The Agora
Daily Bible Reading Exhortations

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February 14

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

Reading 1 - Exo 25:40

"See that you make them according to the pattern shown you on the mountain" (Exo 25:40).

"An artist, in drawing a pattern for some fabric or utensil, will supply a style of ornamentation that is harmonious throughout, whether simple or elaborate; and so an architect, working out a plan for a building, will observe the same style of architecture down to the minutest details, where an uncultured mind would either omit all correspondence or introduce incongruous features. It is certainly an added beauty to the work of God among men that its opening personal incidents should bear a general resemblance to its final developments on a larger scale -- and so be a sort of prophecy -- which enabled Paul to say 'which things are an allegory'. Whatever we may think of it, there the fact undoubtedly is; and it would be a pity to make the mistake of those who stoutly shut their eyes and maintain there are no types and shadows connected either with the history or the institutions of Israel under Moses" (Robert Roberts, "Law of Moses" 105).

Reading 2 - Psa 78:49

"He unleashed against them his hot anger, his wrath, indignation and hostility-- a band of destroying angels" (Psa 78:49).

Instead of "destroying angels", the AV has "evil angels". Such angels are not "wicked angels" -- there are no such beings! "All" the angels exist as God's ministers to do His will (Heb 1:14). So also these angels through whom the plagues came on Egypt. Isa 45:7 and Amo 3:6 are emphatic that evil, in the sense of unpleasant experience (ie, "evil" from man's viewpoint) is under the control of God. There are angels of blessing (Psa 34:7; Mat 18:10; Act 12:7), and there are angels of "evil" (2Sa 24:16; Act 12:23; 1Co 10:10; Pro 17:11; and many instances in Rev; compare especially the "evil spirit" upon Saul in 1Sa 16:14), or -- as RSV (and NIV) puts it -- "a company (band) of destroying angels". In the tenth plague, both angels of good and angels of "evil" operated in Egypt: Exo 12:23 (see David Kingston, "Angels" 136).

Reading 3 - Mark 10:23

"How hard it is for the rich to enter the kingdom of God!" (Mar 10:23).

"These words of Jesus covered not only the rich but the poor also. The rich man glorying in his riches is far from the Kingdom of God, but the poor man trusting in his hard-earned pittance is no nearer. Indeed the poor man may clutch his few pounds more tightly than a rich man his thousands. The emphasis in each is upon the same thing. Our trust must not be centred upon riches, great or small, or upon honour, or men, but upon God" (Melva Purkis, "A Life of Jesus" 283).
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