Jesus regularly arose early in the morning to pray (e.g., Mark 1:35). The blessed man finds that “his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night” (Ps 1:2; cf. 1:1). Daniel prayed three times a day (Dan 6:10).
Do you regularly take time each day to spend time with the Lord in Bible study and prayer? A look at the examples above and other passages in Scripture offers us some practical suggestions on how we can spend time with the Lord.
First, set a regular time (or times) to study and pray. Whether in the morning, evening, in the middle of the day, or some combination of the above, discipline yourself to keep this time each day.
Second, no one is too busy to spend time with the Lord. Jesus was busier than we can imagine. Daniel had great responsibility in Babylon. Whatever their responsibilities were, they knew how to set them aside to spend time with the Father.
Third, there was a great desire for this time. The psalmist delighted in God’s law and thus sought to meditate upon it multiple times in the day. Daniel prayed three times a day, even when faced with death as a consequence. Jesus could have simply filled His time with healings, but He prioritized time with the Father.
Fourth, have a regular place you go each day to spend time with the Lord. Daniel went to the upper chamber where there were windows. Jesus got away from everyone else. Whether it is at your table or in your easy chair, let the location be part of your habit.
Fifth, get rid of any distractions. Silence the smartphone, turn off the radio, and check your email later. A location that allows for thoughtful time with the Lord is helpful along these lines.
These are just a handful of suggestions to which many more could be added. If you don’t spend time with the Lord, there is only so much that you will be able to “grow in grace and the in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” (2 Pet 3:18). But if you were to put your mind to intentionally doing so as a habitual time each day, you could grow all the more.
Grow in grace and knowledge by spending time with the Lord!
What does it mean that Moses “considered the reproach of Christ greater wealth than the treasures of Egypt” (Heb 11:26)? Did Moses understand who Christ was and thus knowledgeably suffer His reproach? Or does “the reproach of Christ” mean something else? Consider three options below suggested by others.
First, and dodging these questions altogether, some see this passage as being translated to refer not Christ but to Israel as God’s “anointed.” This translation and interpretation is similar to how the psalmist refers to Israel as “your anointed” in Ps 89:51. Thus, Moses takes the reproach of the nation upon himself as God uses him to rescue Israel from Egypt. Christ is not in view in this translation or interpretation.
Second, following the standard translation (Christ, not Israel as the “anointed”), some see Moses as being cognizant of Christ and knowledgeably suffering His reproach. Since Christ was the rock in the wilderness (1 Cor 10:4), Moses knew of Him then and chose to take on His reproach instead of enjoying what Egypt could offer. This choice would be similar to how Paul thought of his gain as something to be “counted as loss for the sake of Christ” (Phil 3:7).
Third, some see Moses as being described in terms of the readers for the sake of encouraging the readers to persevere by faith like Moses. In this sense, just as the readers suffered reproach for Christ, so also Moses suffered a similar kind of reproach. How much Moses understood about Christ is not directly in view. Because the author of Hebrews speaks of reproach in this way elsewhere (cf. Heb 10:32–33; 13:13), this interpretation is most likely.
To clarify, Moses did know quite a bit about Christ. For example, Moses’ writings indicate he knew the Seed of the woman would crush the serpent’s head (Gen 3:15) and that He would come from Israel (Num 24:17) and specifically from Judah’s tribe (Gen 49:10). His coming was future (Num 24:17), and He would be the greater Prophet to come (Deut 18:15–18).
What is not likely is that he understood Christ as well as the NT authors (cf. 1 Pet 1:10–12). It could at least be said that many things recorded by Moses certainly provide the background for understanding Christ better today: 1) the blessings of Abraham are through Christ (Gen 12:1–3, 7; 22:18; Gal 3:1); 2) Christ is a priest like Melchizedek (Gen 14; Heb 7); 3) Jesus is God the Son who was also the I AM who spoke to Moses (Exod 3:15; John 8:58); 4) Jesus is our Passover (Exod 12; 1 Cor 5:7); 5) Jesus is our great High Priest who atoned for our sins (Lev 17; Heb 8–10).
If you could wish for the one thing you want most and have this wish granted, what would be your wish? What is it that you want above all other things?
The Bible speaks quite a bit about what we should want. One point for us to remember as Christians is that we already have everything we need. Anything we want beyond our salvation and perhaps some earthly necessities is really not worth our attention or affections. We should be content to have a saving relationship with God, and when it comes to earthly matters, only the bare essentials should really be our concern.
In contrast to false teachers whose passion is earthly gain, leading to chaos for themselves and others (cf. 1 Tim 6:5), we are to strive for godliness with contentment (1 Tim 6:6). We came into this world with nothing and will leave just the same (1 Tim 6:7). We should be content with food and clothing (1 Tim 6:8), and even if these basic possessions were to be taken away, we should be content with God Himself and bless Him in our suffering and simplicity (Job 1:21; Hab 3:17–19).
Being content with God alone is emphasized in other passages as well. Having little and being righteous is infinitely better than having many goods and being wicked (Ps 37:16; 84:10), especially if it was by wickedness that goods were gained (Prov 16:8). Even if one’s goods are honorably acquired, having little and fearing the Lord is greater than having much and being distracted by the practical demands of tending the treasures of this world (Prov 15:16). The saving presence of God in our lives should be enough (Heb 13:5).
For whatever needs we think should be met, we can present these needs to God in prayer, knowing He will sustain us and give us what is best (Ps 55:22; 1 Pet 5:7). Knowing He knows our needs allows us to be anxious for them no more (Matt 6:25–34).
While we often think of contentment as something to gain when void of this world’s goods, it is a virtue to obtain and exercise when we possess much as well. In Phil 4:11–12, Paul spoke of learning to be content when brought low or facing hunger and need, but his contentment was learned as well when he faced plenty and had abundance. His true joy was found not in what this passing world had to offer but in Christ Himself who strengthened him for service whether or not he fared well in earthly matters (Phil 4:13).
If you should want anything, hunger and thirst for God Himself, and He will satisfy you with Himself (Ps 42:1; Matt 5:6). For all that seems to be missing otherwise in this life, it is simply the absence of something that will pass away with this world in time. “Lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven….seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you” (Matt 6:20, 33).
Pastor David Huffstutler
Pastor Huffstutler regularly writes articles for our Sunday bulletin. See his bio on our pastoral bio page.