with a daily devotion
Evening Meditations for September 24
Ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ.—II COR. 8:9.
The Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.—Thou are fairer than the children of men: grace is poured into thy lips.—All bare him witness, and wondered at the gracious words which proceeded out of his mouth.
Ye have tasted that the Lord is gracious.—He that believeth on the Son of God hath the witness in himself.—We speak that we do know, and testify that we have seen.
O taste and see that the Lord is good: blessed is the man that trusteth in him.—I sat down under his shadow with great delight, and his fruit was sweet to my taste.
He said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness.—Unto every one of us is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ.—As every man hath received the gift, even so minister the same one to another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.
“I sleep, but my heart waketh.”
Paradoxes abound in Christian experience, and here is one—the spouse was asleep, and yet she was awake. He only can read the believer’s riddle who has ploughed with the heifer of his experience. The two points in this evening’s text are—a mournful sleepiness and a hopeful wakefulness. I sleep. Through sin that dwelleth in us we may become lax in holy duties, slothful in religious exercises, dull in spiritual joys, and altogether supine and careless. This is a shameful state for one in whom the quickening Spirit dwells; and it is dangerous to the highest degree. Even wise virgins sometimes slumber, but it is high time for all to shake off the bands of sloth. It is to be feared that many believers lose their strength as Samson lost his locks, while sleeping on the lap of carnal security. With a perishing world around us, to sleep is cruel; with eternity so near at hand, it is madness. Yet we are none of us so much awake as we should be; a few thunder-claps would do us all good, and it may be, unless we soon bestir ourselves, we shall have them in the form of war, or pestilence, or personal bereavements and losses. O that we may leave forever the couch of fleshly ease, and go forth with flaming torches to meet the coming Bridegroom! My heart waketh. This is a happy sign. Life is not extinct, though sadly smothered. When our renewed heart struggles against our natural heaviness, we should be grateful to sovereign grace for keeping a little vitality within the body of this death. Jesus will hear our hearts, will help our hearts, will visit our hearts; for the voice of the wakeful heart is really the voice of our Beloved, saying, “Open to me.” Holy zeal will surely unbar the door.
“Oh lovely attitude! He stands
With melting heart and laden hands;
My soul forsakes her every sin;
And lets the heavenly stranger in.”
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.