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.”
28. Woe to Ephraim
Woe to the crown of pride, to the drunkards of Ephraim, whose glorious beauty is a fading flower, which are on the head of the fat valleys of them that are overcome with wine! 2Behold, the Lord hath a mighty and strong one, which as a tempest of hail and a destroying storm, as a flood of mighty waters overflowing, shall cast down to the earth with the hand. 3The crown of pride, the drunkards of Ephraim, shall be trodden under feet: 4And the glorious beauty, which is on the head of the fat valley, shall be a fading flower, and as the hasty fruit before the summer; which when he that looketh upon it seeth, while it is yet in his hand he eateth it up.
5In that day shall the Lord of hosts be for a crown of glory, and for a diadem of beauty, unto the residue of his people, 6And for a spirit of judgment to him that sitteth in judgment, and for strength to them that turn the battle to the gate.
7But they also have erred through wine, and through strong drink are out of the way; the priest and the prophet have erred through strong drink, they are swallowed up of wine, they are out of the way through strong drink; they err in vision, they stumble in judgment. 8For all tables are full of vomit and filthiness, so that there is no place clean.
9Whom shall he teach knowledge? and whom shall he make to understand doctrine? them that are weaned from the milk, and drawn from the breasts. 10For precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little: 11For with stammering lips and another tongue will he speak to this people. 12To whom he said, This is the rest wherewith ye may cause the weary to rest; and this is the refreshing: yet they would not hear. 13But the word of the Lord was unto them precept upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little; that they might go, and fall backward, and be broken, and snared, and taken.
14Wherefore hear the word of the Lord, ye scornful men, that rule this people which is in Jerusalem. 15Because ye have said, We have made a covenant with death, and with hell are we at agreement; when the overflowing scourge shall pass through, it shall not come unto us: for we have made lies our refuge, and under falsehood have we hid ourselves:
16Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD, Behold, I lay in Zion for a foundation a stone, a tried stone, a precious corner stone, a sure foundation: he that believeth shall not make haste. 17Judgment also will I lay to the line, and righteousness to the plummet: and the hail shall sweep away the refuge of lies, and the waters shall overflow the hiding place.
18And your covenant with death shall be disannulled, and your agreement with hell shall not stand; when the overflowing scourge shall pass through, then ye shall be trodden down by it. 19From the time that it goeth forth it shall take you: for morning by morning shall it pass over, by day and by night: and it shall be a vexation only to understand the report. 20For the bed is shorter than that a man can stretch himself on it: and the covering narrower than that he can wrap himself in it. 21For the Lord shall rise up as in mount Perazim, he shall be wroth as in the valley of Gibeon, that he may do his work, his strange work; and bring to pass his act, his strange act. 22Now therefore be ye not mockers, lest your bands be made strong: for I have heard from the Lord GOD of hosts a consumption, even determined upon the whole earth.
23Give ye ear, and hear my voice; hearken, and hear my speech. 24Doth the plowman plow all day to sow? doth he open and break the clods of his ground? 25When he hath made plain the face thereof, doth he not cast abroad the fitches, and scatter the cummin, and cast in the principal wheat and the appointed barley and rie in their place? 26For his God doth instruct him to discretion, and doth teach him. 27For the fitches are not threshed with a threshing instrument, neither is a cart wheel turned about upon the cummin; but the fitches are beaten out with a staff, and the cummin with a rod. 28Bread corn is bruised; because he will not ever be threshing it, nor break it with the wheel of his cart, nor bruise it with his horsemen. 29This also cometh forth from the Lord of hosts, which is wonderful in counsel, and excellent in working.
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.
120. Psalm 120
In my distress I cried unto the Lord, and he heard me.
2Deliver my soul, O Lord, from lying lips, and from a deceitful tongue.
3What shall be given unto thee? or what shall be done unto thee, thou false tongue?
4Sharp arrows of the mighty, with coals of juniper.
5Woe is me, that I sojourn in Mesech, that I dwell in the tents of Kedar!
6My soul hath long dwelt with him that hateth peace.
7I am for peace: but when I speak, they are for war.