Monday, January 23, 2012

Daily Devotional Monday 23rd January

“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.”Matthew 7:7-8 NIV
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Morning and Evening by Charles Spurgeon

Morning

"Son of man, What is the vine tree more than any tree, or than a branch which is among the trees of the forest?"
Ezekiel 15:2

These words are for the humbling of God's people; they are called God's vine, but what are they by nature more than others? They, by God's goodness, have become fruitful, having been planted in a good soil; the Lord hath trained them upon the walls of the sanctuary, and they bring forth fruit to his glory; but what are they without their God? What are they without the continual influence of the Spirit, begetting fruitfulness in them? O believer, learn to reject pride, seeing that thou hast no ground for it. Whatever thou art, thou hast nothing to make thee proud. The more thou hast, the more thou art in debt to God; and thou shouldst not be proud of that which renders thee a debtor. Consider thine origin; look back to what thou wast. Consider what thou wouldst have been but for divine grace. Look upon thyself as thou art now. Doth not thy conscience reproach thee? Do not thy thousand wanderings stand before thee, and tell thee that thou art unworthy to be called his son? And if he hath made thee anything, art thou not taught thereby that it is grace which hath made thee to differ? Great believer, thou wouldst have been a great sinner if God had not made thee to differ. O thou who art valiant for truth, thou wouldst have been as valiant for error if grace had not laid hold upon thee. Therefore, be not proud, though thou hast a large estate--a wide domain of grace, thou hadst not once a single thing to call thine own except thy sin and misery. Oh! strange infatuation, that thou, who hast borrowed everything, shouldst think of exalting thyself; a poor dependent pensioner upon the bounty of thy Saviour, one who hath a life which dies without fresh streams of life from Jesus, and yet proud! Fie on thee, O silly heart!

Evening

"Doth Job fear God for nought?"
Job 1:9

This was the wicked question of Satan concerning that upright man of old, but there are many in the present day concerning whom it might be asked with justice, for they love God after a fashion because he prospers them; but if things went ill with them, they would give up all their boasted faith in God. If they can clearly see that since the time of their supposed conversion the world has gone prosperously with them, then they will love God in their poor carnal way; but if they endure adversity, they rebel against the Lord. Their love is the love of the table, not of the host; a love to the cupboard, not to the master of the house. As for the true Christian, he expects to have his reward in the next life, and to endure hardness in this. The promise of the old covenant was prosperity, but the promise of the new covenant is adversity. Remember Christ's words--"Every branch in me that beareth not fruit"--What? "He purgeth it, that it may bring forth fruit." If you bring forth fruit, you will have to endure affliction. "Alas!" you say, "that is a terrible prospect." But this affliction works out such precious results, that the Christian who is the subject of it must learn to rejoice in tribulations, because as his tribulations abound, so his consolations abound by Christ Jesus. Rest assured, if you are a child of God, you will be no stranger to the rod. Sooner or later every bar of gold must pass through the fire. Fear not, but rather rejoice that such fruitful times are in store for you, for in them you will be weaned from earth and made meet for heaven; you will be delivered from clinging to the present, and made to long for those eternal things which are so soon to be revealed to you. When you feel that as regards the present you do serve God for nought, you will then rejoice in the infinite reward of the future.

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Today's reading: Exodus 4-6; Matthew 14:22-36 (NIV)

View today's reading on Bible Gateway
Signs for Moses

1 Moses answered, “What if they do not believe me or listen to me and say, ‘The LORD did not appear to you’?”

2 Then the LORD said to him, “What is that in your hand?”

“A staff,” he replied.

3 The LORD said, “Throw it on the ground.”

Moses threw it on the ground and it became a snake, and he ran from it. 4 Then the LORD said to him, “Reach out your hand and take it by the tail.” So Moses reached out and took hold of the snake and it turned back into a staff in his hand. 5 “This,” said the LORD, “is so that they may believe that the LORD, the God of their fathers—the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob—has appeared to you.”

6 Then the LORD said, “Put your hand inside your cloak.” So Moses put his hand into his cloak, and when he took it out, the skin was leprous—it had become as white as snow.

7 “Now put it back into your cloak,” he said. So Moses put his hand back into his cloak, and when he took it out, it was restored, like the rest of his flesh.

8 Then the LORD said, “If they do not believe you or pay attention to the first sign, they may believe the second. 9 But if they do not believe these two signs or listen to you, take some water from the Nile and pour it on the dry ground. The water you take from the river will become blood on the ground.”

10 Moses said to the LORD, “Pardon your servant, Lord. I have never been eloquent, neither in the past nor since you have spoken to your servant. I am slow of speech and tongue.”

11 The LORD said to him, “Who gave human beings their mouths? Who makes them deaf or mute? Who gives them sight or makes them blind? Is it not I, the LORD? 12 Now go; I will help you speak and will teach you what to say.”

13 But Moses said, “Pardon your servant, Lord. Please send someone else.”

14 Then the LORD’s anger burned against Moses and he said, “What about your brother, Aaron the Levite? I know he can speak well. He is already on his way to meet you, and he will be glad to see you. 15 You shall speak to him and put words in his mouth; I will help both of you speak and will teach you what to do. 16 He will speak to the people for you, and it will be as if he were your mouth and as if you were God to him.17 But take this staff in your hand so you can perform the signs with it.”

Moses Returns to Egypt

18 Then Moses went back to Jethro his father-in-law and said to him, “Let me return to my own people in Egypt to see if any of them are still alive.”

Jethro said, “Go, and I wish you well.”

19 Now the LORD had said to Moses in Midian, “Go back to Egypt, for all those who wanted to kill you are dead.” 20 So Moses took his wife and sons, put them on a donkey and started back to Egypt. And he took the staff of God in his hand.

21 The LORD said to Moses, “When you return to Egypt, see that you perform before Pharaoh all the wonders I have given you the power to do. But I will harden his heart so that he will not let the people go. 22 Then say to Pharaoh, ‘This is what the LORD says: Israel is my firstborn son, 23 and I told you, “Let my son go, so he may worship me.” But you refused to let him go; so I will kill your firstborn son.’”

24 At a lodging place on the way, the LORD met Moses and was about to kill him. 25 But Zipporah took a flint knife, cut off her son’s foreskin and touched Moses’ feet with it. “Surely you are a bridegroom of blood to me,” she said. 26 So the LORD let him alone. (At that time she said “bridegroom of blood,” referring to circumcision.)

27 The LORD said to Aaron, “Go into the wilderness to meet Moses.” So he met Moses at the mountain of God and kissed him. 28 Then Moses told Aaron everything the LORD had sent him to say, and also about all the signs he had commanded him to perform.

29 Moses and Aaron brought together all the elders of the Israelites, 30 and Aaron told them everything the LORD had said to Moses. He also performed the signs before the people,31 and they believed. And when they heard that the LORD was concerned about them and had seen their misery, they bowed down and worshiped.

Exodus 5

Bricks Without Straw

1 Afterward Moses and Aaron went to Pharaoh and said, “This is what the LORD, the God of Israel, says: ‘Let my people go, so that they may hold a festival to me in the wilderness.’”

2 Pharaoh said, “Who is the LORD, that I should obey him and let Israel go? I do not know the LORD and I will not let Israel go.”

3 Then they said, “The God of the Hebrews has met with us. Now let us take a three-day journey into the wilderness to offer sacrifices to the LORD our God, or he may strike us with plagues or with the sword.”

4 But the king of Egypt said, “Moses and Aaron, why are you taking the people away from their labor? Get back to your work!” 5 Then Pharaoh said, “Look, the people of the land are now numerous, and you are stopping them from working.”

6 That same day Pharaoh gave this order to the slave drivers and overseers in charge of the people: 7 “You are no longer to supply the people with straw for making bricks; let them go and gather their own straw. 8 But require them to make the same number of bricks as before; don’t reduce the quota. They are lazy; that is why they are crying out, ‘Let us go and sacrifice to our God.’ 9 Make the work harder for the people so that they keep working and pay no attention to lies.”

10 Then the slave drivers and the overseers went out and said to the people, “This is what Pharaoh says: ‘I will not give you any more straw. 11 Go and get your own straw wherever you can find it, but your work will not be reduced at all.’” 12 So the people scattered all over Egypt to gather stubble to use for straw. 13 The slave drivers kept pressing them, saying, “Complete the work required of you for each day, just as when you had straw.” 14 And Pharaoh’s slave drivers beat the Israelite overseers they had appointed, demanding, “Why haven’t you met your quota of bricks yesterday or today, as before?”

15 Then the Israelite overseers went and appealed to Pharaoh: “Why have you treated your servants this way? 16Your servants are given no straw, yet we are told, ‘Make bricks!’ Your servants are being beaten, but the fault is with your own people.”

17 Pharaoh said, “Lazy, that’s what you are—lazy! That is why you keep saying, ‘Let us go and sacrifice to the LORD.’ 18Now get to work. You will not be given any straw, yet you must produce your full quota of bricks.”

19 The Israelite overseers realized they were in trouble when they were told, “You are not to reduce the number of bricks required of you for each day.” 20 When they left Pharaoh, they found Moses and Aaron waiting to meet them, 21 and they said, “May the LORD look on you and judge you! You have made us obnoxious to Pharaoh and his officials and have put a sword in their hand to kill us.”

God Promises Deliverance

22 Moses returned to the LORD and said, “Why, Lord, why have you brought trouble on this people? Is this why you sent me? 23 Ever since I went to Pharaoh to speak in your name, he has brought trouble on this people, and you have not rescued your people at all.”

Exodus 6

1 Then the LORD said to Moses, “Now you will see what I will do to Pharaoh: Because of my mighty hand he will let them go; because of my mighty hand he will drive them out of his country.”

2 God also said to Moses, “I am the LORD. 3 I appeared to Abraham, to Isaac and to Jacob as God Almighty, but by my name the LORD I did not make myself fully known to them. 4 I also established my covenant with them to give them the land of Canaan, where they resided as foreigners. 5 Moreover, I have heard the groaning of the Israelites, whom the Egyptians are enslaving, and I have remembered my covenant.

6 “Therefore, say to the Israelites: ‘I am the LORD, and I will bring you out from under the yoke of the Egyptians. I will free you from being slaves to them, and I will redeem you with an outstretched arm and with mighty acts of judgment. 7 I will take you as my own people, and I will be your God. Then you will know that I am the LORD your God, who brought you out from under the yoke of the Egyptians. 8 And I will bring you to the land I swore with uplifted hand to give to Abraham, to Isaac and to Jacob. I will give it to you as a possession. I am the LORD.’”

9 Moses reported this to the Israelites, but they did not listen to him because of their discouragement and harsh labor.

10 Then the LORD said to Moses, 11 “Go, tell Pharaoh king of Egypt to let the Israelites go out of his country.”

12 But Moses said to the LORD, “If the Israelites will not listen to me, why would Pharaoh listen to me, since I speak with faltering lips?”

Family Record of Moses and Aaron

13 Now the LORD spoke to Moses and Aaron about the Israelites and Pharaoh king of Egypt, and he commanded them to bring the Israelites out of Egypt.

14 These were the heads of their families:

The sons of Reuben the firstborn son of Israel were Hanok and Pallu, Hezron and Karmi. These were the clans of Reuben.

15 The sons of Simeon were Jemuel, Jamin, Ohad, Jakin, Zohar and Shaul the son of a Canaanite woman. These were the clans of Simeon.

16 These were the names of the sons of Levi according to their records: Gershon, Kohath and Merari. Levi lived 137 years.

17 The sons of Gershon, by clans, were Libni and Shimei.

18 The sons of Kohath were Amram, Izhar, Hebron and Uzziel. Kohath lived 133 years.

19 The sons of Merari were Mahli and Mushi.

These were the clans of Levi according to their records.

20 Amram married his father’s sister Jochebed, who bore him Aaron and Moses. Amram lived 137 years.

21 The sons of Izhar were Korah, Nepheg and Zikri.

22 The sons of Uzziel were Mishael, Elzaphan and Sithri.

23 Aaron married Elisheba, daughter of Amminadab and sister of Nahshon, and she bore him Nadab and Abihu, Eleazar and Ithamar.

24 The sons of Korah were Assir, Elkanah and Abiasaph. These were the Korahite clans.

25 Eleazar son of Aaron married one of the daughters of Putiel, and she bore him Phinehas.

These were the heads of the Levite families, clan by clan.

26 It was this Aaron and Moses to whom the LORD said, “Bring the Israelites out of Egypt by their divisions.” 27 They were the ones who spoke to Pharaoh king of Egypt about bringing the Israelites out of Egypt—this same Moses and Aaron.

Aaron to Speak for Moses

28 Now when the LORD spoke to Moses in Egypt, 29 he said to him, “I am the LORD. Tell Pharaoh king of Egypt everything I tell you.”

30 But Moses said to the LORD, “Since I speak with faltering lips, why would Pharaoh listen to me?”


Matthew 14

Jesus Walks on the Water

22 Immediately Jesus made the disciples get into the boat and go on ahead of him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowd. 23 After he had dismissed them, he went up on a mountainside by himself to pray. Later that night, he was there alone, 24 and the boat was already a considerable distance from land, buffeted by the waves because the wind was against it.

25 Shortly before dawn Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake. 26 When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified. “It’s a ghost,” they said, and cried out in fear.

27 But Jesus immediately said to them: “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.”

28 “Lord, if it’s you,” Peter replied, “tell me to come to you on the water.”

29 “Come,” he said.

Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. 30 But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!”

31 Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?”

32 And when they climbed into the boat, the wind died down.33 Then those who were in the boat worshiped him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.”

34 When they had crossed over, they landed at Gennesaret.35 And when the men of that place recognized Jesus, they sent word to all the surrounding country. People brought all their sick to him 36 and begged him to let the sick just touch the edge of his cloak, and all who touched it were healed.

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Zechariah’s vision of Joshua the High Priest

‘And he shewed me Joshua the high priest standing before the angel of the Lord, and Satan standing at his right hand to resist him. And the Lord said unto Satan, The Lord rebuke thee, O Satan … is not this a brand plucked out of the fire?’ Zechariah 3:1–2

Suggested Further Reading: Hebrews 13:10–16

Who are the priests? Why, every humble man and woman that knows the power of Jesus Christ in his own soul, to purge and cleanse him from dead works, is appointed to serve as a priest unto God. I say every humble man and every humble woman too, for in Christ Jesus there is neither male nor female, but we are all one in him. We offer prayer unto God, knowing that it ascends to heaven like sweet odours before the throne; we offer praise, believing that ‘whoso offereth praise, glorifieth God.’ Jesus has made us priests and kings unto God, and even here upon earth we exercise the priesthood of consecrated living and hallowed service, and hope to exercise it till the Lord shall come. When I see Joshua the high priest, I do but see a picture of each and every child of God, who has been made nigh by the blood of Christ, and has been taught to minister in holy things, and enter into that which is within the veil. But observe where this High Priest is: he is said to be ‘standing before the angel of the Lord,’ that is, standing to minister. This should be the perpetual position of every true believer. I have no business on the bed of sloth; I have no right to be wandering abroad after private business; I can claim no time which I may set apart for my own follies, or to my own aggrandisement. My true position as a Christian is to be always ministering to God, always standing before his altar. Do I hear you ask how this can be, with your farms and with your merchandise? Know you not, brethren, that whether you eat, or drink, or whatsoever you do, you may do it all to the glory of God?

For meditation: Our Great High Priest has completed his one sacrifice for our salvation and has sat down (Hebrews 10:12). Our sacrifices in his service are to be continual and in all our walks of life (Hebrews 13:15–16 ) and require us to stand against the enemy (Ephesians 6:11,13–14).

Sermon no. 611
22 January (1865)

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The treasure of grace

“The forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace.”Ephesians 1:7

Suggested Further Reading: 1 Corinthians 15:5-11

Paul proclaimed the grace of God—free, full, sovereign, eternal grace—beyond all the glorious company of the apostles. Sometimes he soared to such amazing heights, or dived into unsearchable depths, that even Peter could not follow him. He was ready to confess that “our beloved brother Paul, according to the wisdom given unto him,” had written “some things hard to be understood.” Jude could write of the judgments of God, and reprove with terrible words, “ungodly men, who turned the grace of God into lasciviousness.” But he could not tell out the purpose of grace as it was planned in the eternal mind, or the experience of grace as it is felt and realized in the human heart, like Paul. There is James again: he, as a faithful minister, could deal very closely with the practical evidences of Christian character. And yet he seems to keep very much on the surface; he does not bore down deep into the substratum on which must rest the visible soil of all spiritual graces. Even John, most favoured of all those apostles who were companions of our Lord on earth—sweetly as the beloved disciple writes of fellowship with the Father and his Son Jesus Christ—even John does not speak of grace so richly as Paul, in whom God first showed forth “all long-suffering as a pattern to them which should hereafter believe on him to life everlasting.” Not, indeed, that we are at liberty to prefer one apostle above another. We may not divide the Church, saying, I am of Paul, I of Peter, I of Apollos; but we may acknowledge the instrument which God was pleased to use; we may admire the way in which the Holy Ghost fitted him for his work; we may, with the churches of Judea, glorify God in Paul.

For meditation: Paul always looked back with amazement when he recalled God’s grace to him, the chief of sinners, who so persecuted the Church (1 Corinthians 15:9-10; Galatians 1:13,15; Ephesians 3:7,8; 1 Timothy 1:13-15 ). Our gratitude and love to God can sadly be limited by our failure to realise how sinful we really are and how much he has forgiven us (Luke 7:41-47).

Sermon no. 295
22 January (1860)

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