with a daily devotion
Evening Meditations for January 22
In the multitude of my thoughts within me thy comforts delight my soul.—PSA. 94:19.
When my heart is overwhelmed: lead me to the rock that is higher than I.
O Lord, I am oppressed; undertake for me.—Cast thy burden upon the Lord, and he shall sustain thee.
I am but a little child: I know not how to go out or come in.—If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, . . . and it shall be given him.
Who is sufficient for these things?—I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing.—My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness.
Son, be of good cheer; thy sins be forgiven thee . . . Daughter, be of good comfort; thy faith hath made thee whole.
My soul shall be satisfied as with marrow and fatness; . . . when I remember thee upon my bed, and meditate on thee in the night watches.
“Doth Job fear God for nought?”
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.
Impending Disaster for Jerusalem
1Flee for safety, O people of Benjamin,
from the midst of Jerusalem!
Blow the trumpet in Tekoa,
and raise a signal on Beth-haccherem,
for disaster looms out of the north,
and great destruction.
2The lovely and delicately bred I will destroy,
the daughter of Zion.11Or I have likened the daughter of Zion to the loveliest pasture
3Shepherds with their flocks shall come against her;
they shall pitch their tents around her;
they shall pasture, each in his place.
4“Prepare war against her;
arise, and let us attack at noon!
Woe to us, for the day declines,
for the shadows of evening lengthen!
5Arise, and let us attack by night
and destroy her palaces!”
6For thus says the Lord of hosts:
“Cut down her trees;
cast up a siege mound against Jerusalem.
This is the city that must be punished;
there is nothing but oppression within her.
7As a well keeps its water fresh,
so she keeps fresh her evil;
violence and destruction are heard within her;
sickness and wounds are ever before me.
8Be warned, O Jerusalem,
lest I turn from you in disgust,
lest I make you a desolation,
an uninhabited land.”
9Thus says the Lord of hosts:
“They shall glean thoroughly as a vine
the remnant of Israel;
like a grape-gatherer pass your hand again
over its branches.”
10To whom shall I speak and give warning,
that they may hear?
Behold, their ears are uncircumcised,
they cannot listen;
behold, the word of the Lord is to them an object of scorn;
they take no pleasure in it.
11Therefore I am full of the wrath of the Lord;
I am weary of holding it in.
“Pour it out upon the children in the street,
and upon the gatherings of young men, also;
both husband and wife shall be taken,
the elderly and the very aged.
12Their houses shall be turned over to others,
their fields and wives together,
for I will stretch out my hand
against the inhabitants of the land,”
declares the Lord.
13“For from the least to the greatest of them,
everyone is greedy for unjust gain;
and from prophet to priest,
everyone deals falsely.
14They have healed the wound of my people lightly,
saying, ‘Peace, peace,’
when there is no peace.
15Were they ashamed when they committed abomination?
No, they were not at all ashamed;
they did not know how to blush.
Therefore they shall fall among those who fall;
at the time that I punish them, they shall be overthrown,”
says the Lord.
16Thus says the Lord:
“Stand by the roads, and look,
and ask for the ancient paths,
where the good way is; and walk in it,
and find rest for your souls.
But they said, ‘We will not walk in it.’
17I set watchmen over you, saying,
‘Pay attention to the sound of the trumpet!’
But they said, ‘We will not pay attention.’
18Therefore hear, O nations,
and know, O congregation, what will happen to them.
19Hear, O earth; behold, I am bringing disaster upon this people,
the fruit of their devices,
because they have not paid attention to my words;
and as for my law, they have rejected it.
20What use to me is frankincense that comes from Sheba,
or sweet cane from a distant land?
Your burnt offerings are not acceptable,
nor your sacrifices pleasing to me.
21Therefore thus says the Lord:
‘Behold, I will lay before this people
stumbling blocks against which they shall stumble;
fathers and sons together,
neighbor and friend shall perish.’”
22Thus says the Lord:
“Behold, a people is coming from the north country,
a great nation is stirring from the farthest parts of the earth.
23They lay hold on bow and javelin;
they are cruel and have no mercy;
the sound of them is like the roaring sea;
they ride on horses,
set in array as a man for battle,
against you, O daughter of Zion!”
24We have heard the report of it;
our hands fall helpless;
anguish has taken hold of us,
pain as of a woman in labor.
25Go not out into the field,
nor walk on the road,
for the enemy has a sword;
terror is on every side.
26O daughter of my people, put on sackcloth,
and roll in ashes;
make mourning as for an only son,
most bitter lamentation,
for suddenly the destroyer
will come upon us.
27“I have made you a tester of metals among my people,
that you may know and test their ways.
28They are all stubbornly rebellious,
going about with slanders;
they are bronze and iron;
all of them act corruptly.
29The bellows blow fiercely;
the lead is consumed by the fire;
in vain the refining goes on,
for the wicked are not removed.
30Rejected silver they are called,
for the Lord has rejected them.”
The Fool Says, There Is No God
To the choirmaster. Of David.
1The fool says in his heart, “There is no God.”
They are corrupt, they do abominable deeds,
there is none who does good.
3They have all turned aside; together they have become corrupt;
there is none who does good,
not even one.
4Have they no knowledge, all the evildoers
who eat up my people as they eat bread
and do not call upon the Lord?
7Oh, that salvation for Israel would come out of Zion!
When the Lord restores the fortunes of his people,
let Jacob rejoice, let Israel be glad.