The Agora
Daily Bible Reading Exhortations

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March 21

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

Reading 1 - Num 2:1,2

"The LORD said to Moses and Aaron: 'The Israelites are to camp around the Tent of Meeting some distance from it, each man under his standard with the banners of his family' " (Num 2:1,2).

Every man's "tent" (that is, all his family and possessions) was to be situated with reference to the "tent" of Yahweh, that is, the tabernacle of His glory. "Seek first His kingdom and His righteousness" (Mat 6:33). The spiritual lesson for us is surely this: choose your home -- and make all your arrangements, work and social life, and so forth -- with reference to the ecclesial meeting place and the activities there. Arrange the rest of your life around the place of meeting with your God and your brothers and sisters -- and you will be not far from the kingdom of God. "For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also" (Mat 6:21).

Reading 2 - Psa 145:18

"The LORD is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth" (Psa 145:18).

"No man will reach the kingdom without prayer, and prayer to be effectual must proceed from lips which are sincere and upright. God will not hear those who keep not His commandments (Pro 15:29; Psa 66:18). The prayers of the disobedient are worse than useless, they are an abomination in God's ears (Pro 28:9). Let us then examine ourselves, and pray simply, fervently, unceasingly. Let us pay no heed to the objections of men who tell us that prayer is beneath the notice of a Great Creator, that it is superfluous, and, if answered, would mean a violation of Nature's laws. Till the Bible is demolished we can afford to leave such objections severely alone. The Bible is full of encouragement in the matter of prayer. Hannah prayed for a child, and got one (1Sa 1:11,20); Abraham's servant prayed for a good wife for Isaac, and met with a favourable response (Gen 24). Much that is beyond the power of finite man to see and grasp has to be taken into account before his prayer can be answered. We sometimes forget this when things do not go just as we would wish. Let us remember, too, that this is a day for walking by faith, and that all prayer is answered in harmony with this divine arrangement" (AT Jannaway).

Reading 3 - Luk 12:15

"Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; a man's life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions" (Luk 12:15).

The headlong pursuit after cars, well-furnished houses, and an array of sports equipment and amusement devices does not, in itself, guarantee happiness. 'If only I had... such-and-such, and so-and-so... things would be so much better' is a view of the world which underlies the appeal of lotteries, TV give-away programs and advertisements. It is a mistake to think that the more one has, the better things will be. What is required is a determination to live within one's income and to have the right perspective on this world's goods. No less a prophet than Elisha was furnished with only a bed, lamp, table, and chair!

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