with a daily devotion
Evening Meditations for April 30
He that is slow to wrath is of great understanding.—PROV. 14:29.
The Lord passed by before him, and proclaimed, The Lord, The Lord God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering.—The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.
Be ye . . . followers of God, as dear children; and walk in love.—The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.—This is thankworthy, if a man for conscience toward God endure grief, suffering wrongfully. If, when ye do well, and suffer for it, ye take it patiently, this is acceptable with God. Christ . . . suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps: who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously.
Be ye angry, and sin not.
“How precious also are thy thoughts unto me, O God.”
Divine omniscience affords no comfort to the ungodly mind, but to the child of God it overflows with consolation. God is always thinking upon us, never turns aside his mind from us, has us always before his eyes; and this is precisely as we would have it, for it would be dreadful to exist for a moment beyond the observation of our heavenly Father. His thoughts are always tender, loving, wise, prudent, far-reaching, and they bring to us countless benefits: hence it is a choice delight to remember them. The Lord always did think upon his people: hence their election and the covenant of grace by which their salvation is secured; he always will think upon them: hence their final perseverance by which they shall be brought safely to their final rest. In all our wanderings the watchful glance of the Eternal Watcher is evermore fixed upon us—we never roam beyond the Shepherd’s eye. In our sorrows he observes us incessantly, and not a pang escapes him; in our toils he marks all our weariness, and writes in his book all the struggles of his faithful ones. These thoughts of the Lord encompass us in all our paths, and penetrate the innermost region of our being. Not a nerve or tissue, valve or vessel, of our bodily organization is uncared for; all the littles of our little world are thought upon by the great God.
Dear reader, is this precious to you? then hold to it. Never be led astray by those philosophic fools who preach up an impersonal God, and talk of self-existent, self-governing matter. The Lord liveth and thinketh upon us, this is a truth far too precious for us to be lightly robbed of it. The notice of a nobleman is valued so highly that he who has it counts his fortune made; but what is it to be thought of by the King of kings! If the Lord thinketh upon us, all is well, and we may rejoice evermore.
1Then David mustered the men who were with him and set over them commanders of thousands and commanders of hundreds. 2And David sent out the army, one third under the command of Joab, one third under the command of Abishai the son of Zeruiah, Joab's brother, and one third under the command of Ittai the Gittite. And the king said to the men, “I myself will also go out with you.” 3But the men said, “You shall not go out. For if we flee, they will not care about us. If half of us die, they will not care about us. But you are worth ten thousand of us. Therefore it is better that you send us help from the city.” 4The king said to them, “Whatever seems best to you I will do.” So the king stood at the side of the gate, while all the army marched out by hundreds and by thousands. 5And the king ordered Joab and Abishai and Ittai, “Deal gently for my sake with the young man Absalom.” And all the people heard when the king gave orders to all the commanders about Absalom.
6So the army went out into the field against Israel, and the battle was fought in the forest of Ephraim. 7And the men of Israel were defeated there by the servants of David, and the loss there was great on that day, twenty thousand men. 8The battle spread over the face of all the country, and the forest devoured more people that day than the sword.
9And Absalom happened to meet the servants of David. Absalom was riding on his mule, and the mule went under the thick branches of a great oak,11Or terebinth; also verses 10, 14 and his head caught fast in the oak, and he was suspended between heaven and earth, while the mule that was under him went on. 10And a certain man saw it and told Joab, “Behold, I saw Absalom hanging in an oak.” 11Joab said to the man who told him, “What, you saw him! Why then did you not strike him there to the ground? I would have been glad to give you ten pieces of silver and a belt.” 12But the man said to Joab, “Even if I felt in my hand the weight of a thousand pieces of silver, I would not reach out my hand against the king's son, for in our hearing the king commanded you and Abishai and Ittai, ‘For my sake protect the young man Absalom.’ 13On the other hand, if I had dealt treacherously against his life22Or at the risk of my life (and there is nothing hidden from the king), then you yourself would have stood aloof.” 14Joab said, “I will not waste time like this with you.” And he took three javelins in his hand and thrust them into the heart of Absalom while he was still alive in the oak. 15And ten young men, Joab's armor-bearers, surrounded Absalom and struck him and killed him.
16Then Joab blew the trumpet, and the troops came back from pursuing Israel, for Joab restrained them. 17And they took Absalom and threw him into a great pit in the forest and raised over him a very great heap of stones. And all Israel fled every one to his own home. 18Now Absalom in his lifetime had taken and set up for himself the pillar that is in the King's Valley, for he said, “I have no son to keep my name in remembrance.” He called the pillar after his own name, and it is called Absalom's monument33Or Absalom's hand to this day.
David Hears of Absalom's Death
19Then Ahimaaz the son of Zadok said, “Let me run and carry news to the king that the Lord has delivered him from the hand of his enemies.” 20And Joab said to him, “You are not to carry news today. You may carry news another day, but today you shall carry no news, because the king's son is dead.” 21Then Joab said to the Cushite, “Go, tell the king what you have seen.” The Cushite bowed before Joab, and ran. 22Then Ahimaaz the son of Zadok said again to Joab, “Come what may, let me also run after the Cushite.” And Joab said, “Why will you run, my son, seeing that you will have no reward for the news?” 23“Come what may,” he said, “I will run.” So he said to him, “Run.” Then Ahimaaz ran by the way of the plain, and outran the Cushite.
24Now David was sitting between the two gates, and the watchman went up to the roof of the gate by the wall, and when he lifted up his eyes and looked, he saw a man running alone. 25The watchman called out and told the king. And the king said, “If he is alone, there is news in his mouth.” And he drew nearer and nearer. 26The watchman saw another man running. And the watchman called to the gate and said, “See, another man running alone!” The king said, “He also brings news.” 27The watchman said, “I think the running of the first is like the running of Ahimaaz the son of Zadok.” And the king said, “He is a good man and comes with good news.”
28Then Ahimaaz cried out to the king, “All is well.” And he bowed before the king with his face to the earth and said, “Blessed be the Lord your God, who has delivered up the men who raised their hand against my lord the king.” 29And the king said, “Is it well with the young man Absalom?” Ahimaaz answered, “When Joab sent the king's servant, your servant, I saw a great commotion, but I do not know what it was.” 30And the king said, “Turn aside and stand here.” So he turned aside and stood still.
31And behold, the Cushite came, and the Cushite said, “Good news for my lord the king! For the Lord has delivered you this day from the hand of all who rose up against you.” 32The king said to the Cushite, “Is it well with the young man Absalom?” And the Cushite answered, “May the enemies of my lord the king and all who rise up against you for evil be like that young man.” 3344Ch 19:1 in Hebrew And the king was deeply moved and went up to the chamber over the gate and wept. And as he went, he said, “O my son Absalom, my son, my son Absalom! Would I had died instead of you, O Absalom, my son, my son!”
44Our fathers had the tabernacle of the testimony in the wilderness, even as he appointed who spake unto Moses, that he should make it according to the figure that he had seen. 45Which also our fathers, in their turn, brought in with Joshua when they entered on the possession of the nations, that God thrust out before the face of our fathers, unto the days of David; 46who found favor in the sight of God, and asked to find a habitation for the God of Jacob. 47But Solomon built him a house. 48Howbeit the Most High dwelleth not in houses made with hands; as saith the prophet,
49The heaven is my throne,
And the earth the footstool of my feet:
What manner of house will ye build me? saith the Lord:
Or what is the place of my rest?
50Did not my hand make all these things?
51Ye stiffnecked and uncircumcised in heart and ears, ye do always resist the Holy Spirit: as your fathers did, so do ye. 52Which of the prophets did not your fathers persecute? and they killed them that showed before of the coming of the Righteous One; of whom ye have now become betrayers and murderers; 53ye who received the law as it was ordained by angels, and kept it not.
The Lord Our God Is Holy
1The Lord reigns; let the peoples tremble!
He sits enthroned upon the cherubim; let the earth quake!
2The Lord is great in Zion;
he is exalted over all the peoples.
3Let them praise your great and awesome name!
Holy is he!
4The King in his might loves justice.11Or The might of the King loves justice
You have established equity;
you have executed justice
and righteousness in Jacob.
5Exalt the Lord our God;
worship at his footstool!
Holy is he!
6Moses and Aaron were among his priests,
Samuel also was among those who called upon his name.
They called to the Lord, and he answered them.
7In the pillar of the cloud he spoke to them;
they kept his testimonies
and the statute that he gave them.
8O Lord our God, you answered them;
you were a forgiving God to them,
but an avenger of their wrongdoings.
9Exalt the Lord our God,
and worship at his holy mountain;
for the Lord our God is holy!