Sinai and Calvary

There are two mountains hallowed 
    By majesty sublime, 
Which rear their crests unconquered 
    Above the floods of Time. 
Uncounted generations 
    Have gazed on them with awe,– 
The mountain of the Gospel, 
    The mountain of the Law. 

From Sinai’s cloud of darkness 
    The vivid lightnings play; 
They serve the God of vengeance, 
    The Lord who shall repay. 
Each fault must bring its penance, 
    Each sin the avenging blade, 
For God upholds in justice 
    The laws that He hath made. 

But Calvary stands to ransom 
    The earth from utter loss, 
In shade than light more glorious, 
    The shadow of the Cross. 
To heal a sick world’s trouble, 
    To soothe its woe and pain, 
On Calvary’s sacred summit 
    The Paschal Lamb was slain. 

The boundless might of Heaven 
    Its law in mercy furled, 
As once the bow of promise 
    O’erarched a drowning world. 
The Law said, As you keep me, 
    It shall be done to you; 
But Calvary prays, Forgive them; 
    They know not what they do. 

Almighty God! direct us 
    To keep Thy perfect Law! 
O blessed Saviour, help us 
    Nearer to Thee to draw! 
Let Sinai’s thunders aid us 
    To guard our feet from sin; 
And Calvary’s light inspire us 
    The love of God to win.

       – John Hay

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Psalm 22

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Question: Do you know which psalm is quoted most frequently in the New Testament?

Most will probably say the familiar and loved 23rd Psalm. No , it is probably Psalm 22.

This psalm begins with David’s profoundly, heart-felt words quoted by Jesus on the cross, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken me?” found in Mark 15:34 and Matthew 27:46.

Just imagine with me for a moment, David must have found himself “stuck between a rock and a hard place”, so much so that it caused him to cry out to God in this way.

The Psalm begins(verse 1) by giving us his emotional stance at that particular moment. He felt forsaken and abandoned: “Why are You so far from helping me?” He also felt ignored: “O my God, I cry in the daytime, but You do not hear”(verse 2).

Have you ever felt this way? Well,if you haven’t I certainly have and admittedly several times.

Have you ever looked up into the heavens and wondered why it appeared as if God had abandoned you, or was ignoring you?

This was the heart and mind of David. Oh, but for every cry that he expresses, we find there is a characteristic of God mentioned that rescues him from hopelessness. Through it all David discovers that God is holy, trustworthy, a deliverer and rescuer, and his strength.

Feeling forsaken? Focus on God and not on the people or circumstances surrounding you. And rejoice! For even when we don’t sense the presence of God, His loving care is always there with us.

Psalm 22:1-31 NASB

My God, my God, why have You forsaken me? Far from my deliverance are the words of my groaning. O my God, I cry by day, but You do not answer; And by night, but I have no rest. Yet You are holy, O You who are enthroned upon the praises of Israel. In You our fathers trusted; They trusted and You delivered them. To You they cried out and were delivered; In You they trusted and were not disappointed. But I am a worm and not a man, A reproach of men and despised by the people. All who see me sneer at me; They separate with the lip, they wag the head, saying, ” Commit yourself to the L ord ; let Him deliver him; Let Him rescue him, because He delights in him.” Yet You are He who brought me forth from the womb; You made me trust when upon my mother’s breasts. Upon You I was cast from birth; You have been my God from my mother’s womb. Be not far from me, for trouble is near; For there is none to help. Many bulls have surrounded me; Strong bulls of Bashan have encircled me. They open wide their mouth at me, As a ravening and a roaring lion. I am poured out like water, And all my bones are out of joint; My heart is like wax; It is melted within me. My strength is dried up like a potsherd, And my tongue cleaves to my jaws; And You lay me in the dust of death. For dogs have surrounded me; A band of evildoers has encompassed me; They pierced my hands and my feet. I can count all my bones. They look, they stare at me; They divide my garments among them, And for my clothing they cast lots. But You, O L ord , be not far off; O You my help, hasten to my assistance. Deliver my soul from the sword, My only life from the power of the dog. Save me from the lion’s mouth; From the horns of the wild oxen You answer me. I will tell of Your name to my brethren; In the midst of the assembly I will praise You. You who fear the L ord , praise Him; All you descendants of Jacob, glorify Him, And stand in awe of Him, all you descendants of Israel. For He has not despised nor abhorred the affliction of the afflicted; Nor has He hidden His face from him; But when he cried to Him for help, He heard. From You comes my praise in the great assembly; I shall pay my vows before those who fear Him. The afflicted will eat and be satisfied; Those who seek Him will praise the L ord . Let your heart live forever! All the ends of the earth will remember and turn to the L ord , And all the families of the nations will worship before You. For the kingdom is the L ord ‘s And He rules over the nations. All the prosperous of the earth will eat and worship, All those who go down to the dust will bow before Him, Even he who cannot keep his soul alive. Posterity will serve Him; It will be told of the Lord to the coming generation. They will come and will declare His righteousness To a people who will be born, that He has performed it.

Patience

 

I saw how the patient Sun 
    Hasted untiringly 
The self-same old race to run; 
    Never aspiringly 
Seeking some other road 
    Through the blue heaven 
Than the one path which God 
    Long since had given;– 
        And I said;–“Patient Sun, 
        Teach me my race to run, 
        Even as thine is done, 
            Steadfastly ever; 
        Weakly, impatiently 
            Wandering never!” 

 

I saw how the patient Earth 
    Sat uncomplainingly, 
While, in his boisterous mirth, 
    Winter disdainingly 
Mocked at her steadfast trust, 
    That, from its icy chain, 
Spring her imprisoned dust 
    Soon would release again;– 
        And I said;–“Patient Earth, 
        Biding thy hour of dearth, 
        Waiting the voice of mirth 
            Soon to re-waken, 
        Teach me like thee to trust, 
            Steadfast, unshaken!” 

 

I saw how the patient Stream 
    Hasted unceasingly, 
Mindless of shade or gleam, 
    Onward increasingly,– 
Widening, deepening 
    Its rocky bed ever, 
That it might thus take in 
    River by river;– 
        And I said,–“Patient Stream, 
        Hasting through shade and gleam, 
        Careless of noontide beam, 
            Loitering never, 
        So teach thou me to press 
            Onward forever!” 

 

I saw how the Holiest One 
    Sat in the Heaven, 
Watching each earth-born son 
    Sin-tossed and driven,– 
Watching war’s mad’ning strife– 
    Brother ‘gainst brother, 
Reckless of love and life, 
    Slaying each other;– 
        And I said;–“Patient One, 
        On thy exalted throne, 
        Never impatient grown 
            With our dark sinning, 
        Though all its depth thou’st known 
            From the beginning– 

 

“Though thy fair Earth has been 
    Blood-dyed for ages, 
Though in her valleys green, 
    Carnage still rages, 
Thou, o’er whose brow serene, 
    Calmest and Holiest! 
Angel has never seen, 
    E’en toward Earth’s lowliest, 
        Shadows impatient sweep 
        Teach me, like thee, to keep 
        In my soul, still and deep, 
            Wavering never, 
        Patience–a steady light, 
            Burning forever!”

       – Mrs. J. C. Yule

A Sweet Savor

A sweet savor unto the Lord. Leviticus 1:9,13,17
      
      How sweet the offering up of the Son was to the Father! “Christ also hath loved us, and hath given Himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling savor” (Eph v.2) The burnt-offering was an imperfect type of His entire devotion to His Father’s will. When Jesus saw the inability of man to keep the holy law, and volunteered to magnify it, and make it honorable; when He laid aside His glory, and stepped down from His throne, saying, “I delight to do Thy will, O my God”; when He became obedient even to the death of the cross – it was as sweet to God as the fragrance of a garden of flowers to us.
      
      Let us never forget the Godward aspect of the cross. The sacrificial fire fed on every part of the sacrifice, on the inwards as well as the carcase ; so did the Holy God delight to witness the spotless and entire devotion of the Son to the great work in which the entire Godhead was most deeply interested. The fragraut graces of Christ were madr manifest on the cross, aiid are perpetuated in His intercession.
      
      There is a sense also in which our consecration to God is fragrant and precious. When we see His claims, and yield to them; when we submit to His will, and commit our lives wholly to His direction; when we offer and present ourselves to Him, a living sacrifice, keeping nothing back -His heart is gladdened, and His fire of complacency feeds on our act. Always count on this; you may feel no thrill, and see no light, but reckon on God, believe that He accepts what you give, and will crown your sacrifice with the fire of Pentecost.
      
      Who to-day will surrender to God, and become an offering of a sweet savor?

F.B. Meyer

Days of Heaven Upon Earth

What things soever ye desire when ye pray, believe that ye receive them and ye shall have them” (Mark xi. 24).
      
      Faith is not working up by will power a sort of certainty that something is coming to pass, but it is seeing as an actual fact that God has said that this thing shall come to pass, and that it is true, and then rejoicing to know that it is true, and just resting and entering into it because God has said it. Faith turns the promise into a prophecy. While it is merely a promise it is contingent upon our co-operation; it may or may not be. But when faith claims it, it becomes a prophecy and we go forth feeling that it is something that must be done because God cannot lie.
      
      Faith is the answer from the throne saying, “It is done.” Faith is the echo of God’s voice. Let us catch it from on high. Let us repeat it, and go out to triumph in its glorious power.
      
      Hear the answer from the throne,
      Claim the promise, doubting one,
      God hath spoken, “It is done.”
      Faith hath answered, “It is done”;
      Prayer is over, praise begun,
      Hallelujah! It is done.

A.B. Simpson

Is Jesus Your King?

Because the Lord loveth His people, He hath made thee King over them. 2 Chron. ii. 11
      
      HOW truly might these words be addressed to our blessed Lord! Because God loved the world, He gave his only begotten Son, his well beloved, to be both Prince and Saviour. And it is in knowing, loving, and serving Him that we can realize our supreme blessedness.
      
      God’s loving appointment in making Jesus King will be apparent when we remember how beautiful He is in his personal character; how closely He is identified with our nature; the might of his arm with which He shields, the patience wherewith He bears, the redemption which He has wrought out and brought in for all who believe. What could God’s love have done better to approve itself?
      
      Is He your King? Never till He is so, will you know the fulness of God’s love. Those who question or refuse his authority are always in doubt about the love of God to themselves and to the world. Those, on the other hand, who acknowledge his claims, and crown Him as King, suddenly find themselves admitted to a standpoint of vision in which doubts and disputations vanish, and the secret love of God is unfolded. Then they experience the wise and gentle tendance of the Divine love in its most entrancing characteristics. All is love where Jesus reigns.
      
      Nothing is more indicative of God’s benevolence than his incessant appeal to men to make Jesus King. The demand may sometimes involve severe agony and suffering for those who have acknowledged other lords too long; but God persists in his demand, because only in serving Jesus can the human heart be truly blessed.
      
      “Go, spread your trophies at his feet, And crown Him Lord of all!”

F.B. Meyer