"I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint."
Did earth or heaven ever behold a sadder spectacle of woe! In soul and body, our Lord felt himself to be weak as water poured upon the ground. The placing of the cross in its socket had shaken him with great violence, had strained all the ligaments, pained every nerve, and more or less dislocated all his bones. Burdened with his own weight, the august sufferer felt the strain increasing every moment of those six long hours. His sense of faintness and general weakness were overpowering; while to his own consciousness he became nothing but a mass of misery and swooning sickness. When Daniel saw the great vision, he thus describes his sensations, "There remained no strength in me, for my vigour was turned into corruption, and I retained no strength:" how much more faint must have been our greater Prophet when he saw the dread vision of the wrath of God, and felt it in his own soul! To us, sensations such as our Lord endured would have been insupportable, and kind unconsciousness would have come to our rescue; but in his case, he was wounded, and felt the sword; he drained the cup and tasted every drop.
"O King of Grief! (a title strange, yet true
To thee of all kings only due)
O King of Wounds! how shall I grieve for thee,
Who in all grief preventest me!"
As we kneel before our now ascended Saviour's throne, let us remember well the way by which he prepared it as a throne of grace for us; let us in spirit drink of his cup, that we may be strengthened for our hour of heaviness whenever it may come. In his natural body every member suffered, and so must it be in the spiritual; but as out of all his griefs and woes his body came forth uninjured to glory and power, even so shall his mystical body come through the furnace with not so much as the smell of fire upon it.
"Look upon mine affliction and my pain; and forgive all my sins."
It is well for us when prayers about our sorrows are linked with pleas concerning our sins--when, being under God's hand, we are not wholly taken up with our pain, but remember our offences against God. It is well, also, to take both sorrow and sin to the same place. It was to God that David carried his sorrow: it was to God that David confessed his sin. Observe, then, we must take our sorrows to God. Even your little sorrows you may roll upon God, for he counteth the hairs of your head; and your great sorrows you may commit to him, for he holdeth the ocean in the hollow of his hand. Go to him, whatever your present trouble may be, and you shall find him able and willing to relieve you. But we must take our sins to God too. We must carry them to the cross, that the blood may fall upon them, to purge away their guilt, and to destroy their defiling power.
The special lesson of the text is this:--that we are to go to the Lord with sorrows and with sins in the right spirit. Note that all David asks concerning his sorrow is, "Look upon mine affliction and my pain;" but the next petition is vastly more express, definite, decided, plain--"Forgive all my sins." Many sufferers would have put it, "Remove my affliction and my pain, and look at my sins." But David does not say so; he cries, "Lord, as for my affliction and my pain, I will not dictate to thy wisdom. Lord, look at them, I will leave them to thee, I should be glad to have my pain removed, but do as thou wilt; but as for my sins, Lord, I know what I want with them; I must have them forgiven; I cannot endure to lie under their curse for a moment." A Christian counts sorrow lighter in the scale than sin; he can bear that his troubles should continue, but he cannot support the burden of his transgressions.
[Jēhoi'a chĭn] - jehovah doth establish.
A son of Jehoiakim, king of Judah, who was placed on the throne by Nebuchadnezzar, but only reigned for three months. He was carried away to Babylon and remained a captive until freed from prison by Evil-merodach and given palace favors (2 Kings 24:8, 12, 15; 25:27; 2 Chron. 36:8, 9; Jer. 52:31). Also called Coniah (see Jer. 22:24, 28; 37:1).
The Woman Who Wrongly Opposed Her Husband
Name Meaning: A Midian name, Zipporah means "a little bird," "a sparrow." Wilkinson observes that "the feminine termination ah added to the common word Zippor, which is also the father of Balak, king of Moab." Such a name like "dove" or "lamb" would originally be a term of endearment, and thus the word passer - "a sparrow" - is used by the Roman poets. Passer is also being found as a Roman family name. The root of this word is an Arabic verb, signifying "to chirp."
Family Connections: Zipporah was one of the seven daughters of Jethro who is also called Reuel and Raguel (Exodus 2:18; 4:24, 25; 18:1-6; Numbers 10:29 ). It was to the home of this shepherd-priest in Midian that Moses came when at forty years of age he fled from Egypt, and meeting the seven girls drawing water Moses assisted them. Arriving home earlier than usual they told how the Egyptian had helped them. Brought up as a son of Pharaoh, Moses must have looked every inch a cultured Egyptian. Invited home, Moses was content to live with Jethro's family, and married Zipporah, eldest of the seven daughters. Two sons were born of the union, Gershom and Eliezer. Some writers affirm, without adequate support, that the dark-skinned Ethiopian, "the Cushite woman" whom Miriam and Aaron were jealous over, is merely a description of Zipporah, and that therefore Moses was only married once. But the statement "He had married an Ethiopian woman" implies a recent occurrence, and that Zipporah, whom Moses had married 40 years previously, was dead. It is most unlikely that Miriam and Aaron would have waited all those years to murmur against Moses if Zipporah and the Ethiopian had been one and the same woman.
Zipporah, as a woman of Midian, did not share the spiritual values of her notable husband who found himself acting against the sacred tradition of Israel. This may be one reason why he named his second son Eliezer, meaning "The Lord of my father was my help." To keep the peace, Moses compromised with his unbelieving wife and withheld circumcision, the sign of God's covenant, from Eliezer. The Lord intervened, and as a sign of divine displeasure, Moses is stricken with a mortal disease. Both Zipporah and Moses became conscience-stricken over the profanation of God's covenant, and Zipporah yields. Moses is too prostrate to take a knife and circumcize the child, so his wife severed the boy's foreskin and, throwing it down before Moses said, "Surely a bloody husband art thou to me."
When Moses was restored to health relations in the home were not congenial, for he went on alone to Egypt, and Zipporah and the two sons went back to her home in Midian. Of this unhappy incident Alexander Whyte says, "There are three most obscure and most mysterious verses in Moses' history that mean, if they mean anything at all to us, just such an explosion of ill-temper as must have left its mark till death on the heart of Moses and Zipporah. The best of wives; his help meet given him of God; the most self-effacing of women; the wife who holds her husband in her heart as the wisest and best of men - under sufficient trial and provocation and exasperation, even she will turn and will strike with just one word; just once in her whole married lifetime."
When Moses became the mighty leader and law-giver of Israel, there was the episode when Jethro, his father-in-law came out to the wilderness to see Moses and brought with him Zipporah and the two sons. The union was devoid of any restraint for Moses graciously received them and neither disowned nor ignored his wife and sons. But after this visit during which Jethro gave his over-burdened son-in-law some very practical advice, nothing more is said of Zipporah. She disappears without comment from the history of the Jewish people in which her husband figured so prominently. "Neither as the wife of her husband nor as the mother of her children did she leave behind her a legacy of spiritual riches." How different it would have been if only she had fully shared her husband's unusual meekness and godliness and, like him, left behind footprints in the sands of time!
Today's reading: 1 Samuel 17-18, Luke 11:1-28 (NIV)View today's reading on Bible Gateway
Today's Old Testament reading: 1 Samuel 17-18
David and Goliath
1 Now the Philistines gathered their forces for war and assembled at Sokoh in Judah. They pitched camp at Ephes Dammim, between Sokoh and Azekah. 2 Saul and the Israelites assembled and camped in the Valley of Elah and drew up their battle line to meet the Philistines. 3 The Philistines occupied one hill and the Israelites another, with the valley between them.
4 A champion named Goliath, who was from Gath, came out of the Philistine camp. His height was six cubits and a span. 5He had a bronze helmet on his head and wore a coat of scale armor of bronze weighing five thousand shekels; 6 on his legs he wore bronze greaves, and a bronze javelin was slung on his back. 7 His spear shaft was like a weaver's rod, and its iron point weighed six hundred shekels. His shield bearer went ahead of him.8 Goliath stood and shouted to the ranks of Israel, "Why do you come out and line up for battle? Am I not a Philistine, and are you not the servants of Saul? Choose a man and have him come down to me...."
Today's New Testament reading: Luke 11:1-28
Jesus' Teaching on Prayer
1 One day Jesus was praying in a certain place. When he finished, one of his disciples said to him, "Lord, teach us to pray, just as John taught his disciples."
2 He said to them, "When you pray, say:
hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come.
3 Give us each day our daily bread.
4 Forgive us our sins,
for we also forgive everyone who sins against us.
And lead us not into temptation.'"
5 Then Jesus said to them, "Suppose you have a friend, and you go to him at midnight and say, 'Friend, lend me three loaves of bread; 6 a friend of mine on a journey has come to me, and I have no food to offer him.' 7 And suppose the one inside answers, 'Don't bother me. The door is already locked, and my children and I are in bed. I can't get up and give you anything.' 8 I tell you, even though he will not get up and give you the bread because of friendship, yet because of your shameless audacity he will surely get up and give you as much as you need....
Today's Lent reading: John 1-2 (NIV)View today's Lent reading on Bible Gateway
The Word Became Flesh
1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was with God in the beginning. 3 Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. 4 In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. 5 The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.
6 There was a man sent from God whose name was John. 7He came as a witness to testify concerning that light, so that through him all might believe. 8 He himself was not the light; he came only as a witness to the light.9 The true light that gives light to everyone was coming into the world....
THE HIGHEST PRIEST
How much more, then, will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself unblemished to God, cleanse our consciences from acts that lead to death, so that we may serve the living God! For this reason Christ is the mediator of a new covenant, that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance–now that he has died as a ransom to set them free from the sins committed under the first covenant.... Day after day every priest stands and performs his religious duties; again and again he offers the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. But when this priest had offered for all time one sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God, and since that time he waits for his enemies to be made his footstool. For by one sacrifice he has made perfect forever those who are being made holy. ( Hebrews 9:14-15; 10:11-14)
For centuries the Hebrew people watched their priests performing the rituals of the tabernacle and then the temple. The word priest means “one who stands,” and these were indeed people who stood before the people on behalf of God, helping the people bring their sacrifices in worship. The high priest did such special things as going into the most holy place of the temple and offering the most intimate prayers on behalf of the people.
With Jesus all that changed. He came and took the role of the highest priest, the one mediator between God and man (1 Tim.2:5). He came and told us that the lessons learned from the temple and the priests and the animal sacrifices–lessons about our sin and the terrible judgment pronounced on sin and the possibility of substitute sacrifices–had been learned, and that he had come to be the fulfillment
Jesus is the great high priest. He also is the sacrifice. He came to be “the mediator of a new covenant” (Heb. 9:15). He is the “ransom” (“redemption”).
But Jesus is quite different from all of the earlier high priests. “Day after day every priest stands and performs his religious duties,” but these sacrifices “can never take away sins.” What those priests did was to provide a picture of and a teaching about forgiveness. Jesus actually accomplished it. He was both God and man, and thus stood before us linking heaven and earth. His death was the ultimate sacrifice, and indeed the only sacrifice that truly mattered.
Risen from the dead, and returned to the Father, he now continues to be the link between God and man. He doesn’t “stand” anymore, now he sits at the throne of God.
Ponder This: What is the uppermost concern in your life today that you would like to be brought by the great high priest to the throne of God?