One of the most amazing miracles recorded in the Bible occurred when
Moses smote the rock on Mount Horeb and water came forth, sufficient to
satisfy all the multitude there in the wilderness (Exodus 17:6). In
describing this great event, the psalmist later sang: "He clave the
rocks in the wilderness, and gave them drink as out of the great depths.
He brought streams also out of the rock, and caused waters to run down
like rivers" (Psalm 78:15,16).
In our text above, Paul indicates that the miracle had great symbolic
significance as well. "That Rock was Christ." The Greek word used here
for "Rock" is petra, the same word used by Christ when He said that
"upon this Rock I will build my church" (Matthew 16:18). Christ is the
one foundation upon which the church is built (I Corinthians 3:11). He
is also symbolized by the "living water," the "well of water springing
up into everlasting life" (John 4:10,14).
The actual rock from which the waters burst forth in the wilderness
did not literally "follow them," of course, but "that spiritual Rock"
did follow them, for Christ was there with them through all their years
The literal water followed them too, keeping them alive for forty
years. When Moses struck the rock, God opened a mighty spring "out of
the great depths," evidently tapping a deep pressurized aquifer from
which waters emerged to form "streams also out of the rock." These
streams flowed continually in the desert for forty years, so the
children of Israel could march and camp beside them as long as they were
in the wilderness. Christ still today is our Spiritual Rock, continually
yielding the spiritual waters of everlasting life. HMM
September 3, Thursday I CORINTHIANS 13
"He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love" (I John 4:8).
True love, God's kind of love, is defined in the great love chapter,
I Corinthians 13. Thus, it is instructive to see how He exhibited the
love He expects us to show.
"Charity suffereth long" (13:4). "The Lord is longsuffering to
us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to
repentance" (II Peter 3:9). "And is kind" (13:4). "I am the LORD which
exercise lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness, in the earth: for
in these things I delight saith the LORD" (Jeremiah 9:24). "Charity
vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up" (13:4). God has no need to boast.
What He is and Who He is boasts itself: "I am the Alpha and Omega, the
beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and
which is to come, the Almighty" (Revelation 1:8). "Seeketh not her own"
(13:5). Jesus also said, "For I came down from heaven, not to do mine
own will, but the will of Him that sent me" (John 6:38). "Is not easily
provoked" (13:5). "The LORD is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and
plenteous in mercy" (Psalm 103:8). "Thinketh no evil" (13:5). "As far as
the east is from the west, so far hath He removed our transgressions
from us" (Psalm 103:12). "Rejoiceth not in iniquity" (13:6). "For thou
art not a God that hath pleasure in wickedness" (Psalm 5:4).
"Beareth all things" (13:7). "He is brought as a lamb to the slaughter,
and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so He openeth not His mouth"
(Isaiah 53:7). "Endureth all things" (13:7). "Christ also suffered for
us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow His steps" (I Peter
2:21). "Charity never faileth" (13:8). "The LORD hath appeared of old
unto me, saying, Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love"
(Jeremiah 31:3). CJH
September 4, Saturday THE SOUL EXCHANGE
"For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world,
and lose his own soul? Or what shall a man give in exchange for his
soul?" (Mark 8:36,37).
The lives of many people revolve almost completely around the stock
exchange, and they never stop to realize that it easily may become a
soul exchange, where they exchange their very souls for the imagined
blessings of the great god, Mammon. "For the love of money is the root
of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the
faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows" (I Timothy
Similarly, many are greatly exercised about their monthly
profit-and-loss statements. But the Lord Jesus asks whether there is
really a profit, even if one acquires the wealth of the whole world at
the cost of his soul, and the answer to such a rhetorical question has
to be: "No!" For "the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he
that doeth the will of God abideth for ever" (I John 2:17).
Furthermore, the words "life" in verse 35 and "soul" in our text are
actually the same word (psuche) in the Greek original. That is, to lose
one's soul is to lose one's very life, for they are inseparable. A life
centered around money is not only a soul lost, but a life wasted, as
well. On the other hand, if we lose our lives in Christ, then we find
true life, eternal life, beginning here and now, and continuing forever.
This is a good exchange!
God may well bless a Christian with material wealth, but this should
not be his motivation. "Charge them that are rich in this world" Paul
says, "that they do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to
distribute, willing to communicate (i.e., share); Laying up in store for
themselves a good foundation against the time to come, that they may lay
hold on eternal life" (I Timothy 6:17,18,19). HMM
September 5, Sunday GOSPEL APOLOGETICS
"Even as it is meet for me to think this of you all, because I have
you in my heart; inasmuch as both in my bonds, and in the defense and
confirmation of the gospel, ye all are partakers of my grace"
This testimony of the apostle Paul was followed by another: "I am set
for the defense of the gospel" (Philippians 1:17). In both, he is
stressing the vital importance of defending the gospel. In the one, he
states his firm determination to defend the gospel; in the other, he
reminds his fellow Christians that they also are participants in its
These facts are sufficient to show that the gospel does need
defending. The word "defense" is the Greek apologia, from which we
derive our word "apologetics." It is a courtroom term, referring to the
formal, carefully structured defense presented on behalf of a defendant
by an attorney. In context, it speaks of a careful, scientific
presentation of arguments defending the gospel from its enemies.
The saving gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ, encompassing His great
works of creation, incarnation, atoning death, victorious resurrection,
and coming kingdom, was under serious attack in Paul's day, as it is
today. We urgently need to be prepared to give an effective apologetic
wherever and whenever needed.
Peter also urged the importance of such preparedness: "Be ready
always to give an answer (same word, apologia) to every man that asketh
you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear" (I Peter
This is a command, not an opinion! "Be ready always to give a logical
(the Greek word here for `reason' is logos, from which we derive
`logic') apologetic for your Christian faith." It behooves us,
therefore, to study and use Christian evidences diligently in our
Christian witness. HMM
September 6, Monday GOD'S HUSBANDRY; GOD'S BUILDING
"For we are laborers together with God: ye are God's husbandry, ye
are God's building" (I Corinthians 3:9).
Labor Day was established as a national holiday in this country in
1894 in order to celebrate the important part played by workers in the
development of the nation. The first labor laws were passed only in 1802
and the first labor unions formed only in 1825, both being in England.
But God has been working since the beginning. After finishing His
work of creating and making all things (Genesis 2:1-3), He has ever
since been "upholding all things by the word of His power" (Hebrews
1:3). Furthermore, although God "rested" from His work of creation, He
very soon began His great work of reconciliation, and both His work of
conservation and His work of reconciliation still continue today. Jesus
said, therefore: "My Father worketh hitherto, and I work" (John 5:17).
It is in this great work of reconciliation that we have the high
privilege of being "laborers together with God." Paul has reminded us
that God "hath reconciled us to Himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given
to us the ministry of reconciliation" (II Corinthians 5:18).
As farm laborers have worked in the fields and vineyards of the world
to sow and water and reap, and as construction laborers have worked to
build the structures and machinery of the world, so we who belong to
Christ have the responsibility to produce spiritual fruit in our lives
and the lives of others (John 15:16) and to add spiritual building
blocks to God's "holy temple in the Lord" (Ephesians 2:21).
Instead of the primeval curse, therefore, our "labor in the Lord"
(Romans 16:12) becomes a blessing when we "do it heartily, as to the
Lord" (Colossians 3:23). And Christ promises, when He comes again, "to
give every man according as his work shall be" (Revelation 22:12). HMM
September 7, Sunday A MODEL CHURCH
"Remembering without ceasing your work of faith, and labor of love,
and patience of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ, in the sight of God and
our Father" (I Thessalonians 1:3).
Paul had begun the work at Thessalonica, and when forced to leave, he
maintained an active interest in and contact with the Thessalonian
believers. The book of I Thessalonians contains both encouragement and
commendation for these believers. In the context of our text, he
mentions some of their strengths, and it would behoove us to take note
and apply these strengths to our churches.
Paul mentions the triad of faith, love, and hope so common in New
Testament writings. The "work of faith," that past work of salvation in
the believer's life, is amplified in verses 4-6, where we see that God
has chosen to work His work of grace in them through the Word of God and
the ministry of the Holy Spirit (v.5). There, reception of the Word had
been with both affliction and joy (v.6).
Next, Paul commends their "labor of love." They were committed to
both outreach and missions, as we see in verses 7 and 8. Their testimony
had not only affected the local area, but was "spread abroad." Moreover,
they had entered into proper worship of God, maintaining purity of
doctrine (v.9). The "labor of love" to others will inevitably follow as
a means of serving God.
Lastly, Paul commends their "patience of hope"--their expectant
joyful outlook on the future, waiting for Christ's return (v.10).
May our own churches have this same perspective on the past, present,
and future work of Christ. May our own lives give attention to the same
details, and have the same goals and outlook as the Thessalonian church.
Purity in doctrine and a life of service is the best way to wait for our
Lord's return. JDM
September 8, Wednesday BRUISING THE DEVIL
"And the God of peace shall bruise Satan under your feet shortly. The
grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. Amen" (Romans 16:20).
This is an intriguing promise, suggesting that believers can somehow
inflict bruises on the devil, who is perpetually seeking to "devour"
them (I Peter 5:8). This promise is a clear allusion to the primeval
assurance of Genesis 3:15, when God promised that the unique "Seed" of
"the Woman" would eventually "bruise" (actually "crush") the head of the
old serpent, the devil. This prophecy will finally be fulfilled in
Christ's ultimate victory, when Satan first will be bound for a thousand
years in the bottomless pit and then confined forever in the lake of
fire (Revelation 20:2,10).
In the meantime believers, who also in a sense are the woman's
spiritual "seed" (Revelation 12:17), can repeatedly achieve local and
temporary victories over Satan and his wiles by resisting him "steadfast
in the faith" (I Peter 5:9). If we resist him as Jesus did, with
relevant Scripture, then God promises that he will "flee from you"
(James 4:7). Such local victories can be obtained over these dangerous
teachers whom Satan is using (note Romans 16:17-19, just preceding our
text) "shortly" in this manner, but we need to be continually alert
against his recurrent attacks. The ultimate victory over Satan, of
course, will be won only by the Lord Jesus when He returns, and we must
"be sober, be vigilant" (I Peter 5:8) until that time.
Whether we are aware of it or not, we must perpetually "wrestle"
against "the rulers of the darkness of this world" (Ephesians 6:12), who
will be casting "fiery darts" (Ephesians 6:16) against each believer.
Finally, with the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God
(Ephesians 6:17), we can even, by God's grace, inflict spiritual wounds
on Satan himself! HMM
September 9, Thursday CHRIST THE KING
"Which in His times He shall shew, who is the blessed and only
Potentate, the King of kings, and Lord of lords" (I Timothy 6:15).
Of the many descriptive titles of the Lord Jesus Christ, perhaps the
most significant is that of King, because this speaks of His universal
dominion. The day is coming when "every knee should bow, of things in
heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth" (Philippians
First of all, since He created all things, He is the King of
Creation. "For the LORD is a great God, and a great King above all gods.
In His hand are the deep places of the earth: the strength of the hills
is His also. The sea is His, and He made it: and His hands formed the
dry land" (Psalm 95:3-5).
In a special sense, of course, He is the King of the Jews. "He shall
reign over the house of Jacob for ever, and of His kingdom there shall
be no end" (Luke 1:33).
He is also our King of redemption, having set us free from the kingdom
of the wicked one. He "hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and
hath translated us into the kingdom of His dear Son: In whom we have
redemption through His blood, even the forgiveness of sins" (Colossians
There is a day coming in which all the kings of the earth shall unite
against Him. "These shall make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb shall
overcome them: for He is Lord of lords, and King of kings: and they that
are with Him are called, and chosen, and faithful" (Revelation 17:14).
"And out of His mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it He should smite
the nations: and He shall rule them with a rod of iron: . . . And He
hath on His vesture and on His thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND
LORD OF LORDS" (Revelation 19:15,16). Until then, let us serve Him as
King, and submit to Him as Lord. HMM
September 10, Friday ATONEMENT
"Make thee an ark of gopher wood; rooms shalt thou make in the ark,
and shalt pitch it within and without with pitch" (Genesis 6:14).
It may be surprising to learn that God's instructions to Noah concerning
the ark's design contain the first reference in the Bible to the great
doctrine of atonement. The Hebrew word used here for pitch (kaphar) is
the same word translated "atonement" in many other places in the Old
While the New Testament word "atonement" implies reconciliation, the
Old Testament "atonement" was merely a covering (with many
applications). As the pitch was to make the ark watertight, keeping the
judgment waters of the Flood from reaching those inside, so, on the
sacrificial altar, "it is the blood that maketh an atonement for the
soul" (Leviticus 17:11), keeping the fires of God's wrath away from the
sinner for whom the sacrifice was substituted and slain. The pitch was a
covering for the ark, and the blood was a covering for the soul, the
first assuring physical deliverance; the second, spiritual salvation.
However, not even the shed blood on the altar could really produce
salvation. It could assure it through faith in God's promises on the
part of the sinner who offered it, but "the blood of bulls and of goats"
could never "take away sins" (Hebrews 10:4). Both the covering pitch and
animal blood were mere symbols of the substituting death of Jesus
Christ, "whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in
His blood, to declare His righteousness for the remission of sins that
are past, through the forbearance of God" (Romans 3:25). Through faith
in Christ, our sins are "covered" under the blood, forgiven by God and
replaced by His own perfect righteousness, by all of which we become
finally and fully reconciled to God. HMM
September 11, Saturday SPEAK TO THE ROCK
"So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them
that look for Him shall He appear the second time without sin unto
salvation" (Hebrews 9:28).
Not long after the people of Israel had left Egypt, they stopped at
Rephidim (Exodus 17:1). There they found no water, and spoke bitterly
against Moses. When Moses appealed to God, God commanded him to strike a
rock with his rod, and water flowed from the rock (Exodus 17:6). Later,
at Kadesh, the people again railed against Moses (Numbers 20:1-5), and
God commanded Moses to take his rod and to speak to the rock that lay
before them at Kadesh. Moses, in his anger at the people, struck the
rock twice with his rod, rather than speaking to it. Water did flow from
the rock, but because of Moses' disobedience, God told him that he would
not be allowed to enter the Promised Land.
This may seem to be harsh punishment for a moment of disobedience,
but God had a very special reason for such severity. The rock represents
Christ, who was struck once for our iniquities, and extends forgiveness,
pardon, and eternal life to all who call upon God in His name. "By the
which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus
Christ once for all. And every priest standeth daily ministering and
offering oftentimes the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins:
but this Man, after He had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat
down on the right hand of God" (Hebrews 10:10-12). "For by one offering
He hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified" (Hebrews 10:14).
Similar passages are found in Romans 6:9,10 and Hebrews 9:25-28.
Unfortunately, some Christians believe they must offer, again and again,
the body and blood of Christ as a sacrifice. But praise God, since
Christ has already fulfilled the Law, we now only need to speak to the
September 12, Sunday HE-MAN OR HEMAN
"And with them Heman and Jeduthun, and the rest that were chosen, who
were expressed by name, to give thanks to the LORD, because His mercy
endureth for ever" (I Chronicles 16:41).
Children today seem to be quite taken with He-Man, the
self-proclaimed "master of the universe." He is a human, possessing
supernatural powers and tools. He is portrayed as everything a man
should be or could be.
Of course, the Christian parent today finds many unbiblical themes in
this cartoon, for this is humanism in its extreme, with a liberal touch
of the occult thrown in. Strongly expressed is a self reliance on human
abilities and plans, with extra-natural powers coming from non-godly
sources. This stands in stark contrast to submissive worship of and
service to the true Master of the universe.
In our text, we find another He-Man, named Heman. In contrast to the
cartoon hero, Heman is involved in work which is truly great, and no
doubt deserved eternal rewards. When King David returned to Jerusalem
with the Ark of the Covenant, "he appointed certain of the Levites to
minister before the ark of the LORD, and to record and to thank and
praise the LORD God of Israel" (v.4). Heman was one of those chosen to
serve the Lord in this fashion. He was "to offer burnt offerings unto
the LORD upon the altar of the burnt offering continually morning and
evening, and to do according to all that is written in the law of the
LORD" (v.40). He was further equipped with "trumpets and cymbals for
those that should make a sound, and with musical instruments of God"
May God grant us children, like Heman, who are occupied with things
that truly count, devoting themselves to acts of true greatness in
service of the one and only Master, as well as Creator and Redeemer of
the universe. JDM
September 13, Monday HERE A LITTLE, THERE A LITTLE
"For precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon
line; line upon line; here a little, and there a little" (Isaiah 28:10).
The setting of this unusual passage is most sobering. Both the people
and their priests in Israel's northern kingdom (personified by
"Ephraim") were in gross rebellion and drunken disobedience to the Lord.
They were even ridiculing God's prophets who were trying to call them
back, complaining that they were being treated like school children. In
effect, they were saying: "Are you presuming to teach us as you would
freshly weaned infants, going line by line, with rule after rule?"
Whereupon, God replied that He would use people of another tongue to
come in and teach them what they refused to learn from Him. These
precepts He had been trying to teach them should have provided true rest
and refreshment, but now learning these lessons would prove to be their
undoing. What should have been a blessing to them would become their
How desperately do modern Christians need to heed these same words!
They profess to believe God's Word, but they study it only
superficially, compromise its doctrines, and disobey its instructions.
"For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one
teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God"
(Hebrews 5:12). Most Christians of today, like the Corinthians of old,
are still "babes in Christ" (I Corinthians 3:1). Thus, it really is
necessary for their teachers to bring the Word of God to them "precept
upon precept, line upon line, little by little." "Therefore leaving the
principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection; not
laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith
toward God" (Hebrews 6:1). HMM
September 14, Tuesday THE WATCHERS
"I saw in the visions of my head upon my bed, and, behold, a watcher and
an holy one came down from heaven" (Daniel 4:13).
It is only in this chapter of Daniel (see also verses 17 and 23) that
certain angelic beings called "watchers" are mentioned. Whether the term
applies to all God's holy angels or only to a certain order of angels
has not been revealed in Scripture.
However, we do know that at least some of the angels, if not all of
them, are intensely occupied with observing events among humans here on
earth. For example, Paul said that he and the other apostles had been
made "a spectacle unto the world, and to angels, and to men" (I
The word "spectacle" in this verse is actually theatre, and is so
translated the only other time it is used in the New Testament
(Acts 19:29,31). It is sobering, as well as surprising, to realize that
Christians--especially Christian leaders--are on a stage, as it were,
being carefully watched by an audience which even includes the angels.
Paul also cautioned Christian women to maintain a covering on their
heads "because of the angels" (I Corinthians 11:10). Perhaps the
watching angels are also included in the great "cloud of witnesses" who
observe us as we "run with patience the race that is set before us"
But why should these mighty angels, these "holy ones," these heavenly
"watchers," have such a "desire to look into" these things here on
earth? (I Peter 1:12). Perhaps they are anxious, like us, to "see what
is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world
hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ: To the
intent that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places
might be known by the church the manifold wisdom of God" (Ephesians
September 15, Wednesday JEHOVAH
"And, thou, Lord, in the beginning hast laid the foundation of the
earth; and the heavens are the works of thine hands" (Hebrews 1:10).
The primary name for God in Scripture is the majestic name Jehovah,
occurring nearly seven thousand times. The early Jews were reluctant to
use that name, for fear of using it lightly (Exodus 20:7), and
substituted the word adonai (meaning master or Lord) in its place. Our
English versions have followed suit, using the term "LORD" for Jehovah
(all caps to distinguish it from adonai, or Lord). Thus the name Jehovah
appears only four times in the King James, and causes us at times to
miss the full impact of the passage.
This is especially true in the New Testament passages quoting from
Old Testament passages which used the name "Jehovah," for which "LORD"
has been substituted. Now, in the English versions, the name "Lord"
appears. If "Jehovah" (i.e., deity) were read, instead, much richer
meaning would be gathered, and it would prove beyond a doubt the full
deity of Christ. Consider two examples:
First, our text quotes from Psalm 102:25-27. The entire psalm
consists of praise to Jehovah, and here in Hebrews it addresses the Son.
If we read "thou, Jehovah, in the beginning hast laid the foundations of
the earth," and realize that Jesus is the subject of the passage, we
recognize that Jesus can be none other than the Creator God.
Also, in Matthew 3:3, where John the Baptist fulfilled his prophesied
role by teaching, "Prepare ye the way of the Lord," quoting from Isaiah
40:3, we see Jesus equated with the Jehovah of the Old Testament, for
Isaiah uses the term LORD, or Jehovah.
In these and many other examples, we see Christ as the Jehovah Jesus,
and that the God of the Old Testament is the Jesus of the New Testament.
September 16, Thursday INSTRUCTION CONTRARY TO KNOWLEDGE
"Cease, my son, to hear the instruction that causeth to err from the
words of knowledge" (Proverbs 19:27).
One of the saddest realities in the modern world is that many of the
leaders of evolutionary and humanistic thought were raised in Christian
homes, where from an early age they were exposed to the truths of
Scripture. Testimonies without number have been chronicled of Christian
students going to universities where they were taught to doubt and then
to disbelieve the faith of their parents. Perhaps all these students
ever knew of Christianity was a set of rules; maybe they never
understood the reasons their parents held certain views nor the basis
for these beliefs. Certainly the foundational teaching of creation has
been missing in many Christian homes and churches.
Our primary goal as parents should be to establish a godly
heritage--to teach the truths of God in such a way as will be believed
and cherished by our children, so that they will "keep that which is
committed to (their) trust, avoiding profane and vain babblings, and
oppositions of science falsely so called" (I Timothy 6:20).
Certainly a more effective way of teaching is to continually point
the child or student back to foundational principles, rather than to
list a set of do's and don'ts. We must teach those under our influence
to to be grounded in the Word, so that they can make sound judgments
when away from our watchful eyes. No greater aid to serious study; no
better primer in careful reasoning exists than in Scripture. Using it
and other supportive materials, a child can learn to think carefully and
critically. Not only will they learn information, but here they can
learn wisdom and knowledge and understanding. "For the LORD giveth
wisdom: and out of His mouth cometh knowledge and understanding"
(Proverbs 2:6). JDM
September 17, Friday THE FATHER OF SPIRITS
"Furthermore we have had fathers of our flesh which corrected us, and
we gave them reverence: shall we not much rather be in subjection unto
the Father of spirits, and live?" (Hebrews 12:9).
Human parents transmit physical characteristics to their offspring,
but our spiritual attributes come from God, for He is "the Father of
spirits." Paul recognized that all men are "the offspring of God" (Acts
17:29), and that each man is still "the image and glory of God"
(I Corinthians 11:7).
Thus our spirit/soul nature, as distinct from our body of
physical/mental flesh, has come from God who created it and united it
with our body, evidently at the moment of physical conception in the
womb. It is obvious that the "image of God," man's spirit/soul nature,
could not be transmitted genetically via the "genetic code" and the DNA
molecules, for these are simply complex chemicals programed to transmit
only the physical and mental attributes of the ancestors to the
children. Nevertheless, the spirit/soul attributes of each person also
seem to be associated inseparably with the body from conception onwards,
continuing so until separated again at death, when the spirit goes "to
be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord" (II
In the meantime, however, the "image of God" in man is marred by its
incorporation in man's "sinful flesh," for "the body is dead because of
sin" (Romans 8:3,10). By this union of flesh and spirit, man inherits
Adam's fallen nature as well as his mortal body, and both are in need of
salvation. Christ "gave Himself for us that He might redeem us from all
iniquity" (Titus 2:14). Therefore, we, like Paul, can pray that our
"whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming
of our Lord Jesus Christ" (I Thessalonians 5:23). HMM
September 18, Saturday JOB AND ADAM
"If I covered my transgressions as Adam, by hiding mine iniquity in
my bosom: . . ." (Job 31:33).
The patriarch Job lived long before Moses and the writing of the
Pentateuch, yet he knew about Adam and his fall and likewise about God's
curse on the world because of Adam's sin.
Note the following references in the book of Job to death and the curse:
"Man that is born of woman is of few days, and full of trouble" (Job
14:1; compare Genesis 3:16). "All flesh shall perish together, and man
shall turn again unto dust" (Job 34:15; note Genesis 3:19).
Evidently Job still had access to the records of primeval history,
either by verbal tradition from his ancestors or perhaps through actual
written records of the ancient patriarchs handed down from Adam to
There are also a number of references in Job to man's original
creation. After speaking first of the beasts, the fowls of the air, and
the fishes of the sea, Job asks: "Who knoweth not in all these that the
hand of the LORD hath wrought this? In whose hand is the soul of every
living thing, and the breath of all mankind" (Job 12:9,10). Note also
Elihu's testimony: "The Spirit of God hath made me, and the breath of
the Almighty hath given me life" (Job 33:4).
The book of Job was almost certainly the first written of all the
books of the Bible, and it testifies abundantly that the knowledge of
the true God and His creation was still the common heritage of mankind
at that time. Job knew the Lord, and never tried to hide anything from
Him, as Adam had done. His ancient testimony is still true today.
Quoting what must have been an early revelation from God, he wrote: "And
unto man He said, Behold, the fear of the LORD, that is wisdom; and to
depart from evil is understanding" (Job 28:28). HMM
September 19, Friday SUBMISSION
"Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God" (Ephesians
Normally, in today's world, we are told to strive for the top. Desire
to be "Number 1" overshadows the Biblical injunction of submission. But
when we are truly in a right relationship with God, we will be
submitting to one another. Christ taught that servanthood was of much
greater value in the eyes of God than mastery.
We all know too many examples of churches which have been split by
conflicts arising from selfishness among the believers or an
unwillingness to serve. "From whence come wars and fightings among you?
come they not hence, even of your lusts that war in your members?"
(James 4:1). A Spirit-filled Christian (Ephesians 5:18) desires to
submit and serve, rather than to assert and rule. The same thought is
reflected throughout Scripture: "Yea, all of you be subject one to
another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and
giveth grace to the humble" (I Peter 5:5). "Obey them (i.e., spiritual
leaders) that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they
watch for your souls" (Hebrews 13:17). We must also submit to "every
ordinance of man for the Lord's sake" (I Peter 2:13).
The word "submit" is a translation of two Greek words meaning "to
line up under." It usually reflects a military hierarchy, "to rank lower
than." Our goal, therefore, should be to place others above ourselves
and to be in submission to and in service of them. This attitude, of
course, was the attitude that Christ exhibited as He left Heaven to come
and serve, and die, who "took upon Him the form of a servant, and was
made in the likeness of men: and being found in fashion as a man, He
humbled Himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the
cross" (Philippians 2:7,8). JDM
September 20 - Monday CHRIST THE SON OF GOD
"And declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the
Spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead" (Romans 1:4).
The opening verses of Paul's epistle to the Romans stressed that the
gospel of Christ was actually the fulfillment of that "which He had
promised afore by His prophets in the holy Scriptures" (Romans 1:2).
This promise was centered in God's eternal Son, who had promised to
redeem the world from sin and death.
To do this, He must become a man, "made of the seed of David
according to the flesh" (Romans 1:3), yet He also must be sinless in
both nature and practice before He could become God's perfect sacrifice
for sin. He must be perfect man--man as God intended man to be. He must
be a "second Adam," created without sin, yet He must not fail as did the
first Adam, being "in all points tempted like as we are, yet without
sin" (Hebrews 4:15).
He must, therefore, be miraculously conceived. "A body hast thou
prepared me" (Hebrews 10:5)--a perfect body unblemished either by
inherited mutations or by a sin-nature genetically inherited from his
parents. Then, for nine months, His body would grow, finally to be born
of the virgin and to live a life "holy, harmless, undefiled" until that
perfect, sinless Man could be made "one Sacrifice for sins for ever"
(Hebrews 7:26; 10:12).
But how would the world ever know that all of this was really true?
How could lost sinners be assured that their Creator had now become
By His resurrection from the dead--that's how! He has been "declared
to be the Son of God with power . . . by the resurrection from the
dead." Jesus Christ is "that Man whom He hath ordained;" and of this we
can be sure, because "He hath raised Him from the dead" (Acts 17:31).
September 21, Friday AFTER THE FLOOD
"Behold, He withholdeth the waters, and they dry up: also He sendeth
them out, and they overturn the earth" (Job 12:15).
The great flood of the Bible was such a traumatic global cataclysm,
practically all the people groups that developed from its survivors kept
its memory alive in their traditions and legends. The Bible itself, of
course, has the only completely accurate record (Genesis 6-9). In
addition, the ancient book of Job, written only a few centuries after
the flood, reflects the still-fresh memories of the awful deluge.
Job knew, for example, that the flood had literally "overturned the
earth," eroding away the pre-flood mountains and depositing their debris
to form new mountains after the flood.
Job's friend, Eliphaz, said: "Hast thou marked the old way which
wicked men have trodden? Which were cut down out of time, whose
foundation was overflown with a flood" (Job 22:15,16). Referring to
God's promise after the flood, Job said: "He hath compassed the waters
with bounds, until the day and night come to an end" (Job 26:10).
In the climactic 38th chapter of Job, God Himself recalls this promise:
"Who shut up the sea with doors, when it brake forth, as if it had
issued out of the womb? . . . And said, Hitherto shalt thou come, but no
further: and here shall thy proud waves be stayed?" (Job 38:8,11).
The general atmosphere of the entire book of Job seems to reflect the
conditions shortly after the flood. Modern skeptics deny that such a
flood ever occurred, but it was a real and terrible event to those whose
immediate ancestors had gone through it! Today, its testimony is
preserved not only in the Bible and ancient traditions, but also in the
flood sediments themselves, now seen everywhere as the fossil-bearing
rocks of the earth's crust. HMM
September 22, Wednesday VICTORY VERBS
"And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first
begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto Him
that loved us, and washed us from our sins in His own blood, And hath
made us kings and priests unto God and His Father; to Him be glory and
dominion for ever and ever. Amen" (Revelation 1:5,6).
The three verbs, "loved," "washed," and "made," reveal the personal,
victorious aspects of Christ's work for us. The same three verbs are
also found in Titus 3:4-7: "The love of God our Savior toward man
appeared . . . the washing of regeneration . . . that being justified by
His grace, we should be made heirs." May we ever marvel at what Christ
(1) He loved us. There is no reason for God to love us. Sinners deserve
nothing but eternal damnation; yet God loved us! "We love Him,
because He first loved us" (I John 4:19). His love is best seen in
the sending of Christ. "For God so loved the world, that He gave His
only begotten Son" (John 3:16).
(2) He washed us. Our sins are gone because of Christ's blood. "Neither
by the blood of goats and calves, but by His own blood He entered in
once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us"
(Hebrews 9:12). "Without shedding of blood is no remission"
(Hebrews 9:22). "Much more then, being now justified by His blood,
we shall be saved from wrath through Him" (Romans 5:9). Praise God!
We are cleansed by, and only by the blood!
(3) He made us. Christ not only loved us and washed us, He made us kings
and priests. In the Old Testament, a king could never be a priest.
Those who tried (Saul, Uzziah) were judged; but the New Testament
believer is made both by Christ's death. "And hast made us unto our
God kings and priests" (Revelation 5:10). NPS
September 23, Friday THINGS WORTH KNOWING
"Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what
we shall be: but we know that, when He shall appear, we shall be like
Him; for we shall see Him as He is" (I John 3:2).
Although the book of I John is well known for its use of the word
"love," various words, such as "know," "perceive," and "behold," occur
almost as often.
Several of these words refer to the work of Christ in salvation. "And
ye know that He was manifested to take away our sins" (I John 3:5). "We
know that we have passed from death unto life" (I John 3:14), and
"Hereby perceive we the love of God, because He laid down His life for
us" (I John 3:16). This knowledge brings great assurance: "These things
have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that
ye may know that ye have eternal life" (I John 5:13).
This knowledge should bring us into a life of submission and service:
"But whoso keepeth His word, in him verily is the love of God perfected:
hereby know we that we are in Him" (I John 2:5). Similarly, "and he that
keepeth His commandments dwelleth in Him, and He in him. And hereby we
know that He abideth in us, by the Spirit which He hath given us" (I
John 3:24; see also I John 4:13).
This gives us confidence in prayer: "And this is the confidence that
we have in Him, . . . if we ask any thing according to His will, He
heareth us: And if we know that He hear us, . . . we know that we have
the petitions that we desired of Him" (I John 5:14,15).
The culmination of a life marked by salvation, assurance, empowering,
and victory will be that we will be with Him and be like Him. "Behold
[same word as know], what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon
us, that we should be called the sons of God" (I John 3:1). JDM
September 24, Friday JESUS CHRIST IS LORD
"And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the
glory of God the Father" (Philippians 2:11).
Throughout the New Testament, we find there are three names used
primarily for the Son of God: Jesus, Christ, and Lord. The name Jesus,
meaning "Jehovah is the Savior," is His human name, linking Him with
humanity, whom He came to save. Christ, meaning "anointed," is His
Messianic name, linking Him with the prophecy which He came to fulfill.
The New Testament equivalent to the Hebrew word "Jehovah" is the word
Lord, linking Him with deity, whom He came to represent and reveal, and
to whom is due homage.
These three names have a chronological emphasis, for until His
crucifixion, He was known primarily as "Jesus," but after His
resurrection and ascension, He was preeminent as "Christ." When He
returns, it will be as "Lord," to reign. To be sure, there is overlap,
for He is simultaneously all three, and has been throughout history. But
the general pattern is clear.
The three names also indicate His three-fold office and work. "Jesus"
suggests His career as a prophet, teaching men the truth, while "Christ"
suggests His priesthood, atoning for sin, and "Lord," His kingship,
ruling over men. Mankind's relationship and responsibility to Him follow
this same pattern: obedience to Him as Prophet; faith in Him as Priest;
surrender to Him as King.
There is no effort on the part of the Scripture writers to separate
these names into different individuals, for on many if not most
occasions, two or three of the names are combined, showing that these
three names reference one and the same person. "Therefore let all the
house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made that same Jesus, whom
ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ" (Acts 2:36). JDM
September 25, Friday THE PROVERBIAL TONGUE
"In the multitude of words there wanteth not sin: but he that refraineth
his lips is wise" (Proverbs 10:19).
The book of Proverbs has much wise counsel concerning the use of the
tongue. It contains, for example, no less than 27 sober warnings against
speaking lies! There are also at least eight condemnations of gossiping.
For example: "A talebearer revealeth secrets: but he that is of a
faithful spirit concealeth the matter" (Proverbs 11:13).
Then there are warnings against using the tongue to criticize, or to
slander, or to hurt. A good example is in 12:18: "There is that speaketh
like the piercings of a sword: but the tongue of the wise is health,"
and also in 18:8: "The words of a talebearer are as wounds, and they go
down into the innermost parts of the belly."
Too much talking is also dangerous, as our text for the day points
out. In this connection, one of the most picturesque proverbs is the
following: "A continual dropping in a very rainy day and a contentious
woman are alike" (27:15). The virtues of silence are graphically pointed
out in 17:27,28: "He that hath knowledge spareth his words: . . . Even a
fool, when he holdeth his peace, is counted wise: and he that shutteth
his lips is esteemed a man of understanding."
Similarly, there are many promised blessings to those who speak
carefully and graciously: "A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in
pictures of silver" (25:11). "The wise in heart shall be called prudent:
and the sweetness of the lips increaseth learning" (16:21). "A wholesome
tongue is a tree of life" (15:4). "The tongue of the just is as choice
silver" (10:20). "A soft answer turneth away wrath" (15:1). "A word
spoken in due season, how good is it!" (15:23).
May we, indeed, learn to make our speech like choice silver, apples
of gold, and a tree of life! HMM
September 26, Sunday THE ORACLES OF GOD
"Much every way: chiefly, because that unto them were committed the
oracles of God. For what if some did not believe? shall their unbelief
make the faith of God without effect?" (Romans 3:2,3).
This striking synonym for the Scriptures ("the oracles of God")
occurs just three times in the Bible. In our text, Paul is emphasizing
the great privilege and responsibility that was committed to the Jews
when God gave His "oracles" to them, a word implying "divinely inspired
Then the author of Hebrews rebuked those Hebrew Christians who had
still not learned the very "first principles of the oracles of God,"
despite having been professing Christians for a long time (Hebrews
5:12). Finally the apostle Peter urged his readers: "If any man speak,
let him speak as the oracles of God" (I Peter 4:11). That is, anyone who
presumes to speak for the Lord must "preach the word" (II Timothy 4:2).
It is not our words, but His words that are "quick and powerful"
(Hebrews 4:12). In fact, Stephen called them "the lively [or `living']
oracles" (Acts 7:38).
In all these references, it is clear that these "oracles of
God"--that is, the Holy Scriptures--constitute the very utterances of
the living God. They were given to and through believing Jews and are
preserved for us now in our Bibles. They obviously should be believed,
studied, obeyed, and proclaimed by all who consider themselves to be
The fact that many people reject the Bible, even claiming it is wrong
in what it teaches, is irrelevant. Such claims merely display human
arrogance. God's word has been "for ever . . . settled in heaven" and
"is true from the beginning" (Psalm 119:89,160). It will endure even
after this present world has passed away (Matthew 24:35) and will
finally be the criterion by which its detractors will be judged in the
last day (Revelation 20:12; 22:18,19). HMM
September 27, Friday HIS WORKMANSHIP
"For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works,
which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them" (Ephesians
The two more familiar verses immediately preceding our text for the
day emphasize the fact that we are not saved by works, but rather by
grace, through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ: "For by grace are ye
saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:
Not of works, lest any man should boast" (Ephesians 2:8,9).
Ephesians 2:10, however, explains a major reason for God's saving
us--that we would do those good works which He ordained beforehand. The
Greek word translated "before ordained" is used only one other time in
the New Testament (Romans 9:23), where it is translated "afore
prepared." The idea here is the amazing fact that those good works have
been prepared beforehand for us to do, probably even before we were
born. God evidently had specific purposes in mind for each one of us,
both creating us and then re-creating us in Christ to accomplish these
Some day, we Christians all must stand before the judgment seat of
Christ (Romans 14:10), where "every one of us shall give account of
himself to God" (v.12) regarding our work here on Earth. If God has
plans for us, having prepared beforehand good works that we should carry
out, it is sobering to contemplate what our response will be when we
stand before Him to account for our activities.
In order to avoid displeasing Him, it is necessary that we, as those
who have been saved through faith and who desire to please Him, be
obedient to His Word and sensitive to the guidance of the Holy Spirit,
so that we may be faithful in carrying out those good works which God
has prepared in advance for us to do. RRA
September 28, Tuesday THE SECRET THINGS
"The secret things belong unto the LORD our God: but those things
which are revealed belong unto us and to our children for ever, that we
may do all the words of this law" (Deuteronomy 29:29).
This portion of Scripture follows a lengthy re-statement of the
Covenant of God with His people, Israel. In this chapter, Moses reminded
the people of the works that God had wrought on their behalf in their
deliverance from Pharaoh, in His provision for them in the wilderness,
and in His protection on the battlefield (vv.2-8). In this final
address, he encouraged them to "keep therefore the words of this
covenant, and do them, that ye may prosper in all that ye do" (v.9), and
stated the various blessings that would be theirs if they would do so.
Lastly, he described, in graphic and burning words, the results of
breaking the covenant (vv.18-27). "And the LORD rooted them out of their
land in anger, and in wrath, and in great indignation, and cast them
into another land, as it is this day" (v.28).
In recognition of the limitations of humankind, Moses wrote in our
text that there are certain things known only to God, which He has
veiled--things which cannot be understood by the human mind--things
which He simply chooses to keep to Himself. But he goes on to say that
He has revealed certain things to us, and these things we must obey.
Consequently, our text consists of a great principle of life: We must do
what we know to do. We don't know everything, but we must act
responsibly and properly to that which He has told us, leaving the
"secret things" and their consequences to God. Elsewhere, He promises
that even the secret things will "work together for good to them that
love God" (Romans 8:28)--in His sovereign plan. We must obey, doing what
we know to do, and leave the results with Him. JDM
September 29, Friday PLAYING THE FOOL
"Then said Saul, I have sinned: return, my son David: for I will no
more do thee harm, because my soul was precious in thine eyes this day:
behold, I have played the fool, and have erred exceedingly" (I Samuel
Saul became jealous because of David's military success (I Samuel
18:7-9, etc.). As a result, Saul sought to kill David. Our text comes
after a pursuit of David to the hill of Hachilah. With the help of the
Lord, who caused a deep sleep to fall on Saul and his men, David sneaked
into camp and stole Saul's spear and cruse of water. At a safe distance,
David called to Saul and displayed the spear and cruse to prove he could
easily have killed Saul, but chose not to do so.
This episode overlays a deeper principle of our obligation to those
in authority over us who are God's anointed. We are not to take things
into our own hands to change God's plan, because we serve a living God
who is still in control--"This thing is not good that thou hast done.
[Speaking to Abner, Saul's general and bodyguard.] As the LORD liveth,
ye are worthy to die, because ye have not kept your master, the LORD's
anointed. And now see where the king's spear is, and the cruse of water
that was at his bolster" (I Samuel 26:16).
The problem was that Saul was chasing David without cause (v.18).
After David made known his intention not to cause any harm to Saul, Saul
realized he had been a fool, lacking understanding in the matter.
Contrast Saul's playing the fool with David's acting in wisdom. David
knew God, understood the principle of respect for God's anointed, and
practiced wisdom by teaching others about God's plan. Perhaps we all
play the fool at times, but we ought to be wary lest our foolishness
degrade into wickedness. May God make us wise, rather, through
meditation on His word. KBC
September 30, Thursday DEMONIC DISCOURAGEMENT
"Behold, He put no trust in His servants; and His angels He charged
with folly: How much less in them that dwell in houses of clay, whose
foundation is in the dust, which are crushed before the moth?" (Job
This was the strange message delivered to Eliphaz, the first of the
three friends who proved such "miserable comforters" to Job in his
sufferings, by "a spirit" that "stood still, . . . an image . . . before
mine eyes" (Job 4:15,16). This "thing was secretly [literally
`stealthily'] brought to me," said Eliphaz (Job 4:12), and there is
little doubt that its original source was Satan himself, in his efforts
to discredit and destroy Job. The "spirit" who instructed Eliphaz was
not sent from God, as he may have thought, but was one of those angelic
servants who had been "charged with folly," when they followed Lucifer
in his primeval rebellion.
Still smarting with wounded pride that God would make His angels mere
"ministering spirits" (Hebrews 1:14) to Adam and his children, whose own
bodies were mere "houses of clay," built out of the dust of the earth,
these demonic rebels hate human beings--especially those who love and
serve God--with great passion. If Satan could not destroy Job by
tempting him into moral wickedness or rebellion against an "unjust" God,
perhaps he could lead him into discouragement, using his self-righteous
"friends" to cause him to lose faith in God's love and care.
But he failed! Job said: "Though He slay me, yet will I trust in
Him," and "I know that my Redeemer liveth" (Job 13:15; 19:25).
Such defeatism is one of Satan's most effective weapons. When he
strikes with it, we must, like Job, "resist steadfast in the faith" (I
Peter 5:9), knowing "the end of the Lord; that the Lord is very pitiful,
and of tender mercy" (James 5:11). HMM
October 1, Friday DEATH BY SIN
"Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by
sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned" (Romans
This very important verse conveys several vital truths. First of all,
death came into the world only when sin came into the world. Suffering
and death of conscious life, whether animal or human, were not a part of
God's finished and "very good" creation (Genesis 1:31-2:3). There was an
abundance of food and all other provisions for both people and animals.
There was certainly no "struggle for existence" or "survival of the
fittest," for every creature was created "fit" for its own environment.
When Adam sinned, however, it became necessary for God to bring the
curse of decay and death not only upon Adam but also upon all his
dominion (Genesis 3:17-20; see also Romans 8:20-22; I Corinthians
Furthermore, there remains no warrant for the notion that "Adam" is
simply a generic term representing the human race. He was "one man." In
fact, he was "the first man" (I Corinthians 15:45), and Eve was "the
mother of all living" (Genesis 3:20). There was certainly no population
of evolving hominids becoming "Adam." In fact, Christ Himself made it
clear that Adam and Eve were there "from the begin- ning of the
creation" (Mark 10:6, quoting Genesis 1:27).
The entire argument here in Romans 5:12-21 becomes irrelevant if the
Genesis record of the creation and fall of Adam did not happen precisely
as recorded in Genesis 1-3, and this would mean that there is no reality
in the saving work of Christ, either.
Such a rejection of the Christian faith is hardly warranted by the
fragmentary fossils that have been alleged to support the notion of
human evolution. No one should stake his eternal soul on such a
will-o-the-wisp as that! HMM
October 2, Saturday CAN GOD?
"Yea, they spake against God; they said, Can God furnish a table in
the wilderness?" (Psalm 78:19).
The Bible dramatically states that God can do anything. "For with God
nothing shall be impossible" (Luke 1:37). "Is anything too hard for the
LORD?" (Genesis 18:14). "Ah Lord GOD! behold, thou hast made the heaven
and the earth by thy great power and stretched out arm, and there is
nothing too hard for thee" (Jeremiah 32:17).
Yet, in spite of the fact that God is omnipotent and can do anything,
the children of Israel constantly questioned God's power to supply their
daily needs. Their complete lack of trust was evidenced in three
questions: "Can God furnish a table in the wilderness? Can He give bread
also? Can He provide flesh for His people?" (Psalm 78:19,20).
They trusted God for the big thing (deliverance from the land of Egypt)
but had a terrible time believing God for the smaller things (their
daily provisions). Are we not exactly like this at times? Having trusted
God for the big thing (salvation), we then turn around and doubt that He
will supply our daily bread.
Is there any need too great for God to supply or any obstacle He
cannot overcome? Are we tempted to say, "Can God supply a table in my
The wonderful promise still stands true: "But my God shall supply all
your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus" (Philippians
4:19). He "is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we [could
ever] ask or think" (Ephesians 3:20).
God's people "turned back and tempted God, and limited the Holy One
of Israel" (Psalm 78:41). May we never do that, but rather, may we be
strong in faith, taking God at His word. Instead of saying, "Can God?"
why don't we turn the phrase around and say, "God can!" NPS
October 3, Friday EVOLUTION PROPHESIED IN THE BIBLE
"For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but
after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having
itching ears; and they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and
shall be turned into fables" (II Timothy 4:3,4).
"This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come" (II
Timothy 3:1), when "they will not endure sound doctrine," as our text
The Bible predicts a worldwide departure in the last days, from
Christianity and the Bible to "cunningly devised fables" (II Peter
Men will be "ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge
of the truth" (II Timothy 3:7). We think of our great universities with
their brilliant professors and scientists, many of whom fall into this
category. A great many in our apostate age feel they do not need God,
and that man does live by bread alone. Furthermore, some modern
theologians think of their relationship with God as a democracy, wherein
men can cooperate, but definitely not submit.
Many of these intellectuals do not believe in either God or the
Bible, but refer to Jesus merely as a good man. Logically, then, must
they not conclude that the Savior is a product of evolution?
Darwinian evolution is one of the tremendous fabrications used to
discount special creation and deify science--"science falsely so called"
(I Timothy 6:20). What a poor substitute! Scientists cannot produce
life, even at the lowest level, nor can they produce genuine evidence
that evolution has ever occurred.
Let us put our trust in the Biblical record. Earnest study and
commitment to Christ as Savior and Lord will solve problems and provide
answers in our hypocritical age of apostasy. JLG
October 4, Monday WATCHMAN OF OUR WORDS
"Set a watch, O LORD, before my mouth; keep the door of my lips.
Incline not my heart to any evil thing, to practice wicked works with
men that work iniquity: and let me not eat of their dainties" (Psalm
The psalmist prayed the Lord would "set a watch," or a guard upon his
mouth and heart. It is not that we are to be "guarded" into silence, but
rather, that the "Watchman" would allow only those things to pass our
lips that are pleasing to His hearing.
Prayer is one of these things, as seen in the verse preceding our text:
"Let my prayer be set forth before thee as incense; and the lifting up
of my hands as the evening sacrifice" (v.2). As sinners, how is He
pleased with our prayers? When we follow David's example in Psalm 32:5:
"I acknowledged my sin unto thee, and mine iniquity have I not hid. I
said, I will confess my transgressions unto the LORD; and thou forgavest
the iniquity of my sin," we can be sure our prayer pleases the "sentry"
of our words, for "the prayer of the upright is His delight" (Proverbs
In addition to prayer, praise also meets with His approval. We can
say as David, "O LORD, open thou my lips; and my mouth shall shew forth
thy praise" (Psalm 51:15). "Let my mouth be filled with thy praise"
(Psalm 71:8), "for it is good to sing praises unto our God" (Psalm
147:1). "My lips shall utter praise, when thou hast taught me thy
statutes" (Psalm 119:171).
As we meditate upon God's Word, our speech becomes increasingly
"seasoned with salt" (Colossians 4:6). It is not the quantity of our
words that is effective, but the quality of their content, as they
reflect the wisdom of God found in the Word of God. "The lips of the
righteous feed many" (Proverbs 10:21). "The mouth of the righteous man
is a well of life" (Proverbs 10:11). CJH
October 5, Friday THE MESSAGE OF THE OLD TESTAMENT
"Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am
God, and there is none else" (Isaiah 45:22).
Ever since sin entered into God's created world, His message to all
people of all ages has been the same. At the time of the curse, God
prophesied that there soon would be a coming Redeemer--the Seed of the
woman who would crush the head of the serpent, although the Redeemer
Himself would be made to suffer in order to do away with the effects of
sin (Genesis 3:15). "For the life of the flesh is in the blood: and I
have given it to you upon the altar to make an atonement for your souls:
for it is the blood that maketh an atonement for the soul" (Leviticus
God repeatedly warned the people of His hatred of sin and wickedness
(see for example Psalm 5:4-6; Proverbs 6:16-19), but He recognized that
humankind was totally incapable of measuring up to His standard of
perfection. That great statement of righteous requirements, the Ten
Commandments, demonstrated the utter impossibility of complete
compliance (Exodus 20; Psalm 14, etc.) Conversely, God repeatedly
extended His invitation to be rescued from sin and its effects and its
necessary judgment by confidence in His plan for mankind. In our text,
we see that "all the ends of the earth" have the opportunity to be
"saved." "Surely," shall one say, "in the LORD have I righteousness and
strength: even to Him shall men come" (Isaiah 45:24).
This plan of God focuses on the promised Redeemer who would come to
buy back humanity from its enslavement to sin. "A virgin shall conceive,
and bear a son, and shall call His name Immanuel" (Isaiah 7:14). "He was
wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities: . . .
and the LORD hath laid on Him the iniquity of us all" (Isaiah 53:5,6).
October 6, Wednesday PATHS OF THE SEAS
"Or speak to the earth, and it shall teach thee: and the fishes of
the sea shall declare unto thee" (Job 12:8).
Matthew Maury served as a U.S. naval officer before suffering an
injury which forced his retirement. He was then placed in charge of the
Depot of Charts and Instruments of the Hydrographic Office of the Navy
from 1841 to 1861. He was a Christian who loved the Word of God. One
day, while reading Psalm 8, he was struck by an important truth in the
8th verse. There he read that God had given man dominion over "the fowl
of the air, and the fish of the sea, and whatsoever passeth through the
paths of the seas." He immediately saw the great practical significance
of that verse, recognizing that there must be currents of water in the
oceans, just like vast rivers, as well as in the atmosphere
With confidence in the accuracy of the Bible, Maury determined to
discover the paths in the seas and the wind circuits, utilizing the
charts and log books he had at his disposal. He did discover and plot
many of the wind circuits and currents, such as the great Gulf Current,
40 miles wide and 2,000 feet deep that comes out of the Gulf of Mexico
into the Atlantic; the Japanese Current, the California Current, and
others. Utilizing this information, the sailing ships of his day plied
these currents and wind circuits, reducing by as much as three weeks the
time required to cross the oceans.
On a monument erected by the state of Virginia to his memory is found
a plaque that reads as follows: "Matthew Fontaine Maury, Pathfinder of
the Seas, the genius who first snatched from the oceans and atmosphere
the secret of their laws. His inspiration, Holy Writ, Psalm 8:8;
Ecclesiastes 1:6." A genius? No. Just a simple Bible-believing Christian
who trusted the inerrancy of the Word of God. DTG
October 7, Friday HOW CAN THINGS INVISIBLE BE SEEN?
"For the invisible things of Him from the creation of the world are
clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His
eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse" (Romans
This powerful verse introduces Paul's burning description of the
descent of ancient human societies that once "knew God" (Romans 1:21)
into evolutionary paganism, idolatry, and wickedness. This deterioration
was willful and inexcusable, for they had abundant evidence of God's
nature and power in the very creation which they had chosen to worship
instead of the Creator (Romans 1:25).
Even though God Himself was invisible (being omnipresent), they could
easily see the evidence of His existence and His grace in creating and
sustaining all things, "for God hath showed it unto them" (Romans 1:19).
"The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament showeth His
handiwork" (Psalm 19:1).
Since these things were "clearly seen" and "understood" by men "from
the creation of the world" (that is, from the time the world was
created), it is obvious that there have been men and women there to see
and understand these things ever since they were created. This assures
us that the creation did not take place billions of years before men
appeared on earth, as our theistic evolutionists and progressive
creationists would like to believe. Men and women have been on earth
ever since its very beginning (see also Mark 10:6; Acts 3:21), and all
should have recognized and worshiped the true Creator God.
That being true, how much more inexcusable are our modern
evolutionists--whether atheistic, pantheistic, or polytheistic--who not
only reject the testimony of God in creation, but also His far more
complete testimony in Scripture, and in the person and work of Jesus
October 8, Friday THE OUTWARD APPEARANCE
"Do ye look on things after the outward appearance? If any man trust
to himself that he is Christ's, let him of himself think this again,
that, as he is Christ's, even so are we Christ's" (II Corinthians 10:7).
In a time of movie stars and sports heroes, with television in every
home and the glamorizing of physical attractiveness all but universal,
even Christians have come to expect their own "stars" of the pulpit and
the media to be men and women of great charisma and outward appeal. In
this modern scene, the apostle Paul would surely be out of place. Even
in the first century, he was criticized, both for his poor physique and
pulpit technique (II Corinthians 10:10).
But, as Paul noted in our text, God's calling is not based on one's
outward appearance. Long ago, when God chose David over the imposing
presence of King Saul, He said that "the LORD seeth not as man seeth;
for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the LORD looketh on the
heart" (I Samuel 16:7).
Paul would also rebuke our modern obsession with physical fitness,
reminding young Timothy that "bodily exercise profiteth little: but
godliness is profitable unto all things" (I Timothy 4:8). Peter had this
to say to Christian women about their appearance: "Whose adorning let it
not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of
gold, or of putting on of apparel; But let it be the hidden man of the
heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and
quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price" (I Peter
One's appearance should be neat and modest, of course, for our
purpose is to cause men and women to see Jesus Christ, not to look at
ourselves. As Christ Himself exhorted: "Judge not according to the
appearance, but judge righteous judgment" (John 7:24). HMM
October 9, Friday MARITAL PROBLEMS
"And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord
Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by Him" (Colossians 3:17).
Marriage has always had a high place--a high calling. In the
beginning, God's stated purpose in marriage was to propagate children
(Genesis 1:28) and to eliminate solitude (2:18). Such a state was deemed
"very good" (1:31). But sin entered through Adam's rebellion, and the
universal curse resulted. Out of this came a new marital relationship,
one full of potential problems, for "He said, I will greatly multiply
thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth
children; and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over
thee" (3:16). It is safe to say that the many excesses on both sides of
a marriage that we see today are the legacy of sin.
Not only is marriage affected by the curse, Satan himself delights in
destroying marriage. Immediately after the curse, we see that he
introduced numerous practices which are detrimental to a proper
marriage. The ungodly lineage of Cain began to practice polygamy (4:19).
Later, Noah's son, Ham, indulged in sexual thoughts and innuendoes
(9:22). Even godly Abram participated in an extra-marital affair which,
even though not specifically condemned, was harmful to his marriage
Soon after this, we read about homosexuality in Sodom and Gomorrah
(Genesis 19); fornication, rape, and marriage to unbelievers (Genesis
34:1,2); the practice of incest (35:22; 38:13-18), prostitution (38:24),
and seduction (39:7-12).
What is the solution for this age-long attack on the family? We must
heed the guidelines given in Scripture for a godly marriage. Passages
such as those surrounding our text are well worth our study. JDM
October 10, Sunday THE CITY OF GOD
"But now they desire a better country, that is, an heavenly:
wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God: for He hath
prepared for them a city" (Hebrews 11:16).
When word came to Augustine, the bishop of Hyppo, in the year 410,
that Rome had been sacked by barbarians, he grieved. Though he had
written and preached vigorously against the decadence that had eaten
away at the core of Roman civilization, he grieved that what was good
was being swept away also. Her law and order were crumbling, and the
world would become subject to the lusts of barbarians. And he grieved
because he had friends and relatives living in Rome.
Anxiety and fear swept through his congregation, but he comforted
them with Scriptures such as the above, that spoke of our real home.
Rome was built by human hands, he said, and so could be torn down by
human hands; but there is a city that has not been built by man and can
never be destroyed by man. There is "a city which hath foundations,
whose builder and maker is God," where we have "an inheritance
incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in
heaven" (Hebrews 11:10; I Peter 1:4). Rome was not then, and is not now,
"the eternal city." Likewise, our own country, the United States of
America, while we believe it was established by God for our welfare and
are grateful for it, will not last forever. It too will pass away. But
we as Christians sense that we don't really belong here anyway, for we
are "strangers and pilgrims on the earth" (Hebrews 11:13), longing for
our real home.
In the year 430, Augustine and many of his congregation died when the
Vandal army besieged Hyppo. The barbarians saw it as a victory; but for
the Christians, it was no defeat to be released from their earthly city
into their heavenly home. DER
October 11, Friday ZECHARIAH AND CHRIST'S ADVENT
". . . for, lo, I come, and I will dwell in the midst of thee, saith
the LORD. And many nations shall be joined to the LORD in that day, and
shall be my people: and I will dwell in the midst of thee, and thou
shalt know that the LORD of hosts hath sent me unto thee" (Zechariah
This old prophecy of the coming Messiah helps us better understand
"the world" of John 3:16. The Father so loved "many nations," that He
gave His only begotten Son. The vision also reveals the purpose for
Christ's coming. The high priest, Joshua (3:1), whose name in Hebrew is
equivalent to "Jesus" in the Greek, represented the people before God.
The problem was that he was dressed in filthy garments. More than five
hundred years later, on Calvary's cross, Jesus, the only effective high
priest and worthy representative before the Father, was dressed in the
filth of our sins.
In the same verse, the "angel of the LORD" is mentioned. He
prefigures the divine aspect of the Lord Jesus Christ. This "messenger"
(the basic meaning of "angel") promised prophetically to remove
"iniquity" and "clothe . . . with change of raiment" (3:4). This
happened when Jesus, the God-Man, obediently offered the once-for-all
sacrifice of Himself on the cross. He now removes sin and clothes
redeemed people in His own perfect righteousness. The Father sees the
elect in the light of His Son's perfection.
Finally, God promised to "bring forth (His) servant the BRANCH" (3:8)
and to "remove the iniquity of that land in one day" (3:9). This
happened "one day" when Jesus was "pierced" (12:10) by Roman soldiers.
No one Biblical image adequately portrays the wonder and majesty of
the Lord Jesus Christ and His work of salvation. The mosaic of Biblical
prophecy, however, finds unity in Jesus, available now to save all who
humble themselves before Him in prayer and trust Him for salvation. PGH
October 12, Tuesday MERCY AND TRUTH
"Mercy and truth are met together; righteousness and peace have
kissed each other" (Psalm 85:10).
The words "mercy" (Hebrew checed, also often translated by
"kindness," or "lovingkindness") and "truth" (Hebrew emeth) occur more
often in the psalms than in any other book. In fact, "mercy" occurs more
in the psalms than in all the rest of the Old Testament put together.
Though at first these two concepts seem opposed to each other (for how
can God's truth, which abhors sin, be compatible with His mercy, which
forgives sin?), nevertheless they are "met together," for "His
salvation," according to the previous verse, "is nigh them that fear
Him" (Psalm 85:9).
"Mercy and truth" (or "lovingkindness and truth") are brought
together at least sixteen times in the Old Testament, including ten
times in the psalms. And when God's eternal truth can be united with His
loving mercy, both mediated through His Holy Word, there is great
blessing indeed! "All the paths of the LORD are mercy and truth unto
such as keep His covenant and His testimonies" (Psalm 25:10). "I will
worship toward thy holy temple, and praise thy name for thy
lovingkindness and for thy truth: for thou hast magnified thy word above
all thy name" (Psalm 138:2). The first time the phrase is found in the
Bible is in the prayer of Abraham's servant, thanking God for "His mercy
and His truth" (Genesis 24:27).
God's mercy and truth, of course, are really met together only in
Jesus Christ, through whom God can both "be just, and the justifier of
him which believeth in Jesus" (Romans 3:26). He is "our peace"
(Ephesians 2:14) and is "made unto us . . . righteousness" (I
Corinthians 1:30). He is both "the truth" (John 14:6) and will show in
the ages to come, "the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness
toward us through Christ Jesus" (Ephesians 2:7). HMM
October 13, Friday OUR "WHY?" QUESTIONS
"Nay but, O man, who art thou that repliest against God? Shall the
thing formed say to Him that formed it, Why hast thou made me thus?"
Every believer goes through difficult experiences from time to
time--loss of a job, a painful injury, failure of some plan, death of a
needed loved one, even facing a terminal illness of his own--and the
natural tendency is to cry out: "Why, O God?"
God surely understands our longing for an answer, because He made
us--"He knoweth our frame; He remembereth that we are dust" (Psalm
103:14). But He would have us merely to trust Him. Job, who surely
suffered more than any of us, could say: "Though He slay me, yet will I
trust in Him" (Job 13:15).
Job did indeed plead for an understanding of His undeserved
sufferings, but God answered merely by reminding him of His great
creation and His providential care for all living things (Job 38-41). As
our great Potter, He has the right to make His vessels for both honor
and dishonor (v.21). We who have been redeemed by His mercy should be
grateful that He chose us even before the world began (Ephesians 1:3,4;
II Timothy 1:9), confident that He--by whatever means He chooses--is
preparing His "vessels of mercy" to receive the full manifestation of
His glory in the ages to come (v.23; Ephesians 2:7). The fact that our
finite minds cannot fully comprehend right now what He is doing in our
lives merely gives us an opportunity to trust Him more.
"We know that all things work together for good" (Romans 8:28) in
those who are His. Therefore He would say: "Let them that suffer
according to the will of God commit the keeping of their souls to Him in
well doing, as unto a faithful Creator" (I Peter 4:19). HMM
October 14, Thursday STAND UP FOR JESUS
"Watch ye, stand fast in the faith, quit you like men, be strong" (I
Many times Scripture compares this life to a battle, with the
Christian a soldier warring against the foe. The well-loved hymn of the
last century, "Stand Up for Jesus," reflects this theme. It was inspired
by the dying words of a young pastor, fatally injured in a tragic
accident. Dudley Tyng urgently instructed his two young boys to "Stand
Up for Jesus" in the years ahead. The verses of the hymn will serve
sequentially as references for our next four studies.
Stand up, stand up for Jesus, Ye soldiers of the cross,
Lift high His royal banner, It must not suffer loss;
From victory unto victory, His army shall He lead,
Till every foe is vanquished And Christ is Lord indeed.
"My son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. . . . Thou
therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ" (II
Timothy 2:1,3), Paul commanded his younger disciple. Among other things,
a good soldier of Christ is to represent his leader well, seeing that no
dishonor comes to Him or His banner. With Christ as Commander in Chief,
the victory is assured, and one day God will "make thy foes thy
footstool" (Acts 2:35). "God also hath highly exalted Him, and given Him
a name which is above every name: that at the name of Jesus every knee
should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under
the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is
Lord, to the glory of God the Father" (Philippians 2:9-11).
As David the great warrior-king lay dying, he exclaimed, "Thine, O
LORD, is the greatness, and the power, and the glory, and the victory,
and the majesty: for all that is in heaven and earth is thine; thine is
the kingdom, O LORD, and thou art exalted as head above all" (I
How foolish not to "Stand Up for Jesus." JDM
October 15, Friday YE THAT ARE MEN NOW SERVE HIM
"And the angel of the LORD appeared unto him, and said unto him, The
LORD is with thee, thou mighty man of valour. . . . Go in this thy
might, and thou shalt save Israel from the hand of the Midianites: have
not I sent thee?" (Judges 6:12,14).
Just a few days before his fatal accident, Dr. Tyng had spoken to
over 5,000 men at a noon-time YMCA meeting at which over 1,000 responded
to the gospel. His text for the sermon was Exodus 10:11, "Go now ye that
are men, and serve the LORD," a theme repeated in the second verse of
"Stand Up for Jesus," written in his memory.
Stand up, stand up for Jesus, The trumpet call obey;
Forth to the mighty conflict, in this His glorious day.
"Ye that are men, now serve Him," Against unnumbered foes;
Let courage rise with danger, And strength to strength oppose.
This verse reminds us of the task facing Gideon following his
commission into God's army, as given in our text. Israel was defenseless
and outnumbered, but "the LORD said unto him, Surely I will be with
thee, and thou shalt smite the Midianites as one man" (v.16).
The chosen warrior-to-be obeyed, and "the spirit of the LORD came
upon Gideon, and he blew a trumpet" (v.34), thus gathering a fighting
force soon to be pared down to only three hundred choice men (7:7). With
these courageous men God wrought a mighty victory, overcoming a
well-armed fighting force numbering over 120,000. Truly it was "His
In summary, we might remember the Lord's promise to Joshua, Israel's
first general: "There shall not any man be able to stand before thee all
the days of thy life: . . . I will be with thee: I will not fail thee,
nor forsake thee. . . . Only be thou strong and very courageous" (Joshua
Let us follow his lead and "Stand Up for Jesus." JDM
October 16, Saturday AND HAVING DONE ALL, STAND
"Ye stand this day all of you before the LORD your God; your captains
of your tribes, your elders, and your officers, with all the men of
Israel: . . . That thou shouldest enter into covenant with the LORD thy
God, and into His oath, which the LORD thy God maketh with you this day"
The Old Testament soldier of national Israel needed physical armor
and weapons, but more than that, he needed the covenant protection of
the Lord. Today, the New Testament saint seldom must fight in the
physical sense, but a much more intense fight is raging: "For we wrestle
not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers,
against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual
wickedness in high places" (Ephesians 6:12). We are safe and victorious
as long as we "put on the whole armor of God" (v.11). The third verse of
"Stand Up for Jesus" refers to this cosmic battle:
Stand up, stand up for Jesus, Stand in His strength alone;
The arm of flesh will fail you--Ye dare not trust your own;
Put on the gospel armor, Each piece put on with prayer;
Where duty calls or danger, Be never wanting there.
Years ago the Assyrians came against God's people. King Hezekiah
reminded them: "Be strong and courageous, be not afraid nor dismayed: .
. . With him is an arm of flesh; but with us is the LORD our God to help
us, and to fight our battles" (II Chronicles 32:7,8).
The source of our salvation and victory is the same. Our "gospel
armor" includes "truth . . . righteousness . . . peace . . . faith . . .
salvation . . . and the word of God" (Ephesians 6:14-17). When we don it
"with prayer" (v.18), we will "be able to withstand in the evil day, and
having done all, to stand" (v.13).
Share the victory! "Stand Up for Jesus." JDM
October 17, Friday THE VICTOR'S SONG
"And Moses said unto the people, Fear ye not, stand still, and see
the salvation of the LORD, which He will show to you to day. . . . The
LORD shall fight for you, and ye shall hold your peace" (Exodus
The song which we have been using to focus our thinking these past
few days has encouraged each Christian to join in the battle and "Stand
Up for Jesus." He has already assured us of ultimate victory, and in the
meantime, leads us into each skirmish. He gives us the privilege of
participating with Him in His victories. And, at times, as we see in our
text, He tells us to simply "stand still" and watch Him work.
The final verse of this hymn relates the long war's end.
Stand up, stand up for Jesus, The strife will not be long;
This day the noise of battle, The next the victor's song;
To him that overcometh, A crown of life shall be;
He with the King of glory shall reign eternally.
The strife will indeed be over soon, especially if we measure time on
the scale of eternity. Until then, "our light affliction, which is but
for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of
glory; While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things
which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the
things which are not seen are eternal" (II Corinthians 4:17,18).
And what are some of these eternal rewards? "Be thou faithful unto
death, and I will give thee a crown of life. . . . He that overcometh
shall not be hurt of the second death" (Revelation 2:10,11). And,
speaking of our home in the eternal New Jerusalem, "the throne of God
and of the Lamb shall be in it; and His servants shall serve Him: And
they shall see His face. . . . And they shall reign for ever and ever"
What blessings await those who "Stand Up for Jesus." JDM
October 18, Monday A NEW HEART
"Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within
me" (Psalm 51:10).
There are two kinds of heart trouble--one physical; the other
spiritual. We all know of the physical kind, but are we aware that
everyone is born with spiritual heart trouble? It can lead to such
things as adultery, idolatry, witchcraft, heresies, murders, and
drunkenness (Galatians 5:19-21), to physical death, and eventually to
eternal, spiritual death.
The word "heart," mentioned 800 times in Scripture, relates, usually,
to the spiritual, or psychological aspect of a person and is the source
of evil in everyone. "The heart is deceitful above all things, and
desperately wicked: who can know it?" (Jeremiah 17:9).
Even in the first period of human history, "God saw that the
wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of
the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually" (Genesis 6:5).
Time did not improve man's performance. Paul writes, during the time
of the Roman empire, "all have sinned, and come short of the glory of
God" (Romans 3:23). In the end, sin collects its wages: death--both
physical and spiritual, "For the wages of sin is death" (Romans 6:23).
How can our heart's disease be cured? God, the Father, sent His only
begotten Son, Christ, to the cross, laying the penalty of the world's
sin on Him, thus dying as our substitute: "Who His own self bare our
sins in His own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should
live unto righteousness" (I Peter 2:24).
Christ is the Savior from sin, and eternally releases all who accept
Him as their Savior. He is the divine Physician who heals hearts. When
spiritual heart trouble is cured, we find peace and forgiveness in this
life and can enjoy eternal life--life forever in His presence. JLG
October 19, Friday THE INDWELLING HOLY SPIRIT
"But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the
Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of
Christ, he is none of His" (Romans 8:9).
Note that in this one verse the Holy Spirit is called both "the
Spirit of God" and "the Spirit of Christ." Thus the two terms are
synonymous, which means that Christ is God, and so is the Holy Spirit.
Note also that we "have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry,
Abba, Father" (Romans 8:15). In fact, our text assures each of us that
we are actually living "in the Spirit," because He has come to "dwell in
you." All of this has come about "not by works of righteousness which we
have done, but according to His mercy, . . . by the washing of
regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost" (Titus 3:5). This glorious
new birth, with sins forgiven and eternal life, is accomplished by the
oly Spirit in response to our faith in Christ as Savior and Lord.
But also note that "if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is
none of His." It is absolutely vital that we have the Holy Spirit, "for
as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God"
(Romans 8:14). The question is, just how do we know that we have the
The answer is, because His word says so! "He that heareth my word,
and believeth on Him that sent me," said Jesus, "hath everlasting life"
(John 5:24). Furthermore, we have the testimony of internal peace and
assurance. "The Spirit (Himself) beareth witness with our spirit, that
we are the children of God" (Romans 8:16).
Finally, the indwelling Spirit will increasingly be growing His
eternal fruit in our lives--the nine-fold fruit of "love, joy, peace,
longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance"
(Galatians 5:22,23), and this will testify to others also that we do
indeed have the Holy Spirit. HMM
October 20, Wednesday IMMEDIATE RESULTS
"For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain
together until now" (Romans 8:22).
Sometimes we don't get to see the results of our work or choices soon
enough to suit us. But on one occasion, a man's choice and resulting
action were given immediate attention, and the effects of that attention
even now rule the universe.
"And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it
was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she
took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband
with her; and he did eat" (Genesis 3:6).
The result of Adam's deliberate sin--"Adam was not deceived, but the
woman being deceived was in the transgression" (I Timothy 2:14)--was
immediate and total punishment upon Adam and Eve, and through them, on
all humanity (Genesis 3:14-19). "Wherefore, as by one man sin entered
into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for
that all have sinned" (Romans 5:12). "For the creature [or creation] was
made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of Him who hath
subjected the same in hope" (Romans 8:20).
This "bondage of corruption" (v.21) placed upon the entire creation,
now known to science as the Second Law of Thermodynamics, is known to
all of us as the basic tendency of life. Everything is in the process of
death and decay. This law will one day be removed, but until then, we,
like the groaning, travailing creation of our text, "groan within
ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body"
Although we recognize now that "the wages of sin is death," we can be
very thankful that "the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ
our Lord" (Romans 6:23). JDM
October 21, Friday THE VIRTUE OF HAVING ENEMIES
"Woe unto you, when all men shall speak well of you! for so did their
fathers to the false prophets" (Luke 6:26).
It is no compliment to say about a Christian that he has no enemies,
for that is the same as saying he has accomplished nothing. The apostle
Paul had many bitter enemies, and they finally got him executed. In
fact, almost all of the great heroes of the faith, through all the
centuries since Satan gained his victory over Adam and Eve, have had to
overcome bitter opposition from that wicked one.
So, instead of resenting our enemies, we should thank God for them,
for they enable us to become more like Christ! Only through such
experiences can we learn what it means to say, with Paul: "I am
crucified with Christ" (Galatians 2:20). Only if we have enemies can we
learn to obey Christ's difficult command to "love your enemies, bless
them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them
which despitefully use you, and persecute you" (Matthew 5:44).
The Lord Jesus easily could have called on twelve legions of angels
to rout His enemies (Matthew 26:53). Instead, He submitted to their
vicious insults and cruel tortures, even praying in His agony on the
cross, "Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do" (Luke
23:34). The enemies of Christ killed Him, but had they not done so, He
would not have died for our sins, and we would be lost eternally. This
is a mystery to ponder, and difficult to comprehend, yet, as the Bible
promises, "Surely the wrath of man shall praise thee" (Psalm 76:10).
The enmity of men can thus be a channel of divine grace to the
believer, for "tribulation worketh patience" (Romans 5:3), and "our
light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more
exceeding and eternal weight of glory" (II Corinthians 4:17). HMM
October 22, Friday JESUS CHRIST OR CHRIST JESUS
"For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the
Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ" (Philippians 3:20).
The doctrine of verbal inspiration implies that not only are the
words of Scripture inspired, but the very order in which they appear is
also inspired. Study by commentators and translators have rightly noted
that a change in the order of the words would at times change the
meaning or emphasis of a passage. This phenomenon is often seen in the
order in which the various names of Christ appear. By noting this order,
one may sometimes gain new insight into a passage.
While the name Jesus, alone, normally appears in the gospels and the
book of Acts, the compound name, Jesus Christ, appears on occasion.
Interestingly, the same compound name is used exclusively by the
disciples, John and Peter, in their letters, and by James and Jude, the
brothers of our Lord. Of course these men knew Him first by His human
name, Jesus, and only fully comprehended the fact that He was the
Christ, [meaning "the Anointed," or "the Messiah"] after His
resurrection and ascension.
Paul, on the other hand, first encountered Christ in all His glory on
the road to Damascus. Perhaps, as a consequence, he frequently reversed
the order, speaking of Christ Jesus, although he used both orders many
The reason for this choice of order perhaps can best be illustrated
in Philippians 2:5-11. In verse 5, Paul described the "anointed One,"
who first emptied Himself of certain aspects of His deity to take on
human form. Therefore Paul used the name Christ Jesus. In verse 11,
however, the order is reversed. In this case, as in our text, the
movement is from humanity to glory. In one, the glory of the risen
Savior is emphasized; in the other, the glory that we shall share with
Him. This glory is assured us through His victory. JDM
October 23, Friday WORKING NO ILL TO PREBORN NEIGHBORS
"Love worketh no ill to his neighbor: therefore love is the
fulfilling of the law" (Romans 13:10).
The claim has been made that the New Testament is silent on the
subject of abortion, but Paul, after reminding his readers of the law
against murdering (which implicitly forbids abortion) and the obligation
to love our neighbors (Romans 13:9 and repeated variously in the New
Testament), added, "Love worketh no ill to his neighbor." It is foolish
to think that the apostle, who testified about his being set apart from
his mother's womb (Galatians 1:15), would have excluded the weakest and
most fragile among us in his concept of neighbors. The passage surely
speaks against harming our littlest "neighbors." Abortion works ill to
very close neighbors.
Luke, Paul's associate in ministry, recorded Pharaoh's harmful practice
of killing "young children" (Acts 7:19). This is important, for the word
selected for "children" in this context is the same word used by Luke, a
physician, for preborn baby John (". . . when Elisabeth heard the
salutation of Mary, the babe leaped in her womb" [Luke 1:41]). The use
of the same word in God-breathed Scripture for babies who have been born
and for baby John who had not yet been born points to continuity of
substance. The Creator of little children stressed the integrity of
Scripture--to the minutest detail. If Pharaoh's killing of babies was
wrong, how can any Christian believe that he is aligning with Scripture
if he supports the killing and harming of younger babies by abortion?
Children need protection, and they are dependent on our love. The
text says that "love is the fulfilling of the law." Let us obey this
law, reiterated in the New Testament, and love every single child. Let
us do him or her no harm, for "Love worketh no ill to his neighbor." PGH
October 24, Sunday BEER-LA-HAI-ROI
"Wherefore the well was called Beer-la-hai-roi; behold, it is between
Kadesh and Bered" (Genesis 16:14).
This unusual name for a well means "well of the living one who sees
me." The chapter deals with Hagar when she fled from Sarai's presence
(v.6). The "angel of the LORD," like a shepherd, found Hagar by a well
in the wilderness (v.7). This is the first explicit reference in
Scripture to Jehovah's messenger--the "angel of the LORD."
The whole scene is not unlike another one in the New Testament when
the Great Shepherd encountered another woman at a different well (John
4). Like Jesus, the "angel" in Genesis 16 is somehow both God and
distinct from God. We see that He is God from verses 10 and 13. In the
first reference, the "angel," speaking for Himself, said, "I will
multiply thy seed exceedingly." Only God can multiply seed (cf. Genesis
22:17). The one speaking to Hagar was none other than the LORD (Jehovah)
Correspondingly, Jesus claimed divine prerogatives. In the Old
Testament, Jehovah God is "the fountain of living waters" (Jeremiah
2:13; 17:13), but Jesus in John 4 claimed to be the source of living
waters (vv.10,14). He could say this because He was and is Jehovah God,
He is also the one referred to in the naming of the well. He lives.
Speaking of Jesus, the apostle John wrote, "And when I saw Him, I fell
at His feet as dead. And He laid His right hand upon me, saying unto me,
Fear not; I am the first and the last: I am He that liveth, and was
dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of
hell and of death" (Revelation 1:17,18).
Jesus, then, is the living one who sees, finds wandering sheep, and
hears. May we obey Him as did Hagar, believe Him as did the woman at the
other well, and bow before Him as did John. PGH
October 25, Friday STUNTED GROWTH IN CARNAL CHRISTIANS
"And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as
unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ. I have fed you with milk, and
not with meat: for hitherto ye were not able to bear it, neither yet now
are ye able" (I Corinthians 3:1,2).
The apostle Paul here makes a clear distinction between "spiritual"
Christians, controlled and led by the Holy Spirit, and "carnal"
Christians, still controlled by the desires of the flesh. A carnal
Christian is a baby Christian. Baby Christians are a cause of great
rejoicing when they are newborn believers, just like baby people. But if
they remain babies indefinitely, they become an annoyance to hear and a
tragedy to behold.
Each born-again believer needs urgently to "grow in grace, and in the
knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ" (II Peter 3:18). That
spiritual growth comes only through study of the Word, accompanied by
belief and obedience. First there must be "the sincere [or `logical']
milk of the word" (I Peter 2:2), but that is good only for the first
stages of growth. "For every one that useth milk is unskilful in the
word of righteousness: for he is a babe. But strong meat belongeth to
them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their
senses exercised to discern both good and evil" (Hebrews 5:13,14).
Carnal Christians are not necessarily pseudo-Christians, although
they should examine themselves to determine whether their profession of
faith in Christ is genuine (II Corinthians 13:5), but they should not be
content to remain spiritual babes. Every Christian should be able to say
with the prophet Jeremiah: "Thy words were found, and I did eat them;
and thy word was unto me the joy and rejoicing of my heart: for I am
called by thy name, O LORD God of hosts" (Jeremiah 15:16). HMM
October 26, Tuesday HIS WAY--MY WAY--PERFECT
"As for God, His way is perfect: the word of the LORD is tried: He is
a buckler to all those that trust in Him. For who is God save the LORD?
or who is a rock save our God? It is God that girdeth me with strength,
and maketh my way perfect" (Psalm 18:30-32).
"As for God, His way is perfect" (text). Since God is perfect, we can
be certain His ways are also perfect. He certainly does all things well,
never making a mistake.
We don't always know why God does certain things in certain ways, but
we can be assured that a perfect God can make "my way perfect" (text) as
well. God's way is still the best way. "Trust in the LORD with all thine
heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways
acknowledge Him, and He shall direct thy paths" (Proverbs 3:5,6).
His way is always to be found in and through the Word of God. "The
words of the LORD are pure words: as silver tried in a furnace of earth,
purified seven times" (Psalm 12:6). Those who put their trust in the
tried and true Word of God will never be disappointed. God cannot lie;
what He promises He must perform. He cannot go back on His word. "Thy
word is very pure" (Psalm 119:140).
In the text we find that God is our sure defense--"buckler;" our sure
foundation--"rock;" and our sure power--"strength."
God's way is a perfect or completed way. What He starts He finishes.
What He begins, He brings to completion.
The same is true in our lives. He will bring to pass all of His
promises to their ultimate conclusion. "He which hath begun a good work
in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ" (Philippians 1:6).
He makes our way perfect (complete). "I know whom I have believed, and
am persuaded that He is able to keep that which I have committed unto
Him against that day" (II Timothy 1:12). NPS
October 27, Friday THE SECRET OF THE LORD
"The secret of the LORD is with them that fear Him; and He will shew
them His covenant" (Psalm 25:14).
This is an amazing promise. The word for "secret" means the "inner
counsel," evidently of the Triune God Himself.
But how can those who fear the Lord really know the secret counsels
of the Godhead? The answer can only be by divine revelation to God's
prophets. Thus the prophet Amos affirms: "Surely the Lord God will do
nothing but [unless] He revealeth His secret unto His servants the
prophets" (Amos 3:7).
When these ancient promises were given, however, most of God's
revelation, though already "settled in heaven" (Psalm 119:89), was still
not revealed to men. Then Christ came and promised His disciples, "The
Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost . . . shall teach you all things"
"God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past
unto the fathers by the prophets, Hath in these last days spoken unto us
by His Son" (Hebrews 1:1,2). In addition to the Twelve, God then also
called the apostle Paul, and through these men, the Son would convey to
those who fear Him all the rest of His revelation. "By revelation He
made known unto me the mystery; ( . . . Whereby, when ye read, ye may
understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ) which in other ages
was not made known unto the sons of men, as it is now revealed unto His
holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit" (Ephesians 3:3-5).
Finally, "the secret of the LORD" was completed in written form by
John, the last of the apostles, with nothing else to be either added or
deleted (Revelation 22:18,19), that ". . . the mystery of God should be
finished, as He hath declared to His servants the prophets" (Revelation
10:7). All we shall ever need to know of God's eternal counsels is now
available to all who desire to know, in the Holy Scriptures. HMM
October 28, Thursday THE JUDGING SPIRIT OF GOD
"And the LORD said, My spirit shall not always strive with man, for
that he also is flesh: yet his days shall be an hundred and twenty
years" (Genesis 6:3).
This is a difficult verse, but it is bound to be significant, for it
contains the first reference in the Bible to God's judgment. The word
for "strive" is almost always elsewhere rendered "judge," or "judgment."
It is used in Deuteronomy 32:36 ("the LORD shall judge His people").
Thus our text seems to be telling us that, before the flood, the Holy
Spirit was directly dealing with people in judgment because of their
increasing involvement with sin and rebellion against the Lord. God,
through the Holy Spirit, was working earnestly in the antediluvians to
enable them, before His written word was available, to discern right and
wrong, but their insistent rebellion would soon lead to such depravity
that God would leave them altogether, and send the destroying, cleansing
In this more enlightened age, with the complete Bible available and
the saving work of God's Son now well known, the Holy Spirit has a new
judging ministry: "When He is come," Jesus said, "He will reprove the
world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: Of sin, because
they believe not on me; Of righteousness, because I go to my Father, and
ye see me no more; Of judgment, because the prince of this world is
judged" (John 16:8-11).
This time man has been given not 120 years, but almost 2000 years to
respond to the convicting judgments of the Holy Spirit, yet "evil men
and seducers . . . wax worse and worse" (II Timothy 3:13). Thus judgment
is imminent once again, and to those who have "done despite unto the
Spirit of grace" (Hebrews 10:29), the next time will not be merely a
cleansing flood. "For our God is a consuming fire" (Hebrews 12:29). HMM
October 29, Friday SCRIPTURE SAYS/GOD SAYS
"All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for
doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness"
(II Timothy 3:16).
Among the many evidences for verbal inspiration, both within and
without Scripture, is the frequent interchange of God recognized as the
author of a particular passage, with the human author who actually
penned it. This can be true only if the very words recorded by the
various authors are "God breathed" (the meaning of "inspiration").
For example, the early Christians exclaimed "Lord, thou art God,
which hast made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and all that in them is:
Who by the mouth of thy servant David hast said, Why did the heathen
rage, and the people imagine vain things?" (Acts 4:24,25), thereby
recognizing that God spoke through David, who wrote God's words in Psalm
Likewise, Paul, in his masterful dissertation on God's sovereignty,
claimed, "the scripture saith unto Pharaoh" (Romans 9:17) that which God
Himself had spoken unto Moses (Exodus 9:13). In other words, what
Scripture says, God says.
Even Christ Jesus, who Himself had written with His finger, "Honor
thy father and thy mother" (Exodus 20:12) on tables of stone, personally
ascribed the authorship of the passage to Moses (Mark 7:10). Evidently,
to Christ, there was no difference. That which Moses had written under
the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, and in this case what he had copied
from the stone tablet, was fully the Word of God.
We can be sure that what Scripture says, God says. "That the man of
God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works" (II Timothy
3:17). We can trust our lives on earth, our view of history, and our
eternal destiny to what is written on the pages of Scripture. JDM
October 30, Saturday WHO, WHAT, WHERE, WHEN, HOW, WHY?
"In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth" (Genesis
Any reporter knows that to cover an event well he has to answer these
six questions. When it comes to the greatest story of all, the Bible
also answers these questions. In fact, four of them are answered in the
first verse of the first chapter of the first book!
Who? God, the one, the only true God. "Hear, O Israel: the LORD our
God is one LORD" (Deuteronomy 6:4).
What? God created. What did He create? He created the heavens and the
Where? Right here.
When? He created "in the beginning," apparently also creating time
How? By forces beyond human capacity.
Since there is so much packed into this one verse, it is no
exaggeration to say that in many ways it could be the most important
verse in the Bible. It has been said that if one can believe Genesis
1:1, he can believe anything in Scripture. It provides the foundation
for all other Biblical teaching. Certainly, if it is not literally,
absolutely true, the rest of the Bible cannot be true either. It should
be no surprise, then, that our opponents direct some of their most
vicious attacks at this fundamental verse. A few of the current ways
materialists have mocked it in support of their own godless scenarios of
origins are, "In the beginning, hydrogen," or "In the beginning, quantum
physics. . . ." God cannot be pleased with such travesties of His
Why did He create? "Thou art worthy, O Lord, . . . for thou hast
created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created"
The Word says, "In the beginning, God created . . ." and there is
every reason to believe it. DER
October 31, Friday LEVIATHAN
"In that day the LORD with His sore and great and strong sword shall
punish leviathan the piercing serpent, even leviathan that crooked
serpent; and He shall slay the dragon that is in the sea" (Isaiah 27:1).
There is a remarkable animal called a "leviathan," described in the
direct words of God in the 41st chapter of Job. It is surprising that
most modern expositors call this animal merely a crocodile. Our text
plainly calls it a "piercing serpent . . . the dragon that is in the
sea." He is also said to "play" in the "great and wide sea" (Psalm
104:25,26). God's description in Job 41 says "a flame goeth out of his
mouth" (v.21), and "he maketh the deep to boil like a pot" (v.31). The
entire description is awesome! Whatever a leviathan might have been, it
was not a crocodile!
In fact, there is no animal living today which fits the description.
Therefore, it is an extinct animal, almost certainly a great marine
reptile with "terrible teeth" and "scales" (vv.14,15) still surviving in
the oceans of Job's day, evidently one of the fearsome reptiles that
gave rise to the worldwide tales of great sea dragons, before they
But that is not all. In ending His discourse, God called leviathan "a
king over all the children of pride" (Job 41:34), so the animal is also
symbolic of Satan, whose challenge to God instigated Job's strange
trials. He is "the great dragon . . . that old serpent, called the
Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world" (Revelation 12:9).
Perhaps, therefore, the mysterious and notorious extinction of the
dinosaurs is a secular prophecy of the coming Day of Judgment, when God
"shall punish leviathan" (Isaiah 27:1), and the "devil that deceived
them" will be "cast into the lake of fire . . . and shall be tormented
day and night for ever and ever" (Revelation 20:10). HMM
November 1, Friday GOD'S SINGING PRESENCE
"For I am with thee, saith the LORD, to save thee: though I make a
full end of all nations whither I have scattered thee, yet will I not
make a full end of thee: but I will correct thee in measure, and will
not leave thee altogether unpunished" (Jeremiah 30:11).
The Lord spoke to Jeremiah asking him to write this prophecy in a
book about the fate of Israel and Judah. He confirms that He will be
responsible for their return from exile, "and thy seed from the land of
their captivity; and Jacob shall return, and shall be in rest, and be
quiet, and none shall make him afraid" (v.10). However, He is quick to
state that the restoration would come after a period of appropriate
During the time of the captivity, the Lord promised to be with the
people. This promise of presence is a foundational commitment on God's
part to His people. "And, behold, I am with thee, and will keep thee in
all places whither thou goest, and will bring thee again into this land;
for I will not leave thee, until I have done that which I have spoken to
thee of" (Genesis 28:15). Furthermore, it is a promise that He has
extended to believers of this age also. "Lo, I am with you alway, even
unto the end of the world" (Matthew 28:20).
The purpose of this presence is said to be "to save thee" (text
verse). This relationship and responsibility is not distant or duty
bound, but very intimate; joyful and expressive, and most involved in
the believer's affairs. "The LORD thy God in the midst of thee is
mighty; He will save, He will rejoice over thee with joy; He will rest
in His love, He will joy over thee with singing" (Zephaniah 3:17).
What comfort this is to us, that our commitment to Him is covered by
His commitment to us. He is there, and intends to stay there, singing.
November 2, Tuesday CASTING LOTS
"And they gave forth their lots; and the lot fell upon Matthias; and
he was numbered with the eleven apostles" (Acts 1:26).
This is the only instance in the New Testament where Christians are
said to have "cast lots" in order to make a choice. This particular
choice involved a very important question: Which of two apparently
equally qualified men should be selected to take Judas' place among the
twelve apostles? It is significant that before the lots were cast, they
all prayed and asked the Lord to indicate His choice (Acts 1:24), "and
the lot fell upon Matthias."
Casting lots apparently was very common in ancient nations among both
Israelites and Gentiles. The practice is mentioned at least 88 times in
the Old Testament and eight other times in the New Testament (six of
which refer to the casting of lots by the Roman soldiers for Jesus'
vesture as He was being crucified). The first mention of the practice is
found in connection with the offering of two goats on the Day of
Atonement, the one to be sacrificed; the other to carry away, as it
were, the sins of the people into the wilderness (Leviticus 16:8). On
the pagan use of the practice, see, for example, Jonah 1:7 and Esther
The "lot" could have been any object used to make a choice. In recent
centuries in Europe, small balls of different colors began to be used,
and this practice came to be known as "casting ballots." The latter term
eventually came to be practically synonymous with voting--whatever
method was used to "cast" one's vote.
In any case, it is important to note that the Bible's single mention
of this practice by Christians indicates that it was preceded by earnest
prayer for the Lord to reveal His will, not merely the preference of the
one voting. We also always should seek earnestly the Lord's leading in
any choice we are called on to make in any election. HMM
November 3, Friday JEREMIAH AND INSPIRATION
"Then I said, I will not make mention of Him, nor speak any more in
His name. But His word was in mine heart as a burning fire shut up in my
bones, and I was weary with forbearing, and I could not stay" (Jeremiah
Contained within the books of the Old Testament are nearly three
thousand claims to its precise trustworthiness. Over and over again, the
various authors claim to be communicating the very words of God. A
number of such claims were recorded by Jeremiah in his book. As we see
in our text, Jeremiah was somewhat discouraged with the lack of response
to his ministry. But, just as he decided to refrain from passing on
God's word to the people, he felt an inner burning, recognizing that
these words were much too important to ignore. These words had come from
On other occasions, he heard the words of God directly, and was
commanded to pass them on with precision. "Thus saith the LORD; Stand in
the court of the LORD's house, and speak unto all the cities of Judah,
which come to worship in the LORD's house, all the words that I command
thee to speak unto them; diminish not [literally `to shave,' or `to
lessen in effect'] a word" (Jeremiah 26:2). This straight- forward
teaching of verbal inspiration is applied to the written accounts, as
well: "The word that came to Jeremiah from the LORD, saying, Thus
speaketh the LORD God of Israel, saying, Write thee all the words that I
have spoken unto thee in a book" (Jeremiah 30:1,2).
This book, which throughout contains such strong condemnation of
falsehood, and which was written over a period of more than two thousand
years by numerous authors, yet, without any contradiction between these
writers, surely is the Word of the eternal, holy God. It is the
information our Creator knows we need. JDM
November 4, Thursday THE GOD WHO SAVES
"The LORD is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; my God, my
strength, in whom I will trust; my buckler, and the horn of my
salvation, and my high tower" (Psalm 18:2).
What a testimony given by David to his God! In this single verse,
there is a seven-fold ascription of praise to the Lord for His great
salvation. Each testimony can be appropriated also by all who trust Him.
(1) My Rock: The word used here does not mean a stone or even a boulder,
but a mighty monolith, immovable and impregnable.
(2) My Fortress: This word refers to a great bulwark--a stronghold. The
Hebrew word is essentially the same as Masada, the high butte where
the Jews resisted the Roman armies after the destruction of
(3) My Deliverer: "Our God is able to deliver," even from the fiery
furnace, the den of lions, and from the armies of Saul.
(4) My Strength: This is another word often translated "rock," this time
a rugged, craggy one, most appropriate as a symbol of great
(5) My Buckler: The small, movable shield used to "quench all the fiery
darts of the wicked" (Ephesians 6:16).
(6) The Horn of my Salvation: This striking Old Testament symbol is even
repeated in the New Testament (Luke 1:69) and applied to the coming
Savior, referring either to the "horns of the altar," where fleeing
sinners could cling for refuge, or to the fighting horns of a strong
(7) My High Tower: Here the word is not for a man-made tower, but for a
natural, high, topographic eminence, suitable both for watching and
The great promises of salvation and security in Christ are timeless.
The words that brought such hope to David are still a comfort to
believers today. HMM
November 5, Friday PRACTICE WHAT YOU PREACH
"For I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done to
you" (John 13:15).
Christ's life matched His teachings, and so must ours. Consider, for
example, Christ's teaching that we should "pray for them which
despitefully use you, and persecute you" (Matthew 5:44). This is matched
by His prayer for His tormentors while on the cross, "Father, forgive
them; for they know not what they do" (Luke 23:34). Elsewhere, He taught
that our circle of influence should be greater than those of like
thinking (Matthew 5:47), a fact which caused His detractors great
consternation (Luke 15:2). He taught that our prayers should not be done
so that "they may be seen of men" (Matthew 6:5). And the gospels record
several times where He went "into a solitary place, and there prayed"
(Mark 1:35; see also Mark 6:46). Christ placed great value on children,
as we see in Matthew 18:6, and later He welcomed them (Matthew 19:14).
He taught Peter to forgive "seventy times seven" times (Matthew 18:22)
and later forgave Peter for his continued denials (Mark 16:7).
Christ advocated paying taxes (Mark 12:17) and later enabled Peter to
pay tribute for both of them (Matthew 17:27). He taught that "a man's
life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth"
(Luke 12:15), and He Himself had "not where to lay His head" (Luke
9:58). Likewise He placed great store in aiding the poor (Luke 14:13),
both in teaching and in practice (Matthew 14:13-21). Perhaps His
teaching "love your enemies" (Matthew 5:44) is best illustrated by His
tender prayer for those who would soon take His life as He hung on the
cross for the very ones responsible for His death, "Father, forgive
them" (Luke 23:34).
May God grant us the strength to follow not only our own teachings,
but His teachings, as well. JDM
November 6, Saturday REASONABLE SERVICE
"I beseech you therefore . . . by the mercies of God, that ye present
your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your
reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye
transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that
good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God" (Romans 12:1,2).
For those who would know God's will for their lives, these verses
provide the definitive answer. The key is sacrifice, not conformity. It
is paradoxical, but wonderfully true, that real living is dying--dying
to the world and living unto Christ! This great theme is emphasized
repeatedly throughout the New Testament (Galatians 2:20, etc.).
Whether paradoxical or not, the principle of sacrificial living for
Christ is eminently reasonable service! "Reasonable" is the Greek
logikos, from which we derive our word "logical." "Service" is the Greek
latreian, referring to service as a priest. We have been made "an holy
priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus
Christ" (I Peter 2:5). It is perfectly logical that we render such
lifelong service to the great Friend who laid down His life for us, in
order to take away our sins and give us everlasting life with Him in the
ages to come.
It is also logical that we should not conform our lives to the
standards of this present evil world. Why should we imitate this world's
materialism or humanism, in dress or music or morals or anything else?
We have far higher and more lasting standards, guided by the Word of God
and by minds renewed in Christ.
Our minds once were "blinded" by "the god of this world" (II
Corinthians 4:4), but now they can be guided by "the mind of the Lord"
(Romans 11:34; I Corinthians 2:16). Here is the key to knowing that good
and acceptable and perfect will of God! HMM
November 7, Friday ACCEPTED IN THE BELOVED
"To the praise of the glory of His grace, wherein He hath made us
accepted in the beloved" (Ephesians 1:6).
This wonderful verse assures that all who have been saved by God's
grace have been "accepted" by the Lord. However, this is not just a
marginal acceptability. The Greek word occurs only one other time in the
New Testament, and there it appears in the words of the angel Gabriel to
Mary. "Hail, thou that art highly favored, the Lord is with thee:
blessed art thou among women" (Luke 1:28). That is, we are not merely
accepted; we are highly favored by God!
This is not because of our own personal merits, of course. It is
because God sees us as in His Son; He loves us because He loves Him, and
we are in Him.
Although Christ is called God's "beloved Son" seven times in the New
Testament (each time directly by the Father Himself), there is only one
other time when He is spoken of simply as "the beloved." This is in
Matthew 12:18 (quoting Isaiah 42:1), "Behold my servant, whom I have
chosen; my beloved, in whom my soul is well pleased: I will put my
spirit upon Him."
The love of God the Father for His beloved Son is the root source of
every other love in the universe, for it is the one love that is
eternal. "Father, I will that they also, whom thou hast given me, be
with me where I am; that they may behold my glory, which thou hast given
me: for thou lovedst me before the foundation of the world" (John
17:24). This is what it means to be highly favored in the beloved! This
was the prayer of Christ on His way to Gethsemane the night before He
went to the cross.
We who are in Him, are predestined to be with Him in glory, to behold
His glory, and forever, as redeemed sinners saved by grace through
faith, to be "to the praise of the glory of His grace" (text verse). HMM
November 8, Monday THE SPIRITUAL SENSES
"O taste and see that the LORD is good: blessed is the man that
trusteth in Him" (Psalm 34:8).
Frequently, Scripture uses our five physical senses in a figurative
way to help us comprehend our interaction with the heavenly realm of
God's presence and power.
We can "see," for example, with spiritual eyes. Paul prayed thus for
the believer: "The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye
may know what is the hope of His calling, and what the riches of the
glory of His inheritance in the saints" (Ephesians 1:18).
Similarly, we are privileged to hear the voice of the Lord with
spiritual ears. "My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they
follow me" (John 10:27). "A stranger will they not follow, . . . for
they know not the voice of strangers" (John 10:5).
The sense of touch is the sense of feeling, and God can both touch
and be touched. We read, for example, of "a band of men, whose hearts
God had touched" (I Samuel 10:26). Of Jesus Christ, it is said that He
is not a remote deity "which cannot be touched with the feeling of our
infirmities" (Hebrews 4:15). Even people who never knew Him can perhaps
"feel after Him, and find Him" (Acts 17:27) if they truly desire His
We can even become "unto God a sweet savor of Christ" (II Corinthians
2:15). To the world, the faithful Christian life and testimony can
either be "the savor of death unto death" to those who refuse it, or
"the savor of life unto life" (II Corinthians 2:16).
Finally, we are exhorted actually to taste the Lord, and see that He
is good! His Word will be, according to our needs, either "sincere milk"
(I Peter 2:2), "strong meat" (Hebrews 5:14), or "sweeter also than honey
and the honeycomb" (Psalm 19:10). HMM
November 9, Friday PRAYER OF THE WHOLE HEART
"Then shall ye call upon me, and ye shall go and pray unto me, and I
will hearken unto you. And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall
search for me with all your heart" (Jeremiah 29:12,13).
There are many promises and instances of answered prayer in the
Bible. Unfortunately, many of us really don't seem to believe them, and
therefore don't experience the answers to our prayers. Halfhearted
praying may sometimes secure partial answers, but God exhorts us to pray
wholeheartedly. "The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man
availeth much" (James 5:16).
The principle is timeless, and is stressed often in the Word. "Call
unto me, and I will answer thee, and shew thee great and mighty things
which thou knowest not" (Jeremiah 33:3). God's resources are unlimited,
but our motives must be pure, and our prayers must be from the heart.
"Let him ask in faith, nothing wavering" (James 1:6). "Ye ask, and
receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your
lusts" (James 4:3).
In addition to right motives and genuine faith, there must be deep
sincerity as we pray from the heart. "Men ought always to pray, and not
to faint" said Jesus (Luke 18:1), who Himself found it necessary to pray
long and earnestly. "Rising up a great while before day, He . . .
departed into a solitary place, and there prayed" (Mark 1:35).
The early church followed His teaching and example, and saw His
blessing. "These all continued with one accord in prayer and
supplication" (Acts 1:14). "And they continued steadfastly . . . in
prayers" (Acts 2:42). "We will give ourselves continually to prayer"
(Acts 6:4). Consequently, "The word of God increased; and the number of
the disciples multiplied in Jerusalem greatly" (Acts 6:7). God is
honored when we search for Him and pray to Him with all our hearts. HMM
November 10, Wednesday DILIGENT FAITH
"Let us labor therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall
after the same example of unbelief" (Hebrews 4:11).
At first glance, this verse seems to command opposite actions
simultaneously. On the one hand, "we which have believed do enter into
rest" (Hebrews 4:3), and on the other, we are to "labor," implying work.
Some Greek words translated as "labor" do, indeed, have the connotation
of toiling, or weariness, as in Matthew 11:28: "Come unto me, all ye
that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest." However, the
Greek word for "labor" in our text verse is only translated thus in this
one particular instance. It is more commonly translated "diligence" or
"diligent," and means to use speed, to make an effort, to be prompt, or
earnest. Hebrews 3:7,8 (quoting Psalm 95) further explains: "To day
[denoting readiness or promptness] if ye will hear His voice, harden not
your hearts, as in the provocation, in the day of temptation in the
wilderness." We are enjoined to "be not slothful" (Hebrews 6:12) or
"dull of hearing" (5:11), "for unto us was the gospel preached, as well
as unto them [the children of Israel]: but the word preached did not
profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that heard it" (Hebrews
4:2). We are to be "followers of them who through faith and patience
inherit the promises" (Hebrews 6:12).
Although we who believe and have entered into His rest have "ceased
from [our] own works, as God did from His" (Hebrews 4:10), our diligent
faith produces "good works, which God hath before ordained that we
should walk in them" (Ephesians 2:10). "Giving all diligence, add to
your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; and to knowledge temperance;
and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; and to godliness
brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity" (II Peter 1:5-7).
November 11, Friday IN THE LORD'S ARMY
"Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.
No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life;
that he may please Him who hath chosen him to be a soldier" (II Timothy
This is a day that has been set aside in America to remember those
who served in conflict in the Armed Forces. The memory of these good
soldiers calls to mind the words in our text, where Paul adjures each of
us to be disciplined and hardened soldiers of Jesus Christ.
This verse is well known to many people, but there is little doubt
that we view this verse in far too shallow a fashion. In these days of
relative peace and prosperity, we lose sight of what it was really like
to be in armed conflict, and tend to think this passage is teaching that
we should not be overly materialistic--that we should be willing to give
up some of the pleasures and luxuries of life to be more effective
soldiers of Jesus Christ.
We need, however, to remember that a soldier in a real war gives up
virtually all comforts, perhaps even going without meals or a place to
sleep. Totally left behind are father, mother, brother, sister, wife,
children. Nothing can be permitted to "entangle" the soldier, for his
sole duty is to serve, obey, and please his commanding officer--even to
die, if need be, on the field of battle. Without such commitment, the
battle will likely be lost.
Could it be that we as soldiers in the service of Jesus Christ have
not been the disciplined and dedicated soldiers that we should be? Have
we, in essence, been "playing" at war--not having the discipline or
desire to make the sacrifices necessary for victory? Since ours is a
cause far greater than that of any nation at war, should not we be
willing to do whatever it takes to "please Him Who hath chosen him to be
a soldier?" JDM
November 12, Friday NOT MANY WISE MEN
"For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after
the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called" (I Corinthians
For the most part, the rich and famous of this world, the wise and
powerful, have always looked down on the followers of Christ and the
Scriptures. This seems increasingly true today, and many believers have
been led to compromise as a result. Rather than being discouraged by the
intellectual snobbery of educated and powerful unbelievers, however, we
should rejoice in this further proof of the prophetic inspiration of the
This passage is, in fact, a remarkably fulfilled prophecy, true for
almost 2000 years. Christians have founded great universities to train
people in God's truth, only to see them taken over, one after another,
by the ungodly leaders of this present world. Missionaries have carried
the gospel to heathen lands, only to be superseded by wealth-seeking
materialists who exploit and subvert their converts.
Paul did not say "Not any," of course, but "Not many." God always has
raised up a few brilliant or powerful men (such as Paul himself) who
have devoted their abilities and influence to the Lord and His Word, but
these have always been the exception. There have been a few godly kings
and generals, a few Christ-honoring artists and musicians of great
talent, but they are far outnumbered by the others.
But we must remember that God said long ago that that was the way it
would be. "God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound
the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound
the things which are mighty; And base things of the world, and things
which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to
bring to nought things that are: That no flesh should glory in His
presence" (I Corinthians 1:27-29). HMM
November 13, Friday THE `SHALL NOT'S' OF JOHN'S GOSPEL
"For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that
whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life"
There are many wonderful promises to the believer listed in the
gospel of John. Let us consider seven of these which teach of things
which "shall not" happen to the believer.
Teaching of the indwelling Holy Spirit, Christ said, "Whosoever
drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the
water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up
into everlasting life" (John 4:14).
Similarly, "Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that
cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never
thirst" (John 6:35).
Furthermore, He taught: "I am the light of the world: he that
followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of
life" (John 8:12). Our deepest needs are met in Him.
Having once believed, we are placed into His family and He promises
"I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither
shall any man pluck them out of my hand" (John 10:28). In Him, we are
utterly secure. Why? "He that heareth my word, and believeth on Him that
sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation;
but is passed from death unto life" (John 5:24).
Consequently, we have no fear of death. "I am the resurrection, and
the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he
live: and whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die.
Believest thou this?" (John 11:25,26).
As the familiar verse in our text tells us, if we only believe "that
He gave His only begotten Son," we shall "not perish, but have
everlasting life." JDM
November 14, Sunday ABIDING WORDS
"If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye
will, and it shall be done unto you" (John 15:7).
In order for the words of the Lord really to abide in us, it seems
clear that we should commit as many of them to memory--not only in our
minds, but in our hearts--as we possibly can. "Thy word have I hid in
mine heart," the psalmist said, "that I might not sin against thee"
There are many promises of blessing to those who have God's word in
their hearts. "For it is a pleasant thing if thou keep them within thee;
they shall withal be fitted in thy lips" (Proverbs 22:18). "My son, if
thou wilt receive my words, and hide my commandments with thee; . . .
Then shalt thou understand the fear of the LORD, and find the knowledge
of God" (Proverbs 2:1,5).
Both the apostle Paul and the apostle Peter have noted the importance
of Scripture memorization. Paul says: "Let the Word of Christ dwell in
you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms
and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the
Lord" (Colossians 3:16).
Peter's exhortation is as follows: "This second epistle, beloved, I
now write unto you; in both which I stir up your pure minds by way of
remembrance: That ye may be mindful of the words which were spoken
before by the holy prophets [i.e., the Old Testament Scriptures], and of
the commandment of us the apostles of the Lord and Savior [i.e., the New
Testament Scriptures]" (II Peter 3:1,2). The words "be mindful" mean
essentially "recall to mind." Since the Scriptures cannot be recalled to
mind unless they've first been installed in the mind, nor can they abide
in our hearts unless we first hide them in our hearts, now is the time
to begin! HMM
November 15, Friday THE SON OF CONSOLATION
"And Joses, who by the apostles was surnamed Barnabas, (which is,
being interpreted, The son of consolation,) a Levite, and of the country
of Cyprus, Having land, sold it, and brought the money, and laid it at
the apostles' feet" (Acts 4:36,37).
The apostles renamed this unique servant to match his God-given gift
of building up others. Let's look at this trait in action. When Saul of
Tarsus was converted to become the apostle Paul, there were many
believers who were skeptical about his transformation. Indeed, "they
were all afraid of him, and believed not that he was a disciple" (Acts
9:26). It was Barnabas who came alongside as a comforter to Paul and who
served as a character witness for the acceptance of Paul by those at
The other side of this behavior of consoling others is that of
exhorting others. After the church acknowledged that the gospel should
be preached to the Gentiles also, Barnabas was sent out to Antioch to
minister to new believers in that city. Upon arriving, he saw evidence
that the grace of God was exhibited in the lives of these believers, and
exhorted both believers and non-believers to "cleave unto the Lord"
(Acts 11:23). As a result, "much people was added unto the Lord" (v.24).
It is evident that Barnabas could be such a great consoler because he
himself was filled with the Holy Spirit. His life and testimony radiated
the presence of Christ, so much so that Barnabas was referred to as "a
good man, and full of the Holy Ghost and of faith" (v.24). His walk with
God was so committed, that as he was chosen for missionary work, "the
Holy Ghost said, Separate me Barnabas and Saul for the work whereunto I
have called them. And when they had fasted and prayed, and laid their
hands on them, they sent them away" (Acts 13:2,3). KBC
November 16, Tuesday THE MEEK OF THE EARTH
"Seek ye the LORD, all ye meek of the earth, which have wrought His
judgment; seek righteousness, seek meekness: it may be ye shall be hid
in the day of the LORD'S anger" (Zephaniah 2:3).
This phrase, "the meek of the earth," occurs three times in the Bible
(see also Psalm 76:9, which promises their salvation; and Isaiah 11:4,
which assures them justice). Our text promises deliverance from God's
"Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth" (Matthew
5:5), said Jesus, referring to the promise of Psalm 37:11: "But the meek
shall inherit the earth; and shall delight themselves in the abundance
There are many other similar promises: "The meek will He guide in
judgment: and the meek will He teach His way" (Psalm 25:9). "He will
beautify the meek with salvation" (Psalm 149:4), so we need to put on
"the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God
of great price" (I Peter 3:4).
That meekness is not weakness is made clear from the first use of the
word in the Bible. "Now the man Moses was very meek, above all the men
which were upon the face of the earth" (Numbers 12:3). Moses was strong
and courageous, but also deeply humble and self-sacrificing; a man of
prayer and trust in the word of God, willing to defend it at all costs.
The Lord Jesus defined meekness in terms of His own human character:
"Learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart" (Matthew 11:29).
A meek spirit enables a Christian to maintain composure in the face
of opposition, to accept adversity without complaint; promotion without
arrogance; demotion without resentment. It produces a peace which no
trouble can disturb and which no prosperity can puff up. Therefore, as
our text commands: "Seek meekness!" HMM
November 17, Friday ISRAEL'S CONFESSION OF FAITH
"Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD: And thou shalt love
the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with
all thy might" (Deuteronomy 6:4,5).
As stated in the Law, Deuteronomy 6:4-9 was to be recited by all Jews
both morning and evening, for it contains God's basic plan for passing
on the message of God from generation to generation.
The primary teaching is contained in verse 4. There is only one God,
indivisible, although in three persons. His divine uniqueness precludes
the worship of any other deity. The response to this message is that we
should love that God with our entire being. Jesus Christ recognized this
as the first and greatest commandment (Mark 12:30), teaching that
obedience to it fulfilled one's duty to the entire law.
The message was so important that God even gave the mechanics for
passing it on. In verse 6, we see that "these words, which I command
thee this day, shall be in thine heart." Each person, particularly
parents (v.7), needed a heart commitment to God's commandments,
statutes, and judgments (vv.1,2).
Next, they had to commit themselves to raising up a godly heritage.
"Thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children" (v.7). This
teaching was to be first of all, oral teaching. They were also to dress
in such a way that it reflected their commitment to the law of God (v.8)
and they were to place visual reminders of the law of God all around
their homes so that the children were constantly reminded of the things
of God (v.9).
Christians need to discover the truth of this passage. We must not
merely assume the godly teaching of our children, but also actively
cultivate it. At stake is not only the personal walk of our children,
but also the eternal message of God. JDM
November 18, Thursday CHRISTIAN PROPORTIONATE GIVING
"Upon the first day of the week let every one of you lay by him in
store, as God hath prospered him, that there be no gatherings when I
come" (I Corinthians 16:2).
Although the New Testament writers frequently commend and encourage
generous giving to the Lord's work (e.g., II Corinthians 8,9;
Philippians 3:10-19), this seems to be the only verse where a systematic
method of giving is suggested. The only references to tithing in the New
Testament are set in the context of either the Jewish or patriarchal
economies and so are not directly applicable to the Christian economy,
although the principles are instructive.
The particular collection referred to in our text was for what we
today would call a "designated offering," but probably this principle of
regular and systematic giving for the over-all work of the Lord was also
carried out in similar fashion, since no other method is ever prescribed
in the New Testament for Christians. Although tithing is not
specifically mentioned as the standard, the principle of proportionate
giving is clearly commanded. Those who have been most "prospered" by the
Lord should contribute the most, but all should contribute something out
of what the Lord has given them. Recall that Jesus gave special
commendation to the poor widow who gave "all her living" (Mark 12:44),
and that Paul gave special commendation to the Philippian believers
whose "deep poverty abounded unto the riches of their liberality" (II
Their giving was also to be regular and systematic, on "the first day
of the week," not just sporadic or impulsive. Of course, if a person
received wages say, only once a month, it could all be given on the
first Lord's day following, since it was only that day on which he had
been "prospered," as it were. And it should, of course, be given
cheerfully and thankfully (II Corinthians 9:7,11). HMM
November 19, Friday FAITHFUL IN MINISTRY
"And I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who hath enabled me, for that He
counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry" (I Timothy 1:12).
Paul, in a similar manner to Daniel, walked closely to the Lord and
made known to those around him the benefits of a dedicated life. Daniel
had the impossible task, just like the other wise men of Babylon, to
reveal, and then to interpret Nebuchadnezzar's dream. The one big
difference favoring Daniel's success was that he had dedicated his life
to serving God and had all of God's resources at his disposal. He knew
that his God could and would reveal the matter to him so as to bring
glory unto Himself. "I thank thee, and praise thee, O thou God of my
fathers, who hast given me wisdom and might, and hast made known unto me
now what we desired of thee: for thou hast now made known unto us the
king's matter" (Daniel 2:23).
Enabling leads to good works: "And God is able to make all grace
abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things,
may abound to every good work" (II Corinthians 9:8). "I can do all
things through Christ which strengtheneth me" (Philippians 4:13).
The result of being available, willing, and faithful to the work of
the Lord may be more far-reaching than is immediately apparent. After
the survival of Daniel and his friends from the fiery furnace, the king
decreed that all people should honor Daniel's God. "Then Nebuchadnezzar
spake, and said, Blessed be the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego,
who hath sent His angel, and delivered His servants that trusted in Him,
and have changed the king's word, and yielded their bodies, that they
might not serve nor worship any god, except their own God. . . . Because
there is no other God that can deliver after this sort" (Daniel
November 20, Saturday WHEN THE FOUNDATIONS ARE DESTROYED
"If the foundations be destroyed, what can the righteous do?" (Psalm
The word here for "foundations" is not the usual word for, say, a
building foundation. Used rarely, a better translation of this word
would be "purpose," or "basis." The fear expressed is not that the
foundations of our faith might be undermined, but that we might lose our
sense of purpose.
In the context of the psalm, David was in danger of becoming
demoralized by the pressures of wicked desires and evil ambitions all
around him, and Christians surely have the same problem today. Why
should we try to maintain high standards of doctrinal integrity and
moral purity when the people around us--even most Christians--seem to be
occupied mostly with materialistic ambition and pursuit of pleasure? If
we allow the devil to undermine the very purposes God has for our lives,
wandering away from His will in favor of some temporal interest, then
why even continue with a pretense of Christian living?
David's solution was simply to remind himself that "the LORD is in
His holy temple, the LORD'S throne is in heaven: His eyes behold, His
eyelids try, the children of men" (v.4). He may allow the righteous to
be tried for a season, but we must not forget that "the righteous LORD
loveth righteousness" (v.7), and that "the wicked and him that loveth
violence His soul hateth" (v.5).
When we are tempted to wonder whether it is really worth all the
effort, and when our very foundation and purpose for living seems to be
crumbling, we should remember that our God is Creator, Sustainer, and
Judge of all--that He still is on His throne, and that we who belong to
Him have been "predestinated according to the purpose of Him who worketh
all things after the counsel of His own will" (Ephesians 1:11). HMM
November 21, Friday NATIONAL RIGHTEOUSNESS
"Righteousness exalteth a nation: but sin is a reproach to any
people" (Proverbs 14:34).
Modern Christians place great emphasis on personal salvation, but we
must remember that God is also the God of the nations. That being so,
our own nation, so greatly blessed of God in the past, may well be in
great peril, for "the wicked shall be turned into hell, and all the
nations that forget God" (Psalm 9:17).
Our nation was founded by men who had strong faith in God, and its
laws were based on the laws of God. The schools all honored the Lord and
His Word, taught the truth of special creation, and enforced Biblical
morality among the students. Today, God and anything associated with Him
are banned from the classroom, His laws are no longer taken seriously in
the courts and legislatures, and evolutionary humanism is, in effect,
the state-endorsed religion. Divorce and immorality are affecting most
of the nation's homes; business and finance are ubiquitously plagued
with greed and dishonesty; the sins of homosexuality, drunkenness, and
drug use are rampant, and atheistic, New Age globalism is an imminent
threat at our gates.
God would even have spared Sodom, though, if there had been ten
righteous (Genesis 18:32), and America has evidently been spared thus
far because it is still the nerve center of world missions and Christian
literature, as well as aid for the sick and needy. The modern revival of
true creationism is centered in this nation, and serious Biblical
interest is growing in many places, yet worldliness, apostasy, and
compromise are eating away at the heart of American Christianity, and
there is great need for a revival--not of religious emotionalism, but of
genuine commitment to the integrity and authority of God's Word.
"Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD" (Psalm 33:12). HMM
November 22, Monday GRAVEN IN THE ROCK
"Oh that my words were now written! oh that they were printed in a
book! That they were graven with an iron pen and lead in the rock for
ever!" (Job 19:23,24).
In the midst of terrible calamities and sufferings, righteous Job
expressed a heartfelt longing to write down his experiences and
meditations, that others might later understand. This longing no doubt
later led him, when the Lord finally restored him to health and
prosperity, to do just that.
Job apparently wrote his book, originally, not on some perishable
material, but, as we see in our text, on tablets of stone with a pen of
iron, so that his testimony might be permanently available to all future
generations. Indeed, God in His providence has ordained exactly that, by
incorporating it in the Bible.
And the essence of Job's testimony is surely one of the most
wonderful statements of faith ever penned, all the more remarkable in
view of Job's circumstances when he uttered it, and in light of the
limited knowledge of God's plan of redemption available in his day.
Here it is: "For I know that my redeemer liveth, and that He shall
stand at the latter day upon the earth" (Job 19:25). Even before the
days of Moses, Job knew that God Himself would become, not just the
world's Redeemer from its bondage under the great Curse, but his own
personal Savior! He even sensed the necessity of God's bodily
incarnation, for he said He would stand on the earth in the latter days.
He knew that he himself would some day be resurrected from the dead, for
he said that, even after worms had destroyed his body, "yet in my flesh
shall I see God" (Job 19:26). In the many centuries since, multitudes of
other believers have seen Job's testimony, written forever in the Book,
and have made it their own, trusting their living Redeemer. HMM
November 23, Friday THE PERSONAL PSALM
"The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want" (Psalm 23:1).
Have you ever noticed how many times David used "I," "my," and "me" in
this great psalm? Let's count them.
"The LORD is my (1) shepherd; I (2) shall not want. He maketh me (3)
to lie down in green pastures: He leadeth me (4) beside the still
waters. He restoreth my (5) soul: He leadeth me (6) in the paths of
righteousness for His name's sake. Yea, though I (7) walk through the
valley of the shadow of death, I (8) will fear no evil: for thou art
with me (9); thy rod and thy staff they comfort me (10). Thou preparest
a table before me (11) in the presence of mine (12) enemies: thou
anointest my (13) head with oil; my (14) cup runneth over. Surely
goodness and mercy shall follow me (15) all the days of my (16) life:
and I (17) will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever."
Seventeen times in six short verses, David personalized the great
doctrinal truths found in this beautiful psalm. He understood that his
great shepherd was none other than Jehovah (LORD) Himself, who would
personally supply his every need, restore his soul in times of distress,
give him victory over his enemies, even death; and abundantly bless him,
even to the point of being with him forever.
How important it is to realize that our God is a personal God who
desires to be to us everything that a faithful shepherd is to his sheep.
Jesus said, "I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth His life
for the sheep" (John 10:11). Our God would even die for us, and there is
certainly no daily need He will not supply. "I shall not want."
The apostle Paul said it beautifully: "But my God shall supply all
your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus" (Philippians
4:19). May we daily practice the presence of our personal God and great
shepherd of the sheep - the Lord Jesus Christ. NPS
November 24, Wednesday OUR NATURAL AND SPIRITUAL BODIES
"It is sown in dishonor; it is raised in glory: it is sown in
weakness; it is raised in power: It is sown a natural body; it is raised
a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual
body" (I Corinthians 15:43,44).
In this portion of this great chapter on the resurrection--first that
of Christ, then the future resurrection of the redeemed--death and
resurrection are compared to seed-sowing and harvest. When a seed is
planted in the ground, it is as though it had died and is buried. For a
long time after its "death," the seed cannot be seen, but finally it
rises again as a beautiful flowering plant, or sheaf of grain, or even a
Jesus made this same analogy. "Except a corn of wheat fall into the
ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much
fruit" (John 12:24; note also Mark 4:26-29). Our human bodies,
because of sin and the curse, eventually die and are buried; but one day
(like the planted seed) they will appear again, but now immortal and
glorified, far greater than they were before--that is, of course, if
their real inhabitants (their eternal created spirits) have been born
again through faith in their already-resurrected Savior.
Our new spiritual bodies rising from the grave will be real physical
bodies (like that of Jesus after He was raised), but will no longer be
under bondage to gravitational and electro- magnetic forces, as at
present, but only to spiritual forces, of which we have as yet very
little knowledge. We do know, however, that our spiritual bodies will be
"fashioned like unto His glorious body" (Philippians 3:21). Although "it
doth not yet appear what we shall be: . . . when He shall appear, we
shall be like Him" (I John 3:2). Then, in our glorious, powerful,
spiritual bodies, we as "His servants shall serve Him" in love and joy
forever (Revelation 22:3). HMM
November 25, Friday THANKSGIVING IN HEAVEN
"And the four and twenty elders, which sat before God on their seats
[thrones], fell upon their faces, and worshipped God, Saying, We give
thee thanks, O Lord God Almighty, which art, and wast, and art to come;
because thou hast taken to thee thy great power, and hast reigned"
This is the final reference in the Bible to the giving of thanks. It
records a scene in heaven where the 24 elders, representing all redeemed
believers, are thanking God that His primeval promise of restoration and
victory is about to be fulfilled. The petition, "thy kingdom come"
(Matthew 6:10), is now ready to be answered.
Similarly, the final reference to the offering of praise is also set
in heaven. "And a voice came out of the throne, saying, `Praise our God,
all ye His servants, and ye that fear Him, both small and great.' And I
heard as it were the voice of a great multitude, and as the voice of
many waters, and as the voice of mighty thunderings, saying, Alleluia:
for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth" (Revelation 19:5,6).
The word "alleluia" is the same as the Hebrew word "hallelujah,"
meaning, "Praise ye the Lord!" Thus, the joyful notes of praise for who
He is and thankfulness for what He has done will resound through heaven
when Christ returns. Then, forevermore, the very lives of all His saints
will be perpetual testimonies of thanksgiving and praise.
This is our destiny, if we have received Christ by faith as Savior
and Lord. It is important that our lives even now begin to reflect such
a character, that we may be the better prepared as the day approaches.
"In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus
concerning you" (I Thessalonians 5:18). "By Him therefore let us offer
the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our
lips giving thanks to His name" (Hebrews 13:15). HMM
November 26, Friday GOD OUR SAVIOR
"But after that the kindness and love of God our Savior toward man
appeared" (Titus 3:4).
Six times in the pastoral epistles Paul refers to God (evidently
meaning the Father) as our Savior (I Timothy 1:1; 2:3; 4:10; Titus 1:3;
2:10; 3:4). Usually, however, he and the other New Testament writers
identify Jesus Christ as our Savior. "But grow in grace, and in the
knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ" (II Peter 3:18, for
example). In the same fashion, Paul relates that his commission to
preach the gospel came from "God our Savior" (Titus 1:3), while
elsewhere, he says his commission came "by the revelation of Jesus
Christ" (Galatians 1:12).
Is this a contradiction? No! In fact, references to God as our Savior
should not surprise us, for it is found in numerous places in the Old
Testament. (See, for example, Psalm 106:21.) Furthermore, our
understanding of the Trinity insists that all three persons of the
Godhead are One in purpose. Of course, Christ made many references to
the fact that He was not acting on His own, but came to do "the will of
Him that sent me" (John 6:38). Paul, himself, seemed to be comfortable
with this seeming overlap, for in one sentence he wrote, "God our
Savior: . . . Grace, mercy, and peace, from God the Father and the Lord
Jesus Christ our Savior" (Titus 1:3,4).
While Christ was the primary instrument of salvation as the perfect
sacrifice for sin, God the Father is, without question, the source of
all human salvation, and the application of the title Savior to Him is
proper. Indeed, we derive great comfort as we see the role of all three
Persons of the Godhead involved.
"Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us, and
sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins" (I John 4:10). JDM
November 27, Friday PERFECT PEACE
"Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee:
because he trusteth in thee" (Isaiah 26:3).
Perfect peace is rendered in the Hebrew, "Shalom, shalom." God's
people are kept in "Shalom, shalom" when they have their minds stayed on
the Lord and trust in Him. Note three places where peace is promised to
(1) "Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through
our Lord Jesus Christ" (Romans 5:1). The believer has what is called
"peace with God." We were sinners (guilty) before the law court of
God, but now we are justified (not guilty!); therefore, now that the
sin question has been settled, we no longer fear to stand before
God. We are "in Christ" (Romans 8:1; 16:7; I Corinthians 1:2, etc.).
Thus, His presence produces continual peace before a holy God.
(2) "And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep
your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus" (Philippians 4:7). The
"peace of God" mentioned in this text is given to quiet the state of
our heart because of circumstances. So many things can seemingly
take away our peace. We believers are ever bombarded with trials,
sufferings, and tribulations that the devil likes to use to disturb
and discourage us. But the Lord has promised peace in our hearts and
minds. The Lord desires to give peace in the emotional part of us
(the heart), and also in the intellectual part of us (the mind). He
will keep, that is guard (military term), our hearts and minds.
(3) "Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you" (John 14:27).
Personal, practical peace comes from the Prince of Peace, the Lord
Jesus Christ. We don't have to work up peace; it comes from Christ,
directly, and is the fruit of the Spirit. Therefore, "let not your
heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid" (John 14:27). NPS
November 28, Sunday THE EXTENDED FAMILY
"But he shall receive an hundredfold now in this time, houses, and
brethren, and sisters, and mothers, and children, and lands, with
persecutions; and in the world to come eternal life" (Mark 10:30).
When Jesus saw a mother grieving over the death of her only son, "He
had compassion on her, and said unto her, Weep not" (Luke 7:13), and
returned him alive to his mother.
The situation at the cross has some parallels to the above, but a new
solution for the grieving mother was necessary. It was important that
the Son on the cross stay there in order to save her. She earlier had
confessed such a need (cf. Luke 1:47). The solution to the immediate
need, however, was found in the circle of faith. Mary was to seek
comfort in another "son" who was already standing nearby--John. He, in
turn, was to care for Mary as he would for his own mother (John
Consider spiritual relationships in Christ. The one who does the will
of the heavenly Father, "the same is my brother, and sister, and
mother," Jesus said (Matthew 12:50). John seems indeed to have grasped
the broader message: "My little children" (I John 2:1). Paul, similarly,
called Timothy his "own son in the faith" (I Timothy 1:2)--with familial
terms being used for Titus, Onesimus, and Rufus' mother, also (Titus
1:4; Philemon 10; and Romans 16:13). He tells us to entreat an older man
"as a father; and the younger men as brethren; The elder women as
mothers; the younger as sisters" (I Timothy 5:1,2). In our text for
today, we learn that broken physical relationships which occur as a
result of faith in Christ will be replaced "an hundredfold . . .
brethren, sisters, fathers, mothers, wives, children" (Matthew 19:29;
Believers, because of Jesus, have been brought into a big family--a
family of faith. The Lord is to be praised! PGH
November 29, Friday THE GOOD CONFESSION
"I give thee charge in the sight of God, who quickeneth all things,
and before Christ Jesus, who before Pontius Pilate witnessed a good
confession" (I Timothy 6:13).
Young Timothy also had "professed a good profession [same word as
`confession'] before many witnesses" (I Timothy 6:12), evidently of
similar substance and quality to that in the witness of Christ before
Pilate. When the Jews urged Pilate to condemn Jesus to death, their
charge was that "He made Himself the Son of God" (John 19:7). Pilate
gave Jesus opportunity to deny this charge and save His life, "but Jesus
gave him no answer" (John 19:9). Both by His silence, when a denial of
the charge could have saved Him, and by His open testimony before Pilate
that He was, in fact, a King from heaven itself--indeed "the blessed and
only Potentate, the King of kings, and Lord of lords" (I Timothy 6:15),
it becomes clear that our own "good confession" must be a confession of
our faith in Jesus Christ as Son of God, our Savior and Lord, especially
when that confession is made openly before hostile witnesses.
Jesus said: "Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him
will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven" (Matthew
10:32). Paul said "If thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus,
and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised Him from the dead,
thou shalt be saved" (Romans 10:9); and John said, "Whosoever shall
confess that Jesus is the Son of God, God dwelleth in him, and he in
God" (I John 4:15).
Despite the great blessings awaiting all who make a courageous and
good confession of saving faith in Christ, most people will refuse until
it is too late. There is a time coming, however, when "every tongue
[will] confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the
Father" (Philippians 2:11). HMM
November 30, Tuesday CHARITY OR LOVE?
"Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not
charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal" (I
It is well known that this word "charity" (Greek agape) is translated
as "love" in most modern translations of the Bible. In fact, even in the
King James Version, it is translated "love" more than three times as
often as it is rendered by "charity." One wonders why these scholarly
translators of the 17th century did not translate agape by the word
"love" here in this very familiar "love chapter," as it has been called.
They certainly knew the word did not mean giving to the poor, for they
translated verse 3 thus: "And though I bestow all my goods to feed the
poor, . . . and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing." How could
anyone exhibit greater charity than to give everything he owns to the
They evidently well knew that agape did not mean "charity" as we
think of charity today. But neither does agape mean "love" as we think
of it today. People today usually are thinking of romantic love, or
erotic love, or brotherly love, or perhaps even a sort of happy feeling
(e.g., "I love a parade!") when they speak of love.
Actually, the original English concept of "charity," meaning a
genuine and unselfish concern for others because of their own intrinsic
worth in the sight of their Creator, is the true meaning of agape in its
Biblical usage. "Charity" may not be the best word to express this
attribute today, but "love" is so common and so misused, and seems even
less appropriate. In fact, no single English word today really seems to
fit, perhaps because we have almost lost the very virtue which the word
"charity" used to express. Well, no matter how we say it, our lives
desperately need to show agape, for God Himself is "agape" (I John 4:8).
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