"Take us the foxes, the little foxes that spoil the vines."
Song of Solomon 2:15
A little thorn may cause much suffering. A little cloud may hide the sun. Little foxes spoil the vines; and little sins do mischief to the tender heart. These little sins burrow in the soul, and make it so full of that which is hateful to Christ, that he will hold no comfortable fellowship and communion with us. A great sin cannot destroy a Christian, but a little sin can make him miserable. Jesus will not walk with his people unless they drive out every known sin. He says, "If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love, even as I have kept my Father's commandments and abide in his love." Some Christians very seldom enjoy their Saviour's presence. How is this? Surely it must be an affliction for a tender child to be separated from his father. Art thou a child of God, and yet satisfied to go on without seeing thy Father's face? What! thou the spouse of Christ, and yet content without his company! Surely, thou hast fallen into a sad state, for the chaste spouse of Christ mourns like a dove without her mate, when he has left her. Ask, then, the question, what has driven Christ from thee? He hides his face behind the wall of thy sins. That wall may be built up of little pebbles, as easily as of great stones. The sea is made of drops; the rocks are made of grains: and the sea which divides thee from Christ may be filled with the drops of thy little sins; and the rock which has well nigh wrecked thy barque, may have been made by the daily working of the coral insects of thy little sins. If thou wouldst live with Christ, and walk with Christ, and see Christ, and have fellowship with Christ, take heed of "the little foxes that spoil the vines, for our vines have tender grapes." Jesus invites you to go with him and take them. He will surely, like Samson, take the foxes at once and easily. Go with him to the hunting.
"That henceforth we should not serve sin."
Christian, what hast thou to do with sin? Hath it not cost thee enough already? Burnt child, wilt thou play with the fire? What! when thou hast already been between the jaws of the lion, wilt thou step a second time into his den? Hast thou not had enough of the old serpent? Did he not poison all thy veins once, and wilt thou play upon the hole of the asp, and put thy hand upon the cockatrice's den a second time? Oh, be not so mad! so foolish! Did sin ever yield thee real pleasure? Didst thou find solid satisfaction in it? If so, go back to thine old drudgery, and wear the chain again, if it delight thee. But inasmuch as sin did never give thee what it promised to bestow, but deluded thee with lies, be not a second time snared by the old fowler--be free, and let the remembrance of thy ancient bondage forbid thee to enter the net again! It is contrary to the designs of eternal love, which all have an eye to thy purity and holiness; therefore run not counter to the purposes of thy Lord. Another thought should restrain thee from sin. Christians can never sin cheaply; they pay a heavy price for iniquity. Transgression destroys peace of mind, obscures fellowship with Jesus, hinders prayer, brings darkness over the soul; therefore be not the serf and bondman of sin. There is yet a higher argument: each time you "serve sin" you have "Crucified the Lord afresh, and put him to an open shame." Can you bear that thought? Oh! if you have fallen into any special sin during this day, it may be my Master has sent this admonition this evening, to bring you back before you have backslidden very far. Turn thee to Jesus anew; he has not forgotten his love to thee; his grace is still the same. With weeping and repentance, come thou to his footstool, and thou shalt be once more received into his heart; thou shalt be set upon a rock again, and thy goings shall be established.
[Cae'zar] - one cut out. The surname always used in the New Testament for all Roman emperors. To Caesar the Jews paid tribute and it was also to him that those Jews who were Roman citizens (for example, Paul,Acts 25:10-21), had the right of appeal.
The Woman Who Spent Her Life as a Nursemaid
Name Meaning -Deborah means a "bee," and is emblematic of industry, patience, sagacity and usefulness-a beautifully appropriate name for a maidservant or nursemaid. Deborah's conduct throughout her long life fulfilled the expectation, or hope, expressed by her name. As a bee symbolizes constant activity, industrious diligence and care, the God of grace enabled Deborah to live her life as a devoted, quiet and faithful nurse.
Family Connections-We know nothing of Deborah's background. She was probably born in servitude, yet her parentage was commendable enough to warrant the domestic office of great trust in the patriarchal household of Nahor.
As Rebekah's nurse she accompanied her mistress to her new home after her marriage to Isaac. When Jacob and Esau were born into the home we can imagine how lovingly Deborah would care for them. Then when Jacob married, and his family increased rapidly, it is probable that Rebekah and Isaac gave Deborah to nurse them. When Rebekah had no further use for her nurse, she did not dismiss her. Deborah remained in the family and was held in great reverence. She became an indispensable treasure in that ancient patriarchal circle. When she died at an advanced age-almost 100 years according to some writers-she was lamented for as one of the family, and great honor was paid to her at her death. Her name and the place of her burial are immortalized in the words, "Deborah, Rebekah's nurse, died, and she was buried beneath Bethel under an oak tree whose name Jacob called Allon-bachuth (which means, Oak of Weeping )." The entire family was touched by her passing, and all who had been the recipients of Deborah's faithful devotion wept for her as for one of their own. Through her faith to God, she had transformed the bonds of servitude into those of love, and earned the devotion and gratitude of those whom she had so long and loyally served. Deborah brought the glory of God into the most commonplace duties of Jacob's home. No wonder all eyes were wet with tears as they buried her aged, bent body under that oak tree. Famous men, like Earl Shaftesbury and Robert L. Stevenson, have testified to the debt they owe to devoted nurses who were so kind and devoted to them in their earlier years, and who greatly influenced their lives, even more so than their own parents.
Today's reading: 2 Chronicles 10-12, John 11:30-57 (NIV)View today's reading on Bible Gateway
Today's Old Testament reading: 2 Chronicles 10-12
Israel Rebels Against Rehoboam
1 Rehoboam went to Shechem, for all Israel had gone there to make him king. 2 When Jeroboam son of Nebat heard this (he was in Egypt, where he had fled from King Solomon), he returned from Egypt. 3 So they sent for Jeroboam, and he and all Israel went to Rehoboam and said to him: 4 "Your father put a heavy yoke on us, but now lighten the harsh labor and the heavy yoke he put on us, and we will serve you...."
Today's New Testament reading: John 11:30-5730 Now Jesus had not yet entered the village, but was still at the place where Martha had met him. 31 When the Jews who had been with Mary in the house, comforting her, noticed how quickly she got up and went out, they followed her, supposing she was going to the tomb to mourn there.
32 When Mary reached the place where Jesus was and saw him, she fell at his feet and said, "Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died...."