"Are they not all ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation?"
Angels are the unseen attendants of the saints of God; they bear us up in their hands, lest we dash our foot against a stone. Loyalty to their Lord leads them to take a deep interest in the children of his love; they rejoice over the return of the prodigal to his father's house below, and they welcome the advent of the believer to the King's palace above. In olden times the sons of God were favoured with their visible appearance, and at this day, although unseen by us, heaven is still opened, and the angels of God ascend and descend upon the Son of man, that they may visit the heirs of salvation. Seraphim still fly with live coals from off the altar to touch the lips of men greatly beloved. If our eyes could be opened, we should see horses of fire and chariots of fire about the servants of the Lord; for we have come to an innumerable company of angels, who are all watchers and protectors of the seed-royal. Spenser's line is no poetic fiction, where he sings--
"How oft do they with golden pinions cleave
The flitting skies, like flying pursuivant
Against foul fiends to aid us militant!"
To what dignity are the chosen elevated when the brilliant courtiers of heaven become their willing servitors! Into what communion are we raised since we have intercourse with spotless celestials! How well are we defended since all the twenty- thousand chariots of God are armed for our deliverance! To whom do we owe all this? Let the Lord Jesus Christ be forever endeared to us, for through him we are made to sit in heavenly places far above principalities and powers. He it is whose camp is round about them that fear him; he is the true Michael whose foot is upon the dragon. All hail, Jesus! thou Angel of Jehovah's presence, to thee this family offers its morning vows.
"He himself hath suffered being tempted."
It is a common-place thought, and yet it tastes like nectar to the weary heart--Jesus was tempted as I am. You have heard that truth many times: have you grasped it? He was tempted to the very same sins into which we fall. Do not dissociate Jesus from our common manhood. It is a dark room which you are going through, but Jesus went through it before. It is a sharp fight which you are waging, but Jesus has stood foot to foot with the same enemy. Let us be of good cheer, Christ has borne the load before us, and the blood-stained footsteps of the King of glory may be seen along the road which we traverse at this hour. There is something sweeter yet--Jesus was tempted, but Jesus never sinned. Then, my soul, it is not needful for thee to sin, for Jesus was a man, and if one man endured these temptations and sinned not, then in his power his members may also cease from sin. Some beginners in the divine life think that they cannot be tempted without sinning, but they mistake; there is no sin in being tempted, but there is sin in yielding to temptation. Herein is comfort for the sorely tempted ones. There is still more to encourage them if they reflect that the Lord Jesus, though tempted, gloriously triumphed, and as he overcame, so surely shall his followers also, for Jesus is the representative man for his people; the Head has triumphed, and the members share in the victory. Fears are needless, for Christ is with us, armed for our defence. Our place of safety is the bosom of the Saviour. Perhaps we are tempted just now, in order to drive us nearer to him. Blessed be any wind that blows us into the port of our Saviour's love! Happy wounds, which make us seek the beloved Physician. Ye tempted ones, come to your tempted Saviour, for he can be touched with a feeling of your infirmities, and will succour every tried and tempted one.
Today's reading: Isaiah 17-19, Ephesians 5:17-33 (NIV)View today's reading on Bible Gateway
Today's Old Testament reading: Isaiah 17-19
A Prophecy Against Damascus
1 A prophecy against Damascus:
“See, Damascus will no longer be a city
but will become a heap of ruins.
2 The cities of Aroer will be deserted
and left to flocks, which will lie down,
with no one to make them afraid.
3 The fortified city will disappear from Ephraim,
and royal power from Damascus;
the remnant of Aram will be
like the glory of the Israelites,” declares the LORD Almighty.
4 “In that day the glory of Jacob will fade;
the fat of his body will waste away.
5 It will be as when reapers harvest the standing grain,
gathering the grain in their arms—
as when someone gleans heads of grain
in the Valley of Rephaim.
6 Yet some gleanings will remain,
as when an olive tree is beaten,
leaving two or three olives on the topmost branches,
four or five on the fruitful boughs,” declares the LORD, the God of Israel....
Today's New Testament reading: Ephesians 5:17-3317 Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is. 18 Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit, 19 speaking to one another with psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit. Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord, 20 always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ....
WIDOW WITH TWO MITES
The Woman Who Gave Her All
Of all the nameless women in female biography, this most sacrificial widow is one whose name and background we would dearly love to know about. As we read the gospels her devotion always touches our hearts, and we are grateful that Jesus noticed her sacrifice and has preserved her story in the safekeeping of His praise and Word.
During Paschal Week women from all over poured into their court in the Temple with their offerings for its manifold services. Along the walls of the court there were receptacles into which the people dropped their gifts. Many who were rich cast in much and probably took no pains to conceal what they gave. The Scribes who devoured widows' houses, getting all they could, doubtless paraded their giving, but here was a widow intent on a far nobler purpose, namely, to give all she could. The Scribes were rich, but selfish - the widow, poor, but sacrificial (Mark 10:24; James 2:5). Among the crowds this poor anonymous widow was unnoticed by those around her as she dropped into one of the chests her two tiny copper coins. Making her offering, she passed along unaware that any one but herself knew the measure of her gift and what it cost. When we speak about "the widow's mite" we have in mind a small offering, but to this nameless widow her mite represented allshe had. If the rich had given proportionately that Holy Week, what a tremendous offering the Temple would have had. Among all the money gathered that day none had the stain of blood on it apart from those two mites. With true Israelite devotion she gave all she had earned, and then went on her way to earn a little more to care for her frugal needs, and for those of any children she might have had.
As an Israelite the widow would have a knowledge of Hagar of old and of how she called Jehovah by the distinguished and comforting name, "Thou God seest me" ( Genesis 16:13). She surrendered her all that day feeling that God's eyes alone would know of her offering. Little did she know that the One sitting near the treasury was God manifest in flesh, and that because of His omniscience He knew all about her and also the amount of her sacrificial gift. Whether Jesus may have learned of this godly widow on one of His previous visits to Jerusalem, we do not know. The narrative seems to suggest His divine insight into the lives and characters of people as in the cases of Nathanael ( John 1:47, 48) and of the woman of Samaria (John 4:18).
Because of her penury, the widow would come and go unobserved in the presence of the crowd for she had none of the ostentation of the Pharisees in dress and disposal of gifts. But an All-Seeing eye saw her and knew all about her secret and took an exact inventory of the comparatively small gift she had dropped into the treasury box. The Bible does not tell us whether Jesus spoke to her and thanked her for her offering. It is probable that she was not conscious of what omniscient eyes had seen, and how her minute offering among so many gifts that day had gladdened the sorrowful soul of Him who was on His way to give His all at Calvary and also provided Him with a text for an everlasting lesson on what sacrificial giving really is.
What a rebuke Jesus delivered to the rich Scribes and Pharisees who cast large gifts into the treasury-boxes! But what they gave was insignificant, proportionally, alongside what the widow gave, and her slender gift brought forth from the greatest Giver of all a message that lifted the poor to their rightful fraternity of service with the godly rich in the kingdom of God: "Of a truth ... this poor widow hath cast in more than they all: [With this sentence Jesus must have waved His hand in the direction of those who loved the praise of men and not of God.] For all these have of their abundance cast in unto the offerings of God: but she of her penury hath cast in all the living that she had."
Over against the show of easy service, Jesus placed the piety of self-denial. The widow's two mites represented her two hands that had earned the mites, and which would earn more for another sacred fraction for the God she worshiped. Paul commended the churches of Macedonia because their deep poverty had abounded unto the riches of their liberality (2 Corinthians 8:1, 2). As it is "by him actions are weighed" ( 1 Samuel 2:3), in His balances the loving act of the poor widow outweighed the munificence of the rich Pharisees. It is not whatwe give but how we give that counts with Him who gave Himself for a lost world. The widow gave all she had at the time, and surrendered it gladly. May we ever remember that our giving must be inspired by what we owe Him who redeemed us at such cost, and also placed over against what is left after we give! How apropos are the words of Solomon as we think of the poor, unnoticed widow whom Jesus rewarded with everlasting remembrance: "The eyes of the Lord are in every place, beholding the evil and the good" (Proverbs 15:3).
Korah, Kore, Core
[Kō'rah,Kō'rē, Cō'rē] - baldness or icy.
- A son of Esau by Aholibamah, and founder of a tribe (Gen. 36:5, 18).
- A son of Eliphaz and grandson of Esau (Gen. 36:16).
- A son of Hebron, son of Mareshah, son of Caleb (1 Chron. 2:43).
- A grandson of Kohath , son of Levi - ancestor of sanctuary musicians (1 Chron. 6:22).
- The son of Izhar, the grandson of Levi, who with Dathan and Abiram conspired against Moses and Aaron (Exod. 6:21, 24; Num. 16). Jude 11 gives Core for Korah.
Korah, along with his two companions, resisted the civil authority of Moses. For refusing to appear before him as commanded, Korah, Dathan and Abiram along with their households and houses were swallowed up by the earth ( Num. 16). Then there came the further revolt of Korah against Moses and Aaron, in the interests of the people at large as against the tribe of Levi. The rebels were consumed by fire from the Lord (Num. 17). There followed the opposition of Korah and 250 Levites against the monopoly of the priesthood claimed by Aaron. The "gainsaying," meaning against the Word, was Korah's denial of the authority of Moses as God's chosen spokesman, and intrusion into the priest's office (Jude 11).
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