with a daily devotion
Evening Meditations for December 9
The spirit shall return unto God who gave it.—ECCL. 12:7.
The Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.—There is a spirit in man; and the inspiration of the Almighty giveth them understanding.—The first man Adam was made a living soul.—The spirit of man that goeth upward.
Whilst we are at home in the body, we are absent from the Lord. We are confident, . . . and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord.—With Christ; which is far better.—I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him.
I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.
“My people shall dwell in quiet resting places.”
Peace and rest belong not to the unregenerate; they are the peculiar possession of the Lord’s people, and of them only. The God of Peace gives perfect peace to those whose hearts are stayed upon him. When man was unfallen, his God gave him the flowery bowers of Eden as his quiet resting places; alas! how soon sin blighted the fair abode of innocence. In the day of universal wrath when the flood swept away a guilty race, the chosen family were quietly secured in the resting-place of the ark, which floated them from the old condemned world into the new earth of the rainbow and the covenant, herein typifying Jesus, the ark of our salvation. Israel rested safely beneath the blood-besprinkled habitations of Egypt when the destroying angel smote the first-born; and in the wilderness the shadow of the pillar of cloud, and the flowing rock, gave the weary pilgrims sweet repose. At this hour we rest in the promises of our faithful God, knowing that his words are full of truth and power; we rest in the doctrines of his word, which are consolation itself; we rest in the covenant of his grace, which is a haven of delight. More highly favoured are we than David in Adullam, or Jonah beneath his gourd, for none can invade or destroy our shelter. The person of Jesus is the quiet resting-place of his people, and when we draw near to him in the breaking of the bread, in the hearing of the word, the searching of the Scriptures, prayer, or praise, we find any form of approach to him to be the return of peace to our spirits.
“I hear the words of love, I gaze upon the blood,
I see the mighty sacrifice, and I have peace with God.
’Tis everlasting peace, sure as Jehovah’s name,
’Tis stable as his steadfast throne, for evermore the same:
The clouds may go and come, and storms may sweep my sky,
This blood-sealed friendship changes not, the cross is ever nigh.”
30. Saying of Agur
The words of Agur the son of Jakeh, even the prophecy: the man spake unto Ithiel, even unto Ithiel and Ucal, 2Surely I am more brutish than any man, and have not the understanding of a man. 3I neither learned wisdom, nor have the knowledge of the holy. 4Who hath ascended up into heaven, or descended? who hath gathered the wind in his fists? who hath bound the waters in a garment? who hath established all the ends of the earth? what is his name, and what is his son’s name, if thou canst tell? 5Every word of God is pure: he is a shield unto them that put their trust in him. 6Add thou not unto his words, lest he reprove thee, and thou be found a liar. 7Two things have I required of thee; deny me them not before I die: 8Remove far from me vanity and lies: give me neither poverty nor riches; feed me with food convenient for me: 9Lest I be full, and deny thee, and say, Who is the Lord? or lest I be poor, and steal, and take the name of my God in vain. 10Accuse not a servant unto his master, lest he curse thee, and thou be found guilty. 11There is a generation that curseth their father, and doth not bless their mother. 12There is a generation that are pure in their own eyes, and yet is not washed from their filthiness. 13There is a generation, O how lofty are their eyes! and their eyelids are lifted up. 14There is a generation, whose teeth are as swords, and their jaw teeth as knives, to devour the poor from off the earth, and the needy from among men. 15The horseleach hath two daughters, crying, Give, give. There are three things that are never satisfied, yea, four things say not, It is enough: 16The grave; and the barren womb; the earth that is not filled with water; and the fire that saith not, It is enough. 17The eye that mocketh at his father, and despiseth to obey his mother, the ravens of the valley shall pick it out, and the young eagles shall eat it. 18There be three things which are too wonderful for me, yea, four which I know not: 19The way of an eagle in the air; the way of a serpent upon a rock; the way of a ship in the midst of the sea; and the way of a man with a maid. 20Such is the way of an adulterous woman; she eateth, and wipeth her mouth, and saith, I have done no wickedness. 21For three things the earth is disquieted, and for four which it cannot bear: 22For a servant when he reigneth; and a fool when he is filled with meat; 23For an odious woman when she is married; and an handmaid that is heir to her mistress. 24There be four things which are little upon the earth, but they are exceeding wise: 25The ants are a people not strong, yet they prepare their meat in the summer; 26The conies are but a feeble folk, yet make they their houses in the rocks; 27The locusts have no king, yet go they forth all of them by bands; 28The spider taketh hold with her hands, and is in kings’ palaces. 29There be three things which go well, yea, four are comely in going: 30A lion which is strongest among beasts, and turneth not away for any; 31A greyhound; an he goat also; and a king, against whom there is no rising up. 32If thou hast done foolishly in lifting up thyself, or if thou hast thought evil, lay thine hand upon thy mouth. 33Surely the churning of milk bringeth forth butter, and the wringing of the nose bringeth forth blood: so the forcing of wrath bringeth forth strife.
24Know ye not that they that run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? Even so run; that ye may attain. 25And every man that striveth in the games exerciseth self-control in all things. Now they do it to receive a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible. 26I therefore so run, as not uncertainly; so fight I, as not beating the air: 27but I buffet my body, and bring it into bondage: lest by any means, after that I have preached to others, I myself should be rejected.
161Princes have persecuted me without a cause: but my heart standeth in awe of thy word.
162I rejoice at thy word, as one that findeth great spoil.
163I hate and abhor lying: but thy law do I love.
164Seven times a day do I praise thee because of thy righteous judgments.
165Great peace have they which love thy law: and nothing shall offend them.
166Lord, I have hoped for thy salvation, and done thy commandments.
167My soul hath kept thy testimonies; and I love them exceedingly.
168I have kept thy precepts and thy testimonies: for all my ways are before thee.
169Let my cry come near before thee, O Lord: give me understanding according to thy word.
170Let my supplication come before thee: deliver me according to thy word.
171My lips shall utter praise, when thou hast taught me thy statutes.
172My tongue shall speak of thy word: for all thy commandments are righteousness.
173Let thine hand help me; for I have chosen thy precepts.
174I have longed for thy salvation, O Lord; and thy law is my delight.
175Let my soul live, and it shall praise thee; and let thy judgments help me.
176I have gone astray like a lost sheep; seek thy servant; for I do not forget thy commandments.