Wednesday, September 21, 2016

The Wilderness

The Wilderness

Exodus 3:1


The wilderness was not a wide, flat area of nothing but sand, as the word “desert” (3:1 TEV) may imply. Rather it was a mostly dry and barren region through which Moses was leading the flock in search of seasonal pasturage. There would, however, be occasional patches of moisture and vegetation; but for the most part it was uncultivated. Nomads and their herds inhabited certain areas of the wilderness. In cultures where a wilderness is unknown, one may translate the term with a descriptive phrase; for example, “a dry, barren land,” “a rocky region,” “a place where people don’t settle,” “a place where no house is,” and so on. Translators may prefer to borrow a term from a national language and explain it in a footnote.

Osborn, Noel D., and Howard A. Hatton. A Handbook on Exodus. New York: United Bible Societies, 1999. Print. UBS Handbook Series.

A Champion

A Champion


Literally, “a man of the two middles,” i. e. one who enters the space between the two armies in order to decide the contest by a single combat. Of Gath. In Josh. 11:21 this town is mentioned, together with Gaza and Ashdod, as still having among its inhabitants men of the race of Anak.Whose height was six cubits and a span. In our measure his height was eight feet five and one-third inches; for the cubit is sixteen inches, and the span (really the hand-breadth) is five and one-third inches.

Spence-Jones, H. D. M., ed. 1 Samuel. London; New York: Funk & Wagnalls Company, 1909. Print. The Pulpit Commentary.






“Blood-guiltiness” refers to Uriah’s blood on David’s hands, for it was David who ordered his death (2 Sam. 11:6ff; see Ezek. 3:18–20; 18:13; Acts 20:26).

Wiersbe, Warren W. Be Worshipful. 1st ed. Colorado Springs, CO: Cook Communications Ministries, 2004. Print. “Be” Commentary Series.

“Joseph’s Well,” in Dothan, Palestine

“Joseph’s Well,” in Dothan, Palestine

Gen. 37:12–36

The Symbol of Fire

The Symbol of Fire

Exodus 3:2


Fire was a symbol of God’s presence, seen later when He descended upon Mount Sinai (Ex. 19:18).

Hannah, John D. Exodus.” The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures. Ed. J. F. Walvoord and R. B. Zuck. Vol. 1. Wheaton, IL: Victor Books, 1985. 111. Print.

Solomon and the Smith

Solomon and the Smith

‎The Bible tells us that Solomon called also on his ally, Hiram of Tyre, for cunning workmen to aid in preparing the brasswork, the ornaments of gold and silver, and all the decorations for the temple. Chief of the workmen sent him was a smith of the same name as the king, Hiram or Huram.

‎Of this or another smith of Solomon’s time, there is a celebrated legend, told not in the Bible but in the Jewish Talmud. When the temple was finished, King Solomon held a feast within its court, inviting all the craftsmen who had labored on the mighty structure. At the king’s right hand was placed an empty chair, a seat of honor to be awarded to the worker who had contributed most to the beauty of the temple. When the throng came in procession to the throne they found the chair already occupied by an ironworker, a smith. The assembly cried out in anger, for the smith had not worked upon the temple walls at all; but Solomon checking them, bade the smith speak and the man boldly claimed the seat as his own since he had made all the tools, without which the other workmen could have done nothing at all. “And Solomon spake his judgment on the matter, The seat is his of right. All honor to the ironworker.”

Connect the Testaments

September 21: Throwing Caution to the Flood
Zephaniah 1:1–3:20; Acts 19:1–41; Job 27:1–23

Words are powerful. They can restore and heal; they can also be used as deadly weapons. When we interact with one another, we know to choose our words carefully to avoid being misinterpreted or inadvertently causing harm. But Yahweh speaks words of daunting ambiguity—proclamations that can easily be misunderstood or that are frightening beyond measure.

Consider Zephaniah 1:2–3: “ ‘I will surely destroy everything from the face of the earth’—a declaration of Yahweh. ‘I will destroy humanity and beast; I will destroy the birds of the sky and the fish of the sea and the stumbling-blocks with the wicked. And I will cut off humankind from the face of the earth’—a declaration of Yahweh.” Does Yahweh actually intend to destroy everything on the earth? Why is He speaking so boldly?
The phrase “face of the earth” appears twice in this passage; it encloses a miniature narrative that references the story of the flood in Gen 6:7 and 7:4. This story is used as a metaphor for why Yahweh will destroy Judah: “And I will cut off from this place the remnant of Baal, and the name of idolatrous priests with the priests, and those who bow down on the rooftops to the host of heaven, and those who bow down, swearing to Yahweh but also swearing by Milkom” (Zeph 1:4–5). Yahweh plans to destroy Judah because they have sought other gods. In other words, Judah has acted just like the evil people who caused the flood.

The startling images of destruction and death that Yahweh’s proclamations evoke seem shockingly blunt. Yet these bold statements remind us that using audacious language is sometimes necessary, and evoking stories of the past can make the point more powerful. We must still take caution when choosing our words, but when we must speak an uncomfortable truth, we can turn to the example that Yahweh sets here: Live boldly for Him and speak the truth.

How can you be further bold in your words about Yahweh?


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 and Evening

Morning, September 21                             Go To Evening Reading

         “I will rejoice over them to do them good.”
         —Jeremiah 32:41

How heart-cheering to the believer is the delight which God has in his saints! We cannot see any reason in ourselves why the Lord should take pleasure in us; we cannot take delight in ourselves, for we often have to groan, being burdened; conscious of our sinfulness, and deploring our unfaithfulness; and we fear that God’s people cannot take much delight in us, for they must perceive so much of our imperfections and our follies, that they may rather lament our infirmities than admire our graces. But we love to dwell upon this transcendent truth, this glorious mystery: that as the bridegroom rejoiceth over the bride, so does the Lord rejoice over us. We do not read anywhere that God delighteth in the cloud-capped mountains or the sparkling stars, but we do read that he delighteth in the habitable parts of the earth and that his delights are with the sons of men. We do not find it written that even angels give his soul delight; nor doth he say, concerning cherubim and seraphim, “Thou shalt be called Hephzibah, for the Lord delighteth in thee”; but he does say all that to poor fallen creatures like ourselves, debased and depraved by sin, but saved, exalted, and glorified by his grace. In what strong language he expresses his delight in his people! Who could have conceived of the eternal One as bursting forth into a song? Yet it is written, “He will rejoice over thee with joy, he will rest in his love, he will joy over thee with singing.” As he looked upon the world he had made, he said, “It is very good”; but when he beheld those who are the purchase of Jesus’ blood, his own chosen ones, it seemed as if the great heart of the Infinite could restrain itself no longer, but overflowed in divine exclamations of joy. Should not we utter our grateful response to such a marvellous declaration of his love, and sing, “I will rejoice in the Lord, I will joy in the God of my salvation?”

Go To Morning Reading                              Evening, September 21

         “Gather not my soul with sinners.”
         —Psalm 26:9

Fear made David pray thus, for something whispered, “Perhaps, after all, thou mayst be gathered with the wicked.” That fear, although marred by unbelief, springs, in the main, from holy anxiety, arising from the recollection of past sin. Even the pardoned man will enquire, “What if at the end my sins should be remembered, and I should be left out of the catalogue of the saved?” He recollects his present unfruitfulness—so little grace, so little love, so little holiness, and looking forward to the future, he considers his weakness and the many temptations which beset him, and he fears that he may fall, and become a prey to the enemy. A sense of sin and present evil, and his prevailing corruptions compel him to pray, in fear and trembling, “Gather not my soul with sinners.” Reader, if you have prayed this prayer, and if your character is rightly described in the Psalm from which it is taken, you need not be afraid that you shall be gathered with sinners. Have you the two virtues which David had—the outward walking in integrity and the inward trusting in the Lord? Are you resting upon Christ’s sacrifice, and can you compass the altar of God with humble hope? If so, rest assured, with the wicked, you never shall be gathered, for that calamity is impossible. The gathering at the judgment is like to like. “Gather ye together first the tares, and bind them in bundles to burn them: but gather the wheat into my barn.” If, then, thou art like God’s people, thou shalt be with God’s people. You cannot be gathered with the wicked, for you are too dearly bought. Redeemed by the blood of Christ, you are his forever, and where he is, there must his people be. You are loved too much to be cast away with reprobates. Shall one dear to Christ perish? Impossible! Hell cannot hold thee! Heaven claims thee! Trust in thy Surety and fear not!

Spurgeon, Charles H. Morning and Evening: Daily Readings. Complete and unabridged; New modern edition. Peabody, MA: Hendrickson Publishers, 2006. Print.

My Utmost for His Highest

September 21st

Missionary predestination

And now, saith the Lord, that formed me from the womb to be His servant. Isaiah 49:5.

The first thing that happens after we have realized our election to God in Christ Jesus is the destruction of our prejudices and our parochial notions and our patriotisms; we are turned into servants of God’s own purpose. The whole human race was created to glorify God and enjoy Him forever. Sin has switched the human race on to another tack, but it has not altered God’s purpose in the tiniest degree; and when we are born again we are brought into the realization of God’s great purpose for the human race, viz., I am created for God, He made me. This realization of the election of God is the most joyful realization on earth, and we have to learn to rely on the tremendous creative purpose of God. The first thing God will do with us is to “force thro’ the channels of a single heart” the interests of the whole world. The love of God, the very nature of God, is introduced into us, and the nature of Almighty God is focused in John 3:16“God so loved the world …”

We have to maintain our soul open to the fact of God’s creative purpose, and not muddle it with our own intentions. If we do, God will have to crush our intentions on one side however much it may hurt. The purpose for which the missionary is created is that he may be God’s servant, one in whom God is glorified. When once we realize that through the salvation of Jesus Christ we are made perfectly fit for God, we shall understand why Jesus Christ is so ruthless in His demands. He demands absolute rectitude from His servants because He has put into them the very nature of God.
Beware lest you forget God’s purpose for your life.

Chambers, Oswald. My Utmost for His Highest: Selections for the Year. Grand Rapids, MI: Oswald Chambers Publications; Marshall Pickering, 1986. Print.

Thoughts for the Quiet Hour

September 21

  Serve the Lord with gladness; come before his presence with singing
        Ps. 100:2

God wants our life to be a song. He has written the music for us in His Word and in the duties that come to us in our places and relations in life. The things we ought to do are the notes set upon the staff. To make our life beautiful music we must be obedient and submissive. Any disobedience is the singing of a false note and yields discord.

J. R. Miller

Hardman, Samuel G., and Dwight Lyman Moody. Thoughts for the Quiet Hour. Willow Grove, PA: Woodlawn Electronic Publishing, 1997. Print.