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.”
2. Disobedience and Defeat
And an angel of the Lord came up from Gilgal to Bochim, and said, I made you to go up out of Egypt, and have brought you unto the land which I sware unto your fathers; and I said, I will never break my covenant with you. 2And ye shall make no league with the inhabitants of this land; ye shall throw down their altars: but ye have not obeyed my voice: why have ye done this? 3Wherefore I also said, I will not drive them out from before you; but they shall be as thorns in your sides, and their gods shall be a snare unto you. 4And it came to pass, when the angel of the Lord spake these words unto all the children of Israel, that the people lifted up their voice, and wept. 5And they called the name of that place Bochim: and they sacrificed there unto the Lord.
6And when Joshua had let the people go, the children of Israel went every man unto his inheritance to possess the land. 7And the people served the Lord all the days of Joshua, and all the days of the elders that outlived Joshua, who had seen all the great works of the Lord, that he did for Israel. 8And Joshua the son of Nun, the servant of the Lord, died, being an hundred and ten years old. 9And they buried him in the border of his inheritance in Timnathheres, in the mount of Ephraim, on the north side of the hill Gaash. 10And also all that generation were gathered unto their fathers: and there arose another generation after them, which knew not the Lord, nor yet the works which he had done for Israel.
11And the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the Lord, and served Baalim: 12And they forsook the Lord God of their fathers, which brought them out of the land of Egypt, and followed other gods, of the gods of the people that were round about them, and bowed themselves unto them, and provoked the Lord to anger. 13And they forsook the Lord, and served Baal and Ashtaroth.
14And the anger of the Lord was hot against Israel, and he delivered them into the hands of spoilers that spoiled them, and he sold them into the hands of their enemies round about, so that they could not any longer stand before their enemies. 15Whithersoever they went out, the hand of the Lord was against them for evil, as the Lord had said, and as the Lord had sworn unto them: and they were greatly distressed.
16Nevertheless the Lord raised up judges, which delivered them out of the hand of those that spoiled them. 17And yet they would not hearken unto their judges, but they went a whoring after other gods, and bowed themselves unto them: they turned quickly out of the way which their fathers walked in, obeying the commandments of the Lord; but they did not so. 18And when the Lord raised them up judges, then the Lord was with the judge, and delivered them out of the hand of their enemies all the days of the judge: for it repented the Lord because of their groanings by reason of them that oppressed them and vexed them. 19And it came to pass, when the judge was dead, that they returned, and corrupted themselves more than their fathers, in following other gods to serve them, and to bow down unto them; they ceased not from their own doings, nor from their stubborn way.
20And the anger of the Lord was hot against Israel; and he said, Because that this people hath transgressed my covenant which I commanded their fathers, and have not hearkened unto my voice; 21I also will not henceforth drive out any from before them of the nations which Joshua left when he died: 22That through them I may prove Israel, whether they will keep the way of the Lord to walk therein, as their fathers did keep it, or not. 23Therefore the Lord left those nations, without driving them out hastily; neither delivered he them into the hand of Joshua.
36. Psalm 36
The transgression of the wicked saith within my heart, that there is no fear of God before his eyes.
2For he flattereth himself in his own eyes, until his iniquity be found to be hateful.
3The words of his mouth are iniquity and deceit: he hath left off to be wise, and to do good.
4He deviseth mischief upon his bed; he setteth himself in a way that is not good; he abhorreth not evil.
5Thy mercy, O Lord, is in the heavens; and thy faithfulness reacheth unto the clouds.
6Thy righteousness is like the great mountains; thy judgments are a great deep: O Lord, thou preservest man and beast.
7How excellent is thy lovingkindness, O God! therefore the children of men put their trust under the shadow of thy wings.
8They shall be abundantly satisfied with the fatness of thy house; and thou shalt make them drink of the river of thy pleasures.
9For with thee is the fountain of life: in thy light shall we see light.
10O continue thy lovingkindness unto them that know thee; and thy righteousness to the upright in heart.
11Let not the foot of pride come against me, and let not the hand of the wicked remove me.
12There are the workers of iniquity fallen: they are cast down, and shall not be able to rise.