with a daily devotion
Morning Meditations for September 24
It is good for me to draw near to God.—PSA. 73:28.
Lord, I have loved the habitation of thy house, and the place where thine honour dwelleth.—A day in thy courts is better than a thousand. I had rather be a door-keeper in the house of my God, than to dwell in the tents of wickedness.—Blessed is the man whom thou choosest, and causest to approach unto thee, that he may dwell in thy courts: we shall be satisfied with the goodness of thy house, even of thy holy temple.
The Lord is good unto them that wait for him, to the soul that seeketh him.—Therefore will the Lord wait that he may be gracious unto you, and therefore will he be exalted that he may have mercy upon you: for the Lord is a God of judgment: blessed are all they that wait for him.
Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us: . . . let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience.
“For I was ashamed to require of the king a band of soldiers and horsemen to help us against the enemy in the way: because we had spoken unto the king, saying, The hand of our God is upon all them for good that seek him; but his power and his wrath is against all them that forsake him.”
A convoy on many accounts would have been desirable for the pilgrim band, but a holy shame-facedness would not allow Ezra to seek one. He feared lest the heathen king should think his professions of faith in God to be mere hypocrisy, or imagine that the God of Israel was not able to preserve his own worshippers. He could not bring his mind to lean on an arm of flesh in a matter so evidently of the Lord, and therefore the caravan set out with no visible protection, guarded by him who is the sword and shield of his people. It is to be feared that few believers feel this holy jealousy for God; even those who in a measure walk by faith, occasionally mar the lustre of their life by craving aid from man. It is a most blessed thing to have no props and no buttresses, but to stand upright on the Rock of Ages, upheld by the Lord alone. Would any believers seek state endowments for their Church, if they remembered that the Lord is dishonoured by their asking Caesar’s aid? as if the Lord could not supply the needs of his own cause! Should we run so hastily to friends and relations for assistance, if we remembered that the Lord is magnified by our implicit reliance upon his solitary arm? My soul, wait thou only upon God. “But,” says one, “are not means to be used?” Assuredly they are; but our fault seldom lies in their neglect: far more frequently it springs out of foolishly believing in them instead of believing in God. Few run too far in neglecting the creature’s arm; but very many sin greatly in making too much of it. Learn, dear reader, to glorify the Lord by leaving means untried, if by using them thou wouldst dishonour the name of the Lord.
Abraham and the Covenant of Circumcision
1When Abram was ninety-nine years old the Lord appeared to Abram and said to him, “I am God Almighty;11Hebrew El Shaddai walk before me, and be blameless, 2that I may make my covenant between me and you, and may multiply you greatly.” 3Then Abram fell on his face. And God said to him, 4“Behold, my covenant is with you, and you shall be the father of a multitude of nations. 5No longer shall your name be called Abram,22Abram means exalted father but your name shall be Abraham,33Abraham means father of a multitude for I have made you the father of a multitude of nations. 6I will make you exceedingly fruitful, and I will make you into nations, and kings shall come from you. 7And I will establish my covenant between me and you and your offspring after you throughout their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and to your offspring after you. 8And I will give to you and to your offspring after you the land of your sojournings, all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession, and I will be their God.”
9And God said to Abraham, “As for you, you shall keep my covenant, you and your offspring after you throughout their generations. 10This is my covenant, which you shall keep, between me and you and your offspring after you: Every male among you shall be circumcised. 11You shall be circumcised in the flesh of your foreskins, and it shall be a sign of the covenant between me and you. 12He who is eight days old among you shall be circumcised. Every male throughout your generations, whether born in your house or bought with your money from any foreigner who is not of your offspring, 13both he who is born in your house and he who is bought with your money, shall surely be circumcised. So shall my covenant be in your flesh an everlasting covenant. 14Any uncircumcised male who is not circumcised in the flesh of his foreskin shall be cut off from his people; he has broken my covenant.”
Isaac's Birth Promised
15And God said to Abraham, “As for Sarai your wife, you shall not call her name Sarai, but Sarah44Sarai and Sarah mean princess shall be her name. 16I will bless her, and moreover, I will give55Hebrew have given you a son by her. I will bless her, and she shall become nations; kings of peoples shall come from her.” 17Then Abraham fell on his face and laughed and said to himself, “Shall a child be born to a man who is a hundred years old? Shall Sarah, who is ninety years old, bear a child?” 18And Abraham said to God, “Oh that Ishmael might live before you!” 19God said, “No, but Sarah your wife shall bear you a son, and you shall call his name Isaac.66Isaac means he laughs I will establish my covenant with him as an everlasting covenant for his offspring after him. 20As for Ishmael, I have heard you; behold, I have blessed him and will make him fruitful and multiply him greatly. He shall father twelve princes, and I will make him into a great nation. 21But I will establish my covenant with Isaac, whom Sarah shall bear to you at this time next year.”
22When he had finished talking with him, God went up from Abraham. 23Then Abraham took Ishmael his son and all those born in his house or bought with his money, every male among the men of Abraham's house, and he circumcised the flesh of their foreskins that very day, as God had said to him. 24Abraham was ninety-nine years old when he was circumcised in the flesh of his foreskin. 25And Ishmael his son was thirteen years old when he was circumcised in the flesh of his foreskin. 26That very day Abraham and his son Ishmael were circumcised. 27And all the men of his house, those born in the house and those bought with money from a foreigner, were circumcised with him.
God Shall Scatter His Enemies
To the choirmaster. A Psalm of David. A Song.
1God shall arise, his enemies shall be scattered;
and those who hate him shall flee before him!
2As smoke is driven away, so you shall drive them away;
as wax melts before fire,
so the wicked shall perish before God!
3But the righteous shall be glad;
they shall exult before God;
they shall be jubilant with joy!
4Sing to God, sing praises to his name;
lift up a song to him who rides through the deserts;
his name is the Lord;
exult before him!
5Father of the fatherless and protector of widows
is God in his holy habitation.
6God settles the solitary in a home;
he leads out the prisoners to prosperity,
but the rebellious dwell in a parched land.
7O God, when you went out before your people,
when you marched through the wilderness, Selah
8the earth quaked, the heavens poured down rain,
before God, the One of Sinai,
before God, the God of Israel.
9Rain in abundance, O God, you shed abroad;
you restored your inheritance as it languished;
10your flock11Or your congregation found a dwelling in it;
in your goodness, O God, you provided for the needy.
11The Lord gives the word;
the women who announce the news are a great host:
12“The kings of the armies—they flee, they flee!”
The women at home divide the spoil—
13though you men lie among the sheepfolds—
the wings of a dove covered with silver,
its pinions with shimmering gold.
14When the Almighty scatters kings there,
let snow fall on Zalmon.
15O mountain of God, mountain of Bashan;
O many-peaked22Or hunch-backed; also verse 16 mountain, mountain of Bashan!
16Why do you look with hatred, O many-peaked mountain,
at the mount that God desired for his abode,
yes, where the Lord will dwell forever?
17The chariots of God are twice ten thousand,
thousands upon thousands;
the Lord is among them; Sinai is now in the sanctuary.
18You ascended on high,
leading a host of captives in your train
and receiving gifts among men,
even among the rebellious, that the Lord God may dwell there.