"The people that do know their God shall be strong."
Every believer understands that to know God is the highest and best form of knowledge; and this spiritual knowledge is a source of strength to the Christian. It strengthens his faith. Believers are constantly spoken of in the Scriptures as being persons who are enlightened and taught of the Lord; they are said to "have an unction from the Holy One," and it is the Spirit's peculiar office to lead them into all truth, and all this for the increase and the fostering of their faith. Knowledge strengthens love, as well as faith. Knowledge opens the door, and then through that door we see our Saviour. Or, to use another similitude, knowledge paints the portrait of Jesus, and when we see that portrait then we love him, we cannot love a Christ whom we do not know, at least, in some degree. If we know but little of the excellences of Jesus, what he has done for us, and what he is doing now, we cannot love him much; but the more we know him, the more we shall love him. Knowledge also strengthens hope. How can we hope for a thing if we do not know of its existence? Hope may be the telescope, but till we receive instruction, our ignorance stands in the front of the glass, and we can see nothing whatever; knowledge removes the interposing object, and when we look through the bright optic glass we discern the glory to be revealed, and anticipate it with joyous confidence. Knowledge supplies us reasons for patience. How shall we have patience unless we know something of the sympathy of Christ, and understand the good which is to come out of the correction which our heavenly Father sends us? Nor is there one single grace of the Christian which, under God, will not be fostered and brought to perfection by holy knowledge. How important, then, is it that we should grow not only in grace, but in the "knowledge" of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.
"I smote you with blasting and with mildew and with hail in all the labours of your hands."
How destructive is the hail to the standing crops, beating out the precious grain upon the ground! How grateful ought we to be when the corn is spared so terrible a ruin! Let us offer unto the Lord thanksgiving. Even more to be dreaded are those mysterious destroyers--smut, bunt, rust, and mildew. These turn the ear into a mass of soot, or render it putrid, or dry up the grain, and all in a manner so beyond all human control that the farmer is compelled to cry, "This is the finger of God." Innumerable minute fungi cause the mischief, and were it not for the goodness of God, the rider on the black horse would soon scatter famine over the land. Infinite mercy spares the food of men, but in view of the active agents which are ready to destroy the harvest, right wisely are we taught to pray, "Give us this day our daily bread." The curse is abroad; we have constant need of the blessing. When blight and mildew come they are chastisements from heaven, and men must learn to bear the rod, and him that hath appointed it.
Spiritually, mildew is no uncommon evil. When our work is most promising this blight appears. We hoped for many conversions, and lo! a general apathy, an abounding worldliness, or a cruel hardness of heart! There may be no open sin in those for whom we are labouring, but there is a deficiency of sincerity and decision sadly disappointing our desires. We learn from this our dependence upon the Lord, and the need of prayer that no blight may fall upon our work. Spiritual pride or sloth will soon bring upon us the dreadful evil, and only the Lord of the harvest can remove it. Mildew may even attack our own hearts, and shrivel our prayers and religious exercises. May it please the great Husbandman to avert so serious a calamity. Shine, blessed Sun of Righteousness, and drive the blights away.
Today's reading: Psalm 66-67, Romans 7 (NIV)View today's reading on Bible Gateway
Today's Old Testament reading: Psalm 66-67
For the director of music. A song. A psalm.
1 Shout for joy to God, all the earth!
2 Sing the glory of his name;
make his praise glorious.
3 Say to God, "How awesome are your deeds!
So great is your power
that your enemies cringe before you.
4 All the earth bows down to you;
they sing praise to you,
they sing the praises of your name."
Today's New Testament reading: Romans 7
Released From the Law, Bound to Christ
1 Do you not know, brothers and sisters-for I am speaking to those who know the law-that the law has authority over someone only as long as that person lives? 2 For example, by law a married woman is bound to her husband as long as he is alive, but if her husband dies, she is released from the law that binds her to him. 3 So then, if she has sexual relations with another man while her husband is still alive, she is called an adulteress. But if her husband dies, she is released from that law and is not an adulteress if she marries another man.
4 So, my brothers and sisters, you also died to the law through the body of Christ, that you might belong to another, to him who was raised from the dead, in order that we might bear fruit for God. 5 For when we were in the realm of the flesh, the sinful passions aroused by the law were at work in us, so that we bore fruit for death. 6 But now, by dying to what once bound us, we have been released from the law so that we serve in the new way of the Spirit, and not in the old way of the written code....
Uriah, Urijah, Urias
[Åªrī'ah,U rī'jah, U rī'as] - jehovah is light.
- A high priest in Jerusalem, who built an altar according to the pattern provided by King Ahaz (2 Kings 16:10-16).
- A priest, father of Meremoth, who helped rebuild the wall of Jerusalem (Ezra 8:33; Neh. 3:4, 21).
- A priest who stood with Ezra as he read the law and addressed the people (Neh. 8:4).
- A priest whom Isaiah deemed worthy to act as a witness. He is described as "a faithful witness" (Isa. 8:2). See Revelation 1:4; 2:13.
- A prophet, the son of Shemaiah of Kirjath-jearim, whom Jehoiakin sent for into Egypt and slew him (Jer. 26:20-23).
- Uriah, or Urias (Matt. 1:6) was also the name of the Hittite, husband of Bath-sheba, and one of David's thirty heroes ( 2 Sam. 11; 12:9-15; 23:39; 1 Kings 15:5; 1 Chron. 11:41).
As David's general, Uriah distinguished himself by his loyalty and bravery in the army of the king. Alas, Uriah was barbarously, even murderously treated by the monarch he served! Failing to use Uriah as a shield for his sin against Uriah and Bath-sheba his wife, David had him killed in battle.
Thomas Goodwin points out that it was the "matter of Uriah," even more than the matter of Bath-sheba, that awakened the anger of the Lord against David. That is to say, it was David's sin of deliberation and determination, rather than his sin of sudden and intoxicating passion. But both sins matter and earn the judgment of God. Uriah had every right to disobey David in his deceitful commands. Through Nathan, the adulterer and murderer was brought back to God and wrote his confession in a penitential psalm (Ps. 51).