Wednesday, January 18, 2017
January 18: Giving Up Control
Genesis 30; Matthew 22:23–23:36; Ecclesiastes 7:6–12
We are born bent on our own ambitions. It’s in our nature to control and compete. And pride—often the source of this behavior—keenly notices the pride of others. Often, we want to point out the failing of the equally prideful and impose our own wills on them, while neglecting to see these traits in ourselves.
In Genesis 30, we find a myriad of characters who are bent on obtaining favor and selfish gain—often at the expense and exasperation of others. Rachel foolishly demands a son of Jacob (Gen 30:1) and then—because the family dynamics weren’t complicated enough—she has her handmaid bear her a child via Jacob. When she finally obtains a son, she is not joyful—she is triumphant: “With mighty wrestlings, I have wrestled with my sister and have prevailed” (Gen 30:8). Leah uses bribery and her own handmaid to gain the attention of her neglectful husband, while Laban and Jacob continue circling, using and manipulating one another (Gen 30:16, 25–36).
Though the battle is often with the other, ultimately the battle of wills ends with God. When we are bent on our own way with others, we don’t think about the one who leads and directs our lives. In Genesis 30, God is the one who is in control of events. Only when He “listened to Leah” or “remembers” Rachel do they bear children (Gen 30:17, 22–23).
Our wills are actually battling His, not theirs. The Great commandment in Matt 22 presents another approach and mode of operation: “You shall love the Lord you God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.” If we first submit to this, the second will be easier: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.
When we are right with God and we realize how patient He is with our weaknesses, we can learn to be patient with others.
How are you fighting for control of your life and the lives of others? How can you seek to submit your own will to God in humility?
Rebecca Van Noord
Barry, John D., and Rebecca Kruyswijk. Connect the Testaments: A One-Year Daily Devotional with Bible Reading Plan. Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press, 2012. Print.
Morning, January 18 Go To Evening Reading
“There remaineth, therefore, a rest to the people of God.”
How different will be the state of the believer in heaven from what it is here! Here he is born to toil and suffer weariness, but in the land of the immortal, fatigue is never known. Anxious to serve his Master, he finds his strength unequal to his zeal: his constant cry is, “Help me to serve thee, O my God.” If he is thoroughly active, he will have much labor; not too much for his will, but more than enough for his power, so that he will cry out, “I am not wearied of the labour, but I am wearied in it.” Ah! Christian, the hot day of weariness lasts not for ever; the sun is nearing the horizon; it shall rise again with a brighter day than thou hast ever seen upon a land where they serve God day and night, and yet rest from their labours. Here, rest is but partial, there, it is perfect. Here, the Christian is always unsettled; he feels that he has not yet attained. There, all are at rest; they have attained the summit of the mountain; they have ascended to the bosom of their God. Higher they cannot go. Ah, toil-worn laborer, only think when thou shalt rest for ever! Canst thou conceive it? It is a rest eternal; a rest that “remaineth.” Here, my best joys bear “mortal” on their brow; my fair flowers fade; my dainty cups are drained to dregs; my sweetest birds fall before Death’s arrows; my most pleasant days are shadowed into nights; and the flood-tides of my bliss subside into ebbs of sorrow; but there, everything is immortal; the harp abides unrusted, the crown unwithered, the eye undimmed, the voice unfaltering, the heart unwavering, and the immortal being is wholly absorbed in infinite delight. Happy day! happy! when mortality shall be swallowed up of life, and the Eternal Sabbath shall begin.
Go To Morning Reading Evening, January 18
“He expounded unto them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself.”
The two disciples on the road to Emmaus had a most profitable journey. Their companion and teacher were the best of tutors; the interpreter one of a thousand, in whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. The Lord Jesus condescended to become a preacher of the gospel, and he was not ashamed to exercise his calling before an audience of two persons, neither does he now refuse to become the teacher of even one. Let us court the company of so excellent an Instructor, for till he is made unto us wisdom, we shall never be wise unto salvation.
This unrivaled tutor used as his class-book the best of books. Although able to reveal a fresh truth, he preferred to expound the old. He knew by his omniscience what was the most instructive way of teaching, and by turning at once to Moses and the prophets, he showed us that the surest road to wisdom is not speculation, reasoning, or reading human books, but meditation upon the Word of God. The readiest way to be spiritually rich in heavenly knowledge is to dig in this mine of diamonds, to gather pearls from this heavenly sea. When Jesus himself sought to enrich others, he wrought in the quarry of Holy Scripture.
The favored pair were led to consider the best of subjects, for Jesus spoke of Jesus, and expounded the things concerning himself. Here the diamond cut the diamond, and what could be more admirable? The Master of the House unlocked his own doors, conducted the guests to his table, and placed his own dainties upon it. He who hid the treasure in the field himself guided the searchers to it. Our Lord would naturally discourse upon the sweetest of topics, and he could find none sweeter than his own person and work: with an eye to these, we should always search the Word. O for grace to study the Bible with Jesus as both our teacher and our lesson!
Spurgeon, Charles H. Morning and Evening: Daily Readings. Complete and unabridged; New modern edition. Peabody, MA: Hendrickson Publishers, 2006. Print.
It is the Lord!
Thomas answered and said unto Him, My Lord and my God. John 20:28.
“Give Me to drink.” How many of us are set upon Jesus Christ slaking our thirst when we ought to be satisfying Him? We should be pouring out now, spending to the last limit, not drawing on Him to satisfy us. “Ye shall be witnesses unto Me”—that means a life of unsullied, uncompromising, and un-bribed devotion to the Lord Jesus, a satisfaction to Him wherever He places us.
Beware of anything that competes with loyalty to Jesus Christ. The greatest competitor of devotion to Jesus is service for Him. It is easier to serve than to be drunk to the dregs. The one aim of the call of God is the satisfaction of God, not a call to do something for Him. We are not sent to battle for God, but to be used by God in His battlings. Are we being more devoted to service than to Jesus Christ?
Chambers, Oswald. My Utmost for His Highest: Selections for the Year. Grand Rapids, MI: Oswald Chambers Publications; Marshall Pickering, 1986. Print.
All things work together for good to them that love God
In one thousand trials it is not five hundred of them that work for the believer’s good, but nine hundred and ninety-nine of them, And One Beside.
Hardman, Samuel G., and Dwight Lyman Moody. Thoughts for the Quiet Hour. Willow Grove, PA: Woodlawn Electronic Publishing, 1997. Print.