The Agora
Daily Bible Reading Exhortations

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January 13

Other comments on this day's readings can be found here.

Reading 1 - Gen 24:63

"He went out to the field one evening to meditate" (Gen 24:63).

In the field we have a study richly furnished with texts for thought. From the mighty cedar to the humble hyssop, from the soaring eagle down to the chirping grasshopper, from the blue expanse of heaven to a drop of dew, all things are full of teaching. When the eye of faith is opened, that teaching is impressed upon the mind far more vividly than from written books. Our homes are neither so healthy, so suggestive of spiritual things, so agreeable, or so inspiring as the fields. Let us count nothing common or unclean, but feel that all created things point to their Maker, and then the field will be "hallowed ground" to us.

Likewise, the evening is a good time for reflection, meditation, prayer. The time of sunset, as it draws a veil over the day, is suitable for that time of mental rest, when earthly cares yield to the joys of heavenly communion. The glory of the setting sun excites our wonder, and the solemnity of approaching night awakens our awe. If time permits, it would be good to take a walk in the field or park in the evening. If not, however, we know the LORD is in the town too, and will commune with us in our private room or in the crowded street. Wherever we are, then, our hearts go forth to meet Him.

Reading 2 - Psa 30:5

"For his anger lasts only a moment, but his favor lasts a lifetime; weeping may remain for a night, but rejoicing comes in the morning" (Psa 30:5).

For a moment is his anger, but a lifetime is his favor. Weeping may lodge for an evening (a mere passing traveler, on his way to another destination!: cp idea, Jer 14:8), but the joy of singing will arrive in the morning (with no intention ever to leave!).'

Reading 3 - Mat 15:22,23

"A Canaanite woman from that vicinity came to him, crying out, 'Lord, Son of David, have mercy on me! My daughter is suffering terribly from demon-possession.' Jesus did not answer a word. So his disciples came to him and urged him, 'Send her away, for she keeps crying out after us' " (Mat 15:22,23).

"Genuine seekers who as yet have not obtained the blessing, may take comfort from the story before us. The Saviour did not at once bestow the blessing, even though the woman had great faith in him. He intended to give it, but he waited awhile. 'He answered her not a word.' Were not her prayers good? Never better in the world. Was not her case needy? Sorrowfully needy. Did she not feel her need sufficiently? She felt it overwhelmingly. Was she not earnest enough? She was intensely so. Had she no faith? She had such a high degree of it that even Jesus wondered, and said, 'O woman, great is thy faith.' See then, although it is true that faith brings peace, yet it does not always bring it instantaneously. There may be certain reasons calling for the trial of faith, rather than the reward of faith. Genuine faith may be in the soul like a hidden seed, but as yet it may not have budded and blossomed into joy and peace. A painful silence from the Saviour is the grievous trial of many a seeking soul, but heavier still is the affliction of a harsh cutting reply such as this, 'It is not meet to take the children's bread, and to cast it to dogs.' Many in waiting upon the Lord find immediate delight, but this is not the case with all. Some, like the jailer [Act 16], are in a moment turned from darkness to light, but others are plants of slower growth" (CH Spurgeon).

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