"Underneath are the everlasting arms."
God--the eternal God--is himself our support at all times, and especially when we are sinking in deep trouble. There are seasons when the Christian sinks very low in humiliation. Under a deep sense of his great sinfulness, he is humbled before God till he scarcely knows how to pray, because he appears, in his own sight, so worthless. Well, child of God, remember that when thou art at thy worst and lowest, yet "underneath" thee "are everlasting arms." Sin may drag thee ever so low, but Christ's great atonement is still under all. You may have descended into the deeps, but you cannot have fallen so low as "the uttermost;" and to the uttermost he saves. Again, the Christian sometimes sinks very deeply in sore trial from without. Every earthly prop is cut away. What then? Still underneath him are "the everlasting arms." He cannot fall so deep in distress and affliction but what the covenant grace of an ever-faithful God will still encircle him. The Christian may be sinking under trouble from within through fierce conflict, but even then he cannot be brought so low as to be beyond the reach of the "everlasting arms"--they are underneath him; and, while thus sustained, all Satan's efforts to harm him avail nothing.
This assurance of support is a comfort to any weary but earnest worker in the service of God. It implies a promise of strength for each day, grace for each need, and power for each duty. And, further, when death comes, the promise shall still hold good. When we stand in the midst of Jordan, we shall be able to say with David, "I will fear no evil, for thou art with me." We shall descend into the grave, but we shall go no lower, for the eternal arms prevent our further fall. All through life, and at its close, we shall be upheld by the "everlasting arms"--arms that neither flag nor lose their strength, for "the everlasting God fainteth not, neither is weary."
"He shall choose our inheritance for us."
Believer, if your inheritance be a lowly one you should be satisfied with your earthly portion; for you may rest assured that it is the fittest for you. Unerring wisdom ordained your lot, and selected for you the safest and best condition. A ship of large tonnage is to be brought up the river; now, in one part of the stream there is a sandbank; should some one ask, "Why does the captain steer through the deep part of the channel and deviate so much from a straight line?" His answer would be, "Because I should not get my vessel into harbour at all if I did not keep to the deep channel." So, it may be, you would run aground and suffer shipwreck, if your divine Captain did not steer you into the depths of affliction where waves of trouble follow each other in quick succession. Some plants die if they have too much sunshine. It may be that you are planted where you get but little, you are put there by the loving Husbandman, because only in that situation will you bring forth fruit unto perfection. Remember this, had any other condition been better for you than the one in which you are, divine love would have put you there. You are placed by God in the most suitable circumstances, and if you had the choosing of your lot, you would soon cry, "Lord, choose my inheritance for me, for by my self-will I am pierced through with many sorrows." Be content with such things as you have, since the Lord has ordered all things for your good. Take up your own daily cross; it is the burden best suited for your shoulder, and will prove most effective to make you perfect in every good word and work to the glory of God. Down busy self, and proud impatience, it is not for you to choose, but for the Lord of Love!
"Trials must and will befall--
But with humble faith to see
Love inscribed upon them all;
This is happiness to me."
Today's reading: Jeremiah 50, Hebrews 8 (NIV)View today's reading on Bible Gateway
Today's Old Testament reading: Jeremiah 50
A Message About Babylon
1 This is the word the LORD spoke through Jeremiah the prophet concerning Babylon and the land of the Babylonians:
2 “Announce and proclaim among the nations,
lift up a banner and proclaim it;
keep nothing back, but say,
‘Babylon will be captured;
Bel will be put to shame,
Marduk filled with terror.
Her images will be put to shame
and her idols filled with terror.’
3 A nation from the north will attack her
and lay waste her land.
No one will live in it;
both people and animals will flee away.
4 “In those days, at that time,”
declares the LORD,
“the people of Israel and the people of Judah together
will go in tears to seek the LORD their God.
5 They will ask the way to Zion
and turn their faces toward it.
They will come and bind themselves to the LORD
in an everlasting covenant
that will not be forgotten....
Today's New Testament reading: Hebrews 8
The High Priest of a New Covenant
1 Now the main point of what we are saying is this: We do have such a high priest, who sat down at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in heaven, 2 and who serves in the sanctuary, the true tabernacle set up by the Lord, not by a mere human being.
3 Every high priest is appointed to offer both gifts and sacrifices, and so it was necessary for this one also to have something to offer. 4 If he were on earth, he would not be a priest, for there are already priests who offer the gifts prescribed by the law. 5 They serve at a sanctuary that is a copy and shadow of what is in heaven. This is why Moses was warned when he was about to build the tabernacle: “See to it that you make everything according to the pattern shown you on the mountain.” 6 But in fact the ministry Jesus has received is as superior to theirs as the covenant of which he is mediator is superior to the old one, since the new covenant is established on better promises....
[Hăg'gaī] - festal or born of a festival day. The tenth of the Minor Prophets, and the first of those to prophesy after the captivity (Ezra 5:1; 6:14).
The Man Who Was a Messenger
All we know of Haggai is told us in the first verse of his book, where we have a description of himself and his message, which gives us a key to the whole of his ministry. Haggai was "The Lord's messenger in the Lord's message." We reject the legend that he was an angel incarnate.
His name is suggestive and may imply that he was born on a Feast Day. Another meaning is "Jehovah hath quieted." As a prophet, he was contemporary with Zechariah (Hag. 1:1; 2:1, 20; Zech. 1:1 ). He prophesied in the second year of the reign of Darius Hystaspes, King of Persia, sixteen years after Cyrus'decree permitting the rebuilding of the Temple. Compare Zechariah 1:1-11 with Ezra 4:24 and 5:1.
As a prophet, he preached righteousness and predicted the future. As a man, he was simple, strong in faith and bold in hope. He urged the people to work and be strong (Hag. 2:4), assuring them that when they began to build the Temple, God would begin to bless them.
The first message was one of stern rebuke (Hag. 1:1-11).
The second message was one of comfort and commendation (Hag. 1:12-15).
The third message was a cheering one of encouragement (Hag. 2:1-9).
The fourth message was an assuring one concerning cleansing and blessing (Hag. 2:10-19).
The fifth message was a steadying one associated with safety ( Hag. 2:20-23 ).
Dr. Stuart Holden suggests that these five lessons can be gathered from Haggai:
I. Danger of lapsing into self-content, even after honest and sincere beginnings in the work of Christ.
II. That the time for blessing is always at hand. The people said: "The time has not come." God said: "My time is an eternal now."; The only hindrance to blessing lies in His people.
III. In the will of God for His people - particularly in respect to the great work of building His Temple - there is always a conjunction of precept and power, of duty and dynamic . The promises of God are "Yea and Amen" to those who are in Christ Jesus, walking in Him, and living in Him.
IV. The greatest of all mistakes is to leave God out in His own work. To live in the light of His presence is to build for eternity.
V. In the work to which we pledge ourselves as God's children,the greatest need of all is for patience. We shall be opposed if our work is worth opposing; but the opposition of the Evil One is the opportunity to express our faith and loyalty toward God. "Our God is marching on. The best is yet to be; and we may reckon upon God."
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