Christianity 201

March 26, 2016

Jesus Aims Directly Toward Jerusalem

When the time was come that he should be received up, he steadfastly set his face to go to Jerusalem.
~Luke 9:51

Matthew Henry writes:

1. There was a time fixed for the sufferings and death of our Lord Jesus, and he knew well enough when it was, and had a clear and certain foresight of it, and yet was so far from keeping out of the way that then he appeared most publicly of all, and was most busy, knowing that his time was short.

2. When he saw his death and sufferings approaching, he looked through them and beyond them, to the glory that should follow; he looked upon it as the time when he should be received upinto glory (1 Tim. 3:16), received up into the highest heavens, to be enthroned there. Moses and Elias spoke of his death as his departure out of this world, which made it not formidable; but he went further, and looked upon it as his translation to a better world, which made it very desirable. All good Christians may frame to themselves the same notion of death, and may call it their being received up, to be with Christ where he is; and, when the time of their being received up is at hand, let them lift up their heads, knowing that their redemption draws nigh.

3. On this prospect of the joy set before him, he steadfastly set his face to go to Jerusalem the place where he was to suffer and die. He was fully determined to go, and would not be dissuaded; he went directly to Jerusalem, because there now his business lay, and he did not go about to other towns, or fetch a compass, which if he had done, as commonly he did, he might have avoided going through Samaria. He went cheerfully and courageously there, though he knew the things that should happen to him there. He did not fail nor was discouraged, but set his face as a flint, knowing that he should be not only justified, but glorified (Isa. 50:7), not only not run down, but received up. How should this shame us for, and shame us out of, our backwardness to do and suffer for Christ! We draw back, and turn our faces another way from his service who steadfastly set his face against all opposition, to go through with the work of our salvation.

This reminded me of another passage:

Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.
~Hebrews 12:2

Again, Matthew Henry writes:

What it was that supported the human soul of Christ under these unparalleled sufferings; and that was the joy that was set before him. He had something in view under all his sufferings, which was pleasant to him; he rejoiced to see that by his sufferings he should make satisfaction to the injured justice of God and give security to his honor and government, that he should make peace between God and man, that he should seal the covenant of grace and be the Mediator of it, that he should open a way of salvation to the chief of sinners, and that he should effectually save all those whom the Father had given him, and himself be the first-born among many brethren. This was the joy that was set before him.

While there are so many theological depths in this idea of Jesus setting his face toward Jerusalem, I have often found on a very practical level that this concept — and that exact phrase — has helped me when I must face an unpleasant situation.


If you’d like to go deeper today, there is much exposition and application in this 1985 article by Ray Stedman; check out He Endured The Cross.


 

 

October 16, 2013

Matthew Henry on Zephaniah

Because it’s simply too convenient on Bible Gateway, I often quote excerpts from the writing of classic Bible commentator Matthew Henry. However, because Henry alludes to the King James translation, I know that a longer piece — allowing M.H. to teach us through an entire section — can be cumbersome for some readers. Today, I want to take just the first four verses from Zephaniah 3, and offer them with parallel texts, so that you can work your way back and forth between Matthew Henry, the KJV, and the more familiar NIV.

Zephaniah 3 NIV

Woe to the city of oppressors,rebellious and defiled!
She obeys no one, she accepts no correction. She does not trust in the Lord, she does not draw near to her God.
Her officials within her are roaring lions; her rulers are evening wolves,
who leave nothing for the morning.
Her prophets are unprincipled; they are treacherous people. Her priests profane the sanctuary and do violence to the law.

Zephaniah 3 KJV

Woe to her that is filthy and polluted, to the oppressing city!
2 She obeyed not the voice; she received not correction; she trusted not in the Lord; she drew not near to her God.
3 Her princes within her are roaring lions; her judges are evening wolves; they gnaw not the bones till the morrow.
4 Her prophets are light and treacherous persons: her priests have polluted the sanctuary, they have done violence to the law.

Commentary:

One would wonder that Jerusalem, the holy city, where God was known, and his name was great, should be the city of which this black character is here given, that a place which enjoyed such abundance of the means of grace should become so very corrupt and vicious, and that God should permit it to be so; yet so it is, to show that the law made nothing perfect; but if this be the true character of Jerusalem, as no doubt it is (for God’s judgments will make none worse than they are), it is no wonder that the prophet begins with woe to her. For the holy God hates sin in those that are nearest to him, nay, in them he hates it most. A sinful state is, and will be, a woeful state.

I. Here is a very bad character given of the city in general.

How has the faithful city become a harlot!

  1. She shames herself; she is filthy and polluted (Zeph. 3:1), has made herself infamous (so some read it), the gluttonous city (so the margin), always cramming, and making provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts of it. Sin is the filthiness and pollution of persons and places, and makes them odious in the sight of the holy God.
  2. She wrongs her neighbours and inhabitants; she is the oppressing city. Never any place had statutes and judgments so righteous as this city had, and yet, in the administration of the government, never was more unrighteousness.
  3. She is very provoking to her God, and in every respect walks contrary to him, Zeph. 3:2. He had given his law, and spoken to her by his servants the prophets, telling her what was the good she should do and what the evil she should avoid; but she obeyed not his voice, nor made conscience of doing as he commanded her, in any thing. He had taken her under an excellent discipline, both of the word and of the rod; but she did not receive the instruction of the one nor the correction of the other, did not submit to God’s will nor answer his end in either. He encouraged her to depend upon him, and his power and promise, for deliverance from evil and supply with good; but she trusted not in the Lord; her confidence was placed in her alliances with the nations more than in her covenant with God. He gave her tokens of his presence, and instituted ordinances of communion for her with himself; but she drew not near to her God, did not meet him where he appointed and where he promised to meet her. She stood at a distance, and said to the Almighty, Depart.

II. Here is a very bad character of the leading men in it

…those that should by their influence suppress vice and profaneness there are the great patterns and patrons of wickedness, and those that should be her physicians are really her worst disease.

  1. Her princes are ravenous and barbarous as roaring lions that make a prey of all about them, and they are universally feared and hated; they use their power for destruction, and not for edification.
  2. Her judges, who should be the protectors of injured innocence, are evening wolves, rapacious and greedy, and their cruelty and covetousness both insatiable: They gnaw not the bones till the morrow; they take so much delight and pleasure in cruelty and oppression that when they have devoured a good man they reserve the bones, as it were, for a sweet morsel, to be gnawed the next morning, Job 31:31.
  3. Her prophets, who pretend to be special messengers from heaven to them, are light and treacherous persons, fanciful, and of a vain imagination, frothy and airy, and of a loose conversation, men of no consistency with themselves, in whom one can put no confidence. They were so given to bantering that it was hard to say when they were serious. Their pretended prophecies were all a sham, and they secretly laughed at those that were deluded by them.
  4. Her priests, who are teachers by office and have the charge of the holy things, are false to their trust and betray it. They were to preserve the purity of the sanctuary, but they did themselves pollute it, and the sacred offices of it, which they were to attend upon—such priests as Hophni and Phinehas, who by their wicked lives made the sacrifices of the Lord to be abhorred. They were to expound and apply the law, and to judge according to it; but, in their explications and applications of it, they did violence to the law; they corrupted the sense of it, and perverted it to the patronising of that which was directly contrary to it. By forced constructions, they made the law to speak what they pleased, to serve a turn, and so, in effect, made void the law.

I wonder what Zephaniah would say — having given this word from the Lord — if he were to see our 21st Century churches and religious institutions, especially where corruption or moral failure have become evident?  In other words, what is God saying to us today through Zephaniah?

If you wish to go further into this chapter to see how this resolves, click here to go to Bible Gateway, then click “Show Resources,” then choose Matthew Henry for verses 1-7.

February 13, 2013

“Before Abraham Was Born, I Am”

“I tell you the truth,” Jesus answered, “Before Abraham was born, I am!” —John 8:58

Today we look at the “I am” passage in John 8.  To Jesus’ hearers, the statement would be reminiscent of these words in Exodus 13:

13 Moses said to God, “Suppose I go to the Israelites and say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you,’ and they ask me, ‘What is his name?’ Then what shall I tell them?”

14 God said to Moses, “I am who I am. This is what you are to say to the Israelites: ‘I am has sent me to you.’”

15 God also said to Moses, “Say to the Israelites, ‘The Lord, the God of your fathers—the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob—has sent me to you.’

“This is my name forever,    the name you shall call me    from generation to generation.

Dr. Charles Price, pastor of The Peoples Church in Toronto, Canada wrote on this recently:

It is no wonder many people in Jesus’ day had difficulty with him. Statements like this were so outlandish and ridiculous to the human ear, and blasphemous to the Jewish ear.

Of course, anyone can make bizarre claims, so the question is: Are the claims of Jesus true or false? If the claims are false, they are false for one of two reasons. Either because He knew they were false – which would make Him bad, or He didn’t know they were false, which would make Him mad. If, however, they were true, He was God. These are the only three options open to us, if the record of His words is true. It is not an option to say He was merely a ‘good man’, for a good man who was not divine, would not make the statements Jesus made about ‘coming from above’, or being in existence before Abraham!

If Jesus was a bad man, deliberately deceiving people, then He is the biggest confidence trickster in history. Today there are almost two billion people who claim, in some measure, an allegiance to Jesus Christ. If He was mad, He would join the ranks of many mad men in history, like Rasputin for instance, but for whom time would confirm their insanity.

From the logic of the situation alone, Jesus’ claims to be pre-existent and sent from His Father carry strong claim to be true. One of the things He said was that He would be crucified and then rise again after three days. That happened exactly as He said it would.

Don’t make the mistake of saying that in some way Jesus became the Son of God by His resurrection from the dead. No, He was eternally the Son of God, but, “He was declared with power to be the Son of God by His resurrection from the dead.” It is His resurrection from the dead – the fulfillment of one of His naturally impossible claims – which declares and affirms who He is, the Son of God.

And that is why the gospel is much more than the teaching of Jesus. It’s about the person of Jesus Himself – the One who is alive!

Matthew Henry writes:

…[H]e does not say, I was, but I am, for he is the first and the last, immutably the same (Rev. 1:8); thus he was not only before Abraham, but before all worlds, John 1:1; Prov. 8:23As Mediator. He was the appointed Messiah, long before Abraham; the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world (Rev. 13:8), the channel of conveyance of light, life, and love from God to man. This supposes his divine nature, that he is the same in himself from eternity (Heb. 13:8), and that he is the same to man ever since the fall; he was made of God wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, and redemption, to Adam, and Abel, and Enoch, and Noah, and Shem, and all the patriarchs that lived and died by faith in him before Abraham was born.

Abraham was the root of the Jewish nation, the rock out of which they were hewn. If Christ was before Abraham, his doctrine and religion were no novelty, but were, in the substance of them, prior to Judaism, and ought to take place of it.

This verse is central to the deity of Christ, and because of this you need to exercise extreme caution and discernment when encountering opinions about its interpretation online, especially if you don’t know the author or organization behind a particular blog or website.  Many of the websites claim that the passage was understood differently than we read it today, because they don’t teach the absolute deity of Jesus.

To that, I would simply suggest that one turn to John 10, and see what the reaction was to one of Jesus’ other statements about his divinity:

25 Jesus answered, “I did tell you, but you do not believe. The works I do in my Father’s name testify about me, 26 but you do not believe because you are not my sheep. 27 My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. 28 I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand. 29 My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand. 30 I and the Father are one.”

31 Again his Jewish opponents picked up stones to stone him, 32 but Jesus said to them, “I have shown you many good works from the Father. For which of these do you stone me?”

33 “We are not stoning you for any good work,” they replied, “but for blasphemy, because you, a mere man, claim to be God.”

The “oneness” Jesus claimed is not something rooted in mysticism. He was claiming equality with God, and his words were understood by his hearers to mean that he was claiming equality with God.

February 1, 2013

Knowing When To Shut Up

If this picture looks familiar, it's the fifth time we've used it here. See below for links to other articles.

If this picture looks familiar, it’s the fifth time we’ve used it here. See below for links to other articles.

Many of us our conscious of the Bible’s emphasis on stillness and waiting. What person reading this hasn’t heard, “Be still and know that I am God?”  But silence is a very different discipline. It can be motivated by various factors and offers various kinds of benefit and blessing.  The problem for some of us is that we like to talk, and if you talk and talk all day, you’re almost certain to come out with a sentence or two you wish you could at best modify, at worst retract completely.

James 1:19 says

My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry.  (NIV)

Eugene Peterson really focuses this text:

Post this at all the intersections, dear friends: Lead with your ears, follow up with your tongue, and let anger straggle along in the rear. (MSG)

The book of Proverbs, needless to say, covers the virtue of holding back from speaking with these words:

Even a fool, when he keeps silent, is considered wise; When he closes his lips, he is considered prudent.  (NASB)

Some of the alternative renderings here are interesting:

  • [is esteemed] a man of understanding (KJV)
  • he is considered perceptive (NKJV)
  • seem intelligent (NLT); is deemed intelligent (ESV)
  • thought wise  …  and discerning (NIV)

There is great value in saying things like:

  • I’ll need some time to formulate a response
  • I’ll have to get back to you on that
  • I don’t know
  • That’s something I need to think about
  • I’m not sure how I would answer that

Or just

  • Hmmm

Of course this is a lesson that many statesman, politicians and civic leaders have learned the hard way. The importance of restraining their speech; of keeping their speech tightly under control.

So this is a lesson we can apply in our relationship with family, extended family, neighbors, co-workers, fellow-students; and people we meet in the course of every day life when conducting business, using services, shopping, etc.  But what about in our relationship with God?

Some of you may have already thought of this passage in Job 40:

The Lord said to Job:

“Will the one who contends with the Almighty correct him?
    Let him who accuses God answer him!”

Then Job answered the Lord:

“I am unworthy—how can I reply to you?
    I put my hand over my mouth.
I spoke once, but I have no answer—
    twice, but I will say no more.”

The NLT translates verse five, “I have said too much already. I have nothing more to say.”  Job is at the end of himself in terms of his wrestling with God, and is now repentant and contrite.  Matthew Henry’s Concise commentary says of this passage:

Communion with the Lord effectually convinces and humbles a saint, and makes him glad to part with his most beloved sins. There is need to be thoroughly convinced and humbled, to prepare us for remarkable deliverances.

After God had shown Job, by his manifest ignorance of the works of nature, how unable he was to judge of the methods and designs of Providence, he puts a convincing question to him; Shall he that contends with the Almighty instruct him?

Now Job began to melt into godly sorrow: when his friends reasoned with him, he did not yield; but the voice of the Lord is powerful. When the Spirit of truth comes, he convinces. Job yields himself to the grace of God. He owns his offenses,  and has nothing to say to justify himself. He is now sensible that he has sinned; and therefore he calls himself vile. Repentance changes men’s opinion of themselves. Job is now convinced of his error.

Those who are truly sensible of their own sinfulness and vileness, dare not justify themselves before God. He perceived that he was a poor, mean, foolish, and sinful creature, who ought not to have uttered one word against the Divine conduct. One glimpse of God’s holy nature would appall the stoutest rebel. How, then will the wicked bear the sight of his glory at the day of judgment? But when we see this glory revealed in Jesus Christ, we shall be humbled without being terrified; self-abasement agrees with filial love.

Yes, God searches the hearts and minds of people and knows their thoughts; but even so, we can ‘say’ too much to him.  This is a reminder that being slow to speak applies even with our relationship with our heavenly father.


The picture that accompanies today’s text has appeared four times before here. I wonder if that means something?

August 25, 2012

The Spice Tithe: Selective Righteousness

 

Matthew 23:23 “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You give a tenth of your spices—mint, dill and cumin. But you have neglected the more important matters of the law—justice, mercy and faithfulness. You should have practiced the latter, without neglecting the former.

Tithe [tahyth] noun

1.

Sometimes, tithes. the tenth part of agricultural produce or personal income set apart as an offering to God or for works of mercy, or the same amount regarded as an obligation or tax for the support of the church, priesthood, or the like…
Word Origin & History

Old English: teogoþa (Anglian), teoþa (W.Saxon) “tenth,” from P.Gmc. *tegunthon, *tekhunthon. Retained in ecclesiastical sense while the form was replaced in ordinal use by tenth (influenced by ten). The verb is O.E. teoþian.

~dictionary.com

We live in times where an increasing number of Bible teachers are proclaiming that the “tithe” — the giving of ten percent to the Lord’s work — no longer applies to us under the New Covenant; while at the same time a vocal number of Bible teachers are reminding their flock that the tithe is a command that God has not revoked.

Tithing on your spice harvest might require some rather precise measurement. You would only grow what you needed, and in some of these cases you would not need to devote much land to these spices.  A little dill or mint or cumin goes a long way. So in a sense it would “cost you nothing” to give out of a surplus that you had no intention of consuming. But then you could boast of your righteousness in the matter of tithing. “Look,” you could say, “I tithe right down to the smallest crop in my field.”

Matthew Henry writes:

They observed smaller duties, but omitted greater; they were very exact in paying tithes, till it came to mint, anise, and cumin, their exactness in tithing of which would not cost them much, but would be cried up, and they should buy reputation cheap. The Pharisee boasted of this, I give tithes of all that I possess, Luke 18:12. But it is probable that they had ends of their own to serve, and would find their own account in it; for the priests and Levites, to whom the tithes were paid, were in their interests, and knew how to return their kindness. Paying tithes was their duty, and what the law required; Christ tells them they ought not to leave it undone. Note, All ought in their places to contribute to the support and maintenance of a standing ministry: withholding tithes is called robbing God, Mal. 2:8-10. They that are taught in the word, and do not communicate to them that teach them that love a cheap gospel, come short of the Pharisee.

But that which Christ here condemns them for, is, that they omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith; and their niceness in paying tithes, was, if not to atone before God, yet at least to excuse end palliate to men the omission of those. All the things of God’s law are weighty, but those are most weighty, which are most expressive of inward holiness in the heart; the instances of self-denial, contempt of the world, and resignation to God, in which lies the life of religion. Judgment and mercy toward men, and faith toward God, are the weightier matters of the law, the good things which the Lord our God requires (Mic. 6:8); to do justly, and love mercy, and humble ourselves by faith to walk with God. This is the obedience which is better than sacrifice or tithe; judgment is preferred before sacrifice, Isa. 1:11. To be just to the priests in their tithe, and yet to cheat and defraud every body else, is but to mock God, and deceive ourselves. Mercy also is preferred before sacrifice, Hos. 6:6. To feed those who made themselves fat with the offering of the Lord, and at the same time to shut up the bowels of compassion from a brother or a sister that is naked, and destitute of daily food, to pay tithe-mint to the priest, and to deny a crumb to Lazarus, is to lie open to that judgment without mercy, which is awarded to those who pretended to judgment, and showed no mercy; nor will judgment and mercy serve without faith in divine revelation; for God will be honored in his truths as well as in his laws.

Are there areas where I am precise and exact in doing what I feel God requires while completely missing the point on larger, more important issues? I’m sure there are. I call this selective righteousness and we can use this brand of righteous behavior to cover over other areas in our lives where we are not doing so well in terms of what we know God requires.

I wanted to end this with the same passage from The Message Bible, where Eugene Peterson loses the agricultural reference in verse 23 to something more recognizable in a balance-sheet world. But then I felt the entire passage bears repeating:

Matthew 23:13“I’ve had it with you! You’re hopeless, you religion scholars, you Pharisees! Frauds! Your lives are roadblocks to God’s kingdom. You refuse to enter, and won’t let anyone else in either.

 15“You’re hopeless, you religion scholars and Pharisees! Frauds! You go halfway around the world to make a convert, but once you get him you make him into a replica of yourselves, double-damned.

 16-22“You’re hopeless! What arrogant stupidity! You say, ‘If someone makes a promise with his fingers crossed, that’s nothing; but if he swears with his hand on the Bible, that’s serious.’ What ignorance! Does the leather on the Bible carry more weight than the skin on your hands? And what about this piece of trivia: ‘If you shake hands on a promise, that’s nothing; but if you raise your hand that God is your witness, that’s serious’? What ridiculous hairsplitting! What difference does it make whether you shake hands or raise hands? A promise is a promise. What difference does it make if you make your promise inside or outside a house of worship? A promise is a promise. God is present, watching and holding you to account regardless.

 23-24“You’re hopeless, you religion scholars and Pharisees! Frauds! You keep meticulous account books, tithing on every nickel and dime you get, but on the meat of God’s Law, things like fairness and compassion and commitment—the absolute basics!—you carelessly take it or leave it. Careful bookkeeping is commendable, but the basics are required. Do you have any idea how silly you look, writing a life story that’s wrong from start to finish, nitpicking over commas and semicolons?

 25-26“You’re hopeless, you religion scholars and Pharisees! Frauds! You burnish the surface of your cups and bowls so they sparkle in the sun, while the insides are maggoty with your greed and gluttony. Stupid Pharisee! Scour the insides, and then the gleaming surface will mean something.

 27-28“You’re hopeless, you religion scholars and Pharisees! Frauds! You’re like manicured grave plots, grass clipped and the flowers bright, but six feet down it’s all rotting bones and worm-eaten flesh. People look at you and think you’re saints, but beneath the skin you’re total frauds.

 29-32“You’re hopeless, you religion scholars and Pharisees! Frauds! You build granite tombs for your prophets and marble monuments for your saints. And you say that if you had lived in the days of your ancestors, no blood would have been on your hands. You protest too much! You’re cut from the same cloth as those murderers, and daily add to the death count.

 33-34“Snakes! Reptilian sneaks! Do you think you can worm your way out of this? Never have to pay the piper? It’s on account of people like you that I send prophets and wise guides and scholars generation after generation—and generation after generation you treat them like dirt, greeting them with lynch mobs, hounding them with abuse.

 35-36“You can’t squirm out of this: Every drop of righteous blood ever spilled on this earth, beginning with the blood of that good man Abel right down to the blood of Zechariah, Barachiah’s son, whom you murdered at his prayers, is on your head. All this, I’m telling you, is coming down on you, on your generation.

July 24, 2011

Matthew Henry Quotations

It’s almost redundant to run some Matthew Henry quotations, since Matthew Henry, by virtue of the Bible commentary that bears his name, is probably already being quoted hundreds of times today.  A number of websites pay tribute to the clarity of his analysis of scripture.  I would suggest that along with a Bible dictionary and a Bible handbook, the one-volume Matthew Henry Commentary is a must-have title for your bookshelf.


“Eve was not taken out of Adam’s head to top him, neither out of his feet to be trampled on by him, but out of his side to be equal with him, under his arm to be protected by him, and near his heart to be loved by him.”


[After being robbed] “I thank Thee first because I was never robbed before; second, because although they took my purse they did not take my life; third, because although they took my all, it was not much; and fourth because it was I who was robbed, and not I who robbed.”


“The joy of the Lord will arm us against the assaults of our spiritual enemies and put our mouths out of taste for those pleasures with which the tempter baits his hooks.”


“It is more to the honor of a Christian by faith to overcome the world, than by monastical vows to retreat from it; more for the honor of Christ to serve him in the city, than to serve him in the cell.”


“[When] Christ died He left a will in which He gave His soul to His Father, His body to Joseph of Arimathea, His clothes to the soldiers, and His mother to John. But to His disciples, who had left all to follow Him, He left not silver or gold, but something far better – His PEACE!”


“God has wisely kept us in the dark concerning future events and reserved for himself the knowledge of them, that he may train us up in a dependence upon himself and a continued readiness for every event.”


“Cast not away your confidence because God defers his performances. That which does not come in your time, will be hastened in his time, which is always the more convenient season. God will work when he pleases, how he pleases, and by what means he pleases. He is not bound to keep our time, but he will perform his work, honor our faith, and reward them that diligently seek him.”


“Goodness makes greatness truly valuable, and greatness make goodness much more serviceable.”


Sources:  Think Exist, Famous Quotes and Authors, Christian Quotes, Good Reads, Wisdom Quotes

April 17, 2010

Digging a Well

We continue our weekend theme:  Looking at the early posts on other devotional blogs.   This is the very first post from The Well.

“So he built an altar there and called on the name of the Lord, and he pitched his tent there; and there Isaac’s servants dug a well.”

In a time of famine, Isaac didn’t run, didn’t seek for greener pastures, didn’t do the natural thing — he stood firm and trusted God.

He worshipped — he built an altar

He prayed — he called on the name of the Lord

He found a well — he unstopped it, dug it up

He drew from the well — he prospered in that place!

The springing up from below, in contrast to the outpouring from above, is associated with private encounters with God where you alone are the sole recipient of His attention. This “inner baptism” involves the digging out of plugged up wells and the breaking down of emotional dams that block the flow of the underground springs of the Spirit that every believer has been granted .

As we may go anywhere with comfort when God’s blessing goes with us, so we may stay anywhere contentedly if that blessing rests upon us

(Genesis 26:25) (unknown) (Matthew Henry)