"The evening and the morning were the first day."
Was it so even in the beginning? Did light and darkness divide the realm of time in the first day? Then little wonder is it if I have also changes in my circumstances from the sunshine of prosperity to the midnight of adversity. It will not always be the blaze of noon even in my soul concerns, I must expect at seasons to mourn the absence of my former joys, and seek my Beloved in the night. Nor am I alone in this, for all the Lord's beloved ones have had to sing the mingled song of judgment and of mercy, of trial and deliverance, of mourning and of delight. It is one of the arrangements of Divine providence that day and night shall not cease either in the spiritual or natural creation till we reach the land of which it is written, "there is no night there." What our heavenly Father ordains is wise and good.
What, then, my soul, is it best for thee to do? Learn first to be content with this divine order, and be willing, with Job, to receive evil from the hand of the Lord as well as good. Study next, to make the outgoings of the morning and the evening to rejoice. Praise the Lord for the sun of joy when it rises, and for the gloom of evening as it falls. There is beauty both in sunrise and sunset; sing of it, and glorify the Lord. Like the nightingale, pour forth thy notes at all hours. Believe that the night is as useful as the day. The dews of grace fall heavily in the night of sorrow. The stars of promise shine forth gloriously amid the darkness of grief. Continue thy service under all changes. If in the day thy watchword be labour, at night exchange it for watch. Every hour has its duty, do thou continue in thy calling as the Lord's servant until he shall suddenly appear in his glory. My soul, thine evening of old age and death is drawing near; dread it not, for it is part of the day; and the Lord has said, "I will cover him all the day long."
"He will make her wilderness like Eden."
Methinks, I see in vision a howling wilderness, a great and terrible desert, like to the Sahara. I perceive nothing in it to relieve the eye, all around I am wearied with a vision of hot and arid sand, strewn with ten thousand bleaching skeletons of wretched men who have expired in anguish, having lost their way in the pitiless waste. What an appalling sight! How horrible! a sea of sand without a bound, and without an oasis, a cheerless graveyard for a race forlorn! But behold and wonder! Upon a sudden, upspringing from the scorching sand I see a plant of renown; and as it grows it buds, the bud expands--it is a rose, and at its side a lily bows its modest head; and, miracle of miracles! as the fragrance of those flowers is diffused the wilderness is transformed into a fruitful field, and all around it blossoms exceedingly, the glory of Lebanon is given unto it, the excellency of Carmel and Sharon. Call it not Sahara, call it Paradise. Speak not of it any longer as the valley of deathshade, for where the skeletons lay bleaching in the sun, behold a resurrection is proclaimed, and up spring the dead, a mighty army, full of life immortal. Jesus is that plant of renown, and his presence makes all things new. Nor is the wonder less in each individual's salvation. Yonder I behold you, dear reader, cast out, an infant, unswathed, unwashed, defiled with your own blood, left to be food for beasts of prey. But lo, a jewel has been thrown into your bosom by a divine hand, and for its sake you have been pitied and tended by divine providence, you are washed and cleansed from your defilement, you are adopted into heaven's family, the fair seal of love is upon your forehead, and the ring of faithfulness is on your hand--you are now a prince unto God, though once an orphan, cast away. O prize exceedingly the matchless power and grace which changes deserts into gardens, and makes the barren heart to sing for joy.
[Jĕr'ohăm] - loved or he findeth mercy.
- The father of Elkanah, and grandfather of Samuel (1 Sam. 1:1; 1 Chron. 6:27, 34).
- The head of a Benjamite family dwelling in Jerusalem (1 Chron. 8:27).
- A Benjamite and father of Ibneiah. Perhaps the same as No. 2 (1 Chron. 9:8).
- A priest, whose son, Adaiah , lived in Jerusalem after the exile, and who was of the house of Malchijah (1 Chron. 9:12; Neh. 11:12).
- A Benjamite of Gedor whose two sons joined David at Ziklag (1 Chron. 12:7).
- The father of Azareel, prince of Dan in the reign of David (1 Chron. 27:22).
- The father of Azariah who aided Jehoiada in putting Joash on the throne (2 Chron. 23:1).
Today's reading: 2 Chronicles 15-16, John 12:27-50 (NIV)View today's reading on Bible Gateway
Today's Old Testament reading: 2 Chronicles 15-16
1 The Spirit of God came on Azariah son of Oded. 2 He went out to meet Asa and said to him, "Listen to me, Asa and all Judah and Benjamin. The LORD is with you when you are with him. If you seek him, he will be found by you, but if you forsake him, he will forsake you. 3 For a long time Israel was without the true God, without a priest to teach and without the law. 4But in their distress they turned to the LORD, the God of Israel, and sought him, and he was found by them. 5 In those days it was not safe to travel about, for all the inhabitants of the lands were in great turmoil. 6 One nation was being crushed by another and one city by another, because God was troubling them with every kind of distress. 7 But as for you, be strong and do not give up, for your work will be rewarded...."
Today's New Testament reading: John 12:27-50
27 "Now my soul is troubled, and what shall I say? 'Father, save me from this hour'? No, it was for this very reason I came to this hour. 28 Father, glorify your name!"
Then a voice came from heaven, "I have glorified it, and will glorify it again." 29 The crowd that was there and heard it said it had thundered; others said an angel had spoken to him....
DO YOU LOOK LIKE GOD?
To understand how God wants to “make everything new” in the world and in our lives we have to go back to when humanity was new the first time. That is why we are so captivated by the Genesis account. It is why scientists do experiments and create tools that cost literally billions of dollars to peer back in time. To understand the first moments when the universe was born.
Humanity’s newness is described in the account of the creation of the man and the woman in the garden. And there is this one small statement that describes the essence of what it means to be human, what God intended in the first place. God said, ‘Let us make man in our image, in our likeness.... So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them” (Genesis 1:26-27)
Do you feel like you look like God today?
That may seem like a ridiculous question, but it is a fair question. We were created “in God’s image.” For millennia believers have looked at that statement and pondered what it could mean. Some have thought God must have a physical appearance like ours: two legs, two arms, two eyes, etc. We look the way we do because that is the image of God. Most people dismiss that idea, for good reasons, but we should still realize how easy it is for us to imagine God as a bigger, better human being. A man with big muscles, silver hair, a strong beard, and a deep voice. But that would be to make God in our image.
Others have said that the authority given Adam and Eve to “have dominion over the earth” is how we are like God, or that our ability to have relationships is how we are like God. Still others have said that every way in which human beings are more than the animals must be what it means to be made in the image of God–because “image of God” is only used of human beings in Genesis. Following that line of thinking, we have moral awareness because God is moral, spiritual awareness because God is Spirit. We have the capacity for rational thought, because God has a mind. We can invent or create new things because God creates (although God creates out of nothing–something we will never do). We can act with intentionality and self-awareness because God is like that. The animals just don’t do those things. Their actions never rise higher than instinct and hunger.
In any of these interpretations of Genesis 1:26-27 the implication is clear: human beings were created by God to be something exceptional. More than animal. Less than God. And in that middle ground, vested with dignity and nobility that gives our lives purpose and meaning. So let’s ask the question again: do you feel like you look like God today? If not, that is because of Genesis 3, the fall of the human race into the undignified and ignoble status of sinners. But God has not given up on us. In Jesus Christ we see the perfect image of life, and the specific form of how God is making everything new–in us. (Much more on this in the weeks to come.)