with a daily devotion
Morning Meditations for March 5
O Lord, I am oppressed; undertake for me.—ISA. 38:14.
Unto thee lift I up mine eyes, O thou that dwellest in the heavens. Behold, as the eyes of servants look unto the hand of their masters, and as the eyes of a maiden unto the hand of her mistress; so our eyes wait upon the Lord our God.—Hear my cry, O God; attend unto my prayer. From the end of the earth will I cry unto thee, when my heart is overwhelmed: lead me to the rock that is higher than I. For thou hast been a shelter for me, and a strong tower from the enemy. I will abide in thy tabernacle for ever: I will trust in the covert of thy wings.—Thou hast been a strength to the poor, a strength to the needy in his distress, a refuge from the storms.
Christ . . . suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps: who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth: who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously.
“Let us not sleep, as do others.”
There are many ways of promoting Christian wakefulness. Among the rest, let me strongly advise Christians to converse together concerning the ways of the Lord. Christian and Hopeful, as they journeyed towards the Celestial City, said to themselves, “To prevent drowsiness in this place, let us fall into good discourse.” Christian enquired, “Brother, where shall we begin?” And Hopeful answered, “Where God began with us.” Then Christian sang this song—
“When saints do sleepy grow, let them come hither,
And hear how these two pilgrims talk together;
Yea, let them learn of them, in any wise,
Thus to keep open their drowsy slumb'ring eyes.
Saints’ fellowship, if it be managed well,
Keeps them awake, and that in spite of hell.”
Christians who isolate themselves and walk alone, are very liable to grow drowsy. Hold Christian company, and you will be kept wakeful by it, and refreshed and encouraged to make quicker progress in the road to heaven. But as you thus take “sweet counsel” with others in the ways of God, take care that the theme of your converse is the Lord Jesus. Let the eye of faith be constantly looking unto him; let your heart be full of him; let your lips speak of his worth. Friend, live near to the cross, and thou wilt not sleep. Labour to impress thyself with a deep sense of the value of the place to which thou art going. If thou rememberest that thou art going to heaven, thou wilt not sleep on the road. If thou thinkest that hell is behind thee, and the devil pursuing thee, thou wilt not loiter. Would the manslayer sleep with the avenger of blood behind him, and the city of refuge before him? Christian, wilt thou sleep whilst the pearly gates are open—the songs of angels waiting for thee to join them—a crown of gold ready for thy brow? Ah! no; in holy fellowship continue to watch and pray that ye enter not into temptation.
The Migration of Dan
In those days there was no king in Israel. And in those days the tribe of the Danites was seeking for itself a territory to live in; for until then no territory among the tribes of Israel had been allotted to them. 2So the Danites sent five valiant men from the whole number of their clan, from Zorah and from Eshtaol, to spy out the land and to explore it; and they said to them, “Go, explore the land.” When they came to the hill country of Ephraim, to the house of Micah, they stayed there. 3While they were at Micah’s house, they recognized the voice of the young Levite; so they went over and asked him, “Who brought you here? What are you doing in this place? What is your business here?” 4He said to them, “Micah did such and such for me, and he hired me, and I have become his priest.” 5Then they said to him, “Inquire of God that we may know whether the mission we are undertaking will succeed.” 6The priest replied, “Go in peace. The mission you are on is under the eye of the Lord.”
7 The five men went on, and when they came to Laish, they observed the people who were there living securely, after the manner of the Sidonians, quiet and unsuspecting, lacking nothing on earth, and possessing wealth. Furthermore, they were far from the Sidonians and had no dealings with Aram. 8When they came to their kinsfolk at Zorah and Eshtaol, they said to them, “What do you report?” 9They said, “Come, let us go up against them; for we have seen the land, and it is very good. Will you do nothing? Do not be slow to go, but enter in and possess the land. 10When you go, you will come to an unsuspecting people. The land is broad—God has indeed given it into your hands—a place where there is no lack of anything on earth.”
11 Six hundred men of the Danite clan, armed with weapons of war, set out from Zorah and Eshtaol, 12and went up and encamped at Kiriath-jearim in Judah. On this account that place is called Mahaneh-dan to this day; it is west of Kiriath-jearim. 13From there they passed on to the hill country of Ephraim, and came to the house of Micah.
14 Then the five men who had gone to spy out the land (that is, Laish) said to their comrades, “Do you know that in these buildings there are an ephod, teraphim, and an idol of cast metal? Now therefore consider what you will do.” 15So they turned in that direction and came to the house of the young Levite, at the home of Micah, and greeted him. 16While the six hundred men of the Danites, armed with their weapons of war, stood by the entrance of the gate, 17the five men who had gone to spy out the land proceeded to enter and take the idol of cast metal, the ephod, and the teraphim. The priest was standing by the entrance of the gate with the six hundred men armed with weapons of war. 18When the men went into Micah’s house and took the idol of cast metal, the ephod, and the teraphim, the priest said to them, “What are you doing?” 19They said to him, “Keep quiet! Put your hand over your mouth, and come with us, and be to us a father and a priest. Is it better for you to be priest to the house of one person, or to be priest to a tribe and clan in Israel?” 20Then the priest accepted the offer. He took the ephod, the teraphim, and the idol, and went along with the people.
21 So they resumed their journey, putting the little ones, the livestock, and the goods in front of them. 22When they were some distance from the home of Micah, the men who were in the houses near Micah’s house were called out, and they overtook the Danites. 23They shouted to the Danites, who turned around and said to Micah, “What is the matter that you come with such a company?” 24He replied, “You take my gods that I made, and the priest, and go away, and what have I left? How then can you ask me, ‘What is the matter?’ ” 25And the Danites said to him, “You had better not let your voice be heard among us or else hot-tempered fellows will attack you, and you will lose your life and the lives of your household.” 26Then the Danites went their way. When Micah saw that they were too strong for him, he turned and went back to his home.
The Danites Settle in Laish
27 The Danites, having taken what Micah had made, and the priest who belonged to him, came to Laish, to a people quiet and unsuspecting, put them to the sword, and burned down the city. 28There was no deliverer, because it was far from Sidon and they had no dealings with Aram. It was in the valley that belongs to Beth-rehob. They rebuilt the city, and lived in it. 29They named the city Dan, after their ancestor Dan, who was born to Israel; but the name of the city was formerly Laish. 30Then the Danites set up the idol for themselves. Jonathan son of Gershom, son of Moses, and his sons were priests to the tribe of the Danites until the time the land went into captivity. 31So they maintained as their own Micah’s idol that he had made, as long as the house of God was at Shiloh.
15And Simon Peter followed Jesus, and so did another disciple. Now that disciple was known unto the high priest, and entered in with Jesus into the court of the high priest; 16but Peter was standing at the door without. So the other disciple, who was known unto the high priest, went out and spake unto her that kept the door, and brought in Peter. 17The maid therefore that kept the door saith unto Peter, Art thou also one of this man's disciples? He saith, I am not. 18Now the servants and the officers were standing there, having made a fire of coals; for it was cold; and they were warming themselves: and Peter also was with them, standing and warming himself. 19The high priest therefore asked Jesus of his disciples, and of his teaching. 20Jesus answered him, I have spoken openly to the world; I ever taught in synagogues, and in the temple, where all the Jews come together; and in secret spake I nothing. 21Why askest thou me? Ask them that have heard me, what I spake unto them: behold, these know the things which I said. 22And when he had said this, one of the officers standing by struck Jesus with his hand, saying, Answerest thou the high priest so? 23Jesus answered him, If I have spoken evil, bear witness of the evil: but if well, why smitest thou me? 24Annas therefore sent him bound unto Caiaphas the high priest. 25Now Simon Peter was standing and warming himself. They said therefore unto him, Art thou also one of his disciples? He denied, and said, I am not. 26One of the servants of the high priest, being a kinsman of him whose ear Peter cut off, saith, Did not I see thee in the garden with him? 27Peter therefore denied again: and straightway the cock crew. 28They lead Jesus therefore from Caiaphas into the Praetorium: and it was early; and they themselves entered not into the Praetorium, that they might not be defiled, but might eat the passover. 29Pilate therefore went out unto them, and saith, What accusation bring ye against this man? 30They answered and said unto him, If this man were not an evildoer, we should not have delivered him up unto thee. 31Pilate therefore said unto them, Take him yourselves, and judge him according to your law. The Jews said unto him, It is not lawful for us to put any man to death: 32that the word of Jesus might be fulfilled, which he spake, signifying by what manner of death he should die. 33Pilate therefore entered again into the Praetorium, and called Jesus, and said unto him, Art thou the King of the Jews? 34Jesus answered, Sayest thou this of thyself, or did others tell it thee concerning me? 35Pilate answered, Am I a Jew? Thine own nation and the chief priests delivered thee unto me: what hast thou done? 36Jesus answered, My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews: but now is my kingdom not from hence. 37Pilate therefore said unto him, Art thou a king then? Jesus answered, Thou sayest that I am a king. To this end have I been born, and to this end am I come into the world, that I should bear witness unto the truth. Every one that is of the truth heareth my voice. 38Pilate saith unto him, What is truth? And when he had said this, he went out again unto the Jews, and saith unto them, I find no crime in him. 39But ye have a custom, that I should release unto you one at the passover: will ye therefore that I release unto you the King of the Jews? 40They cried out therefore again, saying, Not this man, but Barabbas. Now Barabbas was a robber.)
The Acceptable Sacrifice
A Psalm of Asaph.
The mighty one, God the Lord,
speaks and summons the earth
from the rising of the sun to its setting.
Out of Zion, the perfection of beauty,
God shines forth.
Our God comes and does not keep silence,
before him is a devouring fire,
and a mighty tempest all around him.
He calls to the heavens above
and to the earth, that he may judge his people:
“Gather to me my faithful ones,
who made a covenant with me by sacrifice!”
The heavens declare his righteousness,
for God himself is judge.Selah
“Hear, O my people, and I will speak,
O Israel, I will testify against you.
I am God, your God.
Not for your sacrifices do I rebuke you;
your burnt offerings are continually before me.
I will not accept a bull from your house,
or goats from your folds.
For every wild animal of the forest is mine,
the cattle on a thousand hills.
I know all the birds of the air,
and all that moves in the field is mine.
“If I were hungry, I would not tell you,
for the world and all that is in it is mine.
Do I eat the flesh of bulls,
or drink the blood of goats?
Offer to God a sacrifice of thanksgiving,
and pay your vows to the Most High.
Call on me in the day of trouble;
I will deliver you, and you shall glorify me.”
But to the wicked God says:
“What right have you to recite my statutes,
or take my covenant on your lips?
For you hate discipline,
and you cast my words behind you.
You make friends with a thief when you see one,
and you keep company with adulterers.
“You give your mouth free rein for evil,
and your tongue frames deceit.
You sit and speak against your kin;
you slander your own mother’s child.
These things you have done and I have been silent;
you thought that I was one just like yourself.
But now I rebuke you, and lay the charge before you.
“Mark this, then, you who forget God,
or I will tear you apart, and there will be no one to deliver.
Those who bring thanksgiving as their sacrifice honor me;
to those who go the right way
I will show the salvation of God.”