"Better is the end of a thing than the beginning thereof."
Look at David's Lord and Master; see his beginning. He was despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. Would you see the end? He sits at his Father's right hand, expecting until his enemies be made his footstool. "As he is, so are we also in this world." You must bear the cross, or you shall never wear the crown; you must wade through the mire, or you shall never walk the golden pavement. Cheer up, then, poor Christian. "Better is the end of a thing than the beginning thereof." See that creeping worm, how contemptible its appearance! It is the beginning of a thing. Mark that insect with gorgeous wings, playing in the sunbeams, sipping at the flower bells, full of happiness and life; that is the end thereof. That caterpillar is yourself, until you are wrapped up in the chrysalis of death; but when Christ shall appear you shall be like him, for you shall see him as he is. Be content to be like him, a worm and no man, that like him you may be satisfied when you wake up in his likeness. That rough-looking diamond is put upon the wheel of the lapidary. He cuts it on all sides. It loses much--much that seemed costly to itself. The king is crowned; the diadem is put upon the monarch's head with trumpet's joyful sound. A glittering ray flashes from that coronet, and it beams from that very diamond which was just now so sorely vexed by the lapidary. You may venture to compare yourself to such a diamond, for you are one of God's people; and this is the time of the cutting process. Let faith and patience have their perfect work, for in the day when the crown shall be set upon the head of the King, Eternal, Immortal, Invisible, one ray of glory shall stream from you. "They shall be mine," saith the Lord, "in the day when I make up my jewels." "Better is the end of a thing than the beginning thereof."
"Knowest thou not that it will be bitterness in the latter end?"
2 Samuel 2:26
If, O my reader! thou art merely a professor, and not a possessor of the faith that is in Christ Jesus, the following lines are a true ketch of thine end.
You are a respectable attendant at a place of worship; you go because others go, not because your heart is right with God. This is your beginning. I will suppose that for the next twenty or thirty years you will be spared to go on as you do now, professing religion by an outward attendance upon the means of grace, but having no heart in the matter. Tread softly, for I must show you the deathbed of such a one as yourself. Let us gaze upon him gently. A clammy sweat is on his brow, and he wakes up crying, "O God, it is hard to die. Did you send for my minister?" "Yes, he is coming." The minister comes. "Sir, I fear that I am dying!" "Have you any hope?" "I cannot say that I have. I fear to stand before my God; oh! pray for me." The prayer is offered for him with sincere earnestness, and the way of salvation is for the ten-thousandth time put before him, but before he has grasped the rope, I see him sink. I may put my finger upon those cold eyelids, for they will never see anything here again. But where is the man, and where are the man's true eyes? It is written, "In hell he lifted up his eyes, being in torment." Ah! why did he not lift up his eyes before? Because he was so accustomed to hear the gospel that his soul slept under it. Alas! if you should lift up your eyes there, how bitter will be your wailings. Let the Saviour's own words reveal the woe: "Father Abraham, send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue, for I am tormented in this flame." There is a frightful meaning in those words. May you never have to spell it out by the red light of Jehovah's wrath!
Today's reading: Zechariah 13-14, Revelation 21 (NIV)View today's reading on Bible Gateway
Today's Old Testament reading: Zechariah 9-12
Cleansing From Sin
1 “On that day a fountain will be opened to the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem, to cleanse them from sin and impurity.
2 “On that day, I will banish the names of the idols from the land, and they will be remembered no more,” declares the LORD Almighty. “I will remove both the prophets and the spirit of impurity from the land. 3 And if anyone still prophesies, their father and mother, to whom they were born, will say to them, ‘You must die, because you have told lies in the LORD’s name.’ Then their own parents will stab the one who prophesies.
4 “On that day every prophet will be ashamed of their prophetic vision. They will not put on a prophet’s garment of hair in order to deceive. 5 Each will say, ‘I am not a prophet. I am a farmer; the land has been my livelihood since my youth.’6 If someone asks, ‘What are these wounds on your body?’ they will answer, ‘The wounds I was given at the house of my friends....’
Today's New Testament reading: Revelation 20
A New Heaven and a New Earth
1 Then I saw “a new heaven and a new earth,” for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. 2 I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. 3 And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. 4‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”
5 He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!” Then he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true....”
Simeon, Symeon [Sĭm'eon]—hearing, hears and obeys orhearing with acceptance.
1. The second son of Jacob by Leah(Gen. 29:33).
The Man Who Was Self-Willed
It is not easy to deal with Simeon alone, since he is always associated with his brother, Levi. “Simeon and Levi are brethren” (Gen. 49:5 ). Of Simeon’s personal history we know little. His name implies hearing with obedience, but Simeon was deaf in the day he should have heard, and disobedient and irresponsive when his lot hung in balance.
The first thing recorded about Simeon is that with Levi his brother, he drew the sword in treachery against the Shechemites and slew all the males. When rebuked by their father, they upheld indignantly their right to act as they did. Both acted “in their selfwill” (Gen. 49:6), which means they took malicious delight in their gross crime.
Simeon next appears in the story of Joseph, who felt it would be better to retain Simeon until Benjamin had been brought to the palace. Joseph felt with his father Jacob that Simeon and Levi would be best apart. In fact, Simeon had no blessing while joined with Levi and no prosperity while he was with Reuben. When separated, Simeon, at first, did not multiply (1 Chron. 4:24-27). During the forty years in the wilderness the decrease of Simeon was remarkable. Because of the idolatry of the tribe, thousands were slain.
In the land of Canaan, Simeon joined with Judah, and this association marked a turning point in the history of the tribe. Judah and Simeon went up together to Canaan (Judg. 1:1-3). Simeon means “obedient hearing,” and Judah, “praise.” The absorption of Simeon into the inheritance of Judah gave Simeon a place and work in Israel. In the final division of the land, foretold by Ezekiel, between Benjamin and Issachar, there is a portion for Simeon.
Over the gate to the Golden City, Simeon’s name is inscribed—“Of the tribe of Simeon were sealed 12,000”—a way for even Simeon to enter the city of God above. From the time the Simeonites became aware of what God had done for them there was no more curse and no more captivity for them. Hitherto instruments of cruelty, they became instruments of warfare against the enemies of the Lord, ultimately earning the right to be included among the number eternally sealed (Rev. 7:7).
Self-will fittingly describes Simeon’s career until he was separated from Levi. God hates self-will for He knows how it accounts for uncontrolled passions, and the failure to respond to higher appeals. Because of their self-will God, in His governmental dealings, scattered and impoverished the Simeonites. May we not come nigh their dwelling but ever seek to learn, prove and obey “that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.”
2. A just and devout man in Jerusalem who awaited the coming of Jesus, the Messiah (Luke 2:25-34).
The Man Who Died Satisfied
The adoration and prophecy of Simeon, who waited for the consolation of Israel and blessed the Consoler when He appeared, is rich in spiritual suggestion. This spectator of the most significant birth of all history, endued with a prophetic spirit, kept the lamp of prophecy burning when religion was at a low ebb in Israel. Simeon means “one who hears and obeys” and this saintly Simeon knew the voice speaking in the prophets of old, and obeyed the light he saw. Coming into the Temple, he took the Babe in his arms and blessed God. What a wonderful benediction his was!
At last faith had been justified and Simeon could die without fear. Have our eyes seen the salvation of the Lord? Can we die in peace? In his swan song, Simeon was not ashamed to declare that the One born in the city of David was the Saviour of the world. This was more than the letter-learned scribes of his times had discerned. These were the men who looked upon Christ as a sign to be spoken against and to whom He would become a stone of stumbling and a rock of offense.
With godly Simeon it was different, for he was Spirit-taught and knew that Mary’s Child was the One through whom the world was to be blessed. As he eagerly anticipated Christ’s first advent, are we found patiently awaiting His second advent? When He does appear and we see Him as He is, ours will be the thrill Simeon experienced as He gazed upon the Lord’s Christ.
3. An ancestor of Jesus (Luke 3:30).
4. A disciple and prophet at Antioch, surnamed Niger (Acts 13:1 ).