Daily Prayer for February 10
In that day this song will be sung in the land of Judah: We have a strong city; God makes salvation its walls and ramparts…Trust in the Lord forever, for the Lord, the Lord himself, is the Rock eternal. Isaiah 26:1-4, NIV
Lord our God, help us find the path that we may walk with confidence because you are our Father. Banish all thoughts that try to depress us. Let your Spirit drive them away. May our hearts become quiet before you, because you, the Almighty, guide everything for the good of people on earth. Everything will lead to thanksgiving, to your praise and glory. Be with us at all times, day and night. May our hearts always exult afresh, rejoicing in you, our God and our Savior. Amen.
Verse of the Day—
Is the exploration of the natural world just a pleasant way to pass the golden hours of childhood or is there something deeper? I am sure there is something much deeper, something lasting and significant. Those who dwell, as scientists or laymen, among the beauties and mysteries of the earth are never alone or weary of life. Whatever the vexations or concerns of their personal lives, their thoughts can find paths that lead to inner contentment and to renewed excitement in living.…There is symbolic as well as actual beauty in the migration of the birds, the ebb and flow of the tides, the folded bud ready for the spring. There is something infinitely healing in the repeated refrains of nature – the assurance that dawn comes after night, and spring after the winter.
Source: The Sense of Wonder
Through the whole of the Proverbs, we are to look for somewhat beyond the first sense the passage may imply, and this we shall find to be Christ. He is the Wisdom so often spoken of in this book.
The proverbs of Solomon
This title is repeated from ( Proverbs 1:1 ) ; and very properly stands here; since here begin those pithy sentences of Solomon, which bear the name of proverbs; the preceding chapters being a sort of preface or introduction to them; in which Solomon recommends the study of wisdom, shows the profit and advantage of it, gives directions about it, and prepares for the reception of those wise sayings that follow; which are for the most part independent of each other, and consist generally of clauses set in a contrast to one another, and often expressed by similes and metaphors;
a wise son maketh a glad father;
as Solomon made glad his father David: for no doubt there were appearances of his wisdom before he came to the throne, though greater afterwards; which made David rejoice that he was placed on the throne before his death, to whom he had committed the charge of building the house of the Lord;
but a foolish son [is] the heaviness of his mother;
brings grief and trouble to her, as perhaps Rehoboam did to his mother: though all this is to be understood conjunctly of both parents, and not separately of each; not as if a wise son only was matter of joy to his father, who may be thought to be a better judge of his wisdom, and more abroad to hear the fame of it, and to observe the effects of it; or as if a foolish son only caused grief to his mother, because more at home, and more privy to his foolish behaviour; but as being equally joyous or afflicting to both parents. Nor is this to be understood of such who are wise and foolish as to their natural capacities only; but who are so in a moral sense, either virtuous or vicious, good or wicked. Wherefore parents should be concerned for the education of their children, whose behaviour much depends upon it; and children for their conduct towards their parents and in the world, since their joy and grief are influenced by it. Some interpret the words mystically, the “father”, of God; the “mother”, of the church; and, the “sons”, of the children of them both: and so may fitly describe the different followers of Christ and antichrist; the one being wise, the other foolish; the one acceptable to God, the other not.
Don’t Stop Believing
Joseph dreamed a dream, and he told it to his brothers, and they hated him all the more. He said to them, ‘Please hear this dream which I have dreamed: for behold, we were binding sheaves in the field, and behold, my sheaf arose and also stood upright; and behold, your sheaves came around, and bowed down to my sheaf.’ His brothers asked him, ‘Will you indeed reign over us? Will you indeed have dominion over us?’ They hated him all the more for his dreams and for his words. Genesis 37:5
When Joseph was about forty years old, he became second-in-command of the most powerful nation on earth at the time, Egypt. As his brothers bowed down in front of him, he could still remember the dreams that God had given him when he was just a teenager, over twenty years ago. Though it took a long time, his dreams were now coming to pass.
God had shown Joseph through dreams that he would be raised up to be a leader and that his brothers would come bow down to him. He should probably have kept that to himself, but he told his brothers about it and they sold the ‘Dreamer’ as a slave (v. 28) to a group of merchants for twenty pieces of silver. His brothers said ‘We will see what becomes of his dreams’ (v. 20).
The merchants took Joseph to Egypt with them and once there, sold him to Potiphar, the captain of the guard. God was with Joseph, and everything that he did prospered. Soon Potiphar put him in charge of his entire house (Genesis 39:4).
Joseph served as a slave in his house until Mrs. Potiphar took a liking to him, for he was well-built and handsome. When Joseph spurned her advances, she framed him for attempted rape, and Joseph went to prison.
God was with Joseph in prison. Everything that he did prospered and soon he was in charge of running the place. Joseph served wherever he was placed, and he was promoted. Even prison did not stop his dreams from coming to pass, but instead helped to fulfill them.
Eventually Pharaoh had a dream that no one could interpret and a man that Joseph had interpreted a dream for in prison told Pharaoh about him. Joseph was brought out of the prison, interpreted the dreams, and was made second-in-command of Egypt. The promotion happened suddenly, but after decades of waiting and preparation.
God was with Joseph as a ruler as well and He gave him wisdom on what to do. Soon, his jealous brothers who had sold him as a slave, came and bowed before him just as Joseph had seen in the dream. They needed food for their families. Joseph forgave them for what they had done. He realized that God had placed him here for a reason, because you can only connect the dots looking backward.
God gave Joseph a dream, and though it took a strange course, it all came to pass when it was time. At every stage it appeared that the dream was dead, that Joseph had missed it. Yet nothing, and no one, could stop it from coming to pass. Every bad act, like his brothers selling him as a slave, and Mrs. Potiphar accusing him of rape, simply pushed Joseph a little closer to his destiny.
No one has to believe in the dream that God has given you in order for it to come to pass. Even if they despise you and do things to harm you, it will only help fulfill what God has told you. Don’t stop believing what God has told you secretly. Though the vision tarries, wait for it.
Prayer: Heavenly Father I wait for You and Your timing. I know that the plans that You have for me are good. I don’t understand the methods at times, but I choose to trust in You. Please give me a clear vision and help me keep a positive attitude while I wait, in the name of Jesus Christ I pray.
Bible Fun Fact: Mana tasted just like honey wafers (Exodus 16:31).
‘Who is in Control and in the Know?’
Note from Jesus
I know there are at least two things that can drive you crazy as a flesh and blood, flawed, mortal:
- People who make a snap judgment about you and then reject you when they don’t even have accurate information about you.
- Feeling like your life is out of control. and there is no one who can help you.
You should read the verses below. They tell about a difficult time in My ministry when hostility was growing against Me from the religious and political establishment. All sorts of people were saying different things about My identity. The people in power in My culture were lined up against Me. They made snap judgments about what I did because they were so steeped in their religious traditions. They refused to see the truth when it was displayed right before their own eyes because the truth about Me threatened their system and their roles in that system.
I also want you to notice a theme that My beloved disciple John develops in his gospel, a theme that flows from the events mentioned in the scriptures below and runs all the way through My betrayal, trials, crucifixion, and resurrection. That theme? I AM in control every step of the way. All the power arrayed against Me is powerless unless I choose to offer Myself to be the sacrificial “Lamb of God, Who takes away the sin of the world!” as My cousin, John the Baptist described My role (John 1:29 NIV). Hostile religious leaders, soldiers under orders to arrest Me, and a confused crowd are powerless to stop Me until I let them. They have no power over Me unless I choose to let them!
Please recognize a couple of things from these truths I’ve shared:
First, I know what it is like to be wrongly labeled, misunderstood, betrayed by friends, and falsely accused. When you face these kinds of trials, remember the promise that the Holy Spirit shared through the writer of the book you call Hebrews:
So then, since we have a great High Priest who has entered heaven, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to what we believe. This High Priest of ours understands our weaknesses, for he faced all of the same testings we do, yet he did not sin. So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most.
(Hebrews 4:14-16 NLT)
Second, recognize that I not only have the desire to help you, but I also have the power to help you. I know that when My actions seem veiled or feel so late in coming or unapparent at all, you can become discouraged. Please don’t give up your faith in Me when you don’t understand all that is happening. Don’t make a wrong judgment about Me like the people in My day did.
Verses to Live
And if you can’t quite bring yourself to believe in Me yet, hang in there. Don’t give up. Keep asking questions. Most of all, follow the example of Nicodemus. Keep listening to My words and watch My actions. Follow Me to the Cross and through to My resurrection. If you do, I think you will see that I AM God come to give you heaven’s blessings at the cost of My life because of My love for you and My desire to ransom you from the grip of misguided religion, misunderstanding, and sin and death.
Some Pharisees were hanging back in the crowd, overhearing the gossip about Him [Jesus]. The temple authorities and the Pharisees took action and sent officers to arrest Jesus.
I am going to be with you for a little while longer; then I will return to the One Who sent Me. You will look for Me, but you will not be able to find Me. Where I am, you are unable to come.
Some Jews in the Crowd (to each other):
Where could He possibly go that we could not find Him? You don’t think He’s about to go into the Dispersion and teach our people scattered among the Greeks, do you? What do you think He means, “You will look for Me, but you will not be able to find Me,” and, “Where I am, you are unable to come”?
On the last day, the biggest day of the festival, Jesus stood again and spoke aloud.
If any of you is thirsty, come to Me and drink. If you believe in Me, the Hebrew Scriptures say that rivers of living water will flow from within you.
Jesus was referring to the realities of life in the Spirit made available to everyone who believes in Him. But the Spirit had not yet arrived because Jesus had not been glorified.
Some of the Crowd:
This man is definitely the Prophet.
This is God’s Anointed, the Liberating King!
Is it possible for the Anointed to come from Galilee? Don’t the Hebrew Scriptures say that He will come from Bethlehem, King David’s village, and be a descendant of King David?
Rumors and opinions about the true identity of Jesus divided the crowd. Some wanted to arrest Him, but no one dared to touch Him.
The officers who had been sent by the chief priests and Pharisees to take Jesus into custody returned empty-handed, and they faced some hard questions.
Chief Priest and Pharisees:
Where is Jesus? Why didn’t you capture Him?
We listened to Him. Never has a man spoken like this man.
So you have also been led astray? Can you find one leader or educated Pharisee who believes this man? Of course not. This crowd is plagued by ignorance about the teachings of the law; that is why they will listen to Him. That is also why they are under God’s curse.
Nicodemus, the Pharisee who approached Jesus under the cloak of darkness, was present when the officers returned empty-handed. He addressed the leaders.
Does our law condemn someone without first giving him a fair hearing and learning something about him?
Pharisees (ignoring Nicodemus’s legal point):
Are you from Galilee too? Look it up for yourself; no real prophet is supposed to come from Galilee.
Response in Prayer
O Father, the Almighty God, I believe that Jesus is the One Someone in Whom I can place My trust. I believe that Jesus is Your Son and that He came to earth to be the sacrifice for my sin. I ask that you flood my heart with your Living Water — the Holy Spirit and my Comforter. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.
February 10: Longing for the Ideal
Exodus 24:1–25:40; John 4:43–54; Song of Solomon 3:3–5
Pastors avoid or over-interpret it. We’re often confused by it. But the Song of Solomon is in our Bible. Although we might stumble over the imagery (comparing a woman to a mare would hardly go down well in the modern world), we can’t help but be entranced by the idealism and the tender, rather racy relationship of the joyful couple.
“ ‘Have you seen the one whom my heart loves?’ … I found him whom my heart loves. I held him and I would not let him go” (Song 3:3–4).
Their relationship appeals to what is pristine and ideal—a picture of what God created marriage to be. The lovers physically delight in each other and woo each other with affectionate words. We might brush off this poem like other romantic poetry and literature—ideal, but hardly plausible in our world, which would take pleasure over love. We further deconstruct the purity of the Song of Solomon based on the reality we experience (or at least know about): the lust, sexual abuse, and promiscuous relationships that are rampant in our world (and more rampant than we’d like to think, even in Christian circles).
Despite hesitations, we shouldn’t brush aside the fact that this book is included in the biblical canon. The Song of Solomon shows us that we were created for a different life—for an ideal. We were made by a God who is perfect and intended for us to live bountifully. This realization makes us thankful that we live in the grace that Christ bought. And through the Spirit, we can put to death the sins that entangle us. It can help us look forward to a time when all that is perverted is judged, and when we ourselves are made perfect, purified from all the dross.
How does the relationship depicted in Song of Solomon help you understand what God intended for humanity? How does it turn you to Christ’s sacrifice?
REBECCA VAN NOORD