"Hitherto hath the Lord helped us."
1 Samuel 7:12
The word "hitherto" seems like a hand pointing in the direction of the past. Twenty years or seventy, and yet, "hitherto the Lord hath helped!" Through poverty, through wealth, through sickness, through health, at home, abroad, on the land, on the sea, in honour, in dishonour, in perplexity, in joy, in trial, in triumph, in prayer, in temptation, "hitherto hath the Lord helped us!" We delight to look down a long avenue of trees. It is delightful to gaze from end to end of the long vista, a sort of verdant temple, with its branching pillars and its arches of leaves; even so look down the long aisles of your years, at the green boughs of mercy overhead, and the strong pillars of lovingkindness and faithfulness which bear up your joys. Are there no birds in yonder branches singing? Surely there must be many, and they all sing of mercy received "hitherto."
But the word also points forward. For when a man gets up to a certain mark and writes "hitherto," he is not yet at the end, there is still a distance to be traversed. More trials, more joys; more temptations, more triumphs; more prayers, more answers; more toils, more strength; more fights, more victories; and then come sickness, old age, disease, death. Is it over now? No! there is more yet-awakening in Jesus' likeness, thrones, harps, songs, psalms, white raiment, the face of Jesus, the society of saints, the glory of God, the fulness of eternity, the infinity of bliss. O be of good courage, believer, and with grateful confidence raise thy "Ebenezer," for--
He who hath helped thee hitherto
Will help thee all thy journey through.
When read in heaven's light how glorious and marvellous a prospect will thy "hitherto" unfold to thy grateful eye!
"What think ye of Christ?"
The great test of your soul's health is, What think you of Christ? Is he to you "fairer than the children of men"--"the chief among ten thousand"--the "altogether lovely"? Wherever Christ is thus esteemed, all the faculties of the spiritual man exercise themselves with energy. I will judge of your piety by this barometer: does Christ stand high or low with you? If you have thought little of Christ, if you have been content to live without his presence, if you have cared little for his honour, if you have been neglectful of his laws, then I know that your soul is sick--God grant that it may not be sick unto death! But if the first thought of your spirit has been, how can I honour Jesus? If the daily desire of your soul has been, "O that I knew where I might find him!" I tell you that you may have a thousand infirmities, and even scarcely know whether you are a child of God at all, and yet I am persuaded, beyond a doubt, that you are safe, since Jesus is great in your esteem. I care not for thy rags, what thinkest thou of his royal apparel? I care not for thy wounds, though they bleed in torrents, what thinkest thou of his wounds? are they like glittering rubies in thine esteem? I think none the less of thee, though thou liest like Lazarus on the dunghill, and the dogs do lick thee--I judge thee not by thy poverty: what thinkest thou of the King in his beauty? Has he a glorious high throne in thy heart? Wouldest thou set him higher if thou couldest? Wouldest thou be willing to die if thou couldest but add another trumpet to the strain which proclaims his praise? Ah! then it is well with thee. Whatever thou mayest think of thyself, if Christ be great to thee, thou shalt be with him ere long.
"Though all the world my choice deride,
Yet Jesus shall my portion be;
For I am pleased with none beside,
The fairest of the fair is he"
Today's reading: Zechariah 9-12, Revelation 20 (NIV)View today's reading on Bible Gateway
Today's Old Testament reading: Zechariah 9-12
Judgment on Israel’s Enemies
1 A prophecy:The word of the LORD is against the land of Hadrak
and will come to rest on Damascus—
for the eyes of all people and all the tribes of Israel
are on the LORD—
2 and on Hamath too, which borders on it,
and on Tyre and Sidon, though they are very skillful.
3 Tyre has built herself a stronghold;
she has heaped up silver like dust,
and gold like the dirt of the streets.
4 But the Lord will take away her possessions
and destroy her power on the sea,
and she will be consumed by fire.
5 Ashkelon will see it and fear;
Gaza will writhe in agony,
and Ekron too, for her hope will wither.
Gaza will lose her king
and Ashkelon will be deserted....
Today's New Testament reading: Revelation 20
The Thousand Years
1 And I saw an angel coming down out of heaven, having the key to the Abyss and holding in his hand a great chain. 2 He seized the dragon, that ancient serpent, who is the devil, or Satan, and bound him for a thousand years. 3 He threw him into the Abyss, and locked and sealed it over him, to keep him from deceiving the nations anymore until the thousand years were ended. After that, he must be set free for a short time.
4 I saw thrones on which were seated those who had been given authority to judge. And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded because of their testimony about Jesus and because of the word of God. They had not worshiped the beast or its image and had not received its mark on their foreheads or their hands. They came to life and reigned with Christ a thousand years. 5 (The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were ended.) This is the first resurrection. 6 Blessed and holy are those who share in the first resurrection. The second death has no power over them, but they will be priests of God and of Christ and will reign with him for a thousand years....
Nathan [Nā'than]—he hath given.
- The third child of David, born after he came to reign over Israel (2 Sam. 5:14; 1 Chron. 3:5; 14:4 ).
- The distinguished prophetduring the reigns of David and Solomon, who brought home to David the enormity of his sin. What a piercing arrow from the divine bow that was—Thou art the man (2 Sam. 7:2-17; 12; 1 Kings 1; 1 Chron. 17). Although the confidential adviser of King David, Nathan was unsparing in his condemnation of his monarch’s sin. Nathan also wrote a history (2 Chron. 9:29).
- The father of Igal, one of David’s heroes ( 2 Sam. 23:36).
- Father of Solomon’s chief officer (1 Kings 4:5).
- Son of Attai and father of Zabad, of the tribe of Judah (1 Chron. 2:36).
- Brother of Joel, one of David’s heroes (1 Chron. 11:38).
- A chief man with Ezra at the brook of Ahava (Ezra 8:16).
- A son of Bani who put away his foreign wife (Ezra 10:39).
- A chief man in Israel (Zech. 12:12).
- An ancestor of Jesus Christ (Luke 3:31).
LIVE A GOD-FILLED LIFE
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God bless you in the New Year!