The Agora
Daily Bible Reading Exhortations

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February 7

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

Reading 1 - Exo 15

"Such is the song of Moses [Exo 15], admirable for the boldness of its imagery, the sublimity of its sentiments, and the dignity of its style, which was sung by the Hebrew people standing upon the shore of Edom's sea. They were now a people saved by Yahweh -- a national salvation, coeval with [at the same time as] the signal overthrow of their enemies, and the destruction of their power. They had just put on Moses, having been all baptized into him in the cloud and in the sea (1Co 10:2). They now constituted the One Body of Moses, and the Firstborn Son of Yahweh (Exo 4:22; Zec 3:2; Jud 1:9): and when they arrived at Sinai, fifty days after the institution of the Passover, they became the kingdom of the Deity (Exo 19:5,6,8)... At that stage of their history the Israelites could only sing the song of Moses [ie, and not the 'Song of the Lamb': Rev 15:3]. They could sing it commemoratively and prophetically -- commemoratively, of their deliverance, and the destruction of the Egyptian army; and prophetically, of that still future and greater deliverance awaiting them in the time of Jacob's trouble; and of that grander and more marvelous overthrow of Babylon and the Beast, by the Lamb and those who accompany him whithersoever he goes. The song celebrative of these victories over the system of nations 'spiritually called Sodom and Egypt' -- 'the song of the Lamb' -- they could not [yet] sing" (John Thomas, "Eureka" 3:452,453).

Reading 2 - Psa 69:9

"Zeal for your house consumes me, and the insults of those who insult you fall on me" (Psa 69:9).

The words of v 9 (quoted in John 2:17) point to a burnt-offering, the fire of God consuming (and destroying) the sacrifice utterly. Not, of course, these animal sacrifices, but this one all-sufficient offering -- the Lord Jesus himself -- was consumed with zeal (Psa 69:31). So the sacrificial animals were driven out of the temple by a Jesus ablaze with a mighty indignation against hypocrites who had turned holy worship into cold formality and base gain.

The leaders of the nation could never forgive Jesus for this first public act of his ministry. From that day on, his own violent death was inevitable. The Passover lamb was to be "roasted with fire, his head with his legs" (Exo 12:9). At this first Passover of his ministry, this Passover lamb, consumed with burning indignation on his Father's behalf, prepared the way for the last Passover, three years later.

"Stick with it! Whatever it is that you want to do, stick with it! Don't just drift, and flutter, and complain. Discipline yourself to keep your mind and effort on the job in hand. That's the only way that anything has ever been accomplished. For this, you must have incentive: powerful driving incentive. The slave's incentive is the task master's lash. It keeps him very attentive to what he is doing. Natural incentives range from terror of that which is bad to strong desire for that which is pleasant and desirable. Our incentive must rise higher than this. Our driving incentive, like a fire in our bones, must be intense love of and zeal for God, developed by long study and meditation upon His glorious Word and works" (GVG).

Reading 3 - Mark 3:13,14

"Jesus went up on a mountainside and called to him those he wanted, and they came to him. He appointed twelve -- designating them apostles -- that they might be with him" (Mar 3:13,14).

First Christ prays -- before any decision.

"Before Jesus made his deliberate choice of twelve men he spent the night with his Father. All the great events in his life find him or leave him in prayer. It is the natural expression of the dedication of one whose meat and drink was to do the will of Him who sent him, whose words and actions belonged to his Father, who of himself could do nothing. There is here a personal lesson for every disciple, a lesson too clearly portrayed for any to miss, too vital to the sincere heart to need any further stress.

"Later disciples -- without the privilege of walking with him through the crowded streets and over the verdant hills of Galilee -- find much of their inspiration in a prayerful contemplation of his words, the demands they make, and the light they throw upon the holy and devoted mind that uttered them" (M Purkis, "A Life of Jesus" 125).


"The call of Christ's servants comes from above. Jesus stands on the mountain, evermore above the world in holiness, earnestness, love and power. Those whom he calls must go up the mountain to him, they must seek to rise to his level by living in constant communion with him. They may not be able to mount to classic honours, or attain scholastic eminence, but they must like Moses go up into the mount of God and have familiar intercourse with the unseen God, or they will never be fitted to proclaim the gospel of peace. Jesus went apart to hold high fellowship with the Father, and we must enter into the same divine companionship if we would bless our fellowmen. No wonder that the apostles were clothed with power when they came down fresh from the mountain where Jesus was" (CH Spurgeon).

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