Other comments on this day's readings can be found here.
Reading 1 - 1Ki 13
"So he [the old prophet] said to his sons, 'Saddle the donkey
for me.' And when they had saddled the donkey for him, he mounted it and rode
after the man of God. He found him sitting under an oak tree and asked, 'Are you
the man of God who came from Judah?' 'I am,' he replied. So the prophet said to
him, 'Come home with me and eat' " (1Ki 13:13-15).
Though not prepared to fight for the truth himself -- which
seems evident from the earlier part of the narrative -- the "old prophet" was
quite happy to spend (that is, waste!) the time of those who did!
"The man of God said, 'I cannot turn back and go with you, nor
can I eat bread or drink water with you in this place. I have been told by the
word of the LORD: "You must not eat bread or drink water there or return by the
way you came." ' The old prophet answered, 'I too am a prophet, as you are. And
an angel said to me by the word of the LORD: "Bring him back with you to your
house so that he may eat bread and drink water." ' (But he was lying to him)"
Many years later the apostle Paul warned against just this
sort of thing: succumbing to the allurements of those who merely CLAIM to have a
revelation from God -- without "testing the spirits"!
"But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel
other than the one we preached to you, let him be eternally condemned!" (Gal
Do not be turned aside by the words, 'I prayed, and/or had a
revelation from God.'
Peace and ease beckon seductively to us in many forms. But all
are of sin: "But the man who has doubts is condemned if he eats, because his
eating is not from faith; and everything that does not come from faith is sin"
Reading 2 - Jer 39:7
"Then he [the king of Babylon] put out Zedekiah's eyes and
bound him with bronze shackles to take him to Babylon" (Jer 39:7).
Jeremiah had prophesied that Zedekiah would actually see the
king of Babylon, and speak with him face to face, and that he would go to
Babylon (Jer 32:4,5) -- whereas Ezekiel had prophesied that, even though
Zedekiah would go to Babylon, he would NOT see it (Eze 12:13)! These two
prophecies seem ALMOST contradictory, until it is understood that they were
fulfilled in just this precise manner: (1) First, Zedekiah saw the KING of
Babylon, then (2) his eyes were put out, and finally (3) he was taken to the
CITY of Babylon, which he would NOT see.
John Gill calls this "a full proof of the prescience of God;
of his foreknowledge of future and contingent events; of the truth and certainty
of prophecy, and of the authority of divine revelation."
Reading 3 - Mar 13:14
"When you see 'the abomination that causes desolation' [ Dan
9:27; 11:31; 12:11 ] standing where it does not belong -- let the reader
understand -- then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains" (Mar
And they did, fleeing to Pella -- in a similar fashion as Lot
and his daughters fled from Sodom (Gen 19:17).
"To advise anyone to flee from a city already encircled by a
besieging army sounds the height of absurdity; nevertheless this was the
instruction, which the saints of those days received from their Lord. Nor was
there any absurdity, for throughout the siege Titus, the Roman general, seems to
have been actuated by an earnest desire to keep destruction of both life and
property to a minimum -- so much so that, according to Josephus, in the early
days of the siege there were several opportunities for flight. At one time, for
example, the siege of Jerusalem was as good as raised for a period of four days,
so casual was the watch maintained by the Roman army. In another place Josephus
writes (2.20.1): After the first attack upon the city many of the most
considerable of the Jewish folk forsook it as men do a sinking ship. Eusebius,
the Christian historian, has this similar narrative: 'The whole body of the
church at Jerusalem, having been commanded by a divine Revelation given to men
of approved piety there, before the war removed from the city, and dwelt in a
certain town beyond Jordan, called Pella; there those that believed in Christ
having removed from Jerusalem, as if holy men had entirely abandoned the royal
city itself, and the whole land of Judaea, the divine justice for their crimes
against Christ and his Apostles finally overtook them, totally destroying the
whole generation of those evil-doers from the earth' (Eccl Hist 3.5)" (Harry