"Service Of Passionate Devotion" by Oswald ChambersLovest thou Me?…Feed My sheep. (JOHN 21:16)
Jesus did not say — Make converts to your way of thinking, but look after My sheep, see that they get nourished in the knowledge of Me. We count as service what we do in the way of Christian work; Jesus Christ calls service what we are to Him, not what we do for Him. Discipleship is based on devotion to Jesus Christ, not on adherence to a belief or a creed. “If any man come to Me and hate not…, he cannot be My disciple.” There is no argument and no compulsion, but simply — “If you would be My disciple, you must be devoted to Me.” A man touched by the Spirit of God suddenly says — “Now I see Who Jesus is,” and that is the source of devotion.
To-day we have substituted credal belief for personal belief, and that is why so many are devoted to causes and so few devoted to Jesus Christ. People do not want to be devoted to Jesus, but only to the cause He started. Jesus Christ is a source of deep offence to the educated mind of to-day that does not want Him in any other way than as a Comrade. Our Lord’s first obedience was to the will of His Father, not to the needs of men; the saving of men was the natural outcome of His obedience to the Father. If I am devoted to the cause of humanity only, I will soon be exhausted and come to the place where my love will falter; but if I love Jesus Christ personally and passionately, I can serve humanity though men treat me as a door-mat. The secret of a disciple’s life is devotion to Jesus Christ, and the characteristic of the life is its unobtrusiveness. It is like a corn of wheat, which falls into the ground and dies, but presently it will spring up and alter the whole landscape (John 12:24). (From My Utmost for His Highest Classic Edition)
Bible in One Year: Nehemiah 12-13; Acts 4:23-37Nehemiah 12:1 These are the cohanim and L’vi’im who went up with Z’rubavel the son of Sh’alti’el, and Yeshua: S’rayah, Yirmeyah, ‘Ezra, 2 Amaryah, Malukh, Hatush, 3 Sh’khanyah, Rechum, M’remot, 4 ‘Iddo, Gintoi, Achiyah, 5 Miyamin, Ma‘adiyah, Bilgah, 6 Sh’ma‘yah, Yoyariv, Y’da‘yah, 7 Salu, ‘Amok, Hilkiyah and Y’da‘yah. These were the leaders of the cohanim and their kinsmen during the time of Yeshua.
8 The L’vi’im: Yeshua, Binui, Kadmi’el, Sherevyah, Y’hudah and Mattanyah, who was in charge of the songs of thanksgiving, he and his kinsmen, 9 with Bakbukyah and ‘Uni, their kinsmen, singing antiphonally with them in the service.
10 Yeshua was the father of Yoyakim, Yoyakim was the father of Elyashiv, Elyashiv was the father of Yoyada, 11 Yoyada was the father of Yonatan, and Yonatan was the father of Yadua.
12 In the days of Yoyakim these were the cohanim who were heads of fathers’ clans: of S’rayah, M’rayah; of Yirmeyah, Hananyah; 13 of ‘Ezra, Meshulam; of Amaryah, Y’hochanan; 14 of M’likhu, Yonatan; of Sh’vanyah, Yosef; 15 of Harim, ‘Adna; of M’rayot, Helkai; 16 of ‘Iddo, Z’kharyah; of Ginton, Meshulam; 17 of Achiyah, Zikhri; of Minyamin, of Mo‘adyah, Piltai; 18 of Bilgai, Shamua; of Sh’ma‘yah, Y’honatan; 19 of Yoyariv, Matnai; of Y’da‘yah, ‘Uzi; 20 of Salai, Kallai; of ‘Amok, ‘Ever; 21 of Hilkiyah, Hashavyah; and of Y’da‘yah, N’tan’el.
22 As for the L’vi’im, the heads of fathers’ clans in the days of Elyashiv, Yoyada, Yochanan and Yadua were recorded; also the cohanim, up to the reign of Daryavesh the Persian. 23 The descendants of Levi who were heads of fathers’ clans were recorded in the annals until the days of Yochanan the [grand]son of Elyashiv. 24 The chiefs of the L’vi’im were Hashavyah, Sherevyah and Yeshua the son of Kadmi’el, with their kinsmen in an antiphonal choir, to praise and give thanks, in accordance with the order of David the man of God, choir opposite choir.
25 Mattanyah, Bakbukyah, ‘Ovadyah, Meshulam, Talmon and ‘Akuv were the gatekeepers who guarded the supplies kept at the gates. 26 This was in the days of Yoyakim the son of Yeshua, the son of Yotzadak, and in the days of Nechemyah the governor and of ‘Ezra the cohen and Torah-teacher.
27 At the dedication of the wall of Yerushalayim, they sought out the L’vi’im from wherever they had settled to bring them to Yerushalayim and celebrate the dedication with hymns of thanksgiving and with songs accompanied by cymbals, lutes and lyres. 28 The trained singers assembled together from the area around Yerushalayim, the villages of the N’tofati, 29 Beit-Gilgal and the region of Geva and ‘Azmavet; for the singers had built villages for themselves all around Yerushalayim.
30 The cohanim and L’vi’im first purified themselves; then they purified the people, the gates and the wall; 31 and after that I brought the leaders of Y’hudah up onto the wall and appointed two large choirs to give thanks and to walk in procession. One went to the right on the wall toward the Dung Gate. 32 After them went Hosha‘yah and half of the leaders of Y’hudah, 33 together with ‘Azaryah, ‘Ezra, Meshulam, 34 Y’hudah, Binyamin, Sh’ma‘yah and Yirmeyah. 35 With them were some of the sons of the cohanim carrying trumpets, namely, Z’kharyah the son of Yonatan the son of Sh’ma‘yah, the son of Mattanyah, the son of Mikhayah, the son of Zakur, the son of Asaf, 36 and his kinsmen, Sh’ma‘yah, ‘Azar’el, Milalai, Gilalai, Ma‘ai, N’tan’el, Y’hudah and Hanani, who had the musical instruments of David the man of God. ‘Ezra the Torah-teacher led them. 37 At the Fountain Gate they went straight ahead up the steps to the City of David, where the wall goes up, passed above the house of David, and went on to the Water Gate on the east.
38 The other thanksgiving choir, consisting of half the people, walked on the wall to meet them, with myself following. They went above the Tower of the Furnaces to the Broad Wall, 39 above the Efrayim Gate, by the gate to the Old City, to the Fish Gate, the Tower of Hanan’el and the Tower of the Hundred, as far as the Sheep Gate, and halted at the Prison Gate.
40 Thus stood the two choirs of those giving thanks in the house of God, with myself and half of the leaders with me. 41 The cohanim there included Elyakim, Ma‘aseiyah, Minyamin, Mikhayah, Elyo‘einai, Z’kharyah and Hananyah carrying trumpets; 42 also Ma‘aseiyah, Sh’ma‘yah, El‘azar, ‘Uzi, Y’hochanan, Malkiyah, ‘Eilam and ‘Ezer. The singers sang loudly, directed by Yizrachyah. 43 With joy they offered great sacrifices that day, for God had made them celebrate with great joy. The women and children too rejoiced, so that the celebrating in Yerushalayim could be heard far off.
44 At that time, men were appointed to be in charge of the storerooms for supplies, contributions, firstfruits and tenths, and to gather into them, from the fields belonging to the cities, the portions prescribed by the Torah for the cohanim and L’vi’im. For Y’hudah rejoiced over the cohanim and L’vi’im who took their position 45 carrying out the duties of their God and the duties of purification, as also did the singers and gatekeepers, in accordance with the order of David and of Shlomo his son. 46 For back in the days of David and Asaf, there had been leaders for those singing the songs of praise and thanksgiving to God. 47 So in the days of Z’rubavel and in the days of Nechemyah, all Isra’el gave portions to the singers and gatekeepers as required daily. They set aside a portion for the L’vi’im, who, in turn set aside a portion for the descendants of Aharon.
13:1 It was also at that time, when they were reading in the scroll of Moshe, that it was found written that no ‘Amoni or Mo’avi may ever enter the assembly of God, 2 because they did not supply the people of Isra’el with food and water, but hired Bil‘am against them to put a curse on them — although our God turned the curse into a blessing. 3 On hearing the Torah, they separated from Isra’el everyone of mixed ancestry.
4 Also, prior to this, Elyashiv the cohen, who had been put in charge of the storage rooms in the house of our God, and who was related by marriage to Toviyah, 5 had prepared for him a large room where formerly they had stored the grain offerings, frankincense, equipment and the tenths of grain, wine and olive oil ordered to be given to the L’vi’im, singers and gatekeepers, and the contributions for the cohanim.
6 During all this time I wasn’t present in Yerushalayim; because in the thirty-second year of Artach’shashta king of Bavel, I went to see the king; then, after some time had passed, I asked permission from the king 7 and returned to Yerushalayim, where I found out about the terrible thing Elyashiv had done for Toviyah by preparing a room for him in the courtyards of the house of our God. 8 I was so furious that I threw all Toviyah’s household goods out of the room. 9 Then, at my order, they cleansed the rooms; and I brought back the equipment of the house of God, the grain offerings and frankincense.
10 I also learned that the portions for the L’vi’im had not been given to them, so that the L’vi’im and singers who were supposed to be doing the work had deserted, each one to his own farm. 11 I disputed with the leaders, demanding, “Why is the house of God abandoned?” I gathered the L’vi’im together and restored them to their stations; 12 and then all Y’hudah brought the tenth of grain, wine and olive oil to the storerooms. 13 To supervise the storerooms I appointed Shelemyah the cohen, Tzadok the Torah-teacher and, from the L’vi’im, P’dayah; assisting them was Hanan the son of Zakur, the son of Mattanyah; for these were considered reliable. Their duty was to make the distribution to their kinsmen. 14 My God, remember me for this; don’t wipe out my good deeds which I have done for the house of my God and for his service!
15 During this time I saw in Y’hudah some people who were treading winepresses on Shabbat, also bringing in heaps of grain and loading donkeys with it, likewise wine, grapes, figs and all kinds of loads; and they were bringing them into Yerushalayim on the day of Shabbat. On the day when they were planning to sell the food, I warned them not to. 16 There were also living there people from Tzor who brought in fish and all kinds of goods, and sold them on Shabbat to the people in Y’hudah and even in Yerushalayim. 17 I disputed with the nobles of Y’hudah, demanding of them, “What is this terrible thing you are doing, profaning the day of Shabbat? 18 Didn’t your ancestors do this, and didn’t our God bring all this disaster on us and on this city? Yet you are bringing still more fury against Isra’el by profaning Shabbat!” 19 So when the gates of Yerushalayim began to grow dark before Shabbat, I ordered that the doors be shut; and I ordered that they not be reopened until after Shabbat. I put some of my servants in charge of the gates, to see to it that no loads be brought in on Shabbat. 20 The merchants and sellers of all kinds of goods spent the night outside Yerushalayim once or twice, 21 until I warned them, “Why are you spending the night by the wall? Do it again, and I’ll use force against you!” From then on they stopped coming on Shabbat. 22 Then I ordered the L’vi’im to purify themselves and come and guard the gates, in order to keep the day of Shabbat holy. My God, remember this too for me, and have mercy on me in keeping with the greatness of your grace!
23 Also during this time I saw the Judeans who had married women from Ashdod, ‘Amon and Mo’av; 24 and their children, who spoke half in the language of Ashdod and couldn’t speak in the language the Judeans spoke but only in the language of each people. 25 I disputed with them and cursed them, and I beat some of them up and pulled out their hair. Then I made them swear by God, “You will not give your daughters as wives for their sons or take their daughters as wives for your sons or for yourselves. 26 Wasn’t it by doing these things that Shlomo king of Isra’el sinned? There was no king like him among many nations, and his God loved him, and God made him king over all Isra’el; nevertheless the foreign women caused even him to sin. 27 Are we to give in to you and let you continue in this very great evil, breaking faith with our God by marrying foreign women?”
28 One of the sons of Yoyada the son of Elyashiv, the cohen hagadol, had become son-in-law to Sanvalat the Horoni; so I drove him out of my presence. 29 My God, remember them; because they have defiled the office of cohen and the covenant of the cohanim and L’vi’im.
30 Thus I cleansed them of everything foreign, and I had the cohanim and L’vi’im resume their duties, each one in his appointed task. 31 I also made provision for the delivery of wood at stated times, and for the firstfruits. My God, remember me favorably.
Acts 4:23 Upon being released, they went back to their friends and reported what the head cohanim and elders had said to them. 24 When they heard it, they raised their voices to God with singleness of heart. “Master,” they prayed, “You made heaven, earth, the sea and everything in them.[Acts 4:24 Psalm 146:6] 25 By the Ruach HaKodesh, through the mouth of our father David, your servant, you said,
Why did the nations rage
and the peoples devise useless plans?
26 The kings of the earth took their stand;
and the rulers assembled together
and against his Messiah.’[Acts 4:26 Psalm 2:1–2]
27 “This has come true in this city, since Herod and Pontius Pilate, with Goyim and the peoples of Isra’el, all assembled against your holy servant Yeshua, whom you made Messiah, 28 to do what your power and plan had already determined beforehand should happen.
29 “So now, Lord, take note of their threats; and enable your slaves to speak your message with boldness! 30 Stretch out your hand to heal and to do signs and miracles through the name of your holy servant Yeshua!”
31 While they were still praying, the place where they were gathered was shaken. They were all filled with the Ruach HaKodesh, and they spoke God’s message with boldness.
32 All the many believers were one in heart and soul, and no one claimed any of his possessions for himself, but everyone shared everything he had. 33 With great power the emissaries continued testifying to the resurrection of the Lord Yeshua, and they were all held in high regard. 34 No one among them was poor, since those who owned lands or houses sold them and turned over the proceeds 35 to the emissaries to distribute to each according to his need. 36 Thus Yosef, whom the emissaries called Bar-Nabba (which means “the Exhorter”), a Levi and a native of Cyprus, 37 sold a field which belonged to him and brought the money to the emissaries. (Complete Jewish Bible).
WISDOM FROM OSWALD CHAMBERS
“When the Son of man cometh, shall He find faith on the earth?” We all have faith in good principles, in good management, in good common sense, but who amongst us has faith in Jesus Christ? Physical courage is grand, moral courage is grander, but the man who trusts Jesus Christ in the face of the terrific problems of life is worth a whole crowd of heroes. (from The Highest Good, 544 R)
My Utmost for His Highest © 1992 by Oswald Chambers Publications Association, Ltd. Original edition © 1935 by Dodd, Mead & Company, Inc. Copyright renewed 1963 by Oswald Chambers Publications Association, Ltd. All rights reserved. United States publication rights are held by Discovery House, which is affiliated with Our Daily Bread Ministries.
Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.