"Only ye shall not go very far away."
This is a crafty word from the lip of the arch-tyrant Pharaoh. If the poor bondaged Israelites must needs go out of Egypt, then he bargains with them that it shall not be very far away; not too far for them to escape the terror of his arms, and the observation of his spies. After the same fashion, the world loves not the non-conformity of nonconformity, or the dissidence of dissent; it would have us be more charitable and not carry matters with too severe a hand. Death to the world, and burial with Christ, are experiences which carnal minds treat with ridicule, and hence the ordinance which sets them forth is almost universally neglected, and even condemned. Worldly wisdom recommends the path of compromise, and talks of "moderation." According to this carnal policy, purity is admitted to be very desirable, but we are warned against being too precise; truth is of course to be followed, but error is not to be severely denounced. "Yes," says the world, "be spiritually minded by all means, but do not deny yourself a little gay society, an occasional ball, and a Christmas visit to a theatre. What's the good of crying down a thing when it is so fashionable, and everybody does it?" Multitudes of professors yield to this cunning advice, to their own eternal ruin. If we would follow the Lord wholly, we must go right away into the wilderness of separation, and leave the Egypt of the carnal world behind us. We must leave its maxims, its pleasures, and its religion too, and go far away to the place where the Lord calls his sanctified ones. When the town is on fire, our house cannot be too far from the flames. When the plague is abroad, a man cannot be too far from its haunts. The further from a viper the better, and the further from worldly conformity the better. To all true believers let the trumpet-call be sounded, "Come ye out from among them, be ye separate."
"Let every man abide in the same calling wherein he was called."
1 Corinthians 7:20
Some persons have the foolish notion that the only way in which they can live for God is by becoming ministers, missionaries, or Bible women. Alas! how many would be shut out from any opportunity of magnifying the Most High if this were the case. Beloved, it is not office, it is earnestness; it is not position, it is grace which will enable us to glorify God. God is most surely glorified in that cobbler's stall, where the godly worker, as he plies the awl, sings of the Saviour's love, aye, glorified far more than in many a prebendal stall where official religiousness performs its scanty duties. The name of Jesus is glorified by the poor unlearned carter as he drives his horse, and blesses his God, or speaks to his fellow labourer by the roadside, as much as by the popular divine who, throughout the country, like Boanerges, is thundering out the gospel. God is glorified by our serving him in our proper vocations. Take care, dear reader, that you do not forsake the path of duty by leaving your occupation, and take care you do not dishonour your profession while in it. Think little of yourselves, but do not think too little of your callings. Every lawful trade may be sanctified by the gospel to noblest ends. Turn to the Bible, and you will find the most menial forms of labour connected either with most daring deeds of faith, or with persons whose lives have been illustrious for holiness. Therefore be not discontented with your calling. Whatever God has made your position, or your work, abide in that, unless you are quite sure that he calls you to something else. Let your first care be to glorify God to the utmost of your power where you are. Fill your present sphere to his praise, and if he needs you in another he will show it you. This evening lay aside vexatious ambition, and embrace peaceful content.
The Woman Who Was a Notorious Murderess
Family Connections - She was the daughter of Ahab and Jezebel, and so was half Israelite and half Phoenician, and she personified all the evil of her ill-famed parents and transferred the poison of idolatry into Jerusalem's veins. She was the granddaughter of Omri, 6th king of Israel, "who waded through slaughter to a throne he never inherited." Athaliah married Jehoram, son of Jehoshaphat. After many years of strife between the kingdoms of Judah and Israel political relations were more friendly, and as a mother of political expediency on the part of Jehoshaphat - which remains a blot upon his otherwise good memory - he gave his eldest son, Jehoram, in marriage to Athaliah whose brothers, loyal to the worship of Jehovah were murdered by Jehoram. Of this union Ahaziah was born who, with such a revolting figure as a mother, licentious and the personification of despicable arrogance, never had a chance to develop finer qualities of character. With such a mother as his wicked counselor what else could he do but walk in the ways of godless Ahab (2 Chronicles 22:3).
After reigning for eight years Jehoram died, unmourned, of a predicted incurable disease. While he reigned, he was dominated by Athaliah who had the stronger character of the two, and who, having inherited from her evil mother strength of will and fanatical devtion to the worship of Baal, made Judah idolatrous. Ahaziah only reigned for a year. Wounded in battle by Jehu, he fled to Megiddo, where he died, and his wicked mother (2 Chronicles 24:7 ) became envious of the throne. But the sons of Ahaziah stood in her way, and with fanatical ambition she seized the opportunity and massacred all the legal heirs - so she thought. This wholesale, merciless, cruel-hearted murderess sought to exterminate the last vestiges of the House of David through which the promised Messiah was to come. Behind her dastardly crime to destroy "The Seed Royal" we can detect the evil machinations of the devil - a murderer from the beginning - to annihilate the promised seed of the woman predestined to bruise the satanic head. A bad woman bent on destruction is doubly dangerous.
After putting to death her young grandsons, Athaliah reigned for six years, and was the only woman to reign as queen of Judah. The daughter of a king, wife of a king, mother of a king, she is now queen. While her husband reigned she was the powerbehind the throne - now she is the power on the throne, and proof of her energy, forcefulness and ability are seen in the length of her reign. A despotic ruler, her every gesture had to be obeyed. During her reign part of the Temple of Jehovah was pulled down and the material used in the building of a temple of Baal. But the God who over-rules in the destinies of men and nations, intervened to redeem His promise of a Saviour from the tribe of Judah.
Unknown to Athaliah as she set out to massacre all her grandsons, the youngest was hid from the orgy of destruction. The sister of Ahaziah, Jehosheba, wife of Jehoiada the high priest hid Joash until he was seven years old ( 2 Kings 11:2; 2 Chronicles 22:11). Jehoiada had plotted to put Joash (Jehoash) on the throne and waited for the opportune moment to declare the remaining son of Ahaziah the lawful king of Judah. Athaliah came into the Temple as the coronation of Joash took place, and rending her robe, cried: "Treason!" To save the Temple from being defiled with her evil blood she was slain just outside the door where the avenging guards waited to end her infamous life. Thus, as Edith Deen expresses it,
The horses trampled over her body where she lay dead at the gates. In her miserable end Athaliah bore a singular resemblance to her mother Jezebel, who was abandoned to the dogs. Athaliah was left in a horse-path, to be trampled upon. Like her mother she died a queen, but without a hand to help her or an eye to pity her.
Among the lessons one can gather from the record of the murderess is that we reap what we sow. To Athaliah life was cheap, and thus those who thwarted her purpose must be destroyed. But taking the sword, she perished by it. She breathed out murder, and was in turn murdered. A further lesson we learn from her stained history is that no one can thwart God's purposes of grace. Having promised a sinful world a Saviour, none could make such a promise null and void. Persecution and martyrdom have never been able to destroy the loyal worship of the true God. Idolatry and infidelity cannot possibly annihilate the imperishable Word of God. As we leave the shameful story of Athaliah we find ourselves in full agreement with the summary of her bloody career as given by Dr. Robert G. Lee -
Her very name is an execration. She put the whole nation under the shadow of a great horror. She trampled on all faith. She violated all obligation. She lived with the shrieks of those she butchered in her ears. She lived with her hands red with the blood of princes and princesses. She died, frantic with rage, with the accusation of Treason on her lips. She died in the barnyard under the battleaxes of an aroused people.
[Tĭch'ĭcŭs] - fortunate or fortuitous. A Christian in Asia Minor, who traveled in advance of Paul as well as with him at times (Acts 20:4). Paul sent him to Ephesus where he delivered, and likely read, the circular letter, the Epistle to the Ephesians, to the Church there (Eph. 6:21). Then he went to Colosse and did the same with Colossians (Col. 4:7 ). He also had a mission to fulfill in Crete (2 Tim. 4:12; Titus 3:12). Paul speaks of him in affectionate terms - "A brother beloved and faithful minister in the Lord," and able to "comfort your hearts."
Today's reading: Job 8-10, Acts 8:26-40 (NIV)View today's reading on Bible Gateway
Today's Old Testament reading: Job 8-10
1 Then Bildad the Shuhite replied:
2 "How long will you say such things?
Your words are a blustering wind.
3 Does God pervert justice?
Does the Almighty pervert what is right?
4 When your children sinned against him,
he gave them over to the penalty of their sin.
5 But if you will seek God earnestly
and plead with the Almighty,
6 if you are pure and upright,
even now he will rouse himself on your behalf
and restore you to your prosperous state.
7 Your beginnings will seem humble,
so prosperous will your future be.
Today's New Testament reading: Acts 8:26-40
Philip and the Ethiopian
26 Now an angel of the Lord said to Philip, "Go south to the road-the desert road-that goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza."27 So he started out, and on his way he met an Ethiopian eunuch, an important official in charge of all the treasury of the Kandake (which means "queen of the Ethiopians"). This man had gone to Jerusalem to worship, 28 and on his way home was sitting in his chariot reading the Book of Isaiah the prophet. 29The Spirit told Philip, "Go to that chariot and stay near it...."