February 4: Morning
"The love of the Lord." - Hosea 3:1
Believer, look back through all thine experience, and think of the way whereby the Lord thy God has led thee in the wilderness, and how he hath fed and clothed thee every day--how he hath borne with thine ill manners--how he hath put up with all thy murmurings, and all thy longings after the flesh-pots of Egypt--how he has opened the rock to supply thee, and fed thee with manna that came down from heaven. Think of how his grace has been sufficient for thee in all thy troubles--how his blood has been a pardon to thee in all thy sins--how his rod and his staff have comforted thee. When thou hast thus looked back upon the love of the Lord, then let faith survey his love in the future, for remember that Christ's covenant and blood have something more in them than the past. He who has loved thee and pardoned thee, shall never cease to love and pardon. He is Alpha, and he shall be Omega also: he is first, and he shall be last. Therefore, bethink thee, when thou shalt pass through the valley of the shadow of death, thou needest fear no evil, for he is with thee. When thou shalt stand in the cold floods of Jordan, thou needest not fear, for death cannot separate thee from his love; and when thou shalt come into the mysteries of eternity thou needest not tremble, "For I am persuaded, that neither death; nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord." Now, soul, is not thy love refreshed? Does not this make thee love Jesus? Doth not a flight through illimitable plains of the ether of love inflame thy heart and compel thee to delight thyself in the Lord thy God? Surely as we meditate on "the love of the Lord," our hearts burn within us, and we long to love him more.
"Your refuge from the avenger of blood." - Joshua 20:3
It is said that in the land of Canaan, cities of refuge were so arranged, that any man might reach one of them within half a day at the utmost. Even so the word of our salvation is near to us; Jesus is a present Saviour, and the way to him is short; it is but a simple renunciation of our own merit, and a laying hold of Jesus, to be our all in all. With regard to the roads to the city of refuge, we are told that they were strictly preserved, every river was bridged, and every obstruction removed, so that the man who fled might find an easy passage to the city. Once a year the elders went along the roads and saw to their order, so that nothing might impede the flight of any one, and cause him, through delay, to be overtaken and slain. How graciously do the promises of the gospel remove stumbling blocks from the way! Wherever there were by-roads and turnings, there were fixed up hand-posts, with the inscription upon them--"To the city of refuge!" This is a picture of the road to Christ Jesus. It is no roundabout road of the law; it is no obeying this, that, and the other; it is a straight road: "Believe, and live." It is a road so hard, that no self-righteous man can ever tread it, but so easy, that every sinner, who knows himself to be a sinner may by it find his way to heaven. No sooner did the man-slayer reach the outworks of the city than he was safe; it was not necessary for him to pass far within the walls, but the suburbs themselves were sufficient protection. Learn hence, that if you do but touch the hem of Christ's garment, you shall be made whole; if you do but lay hold upon him with "faith as a grain of mustard seed," you are safe.
"A little genuine grace ensures
The death of all our sins."
Only waste no time, loiter not by the way, for the avenger of blood is swift of foot; and it may be he is at your heels at this still hour of eventide.
[Nā'hum] - compassionate, comforter or full of comfort.
1. The prophet who was born at Elkosh in Galilee, and who prophesied against Nineveh (Nah. 1:1).
The Man Who Preached Doom
Nothing is known of this Minor Prophet outside of what we find in the opening of his small yet strong book. He was born at Elkosh, a village of Palestine. But although Nahum is among the notable unknown of the Bible, he was a student of the history of his time and was raised up to comfort God's people. He prophesied against Nineveh about 150 years after Jonah's revival there. At that time the city was still at the height of its glory (Nah. 3:16-17 ). The empire was extremely cruel. The people gloated that "space failed for corpses of their enemies." They made "pyramids of human heads." Pillars were covered with the flayed skins of their rivals.
Nahum's mission was to declare the terrible doom of Nineveh and one hundred years later it fell. So great was the destruction of the city of the most ferocious, sensual, diabolically atrocious race of men that ever lived, that Alexander the Great marched by and did not know that a great city was under his feet. Lucian wrote, "Nineveh is perished and there is no trace left where once it was." Nahum, convinced that God was slow to anger but would yet take vengeance on His adversaries, "focusses the light of God's moral government upon wicked Nineveh and chants the death and dirge of the world's greatest oppressor."
The leading lessons to be gleaned from the Book of Nahum are encouraging to faith:
I. The goodness and unchangeableness of Jehovah.
II. The limits of divine forbearance.
III. Right prevails in the end.
IV. Darkness comes before the dawn.
V. The universality of God's government, its gracious purpose: its retributive character.
VI. Man's extremity is faith's hour and God's opportunity.
2. Another Nahum. In the A. V. Naum is mentioned as an ancestor of Jesus Christ (Luke 3:25).
Today's reading: Exodus 34-35, Matthew 22:23-46 (NIV)View today's reading on Bible Gateway
Today's Old Testament reading: Exodus 34-35
The New Stone Tablets
1 The LORD said to Moses, "Chisel out two stone tablets like the first ones, and I will write on them the words that were on the first tablets, which you broke. 2 Be ready in the morning, and then come up on Mount Sinai. Present yourself to me there on top of the mountain. 3 No one is to come with you or be seen anywhere on the mountain; not even the flocks and herds may graze in front of the mountain."4 So Moses chiseled out two stone tablets like the first ones and went up Mount Sinai early in the morning, as the LORD had commanded him; and he carried the two stone tablets in his hands....
Today's New Testament reading: Matthew 22:23-46
Marriage at the Resurrection
23 That same day the Sadducees, who say there is no resurrection, came to him with a question. 24 "Teacher," they said, "Moses told us that if a man dies without having children, his brother must marry the widow and raise up offspring for him.25 Now there were seven brothers among us. The first one married and died, and since he had no children, he left his wife to his brother. 26 The same thing happened to the second and third brother, right on down to the seventh. 27 Finally, the woman died. 28 Now then, at the resurrection, whose wife will she be of the seven, since all of them were married to her?"29 Jesus replied, "You are in error because you do not know the Scriptures or the power of God...."