The Agora
Daily Bible Reading Exhortations

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May 15

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

Reading 1 - Deu 32:11

God's care for His people is beautifully expressed in His words to Israel: "You yourselves have seen what I did to Egypt, and how l carried you on eagles' wings and brought you to myself" (Exo 19:4).

Bible writers were much impressed with the swift, swooping flight of the eagle, the largest bird known in Israel. In modern times the eagle has been observed catching its young in flight, as mentioned in the Bible: "Like an eagle that stirs up Its nest and hovers over Its young, that spreads its wings to catch them and carries them on Its pinions" (Deu 32:11).

The young eaglet might be afraid to fly, but the parent forces it out of the nest. It may flutter and fall, unable yet to fly properly. Then the parent eagle can dive and spread its saving wings underneath the falling young one. This is the imagery of that famous line which promises God's sustaining presence in time of trouble: "The eternal God is your refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms" (Deu 33:27).

In the long history of God's people, they have been sustained by the faith and confidence that God cares for them. This has been equally true with all the saints of the Old and New Testaments. God cares for all His creatures, but He is particularly concerned for those whom He has called and who have responded to be His people. This does not mean that they will be spared the hazards of life. It does mean that God's people can endure and survive many perils because they know that the LORD cares for them, that they are borne on "eagles' wings", and that underneath are the "everlasting arms".

Reading 2 - Isa 5:20

"Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter" (Isa 5:20).

"Human judgment almost invariably makes the wrong choice, the wrong assessment, swinging to the wrong extreme, making the wrong decision... In every generation men dedicate themselves with avidity to the worship of Mammon, and call it their greatest good... Isaiah found himself in the midst of experienced influential men who through folly or wilfulness were turning God's laws upside down. Woe unto them! When a man is self-afflicted with this kind of twisted outlook on life there is no hope for him... One of the greatest curses of modern time is this double-speak. It has poisoned every aspect of human relations. A mighty military machine is called Defense. An aggressive political campaign is called a Peace Movement. Wholesale criticism and disparagement of the Word of God is paraded under the respectable name of Scholarship, whilst those who try to be honest with Holy Scripture are reckoned stupid or in darkness. A pseudo-science of psychology is called into being to give a flamboyant sanction to self-indulgence and all kinds of immorality. Thus sin is blithely abolished" (Harry Whittaker, "Isaiah" 129).

Reading 3 - Col 2:2

"My purpose is that they may be encouraged in heart and united in love" (Col 2:2).

"The article commonly talked about as 'love' is not the apostolic article. The popular article consists of an emasculated mind, and honeyed word uttered in a silly tone. The apostolic 'knitting together in love' is on the goodly foundation 'of all riches of the full assurance of understanding.' It is a love springing from identical convictions -- a common love resulting from a common enlightenment; a mutual affection spontaneously generated by unity of knowledge and judgment, and this not in the scanty form of 'opinion' or the cold uncertainty of 'views', but in the richness of a positive and pronounced 'assurance of understanding'; enthusiastic convictions if you will, without which there can be no true discipleship of Christ. This is a state of mind that stops not short at 'good words and fair speeches', but shows its faith by 'works', without which, a man, whatever his knowledge and understanding, or ability to speak with even higher than human tongues, is a 'sounding brass and a tinkling cymbal.' There be many fig trees fair and promising to look upon, which, when the Master comes to inspect them and finds nothing but leaves, will wither up before his destroying curse" (Robert Roberts, "Seasons of Comfort" 36).

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