Other comments on this day's readings can be found here.
Reading 1 - 1Ki 12:20-24
"When all the Israelites heard that Jeroboam had returned,
they sent and called him to the assembly and made him king over all Israel. Only
the tribe of Judah remained loyal to the house of David. When Rehoboam arrived
in Jerusalem, he mustered the whole house of Judah and the tribe of Benjamin --
a hundred and eighty thousand fighting men -- to make war against the house of
Israel and to regain the kingdom for Rehoboam son of Solomon. But this word of
God came to Shemaiah the man of God: 'Say to Rehoboam son of Solomon king of
Judah, to the whole house of Judah and Benjamin, and to the rest of the people,
"This is what the LORD says: Do not go up to fight against your brothers, the
Israelites. Go home, every one of you, for this is my doing" ' " (1Ki
God is in all things; there is neither power, nor life, nor
thought, nor existence apart from Him. "For in him we live and move and have our
being" (Acts 17:28). And all things are upheld by His might. He is in the
earthquake and the great storm, but He is also in the gentlest breeze.
God is even to be found in events which seem to be produced
merely by the sin and the stupidity of men. This breaking up of the kingdom of
Solomon into two parts was the result of Solomon's sin and Rehoboam's folly; yet
God was in it: "For this is MY doing!" God had nothing to do with the sin or the
folly, but in some way which we can never explain, in a mysterious way in which
we are to believe without hesitation, God was in it all.
The most notable instance of this truth is the death of our
Lord Jesus Christ; that was the greatest of human crimes, yet it was
predetermined by God's set purpose and foreknowledge (Acts 2:23), and it was
right and proper.
How, then, was "this" -- the rebellion -- God's "doing"? It
was His doing in two ways:
It was a matter of prophecy. The prophet Ahijah had prophesied that the ten
parts of the rent garment which were given to Jeroboam should be symbolic of the
ten tribes that would be given to him when they had been torn away from the
house of David. The prophecy was now literally fulfilled (1Ki 11:29-31).
was a matter of punishment. He sent it as a punishment for the sins of the house
of David, of which Solomon had been guilty when he set up other gods in Israel,
and divided the allegiance of his kingdom from Yahweh by introducing the gods of
Moab and Ammon and Egypt. And so God ordained this "evil" that He might punish
the greater evil of idolatry on the part of his servant Solomon.
There are some events which are especially from God, although
at first look it may seem incongruous. And in this we may take comfort. Even
that which appears "evil" or disastrous (Isa 45:7) is nevertheless from Him, and
it is right -- because it serves His own purposes, which we may only dimly
comprehend, or even not comprehend at all. Accepting this general principle,
even when we cannot see how it might work out, we learn to trust in Him in all
things; for He alone knows the end from the beginning: "And we know that in all
things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called
according to his purpose" (Rom 8:28).
Reading 2 - Jer 38:6
"So they took Jeremiah and put him into the cistern of
Malkijah, the king's son, which was in the courtyard of the guard. They lowered
Jeremiah by ropes into the cistern; it had no water in it, only mud, and
Jeremiah sank down into the mud" (Jer 38:6).
"While the performance of our part is necessary, the
accomplishment of final results is all of God, who can prosper or frustrate the
devices of men or leave them altogether to their own ineffectual ways.
Nevertheless, the experience of both Moses and Joshua shows that if God gives
men opportunities, He expects them to discern and enterprisingly use them. There
is a time to stand still and see the salvation of God, but it is not when He
proposes to work by us. All the promises of God presuppose active, diligent,
courageous, and caretaking cooperation on the part of those to whom they are
made. Where we are in circumstances which makes this exercise on our part
impossible (as when Jeremiah was in the pit in the court of the prison, sunk to
the armpits in mire) -- prayer and waiting is the not unavailing alternative"
(Robert Roberts, "Ways of Providence" 333).
Jeremiah sank into mire physically, but was delivered, while
Zedekiah was sunk in mire spiritually (cp v 22), with no escape!
Reading 3 - Mar 12:42
"But a poor widow came and put in two very small copper coins,
worth only a fraction of a penny" (Mar 12:42).
"It is easy to make offerings to the Lord which cost us little
or nothing. The poor woman's meagre gift was the greatest of all because it was
so real a sacrifice. In the light of Christ's judgment there are probably few of
us who have given much. There may be some of us who have never really given
anything. But there are those who have. Many mites have since been added to the
two that fell into the temple treasury; offerings rich in their meagreness
because they represented all the giver had to give. For the most part those
gifts have remained unnoticed amid the welter of more obvious givings; where
they are discovered they are sometimes scorned. But there is an unseen watcher
who sees and knows, and in the fullness of time those children of the Kingdom
whose poverty has excluded them from so many material blessings will be welcomed
by the One who became poor that they might be rich" (Melva Purkis, "Life of