"Happy art thou, O Israel; who is like unto thee, O people saved by the Lord!"
He who affirms that Christianity makes men miserable, is himself an utter stranger to it. It were strange indeed, if it made us wretched, for see to what a position it exalts us! It makes us sons of God. Suppose you that God will give all the happiness to his enemies, and reserve all the mourning for his own family? Shall his foes have mirth and joy, and shall his home-born children inherit sorrow and wretchedness? Shall the sinner, who has no part in Christ, call himself rich in happiness, and shall we go mourning as if we were penniless beggars? No, we will rejoice in the Lord always, and glory in our inheritance, for we "have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but we have received the spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father." The rod of chastisement must rest upon us in our measure, but it worketh for us the comfortable fruits of righteousness; and therefore by the aid of the divine Comforter, we, the "people saved of the Lord," will joy in the God of our salvation. We are married unto Christ; and shall our great Bridegroom permit his spouse to linger in constant grief? Our hearts are knit unto him: we are his members, and though for awhile we may suffer as our Head once suffered, yet we are even now blessed with heavenly blessings in him. We have the earnest of our inheritance in the comforts of the Spirit, which are neither few nor small. Inheritors of joy forever, we have foretastes of our portion. There are streaks of the light of joy to herald our eternal sunrising. Our riches are beyond the sea; our city with firm foundations lies on the other side the river; gleams of glory from the spirit-world cheer our hearts, and urge us onward. Truly is it said of us, "Happy art thou, O Israel; who is like unto thee, O people saved by the Lord?"
"My Beloved put in his hand by the hole of the door, and my bowels were moved for him."
Song of Solomon 5:4
Knocking was not enough, for my heart was too full of sleep, too cold and ungrateful to arise and open the door, but the touch of his effectual grace has made my soul bestir itself. Oh, the longsuffering of my Beloved, to tarry when he found himself shut out, and me asleep upon the bed of sloth! Oh, the greatness of his patience, to knock and knock again, and to add his voice to his knockings, beseeching me to open to him! How could I have refused him! Base heart, blush and be confounded! But what greatest kindness of all is this, that he becomes his own porter and unbars the door himself. Thrice blessed is the hand which condescends to lift the latch and turn the key. Now I see that nothing but my Lord's own power can save such a naughty mass of wickedness as I am; ordinances fail, even the gospel has no effect upon me, till his hand is stretched out. Now, also, I perceive that his hand is good where all else is unsuccessful, he can open when nothing else will. Blessed be his name, I feel his gracious presence even now. Well may my bowels move for him, when I think of all that he has suffered for me, and of my ungenerous return. I have allowed my affections to wander. I have set up rivals. I have grieved him. Sweetest and dearest of all beloveds, I have treated thee as an unfaithful wife treats her husband. Oh, my cruel sins, my cruel self. What can I do? Tears are a poor show of my repentance, my whole heart boils with indignation at myself. Wretch that I am, to treat my Lord, my All in All, my exceeding great joy, as though he were a stranger. Jesus, thou forgivest freely, but this is not enough, prevent my unfaithfulness in the future. Kiss away these tears, and then purge my heart and bind it with sevenfold cords to thyself, never to wander more.
Today's reading: Isaiah 3-4, Galatians 6 (NIV)View today's reading on Bible Gateway
Today's Old Testament reading: Isaiah 3-4
Judgment on Jerusalem and Judah
1 See now, the Lord,
the LORD Almighty,
is about to take from Jerusalem and Judah
both supply and support:
all supplies of food and all supplies of water,
2 the hero and the warrior,
the judge and the prophet,
the diviner and the elder,
3 the captain of fifty and the man of rank,
the counselor, skilled craftsman and clever enchanter.
4 “I will make mere youths their officials;
children will rule over them.”
5 People will oppress each other—
man against man, neighbor against neighbor.
The young will rise up against the old,
the nobody against the honored....
Today's New Testament reading: Galatians 6
Doing Good to All
1 Brothers and sisters, if someone is caught in a sin, you who live by the Spirit should restore that person gently. But watch yourselves, or you also may be tempted. 2 Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.3 If anyone thinks they are something when they are not, they deceive themselves. 4 Each one should test their own actions. Then they can take pride in themselves alone, without comparing themselves to someone else, 5 for each one should carry their own load. 6 Nevertheless, the one who receives instruction in the word should share all good things with their instructor.
7 Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. 8 Whoever sows to please their flesh, from the flesh will reap destruction; whoever sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life. 9 Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. 10 Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers....
[Ăbĭm'elĕch] - father of the king.
1. A king of Gerar in the time of Abraham (Gen. 20; 21:22-32; 26:1-16, 26-31).
The Man Who Rebuked Another for Lying
Abimelech would have taken Sarah, Abraham's wife, into his harem, but learning that she was the wife of another, returned her uninjured. Abraham appears here in a bad light. He deceived Abimelech, but when found out was justly rebuked by the God-restrained Abimelech. Certainly the righteous should rebuke the ungodly ( 1 Tim. 5:20), but how sad it is when the ungodly have just reason for rebuking the righteous. What a degradation it was for Abraham, then, to be rebuked by a heathen king!
Abraham sought to palliate his deception by claiming that Sarah was actually his half sister, daughter of the same father but not the same mother (Gen. 20:12, 16).
A lie if half a truth
Is ever the worst of lies.
Abraham was the more blameworthy because he had done the same thing before ( Gen. 12) and had suffered much in the same way as upon this occasion. How grateful Abimelech was for the dream warning him of his danger! The covenant made with Abraham is somewhat significant -
I. It was proposed by Abimelech who, although knowing how Abraham had failed God, yet saw how favored he was of God (Gen. 21:22).
II. It revealed certain distrust of Abraham. Abimelech requested Abraham not to be tempted to sin in such a direction again (Gen. 21:23).
III. It was meant to secure Abraham's good will. The king desired the favor of the wandering pilgrim who had failed to act kingly. Abraham consented to the king's request (Gen. 21:24).
IV. It gave Abraham the opportunity of rebuking Abimelech. The matter of the stolen well had to be put right. Wrong had to be repudiated before a covenant could be agreed upon (Gen. 20:9; 21:23, 26).
V. It secured for Abraham the inheritance of Beer-sheba, "the well of oath," which possession the patriarch sanctified ( Gen. 21:27-33).
2. The son of Gideon by a concubine in Shechem who belonged to a leading Canaanite family (Judg. 8:30, 31; 9; 10:1).
The Man Who Was Bramble King
This Abimelech, who made the first attempt to set up a monarchy in Israel, is known as "The Bramble King." But his violent and ill-fated reign over Israel only lasted for three years. After the death of Gideon his father, Abimelech took seventy pieces of silver from his mother's people with which he hired vain and light persons to follow him. He slew seventy persons of his father's house. Jotham, the youngest son of Gideon, who is also called Jerubbaal, hid himself and when Abimelech was proclaimed king by the men of Shechem, he revealed himself and warned the Shechemites against Abimelech in a parable about trees, from whence he received his nickname as "Bramble King." What a tragic death this would-be king of Israel suffered (Judg. 9:53, 54)! A fitting end, surely, for one who sowed a Biblical city with salt (Judg. 9:45).
3. Son of Abiathar, the high priest in David's time (1 Chron. 18:16). Also known as Ahimlech.
4. A name given to Achish, King of Gath (according to Ellicott), to whom David fled (1 Sam. 21:10).