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Comfort in Jesus

Published by InTouch Ministries for reading on April 25th.

Hebrews 4:14-16 14 Having then a great high priest, who hath passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. 15 For we have not a high priest that cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but one that hath been in all points tempted like as `we are, yet' without sin. 16 Let us therefore draw near with boldness unto the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy, and may find grace to help `us' in time of need.

What brings you comfort when you are suffering or going through stressful times? Although well-meaning friends may assure you that everything will be all right, the person who truly comforts is the one who puts an arm around your shoulder and says, “I’m familiar with the pain you are feeling, and I know it hurts.”

Jesus is that kind of comforter for us. He came to earth as a human, experienced pain and suffering, and faced temptation without giving in to sin. He comes alongside to help us by being ...

Our Friend. “Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends” ( John 15:13 13 Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. ). Jesus isn’t a companion in word only; He demonstrated that He is the best possible friend because He willingly went to the cross to save us from our sins. He sacrificed Himself for us so we could be with Him forever.

Our High Priest. He became the Mediator between holy God and sinful mankind by offering His own blood as a sacrifice to reconcile us to the Father. Now we have immediate access to God in time of need.

Our Intercessor. Jesus sits at the Father’s right hand, interceding for us. We don’t always pray correctly, but what a comfort to know that the One who is perfect speaks to the Father on our behalf.

On whom do you lean during difficult times? Although people may disappoint us with quick-fix responses to our hurt, Jesus Christ understands our pain and offers unlimited compassion and help when we come to Him.

Bible in One Year: 2 Kings 10-12 Chapter 10 1 Now Ahab had seventy sons in Samaria. And Jehu wrote letters, and sent to Samaria, unto the rulers of Jezreel, even the elders, and unto them that brought up `the sons of' Ahab, saying, 2 And now as soon as this letter cometh to you, seeing your master's sons are with you, and there are with you chariots and horses, a fortified city also, and armor; 3 look ye out the best and meetest of your master's sons, and set him on his father's throne, and fight for your master's house. 4 But they were exceedingly afraid, and said, Behold, the two kings stood not before him: how then shall we stand? 5 And he that was over the household, and he that was over the city, the elders also, and they that brought up `the children', sent to Jehu, saying, We are thy servants, and will do all that thou shalt bid us; we will not make any man king: do thou that which is good in thine eyes. 6 Then he wrote a letter the second time to them, saying, If ye be on my side, and if ye will hearken unto my voice, take ye the heads of the men your master's sons, and come to me to Jezreel by to-morrow this time. Now the king's sons, being seventy persons, were with the great men of the city, who brought them up. 7 And it came to pass, when the letter came to them, that they took the king's sons, and slew them, even seventy persons, and put their heads in baskets, and sent them unto him to Jezreel. 8 And there came a messenger, and told him, saying, They have brought the heads of the king's sons. And he said, Lay ye them in two heaps at the entrance of the gate until the morning. 9 And it came to pass in the morning, that he went out, and stood, and said to all the people, Ye are righteous: behold, I conspired against my master, and slew him; but who smote all these? 10 Know now that there shall fall unto the earth nothing of the word of Jehovah, which Jehovah spake concerning the house of Ahab: for Jehovah hath done that which he spake by his servant Elijah. 11 So Jehu smote all that remained of the house of Ahab in Jezreel, and all his great men, and his familiar friends, and his priests, until he left him none remaining. 12 And he arose and departed, and went to Samaria. And as he was at the shearing-house of the shepherds in the way, 13 Jehu met with the brethren of Ahaziah king of Judah, and said, Who are ye? And they answered, We are the brethren of Ahaziah: and we go down to salute the children of the king and the children of the queen. 14 And he said, Take them alive. And they took them alive, and slew them at the pit of the shearing-house, even two and forty men; neither left he any of them. 15 And when he was departed thence, he lighted on Jehonadab the son of Rechab coming to meet him; and he saluted him, and said to him, Is thy heart right, as my heart is with thy heart? And Jehonadab answered, It is. If it be, give me thy hand. And he gave him his hand; and he took him up to him into the chariot. 16 And he said, Come with me, and see my zeal for Jehovah. So they made him ride in his chariot. 17 And when he came to Samaria, he smote all that remained unto Ahab in Samaria, till he had destroyed him, according to the word of Jehovah, which he spake to Elijah. 18 And Jehu gathered all the people together, and said unto them, Ahab served Baal a little; but Jehu will serve him much. 19 Now therefore call unto me all the prophets of Baal, all his worshippers, and all his priests; let none be wanting: for I have a great sacrifice `to do' to Baal; whosoever shall be wanting, he shall not live. But Jehu did it in subtlety, to the intent that he might destroy the worshippers of Baal. 20 And Jehu said, Sanctify a solemn assembly for Baal. And they proclaimed it. 21 And Jehu sent through all Israel: and all the worshippers of Baal came, so that there was not a man left that came not. And they came into the house of Baal; and the house of Baal was filled from one end to another. 22 And he said unto him that was over the vestry, Bring forth vestments for all the worshippers of Baal. And he brought them forth vestments. 23 And Jehu went, and Jehonadab the son of Rechab, into the house of Baal; and he said unto the worshippers of Baal, Search, and look that there be here with you none of the servants of Jehovah, but the worshippers of Baal only. 24 And they went in to offer sacrifices and burnt-offerings. Now Jehu had appointed him fourscore men without, and said, If any of the men whom I bring into your hands escape, `he that letteth him go', his life shall be for the life of him. 25 And it came to pass, as soon as he had made an end of offering the burnt-offering, that Jehu said to the guard and to the captains, Go in, and slay them; let none come forth. And they smote them with the edge of the sword; and the guard and the captains cast them out, and went to the city of the house of Baal. 26 And they brought forth the pillars that were in the house of Baal, and burned them. 27 And they brake down the pillar of Baal, and brake down the house of Baal, and made it a draught-house, unto this day. 28 Thus Jehu destroyed Baal out of Israel. 29 Howbeit from the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, wherewith he made Israel to sin, Jehu departed not from after them, `to wit', the golden calves that were in Beth-el, and that were in Dan. 30 And Jehovah said unto Jehu, Because thou hast done well in executing that which is right in mine eyes, `and' hast done unto the house of Ahab according to all that was in my heart, thy sons of the fourth generation shall sit on the throne of Israel. 31 But Jehu took no heed to walk in the law of Jehovah, the God of Israel, with all his heart: he departed not from the sins of Jeroboam, wherewith he made Israel to sin. 32 In those days Jehovah began to cut off from Israel: and Hazael smote them in all the borders of Israel; 33 from the Jordan eastward, all the land of Gilead, the Gadites, and the Reubenites, and the Manassites, from Aroer, which is by the valley of the Arnon, even Gilead and Bashan. 34 Now the rest of the acts of Jehu, and all that he did, and all his might, are they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Israel? 35 And Jehu slept with his fathers; and they buried him in Samaria. And Jehoahaz his son reigned in his stead. 36 And the time that Jehu reigned over Israel in Samaria was twenty and eight years. Chapter 11 1 Now when Athaliah the mother of Ahaziah saw that her son was dead, she arose and destroyed all the seed royal. 2 But Jehosheba, the daughter of king Joram, sister of Ahaziah, took Joash the son of Ahaziah, and stole him away from among the king's sons that were slain, even him and his nurse, `and put them' in the bedchamber; and they hid him from Athaliah, so that he was not slain; 3 And he was with her hid in the house of Jehovah six years. And Athaliah reigned over the land. 4 And in the seventh year Jehoiada sent and fetched the captains over hundreds of the Carites and of the guard, and brought them to him into the house of Jehovah; and he made a covenant with them, and took an oath of them in the house of Jehovah, and showed them the king's son. 5 And he commanded them, saying, This is the thing that ye shall do: a third part of you, that come in on the sabbath, shall be keepers of the watch of the king's house; 6 And a third part shall be at the gate Sur; and a third part at the gate behind the guard: so shall ye keep the watch of the house, and be a barrier. 7 And the two companies of you, even all that go forth on the sabbath, shall keep the watch of the house of Jehovah about the king. 8 And ye shall compass the king round about, every man with his weapons in his hand; and he that cometh within the ranks, let him be slain: and be ye with the king when he goeth out, and when he cometh in. 9 And the captains over hundreds did according to all that Jehoiada the priest commanded; and they took every man his men, those that were to come in on the sabbath, with those that were to go out on the sabbath, and came to Jehoiada the priest. 10 And the priest delivered to the captains over hundreds the spears and shields that had been king David's, which were in the house of Jehovah. 11 And the guard stood, every man with his weapons in his hand, from the right side of the house to the left side of the house, along by the altar and the house, by the king round about. 12 Then he brought out the king's son, and put the crown upon him, and `gave him' the testimony; and they made him king, and anointed him; and they clapped their hands, and said, `Long' live the king. 13 And when Athaliah heard the noise of the guard `and of' the people, she came to the people into the house of Jehovah: 14 and she looked, and, behold, the king stood by the pillar, as the manner was, and the captains and the trumpets by the king; and all the people of the land rejoiced, and blew trumpets. Then Athaliah rent her clothes, and cried, Treason! treason! 15 And Jehoiada the priest commanded the captains of hundreds that were set over the host, and said unto them, Have her forth between the ranks; and him that followeth her slay with the sword. For the priest said, Let her not be slain in the house of Jehovah. 16 So they made way for her; and she went by the way of the horses' entry to the king's house: and there was she slain. 17 And Jehoiada made a covenant between Jehovah and the king and the people, that they should be Jehovah's people; between the king also and the people. 18 And all the people of the land went to the house of Baal, and brake it down; his altars and his images brake they in pieces thoroughly, and slew Mattan the priest of Baal before the altars. And the priest appointed officers over the house of Jehovah. 19 And he took the captains over hundreds, and the Carites, and the guard, and all the people of the land; and they brought down the king from the house of Jehovah, and came by the way of the gate of the guard unto the king's house. And he sat on the throne of the kings. 20 So all the people of the land rejoiced, and the city was quiet. And Athaliah they had slain with the sword at the king's house. 21 Jehoash was seven years old when he began to reign. Chapter 12 1 In the seventh year of Jehu began Jehoash to reign; and he reigned forty years in Jerusalem: and his mother's name was Zibiah of Beer-sheba. 2 And Jehoash did that which was right in the eyes of Jehovah all his days wherein Jehoiada the priest instructed him. 3 Howbeit the high places were not taken away; the people still sacrificed and burnt incense in the high places. 4 And Jehoash said to the priests, All the money of the hallowed things that is brought into the house of Jehovah, in current money, the money of the persons for whom each man is rated, and all the money that it cometh into any man's heart to bring into the house of Jehovah, 5 let the priests take it to them, every man from his acquaintance; and they shall repair the breaches of the house, wheresoever any breach shall be found. 6 But it was so, that in the three and twentieth year of king Jehoash the priests had not repaired the breaches of the house. 7 Then king Jehoash called for Jehoiada the priest, and for the `other' priests, and said unto them, Why repair ye not the breaches of the house? now therefore take no `more' money from your acquaintance, but deliver it for the breaches of the house. 8 And the priests consented that they should take no `more' money from the people, neither repair the breaches of the house. 9 But Jehoiada the priest took a chest, and bored a hole in the lid of it, and set it beside the altar, on the right side as one cometh into the house of Jehovah: and the priests that kept the threshold put therein all the money that was brought into the house of Jehovah. 10 And it was so, when they saw that there was much money in the chest, that the king's scribe and the high priest came up, and they put up in bags and counted the money that was found in the house of Jehovah. 11 And they gave the money that was weighed out into the hands of them that did the work, that had the oversight of the house of Jehovah: and they paid it out to the carpenters and the builders, that wrought upon the house of Jehovah, 12 and to the masons and the hewers of stone, and for buying timber and hewn stone to repair the breaches of the house of Jehovah, and for all that was laid out for the house to repair it. 13 But there were not made for the house of Jehovah cups of silver, snuffers, basins, trumpets, any vessels of gold, or vessels of silver, of the money that was brought into the house of Jehovah; 14 for they gave that to them that did the work, and repaired therewith the house of Jehovah. 15 Moreover they reckoned not with the men, into whose hand they delivered the money to give to them that did the work; for they dealt faithfully. 16 The money for the trespass-offerings, and the money for the sin-offerings, was not brought into the house of Jehovah: it was the priests'. 17 Then Hazael king of Syria went up, and fought against Gath, and took it; and Hazael set his face to go up to Jerusalem. 18 And Jehoash king of Judah took all the hallowed things that Jehoshaphat and Jehoram and Ahaziah, his fathers, kings of Judah, had dedicated, and his own hallowed things, and all the gold that was found in the treasures of the house of Jehovah, and of the king's house, and sent it to Hazael king of Syria: and he went away from Jerusalem. 19 Now the rest of the acts of Joash, and all that he did, are they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Judah? 20 And his servants arose, and made a conspiracy, and smote Joash at the house of Millo, `on the way' that goeth down to Silla. 21 For Jozacar the son of Shimeath, and Jehozabad the son of Shomer, his servants, smote him, and he died; and they buried him with his fathers in the city of David: and Amaziah his son reigned in his stead.




Paul’s Salvation Was for You

Published by John Piper for reading on April 25th.

Formerly I was a blasphemer, persecutor, and insolent opponent. But I received mercy because I had acted ignorantly in unbelief, and the grace of our Lord overflowed for me with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. . . . I received mercy for this reason, that in me, as the foremost, Jesus Christ might display his perfect patience as an example to those who were to believe in him for eternal life. ( 1 Timothy 1:13 13 though I was before a blasphemer, and a persecutor, and injurious: howbeit I obtained mercy, because I did it ignorantly in unbelief; –14, 16)

Paul’s conversion was for your sake. Did you hear that? Here it is again: “I received mercy for this reason, that Christ might display his perfect patience as an example to those who were to believe in him for eternal life.” That’s us — you and me.

I hope you will hear this very personally. God had you in view when he chose Paul and saved him by sovereign grace just the way he did.

If you believe on Jesus for eternal life — or if you may yet believe on him for eternal life — Paul’s conversion is for your sake. The point of his conversion happening the way it did is to make Christ’s incredible patience vivid for you.

Remember that Paul’s pre-conversion life was a long, long trial to Jesus. “Why are you persecuting me?” Jesus asked on the Damascus road ( Acts 9:4 4 and he fell upon the earth, and heard a voice saying unto him, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me? ). “Your life of unbelief and rebellion is a persecution of me!” And yet Paul tells us in Galatians 1:15 15 But when it was the good pleasure of God, who separated me, `even' from my mother's womb, and called me through his grace, that he had been set apart by God for his apostleship since before he was born. That’s amazing. It means that all his life up to the point of his conversion was one long abuse of God, and one long rejection and mockery of Jesus — who had chosen him to be an apostle before he was born.

That is why Paul says his conversion is a brilliant demonstration of Jesus’s patience. And that is what he offers us today.

It was for our sake that Jesus saved Paul when and how he did. To “display his perfect patience” to us ( 1 Timothy 1:16 16 howbeit for this cause I obtained mercy, that in me as chief might Jesus Christ show forth all his longsuffering, for an ensample of them that should thereafter believe on him unto eternal life. ). Lest we lose heart. Lest we think he could not really save us. Lest we think he is prone to anger. Lest we think we have gone too far away. Lest we think our dearest one cannot be converted — suddenly, unexpectedly, by the sovereign, overflowing grace of Jesus.



The Enemy of Security

Published by InTouch Ministries for reading on April 25th.

1 John 5:1-9 Chapter 5 1 Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ is begotten of God: and whosoever loveth him that begat loveth him also that is begotten of him. 2 Hereby we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and do his commandments. 3 For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous. 4 For whatsoever is begotten of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that hath overcome the world, `even' our faith. 5 And who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God? 6 This is he that came by water and blood, `even' Jesus Christ; not with the water only, but with the water and with the blood. 7 And it is the Spirit that beareth witness, because the Spirit is the truth. 8 For there are three who bear witness, the Spirit, and the water, and the blood: and the three agree in one. 9 If we receive the witness of men, the witness of God is greater: for the witness of God is this, that he hath borne witness concerning his Son.

Sin can shake our faith in eternal security. God promised that anyone who believes Jesus Christ died on the cross for his or her sin will live forever in heaven ( John 6:40 40 For this is the will of my Father, that every one that beholdeth the Son, and believeth on him, should have eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day. ). But because unconfessed sin creates a barrier between the Lord and the believer, it short-circuits faith and assurance.

When a believer confesses wrongdoing, the Father forgives and cleanses His child ( 1 John 1:9 9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. ). But by failing to admit to sin, a Christian will experience estrangement from God. He or she may feel unworthy of the Father’s love and can even struggle with a sense of rejection. Ask people in this situation if they are certain about their eternal future, and you’ll probably hear, “I used to be.” Sometimes they will go so far as to tell me that they are no longer saved—but that is impossible. While we can lose our assurance, we can never lose our salvation or our place in heaven.

Too often, people mistake the Lord’s chastening hand for confirmation of their lost condition. “God wouldn’t put me through this if I were saved,” they’ll say. Actually, the opposite is true. The heavenly Father disciplines those He loves, so correction is proof that we are His children (Heb. 12:6-7). Chastisement is His way of guiding the wayward believer back into fellowship with Him.

Jesus is our advocate before God. Like ancient Israel’s high priests who offered blood sacrifices, He atoned for our sins by His own death on the cross. We can’t sin our way out of His grace. The minute we confess our wrongdoing, estrangement dissipates and assurance comes flooding back into our hearts.

Bible in One Year: 2 Kings 10-12 Chapter 10 1 Now Ahab had seventy sons in Samaria. And Jehu wrote letters, and sent to Samaria, unto the rulers of Jezreel, even the elders, and unto them that brought up `the sons of' Ahab, saying, 2 And now as soon as this letter cometh to you, seeing your master's sons are with you, and there are with you chariots and horses, a fortified city also, and armor; 3 look ye out the best and meetest of your master's sons, and set him on his father's throne, and fight for your master's house. 4 But they were exceedingly afraid, and said, Behold, the two kings stood not before him: how then shall we stand? 5 And he that was over the household, and he that was over the city, the elders also, and they that brought up `the children', sent to Jehu, saying, We are thy servants, and will do all that thou shalt bid us; we will not make any man king: do thou that which is good in thine eyes. 6 Then he wrote a letter the second time to them, saying, If ye be on my side, and if ye will hearken unto my voice, take ye the heads of the men your master's sons, and come to me to Jezreel by to-morrow this time. Now the king's sons, being seventy persons, were with the great men of the city, who brought them up. 7 And it came to pass, when the letter came to them, that they took the king's sons, and slew them, even seventy persons, and put their heads in baskets, and sent them unto him to Jezreel. 8 And there came a messenger, and told him, saying, They have brought the heads of the king's sons. And he said, Lay ye them in two heaps at the entrance of the gate until the morning. 9 And it came to pass in the morning, that he went out, and stood, and said to all the people, Ye are righteous: behold, I conspired against my master, and slew him; but who smote all these? 10 Know now that there shall fall unto the earth nothing of the word of Jehovah, which Jehovah spake concerning the house of Ahab: for Jehovah hath done that which he spake by his servant Elijah. 11 So Jehu smote all that remained of the house of Ahab in Jezreel, and all his great men, and his familiar friends, and his priests, until he left him none remaining. 12 And he arose and departed, and went to Samaria. And as he was at the shearing-house of the shepherds in the way, 13 Jehu met with the brethren of Ahaziah king of Judah, and said, Who are ye? And they answered, We are the brethren of Ahaziah: and we go down to salute the children of the king and the children of the queen. 14 And he said, Take them alive. And they took them alive, and slew them at the pit of the shearing-house, even two and forty men; neither left he any of them. 15 And when he was departed thence, he lighted on Jehonadab the son of Rechab coming to meet him; and he saluted him, and said to him, Is thy heart right, as my heart is with thy heart? And Jehonadab answered, It is. If it be, give me thy hand. And he gave him his hand; and he took him up to him into the chariot. 16 And he said, Come with me, and see my zeal for Jehovah. So they made him ride in his chariot. 17 And when he came to Samaria, he smote all that remained unto Ahab in Samaria, till he had destroyed him, according to the word of Jehovah, which he spake to Elijah. 18 And Jehu gathered all the people together, and said unto them, Ahab served Baal a little; but Jehu will serve him much. 19 Now therefore call unto me all the prophets of Baal, all his worshippers, and all his priests; let none be wanting: for I have a great sacrifice `to do' to Baal; whosoever shall be wanting, he shall not live. But Jehu did it in subtlety, to the intent that he might destroy the worshippers of Baal. 20 And Jehu said, Sanctify a solemn assembly for Baal. And they proclaimed it. 21 And Jehu sent through all Israel: and all the worshippers of Baal came, so that there was not a man left that came not. And they came into the house of Baal; and the house of Baal was filled from one end to another. 22 And he said unto him that was over the vestry, Bring forth vestments for all the worshippers of Baal. And he brought them forth vestments. 23 And Jehu went, and Jehonadab the son of Rechab, into the house of Baal; and he said unto the worshippers of Baal, Search, and look that there be here with you none of the servants of Jehovah, but the worshippers of Baal only. 24 And they went in to offer sacrifices and burnt-offerings. Now Jehu had appointed him fourscore men without, and said, If any of the men whom I bring into your hands escape, `he that letteth him go', his life shall be for the life of him. 25 And it came to pass, as soon as he had made an end of offering the burnt-offering, that Jehu said to the guard and to the captains, Go in, and slay them; let none come forth. And they smote them with the edge of the sword; and the guard and the captains cast them out, and went to the city of the house of Baal. 26 And they brought forth the pillars that were in the house of Baal, and burned them. 27 And they brake down the pillar of Baal, and brake down the house of Baal, and made it a draught-house, unto this day. 28 Thus Jehu destroyed Baal out of Israel. 29 Howbeit from the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, wherewith he made Israel to sin, Jehu departed not from after them, `to wit', the golden calves that were in Beth-el, and that were in Dan. 30 And Jehovah said unto Jehu, Because thou hast done well in executing that which is right in mine eyes, `and' hast done unto the house of Ahab according to all that was in my heart, thy sons of the fourth generation shall sit on the throne of Israel. 31 But Jehu took no heed to walk in the law of Jehovah, the God of Israel, with all his heart: he departed not from the sins of Jeroboam, wherewith he made Israel to sin. 32 In those days Jehovah began to cut off from Israel: and Hazael smote them in all the borders of Israel; 33 from the Jordan eastward, all the land of Gilead, the Gadites, and the Reubenites, and the Manassites, from Aroer, which is by the valley of the Arnon, even Gilead and Bashan. 34 Now the rest of the acts of Jehu, and all that he did, and all his might, are they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Israel? 35 And Jehu slept with his fathers; and they buried him in Samaria. And Jehoahaz his son reigned in his stead. 36 And the time that Jehu reigned over Israel in Samaria was twenty and eight years. Chapter 11 1 Now when Athaliah the mother of Ahaziah saw that her son was dead, she arose and destroyed all the seed royal. 2 But Jehosheba, the daughter of king Joram, sister of Ahaziah, took Joash the son of Ahaziah, and stole him away from among the king's sons that were slain, even him and his nurse, `and put them' in the bedchamber; and they hid him from Athaliah, so that he was not slain; 3 And he was with her hid in the house of Jehovah six years. And Athaliah reigned over the land. 4 And in the seventh year Jehoiada sent and fetched the captains over hundreds of the Carites and of the guard, and brought them to him into the house of Jehovah; and he made a covenant with them, and took an oath of them in the house of Jehovah, and showed them the king's son. 5 And he commanded them, saying, This is the thing that ye shall do: a third part of you, that come in on the sabbath, shall be keepers of the watch of the king's house; 6 And a third part shall be at the gate Sur; and a third part at the gate behind the guard: so shall ye keep the watch of the house, and be a barrier. 7 And the two companies of you, even all that go forth on the sabbath, shall keep the watch of the house of Jehovah about the king. 8 And ye shall compass the king round about, every man with his weapons in his hand; and he that cometh within the ranks, let him be slain: and be ye with the king when he goeth out, and when he cometh in. 9 And the captains over hundreds did according to all that Jehoiada the priest commanded; and they took every man his men, those that were to come in on the sabbath, with those that were to go out on the sabbath, and came to Jehoiada the priest. 10 And the priest delivered to the captains over hundreds the spears and shields that had been king David's, which were in the house of Jehovah. 11 And the guard stood, every man with his weapons in his hand, from the right side of the house to the left side of the house, along by the altar and the house, by the king round about. 12 Then he brought out the king's son, and put the crown upon him, and `gave him' the testimony; and they made him king, and anointed him; and they clapped their hands, and said, `Long' live the king. 13 And when Athaliah heard the noise of the guard `and of' the people, she came to the people into the house of Jehovah: 14 and she looked, and, behold, the king stood by the pillar, as the manner was, and the captains and the trumpets by the king; and all the people of the land rejoiced, and blew trumpets. Then Athaliah rent her clothes, and cried, Treason! treason! 15 And Jehoiada the priest commanded the captains of hundreds that were set over the host, and said unto them, Have her forth between the ranks; and him that followeth her slay with the sword. For the priest said, Let her not be slain in the house of Jehovah. 16 So they made way for her; and she went by the way of the horses' entry to the king's house: and there was she slain. 17 And Jehoiada made a covenant between Jehovah and the king and the people, that they should be Jehovah's people; between the king also and the people. 18 And all the people of the land went to the house of Baal, and brake it down; his altars and his images brake they in pieces thoroughly, and slew Mattan the priest of Baal before the altars. And the priest appointed officers over the house of Jehovah. 19 And he took the captains over hundreds, and the Carites, and the guard, and all the people of the land; and they brought down the king from the house of Jehovah, and came by the way of the gate of the guard unto the king's house. And he sat on the throne of the kings. 20 So all the people of the land rejoiced, and the city was quiet. And Athaliah they had slain with the sword at the king's house. 21 Jehoash was seven years old when he began to reign. Chapter 12 1 In the seventh year of Jehu began Jehoash to reign; and he reigned forty years in Jerusalem: and his mother's name was Zibiah of Beer-sheba. 2 And Jehoash did that which was right in the eyes of Jehovah all his days wherein Jehoiada the priest instructed him. 3 Howbeit the high places were not taken away; the people still sacrificed and burnt incense in the high places. 4 And Jehoash said to the priests, All the money of the hallowed things that is brought into the house of Jehovah, in current money, the money of the persons for whom each man is rated, and all the money that it cometh into any man's heart to bring into the house of Jehovah, 5 let the priests take it to them, every man from his acquaintance; and they shall repair the breaches of the house, wheresoever any breach shall be found. 6 But it was so, that in the three and twentieth year of king Jehoash the priests had not repaired the breaches of the house. 7 Then king Jehoash called for Jehoiada the priest, and for the `other' priests, and said unto them, Why repair ye not the breaches of the house? now therefore take no `more' money from your acquaintance, but deliver it for the breaches of the house. 8 And the priests consented that they should take no `more' money from the people, neither repair the breaches of the house. 9 But Jehoiada the priest took a chest, and bored a hole in the lid of it, and set it beside the altar, on the right side as one cometh into the house of Jehovah: and the priests that kept the threshold put therein all the money that was brought into the house of Jehovah. 10 And it was so, when they saw that there was much money in the chest, that the king's scribe and the high priest came up, and they put up in bags and counted the money that was found in the house of Jehovah. 11 And they gave the money that was weighed out into the hands of them that did the work, that had the oversight of the house of Jehovah: and they paid it out to the carpenters and the builders, that wrought upon the house of Jehovah, 12 and to the masons and the hewers of stone, and for buying timber and hewn stone to repair the breaches of the house of Jehovah, and for all that was laid out for the house to repair it. 13 But there were not made for the house of Jehovah cups of silver, snuffers, basins, trumpets, any vessels of gold, or vessels of silver, of the money that was brought into the house of Jehovah; 14 for they gave that to them that did the work, and repaired therewith the house of Jehovah. 15 Moreover they reckoned not with the men, into whose hand they delivered the money to give to them that did the work; for they dealt faithfully. 16 The money for the trespass-offerings, and the money for the sin-offerings, was not brought into the house of Jehovah: it was the priests'. 17 Then Hazael king of Syria went up, and fought against Gath, and took it; and Hazael set his face to go up to Jerusalem. 18 And Jehoash king of Judah took all the hallowed things that Jehoshaphat and Jehoram and Ahaziah, his fathers, kings of Judah, had dedicated, and his own hallowed things, and all the gold that was found in the treasures of the house of Jehovah, and of the king's house, and sent it to Hazael king of Syria: and he went away from Jerusalem. 19 Now the rest of the acts of Joash, and all that he did, are they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Judah? 20 And his servants arose, and made a conspiracy, and smote Joash at the house of Millo, `on the way' that goeth down to Silla. 21 For Jozacar the son of Shimeath, and Jehozabad the son of Shomer, his servants, smote him, and he died; and they buried him with his fathers in the city of David: and Amaziah his son reigned in his stead.




Daily Bible - April 25

Published by Grace To You for reading on April 25th.

Reading for Today:

  • Judges 15:1 Chapter 15 1 But it came to pass after a while, in the time of wheat harvest, that Samson visited his wife with a kid; and he said, I will go in to my wife into the chamber. But her father would not suffer him to go in. –16:31
  • Psalms 51:1-6 Chapter 51 1 Have mercy upon me, O God, according to thy lovingkindness: According to the multitude of thy tender mercies blot out my transgressions. 2 Wash me thoroughly from mine iniquity, And cleanse me from my sin. 3 For I know my transgressions; And my sin is ever before me. 4 Against thee, thee only, have I sinned, And done that which is evil in thy sight; That thou mayest be justified when thou speakest, And be clear when thou judgest. 5 Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity; And in sin did my mother conceive me. 6 Behold, thou desirest truth in the inward parts; And in the hidden part thou wilt make me to know wisdom.
  • Proverbs 14:31-32 31 He that oppresseth the poor reproacheth his Maker; But he that hath mercy on the needy honoreth him. 32 The wicked is thrust down in his evil-doing; But the righteous hath a refuge in his death.
  • Luke 18:1-23 Chapter 18 1 And he spake a parable unto them to the end that they ought always to pray, and not to faint; 2 saying, There was in a city a judge, who feared not God, and regarded not man: 3 and there was a widow in that city; and she came oft unto him, saying, Avenge me of mine adversary. 4 And he would not for a while: but afterward he said within himself, Though I fear not God, nor regard man; 5 yet because this widow troubleth me, I will avenge her, lest she wear me out by her continual coming. 6 And the Lord said, Hear what the unrighteous judge saith. 7 And shall not God avenge his elect, that cry to him day and night, and `yet' he is longsuffering over them? 8 I say unto you, that he will avenge them speedily. Nevertheless, when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth? 9 And he spake also this parable unto certain who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and set all others at nought: 10 Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican. 11 The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as the rest of men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican. 12 I fast twice in the week; I give tithes of all that I get. 13 But the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote his breast, saying, God, be thou merciful to me a sinner. 14 I say unto you, This man went down to his house justified rather than the other: for every one that exalteth himself shall be humbled; but he that humbleth himself shall be exalted. 15 And they were bringing unto him also their babes, that he should touch them: but when the disciples saw it, they rebuked them. 16 But Jesus called them unto him, saying, Suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for to such belongeth the kingdom of God. 17 Verily I say unto you, Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child, he shall in no wise enter therein. 18 And a certain ruler asked him, saying, Good Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life? 19 And Jesus said unto him, Why callest thou me good? none is good, save one, `even' God. 20 Thou knowest the commandments, Do not commit adultery, Do not kill, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Honor thy father and mother. 21 And he said, All these things have I observed from my youth up. 22 And when Jesus heard it, he said unto him, One thing thou lackest yet: sell all that thou hast, and distribute unto the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, follow me. 23 But when he heard these things, he became exceeding sorrowful; for he was very rich.

Notes:

Judges 16:20 he did not know that the LORD had departed from him. Here was the tragedy of the wrath of abandonment. His sin had caused him to forfeit the power of God’s presence. This principle is seen throughout Scripture (Gen. 6:3; Prov. 1:24–31; Matt. 15:14; Rom. 1:24–32).

Judges 16:24 they praised their god. It is tragic when a person’s sin contributes to the unsaved community’s giving praise to a false god, for God alone is worthy of praise.

Psalm 51:1 lovingkindness. Even though he had sinned horribly, David knew that forgiveness was available, based on God’s covenant love.

Psalm 51:4 Against You, You only. David realized what every believer seeking forgiveness must, that even though he had tragically wronged Bathsheba and Uriah, his ultimate crime was against God and His holy law (see 2 Sam.11:27).

Psalm 51:5 brought forth in iniquity. David also acknowledged that his sin was not God’s fault in any way (vv.4b, 6) nor was it some aberration. Rather, the source of David’s sin was a fallen, sinful disposition, his since conception.

DAY 25: Why is human righteousness so insufficient for salvation?

The parable of the Pharisee and the tax collector in Luke 18:9 9 And he spake also this parable unto certain who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and set all others at nought: –14 is rich with truth about the doctrine of justification by faith. It illustrates perfectly how a sinner who is utterly devoid of personal righteousness may be declared righteous before God instantaneously through an act of repentant faith. The parable is addressed to Pharisees who trusted their own righteousness (vv. 10, 11). Such confidence in one’s inherent righteousness is a damning hope (see Rom. 10:3; Phil. 3:9), because human righteousness—even the righteousness of the most fastidious Pharisee—falls short of the divine standard (Matt. 5:48). Scripture consistently teaches that sinners are justified when God’s perfect righteousness is imputed to their account (see Gen. 15:6; Rom. 4:4, 5; 2 Cor. 5:21; Phil. 3:4–9)—and it was only on that basis that this tax collector (or anyone else) could be saved.

For the Pharisee to fast twice a week (v. 12) was more than is required by any biblical standard. By exalting his own works, the Pharisee revealed that his entire hope lay in his not being as bad as someone else. He utterly lacked any sense of his own unworthiness and sin.

The tax collector’s humility is notable in everything about his posture and behavior (v. 13). Here was a man who had been made to face the reality of his own sin, and his only response was abject humility and repentance. He contrasts with the Pharisee in virtually every detail. “God, be merciful to me a sinner!” He had no hope but the mercy of God. This is the point to which the law aims to bring every sinner (see Rom. 3:19, 20; 7:13; Galatians 3:22 22 But the scriptures shut up all things under sin, that the promise by faith in Jesus Christ might be given to them that believe. –24). He was “justified” (v. 14), i.e., reckoned righteous before God by means of an imputed righteousness.

From The MacArthur Daily Bible Copyright © 2003. Used by permission of Thomas Nelson Bibles, a division of Thomas Nelson, Inc, Nashville, TN 37214, www.thomasnelson.com.

Additional Resources

April 25 - A Perspective on Non-Retaliation

Published by Grace To You for reading on April 25th.

“‘You have heard that it was said, “An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth.” But I say to you, do not resist an evil person’” ( Matthew 5:38 38 Ye have heard that it was said, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth: –39).

Christians are to “resist the devil” ( James 4:7 7 Be subject therefore unto God; but resist the devil, and he will flee from you. ; cf. 1 Peter 5:9 9 whom withstand stedfast in your faith, knowing that the same sufferings are accomplished in your brethren who are in the world. ) and all that his evil world system stands for (Matt. 6:13; Rom. 12:9; 1 Thess. 5:22). This proves that, although Jesus refuted the Jewish leaders’ wrong teaching that people should take revenge in personal matters, our Lord did not teach that His followers simply had to tolerate all sorts of sinful misconduct and evil.

The resistance of evil and wrong, if done properly, will occur within the church. Jesus’ instruction on church discipline concludes with this command: “If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector” (Matt. 18:17; cf. 1 Tim. 5:20). A sinning member who rejects one-on-one reproof as well as reproof from two or three others and from the entire church must be excluded from the fellowship. Concerning unrepentant immorality in the church, Paul instructed—quoting the Old Testament—“Remove the wicked man from among yourselves” (1 Cor. 5:13).

In contrast to this, Jesus clarifies that His followers must not resist or take vengeance regarding supposed harm done to them personally. Such retaliation has no place in society at large, much less among Christians. Paul later wrote, “Never pay back evil for evil to anyone” (Rom. 12:17; cf. v. 19). Instead, God calls us to overcome others’ bad treatment of us by doing good to them (Rom. 12:21).

Ask Yourself

What are the main reasons for this kind of rebuke and discipline? What are its goals and objectives? When do circumstances become necessary to perform it?

From Daily Readings from the Life of Christ, Vol. 1, John MacArthur. Copyright © 2008. Used by permission of Moody Publishers, Chicago, IL 60610, www.moodypublishers.com.

Additional Resources

The Resurrection: So What?

Published by Grace To You for reading on April 25th.

“If we have only hoped in Christ in this life, we are of all men most to be pitied” ( 1 Corinthians 15:19 19 If we have only hoped in Christ in this life, we are of all men most pitiable. ).

Without Christ’s resurrection, our individual Christian lives would be pathetic exercises in futility.

In ancient times the strongest swimmer among the sailors on a ship was called the archegos, a Greek word that means “front-runner” or “pioneer.” If as the ship approached shore, it got caught in waves so strong that a safe landing was doubtful, the archegos would fasten one end of a long rope to the ship, tie the other end around himself, jump into the water, and guide the ship to land. Once on land, he would secure the rope to a rock or tree. Then the other passengers could disembark and use the rope as a safety tether to reach the shore.

Jesus is our archegos. If He didn’t overcome death and make a way possible for us to do the same, we would have nothing more to look forward to than life on earth, which would leave us with no brighter hope than the typical unbeliever (Rom. 6:23).

The archegos illustration shows us once again the crucial importance of Christ’s rising from the grave. Without the Resurrection, Christianity loses its doctrinal strength, as we saw in yesterday’s study. Furthermore, the Christian life would become futile and pathetic if we could not point to the truth of the Resurrection. If our Lord were still in the tomb, He could not help us regarding eternity or our earthly ministry. We would have nothing to justify our efforts in Bible study, preaching, teaching, witnessing, or any activity of Christian service.

However, God the Father did raise “Jesus our Lord from the dead, He who was delivered up because of our transgressions, and was raised because of our justification” (Rom. 4:24-25). Because Christ lives, we too shall live ( John 14:19 19 Yet a little while, and the world beholdeth me no more; but ye behold me: because I live, ye shall live also. ). This great certainty should give us all the confidence and motivation we’ll ever want or need as we serve our Lord and risen Savior, Jesus Christ.

Suggestions for Prayer

Based on the reality of the Resurrection, ask God today to give you fresh incentive to be His faithful servant.

For Further Study

Read Luke 24:1-12 Chapter 24 1 But on the first day of the week, at early dawn, they came unto the tomb, bringing the spices which they had prepared. 2 And they found the stone rolled away from the tomb. 3 And they entered in, and found not the body of the Lord Jesus. 4 And it came to pass, while they were perplexed thereabout, behold, two men stood by them in dazzling apparel: 5 and as they were affrighted and bowed down their faces to the earth, they said unto them, Why seek ye the living among the dead? 6 He is not here, but is risen: remember how he spake unto you when he was yet in Galilee, 7 saying that the Son of man must be delivered up into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and the third day rise again. 8 And they remembered his words, 9 and returned from the tomb, and told all these things to the eleven, and to all the rest. 10 Now they were Mary Magdalene, and Joanna, and Mary the `mother' of James: and the other women with them told these things unto the apostles. 11 And these words appeared in their sight as idle talk; and they disbelieved them. 12 But Peter arose, and ran unto the tomb; and stooping and looking in, he seeth the linen cloths by themselves; and he departed to his home, wondering at that which was come to pass. .

  • What immediate effect did knowledge of Jesus’ resurrection have on Mary Magdalene and the other women?
  • How did their reaction differ from most of the disciples’?

From Strength for Today by John MacArthur Copyright © 1997. Used by permission of Crossway Books, a division of Good News Publishers, Wheaton, IL 60187, www.crossway.com.

Additional Resources

Messengers of Peace

Published by Grace To You for reading on April 25th.

"Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God" (Matt. 5:9).

You are a messenger of peace!

When Jesus said, "Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God" (Matt. 5:9), He was referring to a special group of people whom God called to restore the peace that was forfeited because of sin. They may not be politicians, statesmen, diplomats, kings, presidents, or Nobel Prize winners, but they hold the key to true and lasting peace.

As a Christian, you are among that select group of peacemakers. As such you have two primary responsibilities. The first is to help others make peace with God. There is no greater privilege. The best way to do that is to preach the gospel of peace with clarity so people understand their alienation from God and seek reconciliation. Romans 10:15 15 and how shall they preach, except they be sent? even as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that bring glad tidings of good things! says, "How beautiful are the feet of those who bring glad tidings of good things!" The early church preached peace through Christ, and that is your privilege as well.

Your second responsibility is to help reconcile believers to one another. That's a very important issue to God. He won't accept worship from those who are at odds with each other. They must first deal with the conflict (Matt. 5:23-24). That is especially true within a family. Peter warned husbands to treat their wives properly so their prayers wouldn't be hindered (1 Pet. 3:7).

Peacemakers don't avoid spiritual conflicts—they speak the truth in love and allow the Spirit to minister through them to bring reconciliation. If you see someone who is alienated from God, you are to present him or her with the gospel of peace. If you see two Christians fighting, you are to do everything you can to help them resolve their differences in a righteous manner.

Of course to be an effective peacemaker you must maintain your own peace with God. Sin in your life will disrupt peace and prevent you from dispensing God's peace to others. Therefore continually guard your heart and confess your sin so that God can use you as His peacemaker.

Suggestions for Prayer

Pray for those close to you who don't know Christ. Take every opportunity to tell them of God's peace.

For Further Study

Read 2 Corinthians 5:17-21 17 Wherefore if any man is in Christ, `he is' a new creature: the old things are passed away; behold, they are become new. 18 But all things are of God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ, and gave unto us the ministry of reconciliation; 19 to wit, that God was in Christ reconciling the world unto himself, not reckoning unto them their trespasses, and having committed unto us the word of reconciliation. 20 We are ambassadors therefore on behalf of Christ, as though God were entreating by us: we beseech `you' on behalf of Christ, be ye reconciled to God. 21 Him who knew no sin he made `to be' sin on our behalf; that we might become the righteousness of God in him. .

  • How did Paul describe the ministry of reconciliation?
  • What was Christ's role in reconciling man to God?

From Drawing Near by John MacArthur Copyright © 1993. Used by permission of Crossway Books, a division of Good News Publishers, Wheaton, IL 60187, www.crossway.com.

Additional Resources

Evening Devotional by C.H. Spurgeon for April 25th

Published by C.H. Spurgeon for reading on April 25th.

Revelation 3:20 20 Behold, I stand at the door and knock: if any man hear my voice and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.

WHAT is your desire this evening? Is it set upon heavenly things? Do you long to enjoy the high doctrine of eternal love? Do you desire liberty in very close communion with God? Do you aspire to know the heights, and depths, and lengths, and breadths? Then you must draw near to Jesus; you must get a clear sight of Him in His preciousness and completeness: you must view Him in His work, in His offices, in His person. He who understands Christ, receives an anointing from the Holy One, by which He knows all things. Christ is the great master-key of all the chambers of God: there is no treasure-house of God which will not open and yield up all its wealth to the soul that lives near to Jesus. Are you saying, "O that He would dwell in my bosom "Would that He would make my heart His dwelling-place for ever"? Open the door, beloved, and He will come into your souls. He has long been knocking, and all with this object, that He may sup with you, and you with Him. He sups with you because you find the house or the heart, and you with Him because He brings the provision. He could not sup with you if it were not in your heart, you finding the house; nor could you sup with Him, for you have a bare cupboard, if He did not bring provision with Him. Fling wide, then, the portals of your soul. He will come with that love which you long to feel; He will come with that joy into which you cannot work your poor depressed spirit; He will bring the peace which now you have not; He will come with His flagons of wine and sweet apples of love, and cheer you till you have no other sickness but that of "love o'erpowering, love divine." Only open the door to Him, drive out His enemies, give Him the keys of your heart, and He will dwell there for ever. Oh, wondrous love, that brings such a guest to dwell in such a heart!

Morning Devotional by C.H. Spurgeon for April 25th

Published by C.H. Spurgeon for reading on April 25th.

Song of Solomon 2:10 10 My beloved spake, and said unto me, Rise up, my love, my fair one, and come away.

LO, I hear the voice of my Beloved! He speaks to me! Fair weather is smiling upon the face of the earth, and He would not have me spiritually asleep while nature is all around me awaking from her winter's rest. He bids me "Rise up," and well He may, for I have long enough been lying among the pots of worldliness. He is risen, I am risen in Him, why then should I cleave unto the dust? From lower loves, desires, pursuits, and aspirations, I would rise towards Him. He calls me by the sweet title of "My love," and counts me fair; this is a good argument for my rising. If He has thus exalted me, and thinks me thus comely, how can I linger in the tents of Kedar and find congenial associates among the sons of men? He bids me "Come away." Further and further from everything selfish, grovelling, worldly, sinful, He calls me; yea, from the outwardly religious world which knows Him not, and has no sympathy with the mystery of the higher life, He calls me. "Come away" has no harsh sound in it to my ear, for what is there to hold me in this wilderness of vanity and sin? O my Lord, would that I could come away, but I am taken among the thorns, and cannot escape from them as I would. I would, if it were possible, have neither eyes, nor ears, nor heart for sin. Thou callest me to Thyself by saying "Come away," and this is a melodious call indeed. To come to Thee is to come home from exile, to come to land out of the raging storm, to come to rest after long labour, to come to the goal of my desires and the summit of my wishes. But Lord, how can a stone rise, how can a lump of clay come away from the horrible pit? O raise me, draw me. Thy grace can do it. Send forth Thy Holy Spirit to kindle sacred flames of love in my heart, and I will continue to rise until I leave life and time behind me, and indeed come away.

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