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How to Handle the Bible

Published by InTouch Ministries for reading on September 19th.

Psalms 1:1-3 Chapter 1 1 Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the wicked, Nor standeth in the way of sinners, Nor sitteth in the seat of scoffers: 2 But his delight is in the law of Jehovah; And on his law doth he meditate day and night. 3 And he shall be like a tree planted by the streams of water, That bringeth forth its fruit in its season, Whose leaf also doth not wither; And whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.

The value we place on something determines how we treat it. For instance, you probably wouldn’t give much thought to caring for an old shoebox. Yet if someone placed $10,000 inside before handing you that same cardboard container, you’d likely rearrange your day to protect it against damage or theft.

Once we realize the worth of Scripture, we no longer read merely out of obligation. Instead, we hunger for its revelation and life-changing power.

Here’s how you can prioritize God’s Word so that it impacts your heart and behavior. First, turn to it daily with eager expectation for what the Lord will reveal. Second, meditate upon the Word by thinking about what you’ve read and absorbing its meaning and implications. Third, study God’s truth. There are a variety of ways to do this. For example, follow a specific word through the Old and New Testaments by using a concordance or search engine. Or study an entire book by dissecting one chapter at a time. Fourth, believe what the Lord says. Fifth, obey. In other words, take what you read and apply it to your life circumstances. This often requires courage and discipline. Sixth, share what you’ve learned. Doing so will encourage others while strengthening you and sinking the lesson deep in your heart.

The Bible may look like just another book. But it is living truth that can protect and guide, pierce and encourage. It holds the story of Christ’s sacrifice and our salvation, so we can eventually dwell with the Lord in heaven. The way that we look to and depend on God’s Word will reflect to others the value we place on it.

Bible in One Year: Hosea 10-14 Chapter 10 1 Israel is a luxuriant vine, that putteth forth his fruit: according to the abundance of his fruit he hath multiplied his altars; according to the goodness of their land they have made goodly pillars. 2 Their heart is divided; now shall they be found guilty: he will smite their altars, he will destroy their pillars. 3 Surely now shall they say, We have no king; for we fear not Jehovah; and the king, what can he do for us? 4 They speak `vain' words, swearing falsely in making covenants: therefore judgment springeth up as hemlock in the furrows of the field. 5 The inhabitants of Samaria shall be in terror for the calves of Beth-aven; for the people thereof shall mourn over it, and the priests thereof that rejoiced over it, for the glory thereof, because it is departed from it. 6 It also shall be carried unto Assyria for a present to king Jareb: Ephraim shall receive shame, and Israel shall be ashamed of his own counsel. 7 `As for' Samaria, her king is cut off, as foam upon the water. 8 The high places also of Aven, the sin of Israel, shall be destroyed: the thorn and the thistle shall come up on their altars; and they shall say to the mountains, Cover us; and to the hills, Fall on us. 9 O Israel, thou hast sinned from the days of Gibeah: there they stood; the battle against the children of iniquity doth not overtake them in Gibeah. 10 When it is my desire, I will chastise them; and the peoples shall be gathered against them, when they are bound to their two transgressions. 11 And Ephraim is a heifer that is taught, that loveth to tread out `the grain'; but I have passed over upon her fair neck: I will set a rider on Ephraim; Judah shall plow, Jacob shall break his clods. 12 Sow to yourselves in righteousness, reap according to kindness; break up your fallow ground; for it is time to seek Jehovah, till he come and rain righteousness upon you. 13 Ye have plowed wickedness, ye have reaped iniquity; ye have eaten the fruit of lies; for thou didst trust in thy way, in the multitude of thy mighty men. 14 Therefore shall a tumult arise among thy people, and all thy fortresses shall be destroyed, as Shalman destroyed Beth-arbel in the day of battle: the mother was dashed in pieces with her children. 15 So shall Beth-el do unto you because of your great wickedness: at daybreak shall the king of Israel be utterly cut off. Chapter 11 1 When Israel was a child, then I loved him, and called my son out of Egypt. 2 The more `the prophets' called them, the more they went from them: they sacrificed unto the Baalim, and burned incense to graven images. 3 Yet I taught Ephraim to walk; I took them on my arms; but they knew not that I healed them. 4 I drew them with cords of a man, with bands of love; and I was to them as they that lift up the yoke on their jaws; and I laid food before them. 5 They shall not return into the land of Egypt; but the Assyrian shall be their king, because they refused to return `to me'. 6 And the sword shall fall upon their cities, and shall consume their bars, and devour `them', because of their own counsels. 7 And my people are bent on backsliding from me: though they call them to `him that is' on high, none at all will exalt `him'. 8 How shall I give thee up, Ephraim? `how' shall I cast thee off, Israel? how shall I make thee as Admah? `how' shall I set thee as Zeboiim? my heart is turned within me, my compassions are kindled together. 9 I will not execute the fierceness of mine anger, I will not return to destroy Ephraim: for I am God, and not man; the Holy One in the midst of thee; and I will not come in wrath. 10 They shall walk after Jehovah, who will roar like a lion; for he will roar, and the children shall come trembling from the west. 11 They shall come trembling as a bird out of Egypt, and as a dove out of the land of Assyria; and I will make them to dwell in their houses, saith Jehovah. 12 Ephraim compasseth me about with falsehood, and the house of Israel with deceit; but Judah yet ruleth with God, and is faithful with the Holy One. Chapter 12 1 Ephraim feedeth on wind, and followeth after the east wind: he continually multiplieth lies and desolation; and they make a covenant with Assyria, and oil is carried into Egypt. 2 Jehovah hath also a controversy with Judah, and will punish Jacob according to his ways; according to his doings will he recompense him. 3 In the womb he took his brother by the heel; and in his manhood he had power with God: 4 yea, he had power over the angel, and prevailed; he wept, and made supplication unto him: he found him at Beth-el, and there he spake with us, 5 even Jehovah, the God of hosts; Jehovah is his memorial `name'. 6 Therefore turn thou to thy God: keep kindness and justice, and wait for thy God continually. 7 `He is' a trafficker, the balances of deceit are in his hand: he loveth to oppress. 8 And Ephraim said, Surely I am become rich, I have found me wealth: in all my labors they shall find in me no iniquity that were sin. 9 But I am Jehovah thy God from the land of Egypt; I will yet again make thee to dwell in tents, as in the days of the solemn feast. 10 I have also spoken unto the prophets, and I have multiplied visions; and by the ministry of the prophets have I used similitudes. 11 Is Gilead iniquity? they are altogether false; in Gilgal they sacrifice bullocks; yea, their altars are as heaps in the furrows of the field. 12 And Jacob fled into the field of Aram, and Israel served for a wife, and for a wife he kept `sheep'. 13 And by a prophet Jehovah brought Israel up out of Egypt, and by a prophet was he preserved. 14 Ephraim hath provoked to anger most bitterly: therefore shall his blood be left upon him, and his reproach shall his Lord return unto him. Chapter 13 1 When Ephraim spake, there was trembling; he exalted himself in Israel; but when he offended in Baal, he died. 2 And now they sin more and more, and have made them molten images of their silver, even idols according to their own understanding, all of them the work of the craftsmen: they say of them, Let the men that sacrifice kiss the calves. 3 Therefore they shall be as the morning cloud, and as the dew that passeth early away, as the chaff that is driven with the whirlwind out of the threshing-floor, and as the smoke out of the chimney. 4 Yet I am Jehovah thy God from the land of Egypt; and thou shalt know no god but me, and besides me there is no saviour. 5 I did know thee in the wilderness, in the land of great drought. 6 According to their pasture, so were they filled; they were filled, and their heart was exalted: therefore have they forgotten me. 7 Therefore am I unto them as a lion; as a leopard will I watch by the way; 8 I will meet them as a bear that is bereaved of her whelps, and will rend the caul of their heart; and there will I devour them like a lioness; the wild beast shall tear them. 9 It is thy destruction, O Israel, that `thou art' against me, against thy help. 10 Where now is thy king, that he may save thee in all thy cities? and thy judges, of whom thou saidst, Give me a king and princes? 11 I have given thee a king in mine anger, and have taken him away in my wrath. 12 The iniquity of Ephraim is bound up; his sin is laid up in store. 13 The sorrows of a travailing woman shall come upon him: he is an unwise son; for it is time he should not tarry in the place of the breaking forth of children. 14 I will ransom them from the power of Sheol; I will redeem them from death: O death, where are thy plagues? O Sheol, where is thy destruction? repentance shall be hid from mine eyes. 15 Though he be fruitful among his brethren, an east wind shall come, the breath of Jehovah coming up from the wilderness; and his spring shall become dry, and his fountain shall be dried up: he shall make spoil of the treasure of all goodly vessels. 16 Samaria shall bear her guilt; for she hath rebelled against her God: they shall fall by the sword; their infants shall be dashed in pieces, and their women with child shall be ripped up. Chapter 14 1 O Israel, return unto Jehovah thy God; for thou hast fallen by thine iniquity. 2 Take with you words, and return unto Jehovah: say unto him, Take away all iniquity, and accept that which is good: so will we render `as' bullocks `the offering of' our lips. 3 Assyria shall not save us; we will not ride upon horses; neither will we say any more to the work of our hands, `Ye are' our gods; for in thee the fatherless findeth mercy. 4 I will heal their backsliding, I will love them freely; for mine anger is turned away from him. 5 I will be as the dew unto Israel; he shall blossom as the lily, and cast forth his roots as Lebanon. 6 His branches shall spread, and his beauty shall be as the olive-tree, and his smell as Lebanon. 7 They that dwell under his shadow shall return; they shall revive `as' the grain, and blossom as the vine: the scent thereof shall be as the wine of Lebanon. 8 Ephraim `shall say', What have I to do any more with idols? I have answered, and will regard him: I am like a green fir-tree; from me is thy fruit found. 9 Who is wise, that he may understand these things? prudent, that he may know them? for the ways of Jehovah are right, and the just shall walk in them; but transgressors shall fall therein.




Our Unspeakable Privilege

Published by John Piper for reading on September 19th.

God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM.” ( Exodus 3:14 14 And God said unto Moses, I AM THAT I AM: and he said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you. )

One implication of the magnificent name, I AM WHO I AM, is that this infinite, absolute, self-determining God has drawn near to us in Jesus Christ.

In John 8:56 56 Your father Abraham rejoiced to see my day; and he saw it, and was glad. –58 Jesus is answering the criticism of the Jewish leaders. He says, “Your father Abraham rejoiced that he was to see my day; he saw it and was glad.” The Jews then said to him, “You are not yet fifty years old, and have you seen Abraham?” Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I AM.”

Could Jesus have taken any more exalted words upon his lips? When Jesus said, “Before Abraham was, I AM,” he took up all the majestic truth of the name of God, wrapped it in the humility of servanthood, offered himself to atone for all our rebellion, and made a way for us to see the glory of God without fear.

In Jesus Christ we who are born of God have the unspeakable privilege of knowing Yahweh as our Father — I AM WHO I AM — the God

  • who exists
  • whose personality and power is owing solely to himself
  • who never changes
  • from whom all power and energy in the universe flows
  • and to whom all creation should conform its life.

May those who know the name of God put their trust in him.



The Believer’s Valley Experiences

Published by InTouch Ministries for reading on September 19th.

Psalms 23 Chapter 23 1 Jehovah is my shepherd; I shall not want. 2 He maketh me to lie down in green pastures; He leadeth me beside still waters. 3 He restoreth my soul: He guideth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake. 4 Yea, thou I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for thou art with me; Thy rod and thy staff, they comfort me. 5 Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: Thou hast anointed my head with oil; My cup runneth over. 6 Surely goodness and lovingkindness shall follow me all the days of my life; And I shall dwell in the house of Jehovah for ever. Psalm 24 A Psalm of David.

Valley experiences are those where the heartache is so deep or the hardship so difficult that we find it almost impossible to stand. Like a six-foot wave crashing on the shore, such events can threaten to overwhelm us.

Realistically, situations of this kind will at times be of our own making. When we disobey God, we can wander into a painful place, made worse by the knowledge that our fellowship with Him has grown cold ( 1 John 1:6 6 If we say that we have fellowship with him and walk in the darkness, we lie, and do not the truth: ). In other instances, the actions of others cause us to suffer—perhaps through unexpected job termination, marital infidelity, or betrayal by a friend. Then there are occasions when our heavenly Father Himself leads us into the valley. Although He could guide us around the hardship and suffering, He chooses not to. He has a purpose in mind, which would not be fulfilled if we took the easy way. Whatever the source, valley experiences are inevitable.

Psalms 23 Chapter 23 1 Jehovah is my shepherd; I shall not want. 2 He maketh me to lie down in green pastures; He leadeth me beside still waters. 3 He restoreth my soul: He guideth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake. 4 Yea, thou I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for thou art with me; Thy rod and thy staff, they comfort me. 5 Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: Thou hast anointed my head with oil; My cup runneth over. 6 Surely goodness and lovingkindness shall follow me all the days of my life; And I shall dwell in the house of Jehovah for ever. Psalm 24 A Psalm of David. uses four words to describe this valley time: shadow, death, fear, and evil. These terms evoke images of oppressive circumstances, grievous affliction, deep discomfort, and great adversity. There is no way to hurry through an ordeal marked by emotional or physical distress. Both the trial’s depth and length are determined by the Lord’s will, but He walks with us and protects us through it.

God promises that He will use every valley—even those of our own making—to benefit us. (See Rom. 8:28.) Our part is to walk steadily, with eyes firmly fixed on Him, spirits attuned to His presence, and minds trusting in His promises.

Bible in One Year: Hosea 10-14 Chapter 10 1 Israel is a luxuriant vine, that putteth forth his fruit: according to the abundance of his fruit he hath multiplied his altars; according to the goodness of their land they have made goodly pillars. 2 Their heart is divided; now shall they be found guilty: he will smite their altars, he will destroy their pillars. 3 Surely now shall they say, We have no king; for we fear not Jehovah; and the king, what can he do for us? 4 They speak `vain' words, swearing falsely in making covenants: therefore judgment springeth up as hemlock in the furrows of the field. 5 The inhabitants of Samaria shall be in terror for the calves of Beth-aven; for the people thereof shall mourn over it, and the priests thereof that rejoiced over it, for the glory thereof, because it is departed from it. 6 It also shall be carried unto Assyria for a present to king Jareb: Ephraim shall receive shame, and Israel shall be ashamed of his own counsel. 7 `As for' Samaria, her king is cut off, as foam upon the water. 8 The high places also of Aven, the sin of Israel, shall be destroyed: the thorn and the thistle shall come up on their altars; and they shall say to the mountains, Cover us; and to the hills, Fall on us. 9 O Israel, thou hast sinned from the days of Gibeah: there they stood; the battle against the children of iniquity doth not overtake them in Gibeah. 10 When it is my desire, I will chastise them; and the peoples shall be gathered against them, when they are bound to their two transgressions. 11 And Ephraim is a heifer that is taught, that loveth to tread out `the grain'; but I have passed over upon her fair neck: I will set a rider on Ephraim; Judah shall plow, Jacob shall break his clods. 12 Sow to yourselves in righteousness, reap according to kindness; break up your fallow ground; for it is time to seek Jehovah, till he come and rain righteousness upon you. 13 Ye have plowed wickedness, ye have reaped iniquity; ye have eaten the fruit of lies; for thou didst trust in thy way, in the multitude of thy mighty men. 14 Therefore shall a tumult arise among thy people, and all thy fortresses shall be destroyed, as Shalman destroyed Beth-arbel in the day of battle: the mother was dashed in pieces with her children. 15 So shall Beth-el do unto you because of your great wickedness: at daybreak shall the king of Israel be utterly cut off. Chapter 11 1 When Israel was a child, then I loved him, and called my son out of Egypt. 2 The more `the prophets' called them, the more they went from them: they sacrificed unto the Baalim, and burned incense to graven images. 3 Yet I taught Ephraim to walk; I took them on my arms; but they knew not that I healed them. 4 I drew them with cords of a man, with bands of love; and I was to them as they that lift up the yoke on their jaws; and I laid food before them. 5 They shall not return into the land of Egypt; but the Assyrian shall be their king, because they refused to return `to me'. 6 And the sword shall fall upon their cities, and shall consume their bars, and devour `them', because of their own counsels. 7 And my people are bent on backsliding from me: though they call them to `him that is' on high, none at all will exalt `him'. 8 How shall I give thee up, Ephraim? `how' shall I cast thee off, Israel? how shall I make thee as Admah? `how' shall I set thee as Zeboiim? my heart is turned within me, my compassions are kindled together. 9 I will not execute the fierceness of mine anger, I will not return to destroy Ephraim: for I am God, and not man; the Holy One in the midst of thee; and I will not come in wrath. 10 They shall walk after Jehovah, who will roar like a lion; for he will roar, and the children shall come trembling from the west. 11 They shall come trembling as a bird out of Egypt, and as a dove out of the land of Assyria; and I will make them to dwell in their houses, saith Jehovah. 12 Ephraim compasseth me about with falsehood, and the house of Israel with deceit; but Judah yet ruleth with God, and is faithful with the Holy One. Chapter 12 1 Ephraim feedeth on wind, and followeth after the east wind: he continually multiplieth lies and desolation; and they make a covenant with Assyria, and oil is carried into Egypt. 2 Jehovah hath also a controversy with Judah, and will punish Jacob according to his ways; according to his doings will he recompense him. 3 In the womb he took his brother by the heel; and in his manhood he had power with God: 4 yea, he had power over the angel, and prevailed; he wept, and made supplication unto him: he found him at Beth-el, and there he spake with us, 5 even Jehovah, the God of hosts; Jehovah is his memorial `name'. 6 Therefore turn thou to thy God: keep kindness and justice, and wait for thy God continually. 7 `He is' a trafficker, the balances of deceit are in his hand: he loveth to oppress. 8 And Ephraim said, Surely I am become rich, I have found me wealth: in all my labors they shall find in me no iniquity that were sin. 9 But I am Jehovah thy God from the land of Egypt; I will yet again make thee to dwell in tents, as in the days of the solemn feast. 10 I have also spoken unto the prophets, and I have multiplied visions; and by the ministry of the prophets have I used similitudes. 11 Is Gilead iniquity? they are altogether false; in Gilgal they sacrifice bullocks; yea, their altars are as heaps in the furrows of the field. 12 And Jacob fled into the field of Aram, and Israel served for a wife, and for a wife he kept `sheep'. 13 And by a prophet Jehovah brought Israel up out of Egypt, and by a prophet was he preserved. 14 Ephraim hath provoked to anger most bitterly: therefore shall his blood be left upon him, and his reproach shall his Lord return unto him. Chapter 13 1 When Ephraim spake, there was trembling; he exalted himself in Israel; but when he offended in Baal, he died. 2 And now they sin more and more, and have made them molten images of their silver, even idols according to their own understanding, all of them the work of the craftsmen: they say of them, Let the men that sacrifice kiss the calves. 3 Therefore they shall be as the morning cloud, and as the dew that passeth early away, as the chaff that is driven with the whirlwind out of the threshing-floor, and as the smoke out of the chimney. 4 Yet I am Jehovah thy God from the land of Egypt; and thou shalt know no god but me, and besides me there is no saviour. 5 I did know thee in the wilderness, in the land of great drought. 6 According to their pasture, so were they filled; they were filled, and their heart was exalted: therefore have they forgotten me. 7 Therefore am I unto them as a lion; as a leopard will I watch by the way; 8 I will meet them as a bear that is bereaved of her whelps, and will rend the caul of their heart; and there will I devour them like a lioness; the wild beast shall tear them. 9 It is thy destruction, O Israel, that `thou art' against me, against thy help. 10 Where now is thy king, that he may save thee in all thy cities? and thy judges, of whom thou saidst, Give me a king and princes? 11 I have given thee a king in mine anger, and have taken him away in my wrath. 12 The iniquity of Ephraim is bound up; his sin is laid up in store. 13 The sorrows of a travailing woman shall come upon him: he is an unwise son; for it is time he should not tarry in the place of the breaking forth of children. 14 I will ransom them from the power of Sheol; I will redeem them from death: O death, where are thy plagues? O Sheol, where is thy destruction? repentance shall be hid from mine eyes. 15 Though he be fruitful among his brethren, an east wind shall come, the breath of Jehovah coming up from the wilderness; and his spring shall become dry, and his fountain shall be dried up: he shall make spoil of the treasure of all goodly vessels. 16 Samaria shall bear her guilt; for she hath rebelled against her God: they shall fall by the sword; their infants shall be dashed in pieces, and their women with child shall be ripped up. Chapter 14 1 O Israel, return unto Jehovah thy God; for thou hast fallen by thine iniquity. 2 Take with you words, and return unto Jehovah: say unto him, Take away all iniquity, and accept that which is good: so will we render `as' bullocks `the offering of' our lips. 3 Assyria shall not save us; we will not ride upon horses; neither will we say any more to the work of our hands, `Ye are' our gods; for in thee the fatherless findeth mercy. 4 I will heal their backsliding, I will love them freely; for mine anger is turned away from him. 5 I will be as the dew unto Israel; he shall blossom as the lily, and cast forth his roots as Lebanon. 6 His branches shall spread, and his beauty shall be as the olive-tree, and his smell as Lebanon. 7 They that dwell under his shadow shall return; they shall revive `as' the grain, and blossom as the vine: the scent thereof shall be as the wine of Lebanon. 8 Ephraim `shall say', What have I to do any more with idols? I have answered, and will regard him: I am like a green fir-tree; from me is thy fruit found. 9 Who is wise, that he may understand these things? prudent, that he may know them? for the ways of Jehovah are right, and the just shall walk in them; but transgressors shall fall therein.




Daily Bible - September 19

Published by Grace To You for reading on September 19th.

Reading for Today:

  • Isaiah 29:1 Chapter 29 1 Ho Ariel, Ariel, the city where David encamped! add ye year to year; let the feasts come round: –24
  • Psalms 108:1-6 Chapter 108 1 My heart is fixed, O God; I will sing, yea, I will sing praises, even with my glory. 2 Awake, psaltery and harp: I myself will awake right early. 3 I will give thanks unto thee, O Jehovah, among the peoples; And I will sing praises unto thee among the nations. 4 For thy lovingkindness is great above the heavens; And thy truth `reacheth' unto the skies. 5 Be thou exalted, O God, above the heavens, And thy glory above all the earth. 6 That thy beloved may be delivered, Save with thy right hand, and answer us.
  • Proverbs 25:21-22 21 If thine enemy be hungry, give him bread to eat; And if he be thirsty, give him water to drink: 22 For thou wilt heap coals of fire upon his head, And Jehovah will reward thee.
  • 2 Corinthians 11:1-15 Chapter 11 1 Would that ye could bear with me in a little foolishness: but indeed ye do bear with me. 2 For I am jealous over you with a godly jealousy: for I espoused you to one husband, that I might present you `as' a pure virgin to Christ. 3 But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve in his craftiness, your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity and the purity that is toward Christ. 4 For if he that cometh preacheth another Jesus, whom we did not preach, or `if' ye receive a different spirit, which ye did not receive, or a different gospel, which ye did not accept, ye do well to bear with `him'. 5 For I reckon that I am not a whit behind the very chiefest apostles. 6 But though `I be' rude in speech, yet `am I' not in knowledge; nay, in every way have we made `this' manifest unto you in all things. 7 Or did I commit a sin in abasing myself that ye might be exalted, because I preached to you the gospel of God for nought? 8 I robbed other churches, taking wages `of them' that I might minister unto you; 9 and when I was present with you and was in want, I was not a burden on any man; for the brethren, when they came from Macedonia, supplied the measure of my want; and in everything I kept myself from being burdensome unto you, and `so' will I keep `myself'. 10 As the truth of Christ is in me, no man shall stop me of this glorying in the regions of Achaia. 11 Wherefore? because I love you not? God knoweth. 12 But what I do, that I will do, that I may cut off occasion from them that desire an occasion; that wherein they glory, they may be found even as we. 13 For such men are false apostles, deceitful workers, fashioning themselves into apostles of Christ. 14 And no marvel; for even Satan fashioneth himself into an angel of light. 15 It is no great thing therefore if his ministers also fashion themselves as ministers of righteousness, whose end shall be according to their works.

Notes:

Isaiah 29:10 spirit of deep sleep. Because Israel refused to hear her true prophets initially, their ability to hear has been impaired. God gave them up judicially to their own hardness of heart. Paul applied this verse specifically to the general condition of Israel’s blindness during the age of the church (Rom. 11:8). prophets…seers. False prophets and seers have blinded their listeners with their false prophecies.

Isaiah 29:13 hearts far from Me. Empty ritualism does not bring closeness to God. Jesus used this verse to describe the Judaism of His day (Matt. 15:7–9; Mark 7:6 6 And he said unto them, Well did Isaiah prophesy of you hypocrites, as it is written, This people honoreth me with their lips, But their heart is far from me. , 7).

Isaiah 29:22 redeemed Abraham. God delivered Abraham from his pagan background when He brought him from beyond the Euphrates River into the land of Canaan (Josh. 24:2, 3). Paul elaborates on this theme in Romans 4:1 Chapter 4 1 What then shall we say that Abraham, our forefather, hath found according to the flesh? –22. not now be ashamed. Israel in her history had frequently suffered disgrace, but the personal presence of the Messiah is to change that (45:17; 49:23; 50:7; 54:4). After the salvation of Israel in the end time, the children of Jacob will no longer cause their forefathers to blush over their wickedness.

Proverbs 25:21 21 If thine enemy be hungry, give him bread to eat; And if he be thirsty, give him water to drink: , 22 As metals are melted by placing fiery coals on them, so is the heart of an enemy softened by such kindness. Contrast the coals of judgment in Psalms 140:10 10 Let burning coals fall upon them: Let them be cast into the fire, Into deep pits, whence they shall not rise. . Paul quotes this proverb in Romans 12:20 20 But if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him to drink: for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire upon his head. .

2 Corinthians 11:7 7 Or did I commit a sin in abasing myself that ye might be exalted, because I preached to you the gospel of God for nought? free of charge. Greek culture measured the importance of a teacher by the fee he could command. The false apostles therefore accused Paul of being a counterfeit, since he refused to charge for his services (1 Cor. 9:1–15). They convinced the Corinthians to be offended by Paul’s refusal to accept support from them, offering that as evidence that he did not love them (v. 11). Paul’s resort to manual labor to support himself ( Acts 18:1 Chapter 18 1 After these things he departed from Athens, and came to Corinth. –3) also embarrassed the Corinthians, who felt such work to be beneath the dignity of an apostle. With biting irony Paul asked his accusers how foregoing his right to support could possibly be a sin. In fact, by refusing support he had humbled himself so they could be exalted, i.e., lifted out of their sin and idolatry.

2 Corinthians 11:13 13 For such men are false apostles, deceitful workers, fashioning themselves into apostles of Christ. –15 No longer speaking with veiled irony or defending himself, Paul bluntly and directly exposed the false apostles for what they were—emissaries of Satan. Not only was their claim to apostleship false, so also was their doctrine. As satanic purveyors of false teaching, they were under the curse of Galatians 1:8 8 But though we, or an angel from heaven, should preach unto you any gospel other than that which we preached unto you, let him be anathema. , 9. Paul’s forceful language may seem harsh, but it expressed the godly jealousy he felt for the Corinthians. Paul was unwilling to sacrifice truth for the sake of unity.

DAY 19: Why was Paul so emotional about the Corinthians’ spiritual welfare?

In 2 Corinthians 11:2 2 For I am jealous over you with a godly jealousy: for I espoused you to one husband, that I might present you `as' a pure virgin to Christ. , Paul said, “I am jealous for you with godly jealousy.” Paul was concerned to the point of jealousy, a zeal for their spiritual purity. Jealousy inspired by zeal for God’s causes, and thus similar to God’s own jealousy for His holy name and His people’s loyalty (Ex. 20:5; 34:14; Deut. 4:24; 5:9; 6:15; 32:16, 21; Josh. 24:19; Ps. 78:58; Ezek. 39:25; Nah.1:2). “I have betrothed you to one husband.” As their spiritual father (12:14; 1 Cor. 4:15; 9:1, 2), Paul portrayed the Corinthians like a daughter, whom he betrothed to Jesus Christ (at their conversion). “A chaste virgin to Christ.” Having betrothed or pledged the Corinthians to Christ, Paul wanted them to be pure until the marriage day finally arrived (Rev. 19:7).

Paul compared the danger facing the Corinthian church to Eve’s deception by Satan (v. 3). He feared the Corinthians, like Eve, would fall prey to satanic lies and have their minds corrupted. The tragic result would be the abandonment of their simple devotion to Christ in favor of the sophisticated error of the false apostles. Paul’s allusion to Genesis 3 Chapter 3 1 Now the serpent was more subtle than any beast of the field which Jehovah God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of any tree of the garden? 2 And the woman said unto the serpent, Of the fruit of the trees of the garden we may eat: 3 but of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die. 4 And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die: 5 for God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as God, knowing good and evil. 6 And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat; and she gave also unto her husband with her, and he did eat. 7 And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig-leaves together, and made themselves aprons. 8 And they heard the voice of Jehovah God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of Jehovah God amongst the trees of the garden. 9 And Jehovah God called unto the man, and said unto him, Where art thou? 10 And he said, I heard thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself. 11 And he said, Who told thee that thou wast naked? Hast thou eaten of the tree, whereof I commanded thee that thou shouldest not eat? 12 And the man said, The woman whom thou gavest to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I did eat. 13 And Jehovah God said unto the woman, What is this thou hast done? And the woman said, The serpent beguiled me, and I did eat. 14 And Jehovah God said unto the serpent, Because thou hast done this, cursed art thou above all cattle, and above every beast of the field; upon thy belly shalt thou go, and dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life: 15 and I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed: he shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel. 16 Unto the woman he said, I will greatly multiply thy pain and thy conception; in pain thou shalt bring forth children; and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee. 17 And unto Adam he said, Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it: cursed is the ground for thy sake; in toil shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life; 18 thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field; 19 in the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return. 20 And the man called his wife's name Eve; because she was the mother of all living. 21 And Jehovah God made for Adam and for his wife coats of skins, and clothed them. 22 And Jehovah God said, Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil; and now, lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live for ever- 23 therefore Jehovah God sent him forth from the garden of Eden, to till the ground from whence he was taken. 24 So he drove out the man; and he placed at the east of the garden of Eden the Cherubim, and the flame of a sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life. implies that the false apostles were Satan’s emissaries—a truth that he later made explicit (vv. 13–15).

The false apostles came into the Corinthian church from the outside—just as Satan did into the Garden (v. 4). It is likely that they were Palestinian Jews (v. 22; Acts 6:1 Chapter 6 1 Now in these days, when the number of the disciples was multiplying, there arose a murmuring of the Grecian Jews against the Hebrews, because their widows were neglected in the daily ministration. ) who allegedly sought to bring the Corinthians under the sway of the Jerusalem church. They were in a sense Judaizers, seeking to impose Jewish customs on the Corinthians. Unlike the Judaizers who plagued the Galatian churches (Gal. 5:2), however, the false apostles at Corinth apparently did not insist that the Corinthians be circumcised. Nor did they practice a rigid legalism; in fact, they apparently encouraged licentiousness (12:21). Their fascination with rhetoric and oratory (10:10) suggests they had been influenced by Greek culture and philosophy.

Though their teaching may have differed from the Galatian Judaizers, it was just as deadly. “Another Jesus…a different spirit…a different gospel” (v. 4). Paul’s quarrel with the false apostles was not personal, but doctrinal. Those who adulterated the true gospel received Paul’s strongest condemnation (Gal. 1:6–9). Paul’s fear that the Corinthians would embrace the damning lies of the false apostles prompted his jealous concern for them.

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.

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September 19 - The Significance of Temple Cleansing

Published by Grace To You for reading on September 19th.

“The Passover of the Jews was near, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. And He found in the temple those who were selling oxen and sheep and doves, and the money changers seated at their tables. And He made a scourge of cords, and drove them all out of the temple, with the sheep and the oxen; and He poured out the coins of the money changers and overturned their tables; and to those who were selling the doves He said, ‘Take these things away; stop making My Father’s house a place of business.’ His disciples remembered that it was written, ‘Zeal for Your house will consume me’” ( John 2:13 13 And the passover of the Jews was at hand, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. –17).

The Feast of Passover in Jerusalem each year meant big business for Jerusalem-based merchants. They sold animals necessary for the sacrifices at inflated prices to Jewish pilgrims who found it impractical to bring their own from their homes in distant lands.

Also, every Jewish male twenty years of age or older had to pay the annual temple tax (Matt. 17:24–27). But it could be paid only by using Jewish or Tyrian coins, so foreigners had to exchange their money for acceptable coinage. Because they held a monopoly, money changers charged an exorbitant fee.

What should have been a place of sacred reverence and adoration had become a place of abusive commerce and excessive overpricing.

Realizing that the purity of temple worship was a matter of honor to God, Jesus took swift and decisive action. The intensity of His righteous indignation was unmistakable—Christ would not tolerate any mockery of the spirit of true worship.

Ask Yourself

Are there instances in which we have turned the worship of God into something less than it should be—perhaps into something it should never be? What kind of heart do you intend to bring with you the next time you join with others in the Lord’s house for worship?

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.

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Spirit-Filled Submission

Published by Grace To You for reading on September 19th.

“Be subject to one another in the fear of Christ” ( Ephesians 5:21 21 subjecting yourselves one to another in the fear of Christ. ).

Spirit-filled believers will submit to one another.

To the world, submission implies personal weakness or the coercive dominance of one person by another stronger, more intimidating individual. Such perspectives, however, are unbiblical. The noted expositor Martyn Lloyd-Jones describes submission’s original meaning in a military context, which helps us understand its scriptural definition:

It is the picture of soldiers in a regiment, soldiers in a line under an officer . . . and if he [the soldier] begins to act on his own, and independently of the others, he is guilty of insubordination and will be punished accordingly. Such is the word the Apostle uses; so what he is saying amounts to this—that we who are filled with the Spirit are to behave voluntarily in that way with respect to one another. We are members of the same regiment, we are units in this same great army. We are to do that voluntarily which the soldier is “forced” to do.

In addition to Ephesians 5:21 21 subjecting yourselves one to another in the fear of Christ. , the New Testament repeatedly expresses the importance of submitting to one another. Philippians 2:3-4 3 `doing' nothing through faction or through vainglory, but in lowliness of mind each counting other better than himself; 4 not looking each of you to his own things, but each of you also to the things of others. tell us how mutual submission ought to operate: “Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind let each of you regard one another as more important than himself; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others.” And Hebrews 13:17 17 Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit `to them': for they watch in behalf of your souls, as they that shall give account; that they may do this with joy, and not with grief: for this `were' unprofitable for you. commands us to submit to our spiritual leaders: “Obey your leaders, and submit to them; for they keep watch over your souls, as those who will give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with grief, for this would be unprofitable for you.”

The only way we can possess any of those traits or exhibit any of that behavior is to be continuously filled with the Holy Spirit. Then we will be able to voluntarily and joyfully submit to the Lord and one another in love, just as the apostle John urges: “Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God; and every one who loves is born of God and knows God” ( 1 John 4:7 7 Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is begotten of God, and knoweth God. ).

Suggestions for Prayer

Examine your heart and see if your attitude has been a biblically submissive one.

Ask God’s Spirit to reveal and correct any sinful shortcomings you’ve had in that regard.

For Further Study

Read Romans 12:10 10 In love of the brethren be tenderly affectioned one to another; in honor preferring one another; ; 1 Corinthians 4:7 7 For who maketh thee to differ? and what hast thou that thou didst not receive? but if thou didst receive it, why dost thou glory as if thou hadst not received it? ; 1 Timothy 5:21 21 I charge `thee' in the sight of God, and Christ Jesus, and the elect angels, that thou observe these things without prejudice, doing nothing by partiality. ; James 2:1 Chapter 2 1 My brethren, hold not the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, `the Lord' of glory, with respect of persons. . List comparisons and contrasts between these verses and what Philippians 2:3-4 3 `doing' nothing through faction or through vainglory, but in lowliness of mind each counting other better than himself; 4 not looking each of you to his own things, but each of you also to the things of others. says about mutual submission.

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.

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Extinguishing Satan's Fiery Darts

Published by Grace To You for reading on September 19th.
"In addition to all, [take] up the shield of faith with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming missiles of the evil one" (Eph. 6:16).

Don’t elevate Satan’s will above God’s will in your life.

In Ephesians 6:13 13 Wherefore take up the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and, having done all, to stand. Paul characterizes Satan as "the evil one" who attacks believers with flaming missiles. The Greek word translated "evil one" literally means "bad," "vile," or "wretched." All are apt descriptions of the archenemy of our souls, who seeks to maim and destroy us spiritually.

The term "flaming missiles" pictures one of the Roman weapons of Paul's day: arrows that had pitch-soaked cotton material affixed to their tips. In battle they were set on fire and shot at the enemy. As the arrow hit its target, flaming pitch spread onto clothing and other flammable surfaces. Under such attacks a Roman soldier without a shield was in a perilous situation indeed.

Satan's flaming arrows come in many forms: solicitations to impurity, selfishness, doubt, fear, disappointment, greed, vanity, covetousness, and the like. But whatever the specific form, all are seducing temptations aimed at eliciting ungodly responses.

Your faith protects you from such attacks when you elevate God's will above Satan's in your life. When tempted by Satan, Jesus responded by saying in effect, "I will not violate my Father's will by yielding to your devious schemes. In His own time He will feed Me, anoint Me as Messiah, and give Me the kingdoms of the world. I will not elevate your will and timing above His" (Matt. 4:1-11).

Jesus could have created food. He is the Messiah and the sovereign Lord over the kingdoms of the world. But He trusted the Father and yielded to His will, even though it meant personal discomfort and, eventually, the cross. When Satan saw that Jesus' trust in the Father was unshakable, he left Him (v. 11). That's the power of faith.

I pray you will show similar strength in times of testing. Satan will flee from you if you "resist him, firm in your faith" (1 Pet. 5:9).

Suggestions for Prayer

Praise Jesus for His sinless character and His example of how to triumph over temptation.

For Further Study

Memorize James 4:7 7 Be subject therefore unto God; but resist the devil, and he will flee from you. as a reminder of the importance of resisting Satan.

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.

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Morning Devotional by C.H. Spurgeon for September 19th

Published by C.H. Spurgeon for reading on September 19th.

Galatians 5:1 Chapter 5 1 For freedom did Christ set us free: stand fast therefore, and be not entangled again in a yoke of bondage.

THIS "liberty" makes us free to heaven's charter—the Bible. Here is a choice passage, believer, "When thou passest through the rivers, I will be with thee." You are free to that. Here is another: "The mountains shall depart, and the hills be removed, but my kindness shall not depart from thee"; you are free to that. You are a welcome guest at the table of the promises. Scripture is a never-failing treasury filled with boundless stores of grace. It is the bank of heaven; you may draw from it as much as you please, without let or hindrance. Come in faith and you are welcome to all covenant blessings. There is not a promise in the Word which shall be withheld. In the depths of tribulations let this freedom comfort you; amidst waves of distress let it cheer you; when sorrows surround thee let it be thy solace. This is thy Father's love-token; thou art free to it at all times. Thou art also free to the throne of grace. It is the believer's privilege to have access at all times to His heavenly Father. Whatever our desires, our difficulties, our wants, we are at liberty to spread all before Him. It matters not how much we may have sinned, we may ask and expect pardon. It signifies nothing how poor we are, we may plead His promise that He will provide all things needful. We have permission to approach His throne at all times—in midnight's darkest hour, or in noontide's most burning heat. Exercise thy right, O believer, and live up to thy privilege. Thou art free to all that is treasured up in Christ—wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, and redemption. It matters not what thy need is, for there is fulness of supply in Christ, and it is there for thee. O what a "freedom" is thine! freedom from condemnation, freedom to the promises, freedom to the throne of grace, and at last freedom to enter heaven!

Evening Devotional by C.H. Spurgeon for September 19th

Published by C.H. Spurgeon for reading on September 19th.

1 Samuel 1:27 27 For this child I prayed; and Jehovah hath given me my petition which I asked of him:

DEVOUT souls delight to look upon those mercies which they have obtained in answer to supplication, for they can see God's especial love in them. When we can name our blessings Samuel, that is, "asked of God," they will be as dear to us as her child was to Hannah. Peninnah had many children, but they came as common blessings unsought in prayer: Hannah's one heaven-given child was dearer far, because he was the fruit of earnest pleadings. How sweet was that water to Samson which he found at "the well of him that prayed!" Quassia cups turn all waters bitter, but the cup of prayer puts a sweetness into the draughts it brings. Did we pray for the conversion of our children? How doubly sweet, when they are saved, to see in them our own petitions fulfilled! Better to rejoice over them as the fruit of our pleadings than as the fruit of our bodies. Have we sought of the Lord some choice spiritual gift? When it comes to us it will be wrapped up in the gold cloth of God's faithfulness and truth, and so be doubly precious. Have we petitioned for success in the Lord's work? How joyful is the prosperity which comes flying upon the wings of prayer! It is always best to get blessings into our house in the legitimate way, by the door of prayer; then they are blessings indeed, and not temptations. Even when prayer speeds not, the blessings grow all the richer for the delay; the child Jesus was all the more lovely in the eyes of Mary when she found Him after having sought Him sorrowing. That which we win by prayer we should dedicate to God, as Hannah dedicated Samuel. The gift came from heaven, let it go to heaven. Prayer brought it, gratitude sang over it, let devotion consecrate it. Here will be a special occasion for saying, "Of Thine own have I given unto Thee." Reader, is prayer your element or your weariness? Which?

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