Treading the High Places

“O Lord, how long shall I cry for help,
    and you will not hear?
Or cry to you ‘Violence!’
    and you will not save?
Why do you make me see iniquity,
    and why do you idly look at wrong?
Destruction and violence are before me;
    strife and contention arise.
So the law is paralyzed,
    and justice never goes forth.
For the wicked surround the righteous;
    so justice goes forth perverted.

“Look among the nations, and see;
    wonder and be astounded.
For I am doing a work in your days
    that you would not believe if told…”

“I will take my stand at my watchpost
    and station myself on the tower,
and look out to see what he will say to me,
    and what I will answer concerning my complaint…”

“And the Lord answered me:

‘Write the vision;
    make it plain on tablets,
    so he may run who reads it.
For still the vision awaits its appointed time;
    it hastens to the end—it will not lie.
If it seems slow, wait for it;
    it will surely come; it will not delay.

‘Behold, his soul is puffed up; it is not upright within him,
    but the righteous shall live by his faith…’

“Though the fig tree should not blossom,
    nor fruit be on the vines,
the produce of the olive fail
    and the fields yield no food,
the flock be cut off from the fold
    and there be no herd in the stalls,
yet I will rejoice in the Lord;
    I will take joy in the God of my salvation.
God, the Lord, is my strength;
    he makes my feet like the deer’s;
    he makes me tread on my high places.” Habakkuk 1:2-5; 2:1-4; 3:17-19

When much of life is a complaint against wickedness, vile activity, and injustice, there is only one station for gaining God’s perspective and hope. In order to turn grumbling into gratitude and fear to faith, our watch post must be high and hushed. The high places were littered with idolatrous alters, but treading them defines victory over their sinister pull and pollution. (Habakkuk 1:12-13)

We can plod through the lowlands with limited vision and heavy attitudes, or scale the heights in the strength of the Lord. We can be crushed by the weight of worry, injustices, and fear of things, or we can crest the circumstances with a long and lofty view. Taking in the vastness of God’s will and divine economy of His timing helps us endure the distance we must cover before relief and resolution. Complaint turns to confidence when circumstances are seen on God’s scale and with His eternal lenses.

Would we choose to tread the heights in our thinking, acknowledging and rejoicing in the fact that God knows His plans for a hope and future? Would we tuck every pain, dearth, and want into the sufficiency of our salvation? Would we be still long enough to gain His perspective and know that He is God, and will one day be exalted in the nations of the earth? (Psalm 46:10; Jeremiah 29:11)

Lord, help me tread in faith where You have gone before me on the heights, rejoicing in You over every circumstance, in my salvation, and because of Your righteous rule in earth and heaven.

Unrestrained Mercy

“I have not hidden your deliverance within my heart;
    I have spoken of your faithfulness and your salvation;
I have not concealed your steadfast love and your faithfulness
    from the great congregation

As for you, O Lord, you will not restrain
    your mercy from me;
your steadfast love and your faithfulness will
    ever preserve me!
For evils have encompassed me
    beyond number;
my iniquities have overtaken me,
    and I cannot see;
they are more than the hairs of my head;
    my heart fails me.

Be pleased, O Lord, to deliver me!
    O Lord, make haste to help me!
Let those be put to shame and disappointed altogether
    who seek to snatch away my life;
let those be turned back and brought to dishonor
    who delight in my hurt!
Let those be appalled because of their shame
    who say to me, ‘Aha, Aha!’

But may all who seek you
    rejoice and be glad in you;
may those who love your salvation
    say continually, ‘Great is the Lord!’
As for me, I am poor and needy,
    but the Lord takes thought for me.
You are my help and my deliverer;
    do not delay, O my God!” Psalm 40:10-17

“Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” Hebrews 4:16

What is the nature of God is always present and at work. Every divine characteristic is infinite and in complete balance, perfect, and righteously expressed. Our sins and needs, inconsistencies and weaknesses are great, yet His mercy is more, and sufficient. What do we suffer, long for, or ruin that He does not take thought for, help, and preserve us, that His mercy is not enough or cannot redeem? (Lamentations 3:22-23; 1 Peter 1:3)

The unrestrained mercy of God secures us in a wicked whorling world and against every foe. It adjusts focus in turmoil and invites our trust. As it moves toward us, it should elicit unrestrained praise from us, and unrestrained testimony to all around. What continually flows into us cannot be hidden or stopped from flowing through and beyond us. The grateful recipient of God’s graces will tell of His deliverance, faithfulness, salvation, and steadfast love. (Romans 9:15-16)

What is my interaction with the mercy of God? How has it met me, freed me, remade me, kept me? And thus, how gladly, how joyfully am I expressing its goodness to others and my gratitude to God?

“What love could remember no wrongs we have done?
Omniscient, all knowing, He counts not their sum.
Thrown into a sea without bottom or shore,
Our sins they are many, His mercy is more!

What patience would wait as we constantly roam?
What Father, so tender, is calling us home?
He welcomes the weakest, the vilest, the poor,
Our sins they are many, His mercy is more!

What riches of kindness Christ lavished on us,
His blood was the payment, His life was the cost!
We stood ‘neath a debt we could never afford,
Our sins they are many, His mercy is more!

Praise the Lord! His mercy is more!
Stronger than darkness, new every morn,
Our sins they are many, His mercy is more!” ~Matt Boswell and Matt Papa (2016)

Lord, may I ever appeal to, delight in, and joyfully proclaim Your unrestrained mercies, to the honor of Your name.

From, For, Through and Through

“For us there is one God, the Father, from whom are all things and for whom we exist, and one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom are all things and through whom we exist.” 1 Corinthians 8:6

“Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways!.. For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen.” Romans 11:33,36

“He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him.  And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together.” Colossians 1:15-17

“He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power.” Hebrews 1:3

Ah, the glorious prepositions of the Lord! By the hand of the Holy Spirit, we are drawn into the florid grace of God, caught in the current of His creativity, held in His power, and woven into His grand purposes. From Him all things flow, and for Him all things exist. And by His perfect foreordained wisdom and appointment, we are included in all things, ordained to live for His glory. (Romans 8:29-30; 2 Timothy 3:16; 2 Peter 1:21)

Are we captivated with this self-sufficient One? Do we take joy in the exhilaration of His unfolding plans? How earnestly do we endeavor to stay connected with Him through prayer and dependence, feasting on His word and fellowship? How deliberately do we join the flow of His kingdom life in our world? (Romans 14:7-8; Acts 17:28)

Taking opportunity to meditate on the vast grandeur and infinite creative power of the Lord God adjusts our mindset of self-importance and control. When we acknowledge Him as the Masterful Designer and Sovereign Authority over all, we can respond to His inspiration with cold resistance or enthusiastic embrace. There is no delight on earth like the loving, exciting inclusion of existing and whole-heartedly living through and for Him.

Humbly acknowledging I am not my own but was made for the Lord and His glory, how will I order my days differently? What needs change in my motivations, the way I eat, recreate, spend my hours, resources, and rumination? With whom would I converse, and how might my conversation deepen and grace abound?

“Thy mighty love, O God, constraineth me,
As some strong tide it presseth on its way,
Seeking a channel in my self-bound soul,
Yearning to sweep all barriers away.

Shall I not yield to that constraining power?
Shall I not say, O tide of love, flow in?
My God, Thy gentleness hath conquered me,
Life cannot be as it hath hither been.

Break through my nature, mighty, heavenly love,
Clear every avenue of thought and brain,
Flood my affections, purify my will,
Let nothing but Thine own pure life remain.

Thus wholly mastered and possessed by God,
Forth from my life, spontaneous and free,
Shall flow a stream of tenderness and grace,
Loving, because God loved, eternally.” ~Emily May Grimes (1868-1927)


The Blessing of Name and Face

“The Lord spoke to Moses, saying, ‘Speak to Aaron and his sons, saying, Thus you shall bless the people of Israel:

The Lord bless you and keep you;
the Lord make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you;
the Lord lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace.

So shall they put my name upon the people of Israel, and I will bless them.’” Numbers 6:22-27

“He will not let your foot be moved;
    he who keeps you will not slumber.
Behold, he who keeps Israel
    will neither slumber nor sleep.

The Lord is your keeper;
    the Lord is your shade on your right hand.
The sun shall not strike you by day,
    nor the moon by night

The Lord will keep you from all evil;
    he will keep your life.
The Lord will keep
    your going out and your coming in
    from this time forth and forevermore.” Psalm 121:3-8

“Lift up the light of your face upon us, O Lord!” “Make your face shine on your servant!” “May God be gracious to us and bless us and make his face to shine upon us.” Psalm 4:6; 31:16; 67:1; 119:135; 134:3

“And all the peoples of the earth shall see that you are called by the name of the Lord.” Deuteronomy 28:10

The blessing of God upon His people was immeasurable and intangible, yet palpable. The generous heart of God bestowed the gift of His name and keeping, affirming ownership, and His face of light, acceptance, and love. That this blessing was pronounced through the priests anticipated the riches that would be given by Jesus Christ as Great High Priest. (Hebrews 2:17; 4:14-16; 2 Peter 1:3-4)

For His own today He has bestowed every spiritual blessing in Christ. Those who have been bought with His blood own His bounty without measure and can spend a lifetime getting to know it in experience. The blessings that lift the heart and strengthen the soul also impart the divine nature and establish our ministry to others. Do we realize the blessedness of such favor, and sense a responsible compulsion to convey it? (Ephesians 1:3)

With whom are we sharing His benevolence? If we have truly been changed by the love of Christ, to whom in our daily interactions at home, work, and community can we pronounce His blessing and grace? Into what and whose darkness can we shine a divine, peaceful, joyful, countenance that elevates, consoles, and transforms?

“O for a thousand tongues to sing
my great Redeemer’s praise,
the glories of my God and King,
the triumphs of his grace!

My gracious Master and my God,
assist me to proclaim,
to spread thro’ all the earth abroad
the honors of your name.

Jesus! the name that charms our fears,
that bids our sorrows cease,
’tis music in the sinner’s ears,
’tis life and health and peace.

Hear him, ye deaf, his praise ye dumb
your loosened tongues employ;
behold ye blind, your Savior comes;
and leap ye lame for joy.

To God all glory, praise, and love
be now and ever given
by saints below and saints above,
the Church in earth and heaven.” ~Charles Wesley (1739)

Father, may I never hoard the inestimable blessings You’ve given, but shine and share them abroad that You be known and praised.

Charcoal and Chalk

“Then Job arose and tore his robe and shaved his head and fell on the ground and worshiped. And he said, ‘Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return. The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord… Shall we receive good from God, and shall we not receive evil?’” Job 1:20-22; 2:10

“Is it not from the mouth of the Most High
    that good and bad come?” Lamentations 3:38

Charcoal and chalk meet in the early sky above air swept clean by overnight rain. Each adds its texture to the new day- bright and smudge, fluff and shadow- making for an esthetic that stirs and soothes with contrast, balance, and beauty. This morning would not be so lovely, so complete, so promising, were one not there.

At times we want to clean away the smudges so we can pretend life is tidy and pristine, but grey in our days gives contour to flat and shows off the undersides of God’s mercy and fortitude. Removing the shadows eliminates the resplendence of light. We might prefer soft and easy, but they serve only flabby faith, unrealistic vision, and shallow service.

Without some scratchy darkness, how would we learn compassion and empathy, or be able to relate to or genuinely comfort the hurting? Without wrestling with hopeless situations, how would we know to look long through to the light- that it still shines in the valley of the shadow? Without experiencing some hurt and distance, even dissension, how would we know the sweetness of forgiveness and reconciliation? Without having suffered brokenness, where would we know the glory and magnificence of divine repair?

Where has the charcoal of life sketched out God’s grace? Do we complain about getting pressed under circumstances rather than look for how God will lift us above them? Do we resist inconveniences and risks instead of trusting God for the way through? Are we constantly chafed at interruptions and difficulties? What if we instead marveled at the beauties of our Lord that shine brightest in the darkness? In what loss has the Lord brought great gain?

“Amazing grace (how sweet the sound)
that saved a wretch like me!
I once was lost, but now am found,
was blind, but now I see.

‘Twas grace that taught my heart to fear,
and grace my fears relieved;
how precious did that grace appear
the hour I first believed!

Through many dangers, toils and snares
I have already come:
’tis grace has brought me safe thus far,
and grace will lead me home.

The Lord has promised good to me,
his word my hope secures;
he will my shield and portion be
as long as life endures.

Yes, when this flesh and heart shall fail,
and mortal life shall cease:
I shall possess, within the veil,
a life of joy and peace.

The earth shall soon dissolve like snow,
the sun forbear to shine;
but God, who called me here below,
will be forever mine.” ~John Newton (1779)

Father, help me welcome the charcoal You smudge in my life, and delight in how You work in the light of chalk to show forth Your grace. May I shine it brightly!

Where the Former Things?

“Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.  And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, ‘Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.’

“And he who was seated on the throne said, ‘Behold, I am making all things new. Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true… It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. To the thirsty I will give from the spring of the water of life without payment. The one who conquers will have this heritage, and I will be his God and he will be my son. But as for the cowardly, the faithless, the detestable, as for murderers, the sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars, their portion will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death.’” Revelation 21:1-8

“One thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 3:13-14

The eternal hope of a Christian is certain and good. We know that we know what will be ours and what will be. For the present, we dwell among things that will not be, with sights on the not yet. Assurance of the future buoys our thoughts and lifts our wings for today, enabling us to soar above the dark, madding world with perspective and joy.

So what place do we give former things in our everyday? In Christ we’re new creatures; the old self is gone, put away by the blood of Christ through salvation. We still wrangle with the pull of sin, the nag of pride and greed, jealousy and bitterness. Certainly we wrestle with unimaginable grief, unmet longings, and the curse of hard toil. But these struggles of a life that will one day be forever former can be endured with a long and high view, an expectancy that they will surely pass. (2 Corinthians 4:17-18; 5:17; Colossians 3:1-10; 1 Peter 5:10)

Where are we allowing them to dominate? If we nurture old habits, they ensnarl their roots around every attempted discipline. If we brood with regret or wallow in shame, we block out the Son’s light. If we continue to entertain the world’s magnetism and doubt in faith, we give opportunity to return to unenlightened thinking. Though the enemy would deceive us into thinking not, these things are former and have no place in a victorious, fruitful life. Whose word do we believe? How does our behavior prove it?

Lord, fix my mind, sights, and hope in the heavenlies, keeping eternity at the fore in every decision and delight.

Ready Lips

“Incline your ear, and hear the words of the wise,
    and apply your heart to my knowledge,
for it will be pleasant if you keep them within you,
    if all of them are ready on your lips.
That your trust may be in the Lord,
    I have made them known to you today, even to you.
Have I not written for you thirty sayings
    of counsel and knowledge,
to make you know what is right and true,
    that you may give a true answer to those who sent you?”

“Apply your heart to instruction
    and your ear to words of knowledge.” Proverbs 22:17-21; 23:12

“Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person.” Colossians 4:6

“In your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect,  having a good conscience, so that, when you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ may be put to shame.” 1 Peter 3:15-16

To be ready for what is coming or required takes vigilant, timely preparation. When we do not know exactly what to anticipate, knowledge must be broad and appropriate resources and defenses in order. The readiness of true and right words takes development over time, the ingesting, studying, and applying of biblical truth, hiding God’s word in the heart from where words draw their source. It takes discernment honed over years of testing and tasting and seeing the Lord is good, persistent and specific prayer, and obedience to the Holy Spirit. (Psalm 34:8; 119:11; Luke 6:45; Acts 14:3; 16:6; Ephesians 6:13-19)

Familiarity with the Word prepares us to defend our faith, to offer substantial wisdom, comfort, encouragement, and consolation, and to speak truth into falsehood. Being grounded in its doctrines and the character of God it reveals keeps us centered and confident in a crazy world, and assured of our identity as we face questions and condemnation. Ready lips result from a steady heart steeped in the Scriptures and strong trust in the Lord.

What are we doing to know the basic principles of Scripture so the word can sound forth from us appropriately and boldly? How are we living out its principles as an example of vibrant faith? How will we purify our motives so we speak to convey and please God, not man? Recognizing our deepest intentions and naming our fears are vital to being eager and prepared to share our hope. (1 Thessalonians 1:7-8; 2:2,4,13)

How are we specifically investing our time and attention to incline our ears, hear, apply, and keep God’s word? Do we set our daily compass toward what is right and true, or the whims of influencers, podcasters, and ‘thought leaders’? What role does the infallible word of God play in shaping our worldview, as well as daily disciplines and decisions? (Psalm 19:7; 2 Timothy 3:16-17)

Father, make Your word so real to me that it daily guards my thinking and guides my speaking. Keep me vigilant to know and proclaim Your truth so You are known and praised.

Catch the Foxes

“My beloved speaks and says to me:
‘Arise, my love, my beautiful one,
    and come away,
for behold, the winter is past;
    the rain is over and gone.
The flowers appear on the earth,
    the time of singing has come,
and the voice of the turtledove
    is heard in our land.
The fig tree ripens its figs,
    and the vines are in blossom;
    they give forth fragrance.
Arise, my love, my beautiful one,
    and come away.
O my dove, in the clefts of the rock,
    in the crannies of the cliff,
let me see your face,
    let me hear your voice,
for your voice is sweet,
    and your face is lovely.
Catch the foxes for us,
    the little foxes
that spoil the vineyards,
    for our vineyards are in blossom.’

“My beloved is mine, and I am his.” Song of Solomon 2:10-16a

The bride knows her beloved’s voice and invitation. Enthralled with the One whose love is better than wine, she knows the changing out of a cold heart and the florid refreshment of new life. And she is captivated, attuned, grateful. She belongs, and He belongs to her.

But little foxes prowl. They sneak and sniff and nose their way into loving adoration between bride and groom. In the garden of the Spirit’s delights, they disrupt growth and destroy fragrance and fruitfulness. Beware their cunning, catch them before they spoil what God makes beautiful.

Catch the sly fox of errant teaching before it causes a drift from right thinking. Catch the wily fox of alien affection before it distracts pure devotion and lures away from fidelity into idolatry. Catch the fox of alluring emotional or moral temptation lest it introduce an opening to sin’s deceit. Do not let the fox of shame revert freedom back to the winter of sin’s heaviness, or the fox of regret keep reminding of rain that is over and gone. Catch any fox that lures the face away from gazing at the lovely Christ or the ears from listening to His voice. (Hebrews 2:1; 3:12-13)

Have we tolerated the pesky foxes around us so long that we deem them harmless, entertain their cuteness, and cozy up to their fur? Have we lost sensitivity to their scratch, and grown dull in discerning their sinister wiles? Where are we excusing the presence of any pests that eat away at our time, or intrude upon our clefts of private intercession in the rock, or nibble at our love for Christ?

“Jesus, I am resting, resting
in the joy of what thou art;
I am finding out the greatness
of thy loving heart.
Thou hast bid me gaze upon thee,
as thy beauty fills my soul,
for by thy transforming power,
thou hast made me whole.

Ever lift thy face upon me
as I work and wait for thee;
resting ‘neath thy smile, Lord Jesus,
earth’s dark shadows flee.
Brightness of my Father’s glory,
sunshine of my Father’s face,
keep me ever trusting, resting,
fill me with thy grace.” ~Jean Sophia Pigott (1876)

Beloved Lord, keep me alert and ruthless to catch and remove any fox that ruins our communion and destroys my song and fruitfulness for You.

A Duty to Praise

“Solomon assembled the elders of Israel and all the heads of the tribes, the leaders… in Jerusalem, to bring up the ark of the covenant of the Lord out of the city of David, which is Zion. And all the men of Israel assembled before the king at the feast that is in the seventh month.  And all the elders of Israel came, and the Levites took up the ark.  And they brought up the ark, the tent of meeting, and all the holy vessels that were in the tent; the Levitical priests brought them up.  And King Solomon and all the congregation, who had assembled before him, were before the ark, sacrificing so many sheep and oxen that they could not be counted or numbered.  Then the priests brought the ark of the covenant of the Lord to its place, in the inner sanctuary of the house, in the Most Holy Place, underneath the wings of the cherubim. The cherubim spread out their wings over the place of the ark, so that the cherubim made a covering above the ark and its poles…  And when the priests came out of the Holy Place (for… all the Levitical singers,.. with cymbals, harps, and lyres, stood east of the altar with 120 priests who were trumpeters;  and it was the duty of the trumpeters and singers to make themselves heard in unison in praise and thanksgiving to the Lord), and when the song was raised, with trumpets and cymbals and other musical instruments, in praise to the Lord,

“’For he is good,
    for his steadfast love endures forever,’

“the house, the house of the Lord, was filled with a cloud,  so that the priests could not stand to minister because of the cloud, for the glory of the Lord filled the house of God.” 2 Chronicles 5:2-8,11a-14

A completed temple was finally the permanent home for the ark of God’s presence, and king Solomon ordered that the priests set in place with reverence and gladness. Some of the priests had the sole duty to make music, in unison, praise and thanksgiving to the LORD. What a job! The result? So much glory descended that they were overcome.

It is also our duty to praise, and it makes a difference. We get hung up on do and do and checking off lists and neglect the necessity of praise. Praise acquaints us with the thoughts of heaven, and softens harsh attitudes. Praise elevates desire and broadens perspective beyond self. Praise lubricates the heart toward others who share our human condition. Praising the Lord Jesus for who He is, regardless of us, develops holy expectancy and trust. It improves us and exalts Him! (1 Thessalonians 5:18)

What will we adjust to get in the practice of regular praise? Do we nitpick with self-centered gratitude, thanking God only for what we like, what gives ease and comfort? Or will we heartily give thanks in all? Are we solo singers, or do we make effort to join with others? Would we take time and attention to be enthralled with His majesty so we magnify our Lord throughout the day? (Psalm 34:3)

Father, may my praise of You, Your goodness and steadfast love, be so glad and consistent that Your glory fills my heart and home.

Marvelous Multiplication

“God… said, ‘Jacob, Jacob… I am God… Do not be afraid to go down to Egypt, for there I will make you into a great nation…’

“Then Jacob set out from Beersheba. The sons of Israel carried Jacob their father, their little ones, and their wives, in the wagons that Pharaoh had sent to carry him. They also took their livestock and their goods, which they had gained in the land of Canaan, and came into Egypt, Jacob and all his offspring with him, his sons, and his sons’ sons with him, his daughters, and his sons’ daughters. All his offspring he brought with him into Egypt… All the persons of the house of Jacob who came into Egypt were seventy.” Genesis 46:2-3,5-7,27

“The Lord spoke to Moses in the wilderness of Sinai, in the tent of meeting, on the first day of the second month, in the second year after they had come out of the land of Egypt, saying, ‘Take a census of all the congregation of the people of Israel, by clans, by fathers’ houses, according to the number of names, every male, head by head. From twenty years old and upward, all in Israel who are able to go to war, you and Aaron shall list them, company by company…

“The people of Reuben, Israel’s firstborn, their generations, by their clans, by their fathers’ houses, according to the number of names, head by head, every male from twenty years old and upward, all who were able to go to war: those listed of the tribe of Reuben were 46,500.

“Of the people of Simeon,.. 59,300.

“Of the people of Gad,.. 45,650.

“Of the people of Judah,.. 74,600.

“Of the people of Issachar,.. 54,400.

“Of the people of Zebulun,.. 57,400.

“Of the people of Joseph,.. 40,500.

“Of the people of Manasseh,.. 32,200.

“Of the people of Benjamin,.. 35,400.

“Of the people of Dan,.. 62,700.

“Of the people of Asher,.. 41,500.

“Of the people of Naphtali,.. 53,400…

“All those listed were 603,550.” Numbers 1:1-3,20-43,46

Removed to a foreign land with foreign gods, and the Lord kept them separate. Suffered under Pharaoh’s cruel slavery, and their numbers grew. When God has His plan in place and His eye on His own, multiplication happens. Israel endured isolation and hardship, and the Lord brought about increase that would advance His plans. Multiplied people, multiplied purpose, multiplied praise. (Genesis 37:28; 46:34; 47:5-6; 50:20; Exodus 1:1-7; 2:23-25)

The prospect of tribulation causes most to shrink and recoil. But when we know the sovereign God’s steady character and trust His will, we need not fear His ways. His marvelous multiplication of one family did indeed bring blessing to all nations of the earth. (Genesis 12:2-3)

And we carry the same privilege, also and often through hard experiences. Rubs with people open opportunities for patience and conciliation, hurts for forgiveness, consternation for truth-telling in love. The Lord intends that we multiply His graces and good gifts for the blessing of many, bringing life and light to a dark world. How am I, by His Spirit, propagating His goodness? What difference am I making for offspring and those in my sphere? Where and how am I multiplying His truth and love? (Ephesians 4:15; Philippians 2:15)

Father, divinely multiply my efforts unto others’ blessing and Your honor.