"Oh that I were as in months past."
Numbers of Christians can view the past with pleasure, but regard the present with dissatisfaction; they look back upon the days which they have passed in communing with the Lord as being the sweetest and the best they have ever known, but as to the present, it is clad in a sable garb of gloom and dreariness. Once they lived near to Jesus, but now they feel that they have wandered from him, and they say, "O that I were as in months past!" They complain that they have lost their evidences, or that they have not present peace of mind, or that they have no enjoyment in the means of grace, or that conscience is not so tender, or that they have not so much zeal for God's glory. The causes of this mournful state of things are manifold. It may arise through a comparative neglect of prayer, for a neglected closet is the beginning of all spiritual decline. Or it may be the result of idolatry. The heart has been occupied with something else, more than with God; the affections have been set on the things of earth, instead of the things of heaven. A jealous God will not be content with a divided heart; he must be loved first and best. He will withdraw the sunshine of his presence from a cold, wandering heart. Or the cause may be found in self-confidence and self-righteousness. Pride is busy in the heart, and self is exalted instead of lying low at the foot of the cross. Christian, if you are not now as you "were in months past," do not rest satisfied with wishing for a return of former happiness, but go at once to seek your Master, and tell him your sad state. Ask his grace and strength to help you to walk more closely with him; humble yourself before him, and he will lift you up, and give you yet again to enjoy the light of his countenance. Do not sit down to sigh and lament; while the beloved Physician lives there is hope, nay there is a certainty of recovery for the worst cases.
2 Thessalonians 2:16
"Consolation." There is music in the word: like David's harp, it charms away the evil spirit of melancholy. It was a distinguished honour to Barnabas to be called "the son of consolation"; nay, it is one of the illustrious names of a greater than Barnabas, for the Lord Jesus is "the consolation of Israel." "Everlasting consolation"--here is the cream of all, for the eternity of comfort is the crown and glory of it. What is this "everlasting consolation"? It includes a sense of pardoned sin. A Christian man has received in his heart the witness of the Spirit that his iniquities are put away like a cloud, and his transgressions like a thick cloud. If sin be pardoned, is not that an everlasting consolation? Next, the Lord gives his people an abiding sense of acceptance in Christ. The Christian knows that God looks upon him as standing in union with Jesus. Union to the risen Lord is a consolation of the most abiding order; it is, in fact, everlasting. Let sickness prostrate us, have we not seen hundreds of believers as happy in the weakness of disease as they would have been in the strength of hale and blooming health? Let death's arrows pierce us to the heart, our comfort dies not, for have not our ears full often heard the songs of saints as they have rejoiced because the living love of God was shed abroad in their hearts in dying moments? Yes, a sense of acceptance in the Beloved is an everlasting consolation. Moreover, the Christian has a conviction of his security. God has promised to save those who trust in Christ: the Christian does trust in Christ, and he believes that God will be as good as his word, and will save him. He feels that he is safe by virtue of his being bound up with the person and work of Jesus.
Today's reading: Psalm 81-83, Romans 11:19-36 (NIV)View today's reading on Bible Gateway
Today's Old Testament reading: Psalm 81-82
For the director of music. According to gittith. Of Asaph.
1 Sing for joy to God our strength;
shout aloud to the God of Jacob!
2 Begin the music, strike the timbrel,
play the melodious harp and lyre.
3 Sound the ram's horn at the New Moon,
and when the moon is full, on the day of our festival;
4 this is a decree for Israel,
an ordinance of the God of Jacob.
5 When God went out against Egypt,
he established it as a statute for Joseph....
Today's New Testament reading: Romans 11:19-3619 You will say then, "Branches were broken off so that I could be grafted in." 20 Granted. But they were broken off because of unbelief, and you stand by faith. Do not be arrogant, but tremble. 21 For if God did not spare the natural branches, he will not spare you either.
22 Consider therefore the kindness and sternness of God: sternness to those who fell, but kindness to you, provided that you continue in his kindness. Otherwise, you also will be cut off. 23 And if they do not persist in unbelief, they will be grafted in, for God is able to graft them in again. 24 After all, if you were cut out of an olive tree that is wild by nature, and contrary to nature were grafted into a cultivated olive tree, how much more readily will these, the natural branches, be grafted into their own olive tree!
[Lē'vī] - joined or adhesion.
- Another name for Matthew, the one-time Roman tax-gatherer (Mark 2:14; Luke 5:27, 29). See MATTHEW.
- An ancestor of Jesus Christ(Luke 3:24).
- Another ancestor of Jesus Christ (Luke 3:29).
- The third son of Jacob by Leah. Levi had three sons, and died in Egypt at the age of 137 (Gen. 29:34; 46:11; Exod. 6:16). His descendants, the Levites, had care of the sanctuary. The Book of Leviticus describes their ministry.
The Man of Isolation
Isolation is a feature in the history of Levi, quite as much as it characterizes Simeon, with whom he is paired. The capacity to stand alone made Simeon and Levi conspicuous among their brethren in their attack upon the Shechemites, and proved a valuable instrument for the work of the Lord. The tribe of Levi was fitted by the discipline of trial to discharge a most important duty in Israel - a duty which made Levi second in importance to none but Judah, whose forerunner and counterpart he was formed to be. Levi stands before Judah in the prophecies of Jacob - Judah before Levi in the blessings of Moses, the man of God.
"The true Levites," says Dr. C. H. Waller, "are the men who have been made lonely among their brethren that they may live alone with Jehovah, and so dwell as the families of others that they may unite them to the family of God."
Levi came under the ban of Jacob, who, in his prophecy set Simeon and Levi under a "curse." To the patriarch they were bad brothers.
Dr. Dinsdale Young has a telling chapter on Simeon and Levi in which he elaborates on these features:
I. They constituted an unholy brotherhood - they had a common disposition (Gen. 49:5).
II. They had unhallowed belongings ( Gen. 49:5) - sinful homes and perverted instruments.
III. They drew from their father a heart-felt prayer (Gen. 49:6). Reviewing their sinful courses, the dying father prays for them.
IV. Their father uttered a righteous imprecation upon their sin. Jacob did not curse them, but their sin (Gen. 49:7).
V. A just judgment was pronounced upon them, "I will divide them" (Gen. 49:7 ). Though divided and scattered, they were not cut off from the promised land. Theirs was not the abundant entrance of others, yet they were privileged to enter.