Devotional Thought for Today – 06/10/2021

James 2:13 | Insights From Tom

JAMES 2

CONTEXT: Matthew Henry comments: All professions of faith are vain, if not producing love and justice to others. (1-13) The necessity of good works to prove the sincerity of faith, which otherwise will be of no more advantage than the faith of devils. (14-26)

Our text for today comes at the end of the first theme of James Chapter 2. We find the stage set if you will in v.1 show no favoritism, no prejudice, no snobbery] the chapter then goes on v.2-7 to describe situations that may arise when one might be tempted to discriminate. James then goes on in v.8-12 to note other areas where believers might fail.

Understanding our text requires two key points first it does not mean that those who do not show mercy are condemned to hell. Romans 8:1 and other similar verses settled that issue forever.

What it does mean is those FULLY committed to Christ will show mercy just like Christ. If you have been indwelled by the Holy Spirit it is pretty difficult to resist that call to be merciful. We (believers) are going to be surrounded by sin daily; our own, fellow Christians, and for certain non-believers. What kind of testimony would we have if we went around condemning everyone?

Let me be clear about this, we should be discerning (judgmental) as to the sin of others and ourselves. We need to be protective of our property and families while at the same time as Paul emphasized to the Church in Colossae C.3; 12 So, as God’s own chosen people, who are holy [set apart, sanctified for His purpose] and well-beloved [by God Himself], put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience [which has the power to endure whatever injustice or unpleasantness comes, with good temper]; 13 bearing graciously with one another, and willingly forgiving each other if one has a cause for complaint against another; just as the Lord has forgiven you, so should you forgive.

The following Devotional may be of help:

Commended or Condemned?

“Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy” (Matt. 5:7).

God commends merciful people but condemns the merciless.

Scripture shows that those whom God blessed most abundantly were abundantly merciful to others. Abraham, for example, helped rescue his nephew Lot even after Lot had wronged him. Joseph was merciful to his brothers after they sold him into slavery. Twice David spared Saul’s life after Saul tried to kill him.

But just as sure as God’s commendation is upon those who show mercy, His condemnation is upon those who are merciless. Psalm 109:14-16 says, “Let the iniquity of [the merciless person’s] fathers be remembered before the Lord, and do not let the sin of his mother be blotted out . . . because he did not remember to show [mercy].”

When judgment comes, the Lord will tell such people, “Depart from Me, accursed ones, into the eternal fire which has been prepared for the devil and his angels; for I was hungry, and you gave Me nothing to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me nothing to drink; I was a stranger, and you did not invite Me in; naked, and you did not clothe Me; sick, and in prison, and you did not visit Me” (Matt. 25:41-43). They will respond, “Lord, when did we see You hungry, or thirsty, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not take care of You?” (v. 44). He will reply that when they withheld mercy from those who represented Him, they were withholding it from Him (v. 45).

Our society encourages us to grab everything we can for ourselves, but God wants us to reach out and give everything we can to others. If someone wrongs you, fails to repay a debt, or doesn’t return something he has borrowed from you, be merciful to him. That doesn’t mean you excuse sin, but you respond to people with a heart of compassion. That’s what Christ did for you—can you do any less for others?

Suggestions for Prayer

If there is someone who has wronged you, pray for that person, asking God to give you a heart of compassion for him or her. Make every effort to reconcile as soon as possible.

For Further Study

Read Romans 1:29-31. How did Paul characterize the ungodly?

From Drawing Near by John MacArthur Copyright © 1993. Used by permission of Crossway Books, a division of Good News Publishers, Wheaton, IL 60187, www.crossway.com.

Devotional Thought for today – 04/30/2021

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Isaiah 55

As I read this in my inbox this morning it struck me that there are two types of men described in the bible who “return to the Lord.” I will get to that more in a moment but first as always some context. Previously I have posted on Isaiah 55:8-9, in which you will find a good overview of the beginning of the chapter. Then I also posted on seeking God, Isaiah 55:6 with a detailed breakdown of that verse. So that leaves v.7:

  • Let the wicked forsake his way – Those guilty of sinning against God
  • and the unrighteous man his thoughts – wicked, idolatrous thoughts
  • and let him return unto the Lord – Hebrew word Shuwb, meaning to turn back, repent, restore, make afresh, renew…
  • and he will have mercy upon him – compassion and love on those who end their evil ways
  • and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon; – God here is the Hebrew ‘elohiym, plural meaning the triune God
  • The Lord does abundantly pardon – this indicates God’s mercy, His desire to pardon nows no boundaries

I am not a Biblical Scholar (no fancy Ph.D.) so I read about a dozen commentaries this morning referencing V.7, and most agree that the wicked forsaking their ways means everyone. I disagree, and here is why.

  1. Isaiah is writing to the nation of Israel, Jews, who knew the God of the bible.
  2. To forsake something (sin) you need to understand your guilty of it unbelievers have no knowledge of their guilt
  3. To repent, be restored, renewed, etc. you first had to be in covenant with someone
  4. God’s covenant was with the Jews (and now all peoples)
  5. God’s promise to abundantly pardon was only for those who repented and returned to the flock

Remember in the beginning I said two types of men described in the bible who “return to the Lord.” One we are all familiar with that of the Prodigal Son, the wayward child who eventually comes to his senses and repents, and begs forgiveness of his father. The other is one you may not recognize, Jonah. This is the story of those called by God, who think they know better and God puts them in a place where they eventually surrender all.

What do these men and our text have in common, both knew God but thought their ways were better than God’s. It took severe hardship to turn them from their evil rebellious ways and get God’s unmerited merciful pardon and love.

Maybe you too, have been running from God’s call or something as simple as just sitting on the pew and letting the world go by. It is time to answer the Holy Spirits’ urging and repent of our own ways and get on board with God’s plan.

Lord God, your ways are made clear to us, yet we rebel and desire our own ways. We ignore the chosen path for one that seems right in our own eyes. We ignore all the helps you send our way as our hardened hearts desire self. Lord, we beg you to soften that heart, that we might repent of our rebellious ways, and renew a righteous Spirit in all areas of our lives. I ask that we seek your guidance and will daily, for we know that our ways are never better. All this we pray in Christ’s Name. AMEN

Devotional Thought for Today – 03/13/2021

FOOD, MEAT, NOURISHMENT

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JOHN 4

This is a very long Chapter packed with lots of great biblical insight. According to Matthew Henry, it can be broken down as follows: 

Christ’s departure into Galilee. (1-3) His discourse with the Samaritan woman. (4-26) The effects of Christ’s conversation with the woman of Samaria. (27-42) Christ heals the nobleman’s son. (43-54)

Our text v.34 comes from the third section when the woman has gone off to tell her town folks about Jesus and He and the disciples are conversingOne of the disciples asks v.33 “Has anyone brought Him something to eat?”  It is then Jesus states out text. “My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me… 

But what can HE possibly mean by saying it? Food is meant to refresh, reenergized the body. From a spiritual standpoint, the Word of God is our daily Bread of Life.  Yet Jesus is referring to neither of these. 

In one of the most profound statements in the New Testament Jesus says I am fulfilled, nourished, complete by doing the Will of God.  C.H. Spurgeon said;  “The man of the world thinks that, if he could have his own way, he would be perfectly happy, and his dream of happiness in this state or in the next is comprised in this, that his own wishes will be gratified, his own longings fulfilled, his own desires granted to him. This is all a mistake. A man will never be happy in this way.” 

Jesus knew the only way to be whole in this life was to do God’s will.  Have you surrendered to His will for your life today? 

Today’s Prayer

LORD God, all-powerful and merciful creator of the universe, I pray you will grant me the wisdom and knowledge to live in your will and do the work you have prepared for me each and every day. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.

Devotional Thought for Today – 02/16/2021

Image result for Mercy Seat

Romans 3

 

The Mercy Seat of God really is more like a lid topping the Ark of the Covenant than an actual Chair or seat that we would relate to today.  Yet we must remember this in CONTEXT of where the Jewish nation was when God instructed them to build it Exodus 25:17-22   (also see Heb 3:3-5) They were in their desert wandering days and God was leading them as a Cloud and Fire so the “seat” is symbolic.  Here God was supposed to be seated, and from this place He was supposed to dispense mercy to man when the blood of the atonement was sprinkled there.¹

I have heard some modern-day believers say so what this no longer applies to “us.”  Let me tell you MERCY applies to everyone. Yes, we (Jews and Christians) no longer make blood sacrifices to God for atonement but we still need a blood sacrifice for atonement.  

In Romans Chap 3 Paul carefully lays out the case for  ALL MANKIND being totally entrenched in sin v.1-8 and their need for atonement to be seen or presented as righteous before God. That no one can save themselves from such sin and be justified (atoned) before God v.9-20. Only the free Grace of God and faith in the redeeming Savior Christ can set us free, yet the LAW still remains v.21-31.

This brings us to our text for today Romans 3:21-26. Here again, Paul is clear and concise:

God’s righteousness is separate from the law

God’s righteousness is revealed by the law and prophets

All of mankind is separated from God’s righteousness because of sin

God’s righteousness comes to us by faith in Christ Jesus

Christ Jesus paid the atonement for our sins by His blood at Calvary

It is Christ’s blood upon the Mercy Seat that allows you and I to be freed from the bondage of sin and justified before God. 

Today’s Prayer

Thank You Father – thank You for my salvation. Thank You that His death that gave me life and reconciled me to You forever. Thank You that He took my sin and clothed me in His righteousness. Thank You that He is the propitiation for my sins and took Your wrath upon Himself so that I might have peace with You and receive the peace that passes understanding forever and ever into my life, in Jesus name I pray, AMEN.  Source: https://prayer.knowing-jesus.com/Romans/3


 

What is the mercy seat?¹

What is the Mercy Seat?

 

Daily Devotional – Pray for Education and Citizens

I am working the next couple of days so y’all get the short form again. I thought I would share from my reading of Matthew Henry’s Devotional on prayer.

Unless you have been locked in a cave for the past 25 or so years, you should understand the TERRIBLE state of education in America. Form liberal ideology to lack of standards the system overall is a wreck. It is the common man the deplorables of this country that suffer from this the most. Those who love America, are deeply saddened by what they see going on but do not know how to fix her. Join me in PRAYER for both.- Mike

Pray The Bible: Promoting, Encouraging, and Assisting God's People in Biblical Prayer

DAILY DEVOTIONAL FOR DEC 29, 2020

Pray for the Educational Institutions and Common Citizens of your Nation

For all the universities, schools, and nurseries of learning.

Let the schools of the prophets be replenished with every good gift and every perfect gift from above, from the Father of lights. James 1:17(ESV)

Throw salt into these fountains and heal its waters, 2 Kings 2:21(ESV) so that from them may issue streams that shall make glad the city of our God, the holy habitation of the Most High. Psalm 46:4(ESV)

For the common people of the land.

Give grace to all the subjects of this land, that they may, under the government God has set over us, lead peaceful and quiet lives, godly and dignified in every way, 1 Timothy 2:2(ESV) dwelling together in unity, that the Lord may command a blessing upon us, even life forevermore. Psalm 133:1-3(ESV)

Let everyone of every denomination who fears God and works righteousness, be acceptable to him; Acts 10:35(ESV) yes, let such as love your salvation say continually, “Great is the LORD, who delights in the welfare of his servants.” Psalm 35:27(ESV)

ZEPHANIAH 3:17

GLORY!

17 The Lord thy God in the midst of thee is mighty; he will save, he will rejoice over thee with joy; he will rest in his love, he will joy over thee with singing. Zephaniah 3:17

Jehová está en medio de ti, poderoso, él salvará; se gozará sobre ti con alegría, callará de amor, se regocijará sobre ti con cánticos. (RVR1960)

Book of Life

R.C. Sproul Quote: “When God writes our names in the 'Lamb's Book ...

What the late Dr. R.C. Sproul was referring to is sometimes argued over in Evangelical circles. That is can a redeemed person lose their eternal salvation. I am going to leave that discussion for another day (suffice it to say no) and move on to the topic at hand “The Book of Life” or “Lambs Book of Life.”

There are a number of verses found in the bible regarding this topic here is the list found in the AMPLIFIED BIBLE , the one that I have decided to concentrate on isMalachi – Calvary Baptist Church

Malachi 3:16-18 

Then those who feared the Lord spoke with each other, and the Lord listened to what they said. In his presence, a scroll of remembrance was written to record the names of those who feared him and always thought about the honor of his name. 17 “They will be my people,” says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies. “On the day when I act in judgment, they will be my own special treasure. I will spare them as a father spares an obedient child. 18 Then you will again see the difference between the righteous and the wicked, between those who serve God and those who do not.” (NLT) 

Entonces los que temían a Jehová hablaron cada uno a su compañero; y Jehová escuchó y oyó, y fue escrito libro de memoria delante de él para los que temen a Jehová, y para los que piensan en su nombre. 17 Y serán para mí especial tesoro, ha dicho Jehová de los ejércitos, en el día en que yo actúe; y los perdonaré, como el hombre que perdona a su hijo que le sirve. 18 Entonces os volveréis, y discerniréis la diferencia entre el justo y el malo, entre el que sirve a Dios y el que no le sirve. (RVR 1960) 


CONTEXT: 

Malachi means “My Messenger” in Hebrew in chapter three v.1-6 he delivers the message the nation of Israel has been asking for. That is God will send the promised Messiah and He will be foretold by a messenger. 

In v.7-12 Malachi delivers his final message to the nation of Israel from God, admonishing them for their disobedience and transgressions.   

Verses 13-18 contain two parts one is the very clear distinction between the Righteous and the Wicked. The Second contained in v.16-18 declares God’s promise of Mercy for His chosen people. 

Let us break it down:

v.16

those who feared the Lord spoke with each other – keep in mind that God had just reprimanded them and now they have repented, saw the error of their ways. What do they do the conversed among themselves to encourage and comfort one another and build up one another, (1 Thess 5:11)

and the Lord listened to what they said – Wow, what an amazing phrase, what a promise, God listens to those who fear (revere) Him. 

a scroll of remembrance was written to record the names of those who feared him and always thought about the honor of his name – There is a two part theological implication here, one to be written in the Book of Life (remembrance) one must first fear or highly revere God and secondly we must do it for life. This is not a once and done deal from our side of the street.  You can not decide today I will Love and fear God but tomorrow I won’t and have any expectation f eternal life. 

v.17

They will be my people,” says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies – I love this, God is the Commander in Chief of the greatest Army EVER and for those who repent, fear and honor His name for life He will call you His people. Hallelujah!

“On the day when I act in judgment, – Watch out judgement, what judgement I thought when I said that little old prayer I was good to go. Think again, 2 Corinthians 5:10 (AMP) says: For we [believers will be called to account and] must all appear before the [a]judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may be repaid for what has been done in the body, whether good or [b]bad [that is, each will be held responsible for his actions, purposes, goals, motives—the use or misuse of his time, opportunities and abilities]. 

they will be my own special treasure. I will spare them as a father spares an obedient child. – The Good News is God promises no eternal damnation to those whom He has called His own. That does not excuse God’s children from redeeming their time on earth wisely.

v.18

Then you will again see the difference between the righteous and the wicked, between those who serve God and those who do not.” – I am not sure there is a better concise commentary on this verse than that of Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary Then shall ye … discern—Then shall ye see the falseness of your calumny against God’s government (Mal 3:15), that the “proud” and wicked prosper. Do not judge before the time till My work is complete. It is in part to test your disposition to trust in God in spite of perplexing appearances, and in order to make your service less mercenary, that the present blended state is allowed; but at last all (“ye,” both godly and ungodly) shall see the eternal difference there really is “between him that serveth God and him that serveth Him not” (Ps 58:11).

CONCLUSION: 

As 2 Cor 5:10 points out we will be judged by our works and one of the best works I can think of is to offer prayers of praise by every true believer for being in the Book of Life. Another is to offer prayers of supplication for all our unsaved family, friends, co-workers to join them. God has promised Eternal Life to those that Fear and Honor His name forever; He also promises eternal damnation for those who reject His offer of Grace and Mercy. I pray you are counted among them in the Book. 

 

Daily Devotional – The Beatitudes by Thomas Watson Part L

Image result for Beatitudes
Image Depicting Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount

The Beatitudes

by Thomas Watson

An Exposition of Matthew 5:1-12 

“Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.” (v.7)

Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”
“Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.”
Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.”
“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.”
“Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.”
“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.”
“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.”
“Blessed are those who are persecuted, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven”

A Discourse of Mercifulness

Before I conclude this subject, let me lay down some brief rules concerning works of mercy.

1. Charity must be free. ‘You shall give, and your heart must not be grieved’ (Deuteronomy 15:10). That is, you must not be troubled at parting with your money. He who gives grievingly, gives grudgingly. It is not a gift—but a tax. Charity must flow like spring-water. The heart must be the spring, the hand the pipe, the poor the cistern. God loves a cheerful giver. Do not be like the fruit which has all the juice squeezed and pressed out. You must not give to the poor as if you were delivering your purse to the robber. Charity without cheerfulness, is rather a fine than an offering. It is rather doing of penance than giving of alms. Charity must be like the myrrh which drops from the tree without cutting or forcing.

2. We must give that which is our own (Isaiah 58:7). To give bread to the hungry, it must be ‘your bread’. The Scripture puts them together, ‘To do justice, to love mercy.’ (Micah 6:8). ‘For I the Lord love justice; I hate robbery and injustice’ (Isaiah 61:8). He who shall build an almshouse or hospital with ill-gotten goods, displays the ensign of his pride and sets up the monument of his shame!

3. Do all in Christ and for Christ.

Do all IN Christ. Labor that you may be in Christ. We are ‘accepted in him’ (Ephesians 1:6). Origen, Chrysostom, and Peter Martyr affirm that the best works not springing from faith, are lost. The Pelagians thought to have posed Augustine with that question, Whether it was sin in the heathen to clothe the naked? Augustine answered rightly: ‘The doing of good is not in itself evil—but proceeding from infidelity it becomes evil’. ‘To those who are unbelieving is nothing pure’ (Titus 1:15). That fruit is most sweet and genuine which is brought forth in the vine (John 15:4). Outside of Christ, all our alms-deeds are but the fruit of the wild olive tree. They are not good works—but dead works.

Do all FOR Christ, namely, for his sake, that you may testify your love to him. Love to Christ mellows and ripens our alms-deeds. It makes them a precious perfume to God. As Mary did out of love bring her ointments and sweet spices to anoint Christ’s dead body, so out of love to Christ bring your ointments and anoint his living body, namely, saints and members.

4. Works of mercy are to be done in humility. Away with ostentation! The worm breeds in the fairest fruit; and the moth in the finest cloth. Pride will be creeping into our best things. Beware of this dead fly in the box of ointment. When Moses’ face shone, he put a veil over it. So while your light shines before men and they see your good works, cover yourselves with the veil of humility. As the silkworm, while she weaves her curious works, hides herself within the silk and is not seen, so we should hide ourselves from pride and vainglory.

It was the sin of the Pharisees while they were distributing alms that they blew the trumpet (Matthew 6:2). They did not give their alms—but sold them for applause. A proud man ‘casts his bread upon the waters’, as a fisherman casts his angle upon the waters. He angles for vainglory. I have read of one Cosmus Medices, a rich citizen of Florence, that he confessed to a near friend of his, he built so many magnificent structures, and spent so much on scholars and libraries, not for any love to learning but to raise up to himself trophies of fame and renown.

A humble soul denies himself, yes, even annihilates himself. He thinks how little it is he can do for God, and if he could do more, it were but a due debt. Therefore he looks upon all his works as if he had done nothing. The saints are brought in at the last day as disowning their works of charity. ‘Lord, when did we ever see you hungry and feed you? Or thirsty and give you something to drink? Or a stranger and show you hospitality? Or naked and give you clothing? When did we ever see you sick or in prison, and visit you?’ (Matthew 25:37-39). A holy Christian not only empties his hand of alms—but empties his heart of pride. While he raises the poor out of the dust, he lays himself in the dust. Works of mercy must be like the cassia, which is a sweet spice—but grows low.

5. Dispose your alms prudentially. It is said of the merciful man, ‘He orders his affairs with discretion’ (Psalm 112:5). There is a great deal of wisdom in distinguishing between those who have sinned themselves into poverty, and those who by the hand of God are brought into poverty. Discretion in the distribution of alms consists of two things: in finding out a fit object; in taking a fit season.

The finding out a fit object comes under a double notion. Give to those who are in most need. Raise the hedge where it is lowest. Feed the lamp which is going out. Give to those who may probably be more serviceable. Though we bestow cost and dressing upon a weak plant—yet not upon a dead plant. Breed up such as may help to build the house of Israel (Ruth 4:11), that may be pillars in church and state, not caterpillars making your charity to blush. ‘Whenever we have the opportunity, we should do good to everyone, especially to our Christian brothers and sisters.’ (Galatians 6:10)

Discretion in giving alms is in taking the fit season. Give to charitable uses in time of health and prosperity. Distribute your silver and gold to the poor before ‘the silver cord is loosed or the golden bowl is broken’ (Ecclesiastes 12:6). ‘He who gives early, gives double’. Do not be as some, who reserve all they give until the term of life is ready to expire. Truly what is then bestowed is not given away—but taken away by death! It is not charity—but necessity. Oh do not so marry yourselves to money that you are resolved nothing shall part you from it—but death! A covetous man may be compared to a Christmas-box. He receives money—but parts with none until death breaks this box in pieces. Then the silver and the gold come tumbling out. Give in time of health. These are the alms which God takes notice of, and (as Calvin says) puts in his book of accounts.

6. Give thankfully. They should be more thankful who give an alms—than those who receive it. We should give a thank-offering to God that we are in the number of givers and not receivers. Bless God for a willing mind. To have not only an large estate—but a large heart, is matter of thankfulness

NEXT V.8 Heart Purity

Daily Devotional – The Beatitudes by Thomas Watson Part XLVIX

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Image Depicting Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount

The Beatitudes

by Thomas Watson

An Exposition of Matthew 5:1-12 

“Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.” (v.7)

Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”
“Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.”
Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.”
“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.”
“Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.”
“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.”
“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.”
“Blessed are those who are persecuted, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven”

A Discourse of Mercifulness

The merciful man shall be rewarded in this life. He shall be blessed —

In his person: ‘Blessed is he who considers the poor’ (Psalm 41:1). Let him go where he will, a blessing goes along with him. He is in favor with God. God casts a smiling aspect upon him.

Blessed in his name: ‘He shall be had in everlasting remembrance’ (Psalm 112:6). When the niggard’s name shall rot, the name of a merciful man shall be embalmed with honor, and give forth its scent as the wine of Lebanon.

Blessed in his estate: ‘He shall abound in all things’. ‘The liberal soul shall be made fat’ (Proverbs 2:25). He shall have the fat of the earth and the dew of heaven. He shall not only have the venison—but the blessing.

Blessed in his posterity: ‘He is ever merciful and lends; and his seed is blessed’ (Psalm 37:26). He shall not only leave an estate behind—but a blessing behind to his children, and God will see that the entail of that blessing shall not be cut off.

Blessed in his negotiations: ‘For this thing the Lord your God shall bless you in all your works, and in all that you put your hand unto’ (Deuteronomy 15:10). The merciful man shall be blessed in his building, planting, journeying. Whatever he is about, a blessing shall empty itself upon him. ‘Wherever he treads there shall be a rose’. He shall be a prosperous man. The honeycomb of a blessing shall be still dropping upon him.

Blessed with long life: ‘The Lord will preserve him and keep him alive’ (Psalm 41:2). He has helped to keep others alive, and God will keep him alive. Is there anything then, lost by mercifulness? It spins out the silver thread of life. Many are taken away the sooner for their unmercifulness. Because their hearts are straitened, their lives are shortened.

Again, the merciful man shall be rewarded in the life to come. Aristotle joins these two together, liberality and utility. God will reward the merciful man hereafter, though not for his works—yet according to his works. ‘I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God, and the books were opened, and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works’ (Revelation 20:12). As God has a bottle to put our tears in, so he has a book to write our alms in. As God will put a veil over his people’s sins, so he will in free grace set a crown upon their works! The way to lay up—is to lay out. Other parts of our estate are left behind (Ecclesiastes 2:18)—but that which is given to Christ’s poor is hoarded up in heaven. That is a blessed kind of giving, which though it makes the purse lighter, it makes the crown heavier.

You who are mercifully inclined, remember whatever alms you distribute:

You shall have good security. ‘He who gives to the poor lends to the Lord; and that which he has given will he pay him again’ (Ecclesiastes 11:1; Luke 6:38; Proverbs 19:17). There is God’s pledge. Yet here is our unbelief—we will not take God’s bond.

You shall be abundantly repaid. For a wedge of gold which you have parted with—you shall have a weight of glory. For a cup of cold water—you shall have rivers of pleasure, which run at God’s right hand for evermore. The interest comes to infinitely more than the principal. Pliny writes of a country in Africa where the people for every bushel of seed they sow receive a hundred and fifty-fold increase. For every penny you drop into Christ’s treasury, you shall receive above a thousand-fold increase. Your after-crop of glory will be so great that, though you are still reaping, you will never be able to gather the whole harvest. Let all this persuade rich men to honor the Lord with their substance.

Daily Devotional – The Beatitudes by Thomas Watson Part XLVIII

Image result for Beatitudes
Image Depicting Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount

The Beatitudes

by Thomas Watson

An Exposition of Matthew 5:1-12 

“Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.” (v.7)

Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”
“Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.”
Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.”
“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.”
“Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.”
“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.”
“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.”
“Blessed are those who are persecuted, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven”

A Discourse of Mercifulness

Having answered these objections let me now pursue the EXHORTATION to mercifulness. I shall lay down several arguments which I desire may be weighed in the balance of reason and conscience.

1. To be diffusively good is the great end of our creation. ‘Created in Christ Jesus unto good works’ (Ephesians 2:10). Every creature answers the end of its creation. The star shines, the bird sings, the plant bears fruit; the end of life is service. He who does not answer his end in respect of usefulness, cannot enjoy his end in respect of happiness. Many have been long in the world—but have not lived. They have done no good: ‘a useless weight of earth’. A useless person serves for nothing but to ‘cumber the ground’. And because he is barren in figs—he shall be fruitful in curses (Hebrews 6:8).

2. By mercifulness we resemble God who is a God of mercy. He is said to ‘delight in mercy’ (Micah 7:18). ‘His tender mercies are over all his works, (Psalm 145:9). He gives good for evil, like the clouds which receive ill vapors from us—but return them to us again in sweet showers. There is not a creature which lives, but tastes of the mercies of God. Every bird sings hymns of praise to God for his bounty—but men and angels in a more particular manner taste the cream and quintessence of God’s mercies.
What temporal mercies have you received! Every time you draw your breath you suck in mercy. Every bit of bread you eat, the hand of mercy carves it to you. You never drink but in a golden cup of mercy.

What spiritual mercies has God enriched some of you with! Pardoning, adopting, saving mercy! The picture of God’s mercy can never be drawn to the full. You cannot take the breadth of his mercy, for it is infinite, nor the height of it, for it ‘reaches above the clouds’, nor the length of it, for it is ‘from everlasting to everlasting’ (Psalm 103:17). The works of mercy are the glory of the Godhead. Moses prays, ‘Lord, show me your glory’ (Exodus 33:18). Says God, ‘I will make all my goodness to pass before you’ (verse 19). God accounts himself most glorious in the shining robes of his mercy. Now by works of mercy we resemble the God of mercy. We are bid to draw our lines according to this copy. ‘Be you merciful—as your Father also is merciful’ (Luke 6:36).

3. Alms are a sacrifice to God. ‘Do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased’ (Hebrews 13:16). When you are distributing to the poor—it is as if you were praying, as if you were worshiping God. There are two sorts of sacrifices; expiatory—the sacrifice of Christ’s blood; and thanksgiving—the sacrifice of alms. This (says holy Greenham) is more acceptable to God than any other sacrifice. The angel said to Cornelius, Your acts of charity have come up as a memorial offering before God’ (Acts 10:4). The backs of the poor, are the altar on which this sacrifice is to be offered.

4. We ourselves live upon alms. Other creatures liberally contribute to our necessities. The sun does not have its light for itself but for us; it enriches us with its golden beams. The earth brings us a fruitful crop, and to show how joyful a mother she is in bringing forth, the psalmist says ‘The meadows are clothed with flocks of sheep, and the valleys are carpeted with grain. They all shout and sing for joy!’ (Psalm 65:13). One creature gives us wool, another oil, another silk. We are glad to go a-begging to the creation. Shall every creature be for the good of man—and man only be for himself? How absurd and irrational is this!

5. We are to extend our liberality by virtue of a membership. ‘I want you to share your food with the hungry and to welcome poor wanderers into your homes. Give clothes to those who need them, and do not hide from relatives who need your help.’ (Isaiah 50:7). The poor are ‘of the same clay’. The members by a law of equity and sympathy contribute one to another. The eye conveys light to the body, the heart blood, the head spirits. That is a dead member in the body which does not communicate to the rest. Thus it is in the body politic. Let no man think it is too far below him to mind the needs and necessities of others. That hand should be cut off, which disdains to pluck a thorn out of the foot. It is spoken in the honor of that renowned princess, the Empress of Theodosius the Great, that she herself visited the sick and prepared relief for them with her own imperial hands.

6. We are not lords of an estate—but stewards, and how soon may we hear the word, ‘Give an account of your stewardship, for you may be no longer steward!’ (Luke 16:2). An estate is a talent to trade with. It is as dangerous to hide our talent—as to waste it (Matthew 25:25, 30). If the covetous man keeps his gold too long, it will begin to rust, and the rust will witness against him (James 5:3).

7. The examples of others who have been renowned for acts of mercy and munificence.
Our Lord Christ is a great example of charity, he was not more full of merit, than bounty. Trajan the Emperor rent off a piece of his own robe to wrap his soldiers’ wounds. Christ did more. He rent his flesh; He made a medicine of his body and blood to heal us. ‘By his stripes we are healed’ (Isaiah 53:5). Here was a pattern of charity without a parallel.

The Jews are noted in this kind. It is a rabbinic observation that those who live devoutly among the Jews distribute a tenth part of their estate among the poor, and they give so freely (says Philo the Jew) as if by giving they hope to receive some great gratuity. Now if the Jews are so devoted to works of mercy, who live without Messiah, shall not we much more profess our faith in the blessed Messiah!

Let me tell you of some heathen. I have read of Titus Vespasian, he was so inured to works of mercy that remembering he had given nothing that day, cried out, ‘I have lost a day’. It is reported of some of the Turks that they have servants whom they employ on purpose to enquire what poor they have and they send relief to them. And the Turks have a saying in their Koran, that if men knew what a blessed thing it were to distribute alms, rather than spare, they would give some of their own flesh to relieve the poor. And shall not a Christian’s creed be better than a Turk’s Koran?
Let all this persuade to works of mercy. Believe me, it is a royal deed to support the fallen.

When poor indigent creatures like Moses are laid in the ark of bulrushes weeping and ready to sink in the waters of affliction, be as temporal saviors to them and draw them out of the waters with a golden cord. Let the breasts of your mercy nurse the poor. Be like the trees of the sanctuary both for food and medicine (Ezekiel 47:12). When distressed and even starved souls are fainting, let your spiritual cordials revive them. Let others see the coats and garments which you have made for the poor (Acts 9:39).

8. The sin of unmercifulness. The unmerciful man is an unthankful man, and what worse can be said? You to whom the Lord has given an estate, your cup runs over—but you have a miserly heart and will not part with anything for good uses; it is death to you to relieve those who are dying. Know that you are in the highest degree ungrateful; you are not fit for human society. The Scripture has put these two together ‘unthankful, without natural affection’ (2 Timothy 3:2, 3). God may repent that ever he gave such men estates, and may say as Hosea 2:9: ‘I will take back the wine and ripened grain I generously provided each harvest season. I will take away the linen and wool clothing I gave her.’

The unmerciful man lacks love to Christ. They would be very angry with those who should question their love; but do they love Christ who let the members of Christ starve? No! these love their money more than Christ, and come under that fearful ‘Anathema’ ‘If anyone does not love the Lord, that person is cursed’ (1 Corinthians 16:22).

9. Lastly, I shall use but one argument more to persuade to works of mercy, and that is the reward which follows alms-deeds. Giving of alms is a glorious work, and let me assure you it is not unfruitful work. Whatever is disbursed to the poor brethren, is given to Christ! ‘Inasmuch as you have done it to one of the least of these my brethren, you have done it unto me’ (Matthew 25:40). The poor man’s hand is Christ’s treasury, and there is nothing lost that is put there. ‘Whatever you give by stretching forth your hand on earth is as it were given in heaven’. The text says, ‘the merciful shall obtain mercy’. In the Greek it is, ‘they shall be bemercied’. What is it, that we need most? Is it not mercy? Pardoning and saving mercy? What is it we desire on our deathbed? Is it not mercy? You who show mercy, shall find mercy. You who pour in the oil of compassion to others, God will pour in the golden oil of salvation unto you (Matthew 7:2).

The Shunammite woman showed mercy to the prophet and she received kindness from him another way (2 Kings 4:8-37). She welcomed him to her house—and he restored her dead child to life. Those who sow mercy, shall reap in kind; ‘they shall obtain mercy’. Such is the sweetness and mercifulness of God’s nature, that he will not allow any man to be a loser. No kindness shown to him shall be unregarded or unrewarded. God will be in no man’s debt. For a cup of cold water—he shall have a draught of Christ’s warm blood to refresh his soul. ‘For God is not unrighteous to forget your work and labor of love, which you have shown toward his name, in that you have ministered to the saints . . .’ (Hebrews 6:10). God’s mercy is a tender mercy, a pure mercy, a rich mercy. Mercy shall follow and overtake the merciful man. He shall be rewarded in this life—and in the life to come.