with a daily devotion
Morning Meditations for December 9
To do justice and judgment is more acceptable to the Lord than sacrifice.—PROV. 21:3.
He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the Lord require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?—Hath the Lord as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the Lord? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams.—To love him with all the heart, and with all the understanding, and with all the soul, and with all the strength, and to love his neighbour as himself, is more than all whole burnt offerings and sacrifices.
Therefore turn thou to thy God: keep mercy and judgment, and wait on thy God continually.—Mary . . . sat at Jesus' feet, and heard his word. One thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her.
It is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.
“Therefore will the Lord wait that he may be gracious unto you.”
God often delays in answering prayer. We have several instances of this in sacred Scripture. Jacob did not get the blessing from the angel until near the dawn of day—he had to wrestle all night for it. The poor woman of Syrophoenicia was answered not a word for a long while. Paul besought the Lord thrice that “the thorn in the flesh” might be taken from him, and he received no assurance that it should be taken away, but instead thereof a promise that God’s grace should be sufficient for him. If thou hast been knocking at the gate of mercy, and hast received no answer, shall I tell thee why the mighty Maker hath not opened the door and let thee in? Our Father has reasons peculiar to himself for thus keeping us waiting. Sometimes it is to show his power and his sovereignty, that men may know that Jehovah has a right to give or to withhold. More frequently the delay is for our profit. Thou art perhaps kept waiting in order that thy desires may be more fervent. God knows that delay will quicken and increase desire, and that if he keeps thee waiting thou wilt see thy necessity more clearly, and wilt seek more earnestly; and that thou wilt prize the mercy all the more for its long tarrying. There may also be something wrong in thee which has need to be removed, before the joy of the Lord is given. Perhaps thy views of the Gospel plan are confused, or thou mayest be placing some little reliance on thyself, instead of trusting simply and entirely to the Lord Jesus. Or, God makes thee tarry awhile that he may the more fully display the riches of his grace to thee at last. Thy prayers are all filed in heaven, and if not immediately answered they are certainly not forgotten, but in a little while shall be fulfilled to thy delight and satisfaction. Let not despair make thee silent, but continue instant in earnest supplication.
Judgment on Ephraim and Jerusalem
1Ah, the proud crown of the drunkards of Ephraim,
and the fading flower of its glorious beauty,
which is on the head of the rich valley of those overcome with wine!
2Behold, the Lord has one who is mighty and strong;
like a storm of hail, a destroying tempest,
like a storm of mighty, overflowing waters,
he casts down to the earth with his hand.
3The proud crown of the drunkards of Ephraim
will be trodden underfoot;
4and the fading flower of its glorious beauty,
which is on the head of the rich valley,
will be like a first-ripe fig before the summer:
when someone sees it, he swallows it
as soon as it is in his hand.
5In that day the Lord of hosts will be a crown of glory,11The Hebrew words for glory and hosts sound alike
and a diadem of beauty, to the remnant of his people,
6and a spirit of justice to him who sits in judgment,
and strength to those who turn back the battle at the gate.
7These also reel with wine
and stagger with strong drink;
the priest and the prophet reel with strong drink,
they are swallowed by22Or confused by wine,
they stagger with strong drink,
they reel in vision,
they stumble in giving judgment.
8For all tables are full of filthy vomit,
with no space left.
9“To whom will he teach knowledge,
and to whom will he explain the message?
Those who are weaned from the milk,
those taken from the breast?
10For it is precept upon precept, precept upon precept,
line upon line, line upon line,
here a little, there a little.”
11For by people of strange lips
and with a foreign tongue
the Lord will speak to this people,
12to whom he has said,
“This is rest;
give rest to the weary;
and this is repose”;
yet they would not hear.
13And the word of the Lord will be to them
precept upon precept, precept upon precept,
line upon line, line upon line,
here a little, there a little,
that they may go, and fall backward,
and be broken, and snared, and taken.
A Cornerstone in Zion
14Therefore hear the word of the Lord, you scoffers,
who rule this people in Jerusalem!
15Because you have said, “We have made a covenant with death,
and with Sheol we have an agreement,
when the overwhelming whip passes through
it will not come to us,
for we have made lies our refuge,
and in falsehood we have taken shelter”;
16therefore thus says the Lord God,
“Behold, I am the one who has laid33Dead Sea Scroll I am laying as a foundation in Zion,
a stone, a tested stone,
a precious cornerstone, of a sure foundation:
‘Whoever believes will not be in haste.’
17And I will make justice the line,
and righteousness the plumb line;
and hail will sweep away the refuge of lies,
and waters will overwhelm the shelter.”
18Then your covenant with death will be annulled,
and your agreement with Sheol will not stand;
when the overwhelming scourge passes through,
you will be beaten down by it.
19As often as it passes through it will take you;
for morning by morning it will pass through,
by day and by night;
and it will be sheer terror to understand the message.
20For the bed is too short to stretch oneself on,
and the covering too narrow to wrap oneself in.
21For the Lord will rise up as on Mount Perazim;
as in the Valley of Gibeon he will be roused;
to do his deed—strange is his deed!
and to work his work—alien is his work!
22Now therefore do not scoff,
lest your bonds be made strong;
for I have heard a decree of destruction
from the Lord God of hosts against the whole land.
23Give ear, and hear my voice;
give attention, and hear my speech.
24Does he who plows for sowing plow continually?
Does he continually open and harrow his ground?
25When he has leveled its surface,
does he not scatter dill, sow cumin,
and put in wheat in rows
and barley in its proper place,
and emmer44A type of wheat as the border?
26For he is rightly instructed;
his God teaches him.
27Dill is not threshed with a threshing sledge,
nor is a cart wheel rolled over cumin,
but dill is beaten out with a stick,
and cumin with a rod.
28Does one crush grain for bread?
No, he does not thresh it forever;55Or Grain is crushed for bread; he will surely thresh it, but not forever
when he drives his cart wheel over it
with his horses, he does not crush it.
29This also comes from the Lord of hosts;
he is wonderful in counsel
and excellent in wisdom.
11Now Jesus stood before the governor: and the governor asked him, saying, Art thou the King of the Jews? And Jesus said unto him, Thou sayest. 12And when he was accused by the chief priests and elders, he answered nothing. 13Then saith Pilate unto him, Hearest thou not how many things they witness against thee? 14And he gave him no answer, not even to one word: insomuch that the governor marvelled greatly. 15Now at the feast the governor was wont to release unto the multitude one prisoner, whom they would. 16And they had then a notable prisoner, called Barabbas. 17When therefore they were gathered together, Pilate said unto them, Whom will ye that I release unto you? Barabbas, or Jesus who is called Christ? 18For he knew that for envy they had delivered him up. 19And while he was sitting on the judgment-seat, his wife sent unto him, saying, Have thou nothing to do with that righteous man; for I have suffered many things this day in a dream because of him. 20Now the chief priests and the elders persuaded the multitudes that they should ask for Barabbas, and destroy Jesus. 21But the governor answered and said unto them, Which of the two will ye that I release unto you? And they said, Barabbas. 22Pilate saith unto them, What then shall I do unto Jesus who is called Christ? They all say, Let him be crucified. 23And he said, Why, what evil hath he done? But they cried out exceedingly, saying, Let him be crucified. 24So when Pilate saw that he prevailed nothing, but rather that a tumult was arising, he took water, and washed his hands before the multitude, saying, I am innocent of the blood of this righteous man; see ye to it. 25And all the people answered and said, His blood be on us, and on our children. 26Then released he unto them Barabbas; but Jesus he scourged and delivered to be crucified.
Deliver Me, O Lord
A Song of Ascents.
1In my distress I called to the Lord,
and he answered me.
2Deliver me, O Lord,
from lying lips,
from a deceitful tongue.
3What shall be given to you,
and what more shall be done to you,
you deceitful tongue?
4A warrior's sharp arrows,
with glowing coals of the broom tree!
5Woe to me, that I sojourn in Meshech,
that I dwell among the tents of Kedar!
6Too long have I had my dwelling
among those who hate peace.
7I am for peace,
but when I speak, they are for war!