Morning & Evening e-Sword Study Bible

February 22
“His bow abode in strength, and the arms of his hands were made strong by the hands of the mighty God of Jacob.” — Gen_49:24
That strength which God gives to his Josephs is real strength; it is not a boasted valour, a fiction, a thing of which men talk, but which ends in smoke; it is true-divine strength. Why does Joseph stand against temptation? Because God gives him aid. There is nought that we can do without the power of God. All true strength comes from “the mighty God of Jacob.” Notice in what a blessedly familiar way God gives this strength to Joseph-“The arms of his hands were made strong by the hands of the mighty God of Jacob.” Thus God is represented as putting his hands on Joseph’s hands, placing his arms on Joseph’s arms. Like as a father teaches his children, so the Lord teaches them that fear him. He puts his arms upon them. Marvellous condescension! God Almighty, Eternal, Omnipotent, stoops from his throne and lays his hand upon the child’s hand, stretching his arm upon the arm of Joseph, that he may be made strong! This strength was also covenant strength, for it is ascribed to “the mighty God of Jacob.” Now, wherever you read of the God of Jacob in the Bible, you should remember the covenant with Jacob. Christians love to think of God’s covenant. All the power, all the grace, all the blessings, all the mercies, all the comforts, all the things we have, flow to us from the well-head, through the covenant. If there were no covenant, then we should fail indeed; for all grace proceeds from it, as light and heat from the sun. No angels ascend or descend, save upon that ladder which Jacob saw, at the top of which stood a covenant God. Christian, it may be that the archers have sorely grieved you, and shot at you, and wounded you, but still your bow abides in strength; be sure, then, to ascribe all the glory to Jacob’s God.
“The Lord is slow to anger, and great in power.” — Nah_1:3
Jehovah “is slow to anger.” When mercy cometh into the world she driveth winged steeds; the axles of her chariot-wheels are red hot with speed; but when wrath goeth forth, it toileth on with tardy footsteps, for God taketh no pleasure in the sinner’s death. God’s rod of mercy is ever in his hands outstretched; his sword of justice is in its scabbard, held down by that pierced hand of love which bled for the sins of men. “The Lord is slow to anger,” because he is GREAT IN POWER. He is truly great in power who hath power over himself. When God’s power doth restrain himself, then it is power indeed: the power that binds omnipotence is omnipotence surpassed. A man who has a strong mind can bear to be insulted long, and only resents the wrong when a sense of right demands his action. The weak mind is irritated at a little: the strong mind bears it like a rock which moveth not, though a thousand breakers dash upon it, and cast their pitiful malice in spray upon its summit. God marketh his enemies, and yet he bestirs not himself, but holdeth in his anger. If he were less divine than he is, he would long ere this have sent forth the whole of his thunders, and emptied the magazines of heaven; he would long ere this have blasted the earth with the wondrous fires of its lower regions, and man would have been utterly destroyed; but the greatness of his power brings us mercy. Dear reader, what is your state this evening? Can you by humble faith look to Jesus, and say, “My substitute, thou art my rock, my trust”? Then, beloved, be not afraid of God’s power; for by faith you have fled to Christ for refuge, the power of God need no more terrify you, than the shield and sword of the warrior need terrify those whom he loves. Rather rejoice that he who is “great in power” is your Father and Friend.

Rylisms e-Sword Study Bible

February 22
The Law of the Lord is Perfect
“The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple” (Psa_19:7).
“The Law of the Lord is perfect,” Moses began, “but it was put into the hands of imperfect men — beginning with me.”
He paused for a moment of personal reflection, unable to mask the pain in his heart as he recalled that unforgettable moment.
“When I came down from the Mountain and saw the people worshipping a Golden Calf, I threw the Tablets in anger and they broke. I didn’t realize at the time how profoundly symbolic that moment was for us all. Even before we actually received The Law — we broke it. We were guilty…and doomed.
“But God was merciful and gave us a second set of Tablets. Yet, the more we tried to obey The Law – the more we realized how powerless we were to do so. At length, that which was pure and perfect became a thing that condemned us in our fallen state. We knew all too well that we were wicked, but our anguish was multiplied by the deeper knowledge that we were also powerless to change ourselves!
Can a leopard change his spots? How then can we do good, who are accustomed to doing evil? And what is worse, even when we do a good thing, it becomes defiled by pride in our own our self-righteousness.
We were stubborn and stiff-necked people; resisting God every step of the way. At one point He offered to send us on ahead without Him. He said an angel would go with us, but not Him. “NO!” I cried out. “For if Your presence does not go with us how shall it be known that we have found grace in your sight? What else will distinguish us from all other peoples on the face of the earth?” (Exo_33:1-16)
He did go with us! And over time we began to see that, as a School Master – true and unyielding in the administering of truth and wisdom – The Law was actually moving us forward to a time when the Law Giver would actually come and live inside each one of us as The Law Keeper!
“And thus when the fullness of the time has come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, to redeem us!” (Gal_4:4) Christ in you is the hope of glory! For this reason, we affirm boldly that sin shall not have dominion over you: for you are not under the law, but under grace!” (Rom_6:14)
Yes, “the power of Christ to do God’s will is with us – right where we are. And it is far greater than the power of sin! For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh: that the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. (Rom_8:3-4).
“And the fruit which The Spirit produces in our lives is love, joy, peace, patience, goodness, faithfulness, meekness, and self-control. Against such things there is no Law!
“Yes, God gave me the tablets written on Stone. But when One came who is far greater than me, Jesus the Son of God — God wrote His Law on the tablets of our hearts. And now Christ lives in us, empowering us to live out in our daily lives the righteousness of the Law by His Grace!! And this is what now distinguishes you from all the peoples on the face of the earth. It is His grace – the power of His presence in you!
“There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death. (Rom_8:1-2)
“The question then is this. Will we continue to live in the power of the flesh, or by the power of the Spirit? With carnal minds, or with spiritual minds? For to be carnal-minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.
“And I am persuaded of better things concerning you my friends. For I can see that you have journeyed to this place called Grace on purpose.
“I can see in you what is true of all who love the Lord – you have embraced The Cross as your own! You have been raised from the dead to walk in newness of life! You are being filled with the Spirit that raised Christ from the dead, and He is quickening you to walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God; strengthened with all might, according to his glorious power – His Amazing Grace!!!” (see Col_1:10-11).
Moses’ face began to shine with such glory that we almost had to avert our eyes. It was beautiful beyond description.

Devotional Sermons e-Sword

February 22
Then cometh Jesus from Galilee to Jordan unto John, to be baptized of him — Mat_3:13
The Baptism of Jesus Was Surrender to Vocation
The baptism of our Lord was His self-consecration to His lifework. It was His dedication to His public ministry. When others were baptized in Jordan, it was a symbol of their need for cleansing. Awakened to the guilt of sin, they were promising amendment of their lives. But when our Savior was baptized, He had no sin to be repented of. His baptism was surrender to vocation. Hitherto He had been preparing for it. He had been, if one might put it so, at college. In the secret fidelities of home, God had been training Him to be the faithful witness (Rev_1:5). Now He was entering on His public ministry, and for that, He was set apart and consecrated by this open and voluntary action. In what, then, did that dedication issue? What were its spiritual and immediate consequences? It is not wasted time to meditate on these things.
Clearer Vision Followed Full Surrender
First, then, it issued in a clearer vision, for we read that the heavens were opened unto Him. That does not point to a material sky, but to a vision breaking on His soul. When Peter was praying on the housetop, he, too, saw the heavens opened. In that great moment, there was revealed to him the spiritual equality of Jew and Gentile. So our Lord, when the heavens were opened to Him, won a larger and a clearer vision and won it because in full surrender He had dedicated Himself to God. That always follows the personal dedication. To see, we must surrender. It is when we give ourselves with our whole heart to anything that it breaks out into a wealth of meaning. It is when we give ourselves with our whole heart to God that, like our Lord, we see the heavens opened, and new vision dawns upon the soul.
Personal Dedication Brings New Endowment
Again, this personal dedication brought with it at once a new endowment, for we read that as He left the river, the Holy Spirit descended upon Him. When God bestows His Spirit on a child, He gives it up to the capacity of childhood. God does not pour into a little cup what it would take a flagon to contain. So then the Spirit of God filled the holy Child, it was not that He might be a perfect man: it was that He might be a perfect child. As a child, He was a perfect child, and as a youth, He was a perfect youth. All that was needed for those quiet years was given without measure. But now these sheltered years were over, with their lowly tasks, and happiness of home, and He was launching out into the deep. Before Him lay the highway of Messiahship, the proclamation of the Kingdom, the long conflict with the powers of darkness, the crucifixion on the tree. And for that, He needed equipment which He had never needed as a child, nor in the lowly duties of the home. That is what God gave Him at the Jordan when the Holy Spirit descended on Him there—grace for His unparalleled vocation as the one Savior of mankind. The full surrender of the baptism was owned and honored by full equipment—and so it is with every believer.
A Sense of Filial Intimacy
Again, the dedication of the baptism issued in a new sense of filial intimacy, for immediately there was a voice from heaven, saying, “This is my beloved Son.” We know that even from His childhood Jesus had dwelt in the fatherhood of God. The presence of God as a loving heavenly Father had been Him through all the silent years. But never, till the hour of baptism, had this deep sense been verified and owned by an audible witness from the other side. There came a voice now, carrying in its utterance intense and irresistible conviction. There came the glorious and immediate certainty of One who never had been far away. And all this when He came up from Jordan, and when, for life and agony and death, He had yielded Himself up a living sacrifice. Not when He was a happy child at Nazareth, wandering and playing in the fields there; not when He was a lad of twelve, intensely and spiritually eager; but when He gave Himself, yielded up Himself, immersed Himself in the baptism of sinners, did He have the divine assurance of the voice of the Father.
The Dove Gave Him a Certainty of Sacrifice
Lastly, the dedication of the baptism issued in the certainty of sacrifice, for we read that when the heavens were opened, He saw the Spirit descending like a dove. Now the dove is a very gentle bird, and you and I have a very gentle Savior. As we read the story of His life, we are often reminded of the dove. But the first thing which the Holy Spirit did was to drive Him out into the wilderness, and that is scarcely significant of gentleness. Something more than gentleness is here, and every Jew could tell you what it was. For the dove were the one and only bird that was ever sacrificed upon a Jewish altar. And do you not think that when in that high hour the Holy Spirit descended like a dove, our blessed Savior would see the meaning of it? Just as the dove was laid upon the altar, so He was going to be laid upon the altar. Just as the dove was sacrificed for sin, so He was going to be sacrificed for sin. In that great moment of perfect dedication, when He identified Himself with sinful man, there was revealed the necessity of Calvary.

Our Daily Walk e-Sword

February 22
“Behold a ladder set up on the earth, and the top of it reached to Heaven; and, behold, the angels of God ascending and descending on it.” — Gen_28:12.
“Hereafter ye shall see Heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of Man. — Joh_1:51.
BETHEL WAS a bleak moorland in the heart of Canaan. The hill-sides and level downs were strewn with huge boulders. As he fled north wards, Jacob suddenly found himself overtaken by the swift eastern night while he was traversing this desolate moor. There was nothing for it but to lie down on the hard ground, taking one of the big stones as a pillow for his head. As he slept, he dreamed; and in his dream his mind wove together his last waking thoughts in fantastic medley. It seemed as if the big slabs of limestone came together, and built themselves into a gigantic staircase, reaching from where he lay to the starry heights above him; and on that staircase angels came and went, peopling by their multitudes that most desolate region, and evidently interested in the sleeper who lay beneath.
Let us think of that mystic ladder which is Jesus Christ our Lord, by which He descended to our humanity and ascended to the Throne of God. He is “the Way” by which “the sons of ignorance and night” can pass upward to the eternal Light and Love. Where are you? It may be on a moorland waste, in a ship’s cabin, a settler’s hut, in a humble cottage, in the crowded city, lying on a bed of pain in the hospital ward! Wherever you are, Jesus finds you out and comes just where you are. The one pole of the ladder is the gold of His Deity, the other the silver of His Manhood, which is placed against your life. Transmit to Him your burdens of sin and care and fear. “Surely the Lord is in this place, and I knew it not.” “We have a Mediator between God and man, the Man Christ Jesus.” None of us is outside God’s loving thought and care. There is always a linking ladder between ourselves and Heaven, and God’s angels still pass to and fro, sent forth to minister to the heirs of salvation. Let us see to it that we wait at the foot of the ladder to claim our share in the blessings which they bring to earth.
We thank Thee, O Father, that from whatever place Thy children seek Thee, there is a ladder reaching up beyond the stars to Heaven; that Jesus is the Way to Thyself, and we may come to Thee in Him; nay, Thou dost come to us, and dost send Thine angels to minister to our need, that Heaven is near to earth, with sympathy, help, and succour. AMEN.