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September 22 – Living defensive stones

Draw water from the siege; strengthen your forts; go into the clay; tread the mortar; take hold of the brick mold!  – Nahum 3:14

Scripture reading: 1 Peter 2:1-12

If you have a good study Bible while reading Nahum, you’ll have a footnote about this section teaching you that the imperatives, or command forms of the verbs used here are mocking in tone. Something to the effect of: “Go ahead, make all these plans, do all this work.” When the plunderers come to invade a walled city, the usual strategy of preparation for the defenders is to bring in as much water as possible. Marauding armies would encircle a city and starve it out. Obviously, food and water would be critical for the residents to withstand the siege.

While studying in preparation to write this devotion I learned that this verse refers to two kinds of Assyrian bricks. The first, clay bricks, were ordinarily used for building. The second reference is to those used for fortifying the defences of the city—bricks that would be molded and fired in a kiln. Again, all such preparations are going to be pointless as their destruction has already been foretold by the LORD and His Word is sure.

Interestingly, Peter calls Christians living stones, chosen by God and precious. As Christians gather together, we are being built up as a spiritual house. We are the new temple where Jesus lives in and among His people. We are a defensive structure built up together to defeat the hostile forces of the world and gathered as a holy nation that declares the excellencies of God Who rescued us from darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son He loves.

Suggestions for prayer

Pray that the people of God would recognize how the Spirit fits us together in Jesus Christ, for the glory of the Father and the defense of the Church against the enemy. Give thanks to God, the Triune God of every blessing, for the gift of the Church.

Rev. Richard T. Vander Vaart serves as a visiting prison chaplain in Moncton, New Brunswick for Redemption Prison Ministry. A few years ago he and his wife Carolyn became members of the Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church. They both enjoy hosting friends for dinner and games nights. This daily devotional is also available in a print edition you can buy at Nearer to God Devotional.


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