Other comments on this day's readings can be found here.
Reading 1 - Exo 7; 8
"The purpose of these plagues was manifold.
First, they gave a public manifestation of the mighty power of the Lord
God. This, the very magicians were made to acknowledge: 'then the magicians said
unto Pharaoh, This is the finger of God' (Exo 9:16).
They were a Divine
visitation of wrath, a punishment of Pharaoh and the Egyptians for their cruel
treatment of the Hebrews. This the haughty monarch was compelled to admit --
'Then Pharaoh called for Moses and Aaron in haste; and he said, I have sinned
against the Lord your God, and against you' (Exo 10:16).
They were a
judgment from God upon the gods (demons) of Egypt. This is taught in Num 33:4:
'For the Egyptians buried all their firstborn which the Lord had smitten among
them; upon their gods also the Lord executed judgments.'
that Yahweh was high above all gods. This was confessed later by Jethro:
'Blessed be the Lord who hath delivered you out of the hand of the Egyptians,
and out of the hand of Pharaoh, who hath delivered the people from under the
hand of the Egyptians. Now I know that the Lord is greater than all gods; for in
the thing wherein they dealt proudly He was above them.'
They furnished a
complete testing of human responsibility.
They were a solemn warning to
other nations, that God would curse those who curse the Israelites (Gen 12:3).
This was felt by the Philistines: 'Woe unto us! who shall deliver us out of the
hand of this mighty God? this is the God that smote the Egyptians with all the
plagues' (1Sa 4:8).
Finally, these miraculous plagues were evidently
designed as a series of testings for Israel. This is taught in Deu 4:33,34,
where Moses asked Israel, 'Did ever people hear the voice of God speaking out of
the midst of the fire, as thou hast heard, and live? or hath God assayed to go
and take Him a nation from the midst of another nation, by trials, by signs, and
by wonders, and by war, and by a mighty hand, and by stretched out arms, and by
great terrors, according to all that the Lord your God did for you in Egypt
before your eyes?' (Exo 15:11)!" (AW Pink).
Reading 2 - Psa 60:4
"But for those who fear you, you have raised a banner to be
unfurled" (Psa 60:4).
The Hebrew "nes" signifies an ensign or standard, as in Isa
11:10,12 -- where the "root of Jesse" shall stand for an ensign (nes) of the
people. This is reminiscent of Exo 17, when Israel was attacked at Rephidim by
the powerful Amalekites. To celebrate the great victory which God gave them
then, Moses built an altar and called it Jehovah-nissi -- "the Lord our banner".
So Psa 60 portrays, prophetically, the complete victory of Christ over all the
forces of evil in the world, social and religious and political -- a victory
made possible by the sacrifice of the One Perfect Man, who was "lifted up" (as
an ensign or standard!) on a cross (Num 21:8,9; Joh 3:14; 12:32).
Reading 3 - Rom 12:2
"Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but
be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and
approve what God's will is -- his good, pleasing and perfect will" (Rom
"It has a bad look when a courtier is too intimate with his
king's enemies. Even small inconsistencies are dangerous. Little thorns make
great blisters, little moths destroy fine garments, and little frivolities and
little rogueries will rob religion of a thousand joys. O believer, too little
separated from sinners, you know not what you lose by your conformity to the
world. It cuts the tendons of your strength, and makes you creep where you ought
to run. Then, for your own comfort's sake, and for the sake of your growth in
grace, if you be a Christian, BE A CHRISTIAN, and be a marked and distinct one"
"We must be able to feel, when we go to bed each night, that
we have that day done our most and best: that all we have done was necessary and
useful, and the most important thing to be done at the time, and that we have
done it with all our heart, unto the Lord. We must not be satisfied with what we
have done, but we must be reasonably satisfied that we have tried our best, and
that we have noted, and learned something by, our slips and failures. We must be
able to feel we are slowly overcoming, growing, deepening, becoming more
naturally spiritual -- that is less as duty and effort, more as pleasure and
desire. We must be able to see ourselves passing some tangible milestones of
progress: a steady transformation of the mind Godwards -- less and less interest
in passing, worldly, animal things of any kind" (GVG).