with a daily devotion
Morning Meditations for October 8
I will not fear what man shall do unto me.—HEB. 13:6.
Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.
Be not afraid of them that kill the body, and after that have no more that they can do. But I will forewarn you whom ye shall fear: Fear him, which after he hath killed hath power to cast into hell: yea, I say unto you, Fear him.
Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness' sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven.—None of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy.—I will speak of thy testimonies . . . before kings, and will not be ashamed.
“Launch out into the deep, and let down your nets for a draught.”
We learn from this narrative, the necessity of human agency. The draught of fishes was miraculous, yet neither the fisherman nor his boat, nor his fishing tackle were ignored; but all were used to take the fishes. So in the saving of souls, God worketh by means; and while the present economy of grace shall stand, God will be pleased by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe. When God worketh without instruments, doubtless he is glorified; but he hath himself selected the plan of instrumentality as being that by which he is most magnified in the earth. Means of themselves are utterly unavailing. “Master, we have toiled all the night and have taken nothing.” What was the reason of this? Were they not fishermen plying their special calling? Verily, they were no raw hands; they understood the work. Had they gone about the toil unskilfully? No. Had they lacked industry? No, they had toiled. Had they lacked perseverance? No, they had toiled all the night. Was there a deficiency of fish in the sea? Certainly not, for as soon as the Master came, they swam to the net in shoals. What, then, is the reason? Is it because there is no power in the means of themselves apart from the presence of Jesus? “Without him we can do nothing.” But with Christ we can do all things. Christ’s presence confers success. Jesus sat in Peter’s boat, and his will, by a mysterious influence, drew the fish to the net. When Jesus is lifted up in his Church, his presence is the Church’s power—the shout of a king is in the midst of her. “I, if I be lifted up, will draw all men unto me.” Let us go out this morning on our work of soul fishing, looking up in faith, and around us in solemn anxiety. Let us toil till night comes, and we shall not labour in vain, for he who bids us let down the net, will fill it with fishes.
10. Job Replies
My soul is weary of my life; I will leave my complaint upon myself; I will speak in the bitterness of my soul. 2I will say unto God, Do not condemn me; shew me wherefore thou contendest with me. 3Is it good unto thee that thou shouldest oppress, that thou shouldest despise the work of thine hands, and shine upon the counsel of the wicked? 4Hast thou eyes of flesh? or seest thou as man seeth? 5Are thy days as the days of man? are thy years as man’s days, 6That thou enquirest after mine iniquity, and searchest after my sin? 7Thou knowest that I am not wicked; and there is none that can deliver out of thine hand. 8Thine hands have made me and fashioned me together round about; yet thou dost destroy me. 9Remember, I beseech thee, that thou hast made me as the clay; and wilt thou bring me into dust again? 10Hast thou not poured me out as milk, and curdled me like cheese? 11Thou hast clothed me with skin and flesh, and hast fenced me with bones and sinews. 12Thou hast granted me life and favour, and thy visitation hath preserved my spirit. 13And these things hast thou hid in thine heart: I know that this is with thee. 14If I sin, then thou markest me, and thou wilt not acquit me from mine iniquity. 15If I be wicked, woe unto me; and if I be righteous, yet will I not lift up my head. I am full of confusion; therefore see thou mine affliction; 16For it increaseth. Thou huntest me as a fierce lion: and again thou shewest thyself marvellous upon me. 17Thou renewest thy witnesses against me, and increasest thine indignation upon me; changes and war are against me. 18Wherefore then hast thou brought me forth out of the womb? Oh that I had given up the ghost, and no eye had seen me! 19I should have been as though I had not been; I should have been carried from the womb to the grave. 20Are not my days few? cease then, and let me alone, that I may take comfort a little, 21Before I go whence I shall not return, even to the land of darkness and the shadow of death; 22A land of darkness, as darkness itself; and of the shadow of death, without any order, and where the light is as darkness.
12. Living Sacrifices
1I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service. 2And be not fashioned according to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, and ye may prove what is the good and acceptable and perfect will of God.
78. Psalm 78
Give ear, O my people, to my law: incline your ears to the words of my mouth.
2I will open my mouth in a parable: I will utter dark sayings of old:
3Which we have heard and known, and our fathers have told us.
4We will not hide them from their children, shewing to the generation to come the praises of the Lord, and his strength, and his wonderful works that he hath done.
5For he established a testimony in Jacob, and appointed a law in Israel, which he commanded our fathers, that they should make them known to their children:
6That the generation to come might know them, even the children which should be born; who should arise and declare them to their children:
7That they might set their hope in God, and not forget the works of God, but keep his commandments:
8And might not be as their fathers, a stubborn and rebellious generation; a generation that set not their heart aright, and whose spirit was not stedfast with God.
9The children of Ephraim, being armed, and carrying bows, turned back in the day of battle.
10They kept not the covenant of God, and refused to walk in his law;
11And forgat his works, and his wonders that he had shewed them.
12Marvellous things did he in the sight of their fathers, in the land of Egypt, in the field of Zoan.
13He divided the sea, and caused them to pass through; and he made the waters to stand as an heap.
14In the daytime also he led them with a cloud, and all the night with a light of fire.
15He clave the rocks in the wilderness, and gave them drink as out of the great depths.
16He brought streams also out of the rock, and caused waters to run down like rivers.
17And they sinned yet more against him by provoking the most High in the wilderness.
18And they tempted God in their heart by asking meat for their lust.
19Yea, they spake against God; they said, Can God furnish a table in the wilderness?
20Behold, he smote the rock, that the waters gushed out, and the streams overflowed; can he give bread also? can he provide flesh for his people?
21Therefore the Lord heard this, and was wroth: so a fire was kindled against Jacob, and anger also came up against Israel;
22Because they believed not in God, and trusted not in his salvation:
23Though he had commanded the clouds from above, and opened the doors of heaven,
24And had rained down manna upon them to eat, and had given them of the corn of heaven.
25Man did eat angels’ food: he sent them meat to the full.
26He caused an east wind to blow in the heaven: and by his power he brought in the south wind.
27He rained flesh also upon them as dust, and feathered fowls like as the sand of the sea:
28And he let it fall in the midst of their camp, round about their habitations.
29So they did eat, and were well filled: for he gave them their own desire;
30They were not estranged from their lust. But while their meat was yet in their mouths,
31The wrath of God came upon them, and slew the fattest of them, and smote down the chosen men of Israel.
32For all this they sinned still, and believed not for his wondrous works.
33Therefore their days did he consume in vanity, and their years in trouble.
34When he slew them, then they sought him: and they returned and enquired early after God.
35And they remembered that God was their rock, and the high God their redeemer.
36Nevertheless they did flatter him with their mouth, and they lied unto him with their tongues.
37For their heart was not right with him, neither were they stedfast in his covenant.
38But he, being full of compassion, forgave their iniquity, and destroyed them not: yea, many a time turned he his anger away, and did not stir up all his wrath.
39For he remembered that they were but flesh; a wind that passeth away, and cometh not again.
40How oft did they provoke him in the wilderness, and grieve him in the desert!
41Yea, they turned back and tempted God, and limited the Holy One of Israel.
42They remembered not his hand, nor the day when he delivered them from the enemy.
43How he had wrought his signs in Egypt, and his wonders in the field of Zoan:
44And had turned their rivers into blood; and their floods, that they could not drink.
45He sent divers sorts of flies among them, which devoured them; and frogs, which destroyed them.
46He gave also their increase unto the caterpiller, and their labour unto the locust.
47He destroyed their vines with hail, and their sycomore trees with frost.
48He gave up their cattle also to the hail, and their flocks to hot thunderbolts.
49He cast upon them the fierceness of his anger, wrath, and indignation, and trouble, by sending evil angels among them.
50He made a way to his anger; he spared not their soul from death, but gave their life over to the pestilence;
51And smote all the firstborn in Egypt; the chief of their strength in the tabernacles of Ham:
52But made his own people to go forth like sheep, and guided them in the wilderness like a flock.
53And he led them on safely, so that they feared not: but the sea overwhelmed their enemies.
54And he brought them to the border of his sanctuary, even to this mountain, which his right hand had purchased.
55He cast out the heathen also before them, and divided them an inheritance by line, and made the tribes of Israel to dwell in their tents.
56Yet they tempted and provoked the most high God, and kept not his testimonies:
57But turned back, and dealt unfaithfully like their fathers: they were turned aside like a deceitful bow.
58For they provoked him to anger with their high places, and moved him to jealousy with their graven images.
59When God heard this, he was wroth, and greatly abhorred Israel:
60So that he forsook the tabernacle of Shiloh, the tent which he placed among men;
61And delivered his strength into captivity, and his glory into the enemy’s hand.
62He gave his people over also unto the sword; and was wroth with his inheritance.
63The fire consumed their young men; and their maidens were not given to marriage.
64Their priests fell by the sword; and their widows made no lamentation.
65Then the Lord awaked as one out of sleep, and like a mighty man that shouteth by reason of wine.
66And he smote his enemies in the hinder parts: he put them to a perpetual reproach.
67Moreover he refused the tabernacle of Joseph, and chose not the tribe of Ephraim:
68But chose the tribe of Judah, the mount Zion which he loved.
69And he built his sanctuary like high palaces, like the earth which he hath established for ever.
70He chose David also his servant, and took him from the sheepfolds:
71From following the ewes great with young he brought him to feed Jacob his people, and Israel his inheritance.
72So he fed them according to the integrity of his heart; and guided them by the skilfulness of his hands.