Pilgrimage of Christina
Christiana at this was greatly abashed in herself and bowed her head to the ground. This visitor proceeded, and said, “Christiana, here is also a letter for thee, which I have brought from thy husband’s King.” So she took it, and opened it, but it smelt after the manner of the best perfume. Song 1:3. Also, it was written in letters of gold. The contents of the letter were these, That the King would have her to do as did Christian her husband; for that was the way to come to his city, and to dwell in his presence with joy forever. At this the good woman was quite overcome; so she cried out to her visitor, Sir, will you carry me and my children with you, that we also may go and worship the King?
Bunyan, John. The Pilgrim’s Progress: From This World to That Which Is to Come. Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc., 1995. Print.
The Flight from Haran
At length, Jacob matched his own guile against that of Laban. When he had served his fourteen years and proved himself by far the ablest man of all the household, Laban entreated him to stay for other wages. So they agreed that all the striped and spotted animals in Laban’s flocks and herds were to be Jacob’s. Then Jacob so arranged, by placing striped and spotted sticks before the beasts, that all the best of the young herds were his, and he grew rich. Again, and again, Laban changed the form of the arrangement as to which of the new cattle were to be Jacob’s; but always the change worked to Jacob’s advantage, “the favor of God was with him.” Laban and especially Laban’s sons became furious, until Jacob, watching them, knew that he must go away. He summoned his two wives secretly to him in the field and bade them gather all his household goods. Then he himself gathered his flocks and serving-men; and in haste and secret they all set out to return to Palestine.
They made quite a caravan, for, besides lesser servants, Jacob had taken two wives in addition to Leah and Rachel, and he had in all, twelve sons, important to remember because from them sprang the twelve Hebrew tribes. Reuben and Simeon and Levi were the three eldest; they were sons of Leah, and then came her fourth and ablest, Judah. Rachel at this time had only one son, as yet a mere baby, Joseph.
Traditional Site of Jesus’ Temptation
The Mount of Temptation is a hill in the desert where the Devil tempted Jesus. The exact location is unknown and impossible to determine. Tradition places this event at Mount Quarantania or Qarantal, a hill approximately 1,200 feet (366 m) high, located about 7 miles (11 km) northwest of Jericho near the road from Jerusalem to that town.
Matt 4:1–8, Mark 1:13, Luke 4:2
July 1: God Makes Good out of Trouble
1 Samuel 1:1–2:21; James 1:1–8; Psalm 119:1–16
God often shows His goodness to us through trials, making good out of human error. We see this principle in the lives of Elkanah and Hannah. Elkanah was prone to make mistakes. His first mistake was to marry two wives (1 Sam 1:1–4); his second blunder was to ignore his wives’ disputes (1 Sam 1:6). On top of that, he repeatedly imposed his own form of justice by giving Hannah double what he offered Peninnah, his other wife (1 Sam 1:5). In this story, however, the goodness of God redeems the mistakes made by fallible people.
Despite Elkanah’s generosity to her, Hannah was deeply disturbed: Nothing Elkanah offered could compensate for her barrenness (1 Sam 1:8–10). In this period, women who had not borne children were often considered accursed and second rate, as demonstrated by Peninnah’s persecution of Hannah. In her distress, Hannah prayed to God at the temple, seeking redemption. Eli the priest recognized the sincerity of her plea and blessed her (1 Sam 1:15–18).
God also recognized Hannah’s sincerity, and He answered her call by giving her a son, Samuel, who would grow up to be a great prophet (1 Sam 1:19–28). Hannah’s son offered her hope; in response, she delivered a beautiful piece of poetry to honor Yahweh’s goodness (1 Sam 2:1–11). This poem was so significant that Mary would later echo it in her own song of praise (see Luke 1:46–56). Through Hannah’s story, we see that God’s work among His people is so interconnected that He often chooses to answer not only our prayers but also the prayers of others in the process.
In scenes like this—where God not only makes good out of a bad situation, but also sets up a providential event in the history of His people—we see much of the framework for the Christian life. New Testament writers including James drew on stories such as Hannah’s when discussing the trials of God’s people. In the first century AD, James remarks in a letter: “Consider it all joy, my brothers [and sisters], whenever you encounter various trials because you know that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect effect so that you may be mature and complete, lacking in nothing” (Jas 1:2–4).
Hannah’s story shows us that when we pray to God, He shows up. And in the midst of our dire circumstances, He answers the call of not one, but many people. Here, in the pain, we learn what it means to know our Lord and savior.
What trials are you currently experiencing? What do you think God is doing through them?
JOHN D. BARRY
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, July 1 Go To Evening Reading
“In summer and in winter shall it be.”
“Men may come, and men may go,
But I go on forever.”
How happy art thou, my soul, to be led beside such still waters! Never wander to other streams, lest thou hear the Lord’s rebuke, “What hast thou to do in the way of Egypt to drink of the muddy river?”
Go To Morning Reading Evening, July 1
“The voice of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day.”
My soul, now that the cool of the day has come, retire awhile and hearken to the voice of thy God. He is always ready to speak with thee when thou art prepared to hear. If there be any slowness to commune it is not on his part, but altogether on thine own, for he stands at the door and knocks, and if his people will but open he rejoices to enter. But in what state is my heart, which is my Lord’s garden? May I venture to hope that it is well trimmed and watered, and is bringing forth fruit fit for him? If not, he will have much to reprove, but still, I pray him to come unto me, for nothing can so certainly bring my heart into a right condition as the presence of the Sun of Righteousness, who brings healing in his wings. Come, therefore, O Lord, my God, my soul invites thee earnestly, and waits for thee eagerly. Come to me, O Jesus, my well-beloved, and plant fresh flowers in my garden, such as I see blooming in such perfection in thy matchless character! Come, O my Father, who art the Husbandman, and deal with me in thy tenderness and prudence! Come, O Holy Spirit, and bedew my whole nature, as the herbs are now moistened with the evening dews. O that God would speak to me. Speak, Lord, for thy servant heareth! O that he would walk with me; I am ready to give up my whole heart and mind to him, and every other thought is hushed. I am only asking what he delights to give. I am sure that he will condescend to have fellowship with me, for he has given me his Holy Spirit to abide with me for ever. Sweet is the cool twilight when every star seems like the eye of heaven, and the cool wind is like the breath of celestial love. My Father, my elder Brother, my sweet Comforter, speak now in loving-kindness, for thou hast opened my ear and I am not rebellious.
Spurgeon, Charles H. Morning and Evening: Daily Readings. Complete and unabridged; New modern edition. Peabody, MA: Hendrickson Publishers, 2006. Print.
The inevitable penalty
Verily I say unto thee, Thou shalt by no means come out thence, till thou have paid the uttermost farthing. Matthew 5:26.
“There is no heaven with a little of hell in it.” God is determined to make you pure and holy and right; he will not allow you to escape for one moment from the scrutiny of the Holy Spirit. He urged you to come to judgment right away when He convicted you, but you did not; the inevitable process began to work and now you are in prison, and you will only get out when you have paid the uttermost farthing. ‘Is this a God of mercy, and of love?’ you say. Seen from God’s side, it is a glorious ministry of love. God is going to bring you out pure and spotless and undefiled; but He wants you to recognize the disposition you were showing—the disposition of your right to yourself. The moment you are willing that God should alter your disposition, His re-creating forces will begin to work. The moment you realize God’s purpose, which is to get you rightly related to Himself and then to your fellow men, He will tax the last limit of the universe to help you take the right road. Decide it now—‘Yes, Lord, I will write that letter to-night’; ‘I will be reconciled to that man now.’
These messages of Jesus Christ are for the will and the conscience, not for the head. If you dispute the Sermon on the Mount with your head, you will blunt the appeal to your heart.
‘I wonder why I don’t go on with God!’ Are you paying your debts from God’s standpoint? Do now what you will have to do some day. Every moral call has an ‘ought’ behind it.
Chambers, Oswald. My Utmost for His Highest: Selections for the Year. Grand Rapids, MI: Oswald Chambers Publications; Marshall Pickering, 1986. Print.
He laid his right hand upon me, saying unto me, Fear not
One of Wellington’s officers, when commanded to go on some perilous duty, lingered a moment as if afraid, and then said: “Let me have one clasp of your all-conquering hand before I go; and then I can do it.”
Seek the clasp of Christ’s hand before every bit of work, every hard task, every battle, every good deed. Bend your head in the dewy freshness of every morning, ere you go forth to meet the day’s duties and perils and wait for the benediction of Christ, as He lays His hands upon you. They are hands of blessing. Their touch will inspire you for courage and strength and all beautiful and noble living.
J. R. Miller
Hardman, Samuel G., and Dwight Lyman Moody. Thoughts for the Quiet Hour. Willow Grove, PA: Woodlawn Electronic Publishing, 1997. Print.