"I will be their God, and they shall be my people."
2 Corinthians 6:16
What a sweet title: "My people!" What a cheering revelation: "Their God!" How much of meaning is couched in those two words, "My people!" Here is speciality. The whole world is God's; the heaven, even the heaven of heavens is the Lord's, and he reigneth among the children of men; but of those whom he hath chosen, whom he hath purchased to himself, he saith what he saith not of others--"My people." In this word there is the idea of proprietorship. In a special manner the "Lord's portion is his people; Jacob is the lot of his inheritance." All the nations upon earth are his; the whole world is in his power; yet are his people, his chosen, more especially his possession; for he has done more for them than others; he has bought them with his blood; he has brought them nigh to himself; he has set his great heart upon them; he has loved them with an everlasting love, a love which many waters cannot quench, and which the revolutions of time shall never suffice in the least degree to diminish. Dear friends, can you, by faith, see yourselves in that number? Can you look up to heaven and say, "My Lord and my God: mine by that sweet relationship which entitles me to call thee Father; mine by that hallowed fellowship which I delight to hold with thee when thou art pleased to manifest thyself unto me as thou dost not unto the world?" Canst thou read the Book of Inspiration, and find there the indentures of thy salvation? Canst thou read thy title writ in precious blood? Canst thou, by humble faith, lay hold of Jesus' garments, and say, "My Christ"? If thou canst, then God saith of thee, and of others like thee, "My people;" for, if God be your God, and Christ your Christ, the Lord has a special, peculiar favour to you; you are the object of his choice, accepted in his beloved Son.
"He that handleth a matter wisely shall find good: and whoso trusteth in the Lord, happy is he."
Wisdom is man's true strength; and, under its guidance, he best accomplishes the ends of his being. Wisely handling the matter of life gives to man the richest enjoyment, and presents the noblest occupation for his powers; hence by it he finds good in the fullest sense. Without wisdom, man is as the wild ass's colt, running hither and thither, wasting strength which might be profitably employed. Wisdom is the compass by which man is to steer across the trackless waste of life; without it he is a derelict vessel, the sport of winds and waves. A man must be prudent in such a world as this, or he will find no good, but be betrayed into unnumbered ills. The pilgrim will sorely wound his feet among the briers of the wood of life if he do not pick his steps with the utmost caution. He who is in a wilderness infested with robber bands must handle matters wisely if he would journey safely. If, trained by the Great Teacher, we follow where he leads, we shall find good, even while in this dark abode; there are celestial fruits to be gathered this side of Eden's bowers, and songs of paradise to be sung amid the groves of earth. But where shall this wisdom be found? Many have dreamed of it, but have not possessed it. Where shall we learn it? Let us listen to the voice of the Lord, for he hath declared the secret; he hath revealed to the sons of men wherein true wisdom lieth, and we have it in the text, "Whoso trusteth in the Lord, happy is he." The true way to handle a matter wisely is to trust in the Lord. This is the sure clue to the most intricate labyrinths of life; follow it and find eternal bliss. He who trusts in the Lord has a diploma for wisdom granted by inspiration: happy is he now, and happier shall he be above. Lord, in this sweet eventide walk with me in the garden, and teach me the wisdom of faith.
[Ăb'salŏm] - father of peace. The third son of David by his wife Maacah, daughter of Talmai, king of Geshur. He was born of a polygamous marriage (2 Sam. 3:2, 13, 14).
The Man Whose Lovely Hair Meant His Death
What a singular fascination there is in the story of Absalom who, lacking capacity, certainly made up for it in charm! As to the story of his rebellion against David his father, such a heartless deed carries with it one of the most solemn lessons in the whole of the Bible. Let us briefly touch on some aspects of Absalom's character and conduct.
I. He was of royal descent on both sides, for his mother was a king's daughter. Undoubtedly he was heir to the throne, and the favorite, the idol of his father.
II. He was gifted with remarkable physical beauty - "no blemish in him" (2 Sam. 14:25 ). A commanding presence, natural dignity, extraordinary graces of person made him a conspicuous figure.
III. He also possessed a charm of eloquence and persuasiveness which won him the hearts of all Israel, who felt that in him they had a God-sent champion.
V. He came to an untimely end ( 2 Sam. 18:9). Having everything in his favor - a throne ready made for him, and fortune bowing at his feet to load him with favors, his life ended in tragedy. Brilliant in its beginnings, he was buried like a dog in a pit in a lonely wood, leaving a name that was execrated. What brought Absalom to his Paradise Lost?
A. His all-absorbing egotism. Self-aggrandizement was Absalom's sin. He had no thought, no feeling, no pity for anyone else but himself. Those around him were only of use to him as they helped him to secure his own desires and build up his own grandeur. Filial affection and generous sentiment were sacrificed on the altar of his inordinate ambition. But in trying to save his life, he lost it.
B. His was a practical godlessness. Those around Absalom recognized God, and had a religious faith giving some restraint and principle to their conduct. But the handsome, selfish, scheming Absalom had none of this feeling. He was his own master. His own will was his only law. He was destitute of principle and destitute of faith. Love, tenderness, pity, were not his traits because he had no reverence for God.
C. His glory brought about his final tragedy. Adding to the beauty of Absalom was his flowing hair forming a crown to his person which made him the delight of Israel's daughters. Being proud of his chief ornament he must have carefully attended to it. But as Absalom was pursued by Joab's men his beautiful hair was caught fast in the thick and tangled boughs of an oak tree and he could not free himself. Thus his graceful personal endowment left him a target for those who hated him and sought his death.
May such a lesson not be lost upon us! Our chief glory can become the cause of our greatest shame. Our choicest endowments and most cherished gifts can become our greatest temptations. Our gifts, like ourselves, need to be rewashed every day in the fountain of God's truth, and guarded and sanctified by prayer, if they are to be fit for the highest service.
Today's reading: 1 Kings 19-20, Luke 23:1-25 (NIV)View today's reading on Bible Gateway
Today's Old Testament reading: 1 Kings 19-20
Elijah Flees to Horeb
1 Now Ahab told Jezebel everything Elijah had done and how he had killed all the prophets with the sword. 2 So Jezebel sent a messenger to Elijah to say, "May the gods deal with me, be it ever so severely, if by this time tomorrow I do not make your life like that of one of them."
3 Elijah was afraid and ran for his life. When he came to Beersheba in Judah, he left his servant there, 4 while he himself went a day's journey into the wilderness. He came to a broom bush, sat down under it and prayed that he might die. "I have had enough, LORD," he said. "Take my life; I am no better than my ancestors." 5 Then he lay down under the bush and fell asleep.
Today's New Testament reading: Luke 23:1-25
1 Then the whole assembly rose and led him off to Pilate. 2And they began to accuse him, saying, "We have found this man subverting our nation. He opposes payment of taxes to Caesar and claims to be Messiah, a king."
3 So Pilate asked Jesus, "Are you the king of the Jews?"
"You have said so," Jesus replied.
4 Then Pilate announced to the chief priests and the crowd, "I find no basis for a charge against this man...."
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