|December 2011 Daily Devotion Archive|
The Importance of Prayer
Immediately Jesus made His disciples get into the boat and go before Him to the other side, while He sent the multitudes away. And when He had sent the multitudes away, He went up on the mountain by Himself to pray. Now when evening came, He was alone there. - Matthew 14:22-23
This immediately follows the story about the feeding of the 5,000. Once the multitudes of people had left, what did Jesus do? Did He follow after them, seeking fame for Himself? Did He perform other acts to show His great power? He didn't do anything like that. Instead, He went up on the mountain, all by Himself, to spend time in prayer. On many occasions, including this one, Jesus illustrates just how important it is for us to spend time in prayer. He doesn't merely preach on prayer; His actions back up His teachings. We should follow His example. Prayer is a vital part of the believer's life because it helps us connect more closely with God, talking to Him and listening to Him in return. If you don't pray regularly, you are not opening yourself up to everything that God wants to give to you.
Question to Ponder: Do you need to spend more time in prayer?
The Battle in Your Mind, Part 3 of 3
Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering; bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do. But above all these things put on love, which is the bond of perfection. And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also you were called in one body; and be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him. - Colossians 3:12-17
Last Friday, we looked at some things that Paul says we as Christians should not do. Here, he tells us how we should act and conduct ourselves. Most of all, we simply need to love one another and follow Jesus in all that we do. If we could just love each other in the same way that Christ loves all of us, so many of our problems would disappear.
Question to Ponder: Which of these characteristics do you need help with the most? Pray and ask Jesus to help you.
Let another man praise you, and not your own mouth;
A stranger, and not your own lips.
A stone is heavy and sand is weighty,
But a fool's wrath is heavier than both of them.
Wrath is cruel and anger a torrent,
But who is able to stand before jealousy?
Open rebuke is better
Than love carefully concealed.
Faithful are the wounds of a friend,
But the kisses of an enemy are deceitful.
As iron sharpens iron,
So a man sharpens the countenance of his friend.
As in water face reflects face,
So a man's heart reveals the man.
Hell and Destruction are never full;
So the eyes of man are never satisfied.
The refining pot is for silver and the furnace for gold,
And a man is valued by what others say of him.
For riches are not forever,
Nor does a crown endure to all generations.
- Proverbs 27:2-6, 17, 19-21, 24
Then they remembered that God was their rock,
And the Most High God their Redeemer.
Nevertheless they flattered Him with their mouth,
And they lied to Him with their tongue;
For their heart was not steadfast with Him,
Nor were they faithful in His covenant.
But He, being full of compassion, forgave their iniquity,
And did not destroy them.
Yes, many a time He turned His anger away,
And did not stir up all His wrath;
For He remembered that they were but flesh,
A breath that passes away and does not come again.
So he shepherded them according to the integrity of his heart,
And guided them by the skillfulness of his hands.
- Psalm 78:35-39, 72
The Detail of the Bible
Then Moses stretched out his hand over the sea; and the Lord caused the sea to go back by a strong east wind all that night. - Exodus 14:21a
This passage is a part of the story about the parting and crossing of the Red Sea. However, that isn't the subject of today's devotional. Instead, the subject matter deals with people who try to discredit the authenticity of the Bible, God's inspired Word. There are a number of different ways to try to prove that the Bible is true. (For the record, since we must have faith, I don't believe it can be completely proven; but there is a considerable about of evidence that exists to support the truth of the Bible.) What is significant about this story? The fact that it mentions that the wind direction is from the east. To me, one of the best ways to help prove that the Bible is true is by pointing out all the little facts and details that are contained within its pages. If it were written by some crazy person just trying to fool people, why would such a detail be included? But small details like this are found all through the pages of the Bible, and I think they add support to our belief that the Bible is the inspired Word of God.
Question to Ponder: What aspects of the Bible would you use as evidence in a debate over its truthfulness?
God is in Control
Then the Lord said to Satan, "Have you considered My servant Job, that there is none like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, one who fears God and shuns evil?" So Satan answered the Lord and said, "Does Job fear God for nothing? Have You not made a hedge around him, around his household, and around all that he has on every side? You have blessed the work of his hands, and his possessions have increased in the land. But now, stretch out Your hand and touch all that he has, and he will surely curse You to Your face!" And the Lord said to Satan, "Behold, all that he has is in your power; only do not lay a hand on his person." So Satan went out from the presence of the Lord. - Job 1:8-12
Job lost pretty much everything aside from his own life, basically as a test from God. But the important idea that I want to pull out of this passage is this: Satan was only able to take those things away from Job after getting permission from God. Satan has a certain amount of power to influence people on this earth, but that power still comes from God Himself. God is always in control.
Question to Ponder: In the midst of a trial, have you ever wondered if God is still in control?
Finding Strength in the Lord
Have you not known?
Have you not heard?
The everlasting God, the Lord,
The Creator of the ends of the earth,
Neither faints nor is weary.
His understanding is unsearchable.
He gives power to the weak,
And to those who have no might He increases strength.
Even the youths shall faint and be weary,
And the young men shall utterly fall,
But those who wait on the Lord
Shall renew their strength;
They shall mount up with wings like eagles,
They shall run and not be weary,
They shall walk and not faint.
- Isaiah 40:28-31
Never Doubt Jesus
But the boat was now in the middle of the sea, tossed by the waves, for the wind was contrary. Now in the fourth watch of the night Jesus went to them, walking on the sea. And when the disciples saw Him walking on the sea, they were troubled, saying, "It is a ghost!" And they cried out for fear. But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, "Be of good cheer! It is I; do not be afraid." And Peter answered Him and said, "Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water." So He said, "Come." And when Peter had come down out of the boat, he walked on the water to go to Jesus. But when he saw that the wind was boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink he cried out, saying, "Lord, save me!" And immediately Jesus stretched out His hand and caught him, and said to him, "O you of little faith, why did you doubt?" And when they got into the boat, the wind ceased. Then those who were in the boat came and worshiped Him, saying, "Truly You are the Son of God." - Matthew 14:24-33
Peter didn't begin to sink until he started to doubt the power of Jesus. Figuratively, the same idea holds true for all of us.
Question to Ponder: In the midst of what difficult situation(s) do you doubt the power of Jesus?
The Family Unit, God's Way, Part 1 of 2
Wives, submit to your own husbands, as is fitting in the Lord. Husbands, love your wives and do not be bitter toward them. Children, obey your parents in all things, for this is well pleasing to the Lord. Fathers, do not provoke your children, lest they become discouraged. - Colossians 3:18-21
God designed the family unit in a very purposeful way with a father, mother, and (usually) one or more children. Sadly, that family unit is breaking down in our modern-day society, but that doesn't change the ideal design that God has had in place from the very beginning. In these few verses, Paul briefly advises us on how we should treat one another in a family. Wives are to submit to their husbands, but at the same time, husbands are to love and care for their wives just as Christ loves the church. Too many men read the first part of that thought and ignore the rest of it, but the truth is, if men loved their wives like they're supposed to, their wives would have no trouble submitting.
Question to Ponder: If you are married, how does your relationship with your spouse compare to the way God wants it to be?
Evil men do not understand justice,
But those who seek the Lord understand all.
Better is the poor who walks in his integrity
Than one perverse in his ways, though he be rich.
Whoever causes the upright to go astray in an evil way,
He himself will fall into his own pit;
But the blameless will inherit good.
The rich man is wise in his own eyes,
But the poor who has understanding searches him out.
He who covers his sins will not prosper,
But whoever confesses and forsakes them will have mercy.
Happy is the man who is always reverent,
But he who hardens his heart will fall into calamity.
- Proverbs 28:5-6, 10-11, 13-14
"Hear, O My people, and I will admonish you!
O Israel, if you will listen to Me!
There shall be no foreign god among you;
Nor shall you worship any foreign god.
I am the Lord your God,
Who brought you out of the land of Egypt;
Open your mouth wide, and I will fill it.
"But My people would not heed My voice,
And Israel would have none of Me.
So I gave them over to their own stubborn heart,
To walk in their own counsels.
"Oh, that My people would listen to Me,
That Israel would walk in My ways!
I would soon subdue their enemies,
And turn My hand against their adversaries.
The haters of the Lord would pretend submission to Him,
But their fate would endure forever.
He would have fed them also with the finest of wheat;
And with honey from the rock I would have satisfied you."
- Psalm 81:8-16
The Song of Moses
Then Moses and the children of Israel sang this song to the Lord, and spoke, saying:
"I will sing to the Lord,
For He has triumphed gloriously!
The horse and its rider
He has thrown into the sea!
The Lord is my strength and song,
And He has become my salvation;
He is my God, and I will praise Him;
My father's God, and I will exalt Him.
"Your right hand, O Lord, has become glorious in power;
Your right hand, O Lord, has dashed the enemy in pieces.
And in the greatness of Your excellence
You have overthrown those who rose against You;
You sent forth Your wrath;
It consumed them like stubble.
"The Lord shall reign forever and ever."
- Exodus 15:1-2, 6-7, 18
Job's Faithful Response to Tragedy
Now there was a day when his sons and daughters were eating and drinking wine in their oldest brother's house; and a messenger came to Job and said, "The oxen were plowing and the donkeys feeding beside them, when the Sabeans raided them and took them away-indeed they have killed the servants with the edge of the sword; and I alone have escaped to tell you!" ... While he was still speaking, another also came and said, "Your sons and daughters were eating and drinking wine in their oldest brother's house, and suddenly a great wind came from across the wilderness and struck the four corners of the house, and it fell on the young people, and they are dead; and I alone have escaped to tell you!" Then Job arose, tore his robe, and shaved his head; and he fell to the ground and worshiped. And he said:
"Naked I came from my mother's womb,
And naked shall I return there.
The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away;
Blessed be the name of the Lord."
In all this Job did not sin nor charge God with wrong.
- Job 1:13-15, 18-22
Question to Ponder: If you were in Job's position, would you still be able to praise God after all these things had happened?
A Prophecy of Jesus
"Behold! My Servant whom I uphold,
My Elect One in whom My soul delights!
I have put My Spirit upon Him;
He will bring forth justice to the Gentiles.
He will not cry out, nor raise His voice,
Nor cause His voice to be heard in the street.
A bruised reed He will not break,
And smoking flax He will not quench;
He will bring forth justice for truth.
He will not fail nor be discouraged,
Till He has established justice in the earth;
And the coastlands shall wait for His law."
"I, the Lord, have called You in righteousness,
And will hold Your hand;
I will keep You and give You as a covenant to the people,
As a light to the Gentiles,
To open blind eyes."
- Isaiah 42:1-4, 6-7a
Jesus answered them and said, "Most assuredly, I say to you, you seek Me, not because you saw the signs, but because you ate of the loaves and were filled. Do not labor for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to everlasting life, which the Son of Man will give you, because God the Father has set His seal on Him." - Matthew 14:26-27
Jesus knew what these people's motive was. They were seeking after Him, but for all the wrong reasons. They didn't fully understand who He was; they just knew that He had fed them (the feeding of the 5,000 miracle) and they wanted more to eat. Jesus tried to explain to them that He is the bread of life, which will sustain them forever if they believe, but the people still didn't really understand. Don't we face similar problems today? Some of us go to church for the right reasons, to worship God and learn more about Him in order to draw closer to Him. However, others go for all the wrong reasons--to meet people, to eat and drink, or just to try to look good to others. Jesus doesn't just want people who go to church on Sundays; He wants more from us.
Question to Ponder: Why do you go to church? Or, if you don't go, what is stopping you?
The Family Unit, God's Way, Part 2 of 2
Wives, submit to your own husbands, as is fitting in the Lord. Husbands, love your wives and do not be bitter toward them. Children, obey your parents in all things, for this is well pleasing to the Lord. Fathers, do not provoke your children, lest they become discouraged. - Colossians 3:18-21
Paul also commands children to obey their parents, because that is pleasing to the Lord. Children are to obey their parents just like God's children are to obey Him. At the same time, though, parents are to love their children and not provoke them. Loving your children does not mean that you become their best friend, because they don't need you to be a friend--they need you to be a parent! Loving your children also means that you will have to discipline them from time to time (within reason and along with an explanation of why they are being punished), just like God allows us to face consequences in order to teach us and help us grow spiritually.
Question to Ponder: If you have children, how does your relationship with them compare to the way God wants it to be?
A faithful man will abound with blessings,
But he who hastens to be rich will not go unpunished.
To show partiality is not good,
Because for a piece of bread a man will transgress.
A man with an evil eye hastens after riches,
And does not consider that poverty will come upon him.
He who rebukes a man will find more favor afterward
Than he who flatters with the tongue.
Whoever robs his father or his mother,
And says, "It is no transgression,"
The same is companion to a destroyer.
He who is of a proud heart stirs up strife,
But he who trusts in the Lord will be prospered.
He who trusts in his own heart is a fool,
But whoever walks wisely will be delivered.
He who gives to the poor will not lack,
But he who hides his eyes will have many curses.
- Proverbs 28:20-27
Bow down Your ear, O Lord, hear me;
For I am poor and needy.
Preserve my life, for I am holy;
You are my God;
Save Your servant who trusts in You!
Be merciful to me, O Lord,
For I cry to You all day long.
Rejoice the soul of Your servant,
For to You, O Lord, I lift up my soul.
For You, Lord, are good, and ready to forgive,
And abundant in mercy to all those who call upon You.
For You are great, and do wondrous things;
You alone are God.
Teach me Your way, O Lord;
I will walk in Your truth;
Unite my heart to fear Your name.
I will praise You, O Lord my God, with all my heart,
And I will glorify Your name forevermore.
- Psalm 86:1-5, 10-12
The Ten Commandments
And God spoke all these words, saying: "I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. - Exodus 20:1-2
These are the two verses that immediately precede the Ten Commandments, which God gave to the Israelites through Moses. At this time, I am going to skip over the Ten Commandments in my daily devotionals. About two years ago, I did an 18-part series entitled "The Ten Commandments For Today." In that series, I covered each commandment in detail and how it can apply to our modern world. Just because the Ten Commandments are found in the Old Testament, that does not mean that we don't need to obey them. In fact, Jesus refers back to most if not all of them within His New Testament teachings. If you did not read it at the time, or if you would like to read it again, I encourage you to click the following link to read my series about the Ten Commandments: http://www.martinsvilleweather.com/lfc/word/2009_2.doc
Question to Ponder: Which of the Ten Commandments is hardest for you to obey?
God Responds to Job
Then the Lord answered Job out of the whirlwind, and said:
"Who is this who darkens counsel
By words without knowledge?
Now prepare yourself like a man;
I will question you, and you shall answer Me.
"Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth?
Tell Me, if you have understanding.
Who determined its measurements?
Surely you know!
Or who stretched the line upon it?
To what were its foundations fastened?"
- Job 38:1-6a
Job is still having a difficult time coming to terms with losing all of his belongings and his family. After struggling through conversations with three of his friends, God Himself speaks to Job and puts Job in his place. This is only the introduction of a lengthy exchange between Job and God, but ultimately Job realizes that God is all-powerful and has the right to do as He pleases. God always knows what is best. Once Job realizes this, God returns all that he had lost and gives him many more blessings.
Question to Ponder: Have you ever questioned God's intentions?
Our Mighty Lord
"I am the Lord, and there is no other;
There is no God besides Me.
I will gird you, though you have not known Me,
That they may know from the rising of the sun to its setting
That there is none besides Me.
I am the Lord, and there is no other;
I form the light and create darkness,
I make peace and create calamity;
I, the Lord, do all these things.
Rain down, you heavens, from above,
And let the skies pour down righteousness;
Let the earth open, let them bring forth salvation,
And let righteousness spring up together.
I, the Lord, have created it.
Woe to him who strives with his Maker!"
- Isaiah 45:5-9a
Doing God's Will
And Jesus said to them, "I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me shall never hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst. But I said to you that you have seen Me and yet do not believe. All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will by no means cast out. For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me. This is the will of the Father who sent Me, that of all He has given Me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up at the last day. And this is the will of Him who sent Me, that everyone who sees the Son and believes in Him may have everlasting life; and I will raise him up at the last day." - Matthew 14:35-40
Even Jesus was strongly committed to doing the will of His Father. It couldn't have been easy for Him, being mocked and insulted during His ministry on earth, and we cannot imagine what He felt like when He died on the cross for all of our sins. But Jesus never hesitated to follow God's will, because He knew how important it was to do that, no matter how difficult it may be at times.
Question to Ponder: How committed are you to following God's will, even when it isn't easy?
Employees and Employers
Bondservants, obey in all things your masters according to the flesh, not with eyeservice, as men-pleasers, but in sincerity of heart, fearing God. And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance; for you serve the Lord Christ. But he who does wrong will be repaid for what he has done, and there is no partiality. Masters, give your bondservants what is just and fair, knowing that you also have a Master in heaven. - Colossians 3:22-4:1
Paul writes a somewhat similar passage in Ephesians (chapter 6) which I covered in a couple of daily devotionals earlier this year, applying his thoughts to the modern-day relationship between an employer and an employee. If you are an employee, working for someone else, God expects you to obey your employer and work hard; don't just act like you're working hard while you're actually trying to suck up to the boss or take the easy way out. At the same time, if you are the boss, God expects you to treat your employees fairly, remembering that Jesus is also the Master over you, and He treats you fairly and justly.
Question to Ponder: As either an employee or an employer, how does your attitude compare to what God expects from you?
The rod and rebuke give wisdom,
But a child left to himself brings shame to his mother.
Correct your son, and he will give you rest;
Yes, he will give delight to your soul.
A man's pride will bring him low,
But the humble in spirit will retain honor.
The fear of man brings a snare,
But whoever trusts in the Lord shall be safe.
Many seek the ruler's favor,
But justice for man comes from the Lord.
An unjust man is an abomination to the righteous,
And he who is upright in the way is an abomination to the wicked.
- Proverbs 29:15, 17, 23, 25-27
I will say of the Lord, "He is my refuge and my fortress;
My God, in Him I will trust."
Surely He shall deliver you from the snare of the fowler
And from the perilous pestilence.
He shall cover you with His feathers,
And under His wings you shall take refuge;
His truth shall be your shield and buckler.
You shall not be afraid of the terror by night,
Nor of the arrow that flies by day,
Nor of the pestilence that walks in darkness,
Nor of the destruction that lays waste at noonday.
"Because he has set his love upon Me, therefore I will deliver him;
I will set him on high, because he has known My name.
He shall call upon Me, and I will answer him;
I will be with him in trouble;
I will deliver him and honor him.
With long life I will satisfy him,
And show him My salvation."
- Psalm 91:2-6, 14-16
Impatience Leads to Sin
Now when the people saw that Moses delayed coming down from the mountain, the people gathered together to Aaron, and said to him, "Come, make us gods that shall go before us; for as for this Moses, the man who brought us up out of the land of Egypt, we do not know what has become of him." ... So it was, as soon as he came near the camp, that he saw the calf and the dancing. So Moses' anger became hot, and he cast the tablets out of his hands and broke them at the foot of the mountain. Then he took the calf which they had made, burned it in the fire, and ground it to powder. - Exodus 32:1, 19-20a
Once again, the children of Israel become impatient with God. This time, they go way too far in their reaction. Frustrated with God, they make a gold statue to worship instead. When Moses comes down from the mountain with the Ten Commandments, he is so angry at the people that he breaks the tablets on which God had written the commandments! But I believe this kind of anger, similar to the anger Jesus expressed when he found dishonest merchants in His tabernacle (John 2:15), is justified. We need to take a fierce, determined stand for what is right. We'll always have God's support when we do!
Question to Ponder: Is your love for God so strong that you become angry when people commit disgraceful sins against Him?
The Lord's Compassion and Mercy
This I recall to my mind,
Therefore I have hope.
Through the Lord's mercies we are not consumed,
Because His compassions fail not.
They are new every morning;
Great is Your faithfulness.
"The Lord is my portion," says my soul,
"Therefore I hope in Him!"
The Lord is good to those who wait for Him,
To the soul who seeks Him.
It is good that one should hope and wait quietly
For the salvation of the Lord.
- Lamentations 3:21-26
The book of Lamentations, written by the prophet Jeremiah, reveal his broken heart after Jerusalem fell to the Babylonians. However, his grief is primarily aimed at the Israelites, who brought that destruction on themselves by falling into sin and refusing to follow God. However, these verses give us a more optimistic and hopeful perspective. The compassion of God never fails, and each day brings a new opportunity for us to experience His love, mercy, and grace.
Question to Ponder: During the difficult times, is your hope still found in the Lord?
Another Prophecy of Jesus
"Listen, O coastlands, to Me,
And take heed, you peoples from afar!
The Lord has called Me from the womb;
From the matrix of My mother He has made mention of My name.
And He has made My mouth like a sharp sword;
In the shadow of His hand He has hidden Me,
And made Me a polished shaft;
In His quiver He has hidden Me."
"I will also give You as a light to the Gentiles,
That You should be My salvation to the ends of the earth."
Thus says the Lord,
The Redeemer of Israel, their Holy One,
To Him whom man despises,
To Him whom the nation abhors,
To the Servant of rulers:
"Kings shall see and arise,
Princes also shall worship,
Because of the Lord who is faithful,
The Holy One of Israel;
And He has chosen You."
- Isaiah 49:1-2, 6b-7
Why Do You Follow Jesus?
[Jesus said to His disciples,] "Does this offend you? What then if you should see the Son of Man ascend where He was before? It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing. The words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life. But there are some of you who do not believe." For Jesus knew from the beginning who they were who did not believe, and who would betray Him. And He said, "Therefore I have said to you that no one can come to Me unless it has been granted to him by My Father." From that time many of His disciples went back and walked with Him no more. - John 6:61b-66
Jesus had the same problem 2,000 years ago as He does today: People act like they are following Him (and some are even deceiving themselves), when really they are not. It is a sad but true statement that a number of people who regularly attend church are not saved. Some people attend for the wrong reasons and know they aren't saved; others mistakingly believe that they are saved when they really are not. The question to ask yourself is this: Do you have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ?
Question to Ponder: Why do you attend church? Or, if you don't regularly attend church, what keeps you from going?
Paul's Closing Thoughts
Continue earnestly in prayer, being vigilant in it with thanksgiving; meanwhile praying also for us, that God would open to us a door for the word, to speak the mystery of Christ, for which I am also in chains, that I may make it manifest, as I ought to speak. Walk in wisdom toward those who are outside, redeeming the time. Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned with salt, that you may know how you ought to answer each one. - Colossians 4:2-6
Paul covers several different thoughts as he closes his letter to the people of Colosse. First, he advises them (and us) to "continue earnestly in prayer"--praying for opportunities to spread God's Word, but also praying in a spirit of thanksgiving. Sometimes we forget that prayer isn't just about asking God for stuff, but we should also use prayer to thank Him for everything He does for us. Paul briefly mentions that he is imprisoned during this time, but notice that he still has a positive attitude and he still has a strong desire to share God's Word! Finally, he advises them (and us) to walk in wisdom and to speak to others with kindness and grace.
Question to Ponder: When you pray, how often do you thank God for specific things He has done?
Who can find a virtuous wife?
For her worth is far above rubies.
The heart of her husband safely trusts her;
So he will have no lack of gain.
She does him good and not evil
All the days of her life.
Strength and honor are her clothing;
She shall rejoice in time to come.
She opens her mouth with wisdom,
And on her tongue is the law of kindness.
She watches over the ways of her household,
And does not eat the bread of idleness.
Her children rise up and call her blessed;
Her husband also, and he praises her:
"Many daughters have done well,
But you excel them all."
Charm is deceitful and beauty is passing,
But a woman who fears the Lord, she shall be praised.
Give her of the fruit of her hands,
And let her own works praise her in the gates.
- Proverbs 31:10-12, 25-31