The Agora
Daily Bible Reading Exhortations

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August 14

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

Reading 1 - 1Ki 9:11-13

"King Solomon gave twenty towns in Galilee to Hiram king of Tyre, because Hiram had supplied him with all the cedar and pine and gold he wanted. But when Hiram went from Tyre to see the towns that Solomon had given him, he was not pleased with them. 'What kind of towns are these you have given me, my brother?' he asked. And he called them the Land of Cabul ['Cabul' sounds like the Hebrew for 'good-for-nothing'], a name they have to this day" (1Ki 9:11-13).

It looks very much here as if Galilee, the land of Jesus, was looked down upon (Isa 9:1; cp Joh 1:46), and considered unimportant by King Solomon (who symbolizes the Jews); it was also called "good for nothing" or "dirty" by Hiram (who symbolizes the Gentiles).

After inspecting these cities, Hiram gave them back to Solomon (2Ch 8:2). The despised, "good-for-nothing", "dirty" Galilean cities were passed back and forth -- from Jew to Gentile and back again. They represent the despised Jesus of Nazareth -- in Galilee -- for, at the time of his trial, he was also passed back and forth between Herod the Jew and Pilate the Gentile!

Reading 2 - Jer 35:14

"Jonadab son of Recab ordered his sons not to drink wine and this command has been kept. To this day they do not drink wine, because they obey their forefather's command. But I have spoken to you again and again, yet you have not obeyed me" (Jer 35:14).

Although he had been dead over 200 years, the Recabites still obey the command of their father. And they will be rewarded (v 19)... even though he was an imperfect father!

But Israel, with a perfect Father, disobey... and will be punished (v 17).

"The words of a man are obeyed; the words of God are disregarded. This is the central argument of the incident. This is God's complaint to the house of Israel by Jeremiah. And is it not a reasonable complaint? Whose words ought to be obeyed, if not the words of 'the High and Lofty One, inhabiting Eternity'? Is it not a complaint that might with peculiar force be addressed to this age of the world? The commandments and ordinances of men are submitted to in all the ways of life, but the commandments of God have ceased even to be an intelligible idea, let alone a practical power, in the habitations of men. Yea, it may be said that the spirit of obedience in any direction is more and more on the wane. If man's commands are obeyed, it is not from the spirit of obedience, but in the spirit of fear of consequences. Human law would soon be a dead letter, if it were not for the handcuffs of the police and the powder and shot of the military. Yet the spirit of obedience is the noblest spirit under the sun. It was the departure from it in the beginning that led to the world's woes; it is the return to it that will be the salvation of men. 'By one man's disobedience many were made sinners; so be the obedience of one [man] shall many be made righteous (or obedient)' [Rom 5:19]" (Robert Roberts, "Further Seasons of Comfort" 209,210).

Reading 3 - Mar 9:50

"Salt is good, but if it loses its saltiness, how can you make it salty again? Have salt in yourselves, and be at peace with each other" (Mar 9:50).

"We need not be discouraged because of the stolid indifference of the people to the truth. Flesh and blood is naturally swinish and unimpressible by the thoughts of God. The world, which is choked with religion, such as it is, is made of this stiff-necked material. It is in the state of an inebriate who has caroused himself into 'delirium tremens,' or a snoring apoplexy. Its excitation or brain-congestion can only be relieved by copious depletion. To preach the truth to it is like telling fables to a deaf man; putting a jewel in a swine's snout; or casting things holy to dogs. This is the nature of the flesh and blood world -- it is only evil, and that continually. But all the individuals of this perverse race are not so absolutely controlled by the evil thereof as to be incapable of sobriety in word and deed. The race has some 'honest and good hearts' yet, which are as salt, preserving it from total and irretrievable corruption. They require, however, to be salted with wisdom, and persecution, or fire, for the truth's sake, to make them fit for the Master's use" (John Thomas, "Faith in the Last Days" 241).

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