The Agora
Daily Bible Reading Exhortations

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February 17

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

Reading 1 - Exo 28:1,2

"Have Aaron your brother brought to you from among the Israelites, along with his ... so they may serve me as priests. Make sacred garments for your brother Aaron, to give him dignity and honor" (Exo 28:1,2).

Clothing symbolizes a way of life, to be kept clean, as in the "wedding garment" of Christ's parable (Mat 22:11-13). It describes an inner beauty, not like the Pharisees' "whited sepulchres" -- which are outwardly clean, but inside are filled with dead men's bones (Mat 23:25-28; Ecc 3:11).

"Let your priests be clothed with righteousness" (Psa 132:9).

"I put on righteousness, and it clothed me: my judgment was as a robe and diadem" (Job 29:14).

"Put on the new man... righteousness, true holiness" (Eph 4:24).

"Be clothed with humility" (1Pe 5:5).

"The whole armor of God..." (Eph 6).

"Righteousness will be his belt and faithfulness the sash around his waist" (Isa 11:5).

"Among the lampstands was someone 'like a son of man', dressed in a robe reaching down to his feet and with a golden sash around his chest" (Rev 1:13).

TO GIVE HIM DIGNITY AND HONOR: "For glory and for beauty" (AV). Compare Psa 27:4; 29:2; 90:17; 149:4. The glory and majesty of Yahweh, and the spiritual beauty of His character (and prophetically, that of His Son) were to be on display when Yahweh's High Priest wore his robes of office.

Reading 2 - Psa 84:2

"My soul yearns, even faints, for the courts of the LORD; my heart and my flesh cry out for the living God" (Psa 84:2).

"We must supply the desire -- the intense, consuming, overwhelming desire, the desire for God that overshadows all else, that blots all else out, the recognition of need and helplessness and uselessness and insignificance, the yearning and the longing, the sense of utter natural emptiness -- and God will supply the rest: richly, abundantly, increasingly, bountifully, as we are able to receive it, as we empty ourselves and prepare ourselves for it, as we appreciate it and lay hold on it and use it...

"Use every failure on the way of life as a tremendous incentive to get closer to God, and to deepen your love for Him, and sense of dependence upon Him. Love for Him is the only power that can possibly save us, and anything that helps us realize that, and makes us strive harder for it, is a benefit. Let failure teach you to recognize and accept that you are -- naturally speaking -- weak, stumbling, hopeless. And that -- naturally speaking -- you will never be anything but weak, stumbling and hopeless. There is only one hope: God's help. But God's help comes only on one condition: total devotion and total service. Try it any other way you wish -- but you will be wasting time you can ill afford to lose. What if no one else around you is going all the way God requires? Never measure yourself by others; it's fatally deceptive. God can destroy all mankind, and save but eight, if He sees fit. He has done it. Don't take chances with eternity. Be sure you're part of the eight: whatever others do" (GVG).

Reading 3 - Mark 13:1,2

"As he was leaving the temple, one of his disciples said to him, 'Look, Teacher! What massive stones! What magnificent buildings!' 'Do you see all these great buildings?' replied Jesus. 'Not one stone here will be left on another; every one will be thrown down' " (Mar 13:1,2).

"And now he and his disciples had departed from the temple. Once more they lingered in sweet retirement on the mount of Olives. The purple light on the mountains of Moab was fast fading out. Across the city the sinking sun cast a rich glow over the pillared cloisters of the temple, and over the silent courts as they rose terrace upon terrace. From where they stood they could see over the closed Beautiful Gate, and right to the entrance of the holy place, which now glittered with gold; while the eastern hills and the deep valley below were thrown into a solemn shadow, creeping, as the orb sunk lower, further and further towards the summit of Olivet, irradiated with one parting gleam of roseate light, after all below was sunk in obscurity. Then it was and there that the disciples, looking down upon the temple, pointed out to the Master: 'What manner of stones and what buildings are here!' The view from that site must have rendered belief in the Master's prediction even more difficult and more sad. A few years more and it was all literally fulfilled" (Alfred Edersheim, "The Temple: Its Ministry and Services" 59,60).

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