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Seeing Obstacles Through God’s Eyes

Published by InTouch Ministries for reading on September 21st.

Joshua 2:1-24 Chapter 2 1 And Joshua the son of Nun sent out of Shittim two men as spies secretly, saying, Go, view the land, and Jericho. And they went and came into the house of a harlot whose name was Rahab, and lay there. 2 And it was told the king of Jericho, saying, Behold, there came men in hither to-night of the children of Israel to search out the land. 3 And the king of Jericho sent unto Rahab, saying, Bring forth the men that are come to thee, that are entered into thy house; for they are come to search out all the land. 4 And the woman took the two men, and hid them; and she said, Yea, the men came unto me, but I knew not whence they were: 5 and it came to pass about the time of the shutting of the gate, when it was dark, that the men went out; whither the men went I know not: pursue after them quickly; for ye will overtake them. 6 But she had brought them up to the roof, and hid them with the stalks of flax, which she had laid in order upon the roof. 7 And the men pursued after them the way to the Jordan unto the fords: and as soon as they that pursued after them were gone out, they shut the gate. 8 And before they were laid down, she came up unto them upon the roof; 9 and she said unto the men, I know that Jehovah hath given you the land, and that the fear of you is fallen upon us, and that all the inhabitants of the land melt away before you. 10 For we have heard how Jehovah dried up the water of the Red Sea before you, when ye came out of Egypt; and what ye did unto the two kings of the Amorites, that were beyond the Jordan, unto Sihon and to Og, whom ye utterly destroyed. 11 And as soon as we had heard it, our hearts did melt, neither did there remain any more spirit in any man, because of you: for Jehovah your God, he is God in heaven above, and on earth beneath. 12 Now therefore, I pray you, swear unto me by Jehovah, since I have dealt kindly with you, that ye also will deal kindly with my father's house, and give me a true token; 13 and that ye will save alive my father, and my mother, and my brethren, and my sisters, and all that they have, and will deliver our lives from death. 14 And the men said unto her, Our life for yours, if ye utter not this our business; and it shall be, when Jehovah giveth us the land, that we will deal kindly and truly with thee. 15 Then she let them down by a cord through the window: for her house was upon the side of the wall, and she dwelt upon the wall. 16 And she said unto them, Get you to the mountain, lest the pursuers light upon you; and hide yourselves there three days, until the pursuers be returned: and afterward may ye go your way. 17 And the men said unto her, We will be guiltless of this thine oath which thou hast made us to swear. 18 Behold, when we come into the land, thou shalt bind this line of scarlet thread in the window which thou didst let us down by: and thou shalt gather unto thee into the house thy father, and thy mother, and thy brethren, and all thy father's household. 19 And it shall be, that whosoever shall go out of the doors of thy house into the street, his blood shall be upon his head, and we shall be guiltless: and whosoever shall be with thee in the house, his blood shall be on our head, if any hand be upon him. 20 But if thou utter this our business, then we shall be guiltless of thine oath which thou hast made us to swear. 21 And she said, According unto your words, so be it. And she sent them away, and they departed: and she bound the scarlet line in the window. 22 And they went, and came unto the mountain, and abode there three days, until the pursuers were returned: and the pursuers sought them throughout all the way, but found them not. 23 Then the two men returned, and descended from the mountain, and passed over, and came to Joshua the son of Nun; and they told him all that had befallen them. 24 And they said unto Joshua, Truly Jehovah hath delivered into our hands all the land; and moreover all the inhabitants of the land do melt away before us.

Jericho was the first city the Israelites needed to conquer in their quest for the land of Canaan. When sending a pair of spies to check it out, Joshua probably didn’t realize that he would receive a glimpse of the Lord’s impressive behind-the-scenes activity.

We must remember to look at every obstacle through the lens of God’s unlimited strength and resources. Anything that appears to block His plans is an opportunity for Him to demonstrate His sovereign power. Just because we don’t see anything happening, that doesn’t mean He’s inactive. God is at work on the other side of our obstacles, arranging the details and bringing His plans to fruition.

When the spies returned to Joshua, they reported that the people of Jericho were scared to death. Having heard about the Jews’ deliverance from Egypt and the parting of the Red Sea, they were gripped by fear of the Lord. The stage was set for the conquest, though by that point, Joshua hadn’t done a thing. Sometimes we think we need to be involved in the solution to our problem, but God is not limited with regard to whom or what He can use to accomplish His will. In this case, He worked in the hearts of the opposition by instilling demoralizing fear.

For the Christian, great obstacles need not be reasons for discouragement. Although much of the Lord’s activity is silent and invisible, we can be sure He is dynamically working out His will for our life. When the pieces of His plan are in place, He will move us on to victory.

Bible in One Year: Amos 5-9 Chapter 5 1 Hear ye this word which I take up for a lamentation over you, O house of Israel. 2 The virgin of Israel is fallen; she shall no more rise: she is cast down upon her land; there is none to raise her up. 3 For thus saith the Lord Jehovah: The city that went forth a thousand shall have a hundred left, and that which went forth a hundred shall have ten left, to the house of Israel. 4 For thus saith Jehovah unto the house of Israel, Seek ye me, and ye shall live; 5 but seek not Beth-el, nor enter into Gilgal, and pass not to Beer-sheba: for Gilgal shall surely go into captivity, and Beth-el shall come to nought. 6 Seek Jehovah, and ye shall live; lest he break out like fire in the house of Joseph, and it devour, and there be none to quench it in Beth-el. 7 Ye who turn justice to wormwood, and cast down righteousness to the earth, 8 `seek him' that maketh the Pleiades and Orion, and turneth the shadow of death into the morning, and maketh the day dark with night; that calleth for the waters of the sea, and poureth them out upon the face of the earth (Jehovah is his name); 9 that bringeth sudden destruction upon the strong, so that destruction cometh upon the fortress. 10 They hate him that reproveth in the gate, and they abhor him that speaketh uprightly. 11 Forasmuch therefore as ye trample upon the poor, and take exactions from him of wheat: ye have built houses of hewn stone, but ye shall not dwell in them; ye have planted pleasant vineyards, but ye shall not drink the wine thereof. 12 For I know how manifold are your transgressions, and how mighty are your sins-ye that afflict the just, that take a bribe, and that turn aside the needy in the gate `from their right'. 13 Therefore he that is prudent shall keep silence in such a time; for it is an evil time. 14 Seek good, and not evil, that ye may live; and so Jehovah, the God of hosts, will be with you, as ye say. 15 Hate the evil, and love the good, and establish justice in the gate: it may be that Jehovah, the God of hosts, will be gracious unto the remnant of Joseph. 16 Therefore thus saith Jehovah, the God of hosts, the Lord: Wailing shall be in all the broad ways; and they shall say in all the streets, Alas! Alas! and they shall call the husbandman to mourning, and such as are skilful in lamentation to wailing. 17 And in all vineyards shall be wailing; for I will pass through the midst of thee, saith Jehovah. 18 Woe unto you that desire the day of Jehovah! Wherefore would ye have the day of Jehovah? It is darkness, and not light. 19 As if a man did flee from a lion, and a bear met him; or went into the house and leaned his hand on the wall, and a serpent bit him. 20 Shall not the day of Jehovah be darkness, and not light? even very dark, and no brightness in it? 21 I hate, I despise your feasts, and I will take no delight in your solemn assemblies. 22 Yea, though ye offer me your burnt-offerings and meal-offerings, I will not accept them; neither will I regard the peace-offerings of your fat beasts. 23 Take thou away from me the noise of thy songs; for I will not hear the melody of thy viols. 24 But let justice roll down as waters, and righteousness as a mighty stream. 25 Did ye bring unto me sacrifices and offerings in the wilderness forty years, O house of Israel? 26 Yea, ye have borne the tabernacle of your king and the shrine of your images, the star of your god, which ye made to yourselves. 27 Therefore will I cause you to go into captivity beyond Damascus, saith Jehovah, whose name is the God of hosts. Chapter 6 1 Woe to them that are at ease in Zion, and to them that are secure in the mountain of Samaria, the notable men of the chief of the nations, to whom the house of Israel come! 2 Pass ye unto Calneh, and see; and from thence go ye to Hamath the great; then go down to Gath of the Philistines: are they better than these kingdoms? or is their border greater than your border? 3 -ye that put far away the evil day, and cause the seat of violence to come near; 4 that lie upon beds of ivory, and stretch themselves upon their couches, and eat the lambs out of the flock, and the calves out of the midst of the stall; 5 that sing idle songs to the sound of the viol; that invent for themselves instruments of music, like David; 6 that drink wine in bowls, and anoint themselves with the chief oils; but they are not grieved for the affliction of Joseph. 7 Therefore shall they now go captive with the first that go captive; and the revelry of them that stretched themselves shall pass away. 8 The Lord Jehovah hath sworn by himself, saith Jehovah, the God of hosts: I abhor the excellency of Jacob, and hate his palaces; therefore will I deliver up the city with all that is therein. 9 And it shall come to pass, if there remain ten men in one house, that they shall die. 10 And when a man's uncle shall take him up, even he that burneth him, to bring out the bones out of the house, and shall say unto him that is in the innermost parts of the house, Is there yet any with thee? and he shall say, No; then shall he say, Hold thy peace; for we may not make mention of the name of Jehovah. 11 For, behold, Jehovah commandeth, and the great house shall be smitten with breaches, and the little house with clefts. 12 Shall horses run upon the rock? will one plow `there' with oxen? that ye have turned justice into gall, and the fruit of righteousness into wormwood; 13 ye that rejoice in a thing of nought, that say, Have we not taken to us horns by our own strength? 14 For, behold, I will raise up against you a nation, O house of Israel, saith Jehovah, the God of hosts; and they shall afflict you from the entrance of Hamath unto the brook of the Arabah. Chapter 7 1 Thus the Lord Jehovah showed me: and, behold, he formed locusts in the beginning of the shooting up of the latter growth; and, lo, it was the latter growth after the king's mowings. 2 And it came to pass that, when they made an end of eating the grass of the land, then I said, O Lord Jehovah, forgive, I beseech thee: how shall Jacob stand? for he is small. 3 Jehovah repented concerning this: It shall not be, saith Jehovah. 4 Thus the Lord Jehovah showed me: and, behold, the Lord Jehovah called to content by fire; and it devoured the great deep, and would have eaten up the land. 5 Then said I, O Lord Jehovah, cease, I beseech thee: how shall Jacob stand? for he is small. 6 Jehovah repented concerning this: this also shall not be, saith the Lord Jehovah. 7 Thus he showed me: and, behold, the Lord stood beside a wall made by a plumb-line, with a plumb-line in his hand. 8 And Jehovah said unto me, Amos, what seest thou? And I said, A plumb-line. Then said the Lord, Behold, I will set a plumb-line in the midst of my people Israel; I will not again pass by them any more; 9 and the high places of Isaac shall be desolate, and the sanctuaries of Israel shall be laid waste; and I will rise against the house of Jeroboam with the sword. 10 Then Amaziah the priest of Beth-el sent to Jeroboam king of Israel, saying, Amos hath conspired against thee in the midst of the house of Israel: the land is not able to bear all his words. 11 For thus Amos saith, Jeroboam shall die by the sword, and Israel shall surely be led away captive out of his land. 12 Also Amaziah said unto Amos, O thou seer, go, flee thou away into the land of Judah, and there eat bread, and prophesy there: 13 but prophesy not again any more at Beth-el; for it is the king's sanctuary, and it is a royal house. 14 Then answered Amos, and said to Amaziah, I was no prophet, neither was I a prophet's son; but I was a herdsman, and a dresser of sycomore-trees: 15 and Jehovah took me from following the flock, and Jehovah said unto me, Go, prophesy unto my people Israel. 16 Now therefore hear thou the word of Jehovah: Thou sayest, Prophesy not against Israel, and drop not `thy word' against the house of Isaac; 17 therefore thus saith Jehovah: Thy wife shall be a harlot in the city, and thy sons and thy daughters shall fall by the sword, and thy land shall be divided by line; and thou thyself shalt die in a land that is unclean, and Israel shall surely be led away captive out of his land. Chapter 8 1 Thus the Lord Jehovah showed me: and, behold, a basket of summer fruit. 2 And he said, Amos, what seest thou? And I said, A basket of summer fruit. Then said Jehovah unto me, The end is come upon my people Israel; I will not again pass by them any more. 3 And the songs of the temple shall be wailings in that day, saith the Lord Jehovah: the dead bodies shall be many: in every place shall they cast them forth with silence. 4 Hear this, O ye that would swallow up the needy, and cause the poor of the land to fail, 5 saying, When will the new moon be gone, that we may sell grain? and the sabbath, that we may set forth wheat, making the ephah small, and the shekel great, and dealing falsely with balances of deceit; 6 that we may buy the poor for silver, and the needy for a pair of shoes, and sell the refuse of the wheat? 7 Jehovah hath sworn by the excellency of Jacob, Surely I will never forget any of their works. 8 Shall not the land tremble for this, and every one mourn that dwelleth therein? yea, it shall rise up wholly like the River; and it shall be troubled and sink again, like the River of Egypt. 9 And it shall come to pass in that day, saith the Lord Jehovah, that I will cause the sun to go down at noon, and I will darken the earth in the clear day. 10 And I will turn your feasts into mourning, and all your songs into lamentation; and I will bring sackcloth upon all loins, and baldness upon every head; and I will make it as the mourning for an only son, and the end thereof as a bitter day. 11 Behold, the days come, saith the Lord Jehovah, that I will send a famine in the land, not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of Jehovah. 12 And they shall wander from sea to sea, and from the north even to the east; they shall run to and fro to seek the word of Jehovah, and shall not find it. 13 In that day shall the fair virgins and the young men faint for thirst. 14 They that swear by the sin of Samaria, and say, As thy god, O Dan, liveth; and, As the way of Beer-sheba liveth; they shall fall, and never rise up again. Chapter 9 1 I saw the Lord standing beside the altar: and he said, Smite the capitals, that the thresholds may shake; and break them in pieces on the head of all of them; and I will slay the last of them with the sword: there shall not one of them flee away, and there shall not one of them escape. 2 Though they dig into Sheol, thence shall my hand take them; and though they climb up to heaven, thence will I bring them down. 3 And though they hide themselves in the top of Carmel, I will search and take them out thence; and though they be hid from my sight in the bottom of the sea, thence will I command the serpent, and it shall bite them. 4 And though they go into captivity before their enemies, thence will I command the sword, and it shall slay them: and I will set mine eyes upon them for evil, and not for good. 5 For the Lord, Jehovah of hosts, `is' he that toucheth the land and it melteth, and all that dwell therein shall mourn; and it shall rise up wholly like the River, and shall sink again, like the River of Egypt; 6 `it is' he that buildeth his chambers in the heavens, and hath founded his vault upon the earth; he that calleth for the waters of the sea, and poureth them out upon the face of the earth; Jehovah is his name. 7 Are ye not as the children of the Ethiopians unto me, O children of Israel? saith Jehovah. Have not I brought up Israel out of the land of Egypt, and the Philistines from Caphtor, and the Syrians from Kir? 8 Behold, the eyes of the Lord Jehovah are upon the sinful kingdom, and I will destroy it from off the face of the earth; save that I will not utterly destroy the house of Jacob, saith Jehovah. 9 For, lo, I will command, and 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. 10 All the sinners of my people shall die by the sword, who say, The evil shall not overtake nor meet us. 11 In that day will I raise up the tabernacle of David that is fallen, and close up the breaches thereof; and I will raise up its ruins, and I will build it as in the days of old; 12 that they may possess the remnant of Edom, and all the nations that are called by my name, saith Jehovah that doeth this. 13 Behold, the days come, saith Jehovah, that the plowman shall overtake the reaper, and the treader of grapes him that soweth seed; and the mountains shall drop sweet wine, and all the hills shall melt. 14 And I will bring back the captivity of my people Israel, and they shall build the waste cities, and inhabit them; and they shall plant vineyards, and drink the wine thereof; they shall also make gardens, and eat the fruit of them. 15 And I will plant them upon their land, and they shall no more be plucked up out of their land which I have given them, saith Jehovah thy God.




The Divinely Inspired Book

Published by InTouch Ministries for reading on September 21st.

2 Peter 1:12-21 12 Wherefore I shall be ready always to put you in remembrance of these things, though ye know them, and are established in the truth which is with `you'. 13 And I think it right, as long as I am in this tabernacle, to stir you up by putting you in remembrance; 14 knowing that the putting off of my tabernacle cometh swiftly, even as our Lord Jesus Christ signified unto me. 15 Yea, I will give diligence that at every time ye may be able after my decease to call these things to remembrance. 16 For we did not follow cunningly devised fables, when we made known unto you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty. 17 For he received from God the Father honor and glory, when there was borne such a voice to him by the Majestic Glory, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased: 18 and this voice we `ourselves' heard borne out of heaven, when we were with him in the holy mount. 19 And we have the word of prophecy `made' more sure; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day-star arise in your hearts: 20 knowing this first, that no prophecy of scripture is of private interpretation. 21 For no prophecy ever came by the will of man: but men spake from God, being moved by the Holy Spirit.

How important is your Bible to you? If you’re like most Christians in the Western world, you probably have several copies of Scripture in your home. But the number of Bibles we own is no measure of their value to us. It’s what we do with God’s Word and what it does in our heart that reveals how much we treasure it.

The Bible is the most important book in the world because it’s the only one that is the inspired Word of God. Nothing else ever written can match the wisdom and revelation of the Scriptures.

How then did God give us this sacred text? 2 Peter 1:21 21 For no prophecy ever came by the will of man: but men spake from God, being moved by the Holy Spirit. says that the writings did not result from “an act of human will” but came to be through “men moved by the Holy Spirit.” While retaining their own personalities, intellect, and vocabularies, these human authors were borne along by the Spirit of God, writing only what He willed them to say.

Amazingly, the same God who created the universe divinely inspired the writing of Scripture. He did so to reveal Himself to us and to explain how sinful mankind can be made right with a holy God. Everything we need for life and godliness is found within its pages ( 2 Peter 1:3 3 seeing that his divine power hath granted unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that called us by his own glory and virtue; ).

And He hasn’t left us on our own to interpret what He has written ( 2 Peter 1:20 20 knowing this first, that no prophecy of scripture is of private interpretation. ). The truth is that in ourselves, we can’t understand it. But God has given us His Holy Spirit so we can know His mind through the Bible ( 1 Corinthians 2:10-16 10 But unto us God revealed `them' through the Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God. 11 For who among men knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of the man, which is in him? even so the things of God none knoweth, save the Spirit of God. 12 But we received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is from God; that we might know the things that were freely given to us of God. 13 Which things also we speak, not in words which man's wisdom teacheth, but which the Spirit teacheth; combining spiritual things with spiritual `words'. 14 Now the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him; and he cannot know them, because they are spiritually judged. 15 But he that is spiritual judgeth all things, and he himself is judged of no man. 16 For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he should instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ. ). However, if we rarely open it, we won’t know His thoughts and as a result will forfeit His blessings and wisdom.

Bible in One Year: Amos 5-9 Chapter 5 1 Hear ye this word which I take up for a lamentation over you, O house of Israel. 2 The virgin of Israel is fallen; she shall no more rise: she is cast down upon her land; there is none to raise her up. 3 For thus saith the Lord Jehovah: The city that went forth a thousand shall have a hundred left, and that which went forth a hundred shall have ten left, to the house of Israel. 4 For thus saith Jehovah unto the house of Israel, Seek ye me, and ye shall live; 5 but seek not Beth-el, nor enter into Gilgal, and pass not to Beer-sheba: for Gilgal shall surely go into captivity, and Beth-el shall come to nought. 6 Seek Jehovah, and ye shall live; lest he break out like fire in the house of Joseph, and it devour, and there be none to quench it in Beth-el. 7 Ye who turn justice to wormwood, and cast down righteousness to the earth, 8 `seek him' that maketh the Pleiades and Orion, and turneth the shadow of death into the morning, and maketh the day dark with night; that calleth for the waters of the sea, and poureth them out upon the face of the earth (Jehovah is his name); 9 that bringeth sudden destruction upon the strong, so that destruction cometh upon the fortress. 10 They hate him that reproveth in the gate, and they abhor him that speaketh uprightly. 11 Forasmuch therefore as ye trample upon the poor, and take exactions from him of wheat: ye have built houses of hewn stone, but ye shall not dwell in them; ye have planted pleasant vineyards, but ye shall not drink the wine thereof. 12 For I know how manifold are your transgressions, and how mighty are your sins-ye that afflict the just, that take a bribe, and that turn aside the needy in the gate `from their right'. 13 Therefore he that is prudent shall keep silence in such a time; for it is an evil time. 14 Seek good, and not evil, that ye may live; and so Jehovah, the God of hosts, will be with you, as ye say. 15 Hate the evil, and love the good, and establish justice in the gate: it may be that Jehovah, the God of hosts, will be gracious unto the remnant of Joseph. 16 Therefore thus saith Jehovah, the God of hosts, the Lord: Wailing shall be in all the broad ways; and they shall say in all the streets, Alas! Alas! and they shall call the husbandman to mourning, and such as are skilful in lamentation to wailing. 17 And in all vineyards shall be wailing; for I will pass through the midst of thee, saith Jehovah. 18 Woe unto you that desire the day of Jehovah! Wherefore would ye have the day of Jehovah? It is darkness, and not light. 19 As if a man did flee from a lion, and a bear met him; or went into the house and leaned his hand on the wall, and a serpent bit him. 20 Shall not the day of Jehovah be darkness, and not light? even very dark, and no brightness in it? 21 I hate, I despise your feasts, and I will take no delight in your solemn assemblies. 22 Yea, though ye offer me your burnt-offerings and meal-offerings, I will not accept them; neither will I regard the peace-offerings of your fat beasts. 23 Take thou away from me the noise of thy songs; for I will not hear the melody of thy viols. 24 But let justice roll down as waters, and righteousness as a mighty stream. 25 Did ye bring unto me sacrifices and offerings in the wilderness forty years, O house of Israel? 26 Yea, ye have borne the tabernacle of your king and the shrine of your images, the star of your god, which ye made to yourselves. 27 Therefore will I cause you to go into captivity beyond Damascus, saith Jehovah, whose name is the God of hosts. Chapter 6 1 Woe to them that are at ease in Zion, and to them that are secure in the mountain of Samaria, the notable men of the chief of the nations, to whom the house of Israel come! 2 Pass ye unto Calneh, and see; and from thence go ye to Hamath the great; then go down to Gath of the Philistines: are they better than these kingdoms? or is their border greater than your border? 3 -ye that put far away the evil day, and cause the seat of violence to come near; 4 that lie upon beds of ivory, and stretch themselves upon their couches, and eat the lambs out of the flock, and the calves out of the midst of the stall; 5 that sing idle songs to the sound of the viol; that invent for themselves instruments of music, like David; 6 that drink wine in bowls, and anoint themselves with the chief oils; but they are not grieved for the affliction of Joseph. 7 Therefore shall they now go captive with the first that go captive; and the revelry of them that stretched themselves shall pass away. 8 The Lord Jehovah hath sworn by himself, saith Jehovah, the God of hosts: I abhor the excellency of Jacob, and hate his palaces; therefore will I deliver up the city with all that is therein. 9 And it shall come to pass, if there remain ten men in one house, that they shall die. 10 And when a man's uncle shall take him up, even he that burneth him, to bring out the bones out of the house, and shall say unto him that is in the innermost parts of the house, Is there yet any with thee? and he shall say, No; then shall he say, Hold thy peace; for we may not make mention of the name of Jehovah. 11 For, behold, Jehovah commandeth, and the great house shall be smitten with breaches, and the little house with clefts. 12 Shall horses run upon the rock? will one plow `there' with oxen? that ye have turned justice into gall, and the fruit of righteousness into wormwood; 13 ye that rejoice in a thing of nought, that say, Have we not taken to us horns by our own strength? 14 For, behold, I will raise up against you a nation, O house of Israel, saith Jehovah, the God of hosts; and they shall afflict you from the entrance of Hamath unto the brook of the Arabah. Chapter 7 1 Thus the Lord Jehovah showed me: and, behold, he formed locusts in the beginning of the shooting up of the latter growth; and, lo, it was the latter growth after the king's mowings. 2 And it came to pass that, when they made an end of eating the grass of the land, then I said, O Lord Jehovah, forgive, I beseech thee: how shall Jacob stand? for he is small. 3 Jehovah repented concerning this: It shall not be, saith Jehovah. 4 Thus the Lord Jehovah showed me: and, behold, the Lord Jehovah called to content by fire; and it devoured the great deep, and would have eaten up the land. 5 Then said I, O Lord Jehovah, cease, I beseech thee: how shall Jacob stand? for he is small. 6 Jehovah repented concerning this: this also shall not be, saith the Lord Jehovah. 7 Thus he showed me: and, behold, the Lord stood beside a wall made by a plumb-line, with a plumb-line in his hand. 8 And Jehovah said unto me, Amos, what seest thou? And I said, A plumb-line. Then said the Lord, Behold, I will set a plumb-line in the midst of my people Israel; I will not again pass by them any more; 9 and the high places of Isaac shall be desolate, and the sanctuaries of Israel shall be laid waste; and I will rise against the house of Jeroboam with the sword. 10 Then Amaziah the priest of Beth-el sent to Jeroboam king of Israel, saying, Amos hath conspired against thee in the midst of the house of Israel: the land is not able to bear all his words. 11 For thus Amos saith, Jeroboam shall die by the sword, and Israel shall surely be led away captive out of his land. 12 Also Amaziah said unto Amos, O thou seer, go, flee thou away into the land of Judah, and there eat bread, and prophesy there: 13 but prophesy not again any more at Beth-el; for it is the king's sanctuary, and it is a royal house. 14 Then answered Amos, and said to Amaziah, I was no prophet, neither was I a prophet's son; but I was a herdsman, and a dresser of sycomore-trees: 15 and Jehovah took me from following the flock, and Jehovah said unto me, Go, prophesy unto my people Israel. 16 Now therefore hear thou the word of Jehovah: Thou sayest, Prophesy not against Israel, and drop not `thy word' against the house of Isaac; 17 therefore thus saith Jehovah: Thy wife shall be a harlot in the city, and thy sons and thy daughters shall fall by the sword, and thy land shall be divided by line; and thou thyself shalt die in a land that is unclean, and Israel shall surely be led away captive out of his land. Chapter 8 1 Thus the Lord Jehovah showed me: and, behold, a basket of summer fruit. 2 And he said, Amos, what seest thou? And I said, A basket of summer fruit. Then said Jehovah unto me, The end is come upon my people Israel; I will not again pass by them any more. 3 And the songs of the temple shall be wailings in that day, saith the Lord Jehovah: the dead bodies shall be many: in every place shall they cast them forth with silence. 4 Hear this, O ye that would swallow up the needy, and cause the poor of the land to fail, 5 saying, When will the new moon be gone, that we may sell grain? and the sabbath, that we may set forth wheat, making the ephah small, and the shekel great, and dealing falsely with balances of deceit; 6 that we may buy the poor for silver, and the needy for a pair of shoes, and sell the refuse of the wheat? 7 Jehovah hath sworn by the excellency of Jacob, Surely I will never forget any of their works. 8 Shall not the land tremble for this, and every one mourn that dwelleth therein? yea, it shall rise up wholly like the River; and it shall be troubled and sink again, like the River of Egypt. 9 And it shall come to pass in that day, saith the Lord Jehovah, that I will cause the sun to go down at noon, and I will darken the earth in the clear day. 10 And I will turn your feasts into mourning, and all your songs into lamentation; and I will bring sackcloth upon all loins, and baldness upon every head; and I will make it as the mourning for an only son, and the end thereof as a bitter day. 11 Behold, the days come, saith the Lord Jehovah, that I will send a famine in the land, not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of Jehovah. 12 And they shall wander from sea to sea, and from the north even to the east; they shall run to and fro to seek the word of Jehovah, and shall not find it. 13 In that day shall the fair virgins and the young men faint for thirst. 14 They that swear by the sin of Samaria, and say, As thy god, O Dan, liveth; and, As the way of Beer-sheba liveth; they shall fall, and never rise up again. Chapter 9 1 I saw the Lord standing beside the altar: and he said, Smite the capitals, that the thresholds may shake; and break them in pieces on the head of all of them; and I will slay the last of them with the sword: there shall not one of them flee away, and there shall not one of them escape. 2 Though they dig into Sheol, thence shall my hand take them; and though they climb up to heaven, thence will I bring them down. 3 And though they hide themselves in the top of Carmel, I will search and take them out thence; and though they be hid from my sight in the bottom of the sea, thence will I command the serpent, and it shall bite them. 4 And though they go into captivity before their enemies, thence will I command the sword, and it shall slay them: and I will set mine eyes upon them for evil, and not for good. 5 For the Lord, Jehovah of hosts, `is' he that toucheth the land and it melteth, and all that dwell therein shall mourn; and it shall rise up wholly like the River, and shall sink again, like the River of Egypt; 6 `it is' he that buildeth his chambers in the heavens, and hath founded his vault upon the earth; he that calleth for the waters of the sea, and poureth them out upon the face of the earth; Jehovah is his name. 7 Are ye not as the children of the Ethiopians unto me, O children of Israel? saith Jehovah. Have not I brought up Israel out of the land of Egypt, and the Philistines from Caphtor, and the Syrians from Kir? 8 Behold, the eyes of the Lord Jehovah are upon the sinful kingdom, and I will destroy it from off the face of the earth; save that I will not utterly destroy the house of Jacob, saith Jehovah. 9 For, lo, I will command, and 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. 10 All the sinners of my people shall die by the sword, who say, The evil shall not overtake nor meet us. 11 In that day will I raise up the tabernacle of David that is fallen, and close up the breaches thereof; and I will raise up its ruins, and I will build it as in the days of old; 12 that they may possess the remnant of Edom, and all the nations that are called by my name, saith Jehovah that doeth this. 13 Behold, the days come, saith Jehovah, that the plowman shall overtake the reaper, and the treader of grapes him that soweth seed; and the mountains shall drop sweet wine, and all the hills shall melt. 14 And I will bring back the captivity of my people Israel, and they shall build the waste cities, and inhabit them; and they shall plant vineyards, and drink the wine thereof; they shall also make gardens, and eat the fruit of them. 15 And I will plant them upon their land, and they shall no more be plucked up out of their land which I have given them, saith Jehovah thy God.




God’s Response to Sinful Behavior

Published by InTouch Ministries for reading on September 22nd.

Genesis 20:1-16 Chapter 20 1 And Abraham journeyed from thence toward the land of the South, and dwelt between Kadesh and Shur. And he sojourned in Gerar. 2 And Abraham said of Sarah his wife, She is my sister. And Abimelech king of Gerar sent, and took Sarah. 3 But God came to Abimelech in a dream of the night, and said to him, Behold, thou art but a dead man, because of the woman whom thou hast taken. For she is a man's wife. 4 Now Abimelech had not come near her. And he said, Lord, wilt thou slay even a righteous nation? 5 Said he not himself unto me, She is my sister? And she, even she herself said, He is my brother. In the integrity of my heart and the innocency of my hands have I done this. 6 And God said unto him in the dream, Yea, I know that in the integrity of thy heart thou has done this, and I also withheld thee from sinning against me. Therefore suffered I thee not to touch her. 7 Now therefore restore the man's wife. For he is a prophet, and he shall pray for thee, and thou shalt live. And if thou restore her not, know thou that thou shalt surely die, thou, and all that are thine. 8 And Abimelech rose early in the morning, and called all his servants, and told all these things in their ear. And the men were sore afraid. 9 Then Abimelech called Abraham, and said unto him, What hast thou done unto us? And wherein have I sinned against thee, that thou hast brought on me and on my kingdom a great sin? Thou hast done deeds unto me that ought not to be done. 10 And Abimelech said unto Abraham, What sawest thou, that thou hast done this thing? 11 And Abraham said, Because I thought, Surely the fear of God is not in this place. And they will slay me for my wife's sake. 12 And moreover she is indeed my sister, the daughter of my father, but not the daughter of my mother; and she became my wife: 13 and it came to pass, when God caused me to wander from my father's house, that I said unto her, This is thy kindness which thou shalt show unto me. At every place whither we shall come, say of me, He is my brother. 14 And Abimelech took sheep and oxen, and men-servants and women-servants, and gave them unto Abraham, and restored him Sarah his wife. 15 And Abimelech said, Behold, my land is before thee. Dwell where it pleaseth thee. 16 And unto Sarah he said, Behold, I have given thy brother a thousand pieces of silver. Behold, it is for thee a covering of the eyes to all that are with thee. And in respect of all thou art righted.

Despite appearances, evil men are not in control of our world; God is. How does our sovereign Lord respond to sin?

At times He allows sin to run its full course. After the exodus, He promised Israel abundant blessings if they were obedient ( Psalms 81:10 10 I am Jehovah thy God, Who brought thee up out of the land of Egypt: Open thy mouth wide, and I will fill it. ). When they persistently disobeyed, He “gave them over to the stubbornness of their heart” ( Psalms 81:12 12 So I let them go after the stubbornness of their heart, That they might walk in their own counsels. ). God remained in control but chose to let the nation experience the consequences of continued rebellion. He deals with individuals the same way (Rom. 1:24, Rom. 1:28). Apart from Jesus Christ, the end result of sin is eternal death (Rom. 3:23).

At other times, God stops the sinful behavior completely. When Abraham lied about Sarah being his wife, the king of Gerar brought her into his household for himself. Abraham’s lie—“she is my sister”—put the king at risk. God intervened and prevented any further sinful action from taking place. For believers, God limits the intensity, scope, and time we have to deal with a particular temptation ( 1 Corinthians 10:13 13 There hath no temptation taken you but such as man can bear: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation make also the way of escape, that ye may be able to endure it. ). For those who have rejected Jesus Christ, there is no such promise.

To believe the heavenly Father is sovereign, we must embrace certain truths: His thoughts and ways are superior to ours (Isa. 55:8-9); He always keeps His promises ( 2 Corinthians 1:20 20 For how many soever be the promises of God, in him is the yea: wherefore also through him is the Amen, unto the glory of God through us. ); His perfect character is unchanging ( James 1:17 17 Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom can be no variation, neither shadow that is cast by turning. ); and He has control over everything, including times of blessing and disaster (Isa. 45:7).

The next time you are confronted with the effects of sin, remember these important truths, and look to God with trusting faith.

Bible in One Year: Amos 5-9 Chapter 5 1 Hear ye this word which I take up for a lamentation over you, O house of Israel. 2 The virgin of Israel is fallen; she shall no more rise: she is cast down upon her land; there is none to raise her up. 3 For thus saith the Lord Jehovah: The city that went forth a thousand shall have a hundred left, and that which went forth a hundred shall have ten left, to the house of Israel. 4 For thus saith Jehovah unto the house of Israel, Seek ye me, and ye shall live; 5 but seek not Beth-el, nor enter into Gilgal, and pass not to Beer-sheba: for Gilgal shall surely go into captivity, and Beth-el shall come to nought. 6 Seek Jehovah, and ye shall live; lest he break out like fire in the house of Joseph, and it devour, and there be none to quench it in Beth-el. 7 Ye who turn justice to wormwood, and cast down righteousness to the earth, 8 `seek him' that maketh the Pleiades and Orion, and turneth the shadow of death into the morning, and maketh the day dark with night; that calleth for the waters of the sea, and poureth them out upon the face of the earth (Jehovah is his name); 9 that bringeth sudden destruction upon the strong, so that destruction cometh upon the fortress. 10 They hate him that reproveth in the gate, and they abhor him that speaketh uprightly. 11 Forasmuch therefore as ye trample upon the poor, and take exactions from him of wheat: ye have built houses of hewn stone, but ye shall not dwell in them; ye have planted pleasant vineyards, but ye shall not drink the wine thereof. 12 For I know how manifold are your transgressions, and how mighty are your sins-ye that afflict the just, that take a bribe, and that turn aside the needy in the gate `from their right'. 13 Therefore he that is prudent shall keep silence in such a time; for it is an evil time. 14 Seek good, and not evil, that ye may live; and so Jehovah, the God of hosts, will be with you, as ye say. 15 Hate the evil, and love the good, and establish justice in the gate: it may be that Jehovah, the God of hosts, will be gracious unto the remnant of Joseph. 16 Therefore thus saith Jehovah, the God of hosts, the Lord: Wailing shall be in all the broad ways; and they shall say in all the streets, Alas! Alas! and they shall call the husbandman to mourning, and such as are skilful in lamentation to wailing. 17 And in all vineyards shall be wailing; for I will pass through the midst of thee, saith Jehovah. 18 Woe unto you that desire the day of Jehovah! Wherefore would ye have the day of Jehovah? It is darkness, and not light. 19 As if a man did flee from a lion, and a bear met him; or went into the house and leaned his hand on the wall, and a serpent bit him. 20 Shall not the day of Jehovah be darkness, and not light? even very dark, and no brightness in it? 21 I hate, I despise your feasts, and I will take no delight in your solemn assemblies. 22 Yea, though ye offer me your burnt-offerings and meal-offerings, I will not accept them; neither will I regard the peace-offerings of your fat beasts. 23 Take thou away from me the noise of thy songs; for I will not hear the melody of thy viols. 24 But let justice roll down as waters, and righteousness as a mighty stream. 25 Did ye bring unto me sacrifices and offerings in the wilderness forty years, O house of Israel? 26 Yea, ye have borne the tabernacle of your king and the shrine of your images, the star of your god, which ye made to yourselves. 27 Therefore will I cause you to go into captivity beyond Damascus, saith Jehovah, whose name is the God of hosts. Chapter 6 1 Woe to them that are at ease in Zion, and to them that are secure in the mountain of Samaria, the notable men of the chief of the nations, to whom the house of Israel come! 2 Pass ye unto Calneh, and see; and from thence go ye to Hamath the great; then go down to Gath of the Philistines: are they better than these kingdoms? or is their border greater than your border? 3 -ye that put far away the evil day, and cause the seat of violence to come near; 4 that lie upon beds of ivory, and stretch themselves upon their couches, and eat the lambs out of the flock, and the calves out of the midst of the stall; 5 that sing idle songs to the sound of the viol; that invent for themselves instruments of music, like David; 6 that drink wine in bowls, and anoint themselves with the chief oils; but they are not grieved for the affliction of Joseph. 7 Therefore shall they now go captive with the first that go captive; and the revelry of them that stretched themselves shall pass away. 8 The Lord Jehovah hath sworn by himself, saith Jehovah, the God of hosts: I abhor the excellency of Jacob, and hate his palaces; therefore will I deliver up the city with all that is therein. 9 And it shall come to pass, if there remain ten men in one house, that they shall die. 10 And when a man's uncle shall take him up, even he that burneth him, to bring out the bones out of the house, and shall say unto him that is in the innermost parts of the house, Is there yet any with thee? and he shall say, No; then shall he say, Hold thy peace; for we may not make mention of the name of Jehovah. 11 For, behold, Jehovah commandeth, and the great house shall be smitten with breaches, and the little house with clefts. 12 Shall horses run upon the rock? will one plow `there' with oxen? that ye have turned justice into gall, and the fruit of righteousness into wormwood; 13 ye that rejoice in a thing of nought, that say, Have we not taken to us horns by our own strength? 14 For, behold, I will raise up against you a nation, O house of Israel, saith Jehovah, the God of hosts; and they shall afflict you from the entrance of Hamath unto the brook of the Arabah. Chapter 7 1 Thus the Lord Jehovah showed me: and, behold, he formed locusts in the beginning of the shooting up of the latter growth; and, lo, it was the latter growth after the king's mowings. 2 And it came to pass that, when they made an end of eating the grass of the land, then I said, O Lord Jehovah, forgive, I beseech thee: how shall Jacob stand? for he is small. 3 Jehovah repented concerning this: It shall not be, saith Jehovah. 4 Thus the Lord Jehovah showed me: and, behold, the Lord Jehovah called to content by fire; and it devoured the great deep, and would have eaten up the land. 5 Then said I, O Lord Jehovah, cease, I beseech thee: how shall Jacob stand? for he is small. 6 Jehovah repented concerning this: this also shall not be, saith the Lord Jehovah. 7 Thus he showed me: and, behold, the Lord stood beside a wall made by a plumb-line, with a plumb-line in his hand. 8 And Jehovah said unto me, Amos, what seest thou? And I said, A plumb-line. Then said the Lord, Behold, I will set a plumb-line in the midst of my people Israel; I will not again pass by them any more; 9 and the high places of Isaac shall be desolate, and the sanctuaries of Israel shall be laid waste; and I will rise against the house of Jeroboam with the sword. 10 Then Amaziah the priest of Beth-el sent to Jeroboam king of Israel, saying, Amos hath conspired against thee in the midst of the house of Israel: the land is not able to bear all his words. 11 For thus Amos saith, Jeroboam shall die by the sword, and Israel shall surely be led away captive out of his land. 12 Also Amaziah said unto Amos, O thou seer, go, flee thou away into the land of Judah, and there eat bread, and prophesy there: 13 but prophesy not again any more at Beth-el; for it is the king's sanctuary, and it is a royal house. 14 Then answered Amos, and said to Amaziah, I was no prophet, neither was I a prophet's son; but I was a herdsman, and a dresser of sycomore-trees: 15 and Jehovah took me from following the flock, and Jehovah said unto me, Go, prophesy unto my people Israel. 16 Now therefore hear thou the word of Jehovah: Thou sayest, Prophesy not against Israel, and drop not `thy word' against the house of Isaac; 17 therefore thus saith Jehovah: Thy wife shall be a harlot in the city, and thy sons and thy daughters shall fall by the sword, and thy land shall be divided by line; and thou thyself shalt die in a land that is unclean, and Israel shall surely be led away captive out of his land. Chapter 8 1 Thus the Lord Jehovah showed me: and, behold, a basket of summer fruit. 2 And he said, Amos, what seest thou? And I said, A basket of summer fruit. Then said Jehovah unto me, The end is come upon my people Israel; I will not again pass by them any more. 3 And the songs of the temple shall be wailings in that day, saith the Lord Jehovah: the dead bodies shall be many: in every place shall they cast them forth with silence. 4 Hear this, O ye that would swallow up the needy, and cause the poor of the land to fail, 5 saying, When will the new moon be gone, that we may sell grain? and the sabbath, that we may set forth wheat, making the ephah small, and the shekel great, and dealing falsely with balances of deceit; 6 that we may buy the poor for silver, and the needy for a pair of shoes, and sell the refuse of the wheat? 7 Jehovah hath sworn by the excellency of Jacob, Surely I will never forget any of their works. 8 Shall not the land tremble for this, and every one mourn that dwelleth therein? yea, it shall rise up wholly like the River; and it shall be troubled and sink again, like the River of Egypt. 9 And it shall come to pass in that day, saith the Lord Jehovah, that I will cause the sun to go down at noon, and I will darken the earth in the clear day. 10 And I will turn your feasts into mourning, and all your songs into lamentation; and I will bring sackcloth upon all loins, and baldness upon every head; and I will make it as the mourning for an only son, and the end thereof as a bitter day. 11 Behold, the days come, saith the Lord Jehovah, that I will send a famine in the land, not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of Jehovah. 12 And they shall wander from sea to sea, and from the north even to the east; they shall run to and fro to seek the word of Jehovah, and shall not find it. 13 In that day shall the fair virgins and the young men faint for thirst. 14 They that swear by the sin of Samaria, and say, As thy god, O Dan, liveth; and, As the way of Beer-sheba liveth; they shall fall, and never rise up again. Chapter 9 1 I saw the Lord standing beside the altar: and he said, Smite the capitals, that the thresholds may shake; and break them in pieces on the head of all of them; and I will slay the last of them with the sword: there shall not one of them flee away, and there shall not one of them escape. 2 Though they dig into Sheol, thence shall my hand take them; and though they climb up to heaven, thence will I bring them down. 3 And though they hide themselves in the top of Carmel, I will search and take them out thence; and though they be hid from my sight in the bottom of the sea, thence will I command the serpent, and it shall bite them. 4 And though they go into captivity before their enemies, thence will I command the sword, and it shall slay them: and I will set mine eyes upon them for evil, and not for good. 5 For the Lord, Jehovah of hosts, `is' he that toucheth the land and it melteth, and all that dwell therein shall mourn; and it shall rise up wholly like the River, and shall sink again, like the River of Egypt; 6 `it is' he that buildeth his chambers in the heavens, and hath founded his vault upon the earth; he that calleth for the waters of the sea, and poureth them out upon the face of the earth; Jehovah is his name. 7 Are ye not as the children of the Ethiopians unto me, O children of Israel? saith Jehovah. Have not I brought up Israel out of the land of Egypt, and the Philistines from Caphtor, and the Syrians from Kir? 8 Behold, the eyes of the Lord Jehovah are upon the sinful kingdom, and I will destroy it from off the face of the earth; save that I will not utterly destroy the house of Jacob, saith Jehovah. 9 For, lo, I will command, and 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. 10 All the sinners of my people shall die by the sword, who say, The evil shall not overtake nor meet us. 11 In that day will I raise up the tabernacle of David that is fallen, and close up the breaches thereof; and I will raise up its ruins, and I will build it as in the days of old; 12 that they may possess the remnant of Edom, and all the nations that are called by my name, saith Jehovah that doeth this. 13 Behold, the days come, saith Jehovah, that the plowman shall overtake the reaper, and the treader of grapes him that soweth seed; and the mountains shall drop sweet wine, and all the hills shall melt. 14 And I will bring back the captivity of my people Israel, and they shall build the waste cities, and inhabit them; and they shall plant vineyards, and drink the wine thereof; they shall also make gardens, and eat the fruit of them. 15 And I will plant them upon their land, and they shall no more be plucked up out of their land which I have given them, saith Jehovah thy God.




Let Goods and Kindred Go

Published by John Piper for reading on September 22nd.

But recall the former days when, after you were enlightened, you endured a hard struggle with sufferings, sometimes being publicly exposed to reproach and affliction, and sometimes being partners with those so treated. For you had compassion on those in prison, and you joyfully accepted the plundering of your property, since you knew that you yourselves had a better possession and an abiding one. Therefore do not throw away your confidence, which has a great reward. ( Hebrews 10:32 32 But call to remembrance the former days, in which, after ye were enlightened, ye endured a great conflict of sufferings; –35)

The Christians in Hebrews 10:32 32 But call to remembrance the former days, in which, after ye were enlightened, ye endured a great conflict of sufferings; –35 have earned the right to teach us about costly love.

The situation appears to be this: In the early days of their conversion, some of them were imprisoned for the faith. The others were confronted with a difficult choice: Shall we go underground and stay “safe,” or shall we visit our brothers and sisters in prison and risk our lives and property? They chose the way of love and accepted the cost.

“For you had compassion on those in prison, and you joyfully accepted the plundering of your property.”

But were they losers? No. They lost property and gained joy! They joyfully accepted the loss.

In one sense, they denied themselves. But in another, they did not. They chose the way of joy. Evidently, these Christians were motivated for prison ministry the same way the Macedonians (of 2 Corinthians 8:1 Chapter 8 1 Moreover, brethren, we make known to you the grace of God which hath been given in the churches of Macedonia; –9) were motivated to relieve the poor. Their joy in God overflowed in love for others.

They looked at their own lives and said, “The steadfast love of the Lord is better than life” (see Psalms 63:3 3 Because thy lovingkindness is better than life, My lips shall praise thee. ).

They looked at all their possessions and said, “We have a possession in heaven that is better and lasts longer than any of this” ( Hebrews 10:34 34 For ye both had compassion on them that were in bonds, and took joyfully the spoiling of you possessions, knowing that ye have for yourselves a better possession and an abiding one. ).

Then they looked at each other and said:

Let goods and kindred go This mortal life also The body they may kill God’s truth abideth still His kingdom is forever (Martin Luther)



Daily Bible - September 22

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

Reading for Today:

  • Isaiah 35:1 Chapter 35 1 The wilderness and the dry land shall be glad; and the desert shall rejoice, and blossom as the rose. –36:22
  • Psalms 109:6-13 6 Set thou a wicked man over him; And let an adversary stand at his right hand. 7 When he is judged, let him come forth guilty; And let his prayer be turned into sin. 8 Let his days be few; `And' let another take his office. 9 Let his children be fatherless, And his wife a widow. 10 Let his children be vagabonds, and beg; And let them seek `their bread' out of their desolate places. 11 Let the extortioner catch all that he hath; And let strangers make spoil of his labor. 12 Let there be none to extend kindness unto him; Neither let there be any to have pity on his fatherless children. 13 Let his posterity be cut off; In the generation following let their name be blotted out.
  • Proverbs 25:27-28 27 It is not good to eat much honey: So `for men' to search out their own glory is grievous. 28 He whose spirit is without restraint Is `like' a city that is broken down and without walls.
  • 2 Corinthians 13:1-14 Chapter 13 1 This is the third time I am coming to you. At the mouth of two witnesses or three shall every word established. 2 I have said beforehand, and I do say beforehand, as when I was present the second time, so now, being absent, to them that have sinned heretofore, and to all the rest, that, if I come again, I will not spare; 3 seeing that ye seek a proof of Christ that speaketh in me; who to you-ward is not weak, but is powerful in you: 4 for he was crucified through weakness, yet he liveth through the power of God. For we also are weak in him, but we shall live with him through the power of God toward you. 5 Try your own selves, whether ye are in the faith; prove your own selves. Or know ye not as to your own selves, that Jesus Christ is in you? unless indeed ye be reprobate. 6 But I hope that ye shall know that we are not reprobate. 7 Now we pray to God that ye do no evil; not that we may appear approved, but that ye may do that which is honorable, though we be as reprobate. 8 For we can do nothing against the truth, but for the truth. 9 For we rejoice, when we are weak, and ye are strong: this we also pray for, even your perfecting. 10 For this cause I write these things while absent, that I may not when present deal sharply, according to the authority which the Lord gave me for building up, and not for casting down. 11 Finally, brethren, farewell. Be perfected; be comforted; be of the same mind; live in peace: and the God of love and peace shall be with you. 12 Salute one another with a holy kiss. 13 All the saints salute you. 14 The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit, be with you all.

Notes:

Isaiah 35:6 lame…sing. God’s restoration in the millennial age is to include physical restoration to the afflicted. Jesus’ First Coming gave a foretaste of that future day (Matt. 11:5; 12:22; Mark 7:37 37 And they were beyond measure astonished, saying, He hath done all things well; he maketh even the deaf to hear, and the dumb to speak. ; Luke 7:21 21 In that hour he cured many of diseases and plagues and evil spirits; and on many that were blind he bestowed sight. ; Acts 3:8 8 And leaping up, he stood, and began to walk; and he entered with them into the temple, walking, and leaping, and praising God. ).

Isaiah 35:8 Highway of Holiness. This refers to the way leading the redeemed back to Jerusalem, the throne of the Messiah, literally and spiritually. Christ Himself is to be the leader on that way, called in 40:3, the “way of the LORD.”

Isaiah 36:10 The LORD said. Rabshakeh’s boastful claim of the authority from Judah’s God for his mission may have been a ploy on his part to get a surrender, but it aligned with Isaiah’s prophecy that the Assyrians would be His instrument to punish His people (8:7, 8; 10:5, 6). The Assyrians may have heard this from partisans or may not have known this, but Judah did.

Proverbs 25:28 city broken down. Such are exposed and vulnerable to the incursion of evil thoughts and successful temptations.

2 Corinthians 13:12 a holy kiss. A sign of greeting in biblical times (Matt. 26:49; Luke 7:45 45 Thou gavest me no kiss: but she, since the time I came in, hath not ceased to kiss my feet. ), much like the modern handshake. For Christians, it further expressed brotherly love and unity (Rom. 16:16; 1 Cor. 16:20; 1 Thess. 5:26; 1 Pet. 5:14).

DAY 22: What was Paul’s final warning to the Corinthians?

In 2 Corinthians 12:20 20 For I fear, lest by any means, when I come, I should find you not such as I would, and should myself be found of you such as ye would not; lest by any means `there should be' strife, jealousy, wraths, factions, backbitings, whisperings, swellings, tumults; , 21, it is clear that when he visited them, Paul did not want to find the Corinthians in the same sorry spiritual condition as on his last visit (the “painful visit,” 2:1). If he found that they were not what he wished (i.e., still practicing the sins he listed), they would find him not as they wished—he would have had to discipline them (13:2). To find the Corinthians still living in unrepentant sin would both humiliate and sadden Paul. This warning (and the one in 13:2) was designed to prevent that from happening.

“I will not spare” (v. 2). Paul informed the Corinthians that he would deal biblically with any sin he found in Corinth. Those Corinthians still seeking proof that Paul was a genuine apostle would have it when he arrived (v. 3). They may have gotten more than they bargained for, however, for Paul was going to use his apostolic authority and power to deal with any sin and rebellion he found there. Christ’s power was to be revealed through Paul against the sinning Corinthians (1 Cor.11:30–32). Paul was to come to Corinth armed with the irresistible power of the risen, glorified Christ (v. 4).

In vv. 5, 6, the Greek grammar places great emphasis on the pronouns “yourselves” and “you.” Paul turned the tables on his accusers. Instead of presuming to evaluate his apostleship, they needed to test the genuineness of their faith ( James 2:14 14 What doth it profit, my brethren, if a man say he hath faith, but have not works? can that faith save him? –26). He pointed out the incongruity of the Corinthians’ believing (as they did) that their faith was genuine and his apostleship false. Paul was their spiritual father (1 Cor. 4:15). If his apostleship was counterfeit, so was their faith. The genuineness of their salvation was proof of the genuineness of his apostleship.

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

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September 22 - Nicodemus’s Inquiry: What Is the Kingdom?

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

“Now there was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews; this man came to Jesus by night and said to Him, ‘Rabbi, we know that You have come from God as a teacher; for no one can do these signs that You do unless God is with him.’ Jesus answered and said to him, ‘Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God’” ( John 3:1-3 Chapter 3 1 Now there was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews: 2 the same came unto him by night, and said to him, Rabbi, we know that thou art a teacher come from God; for no one can do these signs that thou doest, except God be with him. 3 Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except one be born anew, he cannot see the kingdom of God. ).

Nicodemus came to Jesus as one of those superficial believers mentioned in John 2:23 23 Now when he was in Jerusalem at the passover, during the feast, many believed on his name, beholding his signs which he did. –25. But the Lord refused to accept Nicodemus’s profession, which was based on the signs he had witnessed (v. 2).

Jesus went straight to the real issue—the transformation of Nicodemus’s heart by the new birth, which is the act of God by which He imparts eternal life to those who are “dead in . . . trespasses and sins” (Eph. 2:1). Jesus answered his unasked question, “Unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.”

By the “kingdom of God,” Jesus is speaking specifically of the kingdom of salvation, the spiritual realm where those who have been born again by divine power through faith now live under the rule of God mediated through His Son. Nicodemus, like his fellow Jews, eagerly anticipated that glorious realm. But they believed that being descendants of Abraham, observing the law, and performing external religious rituals would gain them entrance into that kingdom. As Jesus made clear, no matter how religiously active someone might be, no one can enter the kingdom without experiencing the personal regeneration of the new birth.

Ask Yourself

What are some questions you commonly hear that purport to be genuine interest toward Christian discipleship, but in reality are dodges and smokescreens that disguise a rebellious, disinterested heart? What’s the best way to respond to comments like these? What can you learn from Jesus’ dealings with Nicodemus?

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

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Moses: Forward by Faith

Published by InTouch Ministries for reading on September 22nd.

Exodus 14:10-31 10 And when Pharaoh drew nigh, the children of Israel lifted up their eyes, and, behold, the Egyptians were marching after them; and they were sore afraid: and the children of Israel cried out unto Jehovah. 11 And they said unto Moses, Because there were no graves in Egypt, hast thou taken us away to die in the wilderness? wherefore hast thou dealt thus with us, to bring us forth out of Egypt? 12 Is not this the word that we spake unto thee in Egypt, saying, Let us alone, that we may serve the Egyptians? For it were better for us to serve the Egyptians, than that we should die in the wilderness. 13 And Moses said unto the people, Fear ye not, stand still, and see the salvation of Jehovah, which he will work for you to-day: for the Egyptians whom ye have seen to-day, ye shall see them again no more for ever. 14 Jehovah will fight for you, and ye shall hold your peace. 15 And Jehovah said unto Moses, Wherefore criest thou unto me? speak unto the children of Israel, that they go forward. 16 And lift thou up thy rod, and stretch out thy hand over the sea, and divide it: and the children of Israel shall go into the midst of the sea on dry ground. 17 And I, behold, I will harden the hearts of the Egyptians, and they shall go in after them: and I will get me honor upon Pharaoh, and upon all his host, upon his chariots, and upon his horsemen. 18 And the Egyptians shall know that I am Jehovah, when I have gotten me honor upon Pharaoh, upon his chariots, and upon his horsemen. 19 And the angel of God, who went before the camp of Israel, removed and went behind them; and the pillar of cloud removed from before them, and stood behind them: 20 and it came between the camp of Egypt and the camp of Israel; and there was the cloud and the darkness, yet gave it light by night: and the one came not near the other all the night. 21 And Moses stretched out his hand over the sea; and Jehovah caused the sea to go `back' by a strong east wind all the night, and made the sea dry land, and the waters were divided. 22 And the children of Israel went into the midst of the sea upon the dry ground: and the waters were a wall unto them on their right hand, and on their left. 23 And the Egyptians pursued, and went in after them into the midst of the sea, all Pharaoh's horses, his chariots, and his horsemen. 24 And it came to pass in the morning watch, that Jehovah looked forth upon the host of the Egyptians through the pillar of fire and of cloud, and discomfited the host of the Egyptians. 25 And he took off their chariot wheels, and they drove them heavily; so that the Egyptians said, Let us flee from the face of Israel; for Jehovah fighteth for them against the Egyptians. 26 And Jehovah said unto Moses, Stretch out thy hand over the sea, that the waters may come again upon the Egyptians, upon their chariots, and upon their horsemen. 27 And Moses stretched forth his hand over the sea, and the sea returned to its strength when the morning appeared; and the Egyptians fled against it; and Jehovah overthrew the Egyptians in the midst of the sea. 28 And the waters returned, and covered the chariots, and the horsemen, even all the host of Pharaoh that went in after them into the sea; there remained not so much as one of them. 29 But the children of Israel walked upon dry land in the midst of the sea; and the waters were a wall unto them on their right hand, and on their left. 30 Thus Jehovah saved Israel that day out of the hand of the Egyptians; and Israel saw the Egyptians dead upon the sea-shore. 31 And Israel saw the great work which Jehovah did upon the Egyptians, and the people feared Jehovah: and they believed in Jehovah, and in his servant Moses.

Living by faith guarantees hardship. People do not like this message, but it’s true. When a person chooses to surrender to God and obey Him no matter what, that believer will suffer at times and be asked to make painful sacrifices. In order to serve the Lord, Moses had to choose to go forward by faith in spite of daunting challenges.

Having grown up in Pharaoh’s palace, Moses knew all about the Egyptian ruler’s pride, as well as the importance of Hebrew slave labor. So he well understood the difficulty of carrying out God’s command to free His people. However, he’d left his comfortable life so he could obey.

As it turned out, Moses’ job didn’t begin until the Hebrew slaves’ release. He then spent more than 40 years leading this errant people, interceding for them when they disobeyed God, and calling upon the Lord for rescue when they faced trouble.

Moses’ life was marked by challenge and sacrifice, but more than that, it was shaped by an intimate relationship with God. Every hardship that knocked away his trust in himself strengthened his faith in the Lord. When a new challenge arose, Moses turned first to God for guidance and provision.

Scripture tells us that adversity produces a deeper intimacy with the Lord ( 1 Peter 5:10 10 And the God of all grace, who called you unto his eternal glory in Christ, after that ye have suffered a little while, shall himself perfect, establish, strengthen you. ). Moses’ life demonstrates this, and it holds true for believers today. Hardships are inevitable. We could try doing everything in our power to avoid them but would probably be unsuccessful. A wiser approach is to meet the challenge and go forward by faith.

Bible in One Year: Amos 5-9 Chapter 5 1 Hear ye this word which I take up for a lamentation over you, O house of Israel. 2 The virgin of Israel is fallen; she shall no more rise: she is cast down upon her land; there is none to raise her up. 3 For thus saith the Lord Jehovah: The city that went forth a thousand shall have a hundred left, and that which went forth a hundred shall have ten left, to the house of Israel. 4 For thus saith Jehovah unto the house of Israel, Seek ye me, and ye shall live; 5 but seek not Beth-el, nor enter into Gilgal, and pass not to Beer-sheba: for Gilgal shall surely go into captivity, and Beth-el shall come to nought. 6 Seek Jehovah, and ye shall live; lest he break out like fire in the house of Joseph, and it devour, and there be none to quench it in Beth-el. 7 Ye who turn justice to wormwood, and cast down righteousness to the earth, 8 `seek him' that maketh the Pleiades and Orion, and turneth the shadow of death into the morning, and maketh the day dark with night; that calleth for the waters of the sea, and poureth them out upon the face of the earth (Jehovah is his name); 9 that bringeth sudden destruction upon the strong, so that destruction cometh upon the fortress. 10 They hate him that reproveth in the gate, and they abhor him that speaketh uprightly. 11 Forasmuch therefore as ye trample upon the poor, and take exactions from him of wheat: ye have built houses of hewn stone, but ye shall not dwell in them; ye have planted pleasant vineyards, but ye shall not drink the wine thereof. 12 For I know how manifold are your transgressions, and how mighty are your sins-ye that afflict the just, that take a bribe, and that turn aside the needy in the gate `from their right'. 13 Therefore he that is prudent shall keep silence in such a time; for it is an evil time. 14 Seek good, and not evil, that ye may live; and so Jehovah, the God of hosts, will be with you, as ye say. 15 Hate the evil, and love the good, and establish justice in the gate: it may be that Jehovah, the God of hosts, will be gracious unto the remnant of Joseph. 16 Therefore thus saith Jehovah, the God of hosts, the Lord: Wailing shall be in all the broad ways; and they shall say in all the streets, Alas! Alas! and they shall call the husbandman to mourning, and such as are skilful in lamentation to wailing. 17 And in all vineyards shall be wailing; for I will pass through the midst of thee, saith Jehovah. 18 Woe unto you that desire the day of Jehovah! Wherefore would ye have the day of Jehovah? It is darkness, and not light. 19 As if a man did flee from a lion, and a bear met him; or went into the house and leaned his hand on the wall, and a serpent bit him. 20 Shall not the day of Jehovah be darkness, and not light? even very dark, and no brightness in it? 21 I hate, I despise your feasts, and I will take no delight in your solemn assemblies. 22 Yea, though ye offer me your burnt-offerings and meal-offerings, I will not accept them; neither will I regard the peace-offerings of your fat beasts. 23 Take thou away from me the noise of thy songs; for I will not hear the melody of thy viols. 24 But let justice roll down as waters, and righteousness as a mighty stream. 25 Did ye bring unto me sacrifices and offerings in the wilderness forty years, O house of Israel? 26 Yea, ye have borne the tabernacle of your king and the shrine of your images, the star of your god, which ye made to yourselves. 27 Therefore will I cause you to go into captivity beyond Damascus, saith Jehovah, whose name is the God of hosts. Chapter 6 1 Woe to them that are at ease in Zion, and to them that are secure in the mountain of Samaria, the notable men of the chief of the nations, to whom the house of Israel come! 2 Pass ye unto Calneh, and see; and from thence go ye to Hamath the great; then go down to Gath of the Philistines: are they better than these kingdoms? or is their border greater than your border? 3 -ye that put far away the evil day, and cause the seat of violence to come near; 4 that lie upon beds of ivory, and stretch themselves upon their couches, and eat the lambs out of the flock, and the calves out of the midst of the stall; 5 that sing idle songs to the sound of the viol; that invent for themselves instruments of music, like David; 6 that drink wine in bowls, and anoint themselves with the chief oils; but they are not grieved for the affliction of Joseph. 7 Therefore shall they now go captive with the first that go captive; and the revelry of them that stretched themselves shall pass away. 8 The Lord Jehovah hath sworn by himself, saith Jehovah, the God of hosts: I abhor the excellency of Jacob, and hate his palaces; therefore will I deliver up the city with all that is therein. 9 And it shall come to pass, if there remain ten men in one house, that they shall die. 10 And when a man's uncle shall take him up, even he that burneth him, to bring out the bones out of the house, and shall say unto him that is in the innermost parts of the house, Is there yet any with thee? and he shall say, No; then shall he say, Hold thy peace; for we may not make mention of the name of Jehovah. 11 For, behold, Jehovah commandeth, and the great house shall be smitten with breaches, and the little house with clefts. 12 Shall horses run upon the rock? will one plow `there' with oxen? that ye have turned justice into gall, and the fruit of righteousness into wormwood; 13 ye that rejoice in a thing of nought, that say, Have we not taken to us horns by our own strength? 14 For, behold, I will raise up against you a nation, O house of Israel, saith Jehovah, the God of hosts; and they shall afflict you from the entrance of Hamath unto the brook of the Arabah. Chapter 7 1 Thus the Lord Jehovah showed me: and, behold, he formed locusts in the beginning of the shooting up of the latter growth; and, lo, it was the latter growth after the king's mowings. 2 And it came to pass that, when they made an end of eating the grass of the land, then I said, O Lord Jehovah, forgive, I beseech thee: how shall Jacob stand? for he is small. 3 Jehovah repented concerning this: It shall not be, saith Jehovah. 4 Thus the Lord Jehovah showed me: and, behold, the Lord Jehovah called to content by fire; and it devoured the great deep, and would have eaten up the land. 5 Then said I, O Lord Jehovah, cease, I beseech thee: how shall Jacob stand? for he is small. 6 Jehovah repented concerning this: this also shall not be, saith the Lord Jehovah. 7 Thus he showed me: and, behold, the Lord stood beside a wall made by a plumb-line, with a plumb-line in his hand. 8 And Jehovah said unto me, Amos, what seest thou? And I said, A plumb-line. Then said the Lord, Behold, I will set a plumb-line in the midst of my people Israel; I will not again pass by them any more; 9 and the high places of Isaac shall be desolate, and the sanctuaries of Israel shall be laid waste; and I will rise against the house of Jeroboam with the sword. 10 Then Amaziah the priest of Beth-el sent to Jeroboam king of Israel, saying, Amos hath conspired against thee in the midst of the house of Israel: the land is not able to bear all his words. 11 For thus Amos saith, Jeroboam shall die by the sword, and Israel shall surely be led away captive out of his land. 12 Also Amaziah said unto Amos, O thou seer, go, flee thou away into the land of Judah, and there eat bread, and prophesy there: 13 but prophesy not again any more at Beth-el; for it is the king's sanctuary, and it is a royal house. 14 Then answered Amos, and said to Amaziah, I was no prophet, neither was I a prophet's son; but I was a herdsman, and a dresser of sycomore-trees: 15 and Jehovah took me from following the flock, and Jehovah said unto me, Go, prophesy unto my people Israel. 16 Now therefore hear thou the word of Jehovah: Thou sayest, Prophesy not against Israel, and drop not `thy word' against the house of Isaac; 17 therefore thus saith Jehovah: Thy wife shall be a harlot in the city, and thy sons and thy daughters shall fall by the sword, and thy land shall be divided by line; and thou thyself shalt die in a land that is unclean, and Israel shall surely be led away captive out of his land. Chapter 8 1 Thus the Lord Jehovah showed me: and, behold, a basket of summer fruit. 2 And he said, Amos, what seest thou? And I said, A basket of summer fruit. Then said Jehovah unto me, The end is come upon my people Israel; I will not again pass by them any more. 3 And the songs of the temple shall be wailings in that day, saith the Lord Jehovah: the dead bodies shall be many: in every place shall they cast them forth with silence. 4 Hear this, O ye that would swallow up the needy, and cause the poor of the land to fail, 5 saying, When will the new moon be gone, that we may sell grain? and the sabbath, that we may set forth wheat, making the ephah small, and the shekel great, and dealing falsely with balances of deceit; 6 that we may buy the poor for silver, and the needy for a pair of shoes, and sell the refuse of the wheat? 7 Jehovah hath sworn by the excellency of Jacob, Surely I will never forget any of their works. 8 Shall not the land tremble for this, and every one mourn that dwelleth therein? yea, it shall rise up wholly like the River; and it shall be troubled and sink again, like the River of Egypt. 9 And it shall come to pass in that day, saith the Lord Jehovah, that I will cause the sun to go down at noon, and I will darken the earth in the clear day. 10 And I will turn your feasts into mourning, and all your songs into lamentation; and I will bring sackcloth upon all loins, and baldness upon every head; and I will make it as the mourning for an only son, and the end thereof as a bitter day. 11 Behold, the days come, saith the Lord Jehovah, that I will send a famine in the land, not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of Jehovah. 12 And they shall wander from sea to sea, and from the north even to the east; they shall run to and fro to seek the word of Jehovah, and shall not find it. 13 In that day shall the fair virgins and the young men faint for thirst. 14 They that swear by the sin of Samaria, and say, As thy god, O Dan, liveth; and, As the way of Beer-sheba liveth; they shall fall, and never rise up again. Chapter 9 1 I saw the Lord standing beside the altar: and he said, Smite the capitals, that the thresholds may shake; and break them in pieces on the head of all of them; and I will slay the last of them with the sword: there shall not one of them flee away, and there shall not one of them escape. 2 Though they dig into Sheol, thence shall my hand take them; and though they climb up to heaven, thence will I bring them down. 3 And though they hide themselves in the top of Carmel, I will search and take them out thence; and though they be hid from my sight in the bottom of the sea, thence will I command the serpent, and it shall bite them. 4 And though they go into captivity before their enemies, thence will I command the sword, and it shall slay them: and I will set mine eyes upon them for evil, and not for good. 5 For the Lord, Jehovah of hosts, `is' he that toucheth the land and it melteth, and all that dwell therein shall mourn; and it shall rise up wholly like the River, and shall sink again, like the River of Egypt; 6 `it is' he that buildeth his chambers in the heavens, and hath founded his vault upon the earth; he that calleth for the waters of the sea, and poureth them out upon the face of the earth; Jehovah is his name. 7 Are ye not as the children of the Ethiopians unto me, O children of Israel? saith Jehovah. Have not I brought up Israel out of the land of Egypt, and the Philistines from Caphtor, and the Syrians from Kir? 8 Behold, the eyes of the Lord Jehovah are upon the sinful kingdom, and I will destroy it from off the face of the earth; save that I will not utterly destroy the house of Jacob, saith Jehovah. 9 For, lo, I will command, and 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. 10 All the sinners of my people shall die by the sword, who say, The evil shall not overtake nor meet us. 11 In that day will I raise up the tabernacle of David that is fallen, and close up the breaches thereof; and I will raise up its ruins, and I will build it as in the days of old; 12 that they may possess the remnant of Edom, and all the nations that are called by my name, saith Jehovah that doeth this. 13 Behold, the days come, saith Jehovah, that the plowman shall overtake the reaper, and the treader of grapes him that soweth seed; and the mountains shall drop sweet wine, and all the hills shall melt. 14 And I will bring back the captivity of my people Israel, and they shall build the waste cities, and inhabit them; and they shall plant vineyards, and drink the wine thereof; they shall also make gardens, and eat the fruit of them. 15 And I will plant them upon their land, and they shall no more be plucked up out of their land which I have given them, saith Jehovah thy God.




The Spirit and Adoption

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

“For all who are being led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God. For you have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again, but you have received a spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out, ‘Abba! Father!’ The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God” ( Romans 8:14-16 14 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God. 15 For ye received not the spirit of bondage again unto fear; but ye received the spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. 16 The Spirit himself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are children of God: ).

The Holy Spirit confirms in our hearts the reality of adoption into God’s family.

In first-century Rome, people did not practice adoption exactly the same as they do today. A father sometimes adopted a young man outside the family to be the primary heir of the father’s name and estate. If the father considered his natural sons unworthy, he would find someone else with the qualities he wanted in a son. The adopted son would then take precedence over any of the real sons in the inheritance process. Thus the new son received many rights and privileges he would not have had otherwise; he was not merely a second-class citizen rescued from homelessness.

Likewise, it requires more than a natural birth process for us to become members of God’s family. We become God’s children because He sovereignly chose to grant us spiritual rebirth ( John 1:12-13 12 But as many as received him, to them gave he the right to become children of God, `even' to them that believe on his name: 13 who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. ). That’s the substance of biblical adoption.

Therefore, adoption and regeneration are both terms that describe how God brought us to Himself (see 2 Cor. 5:17). Regeneration makes us sons and daughters and prepares us for our eternal inheritance. Adoption names us “sons of God” and actually gives us the title to our inheritance. Once this occurs, all our former debts (sins) are canceled, and we have a right to be in God’s presence without condemnation.

The entire process of adoption is superintended by the Holy Spirit, who repeatedly confirms its reality in our hearts. He transfers us from an alien family into God’s family and thus “bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God” (Rom. 8:16). If you are a Christian, you can, by the indwelling Spirit, know that you are legally and eternally God’s child.

Suggestions for Prayer

Ask the Lord to give you a renewed sense of joy and thanksgiving throughout this day as you remember the blessings of being his adopted child.

For Further Study

Read Genesis 12:1-8 Chapter 12 1 Now Jehovah said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father's house, unto the land that I will show thee: 2 and I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make they name great; and be thou a blessing; 3 and I will bless them that bless thee, and him that curseth thee will I curse: and in thee shall all the families of the earth be blessed. 4 So Abram went, as Jehovah had spoken unto him; and Lot went with him: and Abram was seventy and five years old when he departed out of Haran. 5 And Abram took Sarai his wife, and Lot his brother's son, and all their substance that they had gathered, and the souls that they had gotten in Haran; and they went forth to go into the land of Canaan; and into the land of Canaan they came. 6 And Abram passed through the land unto the place of Shechem, unto the oak of Moreh. And the Canaanite was then in the land. 7 And Jehovah appeared unto Abram, and said, Unto thy seed will I give this land: and there builded he an altar unto Jehovah, who appeared unto him. 8 And he removed from thence unto the mountain on the east of Beth-el, and pitched his tent, having Beth-el on the west, and Ai on the east: and there he builded an altar unto Jehovah, and called upon the name of Jehovah. .

  • What commands and promises did God make?
  • Had Abraham known God in the same way prior to this passage?
  • Does God’s promise in any sense parallel the concept of adoption? Explain.

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

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Dealing with Despair

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

"Take the helmet of salvation" (Eph. 6:17).

Your helmet of salvation protects you from discouragement and despair.

We've seen how Satan attacks believers with his two-edged sword of doubt and discouragement. But he doesn't stop there. He tries to take you beyond discouragement to despair by robbing you of hope. Unless you're careful, his attacks will be successful when you're battle-weary.

The prophet Elijah is an illustration of that truth. The highlight of his ministry came atop Mount Carmel, where he slew 450 prophets of Baal ( 1 Kings 18:40 40 and Elijah said unto them, Take the prophets of Baal; let not one of them escape. And they took them; and Elijah brought them down to the brook Kishon, and slew them there. ). Yet immediately after that great victory, he fled for his life because Queen Jezebel threatened to kill him ( 1 Kings 19:1- Chapter 19 1 And Ahab told Jezebel all that Elijah had done, and withal how he had slain all the prophets with the sword. 3).

He ran from Mount Carmel into the wilderness of Beersheba, where he "sat down under a juniper tree; and he requested for himself that he might die, and said, 'It is enough; now, O Lord, take my life, for I am not better than my fathers'" (v. 4). He went on to moan, "I have been very zealous for the Lord, the God of hosts; for the sons of Israel have forsaken Thy covenant, torn down Thine altars and killed Thy prophets with the sword. And I alone am left; and they seek my life, to take it away" (v. 10).

Elijah lost hope because he failed to see his circumstances through the eyes of faith; he was attempting to fight the battle on his own. He allowed himself to become emotionally, physically, and spiritually spent, and became overwhelmed with self-pity. He felt utterly alone.

But God hadn't abandoned Elijah. He was still in control and His people were numerous (v. 18). But Elijah had, in effect, removed his helmet of salvation and received a near-fatal blow to his confidence in God's blessing on his life.

There may be times when, like Elijah, you lose your confidence and doubt God's faithfulness. At such times, putting on the helmet of salvation means taking your eyes off your circumstances and trusting in God's promises. You may not always sense His presence or understand what He's doing, but be assured He will never leave you or forsake you (Heb. 13:5) and His purposes will always be accomplished Rom. 8:28).

Suggestions for Prayer

Praise God for His unchanging character and irrevocable promises.

For Further Study

Read Isaiah 40:29-31 29 He giveth power to the faint; and to him that hath no might he increaseth strength. 30 Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall: 31 but they that wait for Jehovah shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; they shall walk, and not faint. and Galatians 6:9 9 And let us not be weary in well-doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not. .

  • What promises are given in those passages?
  • In what specific ways do they apply to your life?

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

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Morning Devotional by C.H. Spurgeon for September 22nd

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

Psalms 149:2 2 Let Israel rejoice in him that made him: Let the children of Zion be joyful in their King.

BE glad of heart, O believer, but take care that thy gladness has its spring in the Lord. Thou hast much cause for gladness in thy God, for thou canst sing with David, "God, my exceeding joy." Be glad that the Lord reigneth, that Jehovah is King! Rejoice that He sits upon the throne, and ruleth all things! Every attribute of God should become a fresh ray in the sunlight of our gladness. That He is wise should make us glad, knowing as we do our own foolishness. That He is mighty, should cause us to rejoice who tremble at our weakness. That he is everlasting, should always be a theme of joy when we know that we wither as the grass. That He is unchanging, should perpetually yield us a song, since we change every hour. That He is full of grace, that He is overflowing with it, and that this grace in covenant He has given to us; that it is ours to cleanse us, ours to keep us, ours to sanctify us, ours to perfect us, ours to bring us to glory—all this should tend to make us glad in Him. This gladness in God is as a deep river; we have only as yet touched its brink, we know a little of its clear sweet, heavenly streams, but onward the depth is greater, and the current more impetuous in its joy. The Christian feels that he may delight himself not only in what God is, but also in all that God has done in the past. The Psalms show us that God's people in olden times were wont to think much of God's actions, and to have a song concerning each of them. So let God's people now rehearse the deeds of the Lord! Let them tell of His mighty acts, and "sing unto the Lord, for He hath triumphed gloriously." Nor let them ever cease to sing, for as new mercies flow to them day by day, so should their gladness in the Lord's loving acts in providence and in grace show itself in continued thanksgiving. Be glad ye children of Zion and rejoice in the Lord your God.

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

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

Psalms 61:2 2 From the end of the earth will I call unto thee, when my heart is overwhelmed: Lead me to the rock that is higher than I.

MOST of us know what it is to be overwhelmed in heart; emptied as when a man wipeth a dish and turneth it upside down; submerged and thrown on our beam ends like a vessel mastered by the storm. Discoveries of inward corruption will do this, if the Lord permits the great deep of our depravity to become troubled and cast up mire and dirt. Disappointments and heart-breaks will do this when billow after billow rolls over us, and we are like a broken shell hurled to and fro by the surf. Blessed be God, at such seasons we are not without an all-sufficient solace, our God is the harbour of weather-beaten sails, the hospice of forlorn pilgrims. Higher than we are is He, His mercy higher than our sins, His love higher than our thoughts. It is pitiful to see men putting their trust in something lower than themselves; but our confidence is fixed upon an exceeding high and glorious Lord. A Rock He is since He changes not, and a high Rock, because the tempests which overwhelm us roll far beneath at His feet; He is not disturbed by them, but rules them at His will. If we get under the shelter of this lofty Rock we may defy the hurricane; all is calm under the lee of that towering cliff. Alas! such is the confusion in which the troubled mind is often cast, that we need piloting to this divine shelter. Hence the prayer of the text. O Lord, our God, by Thy Holy Spirit, teach us the way of faith, lead us into Thy rest. The wind blows us out to sea, the helm answers not to our puny hand; Thou, Thou alone canst steer us over the bar between yon sunken rocks, safe into the fair haven. How dependent we are upon Thee—we need Thee to bring us to Thee. To be wisely directed and steered into safety and peace is Thy gift, and Thine alone. This night be pleased to deal well with Thy servants.

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