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Wednesday, May 30, 2018

MY SOVEREIGN LORD

MY SOVEREIGN LORD


"Jehovah says unto my Lord" Psa. 110:1


The full Messianic intention of this Psalm is completely settled by our Lord's use of it, and by the New Testament references to it. Moreover, by His use of it, the Lord inferentially claimed Messiahship, and so its fulfillment in Himself. In these five opening words we have the key to the Psalm. Everything which follows constitutes a disclosure made by Jehovah to another whom the singer speaks of as "my Lord." Observe carefully the three persons appearing here. First, Jehovah, the speaker; secondly, the recorder of the speech, King David (according to the title and the words of Jesus), who emerges in the pronoun "My"; finally One of Whom the singer speaks as "My Sovereign Lord," the One to whom Jehovah speaks. I like to connect this Psalm with the second. There we have Jehovah's decree concerning His Anointed Who is spoken of as His Son. Here we have the disclosure made to His anointed One, concerning His Mission. Here He is not called the Son of God, but David's reference to Him as "My Sovereign Lord," involved it, as the question of Jesus proves, when He said: "Whose Son is He?" In this song David had reached the highest point of his outlook. Let us content ourselves by noting simply the disclosure of Jehovah to the SOVEREIGN LORD. First, that there would be a time of waiting for the overthrow of His foes, and that during that time He would occupy the place of supreme authority, sitting at the right hand of Jehovah. Secondly, that in due season, Jehovah would establish Him in Zion, and that, on that day of His power, His people would offer themselves willingly, an army, like the dew born in the morning out of the womb of the night. Thirdly, that in His reign He should be a priest like Melchizedek. Then finally, slightly changing the method, while still following a sequence, the Psalm no longer speaks of what Jehovah will do, but of what this Sovereign Lord at His right hand will do. He will completely overcome all His foes. All this is Messianic in the fullest sense.

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

GATHERING FOR PRAYER


GATHERING FOR PRAYER


"Daniel went to his house, and made the thing known to Hananiah, Mishael, and Alzariah, his companions" Dan. 2:17


In this chapter we have the account of the first activity of Daniel in fulfillment of his divinely appointed work. All that he did in the three world-kingdoms with which he was associated was of secondary importance. He was chosen of God to live among those kingdoms in order to see them in their rela­tion to the Kingdom of God, and to interpret that relation to those to whom he spoke, and to men for all time through the writing of this book. The method of God was that of causing kings to dream dreams, see visions, be arrested by supernatural manifestations, all of which Daniel was to interpret. Nebuchadnezzar saw in his dreams a colossal image, and was troubled. None of his magicians or astrologers could reconstruct the dream, much less interpret it. Daniel was enabled to do both not as he said by his own wisdom but by the revelation given to him by God. One can imagine the occasion, and the most natural sense of its difficulty in the mind of Daniel. He was utterly unable to do in his own wisdom any more than the king's magicians could do. Yet quite evidently he was conscious of a Divine calling and relationship. Very beautiful is the account of his first action. He called together the little group of his friends, like-minded with himself in loyalty to the God of their fathers, and he sought their cooperation in prayer. That prayer was heard, and answered: the secret was revealed to Daniel in a vision of the night. If the first secret of life be that of a purpose of heart, there is no force equal to keeping life not only safe, but serviceable, like that of prayer, and prayer gains in power when it is reinforced by fellowship with those mastered by the same purpose. Let every man called to Divine service cultivate a comradeship with loyal souls, not so much for discussion, as for prayer. “Where two or three are gathered in My name, there am I in the midst of them.” (Matt. 18:20) Matthew saw that in the OT.

Monday, May 28, 2018

STATUE AND IMAGE WORSHIP VS TRUE WORSHIP


STATUE AND IMAGE WORSHIP VS TRUE WORSHIP

"But if not . . ." Dan. 3:18


That is a very incomplete quotation, but it introduces us to faith in its finest expression. The chapter tells the story of Nebuchadnezzar's pride. In the dream which Daniel had interpreted to him he had been described as the head of gold in the colossus of world-power. He now set up an image of gold. We are not told that it was intended to represent a god; and the probability is that it was rather intended to represent his own power. All were commanded to prostrate themselves before it and worship. Daniel does not appear in this story, but his three comrades, with whom he had sought fellowship in prayer, are here. Here was a test for their loyalty to the God of their fathers, and to His law, which strictly FORBADE THE YIELDING OF WORSHIP TO ANY IMAGE WHATSOEVER (STATUES) 2nd Commandment. You shall not make for yourself an idol in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below. You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing love to a thousand [generations] of those who love me and keep my commandments. They are definitely not aids for worship although many think they do for they misrepresent. There was no hesitation on their part. They refused, and were brought before the king. To him, in language full of respect for him, but inspired by complete loyalty to God, they declared that there was no need to answer; their position was known. They declared further to the proud monarch that God was able to deliver them, and affirmed their confidence that He would do so. That was a splendid faith. But it went further as they said: "But if not, be it known unto thee, O king, that we will not serve thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou have set up." That is faith at its highest. Deliverance is to be desired, and expected; but if it comes not, still there can be no abandonment of the One true God. Death, as the result of loyalty to Him, is preferable to deliver­ance, at the price of denying Him. This is the faith which overcomes the world. But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshippers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him. God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth (John 4:23-24)

Sunday, May 27, 2018

GOD IS IN THE JOB OF PERFECTION

GOD IS IN THE JOB OF PERFECTION


"Jehovah will perfect that which concerns me" Psa. 138:8


That is the language of the utmost confidence. The hope is that of the COMPLETE REALIZATION OF PERSONALITY, BOTH AS TO ITS BEING, AND ITS PURPOSE. The hope is based, not upon the determination or effort of the singer, but upon Jehovah. It is so unequivocal, and withal so daring, that we ask as to its reason. How was it that this man was so sure about the matter? The Psalm is attributed to David. We are familiar at once with his excellence's, and his persistent defects. In the deepest of his being, the realm of desire, he was surely a man after God's own heart. But how gravely, yea even grossly, HE FAILED. In spite of all this failure, in this song he declared thus his complete confidence that Jehovah would perfect that which concerned him. Again we ask what made him sure. The answer is found in the whole song. Therein are celebrated those facts in God which inspired this confidence. Let us briefly note them. He is a GOD OF LOVING KINDNESS AND OF TRUTH. He is a GOD OF GREAT GLORY. He is a GOD WHO HAS RESPECT UNTO THE LOWLY. These things demand a response on the part of man. He must WORSHIP this God. He must CALL UPON HIM. God being what He is, when the soul of man, in its feebleness, and notwithstanding his often times failure, worships Him, and calls upon Him, there can be no question as to the issue. HE WILL PERFECT THAT WHICH CONCERNS THAT SOUL. Here is the only place where man can be sure about himself. But here he may be absolutely sure. However dark the day and way; yes, and however great the failure; LET THE HEART BE LOYAL; then, at last, even though it be through the discipline of tears and of suffering, GOD WILL PERFECT THE LIFE.

Saturday, May 26, 2018

ANARCHY AND LACK OF VISION

ANARCHY


"Where there is no vision, the peo­ple cast off restraint; but he that keepeth the law, happy is he" Prov. 29:18



The Revisers have helped us by changing the word "perish" to "cast off restraint." Quite literally the Hebrew word means to "break loose." The condition is that of anarchy. ANARCHY is lawlessness, not being without law, but refusing to be bound by law. That is the one fundamental trouble with man. John declared that, when he wrote: "Sin is lawlessness." (1 John 3:4) We have been living in days when lawlessness has been rampant. Men have been breaking through covenants, regulations, and agreements; refusing to abide by any decisions, even those of their appointed leaders, or those to which they themselves have agreed. Our government leadership has been rampant in lawlessness. In this word of wisdom the reason for this casting off of restraint is given. It is that of LACK OF VISION. That is true on lowest levels of consideration, men who so act have NO TRUE VISION of what they are actually doing, NO TRUE VISION of the consequences of their action. They have NO TRUE VISION of society as a whole, and of the necessary obligations of all those individuals who constitute society. They do not see that lawlessness in personal life destroys the possibility of true social conditions; and that false social conditions in turn destroy the individual. And yet they see socialism as the true answer when they HAVE NO TRUE VISION. But the deeper note is that the LACK OF VISION OF GOD issues in LACK OF VISION in all these regards. To see God, is, as in the case of Jacob, to bring healing to the individual; and that is to create a HEALTHY THEOCRATIC NOT SOCIALISTIC COMMUNITY. To lose that vision, is to have NO VISION which is adequate to meet the needs of man; to have no authority to which man can be submitted. The VISION OF GOD is given to man in the LAW OF GOD, and today in that law as it has been INTERPRETED in Christ and MADE POSSIBLE OF REALIZATION through Him. "He that keeps that law, happy is he."

Friday, May 25, 2018

CONSTANT INTERCESSION FOR US


A PRAYER MEETING THAT WORKS

Jesus set the example for us in every area, including how, why and what to pray. Prayer are answered especially when patterned after His.


"Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever lives to make intercession for them." Heb. 7:25
"Who is he that condemns? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us." Rom. 8:34
"My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous."  1 John 2:1

Heb. 7:25; Rom. 8:34; 1 John 2:1 His constant intercession. And His are ALWAYS answered by His Father. So you might ask for the grace of Jesus so that you will arrive at the answer to His prayer for you knowing He has prayed for you and His Father answers His prayers always. That is a prayer meeting that has positive answers ALWAYS.

Matthew 5:44 But I say, love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you!
Matthew 6:6 But when you pray, go away by yourself, shut the door behind you, and pray to your Father in private. Then your Father, who sees everything, will reward you.
Matthew 6:8-13 Don’t be like them, for your Father knows exactly what you need even before you ask him! Pray like this: Our Father in heaven, may your name be kept holy. May your Kingdom come soon. May your will be done on earth, as it is in heaven. Give us today the food we need, and forgive us our sins, as we have forgiven those who sin against us. And don’t let us yield to temptation, but rescue us from the evil one.
Matthew 9:38 So pray to the Lord who is in charge of the harvest; ask him to send more workers into his fields.
Matthew 14:23 After sending them home, he went up into the hills by himself to pray. Night fell while he was there alone.
Matthew 17:20-21 “You don’t have enough faith,” Jesus told them. “I tell you the truth, if you had faith even as small as a mustard seed, you could say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it would move. Nothing would be impossible.
Matthew 19:13 One day some parents brought their children to Jesus so he could lay his hands on them and pray for them. But the disciples scolded the parents for bothering him.
Matthew 21:13 “It is written,” he said to them, “‘My house will be called a house of prayer,’ but you are making it ‘a den of robbers.'”
Matthew 21:22 You can pray for anything, and if you have faith, you will receive it.
Matthew 26:36 Then Jesus went with them to the olive grove called Gethsemane, and he said, “Sit here while I go over there to pray.”
Matthew 26:39 He went on a little farther and bowed with his face to the ground, praying, “My Father! If it is possible, let this cup of suffering be taken away from me. Yet I want your will to be done, not mine.”
Matthew 26:41 Keep watch and pray, so that you will not give in to temptation. For the spirit is willing, but the body is weak!
Matthew 26:53 Don’t you realize that I could ask my Father for thousands of angels to protect us, and he would send them instantly?
Mark 1:35 Before daybreak the next morning, Jesus got up and went out to an isolated place to pray.
Mark 6:46 After telling everyone good-bye, he went up into the hills by himself to pray.
Mark 11:24-25 I tell you, you can pray for anything, and if you believe that you’ve received it, it will be yours. But when you are praying, first forgive anyone you are holding a grudge against, so that your Father in heaven will forgive your sins, too.
Mark 13:33 And since you don’t know when that time will come, be on guard! Stay alert!
Luke 5:16 But Jesus often withdrew to the wilderness for prayer.
Luke 6:12  One day soon afterward Jesus went up on a mountain to pray, and he prayed to God all night.
Luke 9:18 One day Jesus left the crowds to pray alone. Only his disciples were with him, and he asked them, “Who do people say I am?”
Luke 18:1 One day Jesus told his disciples a story to show that they should always pray and never give up.
Luke 21:36  Keep alert at all times. And pray that you might be strong enough to escape these coming horrors and stand before the Son of Man.
Luke 22:32 But I have pleaded in prayer for you, Simon, that your faith should not fail. So when you have repented and turned to me again, strengthen your brothers.
Luke 22:40 There he told them, “Pray that you will not give in to temptation.”
Luke 22:44 He prayed more fervently, and he was in such agony of spirit that his sweat fell to the ground like great drops of blood.
John 14:16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate, who will never leave you.
John 17:9 My prayer is not for the world, but for those you have given me, because they belong to you.
John 17:15 I pray you should keep them from the evil one. I’m not asking you to take them out of the world, but to keep them safe from the evil one.
John 17:20 I am praying not only for these disciples but also for all who will ever believe in me through their message.


Thursday, May 24, 2018

LOVE IS NEVER BLIND

LOVE IS NEVER BLIND


"Better is open rebuke, than love that is hidden" Prov. 27:5


This is a Proverb which gives us pause, as it produces conflicting emotions. We do not really like rebuke. We are inherently inclined to resent it. The fact that we really deserve it, or need it, does not make it pleasant. On the other hand, we do desire to be loved, even though love does not express itself. Moreover, our dislike of rebuke leads us to think that those who love us serve us well when they are silent in the presence of our shortcomings. The word of true wisdom cuts clean across all such wrong and foolish thinking. Begin with the second part. Love that is hidden is not perfect love in either sense. The highest love must and does express itself. It does so in praise of the loved one. An approbation of a person which finds no expression to that person is selfish, and therefore much less than love at its highest. But it is equally true that the highest love will express itself in rebuke, when the object upon which it is set is acting unworthily. The motive of love's rebuke is always that of the highest good of the loved one. LOVE IS NEVER BLIND, in spite of the foolish adage which declares that it is. It has CLEAREST VISION, and sees soonest the thing which threatens to mar the beauty of the loved one. Then love is NEVER DUMB; it speaks truthfully and plainly; it rebukes openly. Such open rebuke is proof of love at its highest. Love that hides itself, professes not to see, perhaps does not see, and so remains silent, is love on a very low level. It lacks the elements which inspire the loved one to strive for highest excellence.

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

THE BEGINNING OF GLOBALISM

THE BEGINNING OF GLOBALISM


"Therefore was the name of it called Babel" Gen. 11:9


So a name is given to the Mystery of Lawlessness as it operates in human society. From here, the evil thing is seen running on through all succeeding ages of the history of man, until it comes to final expression, and is destroyed (Rev. 18:21). This account of Babel is that of man's attempt to realize a social order in defiance of a Divine purpose. The purpose of God was the full realization of the race, and that necessitated the replenishing of the whole earth by the scattering of men over all its face. Man took counsel against this scattering, and attempted to realize a State at Shinar, "lest we be scattered abroad." In order to the fulfillment of the larger purpose, God confused their language and drove the nations into separation. The purpose of the scattering was that of the larger gathering which should fulfill His purpose. He confused their schemes that His plan might be realized. This is not only an ancient account it is the account of a perpetual process. Over and over again men have sought to establish themselves either in rebellion against, or without reference to, the Divine plans. The result has always been confusion. God has never permitted humanity to realize a social order from which He is excluded, nor will He do so to the end. Such an order would mean the limiting and ultimate destruction of humanity. Therefore He confuses all such attempts, and, compelling men to work out their own false conceptions to their logical issue and destroys them. Today we name this drive of mankind GLOBALISM.

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

EVIL WISDOM AND DARK UNDERSTANDING

EVIL WISDOM AND DARK UNDERSTANDING


"There is no wisdom nor understanding nor counsel against Jehovah" Prov. 21:30


This is the teaching of Wisdom; persistently in human history hours come in which all appearances seem to contradict it. There is a wisdom which is "earthly, sensual, devilish," (James 3:15) and it is active against Jehovah. There is an understanding which has an acquaintance with the methods of iniquity, and it operates against Jehovah. There is a taking of counsel among men full of this wisdom and understanding, and it plots against Jehovah. Oftentimes as we have watched, we have trembled; so subtle, so clever, so cunning are the ways of this underworld of antagonism to Jehovah. Yet look again just as persistently in human history, the futil­ity, the feebleness, the failure of this antagonism has been manifested. The EVIL WISDOM is proved FOOLISHNESS; the DARK UNDERSTANDING is found to be IGNORANCE; the malicious counsel is demonstrated futile. The warrant for the matchlessness of this proverb is found in the fact that all these very thoughts and devices and plots against Jehovah are compelled at last in their outworking to contribute to the purposes of His holy and gracious will. He makes the wrath of man to praise Him (Psa. 76:10). He makes the buffeting messenger of Satan the means of grace to His troubled, but trusting servant. Therefore it is true, full and finally, that "There is no wisdom nor understanding nor counsel against Jehovah." And thus it becomes true that, "To them that love God all things work together for good." (Rom. 8:28) Here, then, is the place of our rest; here the secret of our confidence; here the inspiration of songs in the darkest night as they think they are flourishing today all over the world.

Monday, May 21, 2018

POLLUTION OF THE EARTH BY MAN

POLLUTION OF THE EARTH BY MAN


"The earth also is polluted under the inhabitants thereof; because they have transgressed the laws, violated the statutes, broken the everlasting covenant" Isa. 24:5


The reasons differ from what modern science is trying to peddle today. God gives the correct reasons. This and the following three chapters constitute one prophetic utterance. It is a vision of the Day of Jehovah. In the series of the Burdens of the nations the prophet had taken a wider outlook than that of his own people, but always with the nation of God at the center. Here his outlook is still further enlarged as it takes in the whole earth; but here also God's people are in mind from beginning to end, viewed in their relation to the earth. The vision is in two movements; the first describes the desolation of the earth, (Isa. 24:1-20); the second describes the restoration which comes by the Day of Jehovah (Isa. 24:21­-27). The desolation is first declared to be the result of Divine action. It is "Jehovah makes the earth empty, and makes it waste, and turns it upside down, and scatters abroad the inhabitants thereof." Then—in these particular words—the reason of this desolate activity of God is revealed. It is that the earth is polluted under its inhabitants. The act of God is the operation of the laws by which the Divine creation is governed. Man has transgressed the laws, violated the statutes, and broken the covenant. For an interpretation of these words of Isaiah read Paul—Rom. 1:18-32. In these words we find recognition of a true order. In it, man, keeping covenant, observing the ordinance; obeying law, reigns over the earth, and leads it out into all beauty and fruitfulness. WHEN MAN BREAKS DOWN IN HIS RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD, HIS LAWS, HIS ORDINANCES, HIS COVENANT,—THEN HE BECOMES POLLUTED, AND HE COMMUNICATES HIS POLLUTION TO THE EARTH. This is the interpretation of all disease, all insanity, all the things of waste, of disorder, of strife, of misery in human history and human experience. A polluted race pollutes the earth, and chaos is the result.

Sunday, May 20, 2018

FRIENDSHIP DEFINED BY GOD

FRIENDSHIP DEFINED BY GOD


"A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity" Prov. 17:17


This is the one full and final definition of FRIENDSHIP. Personally, I have not the slightest doubt that the marginal reading here should be adopted: “A friend loves at all times, and is born as a brother for adversity." There is no attempt here to define a brother. The statement, "a brother is born for adversity," would be inadequate and indeed inaccurate, as a definition of a brother; but the statement that "a friend . . . is born as a brother for adversity" is a graphic illustration and application of the inclusive truth: "A friend loves at all times." This statement is easily read, and is accepted theoretically, quite generally. Let it be applied. Then two startling questions will arise, first, a question as to whether I am really a friend to anyone; and second, a question as to how many real friends I have. As to the second, yes, I have a few. Their love never falters, never wavers, in spite of my meanness, my stupidity, my sin. For them, with tears and laughter, I thank God. As to the first, I can only say, God help me to be a friend in that full way to those about me. All consideration of this great definition leads us at last to one place, to One Person. He is the Friend of sinners. There comment ceases. Let the heart WONDER and WORSHIP.

Saturday, May 19, 2018

JESUS PROVIDES SALVATION AND MAKES IT KNOWN

JESUS PROVIDES THE GOD DESIRED SALVATION FOR MEN


"His right hand and His holy arm hath wrought salvation for Him. Jehovah hath made known His salvation" Psa. 98:1, 2

The theme is the same in these last Psalms, that of the reign of Jehovah. This song opens and closes in almost the same words as in Psa. 96. Here the central matter for which praise is offered is the salvation which results from the reign of this God. It moves in three measures; first, the salvation of God's people Israel, and that in righteousness; second, the consequent discovery of His Kingship by all the earth; and third, the gladness of Nature as it expresses the greatness of God. In these words at the beginning of the song two great truths concerning human salvation emerge. The first statement is that salvation is God's work; His right hand, and. His holy arm, hath wrought "salvation for Him." The idea is that salvation was in HIS PURPOSE; He desired it; He willed it. That being so it was imperative that He should provide. Whatever needed to be done, He must do. The singer rejoiced that Jehovah had provided what He desired. Here the heart of truth concerning salvation, in all the Gospel fullness of the term, is revealed. GOD DESIRED THE SALVATION OF MEN. MEN COULD NOT PROVIDE SALVATION. Then He wrought in a mystery of love and holiness and power; and so salvation is made possible. The second statement is that HE HAS MADE KNOWN His salvation. He has REVEALED it to men, and in its victories He makes it known more and more perfectly. Thus this Hebrew singer celebrated a truth the full value of which he hardly recognized. Here we have in the first statement, a declaration concerning those profound activities within the Deity, out of which human salvation is possible; and in the second, a declaration which covers the ground of the life and death and resurrection of Jesus. In Phil. 2:5-11, we find the New Testament light on this passage.

Friday, May 18, 2018

THREE TYPES OF FAITH

THREE TYPES OF FAITH


"And he removed from thence, and dug another well" Gen. 26:22


In these words we have a revelation of the character of Isaac, and an indication of the nature of his faith. He was a quiet, placid man, not given to making any great ventures, not given to restlessness. His was the pastoral habit that loved to dwell peaceably, DIGGING WELLS and so providing for the needs of those of his people and his cattle who were dependent upon him as the head of his tribe. But he was a man of persistence. He would not engage in strife with those who stole his wells, but he would quietly go on digging until they were tired of stealing. When his persistence found its reward in a well which his enemies did not appropriate, he called it Rehoboth, and attributed his victory to Jehovah, saying: "Jehovah hath made room for us, and we shall be fruitful in the land." All this is very valuable, as it helps us to see that faith expresses itself in different ways, according to differing temperaments. The faith of Abraham was forever of the high, adventurous order, and was the means by which God could lead him to great experiences. The faith of Jacob was always that of restlessness, but it was faith, and so was the vantage ground which God found for the perfecting of the man, and for using him. That of Isaac was restful, persistent devotion to immediate duty, and it was the principle which made it possible for God to give room in the land to the people He had chosen. God needs, and will honor and use, the ADVENTUROUS FAITH of Abraham, the RESTLESS FAITH of Jacob, and the PATIENT, PERSISTENT FAITH of Isaac.

Thursday, May 17, 2018

DYING EMPTY OR FULL

DYING EMPTY OR FULL



"Abraham gave up the ghost, and died in a good old age, an old man, and full" Gen. 25:8


That is a great word, especially if we leave it as it is in the Hebrew Bible, without the addition of the words, “of years." Abraham died FULL, not of years only, or principally, but of life, of experience, of all the great things. By faith he had abandoned much, but he had gained far more. He had come to know God; to walk with Him, to talk with Him; to enter into a true fellowship with Him in all the great processes of His heart. "He was called the friend of God" (James 2:23). Such life is FULL, whatever it seems to lack. The man whose vision is bounded by the things of time and sense might well say that Abraham died singularly EMPTY. As the writer of the letter to the Hebrews said he "died in faith, not having received the promises" (Heb. 11:13). For a hundred years he had dwelled in a land given to him in a covenant, but he had not possessed it according to the standards of human possession. Surely he had little of earthly gain in which to boast, and he had given up very much when he left Ur of the Chaldees. Nevertheless he died FULL, for in his fellowship with God, he had learned, to measure time by eternity, to value the things of sense by those of spirit. To such a man death is but passing on to wait the accomplishment of the Divine purposes, and the fulfillment of the promises of God on the other side. So the FULLNESS of Abraham was that of a wealth which death could not touch. The FULLNESS which men gain who live by sight and not by faith, is a FULLNESS of which they are EMPTIED in death. They leave their possessions behind them. The men of faith carry their FULLNESS with them. It is a great thing thus to die—FULL.

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

GOD DISCRIMINATES

GOD DISCRIMINATES


"I cannot do anything till thou become thither" Gen. 19:22


In these words we find the carrying out to the uttermost of the principle for which Abraham had contended in his communing with God. They reveal to us the fact that it is impossible for God to be untrue to His own character of righteousness. His judgments can never be inconsistent with His justice. All this is emphasized when, reading this whole account, we see the reluctance of Lot. He was a righteous man, vexed with the lawless deeds of the men of Sodom (2 Peter 2:7, 8); but his associations with the city, and doubtless his possessions therein, were such that he lingered, and could hardly be persuaded to leave. While he was there God could not do anything, because to do so would have been to destroy that man, righteous, though reluctant to leave; and that would have been to deny Himself, and to undermine the very foundations upon which His throne is built. That is the truth which gives us confidence at all times. However terrible the judgments of God are, they are always DISCRIMINATIVE; and even when to our limited vision it may appear that the righteous are involved with the wicked; we know it is not so. Amos had that conviction when he said: “I will sift the house of Israel among all the nations, like as grain is sifted in a sieve, yet shall not the least kernel fall upon the earth" (Amos 9:9). This does not mean that the righteous never suffer as the result of the sin of others. They may suffer, and even die; it does mean that such suffering and death have another meaning.

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

WALKING PERFECTLY

WALKING PERFECTLY



"I am God Almighty; walk before Me, and be thou perfect" Gen. 17:1



In this word Jehovah revealed Himself in a new way to Abram, and called him to a yet more complete devotion. The name or title, EL-SHADDAI is peculiarly suggestive, meaning quite literally, “The mighty One of Resource or Sufficiency”. We miss much of its beauty by our rendering God Almighty. The idea of Almightiness is present, but it is fully, expressed by the word El. The word Shaddai goes further, and suggests perfect supply, and perfect comfort. We should reach the idea better by rendering God All-bountiful, or even better still, God All-sufficient. This was the new revelation, and it was in connection with its making that Abram was called to walk before this God, and to be perfect. This is ever God's way with His own. He reveals the perfection of their resources in Himself, and then calls them to a walk which is made possible by these very resources. WHO CAN WALK BEFORE GOD AND BE PERFECT IN HIS OWN WISDOM OR STRENGTH? Surely none! But, on the other hand, who need fail to do so, if depending upon Him for all He, in tender and mighty strength, is able and willing to supply. To gather sustenance and consolation from the bosom of God, is to be made strong for all the pilgrimage, however long the march, or difficult the route. For us, the revelation of this truth about God is perfected in our Lord, for "The only begotten Son, Who is in the bosom of the Father, He hath declared Him." (John 1:18) And more; "Of His fullness we all received, and grace for grace." (John 1:16)

Monday, May 14, 2018

FAITH ACTS REASONABLY

ACTING REASONABLY



"Thou shalt go unto my country, and to my kindred, and take a wife for my son Isaac" Gen. 24:4



On the part of Abraham this sending of his servant to seek a wife for Isaac was an act of obedient and intelligent faith. He was now about a hundred and forty years old, and Isaac was forty. The record declares that "Jeho­vah had blessed Abraham in all things" (vs. 1); and the chief blessing granted was this son. Through him the promises made to Abraham were to be fulfilled; the promised Seed was to come. The certainty of this promise made it incumbent upon Abraham to co-operate with God intelligently. Therefore he took this method of securing the seed of his son from CONTAMINATION with the people of the land. It was an activity of faith. This is seen in the answer Abraham gave to his servant when he suggested that the woman he might find might not be willing to follow him. He declared that Jehovah would send His angel before him. The sequel shows how wonderfully this man was guided through the ordinary circumstances of everyday life. The principle suggested and illustrated by this whole story is that FAITH IS TO ACT REASONABLY. To believe in the promises of God is to act in accordance with them, in the sense of intelligent co-operation. Faith does not sit down and say: God has promised, therefore I have nothing to do. It rather says: God has promised, therefore I must do everything in the line of His promise; and so far as in me lies, see to it that nothing interferes with His purpose.

Sunday, May 13, 2018

FOOLISHNESS OF THE GLOBALISM DESIRE

FOOLISHNESS OF THE GLOBALISM DESIRE



"The joy of Jerusalem was heard even afar off” Neh. 12:43



In this chapter we have an account of the commencement of the solemn dedication of the wall. It would seem as though it had been postponed for some considerable time. Differences of opinion exist as to the length of time. Some place this dedication ceremony in immediate relation to that which is recorded in the following chapter, which would place it twelve years after the first coming of Nehemiah. Others say that the account given here has reference to what took place within a few months of the actual completion of the work. It is difficult to decide, and really the matter is of no vital importance. The ceremony, whenever it took place, proceeded in three stages. First, there were two great processionals, in which the appointed singers chanted the praises of God. This was followed by the reading of the Law and the consequent separation of the mixed multitude from the people of God (Ch. 13). The present chapter is principally occupied with the rejoicing, and in this connection the statement is made that "The joy of Jerusalem was heard even afar off." It was a great day, greater even than these people knew. The reformers had sought to bring the remnant, weak and small though it was numerically, back to a recognition of the deepest truth concerning the NATIONAL life that; namely, of its relation to God. Their joy that day was the joy of the Lord, and that was indeed their strength. All the pomp and pageantry and material splendor of the days of the monarchy had passed; but in that devotion to the Law, and to the purposes of God as manifested in the building of the wall, there was more of moral power than the old days had ever known, since the time when in THEIR THOUGHTLESSNESS, the people had CLAMORED FOR A KING LIKE THE NATIONS (GLOBALIZATION OF ISRAEL).

Saturday, May 12, 2018

IMPOVERISHMENT AND MORAL BREAKDOWN WITH NO WORSHIP


IMPOVERISHMENT AND MORAL BREAKDOWN WITH NO WORSHIP


"We will not forsake the house of our God" Neh. 10:39



In this chapter we have some further particulars of the Covenant which the people made with Jehovah following upon the great Day of Humiliation. This Covenant was sealed as represented by the priests (vv. 3-8); by the Levites (9-13); by the rulers (14-27); and to its terms all the people agreed (28). These terms are set forth in general phrases and in some particular applications. Generally, the people promised "to walk in God's law . . . to observe and do all His commandments." Particularly, the Covenant referred to matters in which the people had already failed—those, namely, of inter-marriage with the surrounding idolatrous peoples, of neglect of the Sabbath, of Temple maintenance and arrangement, and of the offering of first-fruits and tithes. It would seem as though Nehemiah laid special emphasis on these later things, and these concluding words give the reason for this stress. He knew the utmost importance of the house of God to the national life, and therefore he said: "We will not forsake the house of our God." The MAINTENANCE OF STRENGTH of the worship of God is of utmost importance, principally for the sake of the worshipers. There is a very true sense in which it may be affirmed that our worship cannot enrich God. But there is yet another sense in which He is ROBBED IF WE CEASE TO WORSHIP, for whenever we do, we suffer IMPOVERISHMENT IN OUR DEEPEST LIFE, and that results in MORAL BREAKDOWN. Therefore let us also forever say, "We will not forsake the house of our God."

Thursday, May 10, 2018

STRENGTH FROM THOSE WHO OBEY THE LAW

STRENGTH FROM THOSE WHO OBEY THE LAW 


"The joy of Jehovah is your strength" Neh. 8:10



The material side of Nehemiah's work being completed, the spiritual and moral work of bringing the people back more intelligently under the influence of the Law, went forward. Ezra now appeared upon the scene, and we have the account of a most interesting and remarkable religious Convention. The first day witnessed the assembling of the people. The phrase "gathered as one man" indicates their unity of purpose. They had assembled to hear the reading of the Law. This was not merely the reading aloud of passages from the Law, or even the reading of the Law. It was reading, accompanied by exposition, which was undertaken by men specially appointed. It would seem as though there were, first, a public reading, and then a breaking up into groups under the direction of selected Levites. Their work was that of translation and interpretation. The Law was written in Hebrew, and the people spoke in Aramaic, hence the need for translation. It was a day of conviction, resulting in great sadness, as THE PEOPLE DISCOVERED HOW SERIOUS THEIR FAILURE HAD BEEN, AND HOW SEVERE WERE THE TERMS OF THE LAW OF THEIR GOD. It was to this state of mind that these words were addressed, and they constitute an interpretation of the real nature and value of the Law. The joy of Jehovah is that which gives Him satisfaction, and that was expressed in His Law. Thus the Law was their strength. Only as they OBEYED it could they be STRONG. This surely was the thought of the Psalmist when he sang: "Thy statutes have been my songs" (Psa. 119:54). Because the LAW OF JEHOVAH IS THE METHOD by which He makes known to men THE WAY OF STRENGTH TO THEM, it is the joy of Jehovah. When we discover that, the statutes which fill us with fear, become our delight, our song. They are indeed our strength.

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

ENEMIES WITHIN THE WALL

ENEMIES WITHIN THE WALL



"For he was a faithful man, and feared God above many" Neh. 7:2



This is a description of the man whom Nehemiah placed in authority over the city of Jerusalem after the WALL WAS COMPLETED. The whole of the arrangements for the safety of the city, as here recorded, were characterized by statesmanlike caution. THROUGH THE ENTIRE COUNTRY ROUND ABOUT THERE WERE ENEMIES, and the position of the partially restored city therefore was one of PERPETUAL PERIL. Nehemiah was conscious of this, and made the most careful provision as to the hour for the opening and closing of the city gates and as to the arrangements for the watchers. No greater mistake can ever be made in connection with work for God in difficult places, than that of lack of caution. Carelessness is never the sign of courage. True bravery prepares for the possibility of attack. The man who had built, sword in hand, to completion, did not imagine that with the swinging of the gates on their hinges, the time for anything like relaxation in watchfulness had come. His choice of the governor was characteristic. He was chosen for two reasons; his fidelity to duty, and his fear of God. If we speak of these as two, they yet are but the two sides of one fact. Faithfulness to duty is the outcome of the fear of God. The fear of God always produces faithfulness. There is no sanction sufficiently strong to produce true loyalty other than that of this holy and loving fear. If a man is UNFAITHFUL IN HIS APPOINTED TASK, while yet declaring his loyalty to God, he lies, and the truth is not in him. The secret of the courage that is cautious, of the caution that is courageous, is always that of a complete fear of God.

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

THE WALL FINISHED


THE WALL FINISHED


"So the wall was finished" Neh. 6:15


The significant word in the statement is the word "so," as it calls us to reconsideration of how the dangerous and difficult work was accomplished. In elusively and exhaustively, we may at once say, the work was of God. That WALL WAS THE OUTWARD AND VISIBLE SYMBOL OF THE INCLUSION AND GUARDING OF THE REMNANT, until the Messiah should come and the Faith should appear. From now until then, this, remnant was to be kept inward. The Law was the custodian to bring them to Christ. The wall was the material expression of that isolation and security. When we turn from that consideration of the building of the wall by the will and through the overruling of God, to the human agencies, we find that the wall was built through the patriotism and high devotion of one man; and through the fact that he was able, by his influence and leadership, to weld the people into a unity of heart and purpose and endeavor which carried the sacred work to completion. The efforts of this man and the people were characterized by caution and courage, and passionate persistence against all opposing forces. Perhaps this latter quality is the most outstanding. By all means the enemies of the work sought to prevent its carrying out. HAVING BEGUN IN CONTEMPT, AND PROCEEDED THROUGH CONSPIRACY, THEY TURNED TO SUBTLETY. Against every, method, Nehemiah and his helpers were proof. Nothing turned them aside until the wall was finished. This strength against opposition was the outcome of a clear sense of the greatness of their task. Thus God's walls are always built, God's work is always done. He leads and guides and compels circumstances to aid His, workers; and they respond in agreement with His purpose, and in resolute refusal to allow anything from without or within to hinder them.

Monday, May 7, 2018

ANGER MINGLED WITH CONTEMPT FOR THE WALL


CONTEMPT FOR THE WALL


"We made our prayer unto our God, and set a watch" Neh. 4:9



That is always the true attitude of those who are called upon to work for God in face of danger. As the work proceeded, the opposition of the enemies of the people, which first expressed itself in derision, passed to ANGER MINGLED WITH CONTEMPT. Nehemiah was conscious of the menace of this attitude to the work he had in hand, and lifted his heart in prayer to his God. An illuminating sentence in the narrative at this point shows how completely Nehemiah had captured and inspired the people. It declares that "The people had a mind to work." Thus the work went forward, until the wall was raised to half its height. At this point the OPPOSITION BECAME FIERCER, and a determined attempt was made by CONSPIRACY TO STAY ITS PROGRESS. With immediateness, and a keen sense of the necessity created by this fact, Nehemiah says, "We made our prayer unto our God, and set a watch." In this method there was neither foolish independence of God, nor foolhardy neglect of human responsibility and precaution. Everything was done to insure that twofold attitude of complete faith in God, and determined dependence upon personal effort, which always makes for success. How often God's workers fail for lack of one or the other of these important elements!

Sunday, May 6, 2018

WALLS UNIFY


WALLS UNIFY

"Next unto him" Neh. 3:2


This is the first occurrence in this chapter of this phrase. It, or its equivalent, "next unto them," runs on through the first half of it, occurring no fewer than fifteen times. Then another pair of phrases "after him" and "after them" emerges, and one or the other continues to the end, occurring sixteen times. These phrases mark the UNITY of the work. By this linking up of groups of workers the whole wall was built. The description is in itself orderly, and proceeds round the entire enclosure of the city, including all the gates, and the connecting parts of the wall. Beginning at the sheep-gate, which was near the Temple, and through which the sacrifices passed, we pass the fish-gate in the merchant quarter, on by the old gate in the ancient part of the city, and then successively come to the valley-gate, the dung-gate, the gate of the fountain, the water-gate, the horse-gate, the east-gate, the gate Miphkad, until we arrive again at the sheep gate, when the chapter ends. All this is highly interesting in its revelation of method. THE UNIFYING FACT WAS THE WALL. All were inspired by the one desire and intention to see it completed. In order to realization, the work was systematically divided. Each group was UNITED, as to its own workers, in the effort to do the particular portion allotted to them. All the groups were UNITED to each other in the effort to COMPLETE THE WALL. It is a striking picture of the UNITY OF DIVERSITY, and has its lessons for us. There was no sense of separation. Each worked "'next to," or “after" some other; and so the complete union of workers and work was realized.

Saturday, May 5, 2018

TEST FOR FOOLISH THINKING


TEST FOR FOOLISH THINKING

"Seeing thou a man wise in his own conceit? There is more hope of a fool than of him" Prov. 26:12


A man, wise in his own conceit, is a man who is perfectly satisfied with his own judgment, his own opinion. He seeks no light or counsel from without. He holds the views of other men in contempt. No one can teach him anything. In this Proverb, which is one of wisdom as defined, the thought is principally that of a man who does not fear God, who does not seek to be guided by the Divine Will. A FOOL here is simply an ignorant person who knows his own ignorance. Such a one may be helped. However naturally dull of apprehension, he is willing to be taught. His natural foolishness makes it difficult to instruct him, but it is not impossible. This other man, starting with the conviction of his own wisdom, makes it impossible to help him, because he will have no help. The Proverb is not one that needs to be defended when we are looking at others. We see it exemplified so constantly, and however mistaken we know this man to be, we leave him to himself, for we know the hopelessness of trying to show him his ignorance. But the Proverb is one which we may safely use as a searchlight for ourselves. The peril is a very subtle one. We are prone to be wise in our own conceits, without knowing that we are so. A simple test may be employed. WHEN WE FAIL TO SEEK DIVINE GUIDANCE IN ANY UNDERTAKING, IT IS BECAUSE WE DO NOT FEEL OUR NEED OF IT. In other words, we are wise in our own conceit. There is no safer condition of soul, than that self-distrust, that knowledge of ignorance, which drives us persistently to seek for the wisdom which comes from above.

Friday, May 4, 2018

THE AGE OF TRUTH AND LIES


THE AGE OF TRUTH AND LIES

"The lip of truth shall be established forever: but a lying tongue is but for a moment" Prov. 12:19



That is a pre-eminently superlative way of stating a fact, and there are some facts which can only be adequately stated so. They do not admit of the comparative. They are positive, but in a superlative sense. Taking the second part first—"A lying tongue is but for a moment"—we are inclined to question its accuracy. A lie lives longer than that. Some have seemed to persist for centuries and millenniums. The Hebrew here literally is: "A lying tongue is but while I wink." How is it possible to believe that? The solution of the apparent problem is found in a consideration of the earlier phrase referring to duration—"forever." That is a phrase of which we often make use, but how seldom do we consider it? We employ it in the sense of time. As a matter of fact it is timeless, because it includes all time. In its presence all mathematical measurements break down. The lying tongue may continue to utter its falsehood for long years by the calendars of men, but when you place those years by the side of the ages of God, they are as a moment, as the winking of the eye, as nothing. Here, then, is comfort. IT IS TRUTH WHICH ABIDES. A LIE MUST PERISH. In a world still largely mastered by lies, it is difficult at times to believe this. Yet to review the history of the race is to have evidence of it. Lies are always perishing. Through the ages we see them shrivel and die however strong their power seemed to be. Truth, oft-times insulted, battered, wronged, never perishes. It has age-abiding life, for it is of God. Let individuals and statesmen observe this, and they will discover the secrets of strength and permanence. TRUTH is a Person and His name is Jesus Christ and He is eternal.

Thursday, May 3, 2018

FORGETTING


FORGETTING

"Yet did not the chief butler remember Joseph, but forget him" Gen. 40:23


There once was a quaint and forceful preacher, Thomas Champness in England, who read this chapter as a Lesson. Through the reading he made no comment, but as he finished this verse he closed his Bible, and said: "And his name isn't always Butler!" It was an unconventional, humorous, almost startling remark, but it left an impression upon all who heard which will never depart. It has helped me often to remember. This forgetfulness on the part of this man cost Joseph two more years of prison. It is perfectly true that he was safe in the will of God, and quietly preserved for the hour when he would be needed to be the deliverer; but that does not excuse the butler. How true the words which we have often quoted are: "Evil is wrought by want of thought, As well as want of heart!"
We bear no malice; we really desire to help; but we forget. Our own good fortune drives out of mind the evil fortunes of those whom we would serve, and sometimes those to whom we have pledged our word. It is wholly wrong. To forget may be as evil in its effects upon others as the doing of some posi­tive harm to them. Good intentions and sincere promises are of no value until they are carried out, fulfilled. There are many things we have done today. Have we forgotten something?

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

ALL SEEING EYES


ALL SEEING EYES

"The eyes of Jehovah are in every place, keeping watch upon the evil and the good" Prov. 15:3


Let us never forget this, or fail to derive from the fact its comfort and its saving strength. The word employed describes a very active and purposeful seeing. The statement is far more than that God sees; it is that He is investigating, observing, or, in the most satisfactory rendering of the Revised, "keeping watch." He is keeping watch upon the evil. It is never out of His sight. It loves the darkness rather than the light, but He sees as well in the darkness as in the light. The endeavor of evil is to accomplish its purpose secretly, before it can be discovered at its work. It is often successful, so far as men are concerned. It is never so, so far as God is concerned. He keeps watch; knows the hour, the place, the method, and the intention. He is keeping watch upon the good. He never fails to see it. Men often do. It struggles behind appearances, and often behind actions which are denials of it. Human eyes fail to detect it. Not so the eyes of Jehovah. They discern it, approve it, and reckon with it. The comfort of this truth is created by the character of God. He is the God of unsullied purity; His watching of evil is always with the intention of limiting it, and ultimately destroying it. He is the God of unfathomable grace; His watching of good is in order to develop it, and make it finally victorious. To remember this truth is to be halted whenever we are tempted to evil. It is to find new courage in all our efforts after the high and noble. He is never deceived as to our badness or our goodness. Therefore to live in His fear is wisdom.