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nChrist
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« Reply #15 on: January 25, 2006, 11:25:19 AM »

Author: Woodrow Kroll
Source: Early in the Morning
Scripture Reference: Numbers 14:11-45

God's Timetable

And they rose up early in the morning, and gat them up into the top of the mountain, saying, Lo, we be here, and will go up unto the place which the LORD hath promised: for we have sinned.

If the child of God is to obey the will of God, he must keep his eye on the timetable of God. Israel had been miraculously delivered from Egyptian bondage by the evident power of God. Two months later the Israelites camped at the foot of Mount Sinai where Moses received the law of God. Here they remained nearly a year until God commanded them to move on to Kadesh-Barnea. Everything was right on God's schedule.

God had led His people each step of the way. But before He would lead them into the promised land, this luscious countryside had to be explored. For this task the twelve heads of their respective tribes were chosen. Their names are given at length but only two of them are memorable: Joshua the son of Nun, and Caleb the son of Jephunneh.

The twelve spies spent forty days on their intelligence gathering foray. Sure enough, the land was all that the Lord had promised. It was truly a land that "floweth with milk and honey." In fact, the grapes which they brought back were so robust that a cluster of them had to be borne on a staff supported on the shoulders of two men.

But the news was not all good. Ten of the returning spies reported that the people dwelt in very great, walled cities: the Amalekites in the south; the Hittites, Jebusites, and Amorites in the mountains; and the Canaanites by the sea. But more than this, the giant sons of Anak dwelt there, before whom the spies felt as grasshoppers. In spite of the encouragement by Joshua and Caleb in the minority report, the people broke into open rebellion. God was leading them into the land, but they were afraid and would not follow His leading.

The disobedience of Israel evoked the wrath of God. All Israelites twenty years of age and older were banned from ever dwelling in the land they had refused to enter. Instead, God declared they would wander in the wilderness for forty years, one year for each day the spies were in the land, and would die during that wandering. Only Joshua and Caleb were permitted to settle in the promised land, for they alone were ready to move on God's command and according to His timetable.

When the people learned of God's sentence on their disobedience, they were not at all penitent. Instead, they resolved to atone for their sin by belatedly storming the promised land. But delayed obedience is the brother of disobedience. "And they rose up early in the morning" in preparation for their ill-fated campaign (Numbers 14:40). In spite of Moses' warning, the people marched against the Amalekites and Canaanites. What they would not do with God's help, they now attempted to do without it. First they refused to enter the land because of their unbelief in the power of God. Then they attempted to enter that same land because of their unbelief in the severity of God's judgment. In their own strength and outside of God's timing, they were sure to fail. They did. The enemy defeated the Israelites with a great slaughter and drove them back as far as Hormah.

Each of us who knows God must learn from Israel's tragedy so that it is not similarly repeated in our lives. We dare not question divine leading. If that leading is to dwell at the foot of Sinai, as the Israelites did, we must learn to be content where we are. But regardless of adverse circumstances, if God tells us that it is time to act, we have no reasonable choice but to act. Whether remaining indefinitely or moving out immediately, we must learn to follow the accurate timetable of God. This can be done successfully only when we are sensitive to that still small voice of His Holy Spirit and are willing to obey it.

MORNING HYMN

It may not be on the mountain's height,
Or over the stormy sea;
It may not be at the battle's front
My Lord will have need of me;
But if by a still, small voice He calls
To paths I do not know,
I'll answer, dear Lord, with my hand in Thine
I'll go where you want me to go.

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« Reply #16 on: January 26, 2006, 10:20:17 AM »

Author: Woodrow Kroll
Source: Early in the Morning
Scripture Reference: Mark 11:1-26

Fruit and Faith

And in the morning as they passed by, they saw the fig tree dried up from the roots.

There is an old legend about a great teacher who was walking through an orchard on a windy day. The teacher came to a fence which divided the grove from an adjoining forest and he imagined that he could hear the trees talking to each other. The maple trees taunted a group of nearby fruit trees, "Why don't your leaves rustle in the breeze like ours so that you could be heard from a distance?"

"We don't need such useless fluttering to draw attention to our presence," was the reply. "Our fruit speaks for us!"

The story of Jesus cursing the fig tree is a story of fruit and faith. As our Lord approached the cross during the Passion Week, many outstanding events took place. On Palm Sunday He triumphantly entered the city of Jerusalem, but he retired to the house of His friends in Bethany that evening. On the morrow He made His way back to the city of Jerusalem early in the morning. He was eager to be about His father's business and did not want to disappoint the people who would come early to hear Him teach in the Temple. Because He had risen early and left Bethany before the breakfast hour, Jesus and His disciples were hungry. On the way He spied a fig tree in full bloom.

The fig tree is unique in that the fruit appears on the tree before it comes to full bloom. Figs generally appear in February, followed by leaves later in the spring. Thus when Jesus saw the tree in full bloom, He had every right to expect that there would be figs which He and the disciples could use for temporary sustenance. When He arrived at the tree, however, even though the tree was in full bloom, it was barren of fruit. Jesus cursed the tree saying, "No man eat fruit of thee hereafter for ever" (Mark 11:14).

When Jesus and the disciples returned in the morning to the site of the fig tree, they saw that the tree had dried up from its roots (Mark 11:20). The disciples were astonished at how rapidly the cursed tree had begun to disintegrate. When Peter called this phenomenon to the Master's attention, Jesus said, "Have faith in God." The cursing of the fruitless fig tree was done deliberately to teach the lesson-"Have faith in God." Jesus continued to illustrate this when He said, "For verily I say unto you, Whosoever shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; and shall not doubt in his heart, but shall believe that those things which he saith shall come to pass he shall have whatsoever he saith" (Mark 11:23).

Some years ago a group of botanists went on an expedition to a remote part of the Alps. They were searching for new varieties of flowers. One day they saw a beautiful rare species growing at the extreme bottom of a deep ravine. It was almost impossible to get at. Someone would have to be lowered into the gorge to retrieve the rare flower. The botanist noticed a local Swiss boy standing nearby and asked him if he would get the flower. A rope would be tied around his waist and the men would lower him to the floor of the canyon. The young boy peered thoughtfully into the chasm. "Wait," he said, "I'll be right back." The lad dashed off. When he returned he was accompanied by an older man. The boy said to the scientists, "I'll go over the cliff now and get the flower for you but this man must hold the rope. He's my dad."

Fruit and faith go hand in hand. The incident of Jesus' cursing of the fig tree illustrates this beautifully. If we are to bear fruit, we must have faith in the one who holds our hand. Whatever the task given to us, we will be only as successful in completing it as our faith in the Father will permit.

MORNING HYMN
I would be true, for there are those who trust me
I would be pure, for there are those who care.
I would be strong for there is much to suffer;
I would be brave, for there is much to dare.

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« Reply #17 on: January 27, 2006, 01:47:43 PM »

Author: Woodrow Kroll
Source: Early in the Morning
Scripture Reference: Genesis 26:17-35

Good for Evil

And they rose up betimes in the morning, and sware one to another: and Isaac sent them away, and they departed from him in peace.

In his "Essay on Criticism" British author Alexander Pope inscribed the everlasting words, "To err is human; to forgive is divine." How easy it is to offend. Yet how difficult it is to forgive the offense. The devil counsels you to hate your enemies, hinder them, and seek every opportunity to destroy them. Our Lord counsels, "Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them who despitefully use you, and persecute you" (Matthew 5:44). The words of the Lord Jesus sound very idealistic, but in the nitty-gritty of everyday life it is quite difficult to forgive someone who has purposefully persecuted you.

Consider the plight of Isaac. When a famine arose in Canaan, Isaac was driven south to dwell in the land of Gerar. Here Isaac sowed the land and the Lord blessed him one-hundredfold. The patriarch became a very great man with possessions of flocks and herds. This made the Philistines of Gerar envious, and their king, Abimelech, asked Isaac to move elsewhere.

Thus Isaac departed in peace and pitched his tent farther south in the valley of Gerar. Immediately Isaac and his men redug the wells there which were previously owned by Abraham. Then Isaac's servants began to dig a new well. This brought strife with the herdsmen of Gerar who apparently did not want any more of the south country to be claimed by Isaac. The conflict was so great that Isaac named the well Esek, which means "contention." In order to avoid the problem, Isaac peaceably forsook that well and dug another. But this too brought the wrath of the Gerar herdsmen and Isaac named this well Sitnah (hatred). Again the well was given up in order to avoid confrontation. Isaac moved still farther south and his men dug yet a third well. This time they were apparently beyond the range of the envious herdsmen, for no strife followed. Isaac called this well Rehoboth, meaning "wide space," where the Lord would make them fruitful in the land.

Shortly Isaac traveled north to Beersheba. When Abimelech learned that the increasingly wealthy and influential Isaac had come to Beersheba, he quickly paid him a visit. Abimelech hoped to regain the favor of Isaac whom he had earlier expelled. When Isaac inquired why Abimelech and his friends had come, they replied, "We saw certainly that the LORD was with thee: and we said, Let there be now an oath between us, even between us and thee, and let us make a covenant with thee; That thou wilt do us no harm, as we have not touched thee, and as we have done unto thee nothing but good, and have sent thee away in peace: thou art now the blessed of the LORD."

Abimelech and his friends were being quite gracious to themselves by saying that they had done Isaac nothing but good. In fact, they had uprooted him from fields which were giving a one-hundredfold yield. Even after he migrated south, the herdsmen of Gerar took possession of two of Isaac's tediously dug wells. Isaac had much to resent and be bitter about. But in typically godly fashion Isaac was willing to forgive the offenses against him.

A feast was made. Together they ate and drank. "And they rose up betimes in the morning, and sware one to another" (Genesis 26:31). Early the next morning they "cut a covenant," that is, they made a pact of peace that they would not harm one another. For Isaac this was a one-sided pact, for he had wronged no one. He could have reacted angrily to the suggestion of the peace pact. But instead, he forgave his offenders and dug another well at Beersheba (the "well of the covenant"). This confirmed the covenant with Abimelech.

To return evil for good is devilish; to return good for good is human; to return good for evil is godlike. The rich and powerful Isaac had no reason to forgive Abimelech and agree to the peace pact except that the love of God constrained him to do so. Isaac’s forgiving spirit is reflected in our Lord's instruction, "Be ye, therefore, merciful, as your Father also is merciful. Judge not, and ye shall not be judged; condemn not, and ye shall not be condemned; forgive, and ye shall be forgiven" (Luke 6:36-37). It's good advice. Let's heed it today.

MORNING HYMN
More like the Master I would live and grow,
More of His love to others I would show;
More self-denial, like His in Galilee
More like the Master I long to ever be.

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« Reply #18 on: January 29, 2006, 12:43:47 AM »

Author: Woodrow Kroll
Source: Early in the Morning
Scripture Reference: Psalms 57:1-11

Praising God

Awake up, my glory; awake, psaltery and harp: I myself will awake early.

The Psalms are the poetry of Palestine. They record the pains and pleasures, the distresses and delights of David and others. Over many psalms is a superscription, that is, an inscription which names the author of the psalm or gives the occasion for its writing or the instrument upon which the tune is to be played. Although these superscriptions are not inspired of God, as the individual psalms are, nonetheless they appear to be highly accurate and provide a good source of information for us regarding the psalms. The superscription for Psalm 57 says, "To the chief Musician, Altaschith, Michtam of David, when he fled from Saul in the cave."

King Saul had been openly seeking to take the life of David. Where could David turn for help? There was no question in his mind that the only place to turn for help was God. Thus he begins his psalm with the prayer, "Be merciful unto me, O God, be merciful unto me; for my soul trusteth in Thee. Yea, in the shadow of Thy wings will I make my refuge, until these calamities be overpassed." The psalmist knew that God would not permit the king to seek his life forever and that one day these calamities would be over. Although he would roam the hills of southern Palestine, nonetheless he would make his refuge the shadow of God's wings.

The first half of this psalm records David's cry to God for deliverance and salvation. He notes that there is someone "that would swallow me up" (Psalm 57:3) and that he lives "among lions. . . whose teeth are spears and arrows" (verse 4). David is fully aware that Saul has prepared a net for his steps and will relentlessly pursue him until the end.

Perhaps you too are being relentlessly pursued, not by the king but by financial distress or physical infirmities. What should your reaction be to these things? David's reaction, in the midst of his distress and cry for help, was the positive statement of verse 5, "Be Thou exalted, O God, above the heavens; let Thy glory be above all the earth." How could he say such a thing, given his circumstances? How could he remain calm in the midst of his storm? David provides the answer in verse 7, "My heart is fixed, O God, my heart is fixed: I will sing and give praise.

To sing praises unto God while we are being relentlessly pursued by sickness, disease and distress requires a heart that is fixed on God and a tongue prepared to praise Him in the midst of that pursuit. Thus the psalmist issues a threefold call to awake himself to the praise of God. He says, "Awake up, my glory." This is a call for his greatest intellect to give praise to the Lord. The tongue can never express our praise to God until our minds form that praise. Before we can praise God in the midst of our troubles, we must have the mind to do so. David calls for his glory, his intellect, to stir itself in praise of God.

Next he cries, "Awake, psaltery and harp." His fingers will fly in joy over the strings of the psaltery and harp because his mind has become fixed on God. He is determined to praise God regardless of how his enemies pursue him. Let all the music with which we are familiar be attuned to the praise of our God.

Finally he enjoins, "I myself will awake early" (Psalm 57:8). No sleepy verses or weary notes will be heard from us early in the morning. We will rouse ourselves to the highest calling of man, to praise the Lord God among the people. We will faithfully, daily, arouse our intellect and will to the praise of God. We will also employ our fingers and our tongues in praising Him for His great deliverance. We will awake early to set ourselves to that task, the noble task of praising God.

MORNING HYMN
'Tis the grandest theme thro' the ages rung;
'Tis the grandest theme for a mortal tongue
'Tis the grandest theme that the world e'er sung
"Our God is able to deliver thee."

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« Reply #19 on: January 29, 2006, 08:25:46 AM »

Author: Woodrow Kroll
Source: Early in the Morning
Scripture Reference: Exodus 14:1-31

Walls of Water

And it came to pass, that in the morning watch the LORD looked unto the host of the Egyptians through the pillar of fire and of the cloud, and troubled the host of the Egyptians.

Everyone is aware of what can happen to the best laid plans of mice and men. But when the plans of men are in conflict with the purposes of God, they are destined for defeat. More than once the pages of Scripture record that God reversed an evil plan designed to destroy His people (cf. Esther 7:10; Daniel 3:22; 6:24).

The ancient Egyptians had been subjected to the ten most torturous plagues in history. The last of these plagues brought death to the firstborn of every Egyptian family, including the family of Pharaoh. The king called for Moses and Aaron and commanded them to get out of his land. Soon, however, because his heart was bitterly hardened, Pharaoh regretted letting his Israelite slaves go, and he quickly assembled the Egyptian armies, including an elite corps of 600 chosen chariots. The troops mustered, Pharaoh pursued the Israelites and overtook them at Pi-hahiroth. God's chosen people were trapped. With the wilderness to Israel's side, the vast Red Sea before them, and the Egyptian armies closing in, a wretched grin must have crossed Pharaoh's face. There was no way out for Israel, and the Egyptian king knew it.

Yet God had warned Moses not to fear but to stand still and see the salvation of the Lord. At nightfall, without warning, the angel of God removed the pillar of the cloud from before the Israelites and placed it between their camp and the Egyptian armies. From this vantage point the cloud lighted the breadth of the sea for the Israelites but at the same time obscured the view of the Egyptians, causing them to grope in the inky darkness. As Moses stretched forth his hand, the Lord caused an east wind to howl with such force that it pushed back the waters of the Red Sea. The children of Israel, 600,000 men, plus women and children, crossed the sea on dry land between the walls of water. All night long the crossing proceeded. Finally the Egyptian charioteers apprehensively pursued God's people into the midst of the sea.

"In the morning watch the LORD looked unto the host of the Egyptians through the pillar of fire and of the cloud and troubled the host of the Egyptians" (Exodus 14:24). The Lord caused the wheels of the heavy Egyptian chariots to clog with mud and soon they began to break off. Panic-stricken and exhausted, they began to flee from the Israelites. But it was too late. The Lord commanded Moses to stretch forth his hand over the sea. When the first light of day appeared, the walls of water thundered together and not one Egyptian soldier was left. The bodies of Pharaoh's men washed ashore as a visible reminder to Israel of God's salvation.

Once a public school teacher, who was prejudiced against the Bible, was explaining to her class that the Jews' crossing the Red Sea was no miracle. "The water was only six inches deep," explained the godless teacher. "The Jews had nothing to worry about." From the back of the room came a little boy's shout, "Praise the Lord, Hallelujah."

"No, Johnny, you didn't hear me correctly. I said the water was only six inches deep where the Jews crossed the Red Sea. It was no miracle."

Johnny replied, "Oh, that's not what I was praising the Lord for. I was praising Him for the miracle that Pharaoh's army could drown in just six inches of water."

Once again Israel's situation was completely reversed by God. That which was to be the downfall of the children of God proved to be their salvation. The Red Sea became a great symbol of victory instead of a story of defeat. Israel was now rejoicing in the Lord on the other side of a miracle.

MORNING HYMN
Safe is my refuge, sweet is my rest,
Ill cannot harm me, nor foes e'er molest
Jesus my spirit so tenderly calms,
Holding me close in His mighty arms.

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« Reply #20 on: January 31, 2006, 02:44:01 AM »

Author: Woodrow Kroll
Source: Early in the Morning
Scripture Reference: 2 Samuel 11:1-27

Steps to Sin

And it came to pass in the morning, that David wrote a letter to Joab, and sent it by the hand of Uriah.

A historian once observed that Abraham Lincoln died in time to be great. That is, if he had lived longer, his greatness may well have been tarnished with mistakes. David was not so fortunate. He lived to make his greatest mistake and to commit his greatest sin with Bathsheba.

David was at war with the children of Ammon, east of the Jordan River. He sent Joab his captain to seize the city of Rabbah, what is today Amman, the capital of Jordan. David remained behind at Jerusalem perhaps because he had become self-indulgent and faced a growing inclination toward enjoying the luxurious life of the royal palace. At any rate, remaining behind ultimately led to his downfall. The steps which David took to fall into sin are characteristic steps. They are identical to those taken by Adam and Eve (Genesis 3), by Achan (Joshua 7:21) and by others. Here are those steps.

First, David was strolling in the evening on the roof of his palace when he saw a beautiful woman bathing in an adjacent house. Sin always begins with sight, or some sensual exposure. The sight of sin is not sin itself. Occasionally we cannot help but look upon sin. But the second glance at what we should not see is always sin.

Second, David "sent and inquired after the woman." Had he not given in to his lust for the bathing woman, he would never have sent for information about her. In essence, he desired her and lusted after her when he knew he could not have her. The sight of sin the second time led David to illicit desire.

Third, 2 Samuel 11:4 indicates, "And David sent messengers, and took her." Like Eve in the garden of Eden and Achan at the battle of Jericho, David now actively participated in sin. These steps in the cycle of sin are universal; they cause us to stumble, as they caused David to stumble. In order to break this cycle, we must be aware that one step always leads to the next. David failed to recognize this, and it led to disgrace in the kingdom of Israel.

To have the king commit adultery was bad enough; but sin is never a private matter. It always involves others. Thus the fourth step in David's sin was to involve an innocent party in his sin. In this case the innocent party was Uriah the Hittite, the husband of Bathsheba.

When Bathsheba told David that she was with child and that it was his child, he unsuccessfully attempted to divert the consequences of his sin. He demanded that Uriah be returned to Jerusalem under the guise of wanting to know how the battle was going. He sent Uriah to his house, assuming that after Uriah had spent an evening at home with his wife, everyone would assume that she was pregnant with his child. But Uriah would not enter the house. A disappointed David even attempted to get Uriah drunk so that he would go home, but to no avail. The die was cast; everyone would know that Bathsheba's child was not Uriah's.

In the morning David callously caused Uriah to be the bearer of his own death warrant to Joab (2 Samuel 11:14). According to the king's instructions, Joab placed Uriah in the heat of the battle so that he would be killed. David now added murder to the crime of adultery. This is hardly what we would expect from the man God had chosen to be king of Israel. It is what we have come to expect, however, when one lingers at the door of sin. Lingering at the door of sin is an open invitation to enter that door, and David stayed too long on the top of his roof while viewing the bathing Bathsheba. Had he fled from the presence of temptation, he would not have entered the cycle of sin. You and I must flee temptation and the presence of evil if we would remain true to God. None of us has developed a resistant strain to the bacteria of sin.

MORNING HYMN
Yield not to temptation,
For yielding is sin
Each vict'ry will help you
Some other to win
Fight manfully onward,
Dark passions subdue,
Look ever to Jesus,
He will carry you through.

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« Reply #21 on: February 01, 2006, 07:27:28 AM »

Author: Woodrow Kroll
Source: Early in the Morning
Scripture Reference: 1 Samuel 5:2-12

One God Alone

And when they arose early on the morrow morning, behold, Dagon was fallen upon his face to the ground before the ark of the LORD; and the head of Dagon and both the palms of his hands were cut off upon the threshold; only the stump of Dagon was left to him.

Periodically in history God chooses to reveal in dramatic fashion that He alone is God. When the shepherd boy David took on the mighty giant Goliath, he was confident of victory, knowing that the Lord would deliver the giant into his hand, "that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel" (1 Samuel 17:46). When Sennacherib, King of Assyria, threatened Jerusalem with invasion, King Hezekiah was reminded that the gods of all the cities that fell before Jerusalem were unable to stay the Assyrian armies. Hezekiah fell before the Lord in prayer and said, "O LORD God of Israel, which dwellest between the cherubims, Thou art the God, even Thou alone, of all the kingdoms of the earth" (2 Kings 19:15). When Jehovah wills, He elevates Himself over all the false gods of the earth and proves that there is no God but Jehovah.

When Eli the priest was old and Samuel still young, God chose to show His superiority over the gods of the Philistines. With Israel encamped at Ebenezer and the Philistines at Aphek, a mighty battle ensued. Israel was defeated and lost 4,000 men in the fray. This completely devastated the Israelites, for they remembered the mighty deeds which God had performed against their enemies in the past. Why was He not smiling on them now? Had Jehovah abandoned them? If so, how could they take Him into battle? They hit upon a plan.

"Let us fetch the ark of the covenant of the LORD out of Shiloh unto us, that when it cometh among us it may save us out of the hand of our enemies" (1 Samuel 4:3). They clung to the superstitious hope that the mere symbol of God's presence would be enough to bring them to victory. It wasn't. In the second battle 30,000 men were slain, among them Hophni and Phinehas, the licentious sons of Eli. But even worse, the ark of the covenant was seized by the hated enemy of Israel.

The Philistines took the ark of God and brought it to Ashdod, to the house of Dagon their god. Here the ark was placed before the idol. That night the Ashdodites slept with the sleep of sweet revenge.

Early on the morrow the Philistines arose to savor their victory (l Samuel 5:3). But Jehovah God was up long before the Philistines arose; and when they entered the temple of their god, they saw Dagon fallen on his face before the ark of the Lord. It was the height of humiliation. It was as if Dagon had prostrated himself before the symbol of Jehovah. Quickly they returned the idol to its place and all the Ashdodites breathed a sigh of relief.

But once again Jehovah arose long before the Philistines for "when they arose early on the morrow morning, behold Dagon was fallen upon his face to the ground before the ark of the LORD" (1 Samuel 5:4). To add injury to insult, the head of the statue and both of its hands were broken off; so that only the stump of Dagon was left.

God allowed the ark to be captured by the Philistines to punish His superstitious people. But even in their punishment Jehovah was still jealous of His glory; and when the Philistines should have been savoring their victory, they were swallowing their pride.

Dagon was no match for Jehovah. The Philistines were learning what David had learned, what we all must learn. "Among the gods there is none like unto Thee, O LORD. . . . For Thou art great, and doest wondrous things: Thou art God alone" (Psalm 86:8,10). Since our God alone is God, let's praise Him today all the day long. We have a God who is a God of gods and worthy of our praise.

MORNING HYMN
A mighty fortress is our God,
A bulwark never failing;
Our helper He amid the flood
Of mortal ills prevailing.
For still our ancient foe
Doth seek to work us woe
His craft and pow'r are great,
And armed with cruel hate,
On earth is not his equal.

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« Reply #22 on: February 01, 2006, 07:30:20 AM »

Author: Woodrow Kroll
Source: Early in the Morning
Scripture Reference: Joshua 3:1-17

Wet Feet

Joshua rose early in the morning; and they removed from gotcha2tim, and came to Jordan, he and all the children of Israel, and lodged there before they passed over.

Faith is getting yourself in so deep that only God can get you out. This concept of faith is readily seen in the account of Joshua and the children of Israel as they crossed the Jordan River into the promised land.

With the passing of Moses a new servant of the Lord was commissioned to lead the chosen people of God. Joshua clearly had the promise of God that He would be with the Israelites. Be strong and of good courage" (Joshua 1:6). "Only be thou strong and very courageous" (1:7). "Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of good courage; be not afraid, neither be dismayed: for the LORD thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest" (1:9). "Only be strong and of a good courage" (1:18). Armed with these promises of divine assistance, Joshua immediately sent two men into the land to spy out the city of Jericho. Here the spies met Rahab the harlot and their lives were spared by her hiding them from the king's men. After three days the spies returned to Joshua and reported that all the inhabitants of the land were afraid of the mighty Jehovah and that Israel could easily enter the land and establish a beachhead there.

As a decisive leader, Joshua wasted no time in mustering the Israelite camp. Joshua rose early in the morning (Joshua 3:1) and they removed from gotcha2tim to the Jordan River. Roaring downward toward the Dead Sea, the mighty current of the Jordan is very strong at Jericho, especially during the harvest season. Because of the melting snows in the Lebanon mountains, and the overflowing of the Jordan during the month of Nisan, crossing the river at this season was regarded in ancient times as a very extraordinary feat. It is mentioned in 1 Chronicles 12:15 as a heroic act on the part of the brave Gaddites. Undoubtedly the rushing waters had overflowed the banks when the two spies crossed the river a few days before. But it was altogether impossible for the children of Israel with their wives and children to cross the mighty current. What was a great obstacle for man was a great opportunity for a miracle for the omnipotent God.

After Joshua rose early in the morning and commanded the people to move to the water's edge, they abode there three days. Here they were given instructions as to how to proceed across the water and told to sanctify themselves, "for tomorrow the LORD will do wonders among you" (Joshua 3:5). In the morning, as commanded, the priests of Israel led the procession to the brink of Jordan's waters. Miraculously when the priest entered the water, bearing the ark of the covenant, the mighty Jordan River "stood upon an heap."

Faith that had faltered at Kadesh forty years before was now tested again. When God caused the parting of the waters of the Red Sea, it was for Israel to escape with their lives from the pursuit of the Egyptian foe. Now, however, Israel was on the march and the foe was on the other side of the river. But the crossing of the Jordan was more of an act of faith than the crossing of the Red Sea. Upon leaving Egypt the Israelites saw God part the waters before they entered them. But now the waters were not parted. Not until the soles of the priests' feet touched the water was the river rolled back. It was not an act of obedience following what God had already done, but an act of faith which caused the priests to enter the swift current of the mighty Jordan

We should never fear God's leading, even into the turbulent Jordans of our lives, for God stands behind His commands with His omnipotence. Trusting God is taking that step of faith. Trust Him today for today's step of faith.

MORNING HYMN
Encamped along the hills of light,
Ye Christian soldiers, rise,
And press the battle ere the night
Shall veil the glowing skies.
Against the foe in vales below
Let all our strength be hurled;
Faith is the victory, we know,
That overcomes the world.

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« Reply #23 on: February 04, 2006, 08:41:17 AM »

Author: Woodrow Kroll
Source: Early in the Morning
Scripture Reference: Ezekiel 12:1-28

Waiting on God

And in the morning came the word of the LORD unto me.

Have you ever watched a group of demonstrators carrying placards to call attention to their cause? Perhaps you have participated in a walk-a-thon to raise funds for a charity. Frequently people must do extraordinary things to gain publicity or call attention to their particular beliefs. There is a prophet in the Old Testament who did exactly the same thing at the direct command of God. His name was Ezekiel.

A contemporary of Jeremiah and Dariel, Ezekiel was a priest (Ezekiel 1:3), but never served as such because he was taken captive to Babylon during the reign of Jehoiachin (2 Kings 24:10-16). Ezekiel settled with a group of exiles at Tel-Abib, a town in the interior part of Babylonia on the river Chebar. Five years after he arrived in Babylonia, when he was about thirty years of age, Ezekiel received a call from Jehovah to prophesy to the people of the captivity.

Prophesying during the darkest days of the captivity, Ezekiel was met only with indifference and despondency among the people. The captive Jews would not listen to his message. Therefore God instructed Ezekiel to resort to a more dramatic method of proclaiming the destruction of Jerusalem. Instead of preaching or speaking in parables, he would act out the parable. Ezekiel would dramatize what God was about to do with His great city Jerusalem.

God reminded Ezekiel that he lived in a rebellious house amid a rebellious nation and that he should prepare to move out of that house. In order to be a visual representation of the captivity of Jerusalem, God commanded Ezekiel to "dig thou through the wall in their sight, and carry out thereby." So, packing his bags, Ezekiel proceeded to gouge out a hole in the mud wall of his house, making an opening onto the street through which he would pass with his baggage. There he would wait.

"And in the morning came the word of the LORD unto me" (Ezekiel 12:8). Having waited all night, Ezekiel now gave an explanation to the Israelites for his rather unusual actions. Five times in this chapter the word of the Lord came unto him; five times he had to wait on the word of the Lord. True, waiting in the comfort and privacy of his house would not have been as difficult as waiting on the sidewalk while everyone passed by, but waiting on God is never easy.

Sometimes the purposes and messages of God are revealed slowly. His grand designs can never be hurried. The great New England preacher Phillips Brooks was a man of great poise and quiet manner. Yet at times he suffered from moments of frustration when he had to wait on God. One day a friend saw him feverishly pacing the floor like a caged animal.

"What's the trouble, Mr. Brooks?" he asked.

"The trouble is that I am in a hurry, but God isn't!"

We can imagine that having clawed through the wall with bags in hand and waiting on the sidewalk for God to speak to him again was difficult for Ezekiel. Nonetheless, after God initially spoke to him, it was not until the morning that God came to him the second time. Ezekiel did as God commanded him without need for explanation. But then, in full view of everyone on the street, he must patiently wait on the Lord to speak to him again.

You and I must recognize that God leads us every step of the way, whether we understand His leading or not. To hear God say "Go" or to hear Him say "Stay" is usually easier than to hear Him say "Wait"! In potential ridicule, the prophet of God waited all night to hear the Lord God give him further instructions. How long are we willing to wait on God? Do we trust Him enough to wait on Him today?

MORNING HYMN
Not ours to know the reason why
Unanswered is our prayer, But ours to
trust God's wisdom still
And to His love repair.

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« Reply #24 on: February 04, 2006, 08:42:35 AM »

Author: Woodrow Kroll
Source: Early in the Morning
Scripture Reference: Malachi 1:1-2:13

Pleasing Worship

For from the rising of the sun even unto the going down of the same My name shall be great among the Gentiles; and in every place incense shall be offered unto My name, and a pure offering: for My name shall be great among the heathen, saith the LORD of hosts.

Although little or nothing is known of the personal life of Malachi the prophet, nonetheless he has given us one of the most interesting books in the Bible. Not only is this the last book of the Old Testament, it is also the last stern rebuke of the people of God, the last call for them to repent, and the last promise of future blessing for Israel.

In Malachi's day the people had become increasingly indifferent to spiritual matters. Religion had lost its glow and many of the people had become skeptical, even cynical. The priests were unscrupulous, corrupt, and immoral. The people refused to pay their tithes and offerings to the Lord and their worship degenerated into empty formalism. While the people had strong male lambs in their flocks, they were bringing blind and lame animals to be offered on the altars of Jehovah. Malachi was commissioned by God to lash out against the laxity of the people of God.

This prophecy is unique for it is a continuous discourse. In fact, Malachi has been called "the Hebrew Socrates" because he uses a style which later rhetoricians call dialectic. The whole of this prophecy is a dialogue between God and the people in which the faithfulness of God is seen in contrast to the unfaithfulness of God's people. Thus Malachi is argumentative in style and unusually bold in his attacks on the priesthood, which had become corrupt.

The most blistering attack in the entire book comes in Jehovah's dispute with His priests. If anyone should have known better than to fall to idolatry and corruption, it ought to have been those who served at the Temple of God. Still, the priests had again and again polluted the bread of the altar of God; they had sacrificed spotted animals on that altar and thus had made the table of the Lord contemptible. In addition to this, the priests were involved in empty formalism. They went about their duties day after day in dull drudgery rather than in faith. This was not pleasing to Him and Jehovah told them so.

In contrast, Jehovah declared the kind of worship that is acceptable: "For from the rising of the sun even to the going down of the same My name shall be great among the Gentiles" (Malachi 1:11). It is obvious this was not true in the days of Malachi, for the Gentiles had not yet come to praise the name of Jehovah. Nonetheless, Malachi is speaking prophetically and the day will come, the great millennial day, when all the nations of the earth will flock to the Temple in Jerusalem and there they will worship in sincerity the God of Israel. This worship will be carried on from the rising of the earliest sun to its setting hours later. All day long, service in that day will not be dull drudgery but will be a delightful duty.

What a contrast there is between the conclusion of the Old Testament and the conclusion of the New Testament. The Old Testament concludes with an invective against dead formalism in the church. The New Testament concludes with the bright and morning Star in the midst of the church. Thank God that prophecy does not end with the Old Testament but continues until the day that Jesus Christ will usher in an eternity with Him in Heaven. But let's not wait until then. Let's rise with the sun today and begin a day filled with praise to our God.

MORNING HYMN
O worship the King, all glorious above,
And gratefully sing His pow'r and His love;
Our Shield and Defender, the Ancient of Days,
Pavilioned in splendor and girded with praise.

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« Reply #25 on: February 04, 2006, 08:43:54 AM »

Author: Woodrow Kroll
Source: Early in the Morning
Scripture Reference: Genesis 28:1-22

Never Alone

And Jacob rose up early in the morning, and took the stone that he had put for his pillows, and set it up for a pillar, and poured oil upon the top of it.

The patriarch Jacob was a man rarely in solitude. His life was lived in rich association with others. The husband of four wives, Jacob fathered twelve sons, of whom were descended the tribes of Israel. He could not even claim solitude at birth, for he was the second-born of twin sons. It seemed that Jacob's life was destined to be lived in association with others. Even when he died, Jacob was buried in the cave of Machpelah with his parents, grandparents, and wife Leah.

There was one occasion, however, when Jacob was alone, quite alone. After he had purchased the birthright from his brother Esau and had deviously received his father's blessing, Jacob set out to seek a wife. His father charged him not to marry a Canaanite but to journey to distant Paddan-aram and take a wife of the daughters of Laban, his mother's brother. This provided the perfect excuse for Jacob to flee from the wrath of his cheated brother, who had vowed to kill him.

Exiled from home and running from revenge, this solitary wanderer traveled north from Beersheba toward Haran. He camped on a remote plateau near the city of Luz. Here Jacob had time to ponder the events of his early life. Would the God of Abraham and Isaac be the God of Jacob as well? Was the covenant to extend to him? A sense of loneliness crept over him. Fear that his brother had followed him made Jacob apprehensive. He saw the figure of Esau behind every tree and rock. Finally, sheer exhaustion caused him to sleep, even with nothing but a stone for his pillow.

During the night Jacob had a dream. This was no ordinary dream, but a revelation from God. Jacob saw a ladder set up on the earth which reached into the heavens. Upon the ladder were the angels of God ascending and descending. But the most amazing feature of the dream was that at the top of the ladder stood the Lord Himself saying, "l am the LORD God of Abraham . . . and, behold, I am with thee, and will keep thee in all places to which thou goest, and will bring thee again into this land, for I will not leave thee."

The words of God must have been music to Jacob's ears. The blessing which God had promised to Abraham and Isaac was now promised to Jacob as well. His lonely heart would never be lonely again. Jacob awakened with a start and gasped, "Surely the LORD is in this place; and I knew it not. . . . And Jacob rose up early in the morning, and took the stone that he had put for his pillows, and set it up for a pillar, and poured oil upon the top of it" and called the place Bethel--the "house of God" (Genesis 28:18-19). Certainly this was a turning point in his religious life. When Jacob arose early that morning it was with a new attitude toward God. Jehovah was not some distant and unknowable god, but one who had been there, right in that very place. There was an open pathway of communication between God and men.

In essence, the revelation of this stairway to Jacob is a revelation of Jesus Christ. He is our ladder of communication to heaven. With regard to salvation, Jesus Christ is our stairway through the stars to the God of heaven. Jesus said, "I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by Me" (John 14:6). But the Lord Jesus is so much more. To the Christian Jesus Christ is a continual, well-worn pathway to God. The Apostle Paul expressed it so clearly: "For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man, Christ Jesus" (1 Timothy 2:5). The ladder of communication between God and men is Jesus Christ. He is our go-between, our mediator, our ladder of prayer.

Jacob was astounded to learn that communication between God and men was possible. Yet armed with that knowledge, he was no longer lonely. The Father's "I am with thee" to Jacob is God's promise to all His heirs. Jesus said, "And lo, I am with you always" (Matthew 28:20). As the heir of God's promise we need never feel alone. We never are.

MORNING HYMN
When in affliction's valley I tread the road of care
My Savior helps me to carry the cross so heavy to bear
Tho' all around me is darkness, Earthly joys all flown;
My Savior whispers His promise, Never to leave me alone!

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« Reply #26 on: February 06, 2006, 01:22:11 AM »

Author: Woodrow Kroll
Source: Early in the Morning
Scripture Reference: Proverbs 8:1-36

Wisdom and Riches

I love them that love me; and those that seek me early shall find me.

Proverbs belongs to that segment of the Old Testament designated as "wisdom literature." Such proverbial teaching represents one of the most ancient forms of instruction. The wisdom literature of Israel was the chief storehouse of moral and practical instruction for the Jews. It guided the head of state as well as the head of the home. It embodied the difference between right and wrong, righteousness and unrighteousness. But most of all, Israel's wisdom literature taught the Jews how to live before Jehovah. It contrasted the wisdom of the world, a wisdom of possessions, with the wisdom of God, a wisdom of piety.

Proverbs teaches us that all who would live godly must seek the wisdom of God and forsake the wisdom of the world. To seek divine wisdom, therefore, is to seek to know God better and to possess less. Wisdom is God; and speaking as wisdom, God says, "I love them that love me; and those that seek me early shall find me" (Proverbs 8:17). God is to be sought early in life and early in each day of life. When we show Him we love Him in this way, He shows us He loves us by filling our day with His wisdom.

Seeking the wisdom of God and the God of wisdom does not necessarily mean we will be paupers on this earth. God says, "Riches and honor are with me; yea durable riches and righteousness. My fruit is better than gold, yea than fine gold; and my revenue than choice silver" (Proverbs 8:18-19). The revenue paid by seeking this world's wealth is temporal gain and a frequent deterrent to godliness. The revenue gained by seeking divine wisdom is eternal gain and an everlasting aid to godliness. Therefore, the truly wise person in this world will seek God's wisdom instead of the world's wealth. But should God allow us to have both, our attitude toward our possessions will be, "Every man to whom God hath given riches and wealth, and hath given him power to eat thereof, and to take his portion, and to rejoice in his labor; this is the gift of God" (Ecclesiastes 5:19).

An English nobleman once visited Josiah Wedgwood to see how he made his legendary china and pottery. A young apprentice was instructed to give the nobleman a tour of the factory. The nobleman didn't believe in God and was sacrilegious and foul-mouthed, and he consistently ridiculed the Bible during the tour. At first the young apprentice was shocked, but after awhile he began to laugh when the man made his cynical remarks. Josiah Wedgwood was greatly disturbed by this, especially when he saw how his young apprentice was being influenced by this wealthy nobleman. Later the atheist asked if he could purchase a particularly expensive vase. As he handed it to the nobleman, Wedgwood deliberately let it crash to the floor. With a vile oath the nobleman angrily said, "That's the one I really wanted and now it's shattered by your carelessness." Josiah Wedgwood replied, "Sir, there are things more precious than any vase things that can never be restored once they are ruined. I can make another vase, but you can never give back to my helper the pure heart you've defiled by your vile language and sacrilegious talk!"

The nobleman was an example of a man who did not seek the Lord early but sought riches all the day. Josiah Wedgwood is a fine example of a man who early sought the Lord and recognized that his wealth was a gift from God. God never intended that we should not have riches; He only intended that riches should not have us. It is vitally important for Christians who possess wealth not to be possessed by it. Seek the wisdom of the Lord early in the day, before earning the wealth of the world. Then use that wealth in a way which will bring eternal reward.

MORNING HYMN
I take, O cross, thy shadow
For my abiding place
I ask no other sunshine than
The sunshine of His face
Content to let the world go by,
To know no gain nor loss,
My sinful self my only shame,
My glory all the cross.

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« Reply #27 on: February 06, 2006, 10:26:08 PM »

Author: Woodrow Kroll
Source: Early in the Morning
Scripture Reference: Acts 5:12-32

Obeying God

And when they heard that, they entered into the temple early in the morning, and taught.

There is a legend in Greek mythology about an old sailor who was piloting his ship through the rough waters of a stormy sea. In his extremity he stood erect and cried to the gods, "Father Neptune, you may sink me if you will, or you may save me if you will, but whatever happens, I will keep my rudder true!" While sailing the tempestuous Aegean Sea, this old captain exhibited the kind of determination necessary for anyone who would stand by his convictions.

In the development of the early Church, the apostles and early followers of the Lord Jesus frequently found themselves at odds with the Roman government and with the Jewish religious establishment. Acts 5 records that the high priest rose in indignation, accompanied by the Sadducees, and cast the apostles into the common prison for preaching in the name of Jesus of Nazareth. But while they were incarcerated, an angel of the Lord appeared, opened the prison doors during the night, and set the apostles free. The command of the Lord's angel was, "Go, stand and speak in the temple to the people all the words of this life." With renewed freedom and determination the apostles "entered into the temple early in the morning and taught" (Acts 5:21). Although they knew that teaching in the name of the Lord Jesus would most certainly mean additional imprisonment, these apostles obeyed the word of the Lord rather than the wishes of man.

When it came to the attention of the religious officials that these apostles were again teaching in the temple, the indignation of the Jews rose to a fever pitch. The captain of the temple and the chief priests once again brought them before the council and the high priest asked, "Did not we straitly command you that ye should not teach in this name? And, behold ye have filled Jerusalem with your doctrine, and intend to bring this man's blood upon us." Now the situation worsened; the apostles were faced with the decision whether to defy the direct orders of the religious senate and avoid persecution or to accept the persecution as a consequence of standing up for their beliefs. As usual, Peter was the spokesman, and he said, "We ought to obey God rather than man." The die was cast. Unashamed of the Gospel of Christ, these apostles chose certain imprisonment rather than disobey the direct command of God to preach in the name of Jesus.

Frederick the Great once invited some notable people to his royal table, including his top-ranking generals. One of them was Hans von Zieten, a devout Christian. Von Zieten declined the emperor's invitation because he wanted to attend a communion service at his church. At a subsequent banquet Frederick the Great and his guests mocked the general for his religious beliefs and derided the Lord's Table. In great peril of his life the officer stood to his feet and said respectfully to the monarch, "My lord, there is a greater king than you, a king to whom I have sworn allegiance even unto death. I am a Christian and I cannot sit quietly as the Lord's name is dishonored, His character belittled, and His cause subjected to ridicule. With your permission I shall withdraw." The other generals present at this occasion trembled in silence, knowing that von Zieten might well be killed for his stand. But to their surprise, Frederick grasped von Zieten's hand, asked his forgiveness, and requested that he remain. Frederick promised that he would never again make light of such serious spiritual matters.

Occasions do arise when we must obey God rather than men. When they arise, we must be willing to suffer the consequences, whether it be ridicule, as in the case of Hans von Zieten, or even imprisonment, as in the case of the apostles. That to which we are subjected because of our stand for Christ is not our concern. Our concern is that we take the stand.

MORNING HYMN
Stand up, stand up for Jesus,
The trumpet call obey;
Forth to the mighty conflict
In this His glorious day.
Ye that are men now serve Him
Against unnumbered foes;
Let courage rise with danger
And strength to strength oppose.

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« Reply #28 on: February 08, 2006, 02:31:25 AM »

Author: Woodrow Kroll
Source: Early in the Morning
Scripture Reference: Mark 15:1-20

Reaction or Response

And straightway in the morning the chief priests held a consultation with the elders and scribes and the whole council, and bound Jesus, and carried Him away, and delivered Him to Pilate.

A converted Hindu woman had suffered much at the hands of her unsaved relatives. One day a missionary asked her, "When your husband is angry and persecutes you, what do you do?" The Hindu woman replied, "I just cook the food better and sweep the floor a little cleaner. When he speaks unkindly, I answer him mildly, trying to show him in every way that when I became a Christian, I also became a better wife." Although that husband had resisted all the efforts of the missionaries, he could not resist the sweet silence of his Christian wife. The Holy Spirit used her to win him to Christ.

How do you react when you meet antagonism? When you are mistreated or wrongly accused, do you harbor resentment or seek revenge? Do you attempt to retaliate or verbally abuse those who have abused you?

Jesus had been led away to the high priest. His agony in the garden had been interrupted by His betrayal. To make matters worse, His primary disciple, the Apostle Peter, had denied Him three times. Our Lord had endured both physical and verbal abuse all night long. "And straightway in the morning the chief priests held a consultation with the elders and scribes and the whole council, and bound Jesus, and carried Him away, and delivered Him to Pilate" (Mark 15:1). As the Sanhedrin gathered early on the morning of Jesus' crucifixion, they attempted to make the trial official. Yet their single purpose was "to put Him to death" (Matthew 27:1).

Jesus was falsely arraigned, falsely accused, and falsely abused. Yet to all of the trumped-up charges, to all of this pseudo evidence, our Lord made no reply. When the chief priests continued to accuse Him falsely of many things, Mark records that the Lord Jesus answered nothing. So uncharacteristic was it for a person falsely accused not to rise to His own defense that Pilate asked in astonishment, "Answerest Thou nothing?" But the narrative repeats, "Jesus yet answered nothing." It was nothing short of remarkable that Jesus would not retaliate or lash out against those who had treated Him so cruelly and unjustly.

A young sergeant was serving the British army in Egypt under the Highland Regiment. This soldier was an effervescent and shining Christian. When he was asked how he came to know the Lord Jesus as Savior, he recounted his conversion by saying, "There is a private in this company who was converted in Malta before the regiment came to Egypt. We gave that fellow an awful time. On one terrible night he came in very tired and wet. But before getting into bed, he knelt down to pray. My boots were soaked with water and covered with mud, and I let him have it with one on the side of his head, and I struck him with the second on the other side. But he just went on praying. The next morning I found those boots beautifully polished and standing by the side of my bed. That was his reply to me, and it just broke my heart. I was saved that day."

Our response to those who lie against us must never be to lash out against them. As we arise early in the morning, perhaps after a day in which our character has been slandered and our conduct has been slashed, we must arise with a commitment to live a life like the Lord Jesus who, when He was reviled, reviled not again. Only then will we live happily in a world filled with unhappy people.

MORNING HYMN
Bearing shame and scoffing rude,
In my place condemned He stood-
Sealed my pardon with His blood:
Hallelujah, what a Saviour!

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« Reply #29 on: February 10, 2006, 01:07:58 AM »

Author: Woodrow Kroll
Source: Early in the Morning
Scripture Reference: Exodus 16:1-21

God's Provision

And in the morning, then ye shall see the glory of the LORD; for that He heareth your murmurings against the LORD: and what are we, that ye murmur against us?

If we enjoyed the vantage point of heaven, above both space and time, we would readily see the hand of God guiding us through history. The continuity of God's dealings with man-kind would then become quite evident, for we would not be bound by the years of one lifetime. But even though we cannot rise above space and time, we are not left without insight into God's providential leading through history. Through the use of types and symbols the Bible miraculously illustrates the essential unity between the Old and New Testaments. By comparing the prophetic types of the Old Testament with their fulfillment in the New, we see that history is proceeding on the course designed by God before time began.

One month after the children of Israel walked away from Egyptian bondage and crossed the Red Sea, they struck a course inward from the sea to the Wilderness of Sin. Their unleavened bread was exhausted, and they began to face the hunger and thirst of the sandy desert. The Israelites murmured that they had it better back in Egypt and should have remained there. But the Lord promised Moses He would rain bread from heaven to feed the starving Israelite multitudes. Moses relayed the message. "And in the morning, then ye shall see the glory of the LORD; for that He heareth your murmurings against the LORD"(Exodus 16:7). This heavenly bread, referred to as manna, was like the coriander seed of the parsley family, but it resembled the silver-white hoarfrost which covered the ground on Middle Eastern mornings. It tasted like wafers made with honey.

This manna is a type of Christ, foreshadowing God's provision for mankind centuries later. Our Lord said, "Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on Me hath everlasting life. I am the bread of life. Your fathers did eat manna in the wilderness, and are dead. This is the bread which cometh down from heaven, that a man may eat thereof, and not die. I am the living bread which came down from heaven; if any man eat of this bread, he shall live forever; and the bread that I will give is My flesh, which I will give for the life of the world" John 6:47-51).

The similarities between the Old Testament type, the manna, and the New Testament fulfillment, Jesus Christ, are striking. The pure-white manna descended noiselessly in the night without fanfare. The Christ child was born on a silent night without fanfare. The heavenly manna was to be gathered early each morning. Nine verses of this chapter refer to the morning. We are to seek the Lord Jesus not only early in the day (Psalm 63:1), but early in life as well (Ecclesiastes 12:1).

The manna was clearly a gift from God. Israel did not earn this bread; in fact, this murmuring lot didn't even deserve it. God's salvation is never earned or deserved. "For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God" (Ephesians 2:8). Manna was God's gift of life to the Israelites. Jesus Christ is God's gift of life to all mankind. Without God's gift of manna, the undeserving Israelites would have died. But without God's gift of Jesus Christ, the bread of life, all the world would be condemned to death.

God's hand is guiding history today as it always has. The theme of His life-giving provision spans the ages. This is the message of God which runs through the centuries: "For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life" (John 3:16). Past, present, or future, God's provision is always there for those who will receive it.

MORNING HYMN
Guide me, O Thou great Jehovah,
Pilgrim thro' this barren land
I am weak, but Thou art mighty,
Hold me with Thy pow'rful hand.

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