The Agora
Daily Bible Reading Exhortations

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March 28

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

Reading 1 - Num 10:2

"Make two trumpets of hammered silver..." (Num 10:2).

The sound of the trumpet, in the Bible, suggests many things. Its blast was powerful, disturbing to the natural order, and designed to attract the greatest degree of attention. It was to inspire to action. It was to call attention to the coming of a great personage. It was to announce the time to stand before the great God in judgment. There are rich fields to explore here...

The blowing of seven trumpets all together -- or in rapid succession -- has special reference to the destruction of Jericho (Jos 6:4-20; cp 2Co 10:4-8; Rev 11:15,18).

Reading 2 - Pro 6:1-3

"My son, if you have put up security for your neighbor, if you have struck hands in pledge for another, if you have been trapped by what you said, ensnared by the words of your mouth, then do this, my son, to free yourself, since you have fallen into your neighbor's hands: Go and humble yourself; press your plea with your neighbor!" (Pro 6:1-3).

"In this matter adults often reveal less capacity for learning than children. They have the advantage of books containing all the accumulated wisdom of mankind, and beyond all this and permeating a great deal of it, there is the instruction that has come direct from God, yet the knowledge is very little used. Life is full of avoidable evils through men ignoring principles or rules of conduct which are perfectly well known, and which have had their wisdom demonstrated in every generation.

"Sometimes the individual failure is so obvious that almost all observers smile at it. I recall two instances of this kind in which the facts were related by the victim when sufficient time had passed for him to join in the amusement. The first was of a capable business man who lightheartedly put his name to paper and became surety for another without even knowing the full extent of his commitment. As is usual in such cases, the one thus assisted failed to pay his way, and the guarantor was for some weeks on the verge of ruin, not knowing when the crushing blow would fall. While in this worried condition he one day opened the Bible to find a little consolation, and almost the very first passage he read was one in Proverbs warning men against the very folly he had committed. 'What a foolish man I am', he thought. 'I have carelessly brought myself into this trouble, when all the while the whole matter is explained in the Bible in the most up-to-date manner. If I had read it before I might have been warned.'

"It is interesting to note the expression 'strike hands' in this connection. It suggests that without any signature, the offering and acceptance of the hand would constitute a bond which no one would repudiate. We may sometimes see in English cattle markets a custom which is probably a survival of that to which the wise man refers. Two men will be haggling over the price of a beast. Finally the vendor, having made a concession, declares that he will take nothing less. He holds out his right hand, stating the price, and perhaps with quite a dramatic indication of finality. The buyer, with no show of enthusiasm, and without saying a word, strikes the outstretched hand with his own palm and the sale is effected. Surely a survival from three thousand years or more" (Islip Collyer, "Principles and Proverbs").

Reading 3 - Luk 20:17

"Jesus looked directly at them and asked, 'Then what is the meaning of that which is written: "The stone the builders rejected has become the capstone" [Psa 118:22]?' " (Luk 20:17).

"Men were engaged in the building of a house for the accommodation of the government of a state. They had made their plans, and were gathering the material. Many were engaged in the work; but as was usual in the East, the master-builders alone knew the plans and others worked to their directions. In every worthwhile building, just above ground level at the principal comer, a special stone was placed. It was selected for its freedom from flaws, and was carefully prepared -- its sides being accurately squared. It was, more than any other stone in the building, a 'tried stone.' All other stones would be built in alignment with it. A stone was offered the master-builders about which exceptional claims were made. The stone was examined, but certain prejudices in the builders prevented them from discerning its qualities. They rejected it. But another Master-builder knew of the stone and its perfect suitability for a building he was erecting. He obtained the stone, and it was placed in a structure of unique characteristics. The building was erected in line with the stone, and men marvelled at the beauty and grace of the building" (John Carter, "Parables of the Messiah" 150,151).

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