Integrity (Jeremiah 38:20)
King Zedekiah’s advisers were furious when Jeremiah told the king to surrender to the Babylonians and abandon their homeland without a fight. Zedekiah promised Jeremiah protection and pledged to keep their conversation secret. And the king stayed true to his word. Jeremiah returned the king’s favor, honoring his request not to speak about their conversation with the other advisers.
A man’s word is vital. It’s important for us to be able to rely on others and trust them to be men of their word. Follow the example of Jeremiah and Zedekiah, who, despite their difficult circumstances, acted with honor and integrity.
Reflect & Pray:
- Why are honor and integrity so important to a father’s character?
- When have you been caught compromising your integrity?
- If you’ve been wronged in the past, what can you do to help restore trust with the person who hurt you?
Taken from NIV Busy Dad’s Bible
Why We Love God
We love because he first loved us. (1 John 4:19).
Since loving God is the evidence that he loves you with electing love (Romans 8:28, etc.), the assurance that God loves you with electing love cannot be the ground of your love for him. Our love for him, which is the evidence of our election, is our spiritually apprehending the all–satisfying glory of this God.
It is not first gratitude for a benefit received, but recognition and delight that to receive him would produce overwhelming gratitude. This recognition and delight is, or should be, according to Scripture, attended immediately with the assurance that he does in fact give himself to us for eternal enjoyment.
The Gospel call (Christ died for sinners; believe on him and you will be saved) is a call not first to believe that he died for your sins but that, because he is the kind of God who redeems at such a cost and with such wisdom and holiness, he is worthy of trust and he is a truly satisfying repose for all my longings.
Believing (that is sensing, apprehending) this is then immediately attended with the confidence that we are saved and that he did die for us, since the promise of salvation is given to those who thus believe.
The core of Christian Hedonism is thus at the very heart of what saving faith is and what it means to truly “receive” Christ, or to love God.
Compare: “We love because he first loved us” (1 John 4:19). This may mean that God’s love enables our love for him through the incarnation and atonement and work of the Holy Spirit, not that our motive to love is first his making much of us.
Or it may mean that in beholding and spiritually apprehending God to be the kind of God who loves sinners like us with such amazingly free grace and through such stunningly wise and sacrificial means of atonement, we are drawn out to delight in this God for who he is in himself, rather than taking the sentence to mean that we love him first because we find ourselves personally and particularly chosen by him.
Streams in the Desert – May 18
I was crushed…so much so that I despaired even of life, but that was to make me rely not on myself, but on the God who raises the dead” (2 Cor. 1:8, 9).
“Pressed out of measure and pressed to all length;
Pressed so intensely it seems, beyond strength;
Pressed in the body and pressed in the soul,
Pressed in the mind till the dark surges roll.
Pressure by foes, and a pressure from friends.
Pressure on pressure, till life nearly ends.
“Pressed into knowing no helper but God;
Pressed into loving the staff and the rod.
Pressed into liberty where nothing clings;
Pressed into faith for impossible things.
Pressed into living a life in the Lord,
Pressed into living a Christ-life outpoured.”
The pressure of hard places makes us value life. Every time our life is given back to us from such a trial, it is like a new beginning, and we learn better how much it is worth, and make more of it for God and man. The pressure helps us to understand the trials of others, and fits us to help and sympathize with them.
There is a shallow, superficial nature, that gets hold of a theory or a promise lightly, and talks very glibly about the distrust of those who shrink from every trial; but the man or woman who has suffered much never does this, but is very tender and gentle, and knows what suffering really means. This is what Paul meant when he said, “Death works in you.”
Trials and hard places are needed to press us forward, even as the furnace fires in the hold of that mighty ship give force that moves the piston, drives the engine, and propels that great vessel across the sea in the face of the winds and waves.
–A. B. Simpson
Joseph’s brothers sell him to slave traders.
Judah said to his brothers, “What will we gain by killing our brother? We’d have to cover up the crime. Instead of hurting him, let’s sell him to those Ishmaelite traders. After all, he is our brother—our own flesh and blood!” And his brothers agreed. So when the Ishmaelites, who were Midianite traders, came by, Joseph’s brothers pulled him out of the cistern and sold him to them for twenty pieces of silver. And the traders took him to Egypt.
The brothers were worried about bearing the guilt of Joseph’s death. Judah suggested an option that was not right but would leave them innocent of murder. Although Joseph’s brothers didn’t kill him outright, they probably didn’t expect him to survive for long as a slave. They were quite willing to let cruel slave traders do their dirty work for them. Joseph faced a thirty-day journey through the desert, probably chained and on foot. He would be treated like baggage and, once in Egypt, would be sold as a piece of merchandise. His brothers thought they would never see him again. Sometimes we jump at a solution because it is the lesser of two evils but still is not the right action to take. When someone proposes a seemingly workable solution, first ask, “Is it right?”
Could jealousy ever make you feel like killing someone? Before saying, “Of course not,” look at this story. Ten men were willing to kill their younger brother over a robe and a few reported dreams. Their deep jealousy had grown into ugly rage, completely blinding them to what was right. Left unchecked, jealousy grows quickly and can lead us into more serious sins in attempts to lessen our jealousy. Joseph’s brothers thought their jealousy would be resolved by getting rid of Joseph. The longer you cultivate jealous feelings, the more difficult it is to uproot them. The time to deal with jealousy is when you notice yourself keeping score of others’ recognition, awards, and achievements.
Envy and jealousy can eat a person alive, destroy relationships, and lead to unthinkable acts. Ask God to help you keep your eyes on him and not worry about others’ achievements, honors, and possessions.