Other comments on this day's readings can be found here.
Reading 1 - Num 28
Now that the people were about to take possession of the land,
the sacrificial ordinances were repeated and once more commanded to the
Israelites, with fuller details added. The daily morning and evening sacrifice
had already been instituted in connection with the altar of burnt-offering (Exo
29:38-42). To this daily consecration of Israel were now added the special
sacrifices of the Sabbath -- symbolic of a deeper and more special dedication on
God's own day. The Sabbath and the other festive sacrifices were always brought
in addition to the daily offering.
Again, the beginning of every month was marked by a special
sacrifice, with the addition of a sin-offering, while the blast of the priests'
trumpets was intended to bring Israel's prayers and services in remembrance
before the Lord. If the beginning of each month was thus significantly
consecrated, the feast of unleavened bread (from the 15th to the 21st of Abib),
which made that month the beginning of the year, was marked by the repetition on
each of its seven days of the sacrifices which were prescribed for every new
moon. The Passover feast (on the 14th of Abib) had no general congregational
sacrifice, but only that of the lamb for the Passover supper in each household.
Lastly, the sacrifices for the feast of weeks were the same as
those for the feast of unleavened bread, with the addition of the two "wave
loaves" and their accompanying sacrifices prescribed in Lev 23:7-21. This
concluded the first festive cycle in the year.
Reading 2 - Pro 20:14
" 'It's no good, it's no good!' says the buyer; then off he
goes and boasts about his purchase" (Pro 20:14).
"Having mentioned such a buyer [who showed little enthusiasm
when seeking to purchase the article] we may observe his methods and then follow
him home. He has not said much during the negotiations and all that he has said
has been to depreciate the value of the thing offered. It is a poor beast and he
is not at all anxious to buy. When the sale is effected, however, and he goes
home with his purchase, it is quite probable that his tone will change
completely. It was the best animal in the market and he only gave such a figure
for it! Just as Solomon observed three thousand years ago. 'It is nought, it is
nought, saith the buyer, but when he has gone his way then he boasteth' [AV]"
(Islip Collyer, "Principles and Proverbs").
Reading 3 - John 1:14
"The Word became flesh" is here a straightforward reference to
Christ's nature, not merely his birth (cp 1Jo 4:2). God manifested Himself in
the flesh of humanity (1Ti 3:16), not in stone (Exo 34:6). Jesus was of David's
seed (Rom 1:3); under a curse (Gal 3:13); being born of a woman, under the law
(Gal 4:4); and made "sin" (2Co 5:21). He was of sinful flesh (Rom 8:3); in the
likeness of men, of no reputation (Phi 2:7); and like his brethren (Heb 2:17).
The conception of Jesus in the virgin womb is likened to the
original "Creation" of Genesis; in fact, it is the beginning of the new,
spiritual "creation": cp Gen 1:2 (the Spirit of God hovering over the waters)
like a mother bird brooding over her young: Deu 32:11 (cp Exo 19:4). The words
portray the energy-giving presence of God -- wrapping, protecting, and caressing
the chaos of the unfinished earth as He prepared to complete His creation. And
THIS SAME ENERGY IN CREATIVE PROCESS is described in Luke 1:35 (the Holy Spirit
will... overshadow you...): The language of Gabriel calls to mind that of Gen
(cp Gen 1:2, LXX); the Spirit of God "overshadowing", or "moving upon" the face
of the waters to bring forth life, as a mother hen brooding over her eggs and
then her chicks.
A direct parallel to the natural creation -- this is the
beginning of the spiritual, or new, creation. It is a picture of vast creative
power, yet nonetheless tenderness and love. It is a picture of a God who
sustains all things by His omnipotence, who acts as and when He chooses, and no
man can understand, much less question, His prerogative. But also it is a
picture of a God who is a Father, who pities His children, who lavishes mercies
unnumbered upon those who can never hope to repay Him. "Behold, what manner of
love the Father hath bestowed on us..."