with a daily devotion
Evening Meditations for March 31
What communion hath light with darkness?—II COR. 6:14.
Men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.—Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness.
Darkness hath blinded his eyes.—Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.
The dark places of the earth are full of the habitations of cruelty.—Love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God. He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.
The way of the wicked is as darkness: they know not at what they stumble. The path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day.
I am come a light into the world, that whosoever believeth on me should not abide in darkness
Ye were sometime darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light.
“And Rizpah the daughter of Aiah took sackcloth, and spread it for her upon the rock, from the beginning of harvest until water dropped upon them out of heaven, and suffered neither the birds of the air to rest on them by day, nor the beasts of the field by night.”
If the love of a woman to her slain sons could make her prolong her mournful vigil for so long a period, shall we weary of considering the sufferings of our blessed Lord? She drove away the birds of prey, and shall not we chase from our meditations those worldly and sinful thoughts which defile both our minds and the sacred themes upon which we are occupied? Away, ye birds of evil wing! Leave ye the sacrifice alone! She bore the heats of summer, the night dews and the rains, unsheltered and alone. Sleep was chased from her weeping eyes: her heart was too full for slumber. Behold how she loved her children! Shall Rizpah thus endure, and shall we start at the first little inconvenience or trial? Are we such cowards that we cannot bear to suffer with our Lord? She chased away even the wild beasts, with courage unusual in her sex, and will not we be ready to encounter every foe for Jesus’ sake? These her children were slain by other hands than hers, and yet she wept and watched: what ought we to do who have by our sins crucified our Lord? Our obligations are boundless, our love should be fervent and our repentance thorough. To watch with Jesus should be our business, to protect his honour our occupation, to abide by his cross our solace. Those ghastly corpses might well have affrighted Rizpah, especially by night, but in our Lord, at whose cross-foot we are sitting, there is nothing revolting, but everything attractive. Never was living beauty so enchanting as a dying Saviour. Jesus, we will watch with thee yet awhile, and do thou graciously unveil thyself to us; then shall we not sit beneath sackcloth, but in a royal pavilion.
Saul Tries to Kill David
1And Saul spoke to Jonathan his son and to all his servants, that they should kill David. But Jonathan, Saul's son, delighted much in David. 2And Jonathan told David, “Saul my father seeks to kill you. Therefore be on your guard in the morning. Stay in a secret place and hide yourself. 3And I will go out and stand beside my father in the field where you are, and I will speak to my father about you. And if I learn anything I will tell you.” 4And Jonathan spoke well of David to Saul his father and said to him, “Let not the king sin against his servant David, because he has not sinned against you, and because his deeds have brought good to you. 5For he took his life in his hand and he struck down the Philistine, and the Lord worked a great salvation for all Israel. You saw it, and rejoiced. Why then will you sin against innocent blood by killing David without cause?” 6And Saul listened to the voice of Jonathan. Saul swore, “As the Lord lives, he shall not be put to death.” 7And Jonathan called David, and Jonathan reported to him all these things. And Jonathan brought David to Saul, and he was in his presence as before.
8And there was war again. And David went out and fought with the Philistines and struck them with a great blow, so that they fled before him. 9Then a harmful spirit from the Lord came upon Saul, as he sat in his house with his spear in his hand. And David was playing the lyre. 10And Saul sought to pin David to the wall with the spear, but he eluded Saul, so that he struck the spear into the wall. And David fled and escaped that night.
11Saul sent messengers to David's house to watch him, that he might kill him in the morning. But Michal, David's wife, told him, “If you do not escape with your life tonight, tomorrow you will be killed.” 12So Michal let David down through the window, and he fled away and escaped. 13Michal took an image and laid it on the bed and put a pillow of goats' hair at its head and covered it with the clothes. 14And when Saul sent messengers to take David, she said, “He is sick.” 15Then Saul sent the messengers to see David, saying, “Bring him up to me in the bed, that I may kill him.” 16And when the messengers came in, behold, the image was in the bed, with the pillow of goats' hair at its head. 17Saul said to Michal, “Why have you deceived me thus and let my enemy go, so that he has escaped?” And Michal answered Saul, “He said to me, ‘Let me go. Why should I kill you?’”
18Now David fled and escaped, and he came to Samuel at Ramah and told him all that Saul had done to him. And he and Samuel went and lived at Naioth. 19And it was told Saul, “Behold, David is at Naioth in Ramah.” 20Then Saul sent messengers to take David, and when they saw the company of the prophets prophesying, and Samuel standing as head over them, the Spirit of God came upon the messengers of Saul, and they also prophesied. 21When it was told Saul, he sent other messengers, and they also prophesied. And Saul sent messengers again the third time, and they also prophesied. 22Then he himself went to Ramah and came to the great well that is in Secu. And he asked, “Where are Samuel and David?” And one said, “Behold, they are at Naioth in Ramah.” 23And he went there to Naioth in Ramah. And the Spirit of God came upon him also, and as he went he prophesied until he came to Naioth in Ramah. 24And he too stripped off his clothes, and he too prophesied before Samuel and lay naked all that day and all that night. Thus it is said, “Is Saul also among the prophets?”
Arise, O God, Defend Your Cause
1O God, why do you cast us off forever?
Why does your anger smoke against the sheep of your pasture?
2Remember your congregation, which you have purchased of old,
which you have redeemed to be the tribe of your heritage!
Remember Mount Zion, where you have dwelt.
3Direct your steps to the perpetual ruins;
the enemy has destroyed everything in the sanctuary!
4Your foes have roared in the midst of your meeting place;
they set up their own signs for signs.
5They were like those who swing axes
in a forest of trees.22The meaning of the Hebrew is uncertain
6And all its carved wood
they broke down with hatchets and hammers.
7They set your sanctuary on fire;
they profaned the dwelling place of your name,
bringing it down to the ground.
8They said to themselves, “We will utterly subdue them”;
they burned all the meeting places of God in the land.
9We do not see our signs;
there is no longer any prophet,
and there is none among us who knows how long.
10How long, O God, is the foe to scoff?
Is the enemy to revile your name forever?
11Why do you hold back your hand, your right hand?
Take it from the fold of your garment33Hebrew from your bosom and destroy them!
12Yet God my King is from of old,
working salvation in the midst of the earth.
13You divided the sea by your might;
you broke the heads of the sea monsters44Or the great sea creatures on the waters.
14You crushed the heads of Leviathan;
you gave him as food for the creatures of the wilderness.
15You split open springs and brooks;
you dried up ever-flowing streams.
16Yours is the day, yours also the night;
you have established the heavenly lights and the sun.
17You have fixed all the boundaries of the earth;
you have made summer and winter.
18Remember this, O Lord, how the enemy scoffs,
and a foolish people reviles your name.
19Do not deliver the soul of your dove to the wild beasts;
do not forget the life of your poor forever.
20Have regard for the covenant,
for the dark places of the land are full of the habitations of violence.
21Let not the downtrodden turn back in shame;
let the poor and needy praise your name.
22Arise, O God, defend your cause;
remember how the foolish scoff at you all the day!
23Do not forget the clamor of your foes,
the uproar of those who rise against you, which goes up continually!