with a daily devotion
Morning Meditations for February 18
Thou art my hope in the day of evil.—JER. 17:17.
There be many that say, Who will shew us any good? Lord, lift thou up the light of thy countenance upon us.—I will sing of thy power; yea I will sing aloud of thy mercy in the morning; for thou hast been my defence and refuge in the day of my trouble.
In my prosperity I said, I shall never be moved. Thou didst hide thy face, and I was troubled. I cried to thee, O Lord: and unto the Lord I made supplication. What profit is there in my blood, when I go down to the pit? Shall the dust praise thee? shall it declare thy truth? Hear, O Lord, and have mercy upon me: Lord, be thou my helper.
For a small moment have I forsaken thee; but with great mercies will I gather thee. In a little wrath I hid my face from thee for a moment; but with everlasting kindness will I have mercy on thee, saith the Lord thy Reeemer.—Sorrow shall be turned into joy.—Weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning.
“Shew me wherefore thou contendest with me.”
Perhaps, O tried soul, the Lord is doing this to develop thy graces. There are some of thy graces which would never be discovered if it were not for thy trials. Dost thou not know that thy faith never looks so grand in summer weather as it does in winter? Love is too often like a glow-worm, showing but little light except it be in the midst of surrounding darkness. Hope itself is like a star—not to be seen in the sunshine of prosperity, and only to be discovered in the night of adversity. Afflictions are often the black foils in which God doth set the jewels of his children’s graces, to make them shine the better. It was but a little while ago that on thy knees thou wast saying, “Lord, I fear I have no faith: let me know that I have faith.” Was not this really, though perhaps unconsciously, praying for trials?—for how canst thou know that thou hast faith until thy faith is exercised? Depend upon it, God often sends us trials that our graces may be discovered, and that we may be certified of their existence. Besides, it is not merely discovery, real growth in grace is the result of sanctified trials. God often takes away our comforts and our privileges in order to make us better Christians. He trains his soldiers, not in tents of ease and luxury, but by turning them out and using them to forced marches and hard service. He makes them ford through streams, and swim through rivers, and climb mountains, and walk many a long mile with heavy knapsacks of sorrow on their backs. Well, Christian, may not this account for the troubles through which thou art passing? Is not the Lord bringing out your graces, and making them grow? Is not this the reason why he is contending with you?
“Trials make the promise sweet;
Trials give new life to prayer;
Trials bring me to his feet,
Lay me low, and keep me there.”
1Now the angel of the Lord went up from Gilgal to Bochim. And he said, “I brought you up from Egypt and brought you into the land that I swore to give to your fathers. I said, ‘I will never break my covenant with you, 2and you shall make no covenant with the inhabitants of this land; you shall break down their altars.’ But you have not obeyed my voice. What is this you have done? 3So now I say, I will not drive them out before you, but they shall become thorns in your sides,11Vulgate, Old Latin (compare Septuagint); Hebrew sides and their gods shall be a snare to you.” 4As soon as the angel of the Lord spoke these words to all the people of Israel, the people lifted up their voices and wept. 5And they called the name of that place Bochim.22Bochim means weepers And they sacrificed there to the Lord.
The Death of Joshua
6When Joshua dismissed the people, the people of Israel went each to his inheritance to take possession of the land. 7And the people served the Lord all the days of Joshua, and all the days of the elders who outlived Joshua, who had seen all the great work that the Lord had done for Israel. 8And Joshua the son of Nun, the servant of the Lord, died at the age of 110 years. 9And they buried him within the boundaries of his inheritance in Timnath-heres, in the hill country of Ephraim, north of the mountain of Gaash. 10And all that generation also were gathered to their fathers. And there arose another generation after them who did not know the Lord or the work that he had done for Israel.
11And the people of Israel did what was evil in the sight of the Lord and served the Baals. 12And they abandoned the Lord, the God of their fathers, who had brought them out of the land of Egypt. They went after other gods, from among the gods of the peoples who were around them, and bowed down to them. And they provoked the Lord to anger. 13They abandoned the Lord and served the Baals and the Ashtaroth. 14So the anger of the Lord was kindled against Israel, and he gave them over to plunderers, who plundered them. And he sold them into the hand of their surrounding enemies, so that they could no longer withstand their enemies. 15Whenever they marched out, the hand of the Lord was against them for harm, as the Lord had warned, and as the Lord had sworn to them. And they were in terrible distress.
The Lord Raises Up Judges
16Then the Lord raised up judges, who saved them out of the hand of those who plundered them. 17Yet they did not listen to their judges, for they whored after other gods and bowed down to them. They soon turned aside from the way in which their fathers had walked, who had obeyed the commandments of the Lord, and they did not do so. 18Whenever the Lord raised up judges for them, the Lord was with the judge, and he saved them from the hand of their enemies all the days of the judge. For the Lord was moved to pity by their groaning because of those who afflicted and oppressed them. 19But whenever the judge died, they turned back and were more corrupt than their fathers, going after other gods, serving them and bowing down to them. They did not drop any of their practices or their stubborn ways. 20So the anger of the Lord was kindled against Israel, and he said, “Because this people has transgressed my covenant that I commanded their fathers and have not obeyed my voice, 21I will no longer drive out before them any of the nations that Joshua left when he died, 22in order to test Israel by them, whether they will take care to walk in the way of the Lord as their fathers did, or not.” 23So the Lord left those nations, not driving them out quickly, and he did not give them into the hand of Joshua.
How Precious Is Your Steadfast Love
To the choirmaster. Of David, the servant of the Lord.
1Transgression speaks to the wicked
deep in his heart;11Some Hebrew manuscripts, Syriac, Jerome (compare Septuagint); most Hebrew manuscripts in my heart
there is no fear of God
before his eyes.
2For he flatters himself in his own eyes
that his iniquity cannot be found out and hated.
3The words of his mouth are trouble and deceit;
he has ceased to act wisely and do good.
4He plots trouble while on his bed;
he sets himself in a way that is not good;
he does not reject evil.
5Your steadfast love, O Lord, extends to the heavens,
your faithfulness to the clouds.
6Your righteousness is like the mountains of God;
your judgments are like the great deep;
man and beast you save, O Lord.
7How precious is your steadfast love, O God!
The children of mankind take refuge in the shadow of your wings.
8They feast on the abundance of your house,
and you give them drink from the river of your delights.
9For with you is the fountain of life;
in your light do we see light.
10Oh, continue your steadfast love to those who know you,
and your righteousness to the upright of heart!
11Let not the foot of arrogance come upon me,
nor the hand of the wicked drive me away.
12There the evildoers lie fallen;
they are thrust down, unable to rise.