Other comments on this day's readings can be found here.
Reading 1 - 2Ch 7:5
"And King Solomon offered a sacrifice of twenty-two thousand
head of cattle and a hundred and twenty thousand sheep and goats. So the king
and all the people dedicated the temple of God" (2Ch 7:5).
Is it feasible to actually offer at that time so many animals
as sacrifices? Perhaps Solomon simply "transferred title" of some of his vast
herds to the Temple service itself.
Reading 2 - Eze 42:13,14
"Then he said to me, 'The north and south rooms facing the
temple courtyard are the priests' rooms, where the priests who approach the LORD
will eat the most holy offerings. There they will put the most holy offerings --
the grain offerings, the sin offerings and the guilt offerings -- for the place
is holy. Once the priests enter the holy precincts, they are not to go into the
outer court until they leave behind the garments in which they minister, for
these are holy. They are to put on other clothes before they go near the places
that are for the people" (Eze 42:13,14).
"If the Jews were a peculiar, a consecrated, a holy people, it
may be said that their sanctity was concentrated in the temple -- the building
which was 'holiness unto the Lord', and in the holy priesthood, set apart for
the ministrations of the sanctuary. The angel who showed Ezekiel the temple of
vision laid great stress upon this characteristic of the marvelous and
symmetrical building. This ceremonial holiness is exhibited as affecting:
The priests, who were set apart from the rest of the people. How should
they be clean who bear the vessels of the Lord!
Their residences. During
the period of their officiation in the temple services and sacrifices, they had
their dwelling in certain chambers within the precincts, and these chambers were
deemed holy places,
Their food. They are said to 'eat the most holy things',
that is, there were certain regulations as to food which were prescribed for
them that had no reference to the people generally.
Their garments. The
priests were provided with raiment which they were required to wear when
ministering before the Lord. Holy functions necessitated holy vestments.
Their offerings. As the reader of this passage is reminded, it was the duty
of the priests to present meal offerings, sin offering, and guilt offerings. As
these were offered upon the holy altar to the holy God, they themselves were
"It thus appears that everything connected with the position,
the life, the ministrations, of the priests was marked by ceremonial sanctity.
"What was the purpose of all the arrangements described in
this and other passages of Old Testament Scripture? Why was this artificial
separation introduced into the religion and life of the Hebrew people?... It is
evident that it was intended to convey to Israel and to mankind:
A conception of the holy nature of God. Very different was the character
claimed for Himself by Jehovah from the character attributed to the deities of
the heathen nations around. Whilst these deities were disfigured by selfishness,
cruelty, and lust, Jehovah's attributes were righteousness, holiness, and
benevolence. Everything connected with the worship of God, as practiced in the
temple at Jerusalem, was adapted to convey to men's minds the idea of God's
infinite and spotless holiness.
A conception of the holy character of
acceptable worship. Concerning idolatrous worship, we know that it was
distinguished by perfunctoriness and superstition, and in some cases by
impurity. Religious rites among the heathen are usually corrupt, or else
mechanical and spiritually valueless. On the contrary, the worship of the true
Hebrew, as is evident to the attentive reader of the Book of Psalms and of the
prophets, was a sincere, holy, and spiritual worship. It was well understood
that no other worship could be acceptable to the holy and heart-searching King
of kings. And the arrangements described in this passage of the Book of Ezekiel
were evidently adapted to produce and to deepen this impression.
conception of the holy services of obedience and praise. Sacrifices were
enjoined and required of the pious Hebrew; but sacrifices were not the only or
the chief services to be presented by the devout worshipper. In connection with
these, and beyond these, were the offerings which God ever delights to accept
from His own people -- spiritual offerings of devotion and of active services.
And if these are distinguished by one characteristic above another, that
characteristic is true holiness" (Pulpit
Reading 3 - John 8:6
"They were using this question as a trap, in order to have a
basis for accusing him. But Jesus bent down and started to write on the ground
with his finger" (John 8:6).
What does the finger of God do?
It unleashes plagues upon Egypt (Exo 8:16-19).
It writes the Law in
tables of stone (Deu 9:10).
It casts out demons (Luk 11:20).
the heavens (Psa 8:3).
It writes out the condemnation of wicked rulers upon
the wall (Dan 5:5).
The Finger of God makes commandments, punishes, heals, and
creates anew. Christ's finger writing evokes many thoughts.
So... does the finger of God, THROUGH CHRIST HERE, do all
these things in John 8? First of all, the finger that writes in the presence of
the "accusers" of Israel could be accomplishing at least 3 of the 5 items above:
(2) it could be writing the Law, as in: "THOU shalt not commit adultery... or
murder... or steal, etc" -- the sins of each of those there assembled.
And (1 and 5) it could be writing out the judgments... even
the plagues... that God would bring upon the wicked rulers of -- not Babylon and
Egypt -- but Israel (!). And so, convicted by knowledge of their own sins and
warnings of God's coming judgments, they slunk away.
Also, (3) is it possible that this woman was Mary Magdalene,
out of whom Jesus cast seven demons (Mar 16:9; Luk 8:2), and who is also
commonly assumed to have led a life of immorality before her conversion?
Finally, (4) all of Christ's work was with the purpose of
developing the "new creation", his and God's: "a new heaven and a new earth, the
home of righteousness" (2Pe 3:13) -- in simple terms, men and women who through
faith are forgiven of their sins and renewed or "re-created" in him. This he was
doing with the woman, and possibly also with some of the men!