Scriptural meditations on God's Word (5200 posted here) sent daily for 17 years -- njhiebert@sympatico.ca

Tuesday, February 01, 2005

Gems from February 2005

February 1

"Forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before." (Philippians 3:13)


The flesh in the saints is as bad as any flesh; therefore, watch, continue in prayer, be clothed with humility. Live no more by memory than by sense, but live by faith, forgetting the things which are behind, and pressing forward. It was not when Paul was in communion with the glory that he was in danger of being puffed up, but when he came down in the memory of it. Memory has its own work, and so has sense; but conscious, present communion with God is the power and glory of the saint, and his special privilege. Here he gets everything, for here he has God; and here he has everything safely, for he has everything in God - with God.


When Christ is working in a heart, there will be the tenderest consideration; there will be straight paths made for lame feet.
Wherever you go, endeavour to carry with you a sense of God's presence, His holiness, and His love; it will preserve you from a thousand snares. (Selected)
N.J. Hiebert # 2147

February 2


"Behold the days come saith the Lord God, that I will send a famine in the land, not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the Lord: and they shall wander from sea to sea, and from the north even to the east, they shall run to and fro to seek the word of the Lord, and shall not find it." (Amos 8:11,12)


Some believers may be ready to say about this, If we are deprived of all the Lord's "gifts," we still have the Bible. True, but there is another side to this, How many are there who read the Bible as a routine and get nothing for their souls? Why is this? Are we not told that Moses and the prophets were read in the Jewish synagogue every Sabbath day? so that with the Scriptures in their hands, and read at stated intervals, there was such a famine of the Word of God, that they knew not Him of whom the Scriptures which they read spake, but actually fulfilled the same in condemning Him. "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." (Revelation 3:20) (H.H.S.)

N.J. Hiebert # 2148

February 3


"Who goeth a warfare any time at his own charges?" (1 Corinthians 9:7)


No; He who calls, equips and sustains; and the servant has only to learn how to avail himself of what is provided. The Lord expects nothing from us, except looking to Him, and even for that He will give the power. (Edward Dennett)

N.J. Hiebert # 2149

February 4

"He that believeth shall not make haste." (Isaiah 28:16)


How little we realize the magnitude of the fact that God is our Father. If a man had an emperor for his father he would not go to a peasant to ask for help. We cannot naturally bear the delay and suspense to which we are subjected in turning to God. But the delay is simply to test our faith. (Footprints for Pilgrims)

N.J. Hiebert # 2150

February 5


"Bear ye one another's burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ."

(Galatians 6:2)

The eye that is most anointed will not be the first to see failure in others, and the soul that knows most of walking under the yoke with the Master will not be the first to undertake the putting right, according to its own mind, of what halts and limps in others. (G.V. Wigram)

N.J. Hiebert # 2151

February 6


"And when He rose up from prayer, and was come to his disciples, he found them sleeping." 

(Luke 22:45)

They were His thought, not He theirs. He their thought! They could not watch with Him one hour. So it is now. "He ever liveth to make intercession for us"; do we "ever live" to love Him, to serve Him? He ever lives for you; do you live ever for Him? (J.G. Bellett)

N.J. Hiebert # 2152

February 7

"Gather of it (manna) every man according to his eating." (Exodus 16:16)

The appetite governed the amount collected. How strikingly true this is of the believer! We all have as much of Christ as we desire - no more, and no less. If our desires are large, if we open our mouth wide, He will fill it.... On the other hand, if we are but feebly conscious of our need, a little only of Christ will be supplied. (J.N. Darby)

N.J. Hiebert # 2153

February 8

"In everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God." (Philippians 4:6)

The presence of God settles everything even in every-day life.... We have cares; take them to God, and how they are changed in a moment.... You never come out of God's presence as you go in. You see things in their true character. (E.P.C.)

N.J. Hiebert # 2154

February 9

"...let my brother Ammon go with us. And the king (David) said unto him, Why should he go with thee? But Absalom pressed him, that he let Ammon and all the sons go with him. Now Absalom had commanded... smite Ammon; then kill him... David mourned... Absalom fled... the soul of king David longed to go forth unto Absalom... bring the young man Absalom again.... Absalom stole the hearts of the men of Israel... David said... let us flee for we shall not else escape from Absalom."
(2 Samuel 14,15)

David's inordinate tenderness only paved the way for Absalom's open rebellion. Terrible warning! Deal tenderly with evil, and it will assuredly rise to a head, and crush you in the end. On the other hand, meet evil with a face of flint, and your victory is sure. Sport not with the serpent, but at once crush it beneath your foot. Plain, unflinching decision is, after all, the safest and happiest path. It may be trying at first, but the end is peaceful. (C.H.Mackintosh)

N.J. Hiebert # 2155


February 10

"What man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God."

(1 Corinthians 2:11)

I remember looking at a busy ant colony on a broiling summer day in Australia. My thoughts ran as follows. The distance between a man and an ant is very great, but after all it is but a finite distance. You can weigh the substance of a man and that of an ant, and you can find out how much heavier a man is that an ant. But can an ant understand what is passing through a man's mind? Can an ant understand the achievements of men? We know it cannot. But the distance between God and man is infinitely greater than that between man and ant. God is the Creator. Man is the creature. The distance between them is infinite. No arithmetic is of any use here. Is it possible that the mind of man can understand and comprehend God? "Canst thou by searching find out God? canst thou find our the Almighty unto perfection? It is as high as heaven; what canst thou do? deeper than hell; what canst thou know? The measures thereof is longer than the earth, and broader than the sea." (Job 11:7-9) (A.J. Pollock - Why I Believe the Bible)

N.J. Hiebert # 2156

February 11


"Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light." (Matthew 29,30)


Is the Christian life after all, what its enemies take it for - an additional weight to the already great woe of life, some extra punctiliousness about duty, some painful devotion to observances, some heavy restriction and trammelling of all that is joyous and free in the world? ...Did you ever stop to ask what a yoke is really for? Is it to be a burden to the animal which wears it? It is just the opposite. It is to make its burden light.

A yoke is not an instrument of torture; it is an instrument of mercy. It is not a malicious contrivance for making work hard; it is a gentle device to make hard labour light. It is not meant to give pain, but to save pain. And yet men speak of the yoke of Christ as if it were a slavery, and look upon those who wear it as objects of compassion?

... The mistake has arisen from taking the word "yoke" here in the same sense as in the expressions "under the yoke." ... in Christ's illustration it is not the jugrum of the Roman soldier, but the simple "harness" or "ox-collar" of the Eastern peasant. (Henry Drummond)

N.J. Hiebert # 2157

February 12

"Most gladly therefore will I glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me."
(2 Corinthians 12:9)


There is a story about an old grandfather clock that had stood for three generations in the same corner of a room, faithfully ticking off the minutes and hours, day after day. In the clock was a heavy weight that was pulled to the top each night to keep it running.

Then one day the clock was sold, and the new owner noticed the heavy weight. "Too bad," he said, "That such an old clock should have to bear so great a load ." So he took the weight off the chain. At once the clock stopped ticking.


"Why did you do that?" asked the clock."
"I wanted to lighten your burden," said the man.
"Please put it back," said the clock. "That's what keeps me going!"

Most people are looking for an easy way through life. They think that if they had no burdens they cold live pleasantly and triumphantly. They don't realize that God often keeps us going spiritually by the weights that seem to pull us down. Trials can give our feet spiritual traction. Our burdens not only bring us blessing in this life, but they also are "working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory' (2 Corinthians 4:17). (HGB)


One day at a time, and the day is His day:
He has numbered its hours, though they haste or delay,
His grace is sufficient; we walk not alone;
As the day, so the strength that He gives to His own
! -- Flint

THE HEAVIER THE LOAD, THE BETTER THE TRACTION
(OUR DAILY BREAD, RBC MINISTRIES, COPYRIGHT 1998, GRAND RAPIDS, MI, REPRINTED PERMISSION)


N.J. Hiebert # 2158

February 13


"And when (Jesus) had fasted forty days and forty nights, He was afterward an hungered. And when the tempter (Devil) came to Him, he said, If Thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread. But He answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God." (Matthew 4:2-4)


This, then, is the answer of our Lord to the first temptation. Why should He turn the stones into bread? He hung upon God's word: His Father had not told Him to do so. So should it ever be with us. Where we have no clear expression of the mind of God, it is always our place to wait till we have. Sometimes it may show our weakness that we do not know the mind of God, and this is distasteful to us. Restlessness would like to go some-where, or do something, but this is not faith. Faith proves itself in waiting for God to manifest His will." (William Kelly - Lectures on the Gospel of Matthew)
N.J. Hiebert # 2159

February 14


"Whatsoever things are true...honest...just...pure...lovely...of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things." (Philippians 4:8)


Notice well, "Whatsoever things are true", comes first in our list of those things on which we are to meditate. It also has the first place in the Armour of God: "Having your loins girt about with truth." (Ephesians 6:14). May God help us, like Moses of old, to learn to refuse, and to choose! To refuse the false, and to choose the true! (G. Christopher Willis)


N.J. Hiebert # 2160

February 15

"And (Andrew) brought (Simon) to Jesus, and when Jesus beheld him, He said, thou art Simon the son of Jona: thou shalt be called Cephas, which is by interpretation, A stone." 

(John 1:42)

The changing of the name, then, implied that the one whose name was changed was the vassal (servant), the subject, the property of the one who so changed it. The Lord said, as it were, Simon, you are Mine, spirit, soul, and body, and I shall do what I like with you. "The hour is coming, and now is when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God; and they that hear shall live" (John 5:25), was being fulfilled in the Galilean fisherman's history. Simon heard the voice of the Son of God then, and though, perhaps at the time, he did not know the meaning of what He said, yet when he wrote his first epistle afterwards he had found it out, for he says, "To whom coming, as unto a living stone,... ye also, as living stones, are built up a spiritual house" (1 Peter 2:4,5). What is a stone? A little bit of a rock. And what is a Christian? A little bit of Christ, for he is a member of Christ. (W.T.P. Wolston - Simon Peter His life and Letters.)

N.J. Hiebert # 2161

February 16


"And they (Chief priests) took counsel, and bought with them (thirty pieces of silver) the potter's field, to bury strangers in." (Matthew 27:7)


It is noticeable, that with the money paid for the betrayal of the Lord Jesus, the "potter's field" was purchased to be a place to bury strangers in. This earth is but the Potter's field. It was ever His own: but in a most solemn sense it was purchased by the suffering of the Son of God; and what a vast burial-place it is! He, the heavenly stranger, was buried in it Himself; but He rose in triumph, and is alive forevermore. Soon, from earth and sea, He shall call into life the dust of all His saints to share His excellent glory; and, later, awake the unrepentant by the summons to judgment! (H.A. Ironside - Reflections on the Book of Jeremiah)

N.J. Hiebert # 2162

February 17

"Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against Thee."

(Psalm 119:11)

1) What have I hid? "Thy word." It is not man's word, but the Word of God, that liveth and abideth forever. This is the thing to hide. It is a treasure worth hiding. No thief can steal it, no moth can corrupt it. It increases by being hidden in the way here spoken of. We cannot set too high a value upon the Word of God. So the Psalmist thought when he "hid" it. This _expression sets forth how intensely he prized the Word. I have "hid" it. He placed it out of reach of everyone and everything that could deprive him of it. May we ponder it - may we understand it - may we imitate it!


2) Where have I hit it? "In my heart." It was not in his head or in his intellect, but in his heart - the seat of his affections - the centre of his moral being - the source of all the influences that swayed his entire career. This is the right place to hide the Word. It is not hiding it under a bed, or under a bushel, or in the earth. it is not basely cushioning it, through a slavish dread of men, lest they should sneer at us or oppose us. This will not do. We must hide the Word where the Psalmist hid it, even in the heart. May we ponder this - may we understand ot - may we imitate it!


3) Why have I hid it? For a very weighty reason - a most important reason. "That I might not sin against Thee." It was not that he might have a rich fund of new ideas to talk about and show off upon. Nor yet was it that he might be able to confound in argument all his opposers, and silence them. The Psalmist did not care about any of these things. He had a horror of sin - a holy horror. He knew that the most effectual safeguard against sin was the Word of God, and therefore he hid it in his heart. May we ponder this - may we understand it - may we imitate it! (Christian Truth - Vol. 19 - 1966)
N.J. Hiebert # 2163

February 18


"But this Man, after He had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God.... Having therefore brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus." (Hebrews 10:12,19)


Christ will be the Repairer of every breach. But the greatest breach of all was in the conscience of the sinner. There is mischief and confusion abroad in creation still. There is mischief abroad in the house of Israel. Christ has not yet set to His hand to repair that. There is a breach in the throne of David - Christ has not yet applied Himself to heal that. But the mightiest breach of all was between you and God. By-and-by He will turn the groans of creation into the praises of creation; but He began His character as a Repairer by applying Himself to repair the breach that separated you from God; and now we have boldness to enter into the holiest. (J.G. Bellett - Musings on the Epistle to the Hebrews)
 

N.J. Hiebert # 2164

February 19

"Write the things which thou hast seen, and the things which are, and the things which shall be hereafter." (Revelation 1:19)


It has often been truthfully said, every Book in the Bible contains a key which unlocks the Book. The Revelation is no exception. John the beloved disciple was in banishment in the isle of Patmos, as Daniel the man greatly beloved, was a captive in Babylon. The Lord called these two great servants to behold the panorama of the future. Both wrote down their visions. While in the Book of Daniel we find no direct command to write, we find such a command in the first chapter of Revelation. John received divine instruction how to write the Revelation. (Revelation 1:19)


John guided by the Holy Spirit then wrote the Revelation according to the divine direction. In examining this command to write we find that three things are mentioned. He is to write first the things he had seen, then the things which are, and finally the things that are about to be after these. When John received these instructions he had already seen something, and the vision he had he was instructed to write down. Then present things, the things which are, and future things, to be after present things have passed away, must be located in this book. So we have the past, present ant the future in this key verse. (A.C. Gabelein - Revelation)


N.J. Hiebert # 2165

February 20


"What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that GRACE may abound?... What then? shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under GRACE?" 

(Romans 6:1,15)

In both case the answer is "God forbid" (By no means).

Imagine that you owned a fine cafeteria. One day, you hear this tremendous commotion out in the alley where the garbage dumpsters are. You open the back door to see what's going on, and you see the most pitiful-looking human being you have ever seen in your life - ME - fighting with several stray cats over the food scraps in the dumpster. I am a virtual living skeleton. It's obvious that I am living on the edge of starvation, and probably have been for a long time. There is nothing about me to provoke liking or affection in you, but you are moved to pity.

"Hey, hey!" you yell. Get out of the garbage. Don't eat that stuff! Come over here." I trudge over to you, half-seeing you through hopeless eyes.
"Listen," you say. "I can't stand to see you eating garbage like that. Come into my cafeteria and eat."
"But I don't have any money," I reply.

"It doesn't matter," you say. "My chain of restaurants has done very well, and I can afford it. I want you to eat here every day from now on, absolutely free of charge!" You take my arm and lead me inside the restaurant. I cannot believe my eyes. I have never seen a cafeteria line before. With huge, unbelieving eyes I stare at the spread: vegetables...salads...fruits...beef...fish...chicken...cakes...pies....In my wildest dreams, I have never even imagined that such things could be.
I look at you intently. "Are you saying I can eat anything I want?"
"Yes, anything."
"Really, anything I want ?" I ask again.
"Yes, I said anything you want," you answer.

Then slowly, with a gleam in my eye, I ask, "Can I eat some garbage?"

What would you thing of me? You would think I was insane, wouldn't you? In the face of all that delicious food, all I can think of to ask is whether I can eat garbage. But that is exactly how I feel when people ask me if they can sin because they are under grace!



Jesus Christ laid down His life for us to take away, once and for all, our sins and guilt before a holy God. Then He gave His life to us to raise us from the dead spiritually. He gave us His righteousness, total acceptance, sonship in the family of God. He has made us to be "A chosen (people), a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should show forth the praises of Him who hath called you out of darkness into His marvellous light." (1 Peter 2:9) (Selected)

N.J. Hiebert # 2166

February 21

"...Hear the word of the great king, the king of Assyria... let not Hezekiah deceive you: for he shall not be able to deliver you... hearken not unto Hezekiah, when he persuadeth you, saying THE LORD WILL DELIVER US."

(2 Kings 18:29-32)

Woe to him who listens to him, for the prince of this world (Satan) never makes a man happy. Is it necessary to reason with him, to enter into controversy, or even conversation with him, even to answer him? Our first parents only proved it too well, to their own ruin and that of their posterity; the man of faith is not tempted to answer him. "But the people were silent and answered him not a word; for the king's command was, saying, Answer him not" (2 Kings 18:36). It is only a matter of keeping silent and leaving the enemy to his threats or to his honeyed words." (H.L. Rossier - Meditations on the Second Book of Kings)

N.J. Hiebert # 2167

February 22


"So he paid the fare thereof." (Jonah 1:3)


Of course he did! A terribly high fare it must have been for that long journey. The Lord asks, "Who goeth a warfare at any time at his own charges?" (1 Corinthians 9:7) If we are going in the service of the Lord, we may be quite sure that He will see about "the fare;" but if we are going to please ourselves, or in the service of the devil, "the fare" must be paid! Friends, how very costly is that fare at times! There is many a man who has refused the call of God, and turned to his own way and "the fare" has been the loss of his peace of mind, the rest of heart that the Lord alone can give as we bear His yoke, and perhaps the loss, the eternal loss, of his children.


A comfortable home down here, a nice car, a big bank balance - all these cannot begin to make up for the price we have had to pay for "the fare." It is a costly thing to disobey God. Note that although Jonah had paid the fare to Tarshish (a long, long journey, and we may be sure a very high fare), yet we never hear that he got a refund because he did not get to his destination. The devil takes but he does not give, and the only wages he pays is death. (Romans 6:23) His service is bad, his "fares" are the highest, and his wages are the worst: yet strange to say, he always has mighty following. (G.Christopher Willis - Lessons From Jonah the Prophet)
N.J. Hiebert # 2168

February 23

"And at midnight Paul and Silas PRAYED, and sang praises unto God: and the prisoners HEARD... there was a great EARTHQUAKE... the foundations of the prison were SHAKEN... the doors were OPENED... every one's bands were LOOSED." (Acts 16:25,26)


Men have in all ages felt the necessity of prayer and found in it the greatest relief.
Years ago, a German emperor gave an address on prayer, in which he made use of the following striking illustration:"Far away in the Taunus mountains some remarkable bells are hung on the summit of the peaks. No hand ever rings them. Silent, dumb, they hang there in the sunshine. But when the storm wind comes they begin to swing, and then to peal, and then their chimes are heard far below in the valley. God has hung in every heart a praying bell. Yet how often in the sunshine it is silent and dumb. But when the storm wind of trouble comes it begins to ring." (Christian Truth - Volume 13)
N.J. Hiebert # 2169

February 24


"Let not your heart be troubled; ye believe in God, believe also in Me. In my Father's house are many mansions; if it were not so I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto Myself; that where I am, there ye may be also" (John 14:1-3).


Here we may have something most definite. Indeed it is as definite as it is cheering and consolatory. "I will come again." He does not say, I will send for you. Still less does He say, "You will come to me when you die." He says nothing of the kind. To send an angel, or a legion of angels, would not be the same thing as coming Himself. No doubt it would be very gracious of Him, and very glorious for us, if a multitude of the heavenly host were sent, with horses of fire and chariots of fire, to convey us triumphantly to Heaven. But it would not be the fulfilment of His own sweet promise. And most surely He will do what He promised to do. He will not say one thing and do another. He cannot lie or alter His Word. And not only this, but it would not satisfy the love of His heart to send an angel or a host of angels to fetch us. He will come Himself. (C.H. Mackintosh - The Lord's Coming)

N.J. Hiebert # 2170

February 25

"Go again buy us a little food." (Genesis 43:2)


Jacob was a man of faith, and he bitterly felt the lack of food. He wanted bread, and knew that it could only be obtained from one who was over all the land of Egypt, whatever the instrumentality might be that brought it. Joseph was a remarkable type of Christ risen and glorified. He had been hated by his brethren, sold by them, falsely accused, put into a dungeon, and after he had been taken out of it was highly exalted. Then it was he became, by God's ordering, the dispenser of bread to preserve life - a striking type of the Lord Jesus, our Life-sustainer. Jacob and his sons were objects of God's love and care, and they fainted for lack of "corn." They hungered for bread; nothing less than the bruised "corn of wheat" could satisfy and sustain them; nothing else could meet their need. Have it they must, if possible; for they were famishing; and it could be had only from the typically dead and risen Joseph. May we never separate the Scriptures from Christ, of whom they testify! (The Remembrancer - Vol. 18)

N.J. Hiebert # 2171

February 26


"I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot." (Revelation 3:15)


This is latitudinarianism. (Revelation 3:15) It is not ignorance that works this deadly mischief, but the heart remaining indifferent to the truth, after it has been fully brought before it.... Latitudinarianism is never the condition of souls that are simple-hearted, but of those by whom the truth has been heard and who are not prepared for the cross. God's truth must put people's hearts to the test. It is not merely something I have to learn, but I am proved. If the sheep is in a healthy condition, it will hear the Shepherd's voice, and not even know the voice of strangers; but if the sheep strays after others, it becomes so confounded that it may cease to distinguish the well-known voice. (William Kelly - Revelation)

N.J. Hiebert # 2172

February 27

"And let it be, when these signs are come unto thee, that thou do as occasion serve thee; for God is with thee." (1 Samuel 10:7)


Samuel anointed Saul, and gave him the first kiss of allegiance. He forthwith sent him on a journey as instructive in its way as that of Elijah on the day of his translation. He was to meet "signs" but was he able to read them, and profit by them? The Lord once said to His disciples, "Blessed are your eyes, for they see, and your ears, for they hear." The mass around them were gross of heart, dull of hearing, and their eyes were closed. The Lord also said, "Who hath ears to hear, let him hear" (Matthew 13:9 -16). Are our eyes and ears spiritually alert in this day? Are we able to enter into the mind of the Lord, and so walk intelligently in a dark world? (W.W. Fereday - Samuel God's Emergency Man)

N.J. Hiebert # 2173

February 28


"I made haste, and delayed not to keep Thy commandments." (Psalm 119:60)


How very few persons there are to be found who do not know the meaning of "hurry" and "worry." In a single day, it is an oft-repeated expression, "Oh, hurry up! I am in a hurry; I cannot wait!" Does not hurry bring worry, and cause wasted strength?
Even when we were children, do we not remember the spirit of impatience that prompted us to help the crocus out of its silver covering - the arum to unfold a little quicker - to just give a touch to the slowly developing leaf of the India rubber plant? For we longed to see them expand; but, alas! our childish fingers hurried God's work, and spoiled that which would have been beautiful had it had the whole time He intended to give it to expand in. How many children ask for the unripe fruit, and will take no denial! It looks pretty, though green; it must be nice. The fruit is gathered and given; it has no sweetness, all because it needed time and sunshine.
Never be in haste, except about two things. Haste to be saved; make haste to obey God's commands. (1886 - Selected - Author not known)

N.J. Hiebert # 2174

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