Separation and Service – J Hudson Taylor


Read this book because I was so inspired/impressed by Taylor after reading his biography last month.  This is a devotional on Numbers 6 and 7 – not exactly common passages to write a devotional about.  Taylor wrote this as a result of coming to these chapters in his Bible reading during a particularly discouraging time in his life, and thinking that they wouldn’t minister to him because Chapter 6 is all about Nazirite Vows and Chapter 7 is an extended description of giving toward the service of the tabernacle.  Instead of boring him, however, the chapters ended up ministering to him in a perfect way in the midst of his discouragement.

That said, I don’t know that I necessarily was moved as much as I perhaps should have been by reading it.  He does a good job of bringing out some points I never would’ve thought of, but he also finds some things in the passage that I’m not sure are perhaps completely there.  I hesitate to say this, because his grasp of scripture and obviously his whole life were in places I’ve never reached, it’s just that he was able to draw a lot of things out that seemed to be more in-between the lines than directly in the text.

That doesn’t mean there weren’t some profound thoughts in the book or that I regret reading it (and at 70 pages, it’s not exactly a time-consuming pursuit).  I would actually recommend it to anyone looking for a devotional, and especially anyone who spends time in the OT.  My skepticism aside, nothing argues against Taylor’s godliness or his renewed mind.  Regardless of where the thoughts come from, there are great truths in the book to be mined by the interested reader.

There are several quotes in the book that I’ve highlighted for my personal use, but I’ll end with two here to give a flavor of the devotional:

The Levites were the richest tribe in Israel, for the Lord Himself was their inheritance.  When one of the other tribes was taken into captivity, he had to leave his inheritance behind; but the godly Levite was as rich in Babylon as in Palestine: death itself could not rob him of his portion.  Happy indeed are they who share the Levite’s lot!  When the Lord Jesus comes again, those, surely, who have stored most in heaven, and have the least to leave behind on earth, will render their account with the greatest joy. (pg 58)

Are we really thus living?  God knows: eternity will show: what answer does conscience give now?  What conclusions do our brothers, sisters, children, friends draw from our lives?  Our true self-denial, self-emptying, and giving for Christ’s cause practically show our real estimate of the value of the Cross of Christ, our real love for the Christ who was crucified for us. (pg 69)

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