February 7: Morning
"Arise, and depart." - Micah 2:10
The hour is approaching when the message will come to us, as it comes to all--"Arise, and go forth from the home in which thou hast dwelt, from the city in which thou hast done thy business, from thy family, from thy friends. Arise, and take thy last journey." And what know we of the journey? And what know we of the country to which we are bound? A little we have read thereof, and somewhat has been revealed to us by the Spirit; but how little do we know of the realms of the future! We know that there is a black and stormy river called "Death." God bids us cross it, promising to be with us. And, after death, what cometh? What wonder-world will open upon our astonished sight? What scene of glory will be unfolded to our view? No traveller has ever returned to tell. But we know enough of the heavenly land to make us welcome our summons thither with joy and gladness. The journey of death may be dark, but we may go forth on it fearlessly, knowing that God is with us as we walk through the gloomy valley, and therefore we need fear no evil. We shall be departing from all we have known and loved here, but we shall be going to our Father's house--to our Father's home, where Jesus is--to that royal "city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God." This shall be our last removal, to dwell forever with him we love, in the midst of his people, in the presence of God. Christian, meditate much on heaven, it will help thee to press on, and to forget the toil of the way. This vale of tears is but the pathway to the better country: this world of woe is but the stepping-stone to a world of bliss.
"Prepare us, Lord, by grace divine,
For thy bright courts on high;
Then bid our spirits rise, and join
The chorus of the sky."
"And they heard a great voice from heaven saying unto them, Come up hither." - Revelation 11:12
Without considering these words in their prophetical connection, let us regard them as the invitation of our great Forerunner to his sanctified people. In due time there shall be heard "a great voice from heaven" to every believer, saying, "Come up hither." This should be to the saints the subject of joyful anticipation. Instead of dreading the time when we shall leave this world to go unto the Father, we should be panting for the hour of our emancipation. Our song should be--
"My heart is with him on his throne,
And ill can brook delay;
Each moment listening for the voice,
Rise up and come away.'"
We are not called down to the grave, but up to the skies. Our heaven-born spirits should long for their native air. Yet should the celestial summons be the object of patient waiting. Our God knows best when to bid us "Come up hither." We must not wish to antedate the period of our departure. I know that strong love will make us cry,
"O Lord of Hosts, the waves divide,
And land us all in heaven;"
but patience must have her perfect work. God ordains with accurate wisdom the most fitting time for the redeemed to abide below. Surely, if there could be regrets in heaven, the saints might mourn that they did not live longer here to do more good. Oh, for more sheaves for my Lord's garner! m
ore jewels for his crown! But how, unless there be more work? True, there is the other side of it, that, living so briefly, our sins are the fewer; but oh! when we are fully serving God, and he is giving us to scatter precious seed, and reap a hundredfold, we would even say it is well for us to abide where we are. Whether our Master shall say "go," or "stay," let us be equally well pleased so long as he indulges us with his presence.
[Jēhŏsh'aphăt] - jehovah is judge.
2. One of Solomon's purveyors (1 Kings 4:17).
3. A son of Asa, king of Judah, who succeeded his father (1 Kings 15:24; 22).
The Man with a Good Record
Because he carried out the religious reforms of his father, history gives Jehoshaphat a good name. What a beautiful expression that is " . . .he walked in the first ways of his father David" - meaning in the former or earlier ways of David, as contrasted with his later conduct. Because of his godward bent, "the Lord was with Jehoshaphat." Negatively, he "sought not after Baalim."
Here was a man who in every point was equally strong, a man of foresight, a man of reverence, a man of an honest heart, a man who felt that idolatry and true worship could not coexist in the same breast. He did not concern himself with "the doings of Israel." His was a blessed, spiritual singularity. He laid down a clear program for himself, and followed it out with patient and faithful endeavor. He did not seek riches and honor. No wonder the Lord "established the kingdom in his hand"! Points for the preacher to develop are:
I. He was one of the best kings of Judah (1 Kings 15:24).
II. He had a godly father whose example he emulated (2 Chron. 14:2).
III. He developed a system of religious instruction for the people (2 Chron. 17:7-9).
IV. He commanded the judges to be just (2 Chron. 19:6-9).
V. He trusted God for victory in a crisis (2 Chron. 20).
VI. He manifested weakness in his alliance with wicked kings (1 Kings 22:1-36).
4. Son of Nimshi and father of Jehu, who conspired against Joram, son of king Ahab (2 Kings 9:2, 14).
5. One of the priests who assisted in bringing up the Ark from Obed-edom (1 Chron. 15:24). Also the name of a valley east of Jerusalem which figures in coming judgment (Joel 3:2, 12). See also Josaphat.
The Woman Whose Sightseeing Had Fatal Results
Scripture Reference: Genesis 34
Name Meaning: Dinah means "justice" or "one who judges," and was doubtless given her as a token of her parents' belief in divine justice.
Family Connections: She was a daughter of Jacob and Leah, and as a member of a family under covenant blessing should have been more careful regarding her personal obligation in maintaining the honor of her home and nation.
Dinah's love for sight-seeing set off a train of tragic consequences. Young and daring, and curious to know something of the world outside, she stole away one day from the drab tents of her father, to see how the girls in their gorgeous Oriental trappings fared in nearby Shechem. Roaming around, the eyes of Prince Shechem, son of Hamor lighted upon her. He saw her means he lusted after her (see Job 31:1), and then as the record puts it, "he took her, lay with her, and defiled her" (Genesis 34:2 ). Although Dinah's vanity was flattered at Shechem's attention so that she went to his palace, she never meant to go so far. Took her implies he forced her, and although she may have resisted his advances, resistance was futile and she was seduced.
Had Dinah been content to remain a "keeper at home" (Titus 2:5), a terrible massacre would have been averted, but her desire for novelty and forbidden company spelled disaster. Josephus tells us that Dinah went to the Canaanite annual festival of nature worship (Numbers 25:2) - a forbidden association for an Israelite. Sin, shame and death came to Dinah and Shechem through the windows of their eyes and ears (see Genesis 39:7 ). The young prince offered the usual reparation for his seduction of Dinah - marriage and a payment to her father which was sufficient according to Hebrew law (Deuteronomy 22:28-29). Evidently there was more than lustful desire on the part of Shechem, for we read - "His soul clave unto Dinah the daughter of Jacob, and he loved the damsel, and spake kindly unto her." When Hamor went to Jacob and his sons to discuss the matter of marriage between his son and Dinah, he said, "The soul of my son Shechem longeth for your daughter. I pray you give her him to wife."
The sons of Jacob, angry over the shame brought to their sister and nation, said that such a thing "ought not to be done." By what Dinah had become - a seduced woman - she caused her father to be a "stink among the inhabitants of the land."
Seeming to acquiesce in Hamor's suggestion that his son and Dinah should marry and that there should be established a friendlier association between the Israelites and Shechemites, the sons of Jacob, particularly Simeon and Levi, said that they would agree to Hamor's proposition on one condition. The condition was that all the male Shechemites submit to the rite of circumcision - an act of priestly consecration. When the pain of the operation was at its height and movement was difficult, on the third day, Simeon and Levi attacked and slew all the males in the city, including young Shechem himself. For centuries, among the Arabs, seduction was punishable by death, the judgment being generally inflicted by the brothers of the one seduced. For their crime, Simeon and Levi received a curse instead of a blessing from Jacob their father, as he came to die.
One salutary effect of this tragedy was the reconsecration of Jacob who had lapsed somewhat as the result of his settlement near Shechem (Genesis 33:17-20). Remembering his vow to make an altar at Bethel to God who had appeared to him while fleeing from Esau years before, his family surrendered their strange gods and purified themselves, and at Bethel the forgotten covenant was fulfilled. In this way God overruled evil for good (Genesis 35:1-5).
How many young Dinahs there are today captivated by the glitter and glamor of the world, and, tired of life at home, leave without warning, and become lost in the whirl of a large city. There is an alarming increase in the numbers of girls who, anxious for change and wanting to see something of the world, turn aside from the shelter of a good home and are never heard of again. Many of them end up in sin, crime and degradation. May we never cease to pray for those who try to seek out and restore the lost, young womanhood of our day!
Today's reading: Leviticus 1-3, Matthew 24:1-28 (NIV)View today's reading on Bible Gateway
Today's Old Testament reading: Leviticus 1-3
The Burnt Offering
1 The LORD called to Moses and spoke to him from the tent of meeting. He said, 2 "Speak to the Israelites and say to them: 'When anyone among you brings an offering to the LORD, bring as your offering an animal from either the herd or the flock.3 "'If the offering is a burnt offering from the herd, you are to offer a male without defect. You must present it at the entrance to the tent of meeting so that it will be acceptable to the LORD....
Today's New Testament reading: Matthew 24:1-28
The Destruction of the Temple and Signs of the End Times
1 Jesus left the temple and was walking away when his disciples came up to him to call his attention to its buildings. 2"Do you see all these things?" he asked. "Truly I tell you, not one stone here will be left on another; every one will be thrown down."
3 As Jesus was sitting on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to him privately. "Tell us," they said, "when will this happen, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?"