Other comments on this day's readings can be found here.
Reading 1 - 2Ch 16:7
"At that time Hanani the seer came to Asa king of Judah and
said to him: 'Because you relied on the king of Aram and not on the LORD your
God, the army of the king of Aram has escaped from your hand' " (2Ch
"Sin like Asa's has been the supreme apostasy of the Church in
all her branches and through all her generations: Christ has been denied, not by
lack of devotion, but by want of faith. Champions of the faith, reformers and
guardians of the temple, like Asa, have been eager to attach to their holy cause
the cruel prejudices of ignorance and folly, the greed and vindictiveness of
selfish men. They have feared lest these potent forces should be arrayed amongst
the enemies of the Church and her Master. It has even been suggested that
national Churches and great national vices were so intimately allied that their
supporters were content that they should stand or fall together. On the other
hand, the advocates of reform have not been slow to appeal to popular jealousy
and to aggravate the bitterness of social feuds" ("Biblical
Reading 2 - Eze 48:35
"And the name of the city from that time on will be: the LORD
is there" (Eze 48:35).
"Jehovah-Shammah", or "Yahweh-Shammah". The new name indicates
a new character, as always in Scripture, namely that the Lord would forever
reside among His people: thus He will be the great Immanuel: "God is with us"
(cf Isa 7:14). Despite what fortunes and misfortunes beset the people of God,
this is His promise: there will come a time when their God would never again
depart from them or send them out of His land. He will forever dwell among them,
and they will forever enjoy the unbroken fellowship with God that He intended
since the creation of the world. The Book of Ezekiel -- just like the Book of
Revelation -- ends with a description of a New Jerusalem. However, the New
Jerusalem of Ezekiel has to do with earlier times, and is dependent upon the
faithfulness of Israel; whereas, the New Jerusalem at the end of Revelation is
absolute and eternal.
Twenty-two years and 48 chapters earlier Ezekiel began his
book with a vision of a storm picturing the destruction of Old Jerusalem (Eze
1), and God's departure from it (Eze 10; 11). He ends it with another vision of
the Glory of God returning to His city and temple (Eze 43:2-5), and the building
of a special temple-city to be named "The LORD is there" (Eze 48:35). The glory
of the LORD is the unifying feature that ties the book together and runs through
it from beginning to end.
Due to man's unbelief and disobedience, God's glory departs
from him. But when man's unbelief gives way to faith, and his disobedience to
obedience, then that wondrous Glory may yet return to him. And when -- through
the mercies of our God -- all sins are forgiven, then will be ushered in the Age
of "God who is all in all" (1Co 15:28), and the Glory will return to His land
and His city and His temple and His people, never to depart again. Truly "THE
LORD WILL BE THERE": "Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with
them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their
God. He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or
mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away. He who
was seated on the throne said, 'I am making everything new!' " (Rev
Reading 3 - John 18:11
"Jesus commanded Peter, 'Put your sword away! Shall I not
drink the cup the Father has given me?' " (John 18:11).
The Lord Jesus never raised a finger to hurt any human being,
however great the provocation. The provocations he received would have led a
lesser man to fight back, but it was not so with Jesus. When Samaritans denied
him hospitality, his disciples spoke of vengeance:
"Lord, wilt thou that we command fire to come down from
heaven, and consume them, even as Elijah did? But he turned, and rebuked them,
and said, Ye know not what manner of spirit ye are of. For the Son of Man is not
come to destroy men's lives, but to save them" (Luk 9:54-56).
Again, when the officers of the High Priest, led by a
traitorous disciple, came to arrest him, the Lord could reveal his power and
still refuse to take advantage of it: "Judas then, having received the band of
soldiers, and officers from the chief priests and the Pharisees, came thither
with lanterns and torches and weapons. Jesus therefore, knowing all the things
that were coming upon him, went forth, and saith unto them, Whom seek ye? They
answered him, Jesus of Nazareth. Jesus saith to them, I am he...They went
backward, and fell to the ground" (Joh 18:3-6).
He allowed his enemies to rise from the ground and arrest him.
When Peter sought to defend him with his courageous but misguided use of a sword
which he should not even have been carrying, the Lord resisted that temptation
also and rebuked his disciple:
"Put up thy sword into the sheath: the cup which my Father
hath given me, shall I not drink it?" (v 11).
"All they that take the sword shall perish with the sword"
Long before, he had withstood the temptation to accept
kingship from the multitudes (Joh 6:15). Now, at his trial before Pilate, he
declares his resistance in principle to the thought: "My kingdom is not of this
world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I
should not be delivered to the Jews: but now is my kingdom not from hence" (Joh