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.”
Sayings of Agur
The words of Agur son of Jakeh. An oracle.
Thus says the man: I am weary, O God,
I am weary, O God. How can I prevail?
Surely I am too stupid to be human;
I do not have human understanding.
I have not learned wisdom,
nor have I knowledge of the holy ones.
Who has ascended to heaven and come down?
Who has gathered the wind in the hollow of the hand?
Who has wrapped up the waters in a garment?
Who has established all the ends of the earth?
What is the person’s name?
And what is the name of the person’s child?
Surely you know!
Every word of God proves true;
he is a shield to those who take refuge in him.
Do not add to his words,
or else he will rebuke you, and you will be found a liar.
Two things I ask of you;
do not deny them to me before I die:
Remove far from me falsehood and lying;
give me neither poverty nor riches;
feed me with the food that I need,
or I shall be full, and deny you,
and say, “Who is the Lord?”
or I shall be poor, and steal,
and profane the name of my God.
Do not slander a servant to a master,
or the servant will curse you, and you will be held guilty.
There are those who curse their fathers
and do not bless their mothers.
There are those who are pure in their own eyes
yet are not cleansed of their filthiness.
There are those—how lofty are their eyes,
how high their eyelids lift!—
there are those whose teeth are swords,
whose teeth are knives,
to devour the poor from off the earth,
the needy from among mortals.
The leech has two daughters;
“Give, give,” they cry.
Three things are never satisfied;
four never say, “Enough”:
Sheol, the barren womb,
the earth ever thirsty for water,
and the fire that never says, “Enough.”
The eye that mocks a father
and scorns to obey a mother
will be pecked out by the ravens of the valley
and eaten by the vultures.
Three things are too wonderful for me;
four I do not understand:
the way of an eagle in the sky,
the way of a snake on a rock,
the way of a ship on the high seas,
and the way of a man with a girl.
This is the way of an adulteress:
she eats, and wipes her mouth,
and says, “I have done no wrong.”
Under three things the earth trembles;
under four it cannot bear up:
a slave when he becomes king,
and a fool when glutted with food;
an unloved woman when she gets a husband,
and a maid when she succeeds her mistress.
Four things on earth are small,
yet they are exceedingly wise:
the ants are a people without strength,
yet they provide their food in the summer;
the badgers are a people without power,
yet they make their homes in the rocks;
the locusts have no king,
yet all of them march in rank;
the lizard can be grasped in the hand,
yet it is found in kings’ palaces.
Three things are stately in their stride;
four are stately in their gait:
the lion, which is mightiest among wild animals
and does not turn back before any;
the strutting rooster, the he-goat,
and a king striding before his people.
If you have been foolish, exalting yourself,
or if you have been devising evil,
put your hand on your mouth.
For as pressing milk produces curds,
and pressing the nose produces blood,
so pressing anger produces 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.