1 The Dayspring From On High
"Through the tender mercy of our God; whereby the dayspring from on high hath visited us, To give light to them that sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace." Luke 1:78 & 79
At the birth of John the Baptist, Zacharias prophesied of the coming of our Lord in these poetic words, "...the dayspring from on high hath visited us, To give light to them that sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace." Matthew 4:16 tells us that the prophecy of Isaiah was fulfilled. "The people which sat in darkness saw great light; and to them which sat in the region and shadow of death light is sprung up." (from Isaiah 9:2) We were in darkness, lost in the cold depths of our sin. But through the tender mercy of our God, the Dayspring from on high has brought light into our lives. Jesus came to bring us out of the darkness. "Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life." (John 8:12) Do you walk in the light of life? Or are you living in the darkness of this sin cursed world? Acknowledge that you are a sinner, lost and hopeless. Believe that Jesus is the only way to eternal salvation. Confess your sins to God and ask Christ to save you and give you the light and peace that only He can give. Just as we are leaving the cold bitter nights of winter behind for the long bright days of springtime, you can leave the darkness behind and walk in the light of His love and mercy.
2 God Gives Us Springtime
"Hast thou commanded the morning since thy days; and caused the dayspring to know his place;" Job 38:12
This is part of the Lord's answer to Job. He mentions several aspects of creation in this chapter. "Where wast thou when I laid the foundations of the earth? declare, if thou hast understanding. Who hath laid the measures thereof, if thou knowest? or who hath stretched the line upon it? Whereupon are the foundations thereof fastened? or who laid the corner stone thereof? When the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy?" (Job 38:4-7) All the way back to Genesis we read, "And God said, Let there be light: and there was light. And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness. And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day." (Genesis 1:3-5) God created light, and the morning for the dayspring. Then after the flood, God made this promise, "While the earth remaineth, seedtime and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night shall not cease." (Genesis 8:22) We may experience cold dark winters, but we can be sure that springtime, our seedtime, will follow. God created the seasons, just as He created day and night and put them in their time and place.
3 God's Word In The Morning
"And when they were come down from the high place into the city, Samuel communed with Saul upon the top of the house. And they arose early: and it came to pass about the spring of the day, that Samuel called Saul to the top of the house, saying, Up, that I may send thee away: And Saul arose, and they went out both of them, he and Samuel, abroad. And as they were going down to the end of the city, Samuel said to Saul, Bid the servant pass on before us, (and he passed on,) but stand thou still a while, that I may shew thee the word of God." I Samuel 9:25-27
Samuel woke Saul early, "about the spring of the day." You may remember this story. The children of Israel wanted a king. Saul was a goodly young man who was taller than all the Israelites, from his shoulders upward. (I Samuel 9:2) He and his servant went out to look for his father's donkeys that were lost. They searched and could not find them and decided to ask Samuel, the "man of God". Samuel told Saul the donkeys had been found. Early the next morning, "about the spring of the day", Samuel woke Saul and told him it was time for him to go back home. As they started out of the city, Samuel said, "...stand thou still a while, that I may shew thee the word of God." The next chapter begins, "Then Samuel took a vial of oil, and poured it upon his head, and kissed him, and said, Is it not because the LORD hath anointed thee to be captain over his inheritance?" (I Samuel 10:1) Later in the same chapter, Saul is made the first king of Israel. Early this morning, before dawn, I awoke and it was as though God wanted to show me something in my Bible reading. I got up and read, and these are the verses that He had for me today. It seemed as though God was telling me that sometimes we need to get up at the spring of the day and look for guidance in His Word. I am afraid that we are often too busy and rushed to hear God's Word. We need to be "still a while" and listen with our heart for a message from God. The next time you wake up a little early, listen with your heart. Maybe God wants to show you something from His Word in the still of the morning.
4 Prayer In The Morning
"My voice shalt thou hear in the morning, O LORD; in the morning will I direct my prayer unto thee, and will look up." Psalm 5:3
How important is it that we pray in the morning? Jesus was God's Son and it was important to Him. "And in the morning, rising up a great while before day, he went out, and departed into a solitary place, and there prayed." (Mark 1:35) Jesus knew the importance of communion with God. The previous verses tell us that Jesus had healed many after the sun had set the night before, yet He got up before dawn to pray to the Father. We should always begin our day with prayer, and continue through the day with prayer. David also said, "Evening, and morning, and at noon, will I pray, and cry aloud: and he shall hear my voice." (Psalm 55:17) The Apostle Paul tells us to "Pray without ceasing." (I Thessalonians 5:17) Begin your day with prayer, early in the morning, and keep your heart and mind in tune with God all the day long.
5 Rejoice And Be Glad
"This is the day which the LORD hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it." Psalm 118:24
I am not usually a "morning person". But when I wake up and hear the birds singing, and see the bright sunshine peeking through the trees it puts a song in my heart. I hear complaints about hay fever and allergies brought on by the trees and flowers in bloom. Others may gripe about the bugs and mosquitoes, but I like springtime. The Psalmist said, "This is the day which the LORD hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it." We have many reasons to rejoice. "Blessed be the Lord, who daily loadeth us with benefits, even the God of our salvation. Selah." (Psalm 68:19) That little word "Selah", means "stop and think about it". God is so good. He not only supplies our needs, but He has also made a way of salvation. We read in Philippians 4:4, "Rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say, Rejoice." Also in I Thessalonians 5:16, "Rejoice evermore." If you still can't think of any reason to rejoice, Christ tells us to "rejoice, because your names are written in heaven." (Luke 10:20) Rejoice!!!
6 Springs In The Valleys
"He sendeth the springs into the valleys, which run among the hills. They give drink to every beast of the field:... By them shall the fowls of the heaven have their habitation, which sing among the branches. He watereth the hills from his chambers: the earth is satisfied with the fruit of thy works. He causeth the grass to grow for the cattle, and herb for the service of man: that he may bring forth food out of the earth;" Psalm 104:10-14
I enjoy reading the poetic verses in the book of Psalms. These verses paint such a lovely picture of springtime. "He sendeth the springs into the valleys, which run among the hills." We can see the green hills, with the winding little brooks bubbling over the rocks. We see the elegance of the deer stopping for a drink and the ducklings splashing. These verses also bring the sounds of the birds, and rippling water cascading from higher levels to our ears. Even the earth drinks from the spring and brings forth fruit. Also in our picture of spring we see the calves playing in the green pastures of the tender grass. And a short way outside the pasture we can see the small rows of a garden, as the young plants are just starting to spring up out of the ground. This chapter begins, "Bless the LORD, O my soul. O LORD my God, thou art very great; thou art clothed with honour and majesty." (Psalm 104:1) And all we can say to that is, "Amen and Amen."
7 A Spring, Whose Waters Fail Not
"And if thou draw out thy soul to the hungry, and satisfy the afflicted soul; then shall thy light rise in obscurity, and thy darkness be as the noon day: And the LORD shall guide thee continually, and satisfy thy soul in drought, and make fat thy bones: and thou shalt be like a watered garden, and like a spring of water, whose waters fail not." Isaiah 58:11
In a time and place that seemed long, long, ago and far, far away, I wandered through the hills and valleys of my Grandfather's land as a young child. I noticed so many things as we explored the woods. I was fascinated by a few things there. At one place there were two trees that had been twisted together in a storm and they had grown together up a few feet high and then separated again at the top. The trees were quite large, and the gap at the bottom was large enough for my sisters and me to crawl through. There were also great rocks in the woods that seemed out of place among the trees. One section had a small cave for the adventuresome. I was never quite so brave. The other site that fascinated me was the spring that came out of the hills and formed a small stream. I recently went back through there and felt as if I had stepped back 35 years in time. The trees are still standing, larger than before. The rocks and cave are just as before. And the little spring of water, still flows in the valley between the hills, just as before. The prophet Isaiah told the children of Israel that if they fed those that were hungry, they would also be fed. Just as this spring of water has not failed in all these years, my God has not failed to take care of me.
8 Seed Springs Up And Grows
"And he said, So is the kingdom of God, as if a man should cast seed into the ground; And should sleep, and rise night and day, and the seed should spring and grow up, he knoweth not how. For the earth bringeth forth fruit of herself; first the blade, then the ear, after that the full corn in the ear." Mark 4:26-28
Now is the time when many people are planting seed. Some have been sowing grass seed on their yards, some have planted flowers, and many more plant vegetable gardens. Nothing compares to the taste of picking the first fresh vegetables off the vines. We can prepare the soil, plant good seed, and provide water in dry seasons. But we can't make the seeds to grow. God provides the bright sunshine and warmth and makes the seeds spring up. Jesus said that we plant the seed and wait, and the seed springs up, and we don't know how. In the same way, we can't make people be saved. We can help plant the seed of the Word in their hearts but we can't make it take root and grow. Each Sunday, we go to church and sing, and pray, and listen to good preaching and teaching of God's Word. Over time, we should grow Spiritually, just as the small plants in our gardens. The Apostle Peter ends his second letter, "But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen." (II Peter 3:18) Are you still planting the seed? Are you still growing Spiritually?
9 Parable Of The Sower
"A sower went out to sow his seed: and as he sowed, some fell by the way side; and it was trodden down, and the fowls of the air devoured it. And some fell upon a rock; and as soon as it was sprung up, it withered away, because it lacked moisture. And some fell among thorns; and the thorns sprang up with it, and choked it. And other fell on good ground, and sprang up, and bare fruit an hundredfold. And when he had said these things, he cried, He that hath ears to hear, let him hear." Luke 8:5-8
Matthew 13:2 and Mark 4:1 tell us that Jesus was speaking this parable to great multitudes. He said, "He that hath ears to hear, let him hear." The parable itself shows that not everyone that hears, really hears. We see this in the explanation. "Now the parable is this: The seed is the word of God. Those by the way side are they that hear; then cometh the devil, and taketh away the word out of their hearts, lest they should believe and be saved. They on the rock are they, which, when they hear, receive the word with joy; and these have no root, which for a while believe, and in time of temptation fall away. And that which fell among thorns are they, which, when they have heard, go forth, and are choked with cares and riches and pleasures of this life, and bring no fruit to perfection. But that on the good ground are they, which in an honest and good heart, having heard the word, keep it, and bring forth fruit with patience." (Luke 8:11-15) We are to keep sowing the seed. We get discouraged when we try to sow the seed and we don't see any results. We are tempted to quit because we don't think we are doing any good. But Jesus is telling us here that not all the seed falls on good ground. That did not keep the sower from sowing the seed. Preacher Ron Smith showed us this in Matthew 8:1-2, "When he was come down from the mountain, great multitudes followed him. And, behold, there came a leper and worshipped him, saying, Lord, if thou wilt, thou canst make me clean." In this setting Jesus preached to the multitude, but only a leper came. We must continue to sow the seed, even when only one comes.
10 Be Patient
"Be patient therefore, brethren, unto the coming of the Lord. Behold, the husbandman waiteth for the precious fruit of the earth, and hath long patience for it, until he receive the early and latter rain. Be ye also patient; stablish your hearts: for the coming of the Lord draweth nigh." James 5:7-8
I have talked before about the patience of farmers. If you think about your typical old farmer, you think of a very patient person. One who has weathered many storms and many dry summers. A person who has learned to work hard, and wait, and then work again, and wait some more. The crops are planted in the spring, but harvest doesn't come immediately. I am afraid our children today will never understand patience. We have the modern conveniences of fast food, fast cash and credit cards. We live in an age where we get it now, whether we can afford it or not. This is not always good. When the farmers of past generations worked through the long hot summers for the food they would need through the long cold winters, they were thankful to God when harvest came. Today we drive up to a window and our food is ready in the time it takes for us to count the change. And if we don't have cash, that's ok, we can pull out our credit cards and charge it. We don't think about the hard work that went into preparing our food and may not even remember to give God thanks. Patience is a great virtue. Step off the "fast track" for a moment and take time to give God thanks for the bountiful supply He gives daily. Don't forget to give Him thanks each time you sit down to eat. Now, as Christians, James has reminded us to be patient, "for the coming of the Lord draweth nigh." We may have to go through storms and dry seasons as we wait for His coming. But James has also said, "My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing." (James 1:2-4) Be patient.
11 Righteousness And Praise To Spring Forth
"I will greatly rejoice in the LORD, my soul shall be joyful in my God; for he hath clothed me with the garments of salvation, he hath covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decketh himself with ornaments, and as a bride adorneth herself with her jewels. For as the earth bringeth forth her bud, and as the garden causeth the things that are sown in it to spring forth; so the Lord GOD will cause righteousness and praise to spring forth before all the nations." Isaiah 61:10 & 11
In our spring devotions we have looked at prayer and praise in the early morning hours of dayspring. We have talked about springs of water in the valleys, and plants that spring up in our gardens. In these verses Isaiah says that righteousness and praise will spring forth just as the buds and plants spring forth. He goes on to say that "all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags..." (Isaiah 64:6) But thanks be to God, through His Son, we can be clothed in a robe of righteousness. We can go from filthy rags to wedding garments. That alone should make us give praise continually to Him.
12 Living Water
"Then saith the woman of Samaria unto him, How is it that thou, being a Jew, askest drink of me, which am a woman of Samaria? for the Jews have no dealings with the Samaritans. Jesus answered and said unto her, If thou knewest the gift of God, and who it is that saith to thee, Give me to drink; thou wouldest have asked of him, and he would have given thee living water. The woman saith unto him, Sir, thou hast nothing to draw with, and the well is deep: from whence then hast thou that living water?... Jesus answered and said unto her, Whosoever drinketh of this water shall thirst again: But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life." John 4:9-14
The Samaritan woman met Jesus at the well and went away saying, "Come, see a man, which told me all things that ever I did: is not this the Christ?" (John 4:29) We read in verse 39, "And many of the Samaritans of that city believed on him for the saying of the woman, which testified, He told me all that ever I did." She met Christ and the Living Water bubbled up in her soul and she told others. "And many more believed because of his own word; And said unto the woman, Now we believe, not because of thy saying: for we have heard him ourselves, and know that this is indeed the Christ, the Saviour of the world." (John 4:41 & 42) Because of her testimony, many came to Jesus and trusted Him as their Savior. Don't let the cares of this world keep you from being a witness of what Jesus did for you. Let the love and joy of Christ be a well of water springing up in your soul and overflowing to those around you. If you don't know Christ as your Savior, please accept His gift of salvation.
13 Bitterness Springing Up
"Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord: Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled;" Hebrews 12:14 & 15
There are many things which can "spring" up in our lives. Psalm 85:11 tells us, "Truth shall spring out of the earth; and righteousness shall look down from heaven." Isaiah 58:8 says in part, "...thine health shall spring forth speedily..." and Isaiah 61:11, "...the Lord GOD will cause righteousness and praise to spring forth before all the nations." These are all good things that can spring up in our lives as we live for the Lord. But when we read these verses in Hebrews 12 we see that the root of bitterness can also spring up and trouble us. It doesn't always take something major in life to make us bitter. It can start out very small. We may get our feelings hurt over a simple misunderstanding and we let our mind dwell on it and "make a mountain out of a molehill". Before we even know what really happened, we can become bitter in our thoughts and that leads to bitterness in our heart. How can we keep from this bitterness that troubles us? "Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers. And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption. Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice; And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you." (Ephesians 4:29-32)
14 Springtime Of Life
"To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven: A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted;" Ecclesiastes 3:1 & 2
Solomon, the wisest man who ever lived, said "To every thing there is a season." In using this allegory with man, we can say that when a child is born and enters into early adulthood, he or she is in the spring of life. And those who are growing old would be said to be in their winter season. Since we have been talking about springtime, I want to spend this last sping devotion on the spring of life. Solomon wrote the book of Ecclesiastes as a man, a king, looking back over his life. In chapter 2 he tells of all he gained, "I made me great works; I builded me houses; I planted me vineyards: I made me gardens and orchards... I made me pools of water... I got me servants and maidens... also I had great possessions... I gathered me also silver and gold... I gat me men singers and women singers, and the delights of the sons of men, as musical instruments... So I was great... and whatsoever mine eyes desired I kept not from them, I withheld not my heart from any joy;..." (Ecclesiastes 2:4-10) Solomon had it all. But the next verse says, "Then I looked on all the works that my hands had wrought, and on the labour that I had laboured to do: and, behold, all was vanity and vexation of spirit, and there was no profit under the sun." (2:11) What are you seeking in life? Solomon had it all but it did not bring him satisfaction. The book ends with a description of growing old. "In the day when the keepers of the house shall tremble, and the strong men shall bow themselves, and the grinders cease because they are few, and those that look out of the windows be darkened," (Ecclesiastes 12:3) The knees tremble, and men no longer hold themselves straight and tall in old age, the teeth fall out and sight becomes dim. The chapter continues with other parallels to growing old, but I want us to look at the advice he gives. "Remember now thy Creator in the days of thy youth, while the evil days come not, nor the years draw nigh, when thou shalt say, I have no pleasure in them;" (12:1) Many young people say they will serve God when they get older. But Solomon advises to remember God and serve Him while you are young. "Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man. For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil." (12:13 & 14) Whatever season you are going through, don't put off serving the Lord.